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His Dark Materials TV Series |OT| UK - BBC One, Sundays; RoW - HBO, Mondays [See spoiler guide in OP]

CeeCee

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,073
SPOILER WARNING: The first episode (and presumably the rest of the series) will air at 20:00 GMT on Sunday 3rd November in the UK, and in the rest of the world on 4th November. Non-UK viewers, please be aware that there will be spoilers in this thread from that time on a Sunday.

In addition, ANY BOOK SPOILERS must be posted in clearly labelled spoiler tags e.g. if you want to discuss something that happens to Lyra in The Subtle Knife:

[Insert spoilers here]
With that out the way, on to the fun part!



What is His Dark Materials?

The Books

His Dark Materials is a trilogy written by Philip Pullman, published in the late 1990s. The books are often categorised as Young Adult novels, although Pullman says that they were written with no particular target audience in mind. The name comes from Paradise Lost by John Milton (the works of Milton and Blake are heavily referenced throughout the trilogy):

...Into this wild abyss,
The womb of nature and perhaps her grave,
Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the almighty maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more worlds...


His Dark Materials is perhaps best known for its challenging presentation of issues related to philosophy, theology, and religion. I can't go into much more detail without spoilers, but in particular the books are sharply critical of religious dogma and authoritarian tendencies within organised religion.

Wasn't there a rubbish movie based on these books?
There was indeed! Back in 2007, a film adaption of the first book in the trilogy was released, under the title "The Golden Compass" (incidentally, this was the title of the first book in the US; to the rest of us, it is known as The Northern Lights). It was largely negatively received by fans of the books, in large part due to the watering down of the aforementioned religious themes.

The World of His Dark Materials
The first series of His Dark Materials will cover the contents of The Northern Lights. This book is set in a world which possesses many similarities to our own, but several key differences. In many respects, it is broadly technologically analogous to our world in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. However, the world is dominated by a theocracy known as the Magisterium (which in many ways is like a more powerful and controlling version of the Catholic Church). The other key difference is the existence of daemons.

Dæmons
Dæmons (pronounced in the same way as "demons") in the world of The Northern Lights are manifestations of a part of humans' souls which naturally exist outside of their bodies in the form of animals. Dæmons can speak, both to their person and to other humans/dæmons, and their personalities share the same range of types as humans. Children's dæmons can freely and instantaneously change their appearance into that of any real or mythical creature; once people reach puberty, however, their dæmons settle into one permanent form. This form in essence represents a person's true nature; a professional soldier might have a wolf-dæmons, whilst an explorer might have some form of travelling bird. Humans and their dæmons remain very close to each other; if they attempt to seperate by more than a small distance, both experience tremendous pain.

Witches
In this world, witches exist! And beyond traditional witchy activities such as magic and the ability to fly, there are two primary differences between witches and regular people. Firstly, witches live much longer lifespans (up to a millennium in some cases), meaning that they are generally somewhat estranged and distant from shorter-lived humans. The other big difference relates to their dæmons; witch-dæmons can separate from their humans over great distances (often hundreds of miles).

Panserbjørne
The other major difference which should be mentioned (because they're cool as hell as much as anything else) are the panserbjørne, or armoured bears. These bears are very similar to larger versions of polar bears, but with opposable thumbs and a much greater level of intelligence. They mostly live in the North, around Svalbard. Their name derives from the fact that they are exceptional metalsmiths and go into battle wearing armour they have forged themselves.

Details of the TV series



Schedule
The first episode will air on BBC One in the UK at 20:00 GMT, Sunday 3rd November. Globally, it will premier on HBO on Monday 4th November. The series will run for 8 episodes and has already been renewed for a second season (which will broadly adapt the second book in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife).

Characters/cast

Lyra Belacqua - Dafne Keen
Lord Asriel - James McAvoy
Marisa Coulter - Ruth Wilson
Lee Scoresby - Lin-Manuel Miranda
The Master - Clarke Peters
John Faa - Lucian Msamati
Farder Coram - James Cosmo
Roger Parslow - Lewin Lloyd
Ma Costa - Anne-Marie Duff
Serafina Pekkala - Ruta Gedmintas
Lord Boreal - Ariyon Bakare

Voice Actors

Iorek Byrnison - Joen Tandberg
Pantalaimon (Lyra's daemon) - Kit Connor
Stelmaria (Lord Asriel's daemon) - Helen McCrory
Hester (Lee Scoresby's daemon) - Cristela Alonzo
The Golden Monkey (Marisa Coulter's daemon) - Brian Fisher
 
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CeeCee

CeeCee

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,073
Will add more detail to OP over the next couple of days, any suggestions appreciated!
 

