The second season of His Dark Materials is back and already counts three episodes on air, managing to convince us that the main coordinator of the screenplay of the series, Jack Thorne, has studied in depth the work of Philip Pullman.
After a successful first season that introduced us to the world of Philip Pullman, in the book trilogy on which the series is based, Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen) and Will Parry (Amir Wilson) return for the second season of the series, exactly from the point we saw in the finale of the first season. Lyra follows her father, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy), to the “protal” he opened by sacrificing his daughter’s friend, Roger, while Will, following a cat, finds a rift in his own world, into which he enters. The journey of the two of them between the worlds begins and their meeting seems almost inevitable.
A series full of symbolism: The nature of Dust
Starring two teenagers, the series does not aim at another teenage drama, but goes even further in a journey between parallel worlds in search of the truth of existence itself. Let us not forget that Pullman’s work, in addition to being a well-written fantasy story, is at the same time a creative critique of the Catholic faith. The books, like the series, are full of symbolism, with the main and most basic being the relationship of man with his demon. A world where people are inextricably linked for the rest of their lives to an animal with which they can converse is not only a fascinating creation of the common child imagination, but, at the same time, an externalization of human consciousness. The internal dialogue is externalized and our ubiquitous interlocutor, ourselves, takes the form of an animal that reflects our character and exists as long as we exist. Every time a character in the series dies, at the same time his demon disappears, or rather becomes dust.
Socrates often speaks of a demon, which describes him as both a god and a demon and presents him as a voice in his head that prevents him from taking any action. The “saying about the demon Socrates” is connected with the main accusation against him, that is, that he introduces “new demons” showing disrespect to the gods of the city.
For the Magisterium in the world of Lyra, the scientific investigation of the relationship that connects man with his demon is heretical because it leads to deeper questions that reach the truth of existence itself. The same, however, secretly studies this relationship, convinced that the Dust, which is responsible for the above relationship, is the natural proof of original sin. In the book of Genesis of its own world, as soon as Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit of knowledge, their demons lose their ability to change forms, and since then human demons are doomed to take on a final form as soon as the child innocence.
In Lyra’s universe Dust is a source of great anxiety to the Authority, that is the church. Dust, it believes, is the physical evidence of original sin. Dust comes to us when we grow up and become corrupted by the wickedness of the world, of knowledge. In their version of the Book of Genesis, the serpent is responsible for bringing Dust into the world by tempting Eve to taste the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. Dust is something to be hated and feared.
[…] This does not mean embracing evil instead of good: it means understanding that since the loss of innocence is inevitable, we should welcome it and embrace the next stage of our development instead of hiding our eyes from it. Knowing about good and evil is not the same as embracing eveil, though it might look like that to a church that likes to think it has all the answers.Philip Pullman, “What is Dust?”, https://www.philip-pullman.com/hdm?pageID=4
Dust exists in all the worlds of Philip Pullman’s world. Everything that developed above is exactly what we saw in the first season for the world of Lyra. Even if one has not read the books, the creators of the series managed to highlight the problematic of the first book of the trilogy. In the second season we see that Dust is found in the rest of the worlds and especially in the world of Will, who resembles our world. Thus, we know the Dust in our own world through the research of Dr. Mary Malone (Simone Kirby) on dark matter.
The second season gives perspective to the series
Going deeper into the second season, we must pay attention that the series focuses even more on the intentions of the Magisterium and its internal structure and shows us its own preparation for the great impending war, which has been talked about since the first season.
Little by little we get to know the Witches of the Lyra world, who are also preparing for this war. Lyra will be at the center of this conflict, due to a prophecy that wants her to bring the “end of destiny”. What this means will be left to the present in the evolution of the series. We are, after all, still at the beginning of the second season.
This strategic development of the two warring parties succeeds and gives the series a perspective that wins over non-readers of the books. The series, therefore, is not limited to a teenage drama, nor only to a careful television transfer for book fans, but is “set up” on television, in order to keep the interest of the television audience undiminished. Along with the two young protagonists and the two main conflicting parties, Magisterium and Witches, we will also be concerned with Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson), Lyra’s mother, who seems to have her own agenda in the controversy, Lee Scoresby (Lin-Manuel Miranda), a romantic aeronaut who seems to be embarking on an adventure with strangers results, Dr. Mary Malone, mentioned above, Carlo Boreal (Ariyon Bakare), an Executive Officer / Collector in Will’s world, who seems to care about what interests he serves, and we look forward to his appearance. a mysterious explorer, played by Andrew Scott.
The “television shuffling” of books was necessary (for readers)
As we pointed out from the beginning, the main coordinator of the screenplay of the series, Jack Thorne, has managed to approach the work of Pullman with great responsibility. Especially if one considers the waterfall of the cinematic metaphor of the first book (see more 4+1 successful fiction book series whose cinematic adaptation fell through the cracks), we should be grateful to Mr Thorne for the result he has given us. Indeed, adaptation is not entirely faithful, especially considering Will’s very early introduction from the first season, when he appears in the books only in the second book, “The Subtle Knife.”
Will’s introductory chapters in the second book, however, are not televised at all, so it was inevitable that a belly would appear in the plot until Will’s meeting with Lyra. His course until the beginning of his inter-secular journeys is overlooked by this choice, but not to the point that his character in the series is affected. This parallel course of Will and Lyra in the first season developed smoothly and their meeting in the second season and the development of their subsequent relationship comes naturally, without emerging, so far, gaps. For those who want to focus on the differences between books and series (for the first season at the moment) we refer you here: His Dark Materials Didn’t Have The Satisfying Ending We Expected.
Officially nothing has been announced, but it is almost certain that the series will be renewed for a third season, with the original plans wanting the third book of the trilogy, “The Amber Telescope”, to be divided into two seasons. Unfortunately, this plan was abandoned and the series will end with an eight-episode season, which, fortunately, will begin shooting in the spring (Source: Deadline).