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

Photo: Lin-Manuel Miranda in His Dark Materials: Season 1.. Image Courtesy of HBO
Photo: Lin-Manuel Miranda in His Dark Materials: Season 1.. Image Courtesy of HBO /

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

Warning: This article contains spoilers for His Dark Materials season 2 episode 7, “Æsahættr.”

This week’s second season finale of HBO’s His Dark Materials sent viewers on an emotional, heartbreaking, and shocking ride as the show’s characters collided in Cittàgazze.

Between a wrenching death scene from Lee Scoresby, an emotional reunion between John and Will Parry, and the shocking kidnapping of Lyra by her own mother, the season two finale largely followed The Subtle Knife closely, allowing the bigger moments room to breathe.

This included the incredible penultimate scene of the season, Asriel’s first onscreen appearance of the season as he beckoned angels to fight with him in the war against the Authority, perfectly teeing up His Dark Materials’ third season based on The Amber Spyglass.

As for what that season might entail, while war loomed large in “Æsahættr,” no war actually took place, due to the fact that it will be the focus of the third season.

The Amber Spyglass, the final book in Pullman’s original His Dark Materials trilogy, culminates in a war between the Magisterium/Authority (God) and Asriel/the Angels in a battle for free will, centered on the prophecy that Lyra is to play Eve in a second Fall.

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As seen in the finale, the characters we’ve come to know and love are now separated, cueing them up for their own journeys in season three. One very important journey was hinted at in a short, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it end credits scene.

As the screen faded from the credits into the shot, viewers heard then saw Lyra’s deceased best friend, Roger Parslow, calling her name and asking for help. After a few cries, Lyra responded off-screen, “Roger? What is this place?” before the screen cut to black again.

Fans of the books will understand the significance of the scene immediately, but for viewers who are only fans of the television series, many may be shocked to see the return of Roger in the post-credits sequence, a seemingly out of the blue moment.

In our final dive into the books for the season, we’ll explain the significance of the final scene of His Dark Materials second season, and what it sets up for the show’s third season, but beware if you somehow missed it before that, spoilers for the plot elements of The Amber Spyglass follow.

Without going into too much detail over how everything plays out, Lyra begins to dream about Roger in his afterlife, feeling she must help him somehow. The end scene depicted Lyra’s eventual journey into the World of the Dead, the Authority’s prison for all dead spirits, where Lyra ventures to help Roger once more.

For readers of the books, this was surely an exciting moment, but for new fans to His Dark Materials, know that the biggest ride is yet to come. We’ll see you next season in another world…

Next. His Dark Materials season 2 episode 6: How did it compare to the books?. dark

What did you think about His Dark Materials‘ season finale? Tell us in the comments below!