His Dark Materials (BBC serial)

williamjm

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
717
I thought ep3 was up to the mark. A shame there were no scenes between Lyra and Mrs Coulter, but Ma Costa kept up the standard, and added to the impression of the women acting the men off the stage (though to be fair, none of them were bad, apart from a couple of central casting villains.)

It's been a while since I read it, but I'd don't recall Lord Boreal's "excursions" (to avoid spoilers) from the book. Was that added to cohere with the rest of the trilogy?
While it's a bit of an in-between episode filling the gap between Lyra escaping Mrs Coulter and the arrival in the North, I thought they did manage to make it interesting. The confrontation between the Gyptians and Mrs Coulter (and her monkey) was a highlight.

It's been a while since I've read it as well, but others have commented that in the books Boreal has been making these excursions for some time but we don't find out about it until the second book, so they are changing when the audience finds out about things but not changing the plot.

I've had a flick through the start of the first book and he does appear there, though I can't recall what he does. I might start a reread actually.
I was also skimming through some of the first book earlier and Boreal talks to Lyra about the oblation board at Mrs Coulter's party shortly before Lyra runs away.
 

Culhwch

Lost Boy
Staff member
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
7,528
Location
Brisbane, Australia
The confrontation between the Gyptians and Mrs Coulter (and her monkey) was a highlight.
That was super tense -- I hated it and loved it!

It would have to be close to twenty years since I read the books, so I barely remember anything (more from the movie, probably). I'm keen to do a reread, but I think I'll wait until after this season is done at least.
 

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
10,590
Location
West Sussex, UK
others have commented that in the books Boreal has been making these excursions for some time but we don't find out about it until the second book
That makes sense. i thought it couldn't have been in the first book because it jarred too much with the tone of it in my memory. But it works in the adaptation.
 

williamjm

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
717
That makes sense. i thought it couldn't have been in the first book because it jarred too much with the tone of it in my memory. But it works in the adaptation.
From what I remember I think everything in the first book we saw from Lyra's perspective so now that we can follow other characters it makes sense we see other things we only found out about later.
 

hitmouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Messages
1,729
Enjoyed tonight's episode. The Majesterium scenes were filmed inside the Welsh Govt Offices in Cathays, Cardiff, which I know well. The club which Mrs Coulter took Lyra to on their arrival in London is the main hall of the Temple of Peace, part of Cardiff University, also in Cathays. A beautiful Art Deco room.
 

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
10,590
Location
West Sussex, UK
Uneventful hour?
I thought at first the article referred to ep4, which I think the description fits even more -- it was basically a load of side-quests in a town before setting off on an adventure. I much preferred ep3.

The dearth of daemons in tonight's episode seemed even more obvious. If CGI ones were beyond the budget, could they not at least have had a few normal animals scattered about? They wouldn't have had to do much. If Mr Stillerson had had a daemon, maybe it would have spotted Lee Scorseby lifting his watch.

Plus I'm afraid I really don't buy into the armoured bear concept. It's a fun idea, but quite apart from anything else ... they lack opposable thumbs!
 

ctg

weaver of the unseen
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Messages
7,233
How does Mister Pullman solve the problem in the prose?
I went and looked up the answer.

The Butler bowed slightly and turned to leave, his daemon trotting obediently after him. From her not-much-of-a-hiding place Lyra watched as the Master went to a large oak wardrobe in the corner of the room, took his gown from a hanger, and pulled it laboriously on. The Master had been a powerful man, but he was well over seventy now, and his movements were stiff and slow. The Master's daemon had the form of a raven, and as soon as his robe was on, she jumped down from the wardrobe and settled in her accustomed place on his right shoulder.

He moves one daemon at time and never crowd the scene with them.

In my own work, especially in the finishing part I had trouble with the scenes containing multiple ghosts. Boneman was right to cut a lot of them out and in same way as Pullman answer the question about lack of daemons, the viewer can easily imagine them being close by. And even if BBC would have had a budget to hire all animals, it would have taken a lot of work for them to work properly within the scenes.
 

Stephen Palmer

author of novels
Supporter
Joined
Dec 22, 2009
Messages
4,645
Location
Shropshire
I'm finding this adaption compelling. What I noticed again last night was that the hour sped by in a subjective flash.
Like a few reviewers, I found the actress playing Ma Costa a bit much. I thought the Lee Scoresby guy was okay. I didn't buy Mrs Coulter's "I know something about you, so ask my question of the alethiometer" thing, it was a bit cliched. Can't remember if that happens in the novels.
My main grumble is that the motives of the Gyptian group are a bit simplified. I suppose that's a problem of adapting a complex novel though. I'm also finding now that because I've seen The Golden Compass a few times I kinda know what's coming up. So I'm particularly looking forward to the second and third book adaptions...
I thought the northern scenes looked brilliant - all the Iorek scenes were fabulously skanky. There was also a wonderful scene with Lyra glimpsing the city in the aurora.
 

