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His Dark Materials Series

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Interesting point in this Radio Times article (terrible website, I advise you not to click) about how having the Magisterium nipping through a portal to our Oxford already kind of undermines the whole point of the first book.

Quote

The biggest change, however – and the one that will no doubt come in for the most criticism – comes courtesy of Ariyon Bakare’s fiercely intimidating turn as Lord Boreal: in a huge diversion from the novels, episode two sees Boreal not only appear much earlier than he does in The Northern Lights – clearly being set up here as a powerful antagonist in the HDM universe, not entirely a bad thing considering Bakare’s incredible on-screen presence – but appearing in such a way that calls into question the entire arc and purpose of the season.

Coming through a door between worlds, slinking into Lyra’s Oxford, Boreal effectively knocks the wind out of Asriel’s sails, rendering both his scholarly mission to study the convergence of dimensions and his personal drive to create a bridge between those dimensions something of a damp squib.
 

As a novel, The Northern Lights derives so much of its suspense from working up to Asriel’s creation of the bridge and crossing between worlds – so much of the action is geared toward that one explosive moment that the act of reading becomes something almost like an act of sheer willpower: you find yourself reading not only to discover whether Asriel is successful, but because he must be; you read so that it will happen, because it must happen – because everything thereafter hinges on that single moment in time. 

The book’s title, too, takes its name from the moment that Asriel’s bridge is created – a convergence of science, nature, philosophy, darkness, light and beauty that underpins all of the themes of the novel and connects the dots for all that’s yet to come.

But not only does Boreal’s nonchalance about transitioning between worlds – his swinging by Jordan College to make idle (or not so idle, as it may turn out) threats to the Master – take the wind out of Asriel’s sails in terms of the importance of his discovery and his journey on a personal level, without it the narrative engine stalls. The natural endpoint, if unchanged, has lost any and all of its power.

 

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However, in the books Boreal has already been going back and forth for years, it’s just we don’t find out about it till Subtle Knife

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Second episode was stronger than the first, which was still decent. They nailed a really creepy atmosphere and Ruth Wilson was absolutely outstanding.

Agreed that showing the portals and world-crossing felt a bit premature. In the books it's a bit of a wow moment when they cross over to our world for the first time. OTOH, it integrates the entire story, rather than bringing in elements as the author thinks of them. The Expanse did this as well, pulling forwards elements from later books to earlier in the story to make it all feel more cohesive rather than a sequential adaptation of several books in a row. I think the success of that idea will have to wait until we've seen all eight episodes.

One potential issue I can see is pacing. Having Oxford take up one episode makes sense, having Lyra in London for one episode also works, but the rest of the book makes it a bit harder to break down (from what I remember; I think I read the books shortly before I ever signed up on this board in the first place, so that's at least 15 years ago), and the pacing could suffer later on. Just because 2 hours was far too short for the whole book in the film doesn't necessarily mean that let it sprawl across 8 hours is a good idea as well.

That said, strong so far so hopefully they'll keep up the good work.

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7 hours ago, john said:

Interesting point in this Radio Times article (terrible website, I advise you not to click) about how having the Magisterium nipping through a portal to our Oxford already kind of undermines the whole point of the first book.

While I'm a bit unconvinced about the decision to show journeying between the worlds so early, I'm not sure I really felt that Asriel's quest was the primary focus of Northern Lights. When I first read I think Lyra and the stolen children seemed to me like the main focus of the narrative. In retrospect, Asriel's actions are probably the most important part of the story in terms of the overall series but it didn't initially feel like that.

1 hour ago, Werthead said:

One potential issue I can see is pacing. Having Oxford take up one episode makes sense, having Lyra in London for one episode also works, but the rest of the book makes it a bit harder to break down (from what I remember; I think I read the books shortly before I ever signed up on this board in the first place, so that's at least 15 years ago), and the pacing could suffer later on. Just because 2 hours was far too short for the whole book in the film doesn't necessarily mean that let it sprawl across 8 hours is a good idea as well.

I guess we'll probably have some added content showing what Mrs Coulter, Asriel and Boreal are up to until Lyra encounters them again. We'll have to wait to see what that does to the pacing.

