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I really liked this episode, much more immersed in the narrative than I was in the rather exposition-heavy pilot.

I think Dafne Keen really found her feet as Lyra in this one, she acted the role excellently. 

Ruth Wilson, again, was a revelation on screen. I loved those delicate moments when she was by herself, looking in the empty bathtub after Lyra had washed or with tears streaming down her cheeks outside Lyra's door after her psycho moment and reveal that Asriel was Lyra's father. And indeed the truly evil scene where she burnt the childrens letters to their mothers and without a shred of empathy went, "aww".

And then her overt sociopath turn when the mask fell and she allowed her daemon to callously torture Lyra's, was appropriately chilling.

I'm still not sold on the Gyptians. Remains the weakest dimension of the plot by far.

Edited by Krishtotter

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Meant to say that its a bit curious they don’t have her as she does in the books, luring the children into captivity herself. The letter burning was well done however

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Mrs Coulter seems to be a more subtle character than in the book. Wilson really does a masterful job, how are you going to feel sorry for this evil person? But you do.

Still not convinced by Lyra performance but I now think that the awkward acting is more a choice by Dafne Keen.  Will Keen, the priest guy, who I just found out is her father, does an excellent job too.

 

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1 hour ago, john said:

Mrs Coulter seems to be a more subtle character than in the book. Wilson really does a masterful job, how are you going to feel sorry for this evil person? But you do.

Jack Thorne does appear to have written her as a more layered and conflicted villain than she is in the books, where we are never privy to any tender moments.

But I think such a characterisation, as well as making for more compelling television, could work towards the audience making more sense of...

Spoiler

Her ultimate decision in The Amber Spyglass to sacrifice herself to protect Lyra, by seducing the Archangel Metatron (in the hope that he would see not one shred of goodness in her) and then jumping into the Abyss along with her old lover Asriel.

Based purely on her literary version, I recall some readers at the time regarded Mrs Coulter's self-sacrifice and genuine love for her daughter to be out of character for the truly evil individual otherwise depicted, the child-abductress-in-chief. 

I also think this was foreshadowed by Thorne in this episode, in the scene where she and Lyra are seated on the balcony at her apartment and Mrs Coulter goes into a sort of weird reflective moment where says that she doesn't like heights because she's often thought about "just jumping off".

Ominous in view of how she dies.

....I've not read the books since I was a young teen but I do feel this version of Mrs Coulter's character could more convincingly develop as a character in the manner she does later on, compared with her book version.

D&D did much the same for Headey's Cersei Lannister (like Coulter much more one-dimensionally sociopathic on paper) but they seized upon her love for her children, this one redeeming quality, and expanded upon it. 

Mrs Coulter, likewise, has a soft spot for her daughter Lyra - a growing affection that seems to disturb her (given how amoral and lacking in conscience she is).

From my recollection, Coulter had to give Lyra up didn't she, because in her highly religious, theocratic society her adulterous affair with Asriel was especially scandalous and if exposed would have led to her loss of standing in society? 

Wilson's tears outside Lyra's door appeared to me to be a kind of expression of that hidden pain, which she might not even have consciously admitted to herself before.

Edited by Krishtotter

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12 hours ago, williamjm said:

They've done a great job with Pan and with showing the viciousness of the golden monkey. The daemons do give an extra way to show characterisation both in their reactions and in how their humans interact with them.

It's been over a decade since I read the original trilogy, so I can't remember whether Lyra saw the monkey running about on its own in the book? It would fit in well with parts of The Secret Commonwealth.

I agree, all the scenes with Ruth Wilson and Dafne Keen were great. I thought Kidman was good in the role but Wilson seems almost born to play this.

 

What I like is that the golden monkey does not look 'comically evil'. If anything he just looks severe and scary, implacable - like he's masking his feelings, much like Mrs Coulter. Actually I loved the bit where Lyra says 'you got angry... you're still angry now'. It shows that Lyra finds it normal to defy authority and she clearly isn't scared of doing so (i.e. she hasn't had that beaten out of her) AND she knows exactly how to rile Mrs Coulter the most - by pointing out her loss of control. You often see that in families where people know exactly how to prod someone to get a reaction.

Ok, so that bit where the monkey was in a room, then Mrs Coulter was coming from the opposite end of the corridor, and then SUDDENLY the monkey was next to her coming from the opposite direction of where it had just been. How did it do that? (super fast transit through the vents? WITCHCRAFT???).

