I'm reading a really good book right now. I know I'm late to the party with this one, but it really is a very good, engrossing book with several discussion points. And I'm not even through the entire trilogy yet. By the end, my book club is going to be BEGGING me to shut up, but it's totally their fault that I'm reading these books in the first place.
The Golden Compass has several areas that I would love to discuss in detail, but the one that strikes me the most is the idea of 'daemons.'
I'm torn on how to say the word to myself. Is it "daymon" or "deemon?" Since the idea isn't an evil one, I usually settle on "daymon."
In the book, everyone has a daemon. In a nutshell, daemons are an animal form that is sort of a physical manifestation of a person's soul. I would compare them to a witch's familiar, but that's not quite right. The way the link between the human and their daemon is described is deeper than that. It's described in such a way that the two can not live (sort of) if separated. The animal form that your daemon takes is a reflection of the sort of person you are. You feel each other's feelings and hear each other's thoughts.
I am fascinated by this idea. Fascinated. Think about how much easier life would be if there was no need to pretend? If who you are and, to some extent, how you feel were on display all the time? zlionsfan is much more cynical than I am and says that the world wouldn't change much if daemons really existed. People would still try to pretend to be something they're not. I choose to believe otherwise. Because so many people behave in a certain manner based on their insecurities. (I'm not excluding myself here.) And all that energy is just...wasted. There's a passage in the book between the main character and an advisor where main character asks what happens if a person doesn't like the shape their daemon takes. The response is:
"Well, then, you're discontented, en't you? There's plenty of folk as'd like to have a lion as a daemon and they end up with a poodle. And 'till they learn to be satisfied with what they are, they're going to be fretful about it. Waste of feeling, that is."
I LOVE this. I think it would be so much easier to accept who you are and how people see you if there was a physical manifestation that couldn't be hidden. Because you can always tell when someone is acting out of insecurity. When they're so sensitive to criticism or attention because they're so afraid of being seen as something other than what they want. And that makes me sad every time. It takes a long time to learn to love yourself. I know I'm still working on it. It would be so much easier with a daemon.
I mean, it would suck if your daemon were a... shrew, for instance. And you thought that you were a... Persian cat, maybe. But still, there are good points to being a shrew. I can't think of any right now, but EMBRACE your shrew-ness. It will make you happier in the long run*.
But enough of the serious stuff. The point here is that Candy, zlionsfan and I spent a better portion of Christmas return trip home discussing what our daemons would be. It was fun, and I won't reveal theirs, but I will say that I didn't get far from the bulldog that the boy already said I was. I was upgraded slightly to a pit bull, and I think I'm okay with that. I mean, can I choose which pit bull? Because Casey and Blue are like night and day. And realistically, I'm pretty sure my characteristics would mirror Casey, but boy, is Blue pretty.
Slightly related - the boy and I did our annual Christmas letters again this year, and in his letter, he rescinded the bulldog analogy and upgraded (??) me to a pit bull as well. And this was without knowing the conversation that had occurred on the drive home from Christmas.
Well, at least I don't have to worry about having an underbite anymore.
I'm curious to know what you would think YOUR daemon would be? I don't usually solicit comments, but if you read this and you know, tell me. I would love to hear.
*For any shrews who may be reading this and don't know me personally, this paragraph was written completely in jest. I am well aware that there are good characteristics to shrews and I mean no offense.