A city in another universe first described as the 'city in the sky' at the end of Northern Lights. It is also the location in The Subtle Knife where Lyra and Will meet and discover the knife itself in the Torre degli Angeli. It appears in The Amber Spyglass in the beginning with the scene of the battle aftermath that Will comes to terms with. Mary Malone also walks through it to gain access to the world of the Mulefa.

The city is plagued by spectres, creatures that feed on Dust, and have fed on most of the adults in the city, leaving only orphaned-children who are impervious until puberty. When Lord Asriel opened the large window between Lyra's world and Cittàgazze the spectre population swelled and took over most of the world.

In looks it is clearly based on a Meditteranean town, most likely Italian, based on the use of Italian phrasing in the Torre degli Angeli, which means 'Tower of Angels' in Italian and the architectural similarities.

Creative Commons AttributionPortovenere - Credit: Nick's Pics

This is the Italian town of Portovenere, how I imagined the city of Cittàgazze and a nice illustration of an Italian seaside town.

Our World

Otherwise Will & Mary Malone's world, this is assumed to be the same or extremely similar to our own. This is suggested through the shared similarities in language, technology and place that are lacked with any other universe.

Characters originating from this world include Will, Mary Malone & John Parry.

Lyra's World

A world similar and yet strikingly different to our own, most notably because their souls are bared in the outward physical form of a daemon. It shares many of the same place names and geography, such as Oxford or the Himalayas. However, places such as Svalbard and Bolvanger exist on our world but are referred to differently.

The language has also evolved slightly differently so that those who hail from Russia are not Russians, but Muscovites from Muscovy. Wine is also referred to as tokay and electric lights are in fact anbaric lights. This world also includes many different species of intelligent creatures such as cliff ghasts, witches and panserbjørne.

Characters originating from this world include Lyra, Lord Asriel, Mrs Coulter, Iorek Byrnison, Lee Scoresby, Roger & Serrafina Pekkula.

Land of the Dead

Modelled as an 'inbetween world', the land of the dead spans from the ethereal past world fading from memory to the guarded gates of a semi-underworld. Those who die are lead by an invisible force towards a misty expanse of water, at the foot of which lies a 'suburb' of the dead. This suburb houses a port of transit building, where the dead take boats across to the land of the dead, and a holding area, where those that are living are assigned to wait until they die.

To cross the waters there is an old jetty with an ancient row boat with an aged ambiguous boatman. The journey takes them to an island on which lies the gates to the land of the dead. The gates are guared by harpies, who keep order in the underworld through manipulating fear and feeding on the worst in everyone, a power given to them by the Authority.

The world appears to be modelled on Greek mythology, though in fact it is closer to Dante's description of the underworld; the passing to the underworld by crossing the River Acheron, ferried by Charon along with the inclusion of harpies.


Public Domainharpies - Credit: Karl Hann
Public DomainCharon


World of the Mulefa

Inhabited by the Mulefa & Tualapi this world has taken a very different evolutionary route to most others where the Mulefa have developed a diamond-framed skeleton and the Tualapi have wings above and beneath them that resemble sails of a ship. The Mulefa use seed pods from trees as a means of transport and seem highly developed spiritually in that they can see Dust naturally without the need for instruments.

This is where Mary Mallone finds herself for most of the novel; she spent her time learning about its inhabitants, their evolution and the effects of Dust on everything around her. This is also the world that Will & Lyra escape to after the battle before meeting with Mary and returning to their separate worlds. The window from the land of the dead opens to here and is the only remaining window between worlds.

Republic of Heaven

This is the location of Lord Asriel's fortress and where the final battle takes place. Not to be confused with the Kingdom of Heaven which is represented in the Clouded Mountain.