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His Dark Materials: How the TV show changed a key scene featuring Lyra and Will in the books

Warning: spoilers ahead for season 2 episode 5 of His Dark Materials.

In the latest episode of His Dark Materials, Lyra Silvertongue (Dafne Keen) and an injured Will Parry (Amir Wilson) hatch a plan to retrieve the Alethiometer from the conniving Lord Boreal (Ariyon Bakare), who goes by the name Charles Latrom in Will’s Oxford.

After stealing the Alethiometer from Lyra earlier on in the series, Lord Boreal strikes a deal with her and Will – they can have her precious symbol-reader back if they obtained the Subtle Knife for him, from the Torre degli Angeli in the mystical city of Cittàgazze.

In the last episode, we see Will become the bearer of the knife, learning of its power to cut portals between worlds.

He and Lyra therefore decide that they can’t exchange the knife for the Alethiometer, and will instead steal the truth-telling device back.

In the books, the pair devise a crafty plan to take back ownership of the Alethiometer.

Lord Boreal isn’t prepared to let the Alethiometer go easily (Picture: BBC/© Bad Wolf/HBO)

While they do the same in the TV adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy book trilogy, the heist plays out slightly differently, with certain characters speaking face to face who do not in the original source material.

So how does the Alethiometer heist unfold in the new episode of His Dark Materials and how was it written in The Subtle Knife novel?

How does the Alethiometer heist take place in tonight’s episode?

In the latest instalment of His Dark Materials, Will and Lyra are able to use the Subtle Knife to cut windows into Will’s world from Cittàgazze, figuring out the exact location they need to create a portal that will open into Lord Boreal’s basement, where he is keeping the Alethiometer.

Once they suss out the location they need, Lyra travels to Will’s world, ringing the bell at Lord Boreal’s front door to distract him.

As Lord Boreal goes to greet Lyra, Will cuts a window into the basement, so he can steal the Alethiometer back while Lord Boreal is away.

However, he immediately spots Mrs Coulter (Ruth Wilson) standing just past the doorway, having not realised she was there.

Mrs Coulter has travelled through a portal into Will’s world (Picture: BBC/© Bad Wolf/HBO)

As he hides behind a sofa, Will tries to grab the symbol-reader while Mrs Coulter isn’t looking. But he’s stopped by her golden monkey daemon, who grabs it first and snarls menacingly at Will.

Hearing Will in the basement, Lyra rushes downstairs to help him, resulting in her, Will, Mrs Coulter and Lord Boreal coming face to face together in the locked room, a significant change to the original scene in the book.

After Mrs Coulter fails to sweet talk Lyra, the young girl goes into attack mode, her daemon Pantalaimon launching himself at her mother’s golden monkey daemon, in a moment reminiscent of a scene in the previous season when Mrs Coulter was the aggressor against her daughter.

In a truly unnerving moment, Lyra makes a facial expression that closely resembles her mother’s during their season one fight, despite telling her: ‘I am nothing like you.’

Will and Lyra devise their plan to get the Alethiometer back (Picture: BBC/© Bad Wolf/HBO)

While at first Mrs Coulter is thrown to the ground, her pain mirroring the agony of her daemon, she is able to separate herself from her anguish, standing tall to face Lyra, who looks utterly disturbed.

Will grabs the Alethiometer, creating a window that he and Lyra are able to travel through back into Cittàgazze, which he then closes before Mrs Coulter or Lord Boreal can follow them.

And so, they successfully manage to get their hands back on the Alethiometer while also keeping the Subtle Knife safely in their grasp.

How does the Alethiometer heist play out in The Subtle Knife book?

In The Subtle Knife, the second book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, Lyra and Mrs Coulter do not face off in the basement, nor do Will and Lord Boreal.

First, Will cuts a window close to Lord Boreal’s property, having worked out a position which corresponds to where they are in Cittàgazze.

Leaving that window open, he then cuts another portal into his world from Cittàgazze, with the second window opening up into Lord Boreal’s study, where the Alethiometer is being kept in a cabinet.

Will explains to Lyra that once he has found the Alethiometer, he will come back through the second window into Cittàgazze, while Lyra keeps watch by Lord Boreal’s house.

Lyra’s Alethiometer is her most prized possession (Picture: BBC/© Bad Wolf/HBO)

Once he gives her the signal, she can come back through the first portal, which he can then close.

While keeping watch, Lyra spots Mrs Coulter arriving by car at Lord Boreal’s house as his guest, an unprecedented hiccup in their plan.

Meanwhile, Will manages to cut a window close to the cabinet where he thinks the Alethiometer is being kept – only to discover that it’s not there.

Having entered the room to look for the Alethiometer, Will hears the sound of the car arriving, prompting him to hide behind a sofa.

Through the window he has created, Will hears Lyra running towards him, but is able to signal to her that he’s aware Lord Boreal is nearby.

After Lyra and Will hear Mrs Coulter and Lord Boreal conversing about various subjects, including Lyra’s father Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) and Cittàgazze, Lord Boreal unveils the Alethiometer, placing it on a table by the sofa.

Will instructs Lyra to go back through the first window he created into his world, enter Lord Boreal’s garden and throw stones at the study window to cause a distraction, so that he can grab the Alethiometer while they’re not looking.

Once he gets his hands on the symbol-reader, Will travels back through his second window, closing the portal just in time to stop Mrs Coulter’s golden monkey daemon following him through.

He then rushes to the first window to ensure Lyra is also able to safely travel back to Cittàgazze, their plan successfully executed.

His Dark Materials returns next Sunday at 8.10pm on BBC One.


Credit: Original article published here.

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