His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials

"They invented a device that could split open the very smallest particles of matter, and they used it to steal candy."
John Parry describes the Guild's creation, the subtle knife[src]

The Guild of the Torre degli Angeli was an organisation of researchers and philosophers that had its headquarters in the Torre degli Angeli in Cittàgazze. The guild was responsible for the creation and protection of Æsahættr, the subtle knife. The people of Cittàgazze, who believed the guild found a way to enter other worlds using a key, a spell or alchemy, blamed the Guild for ruining their world by letting in the Spectres. The last bearer of the subtle knife before Will Parry, Giacomo Paradisi, confirmed the people's accusations. He admitted that the Spectres were let in when the Guild split the "bonds that held the smallest particles of matter together," but wasn't sure where the Spectres come from.[1]

Paradisi implied that at the time of the knife's creation the Guild conducted itself with dignity, devising strict rules for the use of the knife. Stanislaus Grumman said that when the Guild made the subtle knife, they "created a tool for their own undoing" and Cittàgazze ceased to produce anything. Instead, "that Guild of thieves", as Joachim Lorenz called them, simply took what they wanted out of the other worlds the knife allowed them to visit.

What the Guild never realised, according to Grumman, was that the knife could have been used to challenge the Authority.[2]



  1. The Subtle Knife, Chapter 8
  2. The Subtle Knife, appendix
World of Cittàgazze
Countries BeninBrasilCoreaEireland
Locations BergamoCittàgazzeCittàgazze caveSant'EliaUnidentified village
Buildings Belvedere towerCittàgazze caféTorre degli AngeliWhite villa
Natives AngelicaGiacomo ParadisiJoachim LorenzPaoloStriped T-shirt boyTullio
Important Guild of the Torre degli AngeliSpectresSubtle knife