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Characters / His Dark Materials Series

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This page relates to characters seen in the 2019 TV series adaptation of His Dark Materials.

For the characters as portrayed in the book trilogy and subsequent sequel series, see here.

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Lyra's World

Central Characters


Lyra Silvertongue (née Belacqua)
Lyra and Pan

Played By: Dafne Keen

She, along with her dæmon, Pan, begins the series as a the 12-year old ward of the prestigious Jordan College in Oxford, with the occasional visits from her presumed uncle Lord Asriel. She is quickly forced to grow up after the disappearance of her best friend, Roger, and being thrust into a world of danger and intrigue.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Lyra has not ever been told how to read the alethiometer, and does so by instinct. Considering reading an alethiometer is usually a difficult task even by those who have been taught how to use them, this is a very significant skill.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Her relationship with her mother, Mrs. Coulter, is antagonistic in nature, due to her mother's controlling nature. By the end of the first season, her relationship with her father has also broken down, after he killed her best friend.
  • Broken Pedestal: Suffers from this in the season one finale, when her father, Asriel, kills her best friend, Roger.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": After Iorek dubs her "Lyra Silvertongue", she prefers to be called that instead of Lyra Belacqua, particularly in light of her unpleasant relationship with both her parents.
  • The Chosen One: A prophecy states she will bring about "the end of destiny".
  • Escape Artist: Boreal even calls Lyra "The escape artist".
  • Guile Hero: Lyra is skilled at tricking people. It's what got her dubbed "Lyra Silvertongue" by Iorek.
  • Oh, Crap!: When she realises that she's standing in Bolvangar.
  • Tomboy: Lyra is snarky, adventurous, enjoys getting dirty and couldn't care less about girly things. She doesn't even wants to be girly and struggles with with this when Mrs. Coulter tries to turn her into a Proper Lady.


Voiced By: Archie Barnes

Lyra's dæmon, her more patient and prudent other half. He prefers the form of a white mustelid, usually a pine marten.

    Mrs. Coulter 

Mrs. Marisa Coulter and The Golden Monkey
Marisa and the Monkey

Played By: Ruth Wilson

Begins the series as mysterious and beguiling figure, who takes custody of Lyra from Jordan. She appears on the surface to be a wealthy academic, but is soon revealed to be much more.
  • Abusive Parents: She is one to Lyra. Lee speculates she was also a victim of this, and while she doesn't confirm it, her reaction implies he was right.
  • Adaptational Dye-Job: Of a sort. Mrs Coulter had black hair in the original trilogy, but after being impressed by Nicole Kidman's performance in the Golden Compass movie, Philip Pullman decided he had been "wrong" and Mrs Coulter was blonde, and so she was stated to be blonde in The Collectors and The Book of Dust. Despite this, in the TV series she has black hair as she was first depicted.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: She has legitimate anger management issues and teeters on the edge of being a full-blown psychopath.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: She doesn't treat her dæmon very well, often hurting it when she's angered. Considering dæmons are peoples souls, this implies a lot about her mindset.
  • Control Freak: Ruth Wilson describes her as such, and her actions support this belief, particularly in regards to Lyra.
  • Education Mama: During the period when Lyra was in her custody, not only did Marisa subject her to hours and hours of intense study every day but tried on every occasion to force her to act like a Proper Lady at the cost of inciting her dæmon against that of her daughter if she rebelled.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She seems to genuinely believe that everything she's doing is for Lyra's sake. Unfortunately, the two have VERY different ideas on what's best for her.
  • The Fashionista: No matter where she is, Marisa is always on point with her clothing, always elegant and neat. She manages to avert the Limited Wardrobe by having a new set of clothing every episode. Compared to her film counterpart, who wore outfits with flashy style. Her here clothes are distinguished by being simpler (but always elegant) from this point of view, distinguishing themselves instead for the livelier colors such as blue, indigo, dark red, or teal and precious fabrics such as silk and velvet.
  • Faux Affably Evil: She's very good at appearing like an ally or even friend to those around her, but this usually masks sinister motives.
  • Femme Fatale: A necessity for her schemes, given that she works in an almost entirely male organization of celibate priests.
  • Ghostwriter: She is an accomplished scientist and academic in her own right, but the misogyny of the Magisterium prevents her from gaining a doctorate. She is therefore forced to publish her scientific papers under the names of some of her male colleagues. She deeply resents this.
  • Mama Bear: A twisted version. She genuinely wants to protect Lyra, but her methods of doing so are not only against Lyra's own wishes, but can be outright abusive in nature.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The fanservice is almost lacking in this series, but Marisa stands out for being a beautiful woman who always wears elegant dresses and clothing that accentuates her figure, and her body language can be very seductive at times.
  • Manipulative Bastard: She has a habit of manipulating people, particularly those in power in the Magisterium, for her own ends. It's no wonder where Lyra gets it from. By Season 2, it's grown to near-supernatural levels when she is actually able to psychologically manipulate the Spectres, who are full-on eldritch abominations.
  • The Woman Behind The Man: By Season 2, she has become this to Cardinal Sturrock. It's almost immediately nullified by his death, but she does manage to manipulate Macphail into pretty much giving her carte blanche in the Magisterium.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Her experiments have harmed an unknown amount of children, and she fully intended to continue them.

