Fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy have been seriously looking forward to HBO’s adaptation of the series. Though we’ve admittedly been a little bit hesitant as well – we remember too well how badly an adaptation can go. But despite the hesitations, there are certainly elements of the series that we’re looking forward to seeing. And who can blame us?
Naturally, there are also things we’d be just as happy not seeing within this latest adaptation. But many of those concerns overlap with any other series getting adapted to television. With the first episode of the series being officially out now, we have a slightly better idea of what to expect. And thus, we now have a better idea of what is realistic in our hopes for the series. Here are five things from the books that we want to see in HBO's His Dark Materials and five that we don't.
10 We Want to See: A Full Variety of Daemons
Daemons are a vital part of every single person in the world Lyra grows up in. They are quite literally part of a person’s soul. When they’re younger, they have the ability to shift between a variety of different animals, based on their mood. But as they grow up, they stick with just one form that suits them best.
The first trailed of His Dark Materials somehow managed to avoid showing a single Daemon. This had fans more than a little bit concerned. While the later trailers (and first episode) helped to ease that concern, there was a moment there where we didn’t know how things were going to go.
We hope that the Daemons are shown with just as much frequency as any human (being half the population and all). But we’re also hoping that there will be a variety of Daemons as well. They can be anything, after all.
9 We Don’t Want to See: A Series of Rushed Plots
Any series as long as His Dark Materials is going to face one hard fact; material is going to get cut. There’s no way around it. However, there are ways that they can cut it that don’t result in the main plot (or the subplots) feeling rushed.
And that’s perhaps our biggest concern of this adaptation. Lyra’s journey is a complex one, with lots of moving pieces on the board. It’s going to take some fine writing and careful forethought to edit down this series. We’re hoping they do it justice.
8 We Want to See: Tasteful Updating
Otto Bathurst, the director for His Dark Materials, recently announced that they were going to change some elements of the series. He stated that it was mostly to make the series feel more modern as opposed to the Victorian-esque feeling of the novels.
It’ll be interesting to see how those changes go. Some fans probably won’t love them, regardless of how well they’re done (because it is a deviation from the core material). But many others (ourselves included) will settle for them doing a decent job with the changes.
7 We Don’t Want to See: Too Much Change
Speaking of changes being made to the series; we’re seriously hoping that they don’t go overboard with them. Any book lover has known the pain of seeing their favorite novel get adapted into a movie, only for it to be something completely different from the source material. It’s a tale as old as time (or at least, as old as adaptations).
And that’s one of our major concerns here. The trailers are making it look like this won’t be the case – but trailers have fooled fans in the past. So we’re just left crossing our fingers and hoping they limit their changes to a reasonable amount.
6 We Want to See: Lyra
Okay, obviously Lyra is going to be in the series. She’s the entire focal point of the series. What we mean to say is, we want the Lyra in the HBO series to be just like the Lyra described in the books. She’s quite a character – and one that they’re going to have to get spot-on in order for the rest of the series to hold any water.
We don’t think we’re asking for too much here. Though we should probably also mention that we’re hoping Pan will also be exactly like we pictured him – multiple shifts between forms included. Their relationship would perhaps be the third addition to this segment. While their relationship changes in later parts of the series, the early part perfectly shows what a relationship between a human and their Daemon should be.
5 We Don’t Want to See: All the Heartbreak (Sort of)
His Dark Materials is a series that has torn out the hearts of fans, stomped on them, and then proudly handed them back. And we both want and don’t want that with the HBO series. Of course, we want all the plots to be the same. We just perhaps don’t want to be as emotionally ruined this time around. Or do we?
Realistically, there’s no way they could ever cut out the parts that make us hurt so much, and we probably wouldn’t want them to either. But we can at least pretend that those moments aren’t looming on the horizon.
4 We Want to See: All The Scenery
His Dark Materials boasts several different settings. Some are more down to earth yet whimsical for a child, such as Jordan College (where Lyra grew up). Others are dynamic or downright terrifying landscapes. And trust us; Lyra’s journey brought her to plenty of different places.
We’re hoping to see at least a fraction of the locations described within the series. Though obviously, we’d prefer to see them all. We’ll take what we can get while hoping for more. And of course, we’re hoping that these scenes match what has been pictured in our mind’s eye.
3 We Don’t Want to See: Cut Subplots
We've already briefly touched upon this subject, but we're going to say it again for the people in the back: We don't want to see all of the subplots cut from His Dark Materials. Fans of the series know full well just how important many of the subplots become, after all.
It probably goes without saying that we refuse to consider a series that doesn't showcase all of Lyra's plots, or Rogers, or Will's, for that matter. Basically, there are just some parts of the series that cannot be removed. End of story.
2 We Want to See: The Mystery and Powers of the Alethiometer
The Alethiometer is a major element in His Dark Materials. For those needing a refresher, the Alethiometer is a device that looks shockingly like a compass – but isn't one. And yes, that is directly connected with the title for the first book. And with good reason.
The Alethiometer uses Dust to find answers for those that know how to use and read it – such as Lyra. And honestly? We're really looking forward to seeing how HBO's series handles everything about it. From the design itself, to how it represents any visions granted by the Alethiometer.
1 We Don’t Want to See: The ‘Movie’ Treatment
Many a beloved book has been turned into a less than stellar movie, and the His Dark Materials trilogy is no exception. Many fans didn't even bother seeing the movie version that came out back in 2007, and some even try to (justifiably) forget its existence.
Naturally, we're hoping things go quite a bit better this time around. Though that might not be saying much. Regardless, we're hoping for something better than a low-quality movie treatment.