She regularly abuses and is cruel to the monkey, which says a lot about her mental state when you remember that a daemon is a person’s soul. As the head of the General Oblation Board, she’s responsible for the child-daemon-cutting experiments, and is a master manipulator who uses her sexual allure to discomfit and tempt the men of the Magisterium to allow her to carry out her will. She’s the lover of the evil Lord Boreal, who’s been crossing between worlds to pursue Will Parry for information about his missing father (see below).
From Oxford in our world (no to visible daemons, but yes to mobile phones and Walker’s Crisps), Will is an isolated teenager and the sole carer for his psychologically vulnerable mother. Years earlier, Will’s father Colonel John Parry disappeared on an Arctic expedition, and the villainous Lord Boreal suspects him of having passed through a window to Lyra’s world (daemons, air ships, witches). Seeking information about Will’s father, Boreal discovers the existence of a mystical knife, which he hopes to be led to by Will.