Riversands

Banned
Nov 21, 2017
4,276
To anybody who watch this, is it confirmed it takes place after la belle sauvage? If yes, does the show also show that polstead kid?
 

teague

Member
Dec 17, 2018
885
To anybody who watch this, is it confirmed it takes place after la belle sauvage? If yes, does the show also show that polstead kid?

Yes, they confirmed that they'll show a teeny bit of La Belle Sauvage
(Lyra being taken into Jordan)
at the opening of the first episode.
 
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CeeCee

CeeCee

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,073
To anybody who watch this, is it confirmed it takes place after la belle sauvage? If yes, does the show also show that polstead kid?
Yes, about 10 years after La Belle Sauvage.

Second one in spoilers:

In the books he appears very briefly as a minor character.
 

ErichWK

Member
Oct 25, 2017
953
I've gotten a few people to become monster fans of the books. My favorite fantasy series of all time and I'm soooooo stoked for this to start
 

Mr. Sam

Member
Oct 26, 2017
613
I'm looking forward to this to the point of giddiness but I can't pretend I'm not most excited to see how faithful they are to The Amber Spyglass when they eventually get to it.
 

Kalor

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,607
I didn't realize this was starting on Sunday. Been looking forward to it.
 

Dandy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,382
Can't wait to watch this! I've only read the first book, but I really enjoyed it.
 

Octodad

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,627
Jumped into the trilogy for preparation for this. Finished it last week. About to start La Belle Sauvage.
 

AzorAhai

Member
Oct 29, 2017
948
My favourite fantasy series (tied with A Song of Ice and Fire, depending on how this one ends). Lyra's story will resonate with me forever.

Don't fuck this up. Fingers crossed.
 

AndyB1974

Member
Oct 25, 2017
83
Finished La Belle Sauvage last week and currently around 150 pages into The Secret Commonwealth, so I'm incredibly hyped for this. Reviews so far have been very positive and the BBC seem to be doing a decent job of promoting this with the broadcast teasers being shown a lot, huge HDM posters hanging from the ceiling at Thurrock Lakeside shopping centre when I was there yesterday too.
 

Tochtli79

Member
Jun 27, 2019
623
Mexico City
Really looking forward to this, sadly I don't have HBO so I'll have to see if I can watch with someone who does. Looks really promising. The books are so good.
 

Keym

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
5,531
Fantastic OP! Maybe you could add something about witches since they become important later on?
 

mute

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,666
Hopefully this show goes all the way to the batshit parts of the books.
 
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Bamm_Bamm

Member
Oct 27, 2017
472
I've been meaning to read these books for the last ten years. Oh well TV will do the heavy lifting for me... AGAIN!
 
Oct 27, 2017
122
Oh god I have to relive Rogers inevitable death and eventual super death all over again 😭
 

denx

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,731
In for this.Aside from GoT, HBO has been delivering the goods this year.
 

TechnicPuppet

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,470
I've set a series link for it cause I'll be watching Red Zone tonight. Looks good. Not sure if let it finish before binging.
 

Leeness

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,704
Oh god I have to relive Rogers inevitable death and eventual super death all over again 😭
:( That one, and...

If Lyra and Will have good teenage puppy dog love chemistry, the ending will be devastating. The book always makes me cry.
 

cpotey

Member
May 27, 2019
6
Absolutely buzzing for this - really hope it does the books justice.

I do wonder how it will go down with the general audience. Hopefully reception is positive and they'll be able to produce the full trilogy. The Amber Spyglass could be wild! (...and probably quite expensive!)
 
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CeeCee

CeeCee

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,073
If it’s as good as the reviews say, I don’t think I’ll be able to post during the episodes. Will be too busy crying with joy!
 

Geist

Community Resettler
Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,108
Damn, I forgot I was going to read the books before this. Oh well, too hyped to wait, this show looks so good.
 
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CeeCee

CeeCee

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,073
Also, warning for non-UK members: the show airs in the UK in 10 minutes.
 

Stuart444

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,955
Lucky I saw the OT or I'd have missed this. Just set up a series link recording for it :D
 

TheXbox

Member
Oct 29, 2017
2,530
Hoping to read the books soon. My dad told me not to read them when I was a kid because the Catholic radio station claimed it was devil shit (same with Harry Potter, but pop eventually caved in on that one).
 

Faddy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,943
Does Lord Asriel really depend on a funding grant to try and save the world?
 

Cronen

Member
Oct 27, 2017
713
I really enjoyed that. Will continue to watch.

I haven’t read the books. They came out when I was a kid, and it’s a series that I never got around to. If anything, I’m more than likely to read them now.
 

Kalor

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,607
That was a good first episode. Looking forward to next week.I had forgotten that they had a pretty stacked cast for this as well.