The Fight to the Death is the seventh episode in the first series of the TV series. It was released on 15 December on BBC One and on 16 December on HBO. It was watched nearly 7.4 million times during the four weeks following its release in the UK.
Marisa Coulter, trying to find Lyra Belacqua, moves away from the wreckage of the intercision machine and finds Sister Clara, asking her if she has seen where Lyra and the balloon went but the nurse has no idea. Marisa also asks why she isn't with the other nurses to which Clara tells her that Bolvangar is the best place they could possibly be. Marisa proceeds to strangle the nurse however lets go before she dies.
On Svalbard, Lyra calls out for Iorek Byrnison as she has just fallen out of Lee Scoresby's balloon. She attracts the attention of another panserbjørn who takes her, as a prisoner, to the palace of the bears. She is thrown into the jail where she asks the alethiometer if Iorek is coming to help her to which it responds that he is. She then finds another person in the room, Jotham Santelia, who tells her that he has seen her father, Lord Asriel, and he had escaped the jail be tricking Iofur Raknison, the king of the bears.
Having come up with a plan, Lyra tells the guard bear that she needs to see Iofur as she has important news about Iorek. She is taken into the throne room with Iofur where she tells him that she is Iorek's dæmon and that that is what Mrs Coulter was doing at Bolvangar. Iofur gets extremely angry, sending the other bears out of the room, and then asks her to prove it. Lyra tells him to ask her a question, only something a dæmon would know, and Iofur asks her to find out what the first animal he killed was. Lyra asks permission to go to a separate room which, after first being rejected, is granted by Iofur. Lyra goes down the throne room, behind one of the columns, and checks her alethiometer to see if Iorek is coming to which it tells her to trust.
After finding out the answer to his question, Lyra goes to Iofur, praising him for what he has done, telling him the answer to his question: his father. Lyra tells him that, for she to become his dæmon, he must fight Iorek in single combat. Iofur allows her to go and speak to Iorek after Lyra persuades him that, if she does not, he may fight stronger. Iofur also sends a signal to not kill Iorek as he enters the area around the palace.
In Will's world, Carlo Boreal visits Elaine Parry at her house to discuss John Parry. Elaine tells him little but is scared when she sees a snake crawl across the inside of his shirt. Carlo threatens to search her house for some letters than John sent her and tells her not to call the police as her son, William Parry, would be put in care.
On Svalbard, Lyra greets Iorek and tells him that she has done a terrible thing. After telling Iorek that he must fight Iofur, Iorek tells her she has done something great in deceiving a bear. He then goes to where Iofur is and gets ready to fight. The two bears clash, biting and clawing at one another and nearly hitting Lyra until Iofur wraps his mouth around Iorek's neck and drags him along the floor as Iofur begins to mock him. Lyra rushes to Iorek's side and Iofur realises that she is not his dæmon. As Iofur gets ready to strike her, Iorek springs up at Iofur and pins him down before killing him off-screen. After winning the fight, Iorek is declared the king of the bears and promises Lyra to free te prisoner in the jail she had met earlier.
In Oxford, Elaine visits Will's school, worried, and tells him about the man that had talked to her and that he even suggested John could be alive. Will tells her she worries him and he walks her home.
Iorek then takes Lyra across the snow to where Roger Parslow is waiting and the two children hug. Iorek then asks Lyra to check her alethiometer and see what has happened to Lee. Lyra tells him that his balloon has crashed but that he is fine.
Elsewhere, Hugh MacPhail meets Mrs Coulter to discuss Bolvangar and tells her that she shall need to go back to Cardinal Sturrock as her experiments are in ruins and they have bore nothing. Marisa refuses and tells him about Asriel before Father MacPhail tells her about Iorek defeating Iofur. Marisa is shocked by this but still refuses to go back to the Magisterium.
In Oxford, Will finds that the house has been wrecked and decides to leave in case the culprit is still there. Will takes his mother to Mr Hanway's house as he had previously told Will during boxing that his door was always open. Will tells him about the break-in and begs that Hanway take in his mother for a small amount of time whilst he clears the house out. He tells Hanway not to call the police as his mother would be taken into care.
In the North, Lee is troubled by his crashed balloon as he can't find anyway of going anywhere. When Serafina Pekkala arrives and tells him she can help, he is relieved. She tells Lee that his part in the war isn't over and that Lyra will still need him in the future.
As Lyra and Roger ride on Iorek to Asriel's house, Will goes home and takes out the green leather writing case containing his father's letters and goes to his bedroom. When the two agents come in to search the house for these letters, he is worried and switches off his lamp before putting on a boxing glove and hiding next to the doorway of his bedroom. When Thomas enters the bedroom, Will punches him in the face causing Thomas to stumble backwards, trip over the cat, Moxie, and fall off the railing, landing on the ground floor and being killed. Will, shocked, picks up his rucksack and leaves the house just before the other agent finds Thomas. He walks past Mr Hanway's house where his mother is but doesn't stop there and continues along the pavement.
At the Svalbard prison where Lord Asriel is being kept, Roger and Lyra knock on the door and are let in by Thorold. When Asriel sees Lyra, he tells her to go away, shocked, but is relieved when he sees Roger standing by Thorold. He tells Thorold to run the two a bath and get them some food.
"The Fight to the Death" is the only episode name in the first series which doesn't come from a chapter title in Northern Lights. It was released on 15 December on BBC One at 9:10pm GMT, ten minutes after scheduled due to an overrun in the previous live show, in the UK and on 16 December on HBO at 9pm ET in the US. This episode is the only episode in the first series that airs after 9pm, the others air at 8pm, in the UK due to the event 'BBC Sports Personality of the Year' being held beforehand. In the UK, it was watched over 6.077 times during the week following its release and over 7.562 times during the 28 days afterwards. In the US, the episode was watched by around 485 000.
- Main article: His Dark Materials (TV series)#Cast
- Ruth Wilson as Marisa Coulter
- Morfydd Clark as Sister Clara
- Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua
- Ariyon Bakare as Lord Boreal
- Asheq Akhtar as Jotham Santelia
- Andrew Scott as Colonel John Parry
- Joi Johannsson as Iofur Raknison
- Nina Sosanya as Elaine Parry
- Amir Wilson as Will Parry
- Robert Emms as Thomas
- Jamie Wilkes as The Pale-Faced Man
- Joe Tandberg as Iorek Byrnison
- Lewin Lloyd as Roger Parslow
- David Langham as Father Garret
- Frank Bourke as Fra Pavel
- Will Keen as Father MacPhail
- Ray Fearon as Mr Hanway
- Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby
- Ruta Gedmintas as Serafina Pekkala
- Gary Lewis as Thorold
- Kit Connor as the voice of Pantalaimon
- Peter Serafinowicz as the voice of Iofur Raknison
- Cristela Alonzo as the voice of Hester
- Helen McCrory as the voice of Stelmaria
- The Fight to the Death on BBC Programmes
- The Fight to the Death on HBO
- The Fight to the Death on IMDb
|His Dark Materials TV episodes|
|Series 1||Lyra's Jordan • The Idea of North • The Spies • Armour • The Lost Boy • The Daemon-Cages • The Fight to the Death • Betrayal|