His Dark Materials Season 1 Episode 1 Recap
HBO’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s book series, His Dark Materials, has premiered, and we’ll be recapping each episode. In the alternate universe of the show, humans’ souls manifest in a physical form of a talking animal called daemons. In His Dark Materials Season 1 Episode 1, Lord Asriel makes an important discovery, and Lyra meets Mrs. Coulter.
Lord Asriel, Lyra Belacqua’s uncle, made an important discovery in the North. He arrived at Jordan College in Oxford, where he had brought Lyra as a baby, claiming “scholastic sanctuary”. Asriel returned to Jordan College to share his discovery and gain funding. Excited to see her uncle, Lyra raced to the Retiring Room. Watching through a window, she saw the Master poison a decanted bottle of wine meant for Lord Asriel. While alone, Asriel went to drink from the decanter, and Lyra warned him of the poison. He had her be his spy and hide in a cupboard while he presented to the college. Asriel wanted to watch his reaction to “Dust”.
Asriel had been on an exploratory mission to discover what had happened to Grunnam’s expedition. He showed how Dust could be seen on an adult in a photogram developed with a special solution but not on a child. He showed a photogram of the Northern Lights, and using his special solution, he could see a city in another world, one outside of the Magisterium’s power. Finally, Asriel produced Grunnam’s frozen head. He believed that Grunnam was killed for his discovery. He gained the funding he was there for and left on an airship without Lyra.
The Gyptians were a nomadic society who lived in boats. They celebrated a member of their community, Tony Costa, whose daemon had settled into a hawk. With silver donated from the families, they forged a ring to commemorate this coming of age. Tony’s younger brother, Billy, had left the party. His mother encouraged Tony to go after him; she believed Billy needed to know that even though Tony was now a man, he was still Billy’s brother.
A mysterious man believed to be a Gobbler took Billy. John Faa, the king of the western Gyptians, arrived. Other children had been taken too. Though the community searched, Faa called it off. Billy wasn’t lost. He’d been taken.
Mrs. Coulter arrived at Jordan College and sat next to Lyra at dinner. They hit it off, and Mrs. Coulter invited her to become her assistant. Lyra agreed on the condition that her friend Roger, an orphan who worked in the kitchen, came too. Mrs. Coulter eventually agreed. Unfortunately, like Billy, Roger was taken.
Charles, the Librarian, brought Lyra to the Master’s office. The Master gave her an alethiometer, a compass-like device that he said told the truth. Asriel had found it and brought it to the college when Lyra was a baby. The Master gave it to her for her protection but didn’t tell her how to use it. Lyra tried asking it questions, but nothing happened. Last minute, she left Jordan College with Mrs. Coulter on an airship.
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