His Dark Materials: Æsahættr   Books Included 
December 28, 2020 7:06 PM - Season 2, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Really enjoyed this season. Also really curious about Mary’s storyline for next season. That’s going to be some wild VFX.

We got a little bit of Asriel, but now I’m interested in what a whole episode would have been like. Maybe we’ll still find out.
posted by supercres at 12:32 AM on December 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

Or maybe they can contract with the Henson workshop and do practical effects. Didn’t Snuffleupagus rollerskate on Sesame Street at one point?
posted by supercres at 12:34 AM on December 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

Wait, that's it? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the individual episodes well enough, and we certainly have moved on from the end of the first season - we have both the subtle knife and the alethiometer, the magisterium and the witches are squaring up for a fight, Lyra and Will are learning to trust one another, but man a 7 episode season is _short_.
posted by Kyol at 7:53 AM on December 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

I was disappointed with the Lee Scoresby arc: he was in this season a lot, did some traveling, met Jopari... and died.

Jopari even more so: he traveled a bit, finally met up with Will, told him that he had a big responsibility ahead of him... and died.

I think that I was missing here is the stakes. Lee and Jopari rushed everything for that one meeting with the knife bearer / Will - and for what? It didn't feel like the few moments Jopari and Will had together justified those sacrifices.

Also if you're a witch looking after the most important girl in the multiverse, maybe don't go to sleep on the job?

Overall found this last episode quite frustrating. Loved the rest of the season though.
posted by simonw at 8:41 AM on December 29, 2020 [4 favorites]

Also, like, if you know you're going to die, and you've promised the dude who just sacrificed his life for you to do it, maybe you'll want to mention Will should look for Lyra? Jopari doesn't know they were already together.
posted by corb at 4:16 PM on December 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

I always felt like the Will-finds-his-dad part of the books was unsatisfying too. I think he got even less time.

Why didn't Hester cuddle with Lee at the end, that was a really touching scene in the book???

The whole thing with Asriel really bothered me because he is basically positioned as too brilliant and important and devoted to "justice" to be criticized for slaughtering a child to open the window between worlds. I mean, fuck that guy and his idea of justice if that's how he operates.

I have no idea how they're going to do Mary Malone's journey but I hope it's cool.
posted by emjaybee at 4:27 PM on December 29, 2020 [4 favorites]

How did Will's dad end up with his own daemon?
posted by heathrowga at 5:39 PM on December 29, 2020

How did Will's dad end up with his own daemon?

His daemon appeared when he found his way to Lyra's world. People in other worlds have daemons, they're just not... physically realized.

The show (and the books?) never really explain why people are following Asriel- why is this guy the guy? Blasting a hole between worlds via a spot of child murder is great and all, but still. Not necessarily the guy I'd put in charge! Him and Mrs Coulter are kind of a matched pair in that regard, with her power over specters. Why do angels sign on with him? Why is she the person who can overpower specters? The closest thing to an explanation offered is that they're sort of Übermenschs who are just stronger than anyone else.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:38 PM on December 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

How did Will's dad end up with his own daemon?

I can’t remember if it was said in the series, but at this point in the books, i think all we knew was that he ‘met’ her in another world, one that wasn’t his/Will’s.

(This is “books included” but it seems like not everyone in this thread is on the same page, as it were, so I don’t want to hint at what’s coming next season.)
posted by supercres at 8:15 PM on December 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh, I haven't read the books, but I recognize that this is such a low-traffic series that having split books included / show only threads would be a surefire way to throttle engagement. And I'm moderately spoilerproof for existing properties. I mean, someone spoiling Tenet or WW84 on release weekend? Grr. Someone spoiling future events in a 25 year old YA series? If I was really invested, I'd be reading the books, wouldn't I?

But that's me, and I know that's not everybody.
posted by Kyol at 8:34 PM on December 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

Per the books, when Will's dad went to Lyra's world, his demon appeared. Much to his surprise. Presumably anyone who visited that world from a non demon world would have the same experience.
posted by emjaybee at 9:47 PM on December 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

To expand a little more: my assumption (I can’t remember exactly what’s said about it in the book) is that John Parry met his daemon in a very specific place and under a specific set of circumstances, and not right away after arriving in Lyra’s world. She’s not just with him, she can travel far away from him like witches’ daemons (or Coulter’s).

Anyway, should have more related to this fairly early on next season.
posted by supercres at 12:15 AM on December 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

I assumed that he gained the ability to separate from his daemon the same way witches do (the books explain it- there's a trial that witches undergo). He did all sorts of mystical stuff.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:41 AM on December 30, 2020

Reread the relevant parts last night before bed, the appendix to Subtle Knife and Chapter 36 of Amber Spyglass. Parry entered Lyra's world in the north parts of Alaska and made his way westward to Russia, meeting "the shaman Ivan Kasymovich Tyltshin, a great and good man who taught me everything I know about the spirit world. And here I met my Daemon" per an annotation on Parry's map near Norilsk.

Witches travel to a specific spot in the North where daemons can't go in order to be able to separate from them. People from Will's world have their daemons manifested physically (and gain the ability to separate from them) when they enter a place daemons can't go. That combination of ideas led to my guess that there's a place like that near Norilsk ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by supercres at 10:54 AM on December 30, 2020 [4 favorites]

I don't remember, was the book this dumb in these scenes? Scorseby has a magic thingie that can summon a super-powered witch, but only activates it after he is fatally wounded and the army has mysteriously given up? And he died so that Will's dad could briefly see his son and convey no essential information, before dying to protect him from some rando he himself led there? And the guard witch snoozes in the middle of the afternoon? Ruth Wilson and Coulter's arc are still wonderful, but this was a really dumb ending, even for a middle book.
posted by chortly at 7:11 PM on January 1, 2021 [4 favorites]


Why doesn't the monkey talk? Or have a name?
posted by schmod at 8:33 PM on January 1, 2021

@schmod - my understanding is that Mrs Coulter's monkey not speaking is a manifestation of how guarded she is about her feelings and intentions. A talking daemon could betray this secrecy.
posted by cholly at 3:16 AM on January 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

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