- Bolvangar is also the title of Part II of The Golden Compass
Bolvangar is a outpost in the far north where children are severed from their dæmons in cruel experiments operated by the Church's General Oblation Board. The name "Bolvangar" means the Fields of Evil.
The Experimental Station is the the compound situated at Bolvangar. Lyra was captured from the Gyptians by Tartars and sold to the nurses working at the station. The Experimental Station was built by the General Oblation Board as a centre to house its research into Dust. The compound was built so far to the north and with such expense in order for the Board to conceal their horrific work. When the abducted children arrive at the station they and their dæmon are examined and their weight and hight are recorded. In addition, the children's and dæmon's pictures are taken with a special camera that seems to measure Dust, the focus of their research. The children repeat these exams routinely until they undergo the final experiment: intercision.
Lyra is almost severed from Pantalaimon at Bolvangar, but was rescued at the last second by Mrs. Coulter who had arrived in the chamber to find Lyra and her dæmon situated on either sides of the Silver Guillotine. Mrs. Coulter orders the intercision to be stopped, and takes Lyra with her to her quarters, from which Lyra escapes. Then, after setting off the fire alarm to get the children out of the compound, a battle with a regiment of Tartar soldiers all with wolf dæmons, Lyra and the rest of the children are rescued by the Gyptians. Lyra, Iorek Byrnison, Roger Parslow, and Lee Scoresby are then taken to Svalbard by the witches.
As described in The Golden Compass, as Lyra approaches:
"As she got her bearings, they passed through an open metal gate at the end of the avenue of lights and into a wide open space like an empty marketplace or an arena for some game or sport. It was perfectly flat and smooth and white, and about a hundred yards across. Around the edge ran a high metal fence. At the far end of this arena the sledge halted. They were outside a low building, or a range of low buildings, over which the snow lay deeply. It was hard to tell, but she had the impression that tunnels connected one part of the buildings with another, tunnels humped under the snow. At one side a stout metal mast had a familiar look, though she couldn't say what it reminded her of. Before she could take much more in, the man in the sledge cut through the cord around her ankles and hauled her out roughly while the driver shouted at the dogs to make them still. A door opened in the building a few yards away, and an anbaric light came on overhead, swiveling to find them, like a searchlight."
Many people are employed at the Experimental Station in various positions.
- Mrs. Coulter
- Dr. Cooper
- McKay is a research student in charge of the dæmon cages
- Sister Clara - nurse with severed dæmon
- Sister Betty - nurse with severed dæmon
- Other Sisters...
Children at Bolvangar
"She was crouching in a narrow metal channel supported in a framework of girders and struts. The panels of the ceilings were slightly translucent, so some light came up from below, and in the faint gleam Lyra could see this narrow space (only two feet or so in height) extending in all directions around her. It was crowded with metal ducts and pipes and it would be easy in get lost in, but provided she kept to the metal and avoided putting any weight on the panels, and as long as she made no noise, she should be able to go from one end of the station to the other."
The dining area for the children at Bolvangar. "She followed Sister Clara to the canteen, where a dozen round white tables were covered in crumbs and the sticky rings where drinks had been carelessly put down. Dirty plates and cutlery were stacked on a steel trolley. There were no windows, so to give an illusion of light and space one wall was covered in a huge photogram showing a tropical beach, with bright blue sky and white sand and coconut palms."
Lyra starts a fire in the kitchen of the Experimental Station as a distraction after she runs away from Mrs. Coulter. She begins by lighting all the burners on the gas stove, then opens all of the gas taps in the room and finally, she proceeds to burst a bag of flour on the edge of a table, releasing a fine particulate into the air. On her way out, Lyra pulls the fire alarm to get all the children out of the building. All these conditions together create a very hazardous situation, as not only does gas explode, but fine particles, such as flour, will readily ignite when suspended in the air. Lyra succeeds in making her explosion and she even manages to collapse a section of the building, which she later escapes through and onto the roof.
"A big shabby room with board games and a few tattered books and a table-tennis table," the lounge is a room where children can relax and play.