The City of Magpies

It seemed like forever to come back, and at long last it’s here! Season 2 of “His Dark Materials” hits the ground running, as we shift to a new world and Lyra and Will finally meeting! We are talking about S02E01 “The City of Magpies” which aired on HBO on November 16, 2020. It was written by Jack Thorne and directed by Jamie Childs.

This is Episode 17 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 18. 

We begin our episode with three fun news items! First, we have EW chatting with Lin-Manuel Miranda who says the worlds get ‘wilder and wilder’ in season 2! Next up Variety talks to Ariyon Bakare who reveals that in the Magisterium world, Boreal is a backbencher, while in a new world, he’s got power, and we finish with Uproxx interviewing writer Jack Thorne on a more mature Season 2!

Then it’s time to open up our discussion! We see Lyra and Pan at dawn and they are in a new world! They make their way down to a large coastal city, and wander the empty streets, noting a massive tower with angel figures all around it. While in a cafe, Lyra is startled by Will, and they figure out that they are not from the same earth. Will bafflingly has no daemon! The pair explore the city and discover there are other children there. One of them, Angelica, explains that beings they call spectres have attacked all the adults in this town called Cittàgazze and robbed them of their wills and humanity.

In the north, Lee Scoresby and daemon Hester meet up with Serafina Pekkala’s witch-clan and are asked to join a meeting to determine the clans’ course of action. Another witch queen, Ruta Skadi, arrives and implores the clan to aid her rescue of Katja, a witch captured by the Magisterium. Serafina gives Lee a sprig of cloud pine and tells him to hold it and call her if he ever needs her help.

On a ship, Cardinal Sturrock, Father MacPhail, Fra Pavel and others discuss what to do now that Lord Asriel has created a rift into another world. Fra Pavel notes they have captured the witch Katja who might have information about other worlds. Mrs. Coulter steps out from the shadows and asks to lead the interrogation. She does so and tortures the poor woman. While seeking Katja, Ruta Skadi hears the witch cry out for release from Mrs. Coulter’s torment. Ruta finds the ship and kills her clan-sister, and she stabs the Cardinal as she leaves. Later, Mrs. Coulter suggests killing him so that Father MacPhail can assume more power in the Magisterium.

Lyra and Will decide to team up and head to Will’s Oxford. Pan suggests Lyra ask the Alethiometer about Will, and it reveals he is a murderer! Plus he has something to do in this world, as does she. Will then has a vision of a knife and the main tower in Cittàgazze, and he slowly approaches that tower as a spectre winds behind him!

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