Lyra’s world is like ours in many physical ways, and not. Its history is different than ours, but how about time?
To answer this, go to Once Upon a Time in the North, a novella about how Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnison met.
It is past 1911 (p. 54) when the two meet. I believe at one point in Once Upon a Time in the North, 1918 is mentioned.
Thirty-five years lapse between when Scoresby is given the rifle he uses in the final shoot-out in Cittàgazze. (In The Subtle Knife, he’ll tell Grumman he has not seen his mother’s Navajo ring in decades.)
Now look at the two found scraps that follow the story. We learn that:
- Lyra continues at Oxford and has completed her thesis on Developments of Patterns of Trade int the European Arctic Region with Particular Reference to Independent Cargo Balloon Carriage 1950-1970).
- One of her professors is Dr. Polstead (hero of La Belle Sauvage, I bet).
- Her M Phil is in Economic History.
So do the math. Lyra was about 14, I’d guess, in His Dark Materials. Scoresby was probably around 55 at least when he died. So say 20 years has elapsed since Lyra was born and Scoresby died. It is past 1970 when Lyra completes her M Litt. So, very roughly:
- Scoresby was born around 1900; dies in the mid-1950s.
- Lyra was born in 1940; completes her degree post 1970, age 30.
- So how did Lyra spend her teen years or 20s? Will The Secret Commonwealth cover this?
- Or does time move differently in different worlds of the multiverse?
I’ll have more on Iorek and Lee later, when the subject of armored bears is raised at Jordan College.