HIS DARK MATERIALS aired its first episode last night, Sunday, November 3, and viewers are excited to see the next show. But who are the gyptians and what are daemons?
His Dark Materials is based on author Philip Pullman’s book Northern Lights, also known as The Golden Compass in the US. The new series is airing on BBC One and HBO will show the first episode tonight, Monday, November 4. Here’s everything you need to know about the gyptians and the daemons.
Who are the Gyptians in His Dark Materials?
Gyptians are a group of people who live in the alternative world.
They are water travellers, mainly living onboard boats and making their way via the canals and rivers.
Their main source of income is trading goods wherever they go on their travels.
They are divided into families and the head of each family are part of the Gyptians’ Council which is ruled by King of the Gyptians John Faa (Lucian Msamati).
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What are daemons?
In the series, daemons are the external physical manifestation of people’s inner-selves which takes the form of an animal.
They are considered the person’s soul so when you see one of the characters talking to their animal, they are talking to a part of themselves.
But author Pullman said he didn’t always plan for there to be daemons in the book.
Speaking to RadioTimes, he said: “I didn’t know that Lyra had a dæmon until he turned up in that first sentence.
“I’d written the opening of the story at least 15 times and I couldn’t make it work because Lyra was on her own as she went into that room where she wasn’t supposed to go.
“She had no one to talk to. But with her very own dæmon, suddenly it worked.”
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Why do the daemons change?
Daemons do not change when the characters become adults, they only change for children.
So while Miss Coulter’s (Ruth Wilson) stays a monkey, Lyra’s (Dafne Keen) changes a lot in the first episode and will continue to do so throughout the eight part series.
In one scene, a ceremony is held for Gyptian boy Tony Costa (Daniel Frogson) whose daemon had achieved its final form.
The ceremony is a coming of age celebration for Tony as now his daemon is fixed, he has become an adult.
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Speaking to the Guardian, Keen said she had not read the trilogy before auditioning.
She said: “Now I’m a massive, massive fan. As soon as I read the books, I knew this was a good message to the world, and it’s important that we have stories about young girls, because there aren’t many.
“She [Lyra] taught me to speak up. Be bold, be brave, be yourself. Don’t follow rules, because rules can be useful, but they can be very stupid and pointless.”