“But why? Why is my place here? Why can’t I come to the North with you? I want to see the Northern Lights and bears and icebergs and everything. I want to know about Dust. And that city in the air. Is it another world?”
“You’re not coming, child. Put it out of your head; the times are too dangerous. Do as you’re told and go to bed, and if you’re a good girl, I’ll bring you back a walrus tusk with some Eskimo carving on it. Don’t argue anymore or I shall be angry.”
In HDM, the focus tends to be on the positive relationships between people and dæmons, but there must presumably be people who have bad relationships with them as well. People with dæmons who belittle them, ignore them, point out the worst in every scenario. Could that be how many mental health problems manifest in Lyra’s world?
On a similar note, would hurting your own dæmon be a form of self harm? How common is it in relation to other kinds?
If a person with a dæmon had a dissociative identity disorder, would their dæmon change to reflect their different personalities? Or would the dæmon simply display different personality traits and names?
Do the dæmons of people with young mental ages ever settle?
What is the youngest age at which a dæmon has settled?
Who names dæmons? I would imagine there must be a pool of names which are used specifically for dæmons, never for people. But who chooses them? Is it the parents? Or is it the parents’ daemons?
What is the largest form a
dæmon has ever taken? In the books, they never seem to take inconveniently large forms, but is it possible for a
dæmon to settle as, say, a shire horse or a killer whale?
Do the personality traits associated with dæmon forms vary by culture? For instance, some parts of the world view dogs as loyal and friendly, but others see them as dirty and dangerous creatures. Is it possible that two incredibly different people could have the same kind of daemon, because the form represents different things in each culture?
Are there laws against touching other people’s dæmons without permission? Is it treated in a similar fashion to sexual assault?
dæmon forms are the most discriminated against? What unfair stereotypes do different forms carry?
How true to the animal are
dæmon forms when it comes to biology? Do snake
dæmons see in infrared? Do bird
dæmons have magnetoreception? Can the humans share in these sensations to some extent, and does this make them better suited to certain jobs? Imagine police officers with dog dæmons that can follow scent trails.
we’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… and when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight…
the disquiet and destruction at the end of the war - the bewilderment and hurt and stab of loss, and the uncertainty of what to do next
angels cast out of their homes, the clouded mountain destroyed in the war, and an entire, lifeless world filled with beings composed of dust and light. the promise of a republic - a new home, something they fought for, spilled blood for, killed for - hovers on the horizon, shimmering like beams of light off water, but it’s just out of reach. how long will it take to establish? where will ‘home’ be for the time being? where is heaven now?
Imagine a business executive with a sleek mongoose dæmon. The pair are never ruffled, not a single hair out of place, and may or may not have a soul. The interns who work for her have a long-running rumor that she sold her soul to a witch in return for her power. Whether it’s true or not has yet to be determined.
Imagine a really really tall guy who has a short fluffy corgi dæmon. They’re both very sweet, but also very excitable! He gets energetic and can’t sit still, while her little tail wiggles amidst a furious flurry of happy barks. The rest of the time they’re incredibly laid back, so it’s something of a treat to see man and dæmon unable to control their own excitement. His dæmon likes to echo him while he’s speaking, and fuss over his appearance.
Imagine a teenage boy with a fluttery parrot dæmon. He’s mute, so his dæmon and he communicate with whistles and clicks. She likes to nestle into his hair to be a grounding presence, and nibbles his ear lobes.
Imagine family dynamics with dæmons; some might have similar dæmons, others might be nothing alike. In one family, the parents have a rat and a potbelly pig, while their two children have an ant and a crow. They’re all smart and adaptable, and fairly extroverted. As a parallel, another family could also have two parents, with a mastiff and a cicada dæmon, with two children who have a linsang and a massive boar dæmon. Despite what local folklore says, genetics can’t predict how a dæmon will settle.
Imagine someone with a komodo dragon dæmon. That would be cool as shit.
Imagine old classical plays that don’t state the character’s dæmons, so that performers could have a variety of forms they could use. This would probably hold as tradition for generations of playwrights. Modern day Shakespeare enthusiasts/scholars get into bar brawls over whether or not Hamlet had a Broholmer dog or an old world wolfhound. Someone says a raven and gets punched in the face.
Sorry I’ve been so absent guys. I’ve had a weird mix of a rather unfortunate health crisis, as well as raising a future service dog! The two have been taking up all of my time, so take these imagines as a peace offering. I’ll be back in the swing of things as soon as I can!
Both interpersonal and inter…
dæmonal. Keep in mind, these are solely based on my opinions of how a world with dæmons might be. These are not entirely based off of interactions from the HDM series, though it is the same principle. If anyone has other ideas, please share! It would be fun to talk about.
