THE UPSHOT
Lyra continues her disruptive streak by destroying the intercision machine in Bolvangar and tricking Iofur Raknison out of his kingdom in these two fast-paced episodes.

Writers: Jack Thorne, Philip Pullman (books)
Cast: Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Anne-Marie Duff, Clarke Peters, James McAvoy
Streaming on: Hotstar Premium

Lyra shows her skill at trickery

Mrs Coulter arrives in Bolvangar in episode six. At the same time, Lyra is chosen to be the next victim of intercision, the process by which children and severed from their daemons. She’s thrown kicking and screaming into the contraption and released only when Mrs Coulter sees her.

In Mrs Coulter’s custody, Lyra shows she has a knack of tricking people into doing what she wants. Feigning acquiescence, she fools Mrs Coulter and escapes the room. She then wrecks the intercision machine. Meanwhile, the Gyptians arrive to rescue the children. Lyra then sets off to look for Lord Asriel, her father, in Lee Scoresby’s balloon. An attack from creatures called cliffghasts causes Lyra to fall out of the balloon, into the icy wilderness.

The armoured bears go head-to-head

Episode seven contains the scene every reader of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy will be eager to see. It has to do with the fight between the two armoured bears, rivals Iofur Raknison and Iorek Byrnison. Lyra lands near Iofur Raknison’s palace and is taken hostage. Iofur is a vain bear whose great ambition is to be human. This makes him foolish. He guards Asriel at Mrs Coulter’s bidding. But Asriel has convinced Iofur to allow him to continue his experiments with dust, a subject considered heretical by the Magisterium. Now Lyra tricks Iofur into believing that she’s Iorek’s daemon and that she’s willing to change sides. But first, Iofur must defeat Iorek in single combat.

Iorek shows up to save Lyra. He engages Iofur in single combat, defeating his old enemy. It’s a remarkably realistic scene that will remind you of Nat Geo shows of polar bears sparring on ice caps. Iorek regains his kingdom now that Iofur is dead. Lyra leaves to find Asriel. But once she does, she finds she’s not exactly welcome. Meanwhile, in the other world, Will deals with strangers interested in letters left by his explorer father, who may or may not be alive.

Sometimes parents are nasty people

Both the kids, Lyra and Will, display a capacity for love and compassion despite being disappointed by parents and knocked about by life. The adults, on the other hand, behave despicably. Lyra is constantly baffled by adults. In the real world, her sentiment is echoed by Swedish climate warrior Greta Thunberg, who has called out adults for ruining the earth. What would the world be like without children? A dark, horrific place, Pullman seems to be saying.

For recaps of previous episodes, see here.