His Dark Materials season 2 episode 4: How did it compare to the books?

Photo: Amir Wilson in His Dark Materials.. Courtesy of HBO
Photo: Amir Wilson in His Dark Materials.. Courtesy of HBO /

Whether you’re a fan of the books or not, read on to find out how the fourth episode of His Dark Materials season 2 differed from the source material.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for His Dark Materials season 2 episode 4, “Tower of the Angels.”

This week’s episode of His Dark Materials actually stuck pretty closely to the books in its depiction of two key moments: Lee Scoresby meeting Stanislaus Grumman, or Jopari, and Will obtaining the subtle knife.

The moments that varied from the book were so minimal, we’ll instead focus on explaining these two key moments a bit more.

Who is Jopari?

After a rough week in a Magisterium jail cell in the previous episode, Lee Scoresby finally found Andrew Scott’s Stanislaus Grumman, now going by Jopari, thanks to the help of his dæmon, Sayan Kötör.  (In a delightful Fleabag callback, Phoebe Waller-Bridge voiced the bird.)

While we have seen many glimpses of Jopari before this moment, this was the first time we’ve actually seen him on screen. At this point, what do we know about the man formerly known as Dr. Grumman?

In The Subtle Knife, the original book this season of His Dark Materials is based on, author Philip Pullman described Jopari as follows:

"“…gaunt, blazing-eyed, was a man dressed in skins and furs. His black hair was streaked with gray, his haw jutted strongly, and his osprey dæmon sat glaring on his fist.”"

Pullman further describes Jopari as “a shaman” who “can do many things you don’t understand.” Viewers glimpsed a bit of this power as Jopari summoned both Lee and a windstorm to guide them toward Lyra. We’ll have to keep watching to see what else his powers can do…

The Subtle Knife

The huge moment of this week’s episode centered on Will becoming the new bearer of the subtle knife. After a nearly deadly fight with a local Cittàgazze boy named Tullio, Will learned how to use the weapon to open new worlds and seal them shut, along with what the rules of the bearer were.

As described in The Subtle Knife, the knife is:

"…an ordinary-looking dagger, with a double-sided blade of dull metal about eight inches long, a short crosspiece of the same metal, and a handle of rosewood.…the rosewood was inlaid with golden wires, forming a design he didn’t recognize till he turned around and saw an angel, with wings folded. On the other side was a different angel, with wings upraised."

Tonight’s episode hinted at a larger storyline with angels and Dust, but how Lyra, Will, Jopari, and the subtle knife all fit in together remains to be seen.

Next. His Dark Materials season 2 episode 3: How did it compare to the books?. dark

What did you think about the big moments in tonight’s episode? Tell us in the comments below!