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Marisa Coulter

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Marisa Coulter01
Marisa Coulter
Biographical information

35 (1962 — 1997)


Fell into the Abyss

Also known as
Physical information
Species Human


Hair colour


Eye colour


Family information
Family members

Dæmon (settled as a golden lion tamarin)


Head of the G.O.B.


Marisa Coulter (1962–1997) was the head of the General Oblation Board and a long-time agent of the Church before she defected. Her dæmon was a golden lion tamarin[1] whose name is unknown. Her daughter was Lyra Silvertongue.


Early lifeEdit

Coulter was born in 1962. When she reached puberty, her dæmon settled as a golden monkey. She attended St Sophia's College and wrote an academic work named The Bronze Clocks of Benin.[2]

Affair with Lord AsrielEdit

An ambitious woman, Mrs. Coulter married a highly important politician named Edward Coulter, but had an affair with the powerful, mesmerizing Lord Asriel that resulted in a baby girl who would be named Lyra Belacqua. Knowing her husband would be angry if he found out about the illegitimate child, she put her daugher into the care of a gyptian nurse and hid her away at one of Lord Asriel's estates in Oxfordshire. Even so, her husband managed to discover the affair after Lyra was born and grew so wrathful he stormed inside the house where baby Lyra and her gyptian nurse, Ma Costa, were hiding. Mr. Coulter was attempting to wrench apart the closet they were hiding in, but luckily Lord Asriel heard about Mr. Coulter's murderous rage and stopped him just in time. He challenged Mr. Coulter to a duel, and won. After a long, difficult case, the judges ordered all of Lord Asriel's property and wealth to be confiscated as punishment. As Mrs. Coulter wanted nothing more to do with any of it, including her own daughter, the judges decided baby Lyra was to live in the Sisters of Obedience priory. However, Lord Asriel wouldn't stand for that and took the baby to be raised by the scholars of Jordan College.

Reunited with LyraEdit

In 1995, Mrs. Coulter arrived at Jordan College where she met her estranged daughter. Charming Lyra with her glamour, beauty, and exciting tales of the North, Mrs. Coulter invited the headstrong little girl to come and live with her as her personal assistant, an offer to which a thoroughly enchanted Lyra happily agreed.[3]To prepare Lyra for an expedition to the North, Mrs. Coulter taught Lyra celestial navigation, geography, and mathematics as well as useful information about the northern realms, such as which parts of a bear are edible. She also would teach Lyra less obvious, indirect lessons, such as how to put on makeup. Lyra, ignorant of Mrs. Coulter's true relationship to her, would go with her new guardian everywhere; shopping, parties, and lunches with the important people of London.

When Mrs.Coulter had been caring for Lyra for six weeks, she decided to host her own party. As she arranged flowers for the party, she noticed Lyra was wearing a small white shoulder bag inside her own home, an action she disapproved of. Thinking it absurd, she asked Lyra to put it away. When she saw that Lyra refused her orders, her dæmon instantly launched itself at Pantalaimon and violently wrestled him, threatening to tear his ear off.


Some weeks later, Mrs Coulter visted Bolvangar, the experimental station of the General Oblation Board which she founded. She saved Lyra and Pantalaimon from the intercision which was about to be performed on them.

Physical appearanceEdit

Marisa Coulter was described as very beautiful, with short black hair and dark eyes. She wore expensive, fashionable clothes and spoke with a soft, musical voice.

Behind the scenesEdit

  • In the film The Golden Compass, Marisa Coulter is played by Nicole Kidman, who was initially reluctant to play a villain.
  • Also in the film, she has blonde hair and blue eyes.
  • In the BBC radio adaptation, she was portrayed by Emma Fielding.
  • In the audiobook read by Philip Pullman, the role of Marisa Coulter was taken by Alison Dowling.
  • Mrs. Coulter was named the third biggest villain in the Big Bad Read poll after Lord Voldemort and Sauron.[4]


Nl 02
HDM Wiki has 1 image of Marisa Coulter.


  1. Stated in the booklet provided in The Golden Compass film box.
  2. Lyra's Oxford
  3. Northern Lights, Chapter 4
  4. The Big Bad Read

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