Stephen Palmer

author of novels
Supporter
Joined
Dec 22, 2009
Messages
4,645
Location
Shropshire
If CGI ones were beyond the budget, could they not at least have had a few normal animals scattered about? They wouldn't have had to do much.
Likewise - dogs especially. Perhaps though that would have brought in animal handlers, which could have ruined takes and anyway would have added to costs.
 

nixie

pixie druid
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
May 4, 2005
Messages
5,406
Location
I may live in Yorkshire but I'm a Scot
I am watching this and enjoying it, has been a long time since I read the books so I'm not experiencing the same disappointment I normally get when watching an adaptation and it differs from the book. I still occasionally scratch my head, thinking that wasn't in the book.
 

Mouse

ejtett.weebly.com
Joined
Jun 2, 2006
Messages
10,053
Location
in your face
Yep, still find myself looking for daemons too and had the same thought about dogs. They were s common Daemon in the novels anyway so it wouldn't have hurt.

I much preferred Lee and Iorek in the film.
 

williamjm

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
717
I went and looked up the answer.


He moves one daemon at time and never crowd the scene with them.

In my own work, especially in the finishing part I had trouble with the scenes containing multiple ghosts. Boneman was right to cut a lot of them out and in same way as Pullman answer the question about lack of daemons, the viewer can easily imagine them being close by. And even if BBC would have had a budget to hire all animals, it would have taken a lot of work for them to work properly within the scenes.
I think it's something that probably works better in the books because if we want we can imagine the daemons being there even if the author isn't describing them. Limiting the number of daemons on screen is perhaps pragmatic, but it does feel disconcerting at times.

I much preferred Lee and Iorek in the film.
I don't think anybody could have been as perfect for the role as Sam Elliot was. I thought Lin Manuel Miranda was good in his own way but it feels like a different interpretation of the character.

I thought the scenes where Iorek goes on the rampage through the town did a good job of showing how physically imposing a bear would be even without its armour.
 

Ursa major

Bearly Believable
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
21,199
Location
England
I think the problem may be a bit more basic than simply the cost, or the bother, of having as many daemons as humans visible to the viewer.

I haven't read the books, but I assume (but would rather not be told now whether or not my assumption is correct) that the daemons have a key role in the overall story, i.e. they are not there just to make the plot different from one set in our world and/or make the world look different to our own. This is fine in a book: the narrative can remind the reader of the presence of the daemons when it's useful for the story or for setting a scene, but can otherwise leave them mostly unmentioned.

On the screen, the daemons would have to be ever-present, which could risk looking a bit (well, more than a bit) ridiculous if there are lots of humans in shot with an equal number of daemons.

So while there may be too few daemons on display in this adaptation, I'm not at all sure that it would help the story if most of them were on display all of the time their humans are around. And that's with considering that there'd be the problem that someone has already mentioned, i.e. a human with a daemon has two pairs of eyes, two pairs of ears and two noses, and thus two physically different viewpoints are possible.

And lets not mention that the life of a human from that world appears to be far more at risk than ours is, as we saw with the unfortunate journalist. (I'd want my daemon to choose the form most resistant to being killed and would be more than a little angry with it if it had chosen a vulnerable form.)
 
  • Like
Reactions: ctg

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
10,590
Location
West Sussex, UK
And lets not mention that the life of a human from that world appears to be far more at risk than ours is, as we saw with the unfortunate journalist. (I'd want my daemon to choose the form most resistant to being killed and would be more than a little angry with it if it had chosen a vulnerable form.)
In the books, it's stated that it's taboo to touch someone else's daemon (this is hinted at in the series, but a bit too subtly IMO) so in theory you should be safe. However, we all know that no taboo survives a high level of hostility, so it does seem naive to expect people to abide by it. And that would make it in a child's best interest to cultivate the kind of personality that would lead to its daemon settling as something large and powerful. I think you'd end up with a society awash with thugs. I'm not really sure Pullman thought his system through.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ctg

CupofJoe

some medals you wear on your heart not your sleeve
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
Messages
175
I just assumed that most people had really insignificant daemons. Mice, rats, guinea pigs, lizards, frogs, toads and the like... I haven't seen any really large animal daemons [Lord thingummies snow leopard is about the biggest]. Where are the Lion or Bison daemons?
 

Mouse

ejtett.weebly.com
Joined
Jun 2, 2006
Messages
10,053
Location
in your face
Dolphin daemons are mentioned in the books for sailors and whatnot.

I don't think the daemon can choose what it wants to be - it's determined by the personality. All those guard's dog daemons which look identical are a bit odd, but I guess you could explain that away by saying it's a family profession or something.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ctg
Top