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Funny / His Dark Materials

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Book Series:

  • Pantalaimon's Establishing Character Moment in the first chapter of the first book:
    Lyra: I can't just sit here and watch them give him poison!
    Pan: Come somewhere else, then.
    Lyra: You're a coward, Pan.
    Pan: Certainly I am.
  • Lyra making an omelette in the second book, just to prove she can. Only she doesn't realize you're supposed to get rid of the eggshells. Will doesn't have the heart to tell her.
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  • Many of Lyra's fanciful embellishment in the first half of the first book, especially descriptions of Lord Asriel's duels and epic cunning.

BBC Radio Adaptation:

  • There aren't many laughs to be found in the series, though the BBC radio drama adaptation is slightly more campy and includes a few more funny lines — quite a few of them courtesy of Pantalaimon, who's become a bit of a Deadpan Snarker in this version.
    • On getting Iofur Raknisson to cooperate:
      Pan: Flatter him. Tell him he smells nice.
    • On locating the window through the worlds:
      Lyra: It's really like a window?
      Will: Yeah — only — it's not like anything you've ever seen before as well.
      Pan: That's helpful. "Like a window you've never seen before." Huh!
    • In the museum:
      Lyra: A human skull with holes in it? And there's Stanislaus Grumman's!
      Pan: You've got a thing about skulls.
      Lyra: I haven't!
      Pan: Have.
      Lyra: The museum's deserted. Let's ask the alethiometer about it.
      Pan: It'll say you have an unhealthy obsession, and you ought to take up playing the recorder.


BBC/HBO Television Series

  • The subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ways in which the series plays up the Animal Stereotypes, so that people act like the animal their daemon takes the form of.
    • Asriel deliberately knocks a decanter of wine off a table, shattering it. For a moment, James McAvoy becomes a typical internet cat knocking objects off tables on purpose.
    • Lee's fighting style is based on his Arctic Hare daemon Hester. This manifests in him frequently kicking attackers in the balls with both feet.
  • Roger serving Lyra breakfast:
    Roger: I brought you an extra sausage.
    Lyra: You mean got an extra for yourself.
    Roger: (Beat) This may be true.
  • Fader Coram worries that their years apart and Mayfly–December Romance will have made him undesirable for Serafina. John Faa disabuses him of the idea that his appearance is a factor.
    John Faa: I remember you as a younger man, Coram. You weren't much to look at even then.
  • Lyra is in Trollesund persuading Lee Scoresby to work for her and the Gyptians, and eating literally all the bacon off his breakfast plate while doing so. He's not even mad.
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  • Lyra successfully bullshits Lee into joining the expedition by claiming to represent John Faa. When she gets caught in the lie:
    John Faa: Who's this?
    Lee: (Beat) You told me he'd asked for me!
    Lee: I was working on him already being grateful. You have entirely messed up my sales pitch.
  • Lord Boreal clearly doesn't get how parking functions in our world. The first time we see him cross over, he has several parking tickets. The second time, he's been clamped, leaving him staring at his grounded car in very visible confusion, and kicking the 'boot' in case it might come off.
  • In the series, Dr Rendal and two of the Tartars corner the fleeing children at Bolvangar. Because he's quite a nice-seeming and personable guy, the children don't panic:
    Dr Rendal: All right, children, let's not get excited now. Let's not get silly. Let's just do as we're told, shall we?
    [The children look like they might do it. Then Ma Costa and two Gyptians appear and the Tartars get skewered. Ma Costa shoves Dr Rendal up against the wall and grabs him by the head. The children stare in horror.]
    Ma Costa: Tell me, do you remember Billy Costa?
    Dr Rendal: [panicking] It wasn't my fault. It was just obeying orders.
    Ma Costa: He was only a boy!
    [She breaks his neck. The children stare at her in horror. She turns to them and tries to give them a reassuring smile.]
    Ma Costa: We've come to rescue you!
  • Iorek of all characters gets a funny moment in the Battle of Bolvangar.
    Lyra: What took you so long?
    Iorek: (cheerfully) It's good to see you, too!
    • Followed by Lyra running off to accomplish another task, leaving Iorek behind. He sarcastically barks after her, “You’re welcome!”
  • Serafina Pekkala has just dropped the bombshell of Lyra's destiny on Lee and Hester, putting her under Lee's protection before flying away.
    Hester: Impressive.
    Lee: Yep.
    Hester: And they want you on their team?!
    Lee: Shut up, Hester.
  • Father Macphail doesn't know what a blanket fort is.
  • When Boreal's first introduced to Mary Malone, who's just pulled an all-nighter at her desk, he says that: 'I've always admired women with a good work ethic.' In his own patriarchal world this would be a compliment; in our world Mary just stares at him blankly, clearly already pegging him as bad news.
  • There's something inherently funny about a Golden Monkey having a seatbelt on in the back of a car.
  • Mrs. Coulter trolling Lord Boreal by pretending to drop a very expensive artefact from Boreal's collection. Boreal's expression is one of pure terror, which he attempts to play off with a laugh. It's even more hilarious later on when Will decapitates it during his and Lyra's escape - Boreal basically has the villainous equivalent of a Heroic BSoD.
    • Mrs. Coulter's reaction to Boreal buying her a pair of jeans to try to fit in - she holds them up as if they were radioactive and gives him a polite but icy glare.
    • In general his attempts to wow Mrs. Coulter, who is having none of it.
  • When Mary crosses into Cittàgazze, she soon crosses paths with Angelica and Paola. When Mary learns they've met Lyra and eagerly asks where she is, Angelica calmly tells her they tried to kill her — and when she sees just how shocked Mary is, asks less certainly, 'Was that wrong?' Mary can only mutter that yes, it was.
  • Mary is cunning at the use of Reverse Psychology. When she gives children treats, she tells them some variation of "these are bad for you" or "these aren't good for you at all".