His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials

The City of Magpies is the first episode in the second series of the TV series. It was broadcast on 8 November 2020 in the UK and on 16 November 2020 in the US and internationally.

The episode mainly took place in Cittàgazze and shows Lyra Silvertongue and William Parry exploring the city.[1]


After Lyra goes through the portal, she finds herself in another world where there are no adults. She explores the city, Cittàgazze, which she finds abandoned. On board a zeppelin, the Magisterium talk about the new window that Lord Asriel opened in the North. Hugh MacPhail gets into an argument with Cardinal Sturrock after he suggests trying to seal the window when Marisa Coulter intervenes saying that she can interview the witch that they have captured to try and find out what she can.

In the world of Cittàgazze, Lyra finds and enters a café. While inspecting the contents of a shelf, a boy approaches her from behind, she twists him over and only lets him go when he apologises. He says he is called Will and is shocked when he sees her dæmon, Pantalaimon, talk. After she sees that he doesn't have a dæmon and being reminded of the children at Bolvangar, she runs away. Meanwhile, Lee Scoresby and Hester travel in their balloon.

On a beach, Pan tells Lyra that they should consider talking to Will when he appears and apologises for being rude. They talk about the different worlds and briefy how they came to be in that one. Will then proposes that they explore together. On the Magisterium ship, Mrs Coulter tries to persuade the witch to cooperate but, when she refuses, she takes the cloud-pine out of her skin.

In Cittàgazze, Lyra and Will catch sight of two girls running away and, when they catch them, they drink and eat together and Angelica and Paola tell them about Spectres (why there are no adults in the city) and how they can eat the soul of a human. At a meeting of the witches, Lee tells of his plan to find Stanislaus Grumman when Ruta Skadi interupts and tells Serafina Pekkala about the captured witch. Kaisa tells Sergi that the prophecy says that they should focus on the girl and so Ruta flies away.

Will cooks Lyra an omelette which she enjoys and then Will suggests that they should stay together. As Ruta speeds towards the ship where the witch is on to stop her saying too much. As the witch calls out for Yambe-Akka, Ruta hurries up and arrives before the witch can reveal another name for Lyra, the girl of the prophecy before killing the witch and stabbing several officers, including Sturrock.

Pan tells Lyra that they should start using the alethiometer again but she decides not to before Will arrives and tells her that he's fixed the shower. Downstairs, Lyra tries making an omelette again, serving one full of shell to Will. Then they walk along the streets and Will takes a photo of the tower. They soon hear a sound and see a Spectre-eaten man, filling up a jug with water which overflows onto the ground. They then hear another sound and Will sees the children trying to kill a cat, Pan stops them from fighting him as Pan turns into a scary animal.

Outside Sturrock's room, where he is recovering from his wound, Mrs Coulter offers a proposal to MacPhail: that she kill Sturrock so that he can become Cardinal and show true power. As night falls on the city, Spectres travel through. Will and Lyra discuss the language differences in their worlds and Lyra reveals that she lived in Oxford, Will then says that he also lived in Oxford and Lyra is shocked but insists that he take her to it.

Will goes outside to read the letters from his father in the leather writing case while Lyra takes out her alethiometer to see who Will is. It reveals that he is a murderer and that they both have a connection to Cittàgazze. Meanwhile, Will is attracted to the tower with images of a knife flashing in his head.[2]


Unlike many other episodes in the TV series, "The City of Magpies" is not a chapter title in any of the books and refers to Cittàgazze. The episode was first shown to the public at BFI Southbank on 2 November[3] and was released on 8 November 2020 at 8:10pm GMT in the UK and 16 November 2020 at 9PM ET in the US and internationally.[4] On 15 November (the day before it was broadcast on HBO in the US), HBO2 repeated the entire first series.


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



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