The narrative begins to take a dark turn as children disappear at the hands of mysterious kidnappers. Lyra looks to the colorful sunset as she reflects on her changing world. The metaphor of “tender little ice-cream clouds” provides a light-hearted, cheerful contrast to the dark reality that is unfolding around her. Yet Lyra’s relief is temporary. Just as clouds fade and ice cream melts, so too must childhood innocence slip away.