What’s your daemon?

Rather than starting on some reading that’s piling up on my shelves and various online sources that I should do, I started re-reading Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy. (By the way, re-reading is completely ok according to one commenter on Maxine’s blog..).

Ever since reading this the first time years ago, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of having a ‘deamon’, but I’m a little stuck figuring out what mine would be. My husband said it would be a rabbit, but I think he says that mostly because I’m slightly hyperactive, I run, and I’m a vegetarian. But daemons are based on personalities.. I think I might be a kind of bird, actually. Maybe a seagull: they get around and are clever, but can also be quite obnoxious. And they’re not picky.

You’ve probably all thought about this: what would your daemon be, if you had one?

This post was first published on Nature Network, which has since been discontinued. The post has been moved to SciLogs, where you can also read the comments made at the time.

About steffi suhr

Once upon a time, I was an enthusiastic and hopeful biological oceanographer who did a bunch of work in the Antarctic. I was alternately wearing labcoats or extreme weather clothing and hard hats, but have long since swapped survival suits for dress suits and do science management, currently as the BioMedBridges project manager at the European Bioinformatics Institute. I still like to use my brain. I'm a German serial expat, currently - again - living in the UK.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to What’s your daemon?

  1. Sabine Hossenfelder says:

    Mine is a tiger
    There used to be a website were you could create yours, but either I can’t find it but it’s gone (also, the applet doesn’t load anymore, there should be a tiger walking in).
    It’s a good guess, I would have thought it should be a cat.

  2. Katherine Haxton says:

    I think I got ermine on the page Sabine referred to. I’d prefer a cat, especially if I could just curl up in the sunlight for a few hours.
    Pretty similar to the patronus concept in Harry Potter…

  3. Eva Amsen says:

    Since she doesn’t really leave my side at all, I’m pretty sure my cat is my daemon. (I’ve referred to her as my sidekick for the same reason. She’s sitting on the desk right next to me as I type this.)

  4. Kristi Vogel says:

    I remember getting a daemon from the Golden Compass website; it was a snow leopard, which seems too majestic and intense. I’m pretty laid-back, actually, and if I could spend all my time in the water, I would. I’d like to say that my daemon would be a sea otter or a dolphin, but both are more lithe, acrobatic, and fun-loving than I am. Some sort of grebe or sea duck would suit me better, or perhaps a long-nosed billfish.
    As an aside, it always bothered me in the Pullman books that there was a servant class, and those destined to be servants had dog daemons. In general, I’m squicked by the concept of servants, and disliked the subservient/lower class relationship of the Gamgees to the Bagginses in The Lord of the Rings as well.

  5. steffi suhr says:

    Heh, I could have guessed that there must be websites dedicated to just that, it’s just too intriguing an idea. But more fun to guess for yourself!
    Sabine and Katherine – my first thought was ‘cat’, but I’m not sure. I’m hopeless at lying around in the sun. Other than that, I can relate to the playfulness of cats.. but their killer instinct makes me nervous. Something about an episode of one of our cats chasing a bird in our backyard – I felt with the bird, not the excitement of the cat. (I stopped her from getting and killing it, fortunately).
    Kristi – quite the difference between a grebe/duck and a powerful top predator like a billfish.. and wow, I just found this incredible documentary.

  6. Kristi Vogel says:

    @ Steffi: That Nature episode on superfish reminded me of how awesome I thought billfish were, when I was a kid (who had to be dragged, screaming at the injustice of being removed from my preferred element, out of numerous bodies of water, both temperate and frigid). Perhaps I’m a selkie, and someone’s stolen my seal pelt. Billfish are more in line with the Belgian Shepherd phenotype I got with the dog personality quiz, but yeah, they’re pretty intense top predators.
    Grebes and sea ducks are kind of dorky, and thus much more fitting as daemons for me. 🙂

  7. Christie Wilcox says:

    I would love mine to be something unique and interesting like a snow leopard… but, knowing me, mine’d be a mosquito or something.

  8. steffi suhr says:

    Oh, but a mosquito would be a very handy daemon to have, wouldn’t it? Almost invisible, you could listen in on all kinds of conversations.
    Would people with a relatively big daemon (like a snow leopard) have to buy two tickets if they fly or go on a train?

  9. Kristi Vogel says:

    The larger daemons would be kind of a pain. What if yours was a horse, or Eru forbid, an elephant or a saltwater crocodile?
    I seem to remember from the Pullman books that humans who had aquatic daemons, such as fish or dolphins, were obliged to live close to, or floating atop, water.

  10. steffi suhr says:

    Yup, there is a story of an old sailor who joined a ship’s crew at a young age, before his daemon ‘settled’ on a form, and it became a dolphin. It goes on to say that he was never quite happy.
    And yes, I keep thinking of the elephant example, too. (What ‘character traits’ does an elephant have?)

  11. Henry Gee says:

    A slug.

  12. Brian Clegg says:

    You are too modest, Henry – it couldn’t be any old slug, it would have to be one of those really colourful ones.

  13. Henry Gee says:

    No. Just an ordinary slug.

  14. steffi suhr says:

    I agree, Brian. How about a sea slug:
    !!
    Spanish Dancer on YouTube

  15. steffi suhr says:

    However… that would put Henry in the same situation as that old sailor in the Pullman book!

  16. Bob O'Hara says:

    I agree, steffi – that looks perfect for Henry’s. We can now deconstruct the ending of By the Sea as an expression of his desire to be with his daemon.
    OMG. I think The Beast may actually be my daemon. The laying around doing nothing, the whinging about food, the toys, and the running away when the toys fight back. It all fits.
    I just asked him if he’s my daemon, and he pretended to ignore me.

Comments are closed.