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My Favorite Character From HBO’s His Dark Materials Shouldn’t Have Died, Again

I said what I said, and I don't regret it.

Lee Scoresby in HBO's His Dark Materials

Lee Scoresby dying on HBO’s His Dark Materials never should’ve happened. And yes, I understand that The Subtle Knife came out in 1997. Philip Pullman’s second book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, which the second season of His Dark Materials is based on, ripped out the hearts of its fans and left them reeling at Lee Scoresby’s death ages ago.

And the thought of having to wait three years in 1997 for The Amber Spyglass to come out sounds like the kind of pain I like to avoid. Maybe that’s why I missed out on the series when it initially came out in 1995. Maybe my inner Lyra was like, “No, avoid the pain. Go and read some other young adult fantasy novel. Save yourself.”

But here we are, in the darkest timeline if you’ve read any of our news coverage, still reeling over the death of Lee Scoresby. At least those who read the books had years to deal with his death. They went through the stages of grief. I haven’t. I’m still in anger, shock, and disbelief that someone so amazing could be struck down when there were a plethora of things that he could still do for His Dark Materials.

Part of it is due to Lin-Manuel Miranda. I’m one of the only people I know that thought Hamilton was fantastic, but not obsession-worthy, which … mad respect if you spiraled big time on Hamilton and know all the songs. Sing loud, sing proud. But it didn’t work out that way for me. And when Miranda came onto His Dark Materials, I knew him as “that guy from Hamilton and oh yeah, Moana too!”

As time passed, and I got to know both the character and the actor, I fell in love. Scoresby knew what he wanted in life and went after it. He didn’t let anything hold him back, not his past or the Magisterium, and he loved fiercely, no matter if he knew you for only a couple weeks or his whole life. And Miranda? He showed me how talented, poised, funny, and amazing he was as an actor.

Part of me feels like I should’ve known better. His Dark Materials made it clear in season one that this was a story about Lyra. (Not me. The book version of Lyra, I mean.) The adults were secondary, and I should’ve seen the signs coming when Will came around and became a core part of the show, too. But I was too taken in with Lee Scoresby, his daemon Hester, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, that I dived in without hesitation.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it. Miranda is an unmatched talent and maybe I’ll look upon Hamilton with fresh eyes now. And isn’t that the point of watching TV, movies, and reading books? To experience the lives of many instead of just your own? But I can still be mad. I can still feel robbed. And I can still feel like Scoresby’s journey was not complete.

His Dark Materials should’ve deviated from The Subtle Knife. They should’ve given Lee more bullets, had Serafina Pekkala arrive faster, or had John Parry actually do something useful like help in holding back the Magisterium with whatever magic he had. Instead, the show let Lee Scoresby die. They let his journey end, and I don’t think time is going to help me get past that.

(image: HBO)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.