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Recap / His Dark Materials S 1 E 7 The Fight To The Death

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Lyra survives the fall, but is captured by an armoured bear and taken to Iofur Raknison's palace on Svalbard. She convinces Iofur that she is Iorek's artificial daemon, created by scientists at Bolvangar. Lyra manipulates Iofur to fight Iorek in single combat to claim her. Iorek wins, although is badly wounded. He becomes king and reunites Lyra with Roger. They travel to Asriel's laboratory. Meanwhile, Mrs Coulter, Father MacPhail, and the Magisterium's soldiers are headed for Svalbard to find and kill Asriel. Elsewhere, Scoresby and Hester have crash-landed. Serafina arrives and says the others are safe but Lyra needs help. Lyra, Roger and Iorek climb into the Svalbard mountains and reach Asriel's laboratory. Lyra and Asriel are reunited, though her arrival initially distresses Asriel. Meanwhile, Boreal crosses back to the alternate world and visits Elaine Parry, who resists sharing information about her husband. Will and Elaine return home after Boreal's mercenary has broken into the house. Suspecting that someone may still be there, Will takes his mother to a neighbour’s house and returns later to retrieve his father’s letters. When Thomas and the Pale-Face Man come back, Will kills Thomas in self-defence, then flees.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Skimpiness: Iorek and Iofur's battle is done without armour, whereas they are fully armoured in the book.
  • Accidental Murder: Will attacks he Thomas after he breaks in by pushing him away and punching him, but he trips backwards over Will's cat and falls over the stairs, breaking his neck.
  • Appeal to Flattery: Part of Lyra's manipulation of Iofur is constantly boosting his ego.
  • Become a Real Boy: Iofur Racknison is obsessed with the idea of gaining a daemon. Lyra uses this to her advantage by claiming to be a bear's daemon, created by the Oblation Board, and currently bonded to Iorek.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Lyra successfully lies and tricks a bear, which Iorek had earlier stated was impossible. It's implied that she only succeeds because Iofur is desperate to believe this particular lie. Iorek himself is astounded that she pulled it off.
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  • Big Fancy Castle: Iofur's palace is on the sinister side. It's built into a cliff face, and sized for bears instead of humans.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Lord Asriel doesn't seem to recognize the boy who gave him a mild "The Reason You Suck" Speech regarding his treatment of Lyra in the pilot, although he is still bizarrely pleased to see him.
  • Call-Back:
    • Will takes Elaine to stay with his boxing coach, Mr. Hanway. He cites his teacher's previous offer to help him in a time of need.
    • Serafina takes a moment to return Lee's pistol to him, which he lost during the attack on the balloon.
  • Dawn of an Era: Iorek proclaims his rule to be one, as the bears need to return to their traditional ways and forsake the human customs Iofur tried to force on them. They seem amenable to this idea.
  • Dirty Coward: Invoked. Mrs. Coulter accuses Father MacPhail of being terrified of Lord Asriel and his abilities, as part of her manipulation.
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  • Duel to the Death: Lyra manipulates Iofur to challenge Iorek to one, so that he can absorb Iorek's power and his daemon, Lyra. Iorek wins.
  • Gas Lighting: Lord Boreal tries to convince Elaine there is a conspiracy after him and John Parry. In reality, he is the head of said conspiracy, and is just trying to interrogate her. Later, his snake daemon reveals herself under his clothing to mess with her, but he claims to her face that there is no snake there at all. Her description of this encounter makes it very hard for Will to believe her.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Lyra convinces Iofur to tell the other bears the fight with Iorek was his idea.
  • God Test: Lyra convinces Iofur to give him one by him asking her a question only he would know the answer to. In this case, it's what was the first creature Iofur killed. The alethiometer tells Lyra Iofur murdered his father, which causes her to pass the test.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Professor Jotham Santelia has been a prisoner of Iofur for a bit too long. He's not quite right when Lyra and Pan are locked in his cell with him, although not hostile. He's just a bit Laughing Mad.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Iorek is initially beaten by Iofur, but he gets back up after Iofur threatens Lyra.
  • Hope Spot: Upon waking and exploring their surroundings, Lyra thinks she spots Iorek in the fog. Nope. It's another armoured bear loyal to Iofur Racknison, who takes her prisoner.
  • I Choose to Stay: It's implied that Sister Clara decides to stay behind in the frozen ruins of Bolvangar after the surviving staff evacuate. She believes she has nowhere to go and no daemon to advise or comfort her.
  • Improvised Weapon: Will wraps a belt around his fist as protection when Thomas and the Pale-Faced Man break into his flat again.
  • Internal Reveal: Serafina reveals to Lee and Hester that Lyra, Iorek, and Roger all survived falling out of the balloon, and that Iorek has reclaimed his throne.
