Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson tease big things ahead in His Dark Materials season 3

Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson in His Dark Materials season 2. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO
Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson in His Dark Materials season 2. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO /

The third and final season of His Dark Materials premieres tonight on HBO! Will the show do justice to Philip Pullman’s beloved fantasy trilogy, or will the series disappoint at the finish line?

There are no better people to ask than Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson, who play lead characters Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry. Lyra and Will have gone on a whirlwind journey these past two seasons, befriending talking polar bears, wielding dimension-rending knives, and running from a theocratic dictatorship that wants to use them for its own ends. It’s been anything but easy, but Dafne Keen thinks Lyra has come out the other end a stronger, better-adjusted person.

“I think the blows softened her as opposed to hardened,” Keen told SyFy Wire. “They momentarily hardened her and then at the end of the day, they ended up softening her. Meeting Will softened her and made her more considerate and sweeter, and more empathetic than she was in the beginning. What’s cool about Lyra is that she isn’t a nice character to begin with. She’s an arrogant, bratty, slightly annoying 13-year-old and she ends up being a very strong, empathetic, good young woman, which is what makes her so remarkable.”

"I think what’s interesting about Lyra is how horrible her parents are and how surprisingly well she’s turned out. And now I think Lyra and Will are the living proof, well actually Will isn’t, because Will did grow up with his Mom, but Lyra is the living proof that family is who you choose to be your family. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your biological family. Your biological family can be horrible and it’s the family that you choose and the people that you decide to love you and to love back that matter."

Lyra’s parents are the megalomaniacal Lord Asriel (James McAvoy), who is assembling an army to kill God; and the cold-as-ice Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson), who invented a machine designed to separate people’s souls from their bodies. If Lyra couldn’t find family elsewhere, she’d be in for a very rough time of it.

Dafne Keen wants to stick as close as possible to the His Dark Materials books

The TV show has stuck fairly close to Pullman’s books, in part because people like Keen are keeping the faith. “I know that all the people watching the show love the books, most of them, and it’s just kind of trusting Philip [Pullman] on it. And I just trying to be as loyal to Philip’s word as possible and just, yeah, I think that’s been the hardest bit, trying to stick to what Lyra is as opposed to going rogue, if that makes sense,” she said. “With obviously adding a twist to it, my own creative twist. But yeah, just kind of the pressure of how she’s so beloved.”

Speaking to Digital Spy, Amir Wilson talked about the “pressure” of playing a character many readers know but haven’t seen onscreen before. “And it’s always hard when doing things that have such a big fanbase, because you really want to do the fans justice, as to what they had envisioned,” he said. “But you can only just turn up to set, do your best, and just hope that people like it.”

"It is always a bit hard. It’s a lot more judgement from people when it’s a character that’s been portrayed before, and people have such a strong attachment to it."

Speaking of Will, when last we left him, his father John Parry had given him instructions to take the Subtle Knife — that’s the dimension-rending blade we mentioned earlier — and get it to Lyra’s father Lord Asriel. But with Lyra missing in action, it seems unlikely the ever-loyal Will is going to just abandon her. “He has to make the decision of whether to go with his father’s wishes or go with his wishes, which are to find Lyra,” Wilson said. “And he goes with his own wishes. They go on this crazy adventure into Lands of the Dead, into new and unseen worlds. But that’s always in the back of his head, fulfilling what his father does.”

Wilson is teasing what promises to be an exciting, strange season; The Amber Spyglass is the longest and weirdest book in his trilogy, and I hope the show does it justice.

And at the end of the day, the whole thing will have a wholesome message, as Keen breaks down for us: “Love conquerors all.”

Next. The first Game of Thrones Official Fan Convention is coming. dark

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