Dame Hannah Relf was the head of St Sophia's College. Her dæmon had the form of a marmoset.[1]


Hannah Relf was a member of a research group consisting of seven scholars studying the layers of meaning to the symbols of alethiometers in Oxford. Two years before the flood of 1986, she was recruited by George Papadimitriou to work for the agency of Oakley Street, taking some of her time with the Bodleian alethiometer to answer questions for the secret service. Although this covert work made the progress of her researches slow, Professor Papadimitriou noted that Dr Relf was easily the best of the seven Oxford scholars.

In 1986 Hannah befriended Malcolm Polstead and informally recruited him to report on anything unusual he observed during the changes in Oxford at the time. She was also visited by Marisa Coulter who suspected (correctly) that Hannah had information regarding the whereabouts of her infant daugher, Lyra Silvertongue.

When Oakley Street recovered the alethiometer stolen by Gerard Bonneville from the University of Bologna, they asked that Dr Relf publicly abandon her membership of the research group and read the Naples device for them full-time. After consulting the althetiometer on her answer, Hannah Relf agreed.

Hannah first met Lyra Silvertongue before dinner in the Master's lodging at Jordan College, which she attended with Marisa Coulter, a member of St Sophia's.[2]

Some time later they met again in the same dining room, and Hannah proposed that Lyra become a pupil at St Sophia's School.[3]

Physical appearance

Hannah Relf was an elderly lady who had grey hair.[1]

Abilities and skills

  • Alethiometrist: Hannah was considered to be one of the best scholars in the field of alethiometry.[3]


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Northern Lights, Chapter 3
  2. Northern Lights, Chapter 4
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 38

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