His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials
This article is about the final episode in Series 2 of the TV series. You may be looking for the subtle knife, an object which could cut windows.

Æsahættr is the seventh and final episode in the second series of the TV series. It was broadcast on 20 December 2020 in the UK and on 28 December 2020 in the US and internationally.[1]


The witches, in a cage, wake up Lena Feldt (who was nearly consumed by a Spectre) while Lyra Silvertongue tells them that the witches aren't safe and so should leave. Serafina Pekkala refuses and tells her that they need to find her father. While searching for Asriel, Ruta Skadi finds herself on a cliff where she hears cliff-ghasts speaking about Æsahættr. The head ghast (in his own language) says that he can smell war and that the Authority may be defeated but that 'he' needs Æsahættr to win.

William Parry wakes and talks to Pan about Lyra and the two thinking each other their best friend. Lyra, feigning sleep, hears this conversation. After crashing his balloon, Lee Scoresby and Jopari travel to the west to flee the final Magisterium zeppelin and find the bearer of the subtle knife. In Cittàgazze, Marisa Coulter finds the café that Lyra stayed in and holds her coat.

Serafina tells Lena Feldt to go to Cittàgazze following reports of a complete human in the city. She tells Reina Miti to make sure their path ahead is clear. Mary Malone takes Angelica and Paola to the hills where the adults are and Mary then leaves the girls for a journey elsewhere. Will tells Lyra that they should continue on without the witches. Lyra tells him that she heard what he said to Pan on the previous night.

After arriving in the city, Lena finds Mrs Coulter. Marisa asks about Lyra and a boy with a knife and Lena lies to her. The golden monkey seizes her dæmon while a Spectre comes to attack. As it consumes her dæmon, Lena reveals that her daughter is also known by the name Eve, mother of all. The Spectre then consumes her dæmon as Marisa contemplates what this means. As the Spectre approaches the golden monkey, Marisa tells him to stop whimpering.

Pan tells Lyra that they must not leave Serafina's side as she has saved them on many occasions. Ruta Skadi then returns, meeting Lyra for the first time. The Magisterium soldiers, after coming out of the zeppelin, search for Lee and Jopari. Ruta tells Serafina about Asriel's planned war on the Authority and that they need to unite the witch clans and find Æsahættr. Ruta then leaves to find Asriel and the witches continue on their way to find Will's father.

After being spotted by the dæmon of one of the soldiers, Lee and Jopari run with Lee being injured. In the city, Marisa asks the golden monkey whether he's with her or against her (and Lyra). She then kicks the monkey before stroking him. In the Torre degli Angeli, she and the monkey find themselves surrounded by Spectres, Marisa controlling them. Jopari says to Lee that they cannot outrun the soldiers anymore. Lee decides to stay and hold them off while Jopari makes sure that Lyra is protected by the subtle knife.

Lyra tells Pan that they are changing into adults. In a cave, Mary consults the I Ching about the path ahead. Meanwhile, the soldiers group against Lee and he decides to move behind a boulder where he begins to pick the soldiers off one by one with a limited supply of bullets. Lee is brushed by a bullet on his scalp but continues to fight. After Lee is shot in the shoulder, he remembers the bit of cloud-pine which Serafina gave him to summon her and uses it before getting shot again. Serafina immediately gets the message and Lyra encourages her to leave the group in order to help him. As Lee and Hester die, they remember that they are helping Lyra.

Will receives a dream telling him to find his father and he gets up and leaves Lyra and Reina. However, a soldier spies him from the woods. Mrs Coulter travels to the hills with Spectres in search of her daughter. After travelling a bit, he finds Jopari and, after thrusting a knife at him, realises that he is John Parry - his father. Marisa arrives at the place where Lyra and the witch lie. As a Spectre consumes Reina Miti, Mrs Coulter wakes Lyra.

Will and his father talk about their lives since he left and John tells his son that he must use the knife to fight and that then they can go home. As John grasps his shoulder, he views the Magisterium soldier behind them and turns Will away as the soldier fires a bullet. His dæmon kills the soldier as John Parry dies, telling Will that the angels will guide him.

Serafina reaches the spot where Lee died and, after kissing his forehead, whispers a spell which will preserve his body. Following his father's death, Will takes his coat and looks at his hand.

Elsewhere, Lord Asriel speaks to the angels and tells them that his fight is not with them, but with the Authority. He calls upon them to unite with him and build a Republic of Heaven and that they must be either for him or against him. The angels say that they stand with him. Mrs Coulter strokes Lyra's cheek and tells her that they are out of danger and that she will take her somewhere safe before closing the lid of a box on her. In another world, Roger Parslow calls out Lyra's name.[2]


"Æsahættr" comes from the title of the thirteenth chapter of The Subtle Knife and the subtle knife itself.


Main article: His Dark Materials (TV series)#Cast

Behind the scenes[]

  • Despite it being stated that James McAvoy would not be returning in Series 2 by many of the cast and crew (due to filming not being completed before lockdown was introduced), he made a surprise appearance in this episode. In a Q&A following the release, Jack Thorne announced that it had been filmed after lockdown.[3]
  • The post-credits scene at the end of this episode is the first one the BBC have made, according to Jack Thorne.[4]




External links[]


His Dark Materials TV episodes
Series 1 Lyra's JordanThe Idea of NorthThe SpiesArmourThe Lost BoyThe Daemon-CagesThe Fight to the DeathBetrayal
Series 2 The City of MagpiesThe CaveTheftTower of the AngelsThe ScholarMaliceÆsahættr
Other Making His Dark Materials