His Dark Materials season 1, episode 2 recap: The Idea of North


His Dark Materials shows us the true force behind The Gobblers.

Lyra starts her new London journey in “The Idea of North” but it’s not quite the fairytale she expected. At first, things are perfect as Lyra becomes quickly smitten with the new world Mrs. Coulter has opened up for her. However, His Dark Materials shows the dark underbelly of the world as Mrs. Coulter’s true nature is revealed.

No spoilers for the His Dark Materials books will be discussed in this recap!

The Penthouse

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It’s hard not to be swept up with the glamour of Mrs. Coulter’s life. She lives in a gorgeous penthouse and offers Lyra her own elegant room and a comfortable bed. They have delicious breakfasts out on the balcony where Lyra can see the city below and can lunch at the Arctic Insititute where she can meet infamous explorers.

There are a few red flags that pop up on His Dark Materials which Lyra tries to overlook but Pan refuses to. Since Pan is technically a part of her, it seems like beneath it all she also knows something is wrong. The first issue is that Mrs. Coulter demands total trust when it comes to the search for Roger, imploring Lyra to let the issue go while she handles it. Later, she snaps at Lyra as she tells an extravagant story in the bathtub about an adventure with Roger. Finally, she wants Lyra to change who she is and how she looks to better fit into the world.

But this is the first time Lyra has her own bed and she’s willing to overlook all of these things as well as the weird noises at night. Pan is insistent on investigating but eventually relents after getting hit with a few pillows.

The General Oblation Board

The Magisterium is facing a few PR problems with the General Oblation Board since the gypsies are beginning to notice all of their missing kids. Apparently, the organization is funding the “gobblers” who have been tormenting children for years. Clearly, the group doesn’t care about the moral dilemma of kidnapping kids but just want it done a bit more discreetly. Father MacPhail is sent to talk to the head of the board and heartily encourage the group to do so or be cut off.

So who’s in charge? It’s none other than Mrs. Coulter! Father MacPhail and Father Garrett pay her a visit at home to a very confused Lyra. She had begun to question Mrs. Coulter following an awkward conversation about Dust. Despite being told to stay in her room, she begins to eavesdrop on MacPhail and Mrs. Coulter talking in the off-limits study. Before she can get too much information, Father Garrett swoops in to question her.

Mrs. Coulter is furious that anyone would even go near Lyra, and quickly shows the two gentlemen out. However, it’s enough to have Lyra questioning everything and she decides to keep the alethiometer on her at all times. Since the Master of Jordan College told her to keep it safe from the Magisterium, she does have a reason to worry.

Mrs. Coulter’s True Nature

Unsurprisingly, Mrs. Coulter is furious at Lyra’s misbehaviors and her refusal to apologize or acknowledge it. To teach her a lesson, her Golden Monkey attacks Pan, which essentially is an attack on Lyra. She’s in pain and begs Mrs. Coulter to stop because she’s hurting them. However, she’s no done with her yet. She wants Lyra to be a perfectly behaved charming child whenever guests are around because that’s how kids should act. A furious Lyra says her Uncle will never let her be treated this way which is the final straw for Mrs. Coulter.

She has an outburst about Asriel being a “failure of a man” and a “failure as a father” finally revealing Lyra’s true parentage. Understandably, Lyra is heartbroken over learning the truth but wants to know who her mother is. Mrs. Coulter claims it could be anyone since her Uncle was a player but her reaction seems a bit suspicious. Could she be Lyra’s mother?

If she is, there’s definitely going to be a rough confrontation coming in the future. Mrs. Coulter goes to meet all of the “gobbled” kids to notify them of their impending journey to the North. She has them all write letters to their loved ones, including Roger who writes his to Lyra, to pretend like their parents will learn where they’re going. In reality, she burns all of the letters and returns home to try to convince Lyra that Roger abandoned her back in Jordan.

The Gypsies

John Faa and his group seem to be closing in on the children in London. They break into the building but it’s too late, all of the kids have been moved. At least they find Billy’s sweater vest, which they return to Ma Costa as proof about Billy’s whereabouts. She’s devastated since this effectively confirms her worst fears about what might have happened to her son. Meanwhile, Tony is growing restless and agrees to take on a new approach to finding his brother.

Billy is alive and well for now, he’s reunited with Roger early in this episode. While Billy is upset and missing his ma, Roger steps in as the brave one. He promises Lyra is out there looking for the two of them and that she’s brave. Unfortunately, it might be a long waiting time since Lyra currently has no idea what’s happening to the kids. At least she gets her first clue about an ominous “station” in the North where the children are shuffled out to.

Crossing Between Worlds

Lord Carlo Boreal is quickly proving to be one of the more intriguing characters of His Dark Materials. He goes to Jordan College to attempt to investigate the head that Lord Asriel brought back. The Master uniformly tells him no and all but kicks him out of the university for even questioning the school’s decisions. He won’t give up that easily, and Boreal returns to the crypt later that night to examine the school. Turns out, it’s not the scholar who Asriel claimed!

Boreal goes to a small doorway where he steps into an entirely new world. Based on what we can see, he’s now in our version of Oxford with cellphones, cars, and other modern-day technology. He meets with a man from that world who supplies information. His new task will be to track down the missing scholar, Grumman, and discover what he’s been doing all this time.

The Journalist

Lyra begins to discover just how isolated she is within Mrs. Coulter’s penthouse. All the doors are locked and she needs a key to use the elevator. However, she finds a loose air vent which allows her to climb into Mrs. Coulter’s study to find the “station” plans that the General Oblation Board is working on. This also confirmed Lyra’s previous observation that Mrs. Coulter can allow her Golden Monkey to roam freely. It’s abnormal because Lyra can’t let Pan wander too far without being in pain but the Monkey can and he’s been spying on them.

Later, at Mrs. Coulter’s party she runs into Adele (Georgina Campbell), a kind journalist. She reveals who Mrs. Coulter really is and Lyra tries to calmly run out of the room. While she notices the unoccupied lift, Lyra knows she can’t leave the alethiometer behind. While she rushes back to her room, Boreal escorts Adele out as Mrs. Coulter follows Lyra.

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It’s too late though, Lyra escapes through the roof while Adele is maybe killed by Boreal. It appears like he crushed her butterfly daemon, but we probably won’t find out if she survived until later this season. Sadly, Lyra thinks she escaped the true monster but her problems are just beginning. The odd coyote type daemon lures Pan and she winds up in the hands of the gobbler! Will she be okay? Most likely but maybe her reunion with Roger will happen sooner rather than later.

What did you think of this episode of His Dark Materials? Be sure to tell us in the comment section below!