‘His Dark Materials’ 1×05 recap: “The Lost Boy”

we get to meet Will Parry!

His Dark Materials 1×05 “The Lost Boy,” Aired Dec. 2, 2019


His Dark Materials‘ introduction of Will Parry in 1×05  is a BIG departure from the books. Will’s character isn’t introduced until The Subtle Knife, the second book in the series, but I fully support of this decision. 

Let’s  get into everything that went down in “The Lost Boy”

Bound by fate

Yes, I have to talk some more about Will Parry some more.  Fun fact about me, I would die for Will Parry, so I was not emotionally ready to see him this early in the season. Enough groundwork had been laid out by previous episodes that I figured we would see him before the end of the season, and yet I was totally surprised to see him in the opening moments of this week’s episode.

It feels very early in the story to introduce Will and I’m intrigued to see how his story will parallel Lyra’s. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts about whether this a gambit that pays off narratively, but I’m also not complaining that I get to see this beloved character a whole season earlier than expected. I have only known this version of Will Parry for a couple of hours, but I already love him passionately.

The voiceover lays out very clearly that Will and Lyra’s fate are bound by fate. Whatever prophecy there is about here, he also has a role to play. Their relationship is central to this story and it’s interesting to see how their two journeys will play out.

Will’s world

Will is not the main “lost boy” the episode title references, but he is a lost boy. It’s clear that Will loves and is loved by his mother, but his situation is complicated. He is only a boy, but it’s safe to assume that he’s been tasked with taking care of this mother his whole life.

Abandoned by his father, Will lost his childhood to become his mother’s caretaker. She is his world, and while their love for each other is never in doubt, he carries a heavy burden by himself.  A visit from Boreal continues to break this already broken woman and she runs to Will for help. Will is left to pick up the pieces and has no idea that this time her paranoia really is warranted. 

Will’s mother calls him extraordinary and he scoffs, and yet he is. He is an extraordinary boy that visits his mother for lunch every. He is an extraordinary lonely boy looking for a way in the world, but he can’t see beyond his mom and his bullies. Will Parry is extraordinary, he just doesn’t know it yet. He hasn’t been given a chance to see for himself. 

In the alethiometer we trust 

Lyra also expressed amazement at the idea that she could be extraordinary earlier this season when Mrs. Coulter called her that (or more accurately promised her she could be…gosh, she really is the worst mom). Lyra already is extraordinary and it’s not because of any prophecy she doesn’t know anything about. She is extraordinary because of her willingness to love and to trust.

Lyra trusts the alethiometer and when it tasks her with investigating a nearby village, her instincts tell her she that’s what she must do. While reading the alethiometer is an easy task, it proves much harder to convince Lord Faa, Farder Coram and Ma Costa to trust her and let her go. Farder Coram gets mad at Lyra for wanting to  go, telling her off for acting on a whim. But Lyra is able to convince her to trust her and her instinct that this trip is important. 

The ghost 


The gyptians continue on their way to Bolvanger, where the children are being kept prisoner. Iorek and Lyra go on a side quest to the village, where the alethiometer says she will encounter a ghost. The moment they arrive at the village they know something is wrong. Pan is freaked out and urges Lyra to get out. Lyra goes on despite her very real fear.  

Lyra doesn’t find a ghost at the village, instead she finds Billy Costa. It’s quickly obvious to Lyra and Pan that something is wrong. Billy’s daemon Ratter is not with him. Billy is not the playful child we met back in the first episode, he’s an empty shell, a ghost, a lost boy. Lyra brings him back to his mother, but there’s nothing to be done.


In a wrenching scene Ma Costa and Tony hold a final vigil for Billy. Ma Costa holds her son for the last time and sings him a lullaby, she gives him permission to leave them and join his daemon. The loss of Billy Costa is a real tragedy and the show gives him a beautiful  and powerful send-off. The gyptians, already determined to find their children, are now out for revenge. 

We now understand what they Gobblers are doing with the children, separating them from their daemon, cutting away their very souls. What we don’t know is why. Lee suggests is about control, and sure, but what’s the endgame? The gyptians don’t care at the moment, and that makes perfect sense, their grief is deeply felt. My one quip is that I still struggle with the notion as to whether the importance of daemons is really coming across on the show. For non-book readers is it clear how horrible what they did to Billy is?

Further Musings:

  • Iorek confides in Lyra and tells her about how he was exiled from his people for killing another bear. Lyra, in return just wants to talk about her father, who is being kept prisoner by the bears. Lyra boldly claims that Lord Asriel will find a way to trick them, to which Iorek replies: “You cannot trick a bear”.  I am sure this will not be relevant information at a later time….
  • Lee Scoresby is around! He is funny and skeptical of this whole expedition. He also tells Lyra he is proud of her and comforts her. 
  • We finally get to see Serafina onscreen when she stops by to see Farder Coram. It’s a heartbreaking reunion full of loss and love, as they are both forever marked by the sorrow of losing their child (another lost boy).
  • The gyptian camp is attacked is at the end of the episode, Lyra is kidnapped (again) and finds herself trapped in Bolvanger. 

His Dark Materials airs on HBO Monday nights. 


Gabriela Acevedo

Gaby is a TV-obsessed fangirl and writer. Television is her true love, but movies and books aren't far behind. Currently living in Los Angeles, she's originally from Puerto Rico, which is still her favorite place in the world. Find her on twitter @gabsteramy.

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