The Golden Monkey

Voiced By: Uncredited

Mrs. Coulter's dæmon, her more bestial and outwardly emotional other half. He prefers not to speak to anyone but Marisa, and is often the menacing to her sweet.

    Lord Asriel 

Lord Asriel Belaqua
Asriel and Stelmaria

Played By: James McAvoy

A hot-blooded experimental theologian, member of Jordan College, and Lyra's nominal guardian and uncle at the start of the series. His heretical studies often get him in hot water with the Magisterium. His dæmon, Stelmaria, takes the form of a Snow Leopard.
  • Can't Stop the Signal: Is fully aware that opening a portal to other worlds will have this effect for the Magisterium, who won't be able to deny such things with proof so blatantly available.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: How he acts when Lyra arrives at his laboratory before seeing Roger is an indication that something is very, very wrong.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: His goal is revealed to be to confront The Authority, the God of the setting.
  • Screw Destiny: He values free will over destiny. It's his motive for wanting to confront The Authority.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Kills Roger in the season 1 finale to create a portal to other worlds.


Voiced By: Helen McCrory

Lord Asriel's dæmon, a quiet yet intense snow leopard.


Lee Scoresby
Lee and Hester

Played By: Lin-Manuel Miranda

The rakish Texan aeronaut-for-hire who can keep his head in a crisis. He starts off the series working for the highest bidder, but comes to sympathize with the Gyptian cause, and bonds with Lyra.
  • Age Lift: In the books, he's middle aged and weathered. In the series, he's approaching middle age, but still has a youthful energy.
  • Badass Longcoat: A brown leather one that fits his general cowboy image.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His father used to beat him, once to the point he couldn't even walk for weeks.
  • Declaration of Protection: Vows to protect Lyra at all costs.
  • Genre Refugee: He's a Steampunk cowboy in a Diesel Punk arctic setting.
  • The Gunslinger: An ace shot. He shoots and kills all the Magisterium soldiers he fights in the season 2 finale before succumbing to his injuries.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dies in the season 2 finale so John can escape an attack by the Magisterium.
  • Made of Iron: His Last Stand sees him take two bullets and still keep shooting before he's finally brought down.
  • Nice Hat: One befitting his cowboy aesthetic.
  • Papa Wolf: He begins to view Lyra as a daughter figure, with all the protectiveness that comes with that.


Voiced By: Cristela Alonzo

Lee's dæmon, an inquisitive but snarky arctic hare who would prefer Lee kept his head down and got paid.

Lord Carlo Boreal / Charles Latrom
Lord Boreal

Played By: Ariyon Bakare

A powerful figure within the Magisterium, who is often assigned to investigate "Heretics". However, his ambitions extend dangerously beyond his superiors' boundaries. His dæmon is a snake named Grizel, whom he often hides within the folds of his suit.
  • Adaptational Badass: Boreal in the series is far more ruthless and intimidating than the Smug Snake Big Bad Wannabe he was in the books.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: In the books, he was a British spy during the Cold War in Will's world, and has a fully-established identity, and it's implied his knighthood may be real. Because of the Setting Update, this is changed, and in Will's world he is only a wealthy man who's good at bribing people.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: He only appeared briefly in Northern Lights, playing a more prominent role in The Subtle Knife. In this adaptation, he's already been around for a series before that.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Possible the biggest in the first series. Much of the first series is dedicated to his search for Grummann and antics in Will's world - a story thread which never appeared in Northern Lights.
  • Ambiguously Bi: He makes a few comments in the first season implying that he has had relations with men (for blackmail material), but also clearly lusts after Marisa.
  • Age Lift: He's described in the books as being in his 70s, but is played by Ariyon Bakare, who was in his forties during filming.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He seems to fancy himself quite the supervillain, but his actual goals are quite near-sighted, and he in nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Season 2 implies the wealth he has accumulated in Will's world is based on selling trinkets from his world there as rare antiques.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Boreal is fond of acting polite to those he is threatening. However, he has a problem keeping the politeness from becoming so threatening that it scares them off.
  • Manchild: Downplayed, but his peacocking by showing off his trophy collection and stereo system to Mrs. Coulter comes off this way.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: He tries to cultivate this image. In his own world he is successful, but in Will's world he tries a bit too hard, to the point that Marisa can't take him seriously when he shows her his bachelor pad in his mansion.
  • Villainous Crush: He's clearly attracted to Mrs. Coulter. It made it easier for her to poison him.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: He seems to think he's the villain of the series, a Magnificent Bastard who runs rings around the heroes. In actuality, he's a Disc-One Final Boss who is easily seduced and manipulated by Mrs. Coulter, his ambitions are minuscule and childish, and he is only a threat to the heroes because of luck and wealth. He also genuinely believes he has a shot with Marisa, when it's clear she has absolutely no interest in him.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: On the receiving end of this from Mrs. Coulter in season 2.



