Four years ago,I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Material Series. And yet, I never forgot it. Why? Because it was so imaginative, so inventive and so interesting. In November 2019, a new drama was aired on the BBC - His Dark Materials. And as a Philip Pullman fan, I decided to watch this. And I was not disappointed. 

The main character, Lyra (performed by Dafne Keen), is an adventurous 13 year old. I like the way she is portrayed - as very fun and ambitious. She always wants to go to North with her father and is always interested in his research. For example, ‘Dust’  fascinates her. She wants to find out more and is willing to put herself in danger to do so.

Throughout Philip Pullman’s books, he writes of each human being having a ‘daemon’ - an external manifestation of part of the soul of the human in the form of an animal. This key point in the novel, is so masterfully shown in the screens. In particular, through Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon. The daemon is a companion. And it’s painful to be separated from the daemon. 

Later on, when Lyra is about to be separated from her daemon and then, when Roger is, we see the agony and pain in their eyes. We see the fear just as it is about to happen. Although, Lyra is saved. Others are not, and it’s sad to see what happens after. Some die. And the others? Barely able to talk. It shows the cruel world Philip Pullman has created. And we see just how important a daemon is. 

The theme of lies and truth is key throughout the entire drama. We see how Lyra has difficulty trusting anyone because no one is truthful. She goes from having no parents to having both. Both with lies. Who should she trust? The ‘alethiometer’ is the one thing she can trust. 

And also, the theme of friendship. Interestingly, at the end, before Roger is separated, his last words to Asriel, are that Lyra will never forgive him. And when Roger is first taken, he has so much faith that Lyra will be looking at him. Similarly, Lyra constantly cares about Roger. Her motivation for going with Mrs Coulter, is that it’s her best chance of finding Roger. Although, ultimately, Mrs Coulter knows where Roger is and is the one happy to cause him pain. 

Throughout the series, Asriel and Mrs Coulter have never shown love for eachother. There has always been a rivalry. But yet, upon  seeing each other, they kiss at the end. This is very unexpected and shocking and just adds to the unpredictability of the drama. 

Also, Lyra’s relationship with her parents is interesting. Despite the fact, Asriel never cared about her and seldom saw her, she always loved him. She loved him when he was her uncle. And then, she loved him when she was her father. But yet, with Mrs Coulter, Lyra never trusted her. She wanted to bring Asriel the alethiometer but yet wouldn’t trust Mrs Coulter with it. However, both don’t mind killing children by cutting their daemons off for their research. Mrs Coulter just did it more as experimentation. And at the end, it is Mrs Coulter who doesn’t want to continue research with Asriel because she wants to be with Lyra. She cares about her child. Whereas, Lord Asriel doesn’t. So, it comes out that maybe Mrs Coulter is the better parent. 

Overall, the series proved to be incredible. The world Philip Pullman created was shown so well. And personally, I cannot wait for the next season to come out. Because, this drama is so gripping and the characters shown are amazing.

By Gulcin Erten, Newstead Wood School