Mrs. Coulter, Lyra’s mother, is an almost purely evil character. Despite her charming and persuasive demeanor, Mrs. Coulter is the greediest, most power-hungry character in the trilogy. Her daemon, a vicious little golden monkey, reflects its owner’s personality. Just as the monkey enjoys torturing and killing bats in the cave in which Mrs. Coulter keeps Lyra, Mrs. Coulter enjoys toying with people before she kills them. She shows no remorse after tearing people to pieces or torturing them to death. For much of the trilogy, Mrs. Coulter is associated with the Church, where she heads up the General Oblation Board, the organization that kidnaps children in order to perform dastardly experiments on them.
Despite her cruelty, Mrs. Coulter has a soft spot for Lyra. She rescues Lyra from Intercision at Bolvanger, she looks after Lyra in the cave in the Himalayas, and she fights desperately with Father MacPhail to make sure that his bomb doesn’t kill Lyra. In the end, she gives her own life to drag Metatron into the abyss so that Lyra can accomplish her goal. Mrs. Coulter’s transformation is inspired by Lyra, who evokes extraordinary love from most people she encounters.
Mrs. Coulter’s relationship with Lord Asriel, Lyra’s father, adds another dimension to her character. The struggle between Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel drives much of the trilogy’s narrative. Though Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel battle for control of their daughter, Lyra’s existence suggests that a powerful attraction once existed between them.