How His Dark Materials' Biggest Change To The Books Is Already Paying Off

his dark materials season 2 will and lyra garden

Spoilers ahead for Episode 2 of His Dark Materials Season 2 on HBO, called "The Cave."

His Dark Materials returned this fall to begin the adaptation of the second book in Philip Pullman's novel trilogy, and the second episode saw Lyra and Will exploring Will's Earth while Mrs. Coulter and The Magisterium crossed more lines and struck a horrible blow against the witches on Lyra's Earth. The first season of the HBO series didn't follow the plot of the first book, called The Golden Compass, to the letter, and the same is true of the second season so far, but the show's biggest change to the books is already paying off in Season 2.

The biggest change from the His Dark Materials novels to the His Dark Materials show was arguably the introduction of Will Parry in Season 1, when Will doesn't appear in the books until the second installment, called The Subtle Knife. Amir Wilson made his unexpected debut as Will in Season 2, and viewers got to know him as a character before he crossed paths with Lyra in Cittàgazze. His relationship with his mom, the mystery of what happened to his dad, and what he left behind on his world were already established and at least somewhat fleshed out.

With Will already a multi-dimensional character heading into Season 2, His Dark Materials doesn't have to pull double duty in Season 2 on introducing Will and building his dynamic with Lyra into something fans should care about when there is so much else happening as well. Amir Wilson shares the top billing with Dafne Keen in the Season 2 credits; while they can't claim equal airtime at this point, they're at least on equal footing as the two leads of the show moving forward.

Considering how important Will is undoubtedly going to become sooner rather than later based on the events of The Subtle Knife that definitely won't be changed for Season 2, his Season 1 introduction will likely continue to pay off more and more. The show can move forward without telling Will's origin story in Season 2, and answers about his past are on the way. Also, as book readers undoubtedly noticed in "The Cave," His Dark Materials is already dropping nods to how the series is presumably going to end.

HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD for Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials novels. At the end of the novel trilogy, Will and Lyra make a promise to each other to visit the same bench in the Botanic Gardens in their respective worlds once a year, on the same date. In "The Cave," Will and Lyra spend some time on the Botanic Garden bench in his world, with Lyra opening up about the alethiometer. As a reader, the appearance of the bench was both a fun nod and an emotional reminder of where the story is going to end. END BOOK SPOILERS.

The plot is only going to thicken further for Will and Lyra following the events of "The Cave," and the trailer for the next episode reveals Lee Scoresby is in for a world of hurt, the witches are going to be reeling from The Magisterium's assault, and more. Take a look:

The next new episode of His Dark Materials airs on Monday, November 30 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. The second season will be shorter than originally planned, but still managed to complete all essential filming before the production shutdowns throughout the entertainment industry earlier in 2020, so viewers have a full season to look forward to.

For more viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere guide and 2021 winter and spring premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).