His Dark Materials - HBO and BBC’s take on Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass

Marco Fucko

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Well now that Game of Thrones is ending (poorly), HBO needs another fantasy series to adapt long term and bring in that sweet middle class liberal subscription money. His Dark Materials is a fantasy series by Philip Pullman, with key features being peoples' "souls" manifesting as daemons, or magical creatures, and being absolutely euphoric with an anti-theistic theme. The series attempted adaptation during the Harry Potter craze with the first book The Golden Compass, if anyone remembers that.


HBO’s Game of Thrones is coming to an end this weekend, and once it’s over, the network will have to figure out what its next big hit will be. One possibility is its forthcoming adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. You can get a glimpse of that today: HBO just released the first real trailer for the upcoming fantasy series.

Pullman’s fantasy trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglassas well as his ongoing sequel trilogy, which started with The Book of Dust in 2017) is certainly epic in scale. Set in an alternate world where one’s soul manifests as a shape-shifting animal called a Daemon, it follows a young girl named Lyra Belacqua (played in the series by Logan star Dafne Keen) who travels to the Arctic to find her friend Roger. He (and other children in her version of Oxford) has been kidnapped by The Church, which is experimenting on them as it studies the nature of an elemental particle called Dust. That particle appears to be the stuff that imbues people with consciousness, and that’s something that the Church has deemed heresy. Lyra’s journey brings her on a considerable adventure across worlds and lands her in the midst of a massive war being waged across existence.

The new trailer builds on what we’ve seen of the show so far. The ambiance looks to be quite a bit more creepy than the 2007 feature film, and it shows off the Daemons and other sentient polar bears in Lyra’s world, which we didn’t really see in the teaser the BBC released earlier this year. As is to be expected, the trailer looks as though this first season of the series will largely adapt the first installment of Pullman’s trilogy, The Golden Compass.

The series originated with the BBC four years ago as an eight-part miniseries from the same company that produced Doctor Who. Last fall, the BBC announced that it had renewed the series for a second season and that it was bringing on HBO as a co-producer. That makes a bit of sense: HBO has a solid history of creating fantasy shows, and it’s looking to fill the void that Game of Thrones will leave behind after this weekend.

Unfortunately, the teaser doesn’t say when the series will debut, only that it’s “coming soon.”

 

Zero0

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Is that the back of Peter Dinklage in the first few seconds? It looks like a dwarf.

Think it's just a kid.

If HBO wants another fantasy show they have better options. This is also set in a modern setting apparently so it's not really filling the same spot that GOT is.
 

Irrelevant

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I read the first two books around the time they came out but missed the release of the third so didn't read it until I was about 20 and didn't finish it because I think I was too old by that point.

In the first two books the bad guys are "The Church" but that's just how the government works in their universe. It's world building and not anti-religious or even involved god.

But out of the gates the third book is about how god is real and is evil and displaced the original kind goddess who needs to be reinstated. It comes out of fucking nowhere and reads more like Pullman is mad at god about something or just being an edgyboi for publicity.
 
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MysticMisty

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But out of the gates the third book is about how god is evil and displaced the original kind goddess who needs to be reinstated.
That's not even close to what happens or what is stated at all.

This is going to introduce normies to Steampunk moreso than Dr.Who did if this series ever takes off.
Depicting Lyra's universe as steampunk would be a pretty weak way to portray it. They do have some modern technologies, like electricity, and nuclear tech. And that they use zeppelins and not generic airships indicates they're actual zeppelins powered by internal combustion engines and not steam.
 

neverendingmidi

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I read the first book, and it seemed like generic adventure fantasy with an interesting twist with the daemons. The second book started huffing it's own farts about halfway in and I never finished it. From what I understand the third was more like the second book, but even moreso.

I've known people who liked the first book, but I haven't heard of many that like the trilogy.
 

Irrelevant

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That's not even close to what happens or what is stated at all.
My memory of 10-15 years ago is pretty hazy but I'd say I was close:

The Authority was the first angel to condense out of Dust. He declared to the angels who formed after him that he was their creator and formed them out of dust, but this was a lie. The angel Xaphania discovered this secret and the Authority exiled her.

So it's angels instead of gods and the good angel was exiled not displaced (apparently The Authority was displaced Sith style by his own even worse regent so I probably mixed that up).
 
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Scarlett Johansson

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Kate Bush better contribute more music. Lyra was a good song.

I'm still not quite getting LMM's casting.
 

Syaoran Li

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Isn't His Dark Materials just "Harry Potter for euphoric atheists" written because the author didn't like the Christian allegories in the Narnia books?

Either way, I'll pass on this one.
 

Krokodil Overdose

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Per my social circle, His Dark Materials (at least by the end) is so :neckbeard: that the most common reaction is "I'm an atheist and even I'm offended."

Also, isn't there supposed to be a scene where two twelve-year-olds get it on? (Between this and It, I'm starting to have serious worries about what being a successful author does to people.)
 

Chin of Campbell

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Who's doing The (Woke) Witcher show? I can never tell any of these stupid channels/services apart from one another. I only remember Starz because they locked Evil Dead behind a shitty service and were shocked no one paid for it.

Speaking of mind-numbing fantasy adaptations, remember how there was a ton of talk about a Netflix Zelda show a while back? I remember all of the "Here's my cast list where everyone is a black tranny, except Ganondorf who is now suddenly white" posts.

I kind of miss when people just wrote new shit instead of adapting every damn thing, but I guess I should be used to it by now.
 

MysticMisty

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I'm still not quite getting LMM's casting.
Lee Scoresby is from (the country of) Texas and from San Antonio so it's not too weird.

Isn't His Dark Materials just "Harry Potter
No and I'm getting a bit sick and tired that every fantasy novel aimed at children/young adults is compared to Harry Potter. There's witches, but they're nothing like the ones from Harry Potter. Lyra's universe is supernatural, but it's not a secret and it doesn't involve dragons and unicorns. The only things it really has in common with Harry Potter is the main audience, the fantasy genre, and both authors are from England.

Also, isn't there supposed to be a scene where two twelve-year-olds get it on?
If they do absolutely nothing is shown nor is it mentioned. It's about realizing they're in love, not some sort of weird "growing up" orgy like in It.