Tall and lean, Scoresby is not a young man - at one point he refers to a ring he has not seen for nigh-on fifty years. He sports a thin black moustache and narrow blue eyes, with "a perpetual expression of distant and sardonic amusement." Scoresby is inspired by the actor Lee Van Cleef (known for his villain roles in Westerns) and Arctic explorer William Scoresby.
Lee Scoresby is a New Dane and was born in the country of Texas in Lyra’s World, somewhere near the ruins of the Alamo, for he played often there in his youth, reliving the famous battle. He was attracted to the North by the prospect of finding gold. He didn't find any, but he won a balloon in a card game. He was briefly the lover of a witch from the Karelia region, but she was killed in battle. Lee is an aeronaut - or balloonist - and is hired by the Gyptians at Trollesund to take them to Bolvangar. He fought side by side with Iorek Byrnison the armored bear, and is most skilled with his Winchester rifle. He develops a deep affection for Lyra and grows to feel her the daughter he never had.
Towards the end of The Golden Compass, Lee is separated from Lyra and the others when the balloon they are travelling in is attacked. In The Subtle Knife he searches for the shaman, Stanislaus Grumman, whom he finds and helps travel to the world of Cittàgazze.
Lee's dæmon is a hare by the name of Hester. She usually sits with her long ears flat against her back. She is
|"gray-brown and inconspicuous, except for her eyes. Hester was no beauty; she was about as plain and scrawny as a hare could be; but her eyes were marvelously colored, gold-hazel flecked with rays of deepest peat brown and forest green."|
|The Subtle Knife|
Lee at last makes a stand against a company of Imperial soldiers to cover the retreat of Grumman. He holds them off in the spirit of the defenders of the Alamo (hence the title of that chapter, ‘Alamo Gulch’). He kills them all, but in the process is wounded mortally and dies.
However, Lee is seen again in the land of the dead when Will and Lyra travel there in The Amber Spyglass. Lee advises Will to quickly cut off the lock of Lyra's hair so that when the bomb explodes, it will not harm her. Lee then guides them (along with the harpies) through the world of the dead to the place where Will can cut through with the knife. He then joins in the fighting against the spectres in the Battle of the Plain. Once assured that Will and Lyra are safe, he and the other ghosts dissolve.
|"the last of Lee Scoresby, passed through the heavy clouds and came out under the brilliant stars, where the atoms of his beloved dæmon, Hester, were waiting for him."|
|The Amber Spyglass|