The Magisterium


Cardinal Sturrock
Cardinal Sturrock

Played By: Ian Peck

The highest authority yet seen for the Magisterium. One of the most powerful men in the world. A small, hunched-over man who prefers faux-courtesy to speaking plainly. His dæmon settled in the form of a macaw.
  • Killed Off for Real: Stabbed by Ruta Skadi early in season 2, Mrs. Coulter convinces Father Macphail to let her kill him so he can become the new Cardinal.


Father Hugh Macphail
Father Macphail

Played By: Will Keen

A highly ranked member of the Magisterium, and professional rival of Mrs. Coulter. He is fanatically devoted to stamping out heresy and ensuring the Magisterium maintains dominion over the world. His dæmon takes the form of a lizard.
  • Composite Character: In the second season, he starts taking on the self-harm traits of Father Gomez from the books.
  • Klingon Promotion: Is convinced to let the Cardinal die from his wounds so that he can become the new Cardinal.
  • Knight Templar: While he is ambitious, he sees himself as a tool to further the Magisterium's cause of religious righteousness, and genuinely believes that his monstrous actions are for the greater good.
  • Only Sane Man: It's clear he's perplexed by the machinations of his colleagues, as he is legitimately devoted to his faith.
  • Self-Harm: In Season 2 he starts burning his palm over a candle as penance for his sins.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Downplayed, but it's there. He really just wants to further the cause, but his underlings and superiors often fail to see the bigger picture.
  • Tap on the Head: At the end of season 1, Thorold cold cocks him with a rifle, and he passes right out. Come Season 2, a day-or-two later, he seems no worse for wear.
  • We Used to Be Friends: It's implied that he was once on much friendlier terms with Marisa, having grown to respect her intelligence and savvy. Her political corruption and semi-heretical studies soured him.


Father Garret
Father Garret

Played By: David Langham

The right hand man of Father Macphail, who often accompanies him on important assignments. He is intense and easily annoyed. His dæmon takes the form of a beetle.

Fra Pavel Rasek
Fra Pavel

Played By: Frank Bourke

The alethiometrist for the Magisterium. He has access to near infinite knowledge, but is slow and methodical in his readings. Professional permission to ask him a question for the alethiometer is strictly controlled by his superiors, leaving him socially isolated. His dæmon takes the form of a rat.

The General Oblation Board of London


Doctor Cooper
Dr. Cooper

Played By: Lia Williams

The head Experimental Theologian at "The Station". She believes their experiments will change the world, and looks forward to the rewards the Magisterium will bestow once they have a breakthrough. Her dæmon takes the form of a red fox.

Doctor Rendal
Dr. Rendal

Played By: Amit Shah

An Experimental Theologian at "The Station". He is deeply conflicted about the ethics of the experiments they perform, but defers to Dr. Cooper when she claims they are necessary. His dæmon is not shown.


Sister Clara
Sister Clara

Played By: Morfydd Clark

A young nurse and nun at "The Station". She is strangely emotionless, and will often emphasize how this is "the Best place you could possibly be." Her dæmon is not shown, but she reveals his name is Nicholas.

The Gyptians

    John Faa 

Lord John Faa
Lord Faa

Played By: Lucian Msamati

The middle-aged king of the Western Gyptians of Britain. A capable and kind ruler, who takes the lead into the investigation of disappearing Gyptian children. His dæmon takes the form of a black crow.

    Farder Coram 

Coram Van Texel
Farder Coramt

Played By: James Cosmo

The aging right-hand-man of Lord Faa. Well-travelled, and formerly the lover of Serafina Pekkala. He, along with Lord Faa, begin the series investigating missing children. His dæmon, Sophonax, takes the form of a golden-brown cat.

