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All The Questions We Have After HBO’s His Dark Materials Season 2 Finale

Lyra and Will in HBO's His Dark Materials.

Once you’ve calmed down after the death and destruction of the emotional His Dark Materials season 2 finale, let’s go over all of the unanswered questions the HBO series has left us with to ponder. The series has been renewed for a third season that will adapt The Amber Spyglass, the third book in Phillip Pullman’s trilogy.

Book readers know some of the answers to the questions the finale asks—and I’ve dropped a few of them here without revealing any of the endgame, as well as other, broader queries.

Where was Ruta Skadi at the beginning? 

She was in Svalbard, near where Lyra’s dad was at the end of season 1, trying to learn his plans. The witches really do whatever they want and travel between worlds at will, and we have to respect them for it.

What is the Æsahættr? 

You may have put this together from context clues, but the object that Ruta overheard those orc monkeys (which she calls cliff-ghasts) talking about is actually just another name for the subtle knife that Will bears—like how Lyra’s golden compass is also called the alethiometer. It needs to be delivered to Lord Asriel, which means that just after losing his own father, Will now has to go meet Lyra’s old man.

What did Seraphina whisper to Lee Scoresby?

The witch showed up too late to save the aeronaut’s life and rescue him from the Magisterium’s soldiers. (He really should have used his flower to call her to him earlier—but maybe he was so flustered by Jopari leaving that he forgot. It happens.) Seraphina was doing a protection spell on his body so he won’t be gobbled by vultures or spectres or anything.

Where is Mrs. Coulter taking Lyra? 

It’s no good and very bad that Lyra got kidnapped by her evil mother at the end of the finale. She’s taking her back to their home world and intends to keep her from fulfilling her destiny and “falling,” as the original Eve did. But where, exactly, and how she can possibly escape, remains to be seen …

Is Mrs. Coulter OK? 

I’m still not really interested in a redemption arc for Marisa Coulter. That said, I am fascinated by her relationship with her daemon and her ability to make herself so repressed and dead inside that the spectres leave her alone. Why doesn’t she let him talk? Why is she obsessed with scaring him? It’s so messed up.

Does Will have a daemon? 

Since his father’s daemon appeared to him upon traveling Lyra’s world, it seems like Will would also get one were he to follow in his father’s footsteps … right??

Is nobody else worried about the spectres? 

Everyone is so caught up in this angels and demons war that it doesn’t seem like enough people care that adults are getting massacred in the world of Cittàgazze. I hope somebody remembers to come back and rid their world of spectres so that people can live.

Why did Will’s dad have to die, too? 

I don’t know! I don’t like it either! Goodbye forever, Coachella Andrew Scott!

Does Mary Malone have any idea what she’s doing? 

We can only hope. She’s got her sticks to guide her, and that’d better be enough.

Why is Lord Asriel *literally* calling all angels?

Don’t freak out, but he wants to kill God. That’s the “Authority” they keep talking about. This series does not mess around. At the end of the episode, he’s gathering an army of cool kid rebel angels to join his cause, and they seem into it! There was actually supposed to be a standalone eighth episode this season that was all about James McAvoy’s character, but they had to stop filming because of the Covid-19 pandemic. So, if the end of the episode felt a little jarring, that’s why.

Was that Roger at the end?

Sure was. This is another book spoiler, but Lyra is having a sort of prophetic dream about him while drugged up and stowed away in her mother’s trunk—and he’s in the Land of the Dead. I won’t say anything more about what happens there or who else we find there, but everyone knows that a hero’s journey is not complete without a quick stop at the underworld. The Amber Spyglass can’t come soon enough!

(image: HBO)

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Leah Marilla Thomas (she/her) is a contributor at The Mary Sue. She has been working in digital entertainment journalism since 2013, covering primarily television as well as film and live theatre. She's been on the Marvel beat professionally since Daredevil was a Netflix series. (You might recognize her voice from the Newcomers: Marvel podcast). Outside of journalism, she is 50% Southerner, 50% New Englander, and 100% fangirl over everything from Lord of the Rings to stage lighting and comics about teenagers. She lives in New York City and can often be found in a park. She used to test toys for Hasbro. True story!