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9 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Talking about the above spoiler and how good a job they have done with the daemons and i can already see im going to be a blubbering wreck when we get to

  Reveal hidden contents

Scorseby and Hester’s final stand....good lord

No. No. No. We cannot even think about this yet.

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1 hour ago, Isis said:

No. No. No. We cannot even think about this yet.

It seems weird but I’m really looking forward to that.  One of my favourite *ahem* scenes.  Pullman is very good at those, there’s one in the second Sally Lockhart book too, a real gut kick.

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Just a gut feeling --and I truly hope I'm wrong-- but I don't think this show will last.... Between the big budget, it airing on Monday nights,  along with it being awkwardly positioned (is it a kids show?).... I just don;t think it'll have the numbers it needs to make into a second season... As much as I'll no doubt enjoy it personally, I think Watchmen will steal its thunder among the nerd watching masses

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@Martini Sigil

 

Second season is already approved and in the process of filming or has even completed filming. They wanted to make sure Dafne Keen didn't age too much, so they were already rolling cameras even before the premiere.

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Watched the first two episodes, top production values....still waiting for the story to grab me.I have not read the books but are the bad guys as unsubtle in the books as on the show? Very much Moustache Twirling Types on the show so far..,

Dialogue is very wooden too.

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8 hours ago, Krishtotter said:

Jack Thorne does appear to have written her as a more layered and conflicted villain than she is in the books, where we are never privy to any tender moments.

But I think such a characterisation, as well as making for more compelling television, could work towards the audience making more sense of...

  Hide contents

Her ultimate decision in The Amber Spyglass to sacrifice herself to protect Lyra, by seducing the Archangel Metatron (in the hope that he would see not one shred of goodness in her) and then jumping into the Abyss along with her old lover Asriel.

Based purely on her literary version, I recall some readers at the time regarded Mrs Coulter's self-sacrifice and genuine love for her daughter to be out of character for the truly evil individual otherwise depicted, the child-abductress-in-chief. 

I also think this was foreshadowed by Thorne in this episode, in the scene where she and Lyra are seated on the balcony at her apartment and Mrs Coulter goes into a sort of weird reflective moment where says that she doesn't like heights because she's often thought about "just jumping off".

Ominous in view of how she dies.

....I've not read the books since I was a young teen but I do feel this version of Mrs Coulter's character could more convincingly develop as a character in the manner she does later on, compared with her book version.

It probably helps her look a bit more rounded that we're not just seeing her through Lyra's eyes.

8 hours ago, Isis said:

What I like is that the golden monkey does not look 'comically evil'. If anything he just looks severe and scary, implacable - like he's masking his feelings, much like Mrs Coulter. Actually I loved the bit where Lyra says 'you got angry... you're still angry now'. It shows that Lyra finds it normal to defy authority and she clearly isn't scared of doing so (i.e. she hasn't had that beaten out of her) AND she knows exactly how to rile Mrs Coulter the most - by pointing out her loss of control. You often see that in families where people know exactly how to prod someone to get a reaction.

Lyra does seem to know just how to wind her up, although it's probably partly because while Mrs Coulter is very much in control of every other aspect of her life she clearly has no idea how to deal with an uncooperative child.

7 hours ago, john said:

It seems weird but I’m really looking forward to that.  One of my favourite *ahem* scenes.  Pullman is very good at those, there’s one in the second Sally Lockhart book too, a real gut kick.

Are the Sally Lockhart books any good? I've only read Pullman's five novels in the HDM setting.

3 hours ago, Martini Sigil said:

Just a gut feeling --and I truly hope I'm wrong-- but I don't think this show will last.... Between the big budget, it airing on Monday nights,  along with it being awkwardly positioned (is it a kids show?).... I just don;t think it'll have the numbers it needs to make into a second season... As much as I'll no doubt enjoy it personally, I think Watchmen will steal its thunder among the nerd watching masses

I don't know what the US ratings are like but it had the biggest ratings for a first episode on UK TV in the last five years. The second episode did drop off a bit, but that's fairly standard.

As Ran says, they're already filming season 2 so the real question is whether we get a third season or not.

41 minutes ago, AncalagonTheBlack said:

Watched the first two episodes, top production values....still waiting for the story to grab me.I have not read the books but are the bad guys as unsubtle in the books as on the show? Very much Moustache Twirling Types on the show so far..,

The portrayal of the Magisterium is fairly true to the books but as the story progresses there are some much more morally ambiguous characters introduced.

