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OK, Let’s Talk About the Prophecy on His Dark Materials

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HBO’s His Dark Materials is gearing up for the season 2 finale, and forces are gathering for a big ol’ battle above the heads of our two heroes. Will and Lyra have spent the majority of the season getting to know and trust one another while dealing with relatively minor problems, but destiny awaits. So, let’s take a pause and break down everything we know about the prophecy surrounding Lyra on His Dark Materials, her “true name,” and what it all means.

At the beginning of the penultimate episode, “Malice,” the witches see a group of angels fly across the sky like shooting stars—like, actual angels. Just in time for Christmas! They’re gathering for war like everyone else and likely because of the prophecy that seems to be referring to Lyra, the girl “destined to bring about the end of destiny.”

The witches have talked about Lyra being the key to everything before, but in mostly vague terms and without revealing Lyra’s identity to the Magisterium. But the bad guys have caught wind and know who Lyra is now, and are ready to act.

My eyes pretty much glaze over every time those men from the Magisterium have a scene on His Dark Materials, but I guess it’s finally time to listen to what they’ve been saying.

A very nervous Fra Pavel, the priest, came to Cardinal MacPhail in “Malice,” to confess that he had consulted the alethiometer by asking “who is Lyra Belaqua,” per Mrs. Coulter’s request. He came across a name that witches know from a prophecy. Fra didn’t want to repeat it because he thought it was heresy … yikes.

“The name is her destiny,” he said, “It foretells she will be in the position of the one who brought about our downfall. Mother of us all. Cause of all sin. If it comes about that she is tempted by the serpent then it is likely she will fall. Dust and sin will triumph.” Now that the Magisterium knows about the prophecy, Lyra is on their radar.

Book spoilers for His Dark Materials ahead!

That name, if you didn’t pick it up from the heavy-handed Biblical context clues in the episode, is Eve. In His Dark Materials, she’s supposed to be like the second coming of Adam’s wife—you know, the one who allegedly brought original sin to the world because she was tempted by a serpent to taste an apple from the tree of knowledge, got cast out of Eden, and is low-key the reason men invented sexism in the first place, right? (I am neither a Biblical scholar nor am I a very religious person. Everything I know about Christianity, I learned from musical theatre.) Lyra is destined to do some repeated version of what Eve did, but this time saving the world instead of ending it.

The prophecy connects to Mary Malone, as well. She had a lovely detour playing Wendy Darling to the Lost Girls of Cittàgazze in this episode, but the reason she crossed over into the other worlds in the first place was to fulfill her own destiny, one that the angels in her computer (isn’t this world fun) told her about: “playing the serpent.” That likely means she will have to tempt Lyra in some way, though the specifics of that are unclear.

Does this make Will the Adam to Lyra’s Eve, since they are destined to travel together and protect one another? Maybe! Does this make Mary secretly a villain? Probably not, because in the world of His Dark Materials, we are certainly on the side of dust and Lyra, heretical as that may seem … and as it should be!

(image: HBO)

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Image of Leah Marilla Thomas
Leah Marilla Thomas
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!