If you have read and liked the 90’s novels Northern Lights or The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, you would definitely not want to give His Dark Materials a miss. This new fantasy series revolves around a parallel universe consisting of witches and daemons. Confused?
Well, thanks to HBO, we had the liberty of watching the screeners way before you guys got to know about it. And not to mention, we were glued. Glued in awe, suspense and excitement with almost everything that was put out there. Be it the storyline or the direction to the cast and the graphics.
His Dark Materials is based on a young girl who is raised as an orphan. 12-year-old Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen — you may recognize her from Logan), who was dropped at a Jordan College in Oxford as a baby by her father, is seen spending her growing days with her best friend Roger Parslow (Lewin Lloyd), in the custody/care of the librarian scholar Charles (Ian Gelder). All this is happening simultaneously within a parallel universe similar to ours, but the only difference is that their society is being ruled by the Magesterium, which is a strict religious body. And every human in that universe is always accompanied by an animal manifestation of their soul known as a daemon.
The story heads on when Lyra discovers that Roger is missing and supposedly kidnapped by the Gobblers (a sinister group) only to find out that there are more Gyptian kids missing too. And when Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) walks into Oxford, she showed interest in Lyra and offered her to help find her missing friend, only to take her to London to find him.
Just before she leaves Oxford, Charles gives her a weird gizmo, called an alethiometer, that looks like a mechanical mix of a clock, compass and a dial. According to the librarian scholar, anyone who needs to operate the alethiometer needs after years of studying tons of books. All Lyra was told about the device is that “it tells you the truth.” However, Lyra, who never knows what that device is, was or what it could do, managed to decode it and work it.
The journey continues ahead to London, where Lyra learns that not only is she special for a reason, but that also her life at threat. She cannot trust anyone. And moving ahead, the story enters into more suspense when she stumbles into Lord Asriel (James McAvoy – you may remember him from Glass), whom she refers to as “uncle.” Asriel is on a long research with special materials where he reveals that dust is not plain dust and that the northern lights or the Aurora in the sky is hiding something from plain sight.
The story goes ahead to show the heroic Lyra storm ahead with the help of her alethiometer and the Gyptian community to help find their kids and her missing friend. And then there’s an entry of an armored polar bear who offers to help Lyra get back the kidnapped kids
The series is well directed with an almost flawless script. The graphics, with respect to the scenes that look like the 80’s, to the animated daemons is simply breathtaking, and if you are watching it on a large screen, you will definitely feel the ambience. Make sure you empty your bladder well in advance and stock your junk food around you so you don’t take breaks in between.
We won’t spoil the entire excitement for you, so we urge you to make sure you don’t miss it. The entire series is seen featuring supernatural shape-shifting creatures in that parallel universe, but similar to what we have here. You will find creatures from snakes to bears (the humans’ daemons), talking in the entire episode, helping the humans, but just cannot go far away from them. Kill a daemon and his human dies too. If the human dies, the daemon vanishes into thin air. There are also witches in the series, but we leave them to you to find out if they are good or evil.
Whom you will find interesting are some characters, such as Mrs. Coulter and her daemon – the mean monkey, the armored bear, Lord Asriel, the librarian scholar Charles, and not forgetting the main hero, Lyra, along with her cute snow white ermine daemon named Pantalaimon (voiced by Kit Connor).
HDM is a co-production between the BBC and HBO along with New Line Cinema; and the first season will premiere on Star World in India from 24th November at 9PM. If you don’t like waiting around His Dark Materials will also be streamed on Hotstar. Oh and our Daemon told us that the second season has already begun production.