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I found the later books far less compelling when we moved from Lyra to centering Will.  I did read all three, though not the new one -- the trilogy didn't leave me with that level of interest in either the universe(s) or the characters.  I did though, really like the conclusion -- they lost something, which is necessary in a quest of saving the world fantasy.  I genuinely felt a welling of sadness on their behalf.

 

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1 hour ago, williamjm said:

Are the Sally Lockhart books any good? I've only read Pullman's five novels in the HDM setting.

Yeah, they’re great.  I really like Pullman’s clear, descriptive prose and I think he’s better when he’s not going off on flights of fancy.  You can see it in parts of the HDM books, especially the Book of Dust, where he skilfully melds tight thriller type writing with affecting emotional stuff.  The Sally Lockhart books are like that all the way through.

Not that I’m saying the series is better than HDM, it’s not because the ideas aren’t as strong, but for a simpler adventure story sort of for children they’re very good.

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7 hours ago, Ran said:

@Martini Sigil

 

Second season is already approved and in the process of filming or has even completed filming. They wanted to make sure Dafne Keen didn't age too much, so they were already rolling cameras even before the premiere.

Well, this makes me happy... thanks... this is one of those instances where I love being wrong

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17 hours ago, Krishtotter said:

Jack Thorne does appear to have written her as a more layered and conflicted villain than she is in the books, where we are never privy to any tender moments.

But I think such a characterisation, as well as making for more compelling television, could work towards the audience making more sense of...

  Hide contents

Her ultimate decision in The Amber Spyglass to sacrifice herself to protect Lyra, by seducing the Archangel Metatron (in the hope that he would see not one shred of goodness in her) and then jumping into the Abyss along with her old lover Asriel.

Based purely on her literary version, I recall some readers at the time regarded Mrs Coulter's self-sacrifice and genuine love for her daughter to be out of character for the truly evil individual otherwise depicted, the child-abductress-in-chief. 

I also think this was foreshadowed by Thorne in this episode, in the scene where she and Lyra are seated on the balcony at her apartment and Mrs Coulter goes into a sort of weird reflective moment where says that she doesn't like heights because she's often thought about "just jumping off".

Ominous in view of how she dies.

....I've not read the books since I was a young teen but I do feel this version of Mrs Coulter's character could more convincingly develop as a character in the manner she does later on, compared with her book version.

D&D did much the same for Headey's Cersei Lannister (like Coulter much more one-dimensionally sociopathic on paper) but they seized upon her love for her children, this one redeeming quality, and expanded upon it. 

Mrs Coulter, likewise, has a soft spot for her daughter Lyra - a growing affection that seems to disturb her (given how amoral and lacking in conscience she is).

From my recollection, Coulter had to give Lyra up didn't she, because in her highly religious, theocratic society her adulterous affair with Asriel was especially scandalous and if exposed would have led to her loss of standing in society? 

Wilson's tears outside Lyra's door appeared to me to be a kind of expression of that hidden pain, which she might not even have consciously admitted to herself before.

My recollection may be off (just about to reread having finished The Secret Commonwealth) but i always thouht Mrs. Coulter was portrayed as having genuine affection for Lyra, albeit being so totally fucked up, the way she shows this is....er, you know, questionable. But i do seem to recall she is introduced as far less sinister initially, gradually appearing more so the more we learn of her. Just thinking of one example - her interference with the procedure when she sees Lyra about to be cut

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I'm only now appreciating the existential horror of it all, having been separated from my mobile phone for like, half an hour.

I've heard rumours that the third instalment of the Book of Dust gets into really dark territory.

Spoiler

Well having met God already,the series culminates in some sort of diabolical plot wherein Donald Trump gets excised from his Twitter account.

But I'm not saying who wins......

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15 hours ago, Martini Sigil said:

Just a gut feeling --and I truly hope I'm wrong-- but I don't think this show will last.... Between the big budget, it airing on Monday nights,  along with it being awkwardly positioned (is it a kids show?).... I just don;t think it'll have the numbers it needs to make into a second season... As much as I'll no doubt enjoy it personally, I think Watchmen will steal its thunder among the nerd watching masses

You are wrong. Second season has already completed filming.

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17 hours ago, Isis said:

You are wrong. Second season has already completed filming.

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

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I really dont know why they arent playing her more like book Lyra. She was awesome. This Lyra is far more wet. 

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