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2 hours ago, Maltaran said:

However, in the books Boreal has already been going back and forth for years, it’s just we don’t find out about it till Subtle Knife

True, I suppose it’s a complaint about the structure, rather than about a perceived change in the plot.

Like Wert says, it’s normal for shows to bring stuff forward and have more of a disperse narrative than books.  Dublin Murders on BBC just adapted the first two books in one series and mixed them together (haven’t seen it so I don’t know if that worked).  On the other hand, shows often also use different worlds as a big moment at the end of a season.  Fringe comes to mind, I’m sure there’s other examples.

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@Krishtotter so i started my reread today. My perception is reinforced in that in the books Mrs. Coulter is initially portrayed as much more affectionate towards Lyra. (The tender bathing scene is even obliquely mentioned in passing). Of course our perception in the books is coloured by the knowledge that she is the one luring children away but certainly pre-cocktail party she is much less sinister than her show counterpart 

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On 11/13/2019 at 1:23 AM, Martini Sigil said:

I just found out about this from a previous poster... and i am very happy to be wrong... 

We talked about it earlier in the thread too. Before the show started airing. Hopefully they'll start on season 3 next year. *fingers crossed*

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8 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

@Krishtotter so i started my reread today. My perception is reinforced in that in the books Mrs. Coulter is initially portrayed as much more affectionate towards Lyra. (The tender bathing scene is even obliquely mentioned in passing). Of course our perception in the books is coloured by the knowledge that she is the one luring children away but certainly pre-cocktail party she is much less sinister than her show counterpart 

Interesting, I haven't read the books in more than a decade, so I had only faint memories of the finer details. 

Edited by Krishtotter

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It comes through to me as draggy and slow, and really, dull.

I quit watching the second ep last night, about 2/3 in, thinking, 'Later.  I'll come back later."

 

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The latest episode was potentially a tricky one because it's a bit of an in-between episode, having to join up the time between Lyra escaping from Mrs Coulter and getting to the North, but I think they did a decent job with it. Ruth Wilson continues to be a highlight, both in her walking along the edge of her balcony while her daemon looks on terrified and the confrontation with the Gyptian. I wondered before whether we would see Will in the first season and we have now seen him in photograph form, even if we may not see him in person.

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1 minute ago, BigFatCoward said:

Still not remotely impressed with why they have changed Lyra's whole personality. 

Yeah, it's a weird choice. And it surely must have been a deliberate choice of direction, becuase we've seen in Logan that Dafne Keene is totally capable of playing fierce and defiant.

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1 hour ago, BigFatCoward said:

Still not remotely impressed with why they have changed Lyra's whole personality. 

She is really unpleasant... it makes it hard to root for her, even though she's surrounded by evil... 

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1 hour ago, Liffguard said:

Yeah, it's a weird choice. And it surely must have been a deliberate choice of direction, becuase we've seen in Logan that Dafne Keene is totally capable of playing fierce and defiant.

So she didn't do "fierce and defiant" tonight?

I thought that was all she did..

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14 minutes ago, redriver said:

So she didn't do "fierce and defiant" tonight?

I thought that was all she did..

Petulant is the word I'd use 

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I suppose we're getting into semantics now.I guess book Lyra would not have let the raid on Mrs Coulter's place happen without her present?

Anyway for tv she can't just tell everyone she meets to fuck off, otherwise it would be an extremely long tv series.

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Mrs Coulter fighting like a monkey was awesome.

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6 hours ago, redriver said:

I suppose we're getting into semantics now.I guess book Lyra would not have let the raid on Mrs Coulter's place happen without her present?

Given that she spends a lot of time trying to join the Gyptian spies on their raids, she certainly would have tried to go with them.

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Has she even showed evidence of her lying yet? Lyra Silvertongue got her name for a reason. 

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51 minutes ago, BigFatCoward said:

Has she even showed evidence of her lying yet? Lyra Silvertongue got her name for a reason. 

There was a scene with Mrs Coulter in episode 2 where she made up a story about having long hair.

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