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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
  • Marisa van Zee[1]
Physical information
Species Human


Hair colour


Eye colour


Family information
Family members

unnamed (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[2] whose name is unknown. Her daughter was Lyra Silvertongue.


Early lifeEdit

Marisa 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.[3]

When she was 18, she travelled to Will's world. She sat for a portrait at Skipton's art studio, where she met Grinstead. The two were lovers for less than a month. At this time, she was already involved in politics.[1]

Affair with Lord AsrielEdit

Marisa married politician named Edward Coulter, but had an affair with Lord Asriel that resulted in a daughter who she named Lyra. The baby bore no resemblance to Edward, so to hide the affair she claimed the girl had died and put her into the care of Ma Costa at one of Lord Asriel's estates in Oxfordshire.[4]

Even so, Edward learned of the affair and came to the estate, ransacking the cottage where Ma Costa and Lyra had been staying. Lord Asriel stopped Edward before he could reach the baby and challenged him to a duel, which he won. Lord Asriel lost everything he had in the court case which followed, and Mrs Coulter wanted nothing more to do with any of it, including her daughter. Lyra was sent to live in the Sisters of Obedience priory, but Lord Asriel had her moved to Jordan College.[4]

Reunited with LyraEdit

In 1995, Mrs. Coulter arrived at Jordan College where she met her estranged daughter. She invited Lyra to come and live with her as her personal assistant, an offer to which Lyra happily agreed, unaware that the woman was her mother.[5]

Under the premise of preparation for a trip to the North, Marisa taught Lyra celestial navigation, geography and mathematics, as well as useful information about survival. She also taught Lyra indirect lessons, such as how to put on make up.

Six weeks after Lyra's arrival in London, Coulter hosted a cocktail party. She argued with Lyra when the girl refused to put her shoulder bag away, insisting on wearing it in the house. Her dæmon attacked Pantalaimon and Lyra gave in. At the party, Lyra learned that Coulter was the leader of the General Oblation Board and ran away.


Some weeks later, Mrs Coulter visited 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.[6]


Nl 02
HDM Wiki has 1 image of Marisa Coulter.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Collectors
  2. Stated in the booklet provided in The Golden Compass film box.
  3. Lyra's Oxford
  4. 4.0 4.1 Northern Lights, Chapter 7
  5. Northern Lights, Chapter 4
  6. The Big Bad Read

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