Daemons, and more daemons
When I took my daughter to see The Golden Compass over the holidays, she had the same response to the film I did; as the last action scenes moved toward conclusion and the film once more panned out to reach the story's inevitable pause, she leaned over and whispered "It's almost over, isn't it?" Like me, she'd hoped that it would continue, but realized, given that we'd already been in our seats for over two hours, that it probably wouldn't.
The New York Times currently has a nice feature up, titled "Daemon Logic", which has Bill Westenhofer of Rhythms and Hues discussing the creation of the movie's daemons, a complex process that involved even (gadzooks!) observing real animals.
The movie website is uncommonly good, and has lots of interactive features, including one that lets you discover your own daemon. I was surprised that mine turned out to be Valthera, a lioness.
Check it out, and get your own.
Photo of Eva Green (The Dreamers, Kingdom of Heaven), who plays the witch Serafina Pekkala, with her daemon, from the movie website.