Firstly, I would like to address the idea I sometimes see floating around that
dæmons would be like guides or companions, sometimes even friends/protectors. Personally, I find this a bit absurd. A dæmon is a person’s soul, their innermost self, not a pet, and they are really not your therapist. I think the mistake people often make is that, in a world with dæmons, one human and one
dæmon make a singular person. Two halves of a whole, and all that. How you view yourself is how you would view your
dæmon, and vice versa. This isn’t to say that you can’t have a good relationship with your
dæmon, it’s just a personal pet peeve that I have about the idea that a
dæmon would comfort you through all the hard times and such. A person’s relationship with their
dæmon is very much dependent on their relationship with themselves.
To break this down further, let’s examine how emotions would be interpreted to body language and proximity. A
dæmon that is very clingy to their human would be portraying that person’s desire for comfort and support. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it could be a way of broadcasting someone’s lack of support system, or just a personality trait. Either way, the tactile act of comfort is representative of someone who enjoys/needs consistent reassurance. This kind of behavior could also be drawn out by anxiety, and someone subconsciously wanting to feel secure. Other ways anxiety could manifest would be submissive positioning (head down, exposed belly/throat, ears back, skittish movements, etc) for fear, raised fur/feathers or other types of bluffing threat displays for anger/distrust, hiding behind their human or in their clothes, and uncharacteristically high energy. Now, the default actions of a
dæmon say a lot about their personality, as well as their human’s. Someone whose
dæmon hides behind them suggests that they lack the confidence of someone whose
dæmon bristles or snaps. In contrast, a dæmon that is rarely emotional signifies someone with barriers between themselves and the rest of the world.
Now, the majority of people will be reasonably tactile with their
dæmons- it just makes sense. While there can be subconscious drives behind a person/dæmons actions, a decent amount of it can be written off as part of living in close, comfortable proximity with another being. There’s a difference between a clingy
dæmon and, say, a mouse
dæmon who constantly rides around on their human’s shoulder for convenient and comfortable transportation. There’s also a difference between someone whose
dæmon is reasonably aloof, and someone whose
dæmon genuinely dislikes them. And yes, I do think that can happen for people who really, truly hate themselves. In my opinion, an indicator of certain kinds of mental illness could be a generally tense or bitter relationship with one’s
dæmon. For example, someone with depression might alternate between a
dæmon that is overly attached and one that’s aggressive with them, or they might desire to touch their
dæmon but they won’t be allowed to. Even people without any type of mental illness would probably experience their dæmon lashing out at them in frustration at one point or another. Anyway, someone who has a good relationship with their
dæmon but isn’t constantly touching is likely the type who is pretty comfortable with themselves. They don’t need to regularly fulfill their craving for attention/affection, and therefore can handle a slightly more detached relationship.
I personally am of the opinion that in times of high emotion/stress, dæmons fall back onto their settled forms’ instinctive responses. For example, I don’t think a dog dæmon would never sniff another dæmon’s butt, but when they’re happy they’ll wag their tails or let their tongues loll out. Scare them and they might yelp, piss them off and they’ll growl, but there are still certain practices that just aren’t acceptable. There might be communes or something where dæmons are encouraged to “go natural” by acting as animalistic as possible. However, in your stereotypical interactions, dæmons are going to act like people, not like animals, though I think most dæmons leave the talking to their humans. In some countries, there might be some kind of polite greeting between dæmons, but that’s just speculation. Dæmons as a rule, I think, don’t usually talk to anyone other than other dæmons, their own human, and people they’re close to. I would think that they are capable of speaking out, and do, but I can imagine most people would like to keep their soul to themselves, a bit. Of course, levels of chattiness would depend largely on the dæmon/person, so for some, it isn’t that unusual to hear their dæmon talking to other people. I picture dæmons who are close spend a great deal of time cuddling or grooming one another, and chatting quietly together.
For people with separated dæmons (if they have a large water-bound form, an inconveniently large terrestrial form, or even a bird of some kind) I think they would likely compensate for the missing emotional support/broadcasting provided by their dæmon by being a bit exaggerated in their expressions and gestures. Without their dæmon next to them to help show how they feel, other people might need that extra indicator to really understand them.
I imagine that it happens sometimes that people’s dæmons would just decide they like or dislike one another out of the blue. I’m sure it would be one of those things that couldn’t be scientifically proven, but the theory is that dust can be attracted or repelled by itself, and it pretty accurately can show how well two people will get along. This leads people to ask; do people turn out the way they do because of the specific dust their dæmon is made of, or does specific dust become attracted to them because of who they are? Kind of a nature versus nurture question.
Anyway, I feel like this is a pretty comprehensive overview of what interactions in a realistic world with dæmons would be like. If you think I’ve left anything off, let me know so we can talk about it! Or if you disagree, tell me why. I’m curious to hear what everyone has to say.
Next up I’m thinking of doing a guide to dæmons and gender/sexuality, if people are interested.
I’m not really posting a lot here lately, although I’m a little bit more active on twitter but I’ve been working on a little illustration project about my favorite series of books, His Dark Materials (from Philip Pullman) ! Those were really fun to do so I hope you’ll like them :)