We read the books. We knew what was coming. We steeled ourselves for tragedy. We cried anyway! Everything comes crashing down in the Season 1 finale of His Dark Materials! It’s  S01E08 “Betrayal” which aired on HBO on December 23, 2019. It was written by Jack Thorne and directed by Jamie Childs.

This is Episode 12 and contains the news and our episode breakdown and analysis. To hear our feedback and Bridge to the Stars spoilers segments, stay tuned for Episode 13.

Two quick news items wind us up in Season 1. First SYFY rounds up the reviews and the consensus is that His Dark Materials closes season one with ‘beautiful, terrible’ drama of the finale! Then we learn from campaignlive that HBO has gifted 40 “His Dark Materials” superfans their own daemons!

We begin our discussion back in Lord Asriel’s abode as the Magisterium is closing in on him. Their forces arrive in zeppelins, and they have a massive fight with the panserbjørne that results in many casualties. Asriel and Lyra finally discuss what has happened since they last saw each other. Asriel acknowledges he is her father, and then rejects her offer of the alethiometer! He leaves her stunned and prepares to depart. Thorold admonishes him to speak to Lyra one last time. She makes a play fort with Roger, and they share a tender moment of good friends together and fall asleep. Asriel wakes Lyra and explains his thoughts on the nature of Dust, how the Magisterium views it and sin, and his desire to explore it further. Then he says goodnight to her.

In the middle of the night, Asriel takes Roger and lies to him saying Lyra is coming to meet them soon. He then puts Roger and Salcilia into an intercision device and cuts their bond, killing them instantly, and ripping a hole open into a universe of warm light. Mrs. Coulter confronts him, and he asks her to join him to find the true nature of Dust and sin, and to destroy the Magisterium once and for all. She refuses, saying she cannot leave Lyra. She walks away, and he enters the rift.

Lyra finds Roger’s body, and she cradles him gently as she weeps. Pan encourages her to go into the other universe so they might find Dust before Asriel does. In that way Roger will not have died in vain. They then walk into the light of another sun!

In Will’s Oxford, Lord Boreal continues the search for John Parry. He gets an inkling that Parry may be related to Stanislaus Grumman. We learn the Pale-Faced Man is a police officer! He puts out a missing person bulletin on Will, who lays low and later discovers another hole in his universe to another. He steps through it into that same warm light that Lyra and Lord Asriel entered!

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