So she had passed her childhood, like a half-wild cat.

In The Golden Compass, Pullman describes Lyra’s childhood as a time of wild joy. Because Lyra has no parent figures in her life, she is allowed to roam the streets of Oxford and seek out adventure. She has very little education, no manners, and no sense of propriety. Until she hears Lord Asriel’s speech about Dust while she and Pan are hiding in the wardrobe, Lyra has no inkling that any world outside her own childhood paradise exists. Like Eve, Lyra lives in a state of savage innocence. It is Lyra’s passage from a state of ignorance to a state of knowing that drives the trilogy. Just as Adam and Eve must leave their garden paradise, Lyra must leave her childhood paradise and enter the real world, where terrible and frightening things happen all the time. Lyra’s friends die, people lie and cheat, and, worst of all, Lyra is parted from Will, the person she loves most. Despite these difficulties, Pullman suggests, adulthood is better than happy but ignorant innocence.