If you read Phillip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, then you will need no introduction to this series. If you have not, and you are a fan of the fantasy genre, then do yourself a favour, it is a great read. In his books, Pullman creates a rich world that touches on very complex social constructs which he explores through the eyes of 11-year-old Lyra Belacqua.
Something that I found interesting about Phillip Pullman was that he only started writing His Dark Materials in 1993, at the age of 47. Before starting work on the book, he was an educator at a middle school and later at Westminster College. This experience gave him a lot of time to consider the literature children are exposed to, be that JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis or JK Rowling, and from that saw that there are many Christian narratives running through these books. His Dark Materials grants young readers a new view on this age-old narrative. For more on this, read this article.
In 2007 the first book, The Golden Compass in North America and Northern Lights in the rest of the world, was made into a feature film. Unfortunately, the movie tanked in the US, and it was decided to not go ahead with the series. With it died all hope of the book-to-film future for Pullman’s trilogy. 12 years later, in swoops BBC One and HBO to save us from the dreadful, uncompleted world we used to inhibit with their brand-new rendition of the trilogy. Fortunately, this version is a huge improvement from the 2007 film.
Googling the series, the user’s reviews for IMDB sits at 8,3/10. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a solid 80% and according to Google, 94% of their users like the show.
In season two of the series the world(s) we inhabit with Lyra and her new friend, Will, become clear as the larger plot and driving force is revealed. Giving any more detail at this stage will give too much of the story away, but it must be stated, if you are deeply religious then this season will begin to feel slightly blasphemous. There is a strong religious undertone to the whole story and HBO have not shied away from this in the series.
It is also great to see how the actors are ageing into their roles and with that skill. Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson are two young actors who do a stellar job at bringing this world to life. With this growth, the series is also growing. As executive producer Jane Tranter said to radiotimes.com:
“In season one, we had a witch. In season two, we had witches, and we have angels. In season one, Lyra was going north in search of Roger and was intrigued by Dust. In season two, Lyra is going to other worlds to look for Dust and is grieving for Roger. So everything is just kind of building and expanding. There are many new characters and excitements.”
Season 2 launches on 17 November 2020 in South Africa, exclusively to Showmax.