Letter – my thoughts on dæmons

8th of February 2020

Dear reader.

I finished with “His Dark Materials”. The books, not the TV-show. I haven’t had the heart to watch it. What if they changed something? What if that actor isn’t what I pictured that character like? What if something feels wrong or isn’t like I imagined it? I know they changed the design of the alethiometer. I am sure there isn’t any actress in the world who would be Lyra to me. And I love these books so much. I don’t want to watch any adaption (except maybe the theatre production). I didn’t like the movie. I don’t think I’ll like the TV-show. And that has nothing to do with the TV-show. It’s because it’s an adaptation of my favourite book series and I am so sensitive and protective of them that nothing will really be good enough for me. I hated Disney’s Narnia movies too. They didn’t feel like Narnia and that broke my heart.
I am going to watch this show eventually. I actually like several casting choices and the fact that they are going to try this hard to make the books into a show is a good thing. The books might get a larger audience and they deserve that. I am just going to have to reconcile that this show will exist and that it might be really good objectively, but that I will never be objective when it comes to it and that I will always love the books to much to accept anything a TV-show based on these books could be. Because a TV-show is something very different, and a movie is something very different. And it will never be the book in movie format, but an adaptation. That is okay. And I am allowed to have feelings about it, I am allowed to not like it for reasons that are purely subjective and have nothing to do with the quality of the show. I just have to be aware that that is what I am doing and of the good things that this show will also do.

I finally finished “The Amber Spyglass” and it was just as wonderful and emotional and heartbreaking as always. I was a few days late with it but I wasn’t worried, because I read “Lyra’s Oxford” and “Once upon a time in the North” too, and they were short books that only took a few hours each. So technically I am one book ahead of schedule. But that is nice. What is a little less nice is leaving this world behind and reading new things. I love this world. But there are no more books for now.

So I guess now is the time if I wanted to write about dæmons. In these books, in the world Lyra lives in, people have their soul outside their bodies and it is shaped like an animal. They can touch it and talk to it. And everyone else can see it and talk to it too. Touching another person’s dæmon is very, very wrong, but peoples dæmons can touch each other. When you are a child dæmons change shape. They can be anything and be something else the next moment. But they often have favourite shapes or will change into something useful to the person. Like being an owl if they need to see something in the dark or make themselves big and scary if they feel like protecting their human. Once a person reaches puberty the dæmon will settle and have only one form for the rest of that person’s life. And what your dæmon settles as will tell you something about yourself and in the same way you can learn something about other people by what kind of dæmon they have.

Dæmons are not a separate being, they are one with the human. They are the soul. But they do have their thoughts and feelings and are not always agreeing with the human. It is difficult to explain but it makes so much sense in the book. They are almost always the opposite gender from the human. So Lyra (the main character ) is a girl and her dæmon is male and his name is Pantalaimon.

I’ve been a little obsessed with the concept of dæmons. Some people care deeply about their Hogwarts Houses or their patronus, but for me it’s dæmons. Maybe it’s the therapy and the constant need to look inside myself and work with what is happening there. I can’t help to wonder how different that process would be if I had my dæmon. What would he be like? What shape would he take? What would his name be and what is the sound of his voice? What would he tell me when I am depressed or lonely? How would he comfort me and how would I comfort him? What colour does his eyes have? How much wisdom could I learn from him and hoe much easier would it be to learn to love myself with his help? I have no answers but the questions keep being there. I try to imagine him sometimes. I think I am too worried that the shape I imagine for him is wishful thinking to tell the internet about it. But I do have a shape in mind. I cannot find his name, though sometimes it feels like it’s right in the tip of my tongue. But it always disappears right before I catch it.

I don’t know why this idea speaks so much to me, but it does. It has always made so much sense. As if all I had to do was reach out my hand and my dæmon would be there, because it wasn’t a thing invented in a book, but a real thing and our world just forgot how to see them. And I know that is not the case. But I cannot stop thinking about this concept and how it might help to have a dæmon.

The first book has this quote about dæmons and the forms they might take:

“There’s plenty of folk as’d like to have a lion as a dæmon and they end up with a poodle. And till they learn to be satisfied with what they are, they’re going to be fretful about it. Waste of feeling, that is.”

And I guess that is part of why I am worried my thoughts of what mine might have been is just wishful thinking. I have several idea that I like, but one I keep returning to. I honestly cannot imagine that I would not love whatever his form is. And I am curious about what I would learn about myself from his form. Because I know I can wish for anything, but the dæmon isn’t about what you wish for. And that is also why it’s not the same as a patronus. A patronus is joy and happiness, it is your happiest memory taking form. A dæmon is all of you, all your good sides and your bad sides, it shapes by the things you do and say and think. It tells you who you are. The patronus tells you about your happiness, which I guess is why several of the patronuses in the books are related to romantic love.

I am not sure I have more to write about dæmons. Not now anyway. But I am a little glad I finally managed to write something about these thing which I have been thinking about for most of my life now. And thought Dust is a concept that I have also thought and been shaped by I do not feel like writing about it at the moment.

Maybe this is it for today. I have no idea what book I will read next week. I have so many I want to read and a few I feel I should read. A lot is happening now. I am doing a lot of emotional work, trying to get a better understanding of my own traumas. It’s hard and I am sad a lot. I am also not really giving that sadness enough time and space, but hurrying a little toward the conclusion and the lesson and what comes next.

Thank you for your time and your attention. Thank you for sticking with me. I sometimes feel like I make no sense. But I write and that is what is important.