  • Ironic Echo: Sister Clara repeats her assertion that Bolvangar is "The best place you could possibly be." to Mrs. Coulter. It's implied to be the same phrase Mrs. Coulter used to convince Clara to come to Bolvangar in the first place (with all that entails). Mrs. Coulter seems annoyed by the irony.
  • Lighter and Softer: Iorek vs Iofur. In the book, they are fully armoured, and the battle takes some time as they wear each other down and accumulate wounds. It climaxes with Iorek ripping off Iofur's jaw, snapping his neck, and eating his heart. Here he just snaps Iofur's neck.
  • Literal-Minded: Sister Clara is this when talking to Mrs. Coulter. She's no help whatsoever.
  • Made of Iron: Lyra and Pan survive a fall of at least a few stories from the balloon to Svalbard, with at most a few bruises. The snow doesn't look that soft or deep.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Mrs. Coulter is able to convince Father MacPhail to let her join in the assault on Asriel's laboratory, despite the fact that her previous assignments have blown up in her face.
  • Meaningful Rename: Iorek bestows the last name "Silvertongue" on Lyra, a reference to her now powerful abilities of deception, and makes her an honorary bear.
  • Men in Black: Boreal claims to be part of some clandestine organization as part of intimidating Elaine.
  • Mood-Swinger: Mrs. Coulter snaps and tries to strangle Sister Clara in the opening, but relents before killing her and stammers an apology.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Will has a minor moment when he realizes Thomas has died.
  • Mythology Gag: Lyra is seen treating Iorek's wounds with Blood Moss, a lichen native to Svalbard that has powerful anti-coagulent properties in the books. It gets named in the series, but its properties unexplained.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Will and Elaine when they see their flat has been tossed.
    • Lord Asriel has an epic freak out when Lyra knocks on his door.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • According to Professor Santelia, Lord Asriel managed to talk his way out of his imprisonment by the bears, and even convinced Iofur to let him continue his research. Although the professor also states the laboratory is more of a Gilded Cage and Iofur will not let him leave.
    • Iorek finally killing Iofur is mostly obscured and out-of-focus because Lyra turns away and covers her ears.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: It's quite disconcerting to see Asriel freak out at Lyra's presence, and even more so when he suddenly calms down upon seeing Roger.
  • Paint the Town Red: The steps leading into Iofur's castle are covered in blood.
  • Patricide: Lyra discovers that Iofur murdered his own father.
  • Plot Parallel: In the A plot, Lyra convinces Iofur Racknison to free her and help him defeat his hated rival Iorek Byrneson. In the B plot, Mrs. Coulter, coming off the career-ending destruction of Bolvangar, convinces Father MacPhail to bring her with him to help defeat his hated rival Lord Asriel.
  • Police Are Useless: Will avoids the police because he is still underage and fears that he will be put in foster care, or that Elaine will be institutionalized, if he reports the break in.
  • Rage Breaking Point: The raid of Bolvangar, destruction of the intercision machine, and Lyra's escape with the Gyptians causes Mrs. Coulter to scream in fury.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Lyra spins the absurd lie that she is the human form of a bear's daemon, and wishes to become Iofur's daemon by having him kill Iorek personally. His desperate desire for this to be even possible, as well as her successfully passing his God Test, make him susceptible to the deception.
  • Seen It All: Downplayed, but Mr. Hanway is remarkably cool with a woman with special needs being foisted off on him by his student.
  • Tap on the Head: The impact from the fall from the balloon knocks Lyra and Pan out, but later they are no worse for wear.
  • Techno Wreckage: The episode opens with Mrs. Coulter overlooking the imploded intercision machine.
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: Lord Boreal half forces, half talks his way into Elaine Parry's flat, and begins subtly threatening her, all while keeping up the air of kindly concern. Later he orders the Pale-Faced Man to break in and ransack the place.
  • This Means War!: The Magisterium, fed up with the destruction of Bolvangar, their puppet king Iofur being deposed, and Asriel still continuing his experiments decide to launch on an all-out invasion of Svalbard.
  • This Means War Paint: Iofur dons war paint as part of his preparations to fight Iorek. As they are both out of armour, it helps differentiate the two in their fight.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Will concludes this after he accidentally kills Thomas in his flat, and decides to go on the run, while leaving his mother in the care of Mr. Hanway.
  • You Have Failed Me: Iofur hired Professor Santelia to help him gain a daemon. When the professor failed, Iofur had him imprisoned in his dungeon.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Elaine pleads for Will to believe her fears are justified. He starts coming around once they find their flat ransacked.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Lord Boreal is pissed that his interrogation of Elaine was unsuccessful. He makes a pre-emptive statement later to Thomas to this effect.
    Lord Boreal: Do you ever think that people just don't understand what's good for them?