His Dark Materials, An Epic Adventure from children's literature

19/11 · Por HBO · Reading 3 min.

HBO brings to viewers a great adventure that occurs in a wonderful and fascinating world titled His Dark Materials, an epic trilogy lauded as a British fantasy literature classic that now moves to the small screen through BBC and HBO.

The year is 1995 and Phillip Pullman finally saw in bookstores copies of his first novel, Northern Lights, which took him two years to write. Yet he did not imagine his first novel would be such a best selling hit; a dream that all writers wish to accomplish. He won the Carnegie Medal, a prestigious award that recognizes the best book for children or young adults. Moreover, his saga was awarded Carnegie of Carnegies in 2007, earning a place as a classic in for both young and adult literature. It was around 2007 that Pullman completed the trilogy that would become known as His Dark Materials: Northern Lightws (1995), The Subtle Knife (1997) and The Amber Spyglass (2000). 

HBO and the BBC have taken this famous and prestigious saga to create an incredible production of the highest caliber. The work is divided into eight episodes in its first season; classified as an epic story of growth (also known in the literature as the German world bildungsroman) which transpires in a Victorian-like universe to the style of the science fiction subgenre, steampunk. 

Uchronic, retrofuturist, and inspired by authors such as H.G. Welles and Jules Verne, steampunk stipulates a very Victorian England (art, clothes, transport, architecture) were industrial technology (referred to as steam) has wonderful fantastic elements like magic and imaginary animals.

In the universe of His Dark Materials, society is dominated by an authoritarian elite called the Magisterium; an organization belonging to a powerful entity called The Church. Moreover, much of Pullman’s trilogy is driven by criticism of totalitarianism as well as aspects of religions that have earned the author outrage and complaints from religious organizations. Even Coleman himself has said that his trilogy is inspired by John Milton's The Paradise Lost, a long epic poem that recreates the demise of Adam and Eve and provides a deep look into the benevolence of God; rather portraying him with a domineering persona preventing men from reaching their potential towards freedom.

His Darks Materials begins precisely in a place of confinement and limited freedoms: in the Jordan College; a place very much engrained in British customs in the nineteenth century with large halls, high Gothic ceilings, dark wood, uniforms with muted tones, strict schedules, and stringent rules.

Viewers are introduced to a girl named Lyra Belacqua (played by Dafne Keen), the protagonist of the saga. Lyra is an orphan whose only family is her uncle Lord Asriel (James McAvoy), who has a strong and reserved character and is also a reckless explorer and brilliant research academic

In this first season, Lyra will undertake a journey that will lead her to also become an explorer of the northern region where she will discover the world but also herself and her destiny. 

Throughout her dangerous journey, she encounters not only Lord Asriel, but also Marisa Coulter (Ruth Wilson), a determined and strict woman who has gained power within their patriarchal society and through her, mysteries are revealed.

Another important character is Lee Scoresby (played by Lin-Manuel Miranda) a clever and fun American hot air balloon pilot who often gets in trouble with a Han-Solo like personality who accompanies Lyra through her difficult journey.

In His Dark Materials, people are accompanied by animals that aren’t necessarily seen as pets but rather a specific kind of genius (called daemon), representing a part of the soul for these humans. Lyra’s animal is a speaking ermine whose name is Pantalaimon. Additionally, there is Lord Asriel and his snow leopard called Stelmaria, Marisa Coulter’s unnamed golden monkey and Lee Scoresby’s, an arctic hare called Hester. Scoreby is also accompanied by a giant polar bear (named Lorek Byrninson) who belongs to a caste of noble beings with a level of intelligence equivalent to humans. Byrninson wears an armor made of meteorite steel which also serves as his soul.

The series has so much more to offer; a spectacular first season this November brought forth by HBO and co-produced with BBC. 

His Dark Materials - only on HBO and HBO GO.

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