With its soaring soundtrack, a cast of A-listers, as well as an incredible eye to detail, it was with much anticipation that season two of His Dark Materials finally landed this year. While Covid 19 (ugh!) has had an impact – with a spinoff episode with James McAvoy being scrapped due to safety reasons – it’s undeniable that many of us tuned in to escape the realities of the world right now.
After every episode, who gets the praise? Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter has had some praise, as has Lin Manuel Miranda in his role as Lee Scoresby. However, the Daemons – the animal representation of a human soul – have earnt a lot of praise. They look so real, and sometimes steal the show! So, here are the best Daemons of His Dark Materials – ranked.
The Golden Monkey
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When reading the His Dark Materials trilogy – or eve watching the programme – the Daemons always, always give hints as to the personality, the motives of the characters that they belong to. Many Daemons belonging to the Magisterium aligned individuals are often wolves, even snakes; think about what this suggests about them, given that the books could be taken as questioning the authority and leadership of religion.
Mrs Coulter is a woman who is exotic, enigmatic – and the passage that introduces her in the book describes her as being so. However, her Daemon is never given a name. We just know the Deamon as The Golden Monkey. The monkey is spiteful, vindictive – as well as suggesting that Mrs Coulter is manipulative.
Sayan Kotor – for John Parry
At last, the Parry family have finally been brought to life on screen! We don’t just have The Golden Compass to contend with! (We just need The Amber Spyglass to be brought to the screen.)
Sayan Kotor, John Parry’s Daemon, deserves a place on the list of best Daemons. Voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of Fleabag, there was a sense of mischief – especially when addressing Lee Scoresby, suggesting he was more a tortoise than the Hare in Aesop’s Fables.
Kaisa, Daemon for all witches
Read more: His Dark Materials Season 2 Episode 3 Review
The witches have Daemons – and cause a degree of consternation as they are able to separate from them, whereas the humans view this as being strictly taboo. Kasia is perhaps the most prominent of all the witch Daemons seen on screen.
In an oddly prophetic, almost ancient voice (for a bird that is so small), Kasia often foresees circumstances, nudges the dialogue, or keeps a check on all of the rest of the cast! He is like the untouchable university teacher – wise, dogged, loyal, and one that does not suffer fools lightly.
Hester – Lee Scoresby
Who could not love Lee Scoresby and his Daemon Hester? Arguably he is one of the only characters that does not have a vested interest or sinister intentions such as causing harm to – let us not forget – children.
Hester is the Daemon of Lee Scoresby – and has become quite a larger than life character. She also shows the more hidden side of Lee’s personality – the jack of all trades character, one familiar with a gunfight or pub brawl. In the episode introducing the duo in series one, we saw a pub brawl – where Lee was looking for “an armoured bear”. The confidence and swagger were slightly dented however by quite a fiery reaction – with Hester shouting orders in the background to keep Lee out of too much harm. Plus, some wallets, jewellery and watches were also stolen, too.
There was also an incredible confrontation scene with Ruth Wilson in the role of Mrs Coulter; the two characters share a childhood of similarities, one that obviously shaped them to the way they are today. One chose a path of light, the other chose a path of darkness – but both hide their vulnerabilities beneath the bravado. And Hester provided comfort when needed.
Pan – as a Red Panda – for Lyra
Read more: His Dark Materials Season 2 Episode 5 Review
One of the most recurring forms in season two of His Dark Materials is Pantalomin – or Pan – as the red panda. Lyra is not yet an adult and her Daemon has not settled – so Pan often takes a myriad of forms across all episodes.
First of all, can we just agree that red pandas are so incredibly cute? They are very fluffy, have huge eyes that are so soulful – and spend a lot of time lazily lulling around in the sun. Pan fulfils this – and is often the silent observer.
The form is also one of comfort. In a clever throwaway to the end of the trilogy, Pan lightly touches Will to offer comfort, as he has sustained an injury – but this is something that is incredibly taboo in Lyra’s world. (You must never ever touch a Deamon that is not your own.)
And a bear!
Lyra and Will are faced with a trap – and Lyra is ensnared by her mother, one who has previously said how she wishes to mould her daughter in her image, almost fashion her into something on a toy. Can we all just agree how awful that is? Plus, she also actively harms children.
However – to quote the last and penultimate episode that was broadcast – Lyra’s gift is obstinance. She reacts poorly and defensively to her mother – with Pan rapidly transforming into a huge bear. The bear attacks the Golden Monkey, and, by proxy. Mrs Coulter. The scene is a struggle of mother vs daughter and is very powerful.
And the tiny mouse who watched Paddington
One scene that was given a lot of love of Twitter was Pan as a tiny mouse – who is the best Daemon form by far. Lyra is in Will’s world – and is introduced to the concept of a cinema. And Pan? Hidden out of sight to not draw attention, he is in mouse form – and the cute eyes peek out of a pocket, to watch Paddington.
What do you think? What are your favourite Daemons? If you want to find out what your Daemon would be, you can take a BBC quiz by clicking here.
What do you make of this feature? Have you been enjoying His Dark Materials Season 2 so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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