Iorek was the heir to the throne of Svalbard. He fought against another bear in a ritual of dominance to win over a female bear. However, the other bear had been drugged and would not back down when he was defeated. This led to Byrnison killing the bear, which was strictly forbidden, and he was condemned to exile.
On 15 April 1962, Byrnison met Lee Scoresby for the first time. Together they helped H. van Breda to defy Larsen Manganese by removing his cargo from their warehouse and leaving the island. The pair then escaped in the aeronaut's balloon.
Lyra used her alethiometer to discover that Byrnison's armour was hidden in the cellar of the local priest's house. Iorek recovered his armour and in return pledged his loyalty to Lyra, agreeing to help her rescue the children from Bolvangar.
Return to Svalbard
After Lyra fell from Scoresby's balloon and was captured by the panserbjørne on Svalbard, Byrnison went to rescue her. Lyra had convinced Iofur Raknison that she was Byrnison's dæmon and that she could be transferred to him if he defeated the exiled bear in single combat. For this, Iorek gave Lyra the surname Silvertongue. Byrnison defeated Raknison and took his place as King.
After Lord Asriel opened the rift to the world of Cittàgazze, the climate of Svalbard changed and Byrnison led the bears to the Himalayas, where the weather was more hospitable.
He later used his blacksmithing skills to repair the Subtle Knife with the help of Lyra and Will. He feared that a great disaster will happen after the reforging of the knife.
Iorek and a regiment of his subjects fought on Lord Asriel's side in the battle on the plains. He took Lyra and Will to find their lost dæmons. He later returned to Svalbard with the other bears that came with him, finding it was impossible for them to live there.
Personality and traits
Like all Panserbjørne, Iorek followed a very strict code of contract, and would in no situation betray a promise he had made. Iorek was extremely proud and formidably selfless, but could be strongly sentimental and piteous. He was sarcastic as, in the film adaption, when Ragnar Sturlison taunted him over losing and frequently spat the words Is that all!, Iorek lashed out, stunning the bear, before silencing him by snapping his throat, before replying with Yes! That is all!.
Iorek possessed great strength, and like many of his kind was an expert smith.
- Once Upon a Time in the North
- Northern Lights
- The Golden Compass (film)
- The Golden Compass (video game)
- The Subtle Knife
- The Amber Spyglass