HBO has done a much better job of adapting Philip Pullman’s fantasy adventure series His Dark Materials than Hollywood did for 2007’s The Golden Compass, and we’ve been enjoying watching Lyra Belacqua work through the mystery of the missing children in an alternate world ruled by a restrictive theocracy. It’s hard not to be charmed by the concept of each human having their own familiar-like daemon as their animal companion, and the world-building is rich with witches, Gyptians, and armored bears.
As is usual for the show topics on Sci Fi Fidelity, we discuss the first two episodes of the series and share what we think of the established character and central conflict. At first, there were some reservations that His Dark Materials was more oriented towards children with its young protagonist and “chosen one prophecy” premise, but we quickly gained appreciation for the thematic depth and attention to detail with the various culutures in this parallel world.
We focus especially in the discussion on the nature of daemons and how they differ between factions within the show. We also note our appreciation for the contrast between the rigid structure of the religious ruling class and the caring but outcast nature of the Gyptians and their boat-dwelling society. Particular attention is paid to Lyra’s time with Mrs. Coulter, and we pat ourselves on the back for having predicted some of Lyra’s unexpected familial connections. Then we dive into the spoiler zone for some real talk about passages between worlds, the nature of Asriel’s investigation of Dust, and the fight that surely lies ahead for the Gyptians.
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Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter (@mikescifi). Dave Vitagliano has been writing and podcasting about science fiction television since 2012. You can read more of his work here.