Daemon AU

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: Dæmon AU, His Dark Materials Fusion, Daemons AU
Related: Alternate Universe
See Also:
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Daemon AU is a type of Alternate Universe fanwork that incorporates daemons, the fictional creature that appears in His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. Not to be confused with demon AU, an unrelated horror trope. Daemon AU works may also be a fusion with His Dark Materials, incorporating the events of the series into the world of the fic, or they may use the daemons and nothing else from HDM's world building.

In the book series, daemons are the external physical manifestation of a person's 'inner-self' that takes the form of an animal. Daemons have human intelligence, are capable of human speech—regardless of the form they take—and usually behave as though they are independent of their humans, although they cannot travel far away from their humans. Daemons frequently interact with each in other in ways that mirror the behavior of their humans, such as fighting one another when their humans are fighting, or nuzzling one another when their humans embrace, and such contact between daemons is unremarkable; in contrast, humans touching other people's daemons is taboo. When one's daemon dies, so does the human and vice versa.

In the books, the spelling used is always "dæmon." However, "daemon" is used more frequently in fandom because it is typed more easily.

Similar to the debate over how to sort characters in Hogwarts AUs, different fic writers can have different ideas about what animal their character would have as a daemon. The daemon represents an important piece of characterization in daemon AUs.

Meanwhile, ship fic often expands upon the implied suggestion in the books that contact with another person's daemon contact feels sexual, or at least extremely intimate.

Example Fanworks

Explanations from Fans

Some notes for those who haven't read the books:

1. A daemon is your external soul, living outside your body in the form of an animal. It is an independant character from you, with a name, voice and opinions of its own, but is ultimately part of you. It is always the opposite gender to you. 2. Children's daemons can change shape according to the child's mood or the impulse of the daemon. At some point during early puberty, the daemon 'settles' into one shape and stays that way for life. The shape it takes is the one that best reprisents the essence of the person they belong to.

3. While different daemons can touch each other, you should never, EVER touch another person's daemon without express permission from the person whose daemon it is (and that is likely only ever to be given under the most extreme or intimate of circumstances).

4. Daemons have a sort of telepathic link with their humans - you can interact with your daemon without anyone else being able to hear either of you. A daemon can also transmit things to you, and, depending on how directly you are linked to your daemon, you may find yourself trying to talk to someone but being distracted because your daemon has wondered off round a corner and you are seeing and hearing what he/she is hearing and seeing at the same time as what you are.

5. Daemons will often talk to other daemons but rarely will they talk to other humans. When they do so it is often at times of great stress or need (such as the human suddenly being rendered unable to talk for themselves).

6. Daemons have a link to their human counterpart which stops them being able to move too far away without both parties suffering extreme physical pain, and possibly severing the link. Thus, it is extremely unusual to see a human without a daemon, or a daemon without a human, and seeing either would be the equivilant to seeing a ghost, or a person without a head - frightening and disturbing.

7. The greatest fear you will ever have is that of someone taking your daemon away from you.

8. Witches' daemons, however, CAN move any distance away from them - can, in fact, go many miles away from them without any ill effect, and are often seen without each other. This is one of many reasons why many 'decent' people find witches to be unsavoury and unsettling characters.

9. Physical sensations can be passed between you and your daemon. If you daemon is in pain, you will feel it (and vice versa). If you fall asleep, your daemon will likely also fall asleep. If you are ill, your daemon will likely also be affected. If something - say, another daemon - touches your daemon, you will also feel something, even if it is not a directly similar physical sensation. (The daemons of two adults caressing each other, for instance, would widely be seen as an intimate - if not necissarily sexual - act that would like affect both of the humans involved).

10. Your daemon can act independantly from you - can actually do the exact opposite of what you want them to, and it is perfectly possible to get into fairly severe arguments with them, because they reprisent the contrasting and complete part of your character.[1]

Links & Resources

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

fan-made primers


  1. Title: Another World (archived) Author's Notes, by gnimaerd. Nov 13th, 2008.