Lord Asriel was Lyra Silvertongue's father, and a powerful man who wished to destroy the kingdom of The Authority and replace it with the Republic of Heaven. His dæmon, Stelmaria, had the form of a snow leopard.
Affair with Marisa Coulter
Lord Asriel was a highly respected member of the British aristocracy. He was an explorer, and did work in experimental theology, through which he acquired much power, land, and money. When he had an affair which resulted in a child with Marisa Coulter, this changed. Marisa's husband, Edward Coulter came after him and his daughter. Asriel challenged Edward to a duel, killing him. For this, Asriel was taken to court and he lost all his money and property. Abandoned by her mother, Lyra was sent to a convent. Since he despised the Church, Asriel took Lyra to Jordan College instead. Here she was raised to believe she was Asriel's niece.
First expedition to the North
When he returned to his alma mater to present his findings to his fellow scholars, the Master of Jordan College attempted to kill him by poisoning a bottle of Tokay. Lyra, who had been hiding in the wardrobe of the Retiring Room saved Asriel's life by warning him not to drink it.
Second expedition to the North
Having acquired the funds, Asriel immediately departed on a second expedition. He travelled to Svalbard but was imprisoned by the panserbjørne under Iofur Raknison on the orders of the General Oblation Board. Despite being imprisoned, Asriel was able to obtain everything he required in order to create a window to another world. By performing intercision on Roger Parslow, he tore a hole in the sky and entered the world of Cittàgazze.
Republic of Heaven
Allying himself with Xaphania and the rebel angels, Asriel constructed a basalt fortress in another world and began to gather an army from many worlds. He was the lover of Ruta Skadi, queen of the Lake Lubana clan of witches, who rallied many witch clans to his cause.
Later, he had his friend King Ogunwe and Lord Roke of the Gallivespians attempt to find Lyra, the second Eve. They captured Marisa Coulter, who had been keeping the girl hostage, but Lyra escaped with William Parry and two of Lord Roke's agents. Lord Asriel then attended to Marisa and tried to influence Lyra and Will, as they held the key to renewing the Dust flow. Lord Asriel allowed Marisa to escape in an Intention Craft and had Lord Roke follow her to gain information from the Consistorial Court of Discipline. They found that the Church had made a bomb to kill Lyra. Lord Asriel rescued Mrs Coulter just in time, as well as destroying Saint-Jean Les Eaux a moment too late with his intention craft.
Lyra survived, and Lord Asriel had his army search for her and Will's dæmons so that the Authority's armies couldn't control them. Lord Asriel found that the bomb blew a hole under all the worlds into the Abyss and came up with a plan to take down the Authority's powerful Regent, Metatron. As his army fought the armies of the Authority and the Church, Mrs Coulter tricked Metatron into trying to kill Lord Asriel and take Lyra's dæmon as he was on the edge of the Abyss. Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter sacrificed themselves by taking Metatron down with them, falling in the Abyss as ghosts for eternity.
Lord Asriel's dæmon took the shape of a female snow leopard named Stelmaria.
Stelmaria was beautiful, strong, and highly intelligent, and had piercing green eyes. Her dominance of Roger Parslow's dæmon, Salcilia, was crucial to Asriel's success in breaking through the aurora to Cittàgazze, and her strength was further demonstrated in the final battle with Metatron where both she and her human, along with Marisa Coulter and her dæmon, met their ends in the Abyss.
Behind the Scenes
- Asriel has been portrayed by a number of classical British actors, including Timothy Dalton at the National Theatre, Terence Stamp for the BBC Radio dramatization, and Daniel Craig in the Golden Compass, where he was joined alongside Kristin Scott Thomas who played Stelmaria.
- Though Craig portrayed a blonde Asriel, in La Belle Sauvage, Asriel's hair is described as black.
- Stelmaria is a name etymologically linked to Stella Maris, an Italian given name meaning 'Star of the Sea'.
- Northern Lights
- The Golden Compass (film)
- The Golden Compass (video game)
- The Subtle Knife
- The Amber Spyglass
- La Belle Sauvage