    Ma Costa 

Maggie Costa

Played By: Anne Marie Duff

The single-mother of Tony and Billy, who begins the series overseeing Tony's coming of age ceremony. She is initially dismissive of the rumors of Gyptian children disappearing, but eventually comes to believe following Billy's abduction. Her dæmon, Jal, takes the form of a goshawk.
  • Mama Bear: Very protective of her children. When she finds the ones responsible for Billy's death, she subjects one of them to a Neck Snap.

Jordan College

    The Master 

The Master of Jordan College
The Master

Played By: Clark Peters

The head of Jordan College in Oxford. He is an old friend of Lord Asriel, and in charge of Lyra's upbringing and ensuring her education. His dæmon is a raven.

Roger Parslow

Played By: Lewin Lloyd.

Lyra's closest friend at Jordan College. An orphan boy who works in the kitchens, he often joins Lyra in her explorations of Jordan, from the roof of the college, to the tombs beneath the school. His dæmon, Salcillia, has not yet settled on a fixed form.
  • Killed Off for Real: Is killed by Asirel in the season 1 finale as a sacrifice to open the portal.


Charles the Librarian

Played By: Ian Gelder

The head librarian at Jordan College. A trusted friend and confidant of the Master. He is often assigned to educate Lyra in the areas of History and Experimental Theology. His dæmon, Serena, takes the form of a crested gecko.

The Witches


Serafina Pekkala
Serafina Pekkala

Played By: Ruta Gedmintas

An over three hundred year old witch from the far north. She takes a great interest in Lyra, and had a previous relationship with Farder Coram. As a witch, her dæmon Kaisa can separate great distances from her, but the bond they share allows them to stay in constant contact.

Kaisa the gyrfalcon

Voiced By: David Suchet

Serafina's dæmon. He is straightforward and direct, but not unkind. As he is the dæmon of a witch, they can separate great distances from one another, but remain bonded. He takes the form of a northern gyrfalcon.

Panserbjørne / Armoured Bears


Iorek Byrnison

Voiced By: Joe Tandberg

The exiled former prince of the armoured bears. A fierce warrior, but not without mercy. He begins the series doing menial labor the the local government of Trollesund. He is loyal friends with Lee Scoresby.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: He was banished from his home for killing another bear.
  • Badass Baritone: A deep, booming voice befitting of his proud, honourable warrior nature.
  • The Big Guy: Of Lyra's group in season 1, he is the biggest, strongest member, and is more than capable in a fight.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Was once a prince, before he was banished for killing another bear.
  • Undying Loyalty: Lyra helping him earns his loyalty, and he becomes very protective of her from then on.


Iofur Racknison
King Iofur

Voiced By: Peter Serafinowicz

The recently crowned king of the armoured bears. A rival of Iorek and begrudging ally to Mrs. Coulter. Secretly, he craves acceptance into the Magisterium, and wishes to become a human with a dæmon.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Unlike the noble Iorek, Iofur is a violent, ambitious bear.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see exactly what Iorek does to him at the end of their duel, but we can assume it was bloody.

Will's World

The Parry's


William Parry
Will at school

Played By: Amir Wilson

A young secondary school student in Oxford. After the disappearance of his father when he was little, Will has taken it upon himself to be the primary caregiver for his mother, Elaine. He tries to avoid notice from his classmates and teachers, but does train in boxing as an outlet.
  • The Chosen One: Becomes bearer of the Subtle Knife in season 2.
  • Fingore: Loses two fingers to the Subtle Knife, marking him as its new bearer.
  • Living MacGuffin: He turns into one by the end of season 1, he is wanted by bad people, the police and Hester.


Elaine Parry

Played By: Nina Sosanya

The mother of Will, and the presumed widow of John. She suffers from an unspecified mental illness that leaves her sometimes paranoid and difficult to understand, which was exacerbated by her husband's disappearance. Despite this, she is a loving mother, and does not enjoy being taken care of by her young son.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Her condition is never named, but it is clearly quite serious, as Will has to take time out of school to check on her. When will leaves, he has to make sure she's taken care of, and still feels the desire to check in on her during his time back in Oxford, despite the risks.


John Parry / Stanislaus Grumman
John and his dæmon

Played By: Andrew Scott

The husband of Elaine and father of Will. Formerly of the Royal Marines, he has been missing from Will's World after disappearing on an arctic expedition twelve years before the start of the series. On Lyra's world, he is a respected academic and explorer, who goes by the name "Stanislaus Grumman". His dæmon takes the form of an osprey.
  • Taking the Bullet: Puts himself between a Magisterium gunman and his son in the season 2 finale, at the cost of his life.

Oxford College

    Dr. Malone 

Dr. Mary Malone

Played By: Simone Kirby

An astrophysicist especialized in Dark Matter or Dust.