HIS DARK MATERIALS is a brand new fantasy adaptation of Philip Pullman’s series of fantasy books. Airing on Sunday evenings on BBC One, the new series introduced a number of new concepts to viewers in its opening episode, including scholastic sanctuary and the Magisterium. Here’s everything viewers need to know about the history behind these.
His Dark Materials is the BBC and HBO’s new fantasy epic, examining the world Philip Pullman created in his novels. These books imagine an alternate reality where humans have a daemon companion and people travel by air ships. There are also a number of institutions introduced in the new series, including the Magisterium and the premise of scholastic sanctuary.
What is the scholastic sanctuary in His Dark Materials?
His Dark Materials is now airing weekly on BBC One as a new fantasy television series.
The first episode introduced viewers to the fantasy world initially created by author Philip Pullman.
In Jack Thorne’s adaptation, there are a number of ideas introduced which play a big role in the novels.
This includes the premise of scholastic sanctuary, which Lord Asriel (played by James McAvoy) invokes when he delivers a baby Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen) to the doors of Jordan College, Oxford.
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In the series, this is invoked because the young girl is seemingly in danger after her parents are killed.
In Pullman’s novels, this idea is described as the idea of giving a child sanctuary in a scholastic place.
This is a common practice in the world created in his fantasy series but Lyra is thought to be the first child to receive this from Jordan College.
The sanctuary on offer also gives those in the place of learning the ability to question doctrine and study protected from the control of the Magisterium.
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What is the Magisterium in His Dark Materials?
The world of His Dark Materials is ruled by the Magisterium, which is an all-powerful church body.
Headquartered in Geneva, the church monitors doctrines implemented across the land, as well as scientific discoveries questioning its practices.
In Pullman’s trilogy, there exists a bible just like the one in this world and even had its own Papacy at one point.
Under the Pope John Calvin in the books, the seat of the church was moved to Geneva.
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Then after his death, the Magisterium was founded in its place in order to enforce rule across the world.
Given parallels to the growth of the Catholic Church, a number of comparisons have been drawn between the religions.
This even led to criticism from the Catholic League when the film adaptation of his novel was released back in 2007.
The religious organisation claimed the trilogy of books were anti-Catholic.
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However, there are also a number of differences between the two, such as how the religion developed as well as that change that Jesus was conceived by Gabriel the angel instead of by God.
In Pullman’s novels, the Magisterium is essential in Lyra’s story and it operates as one of the major antagonist forces that she must work against.
The primary focus of the church’s wrath is the proof of dust, which is an elemental particle that surrounds children before they go through puberty.
This, in the eyes of the Magisterium, is equatable to the original sin and free thought – two things it attempts to restrict.
These ideas are sure to be explored further in the upcoming episodes of the new BBC and HBO drama.