Mrs. Coulter is keeping Lyra in a cave in the Himalayas of Lyra’s own world. She feeds Lyra a sleeping potion to keep her unconscious. A little servant girl named Ama decides to figure out a way to wake Lyra up. She gets a special powder from a local magician and brings it to the cave. Ama realizes that Mrs. Coulter is an evil woman. Lyra dreams she is speaking to Roger.
Back in the world of Ci’gazze, Will and two angels, Balthamos and Baruch, argue over what to do. Balthamos and Baruch, who are lovers, come from a low order of angels. They insist that Will come with them, but Will says he has to find Lyra. Baruch flies ahead to look for her, and Will and Balthamos make their way down the mountain. Will and Balthamos enter Lyra’s world and Balthamos agrees to pretend to be Will’s daemon so that Will won’t stand out. Baruch returns, having discovered where Mrs. Coulter is holding Lyra.
Suddenly, Metatron, the Lord Regent of God’s angels, attacks Will and the two angels, but they are able to escape. Balthamos tells Will that angels are made out of Dust. He also tells Will that God was not the creator of the universe, but was rather one of the first angels. When he gained power, he started telling the other angels that he had created everything. Another angel eventually found out the truth, so God banished her and all the angels that followed her. God is old now and Metatron rules in his place.
Baruch decides to go to Lord Asriel and talk to him. Balthamos agrees to continue pretending to be Will’s daemon in Lyra’s world and to help Will find Lyra. In Lyra’s world, the climate is changing because of the rip in the sky that Lord Asriel made. Serafina finds Iorek Byrnison and tells him that Lee Scoresby is dead. Iorek finds Lee’s body and eats it. Then he returns to his own world to lead the bears south to the snowy Himalayas, as the bears’ own icy kingdom has been melting.
Baruch approaches Lord Asriel’s fortress, the Adamant Tower. Two of Metatron’s angels attack him, almost killing him. Baruch is brought before Lord Asriel. He tells Lord Asriel that God now lives in a crystal chamber inside his roaming castle (which is called the Chariot or the Clouded Mountain) and that Metatron is the one who actually rules. Metatron no longer trusts the Church and wants to intervene directly in the lives of human beings in every world. Metatron and Baruch were men once—and they were brothers. Metatron banished Baruch.
Before dying, Baruch tells Lord Asriel where Lyra is and where Will is heading. Lord Asriel summons several of his allies, including King Ogunwe, an African king, and some Gallivespians. The latter are tiny people with poisonous spurs on their heels who ride hawks and dragonflies.