The Idea of North is the second episode in the first series of the TV series. It was originally released on 10 November 2019 on BBC One in the UK and on 11 November 2019 on HBO in the US and was watched nearly 9 million times during the four weeks following the release in the UK.

The episode takes place mostly in London and establishes the relationship between Lyra Belacqua and Marisa Coulter. It is 58 minutes long.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Lyra Belacqua has travelled to London with Marisa Coulter to try and find out about her friend, Roger Parslow, trusting Marisa to locate him after the Gobblers took him. Marisa shows Lyra her flat and shows Lyra her bedroom, allowing her to get settled in. Meanwhile, Roger is brought to one of the spaces the Gobblers occupy, meeting many other kidnapped children there too, including Billy Costa, a missing gyptian.

Lyra and Marisa begin to settle together, talking to each other, and, after shopping, lunch at the Royal Arctic Institute where Lyra finds out more about the North and various explorers. During that time, the gyptians search desperately for Billy and the other missing gyptians. Jack Verhoeven, Coram van Texel, John Faa and Benjamin de Ruyter discuss what they have found out about the Gobblers. Benjamin tells them that they have found a lead to the gobblers: a van and they decide to attack the following day.

At Mrs Coulter's flat, Mrs Coulter tries to further mould Lyra by talking about her hair. Afterwards, Lyra and Pan discuss her, Pan not quite trusting Marisa but Lyra tells him that she is treating them nicely. Upon going to sleep, Pan hears a sound coming from the vents inside her bedroom and wants to look at what is making it but Lyra refuses and goes back to sleep.

The next day, the gyptians break into one of the buildings they believe house the children (following the trail of the van they saw) however find that they have been moved, leaving behind a few belongings becuase they were in a hurry to go. Farder Coram finds a jumper on the floor, one that belongs to Billy. At the place the children are now being kept, Billy tells Roger that he missess Ma Costa, his mother. Roger reassures him that Lyra will be looking for them.

Dr Carne talking to Carlo Boreal

In the flat, Marisa tells Lyra about a party she is going to hold and has her fitted in a dress. Meanwhile, Carlo Boreal is at Jordan College and has requested to view the skull of Stanislaus Grumman that Lord Asriel showed to the scholars in the Retiring Room. He is denied the opportunity by Dr Carne.

Whilst talking about electrons, Lyra raises the word Dust to Marisa, who feigns surprise and pretends to not know about it. Lyra tells her what she heard in the Retiring Room but tells Marisa that she heard it from a visiting scholar from New Denmark. When asked if what she said was right, Marisa said Lyra knew more than she did.

On Ma Costa's boat, Ma gets angry with Tony Costa and upset that they haven't found Billy yet and tells the gathered gyptians that he's probably still in Oxford. In response, Coram shows Ma Billy's jumper, proving to her that's he's been taken and that he's in London. Tony, after trying to comfort her, is taken away by Benjamin de Ruyter who asks him if he wants to help fight the Gobblers. Meanwhile, John soothes Ma.

Boreal in Will's Oxford

At the Magisterium, Cardinal Sturrock talks to Hugh MacPhail about the General Oblation Board and the gyptian raid. Sturrock orders Hugh to tell the Oblation Board to control what they're doing or risk losing everything.

Pan hears the noise in the vents again that night and Lyra agrees that there is something there that is moving and so tries to find out what it is. She goes to Marisa's study, which she was told should be left alone, and looks inside, seeing the golden monkey. After hearing Marisa's voice, she turns and sees her at the other end of the hallway, very far away from her dæmon. Lyra brings this up but Marisa tells her that the monkey is right next to her, saying she is sleepy. After taking her to her bed, she smacks the monkey on his head.

During the night, Carlo secretly descends to the Jordan catacombs and finds the skull he was looking for. After feeling it, he decides it doesn't belong to Grumman and that Asriel was lying to the scholars. Carlo ;eaves the college and finds his way to an overgrown building where he travels through a window to Oxford in another world, and gets in a ticketed car where he messages someone.

Whilst examining the alethiometer, Marisa informs Lyra that she should stay in her room as there are guests coming. Father MacPhail and Father Garret enter the building and Marisa welcomes MacPhail into her study. Refusing to follow her rules, Lyra gets up and listens by the door. Father MacPhail tells Marisa that Sturrock has said, should the Oblation Board attract too much attention, the Magisterium will not help it. Upon listening in, the other guest, Father Garret, approaches Lyra outside the door and Mrs Coulter becomes aware of this so she opens the door and sends Lyra to her bedroom and then the guests out, having a final confrontation with MacPhail about learning the secrets of Dust before he goes.


Brutal dæmon battle between Lyra's Pan and Mrs Coulter's daemon His Dark Materials - BBC

The golden monkey and Pantalaimon fight

Lyra picks up the alethiometer and puts it in a shoulderbag, vowing to carry it around with her to make sure Marisa can't find it after Pan reminded her of what the Master told her to do. When talking to Marisa later, Lyra tells her that she is still angry about her listening in and Marisa tells her that she's not before commanding that Lyra take off the shoulderbag. When Lyra refuses to abide, the golden monkey leaps at Pantalaimon and they begin fighting. After telling Marisa she'll take off the shoulderbag, the golden monkey leaves Pantalaimon but Lyra and Marisa still argue. After Lyra tells her that Lord Asriel wouldn't allow this, Marisa reveals the fact that Asriel is not her uncle, but in fact her father. When asked about who her mother is, Marisa replies that it could've been anyone and tells Lyra that Asriel took her to Jordan. Lyra goes to her bedroom silently and asks Marisa to leave her alone before throwing the alethiometer to the ground after it doesn't answer her questions. Mrs Coulter, who is standing outside the bedroom, hears her. After the alethiometer is thrown, a hand begins to move slightly.

In Will's world, Carlo meets a man called Thomas, asking him if he could look out for a certain man: Grumman. Whilst eating with Marisa, Marisa tells Lyra that Roger could still be back at Jordan after all as Marisa says that she can't find him. Lyra tells her that she's lying.


EXCLUSIVE CLIP Brave Lyra makes a daring dash! - His Dark Materials BBC Trailers

Lyra making her way back to her room

When Marisa leaves later on, Lyra decides to find out what the Magisterium officials were doing there and (after trying to follow her, but being unable to as the lift doors were locked shut) sneaks into Marisa's office though the vents that the golden monkey uses to get through the flat. In the office, she finds papers on the General Oblation Board of London and construction plans for The Station in the North.

While away, Marisa visits the children who have been kidnapped and invites them to write letters to the family or (in Roger's case) friends - Roger knowing that Lyra is with Mrs Coulter and making sure she knows it too. Upon leaving, Marisa throws the letters, including Roger's, into the fireplace. Upon returning, Marisa finds Lyra studying a book, Lyra having just returned to her room as Marisa re-entered the flat. That night, Lyra covers the vents and hides under her desk to talk to Pan about what they had seen earlier that day and also the alethiometer, which Pan suggests they must give to Lord Asriel.

Whilst Carlo travels back from the Oxford in another world, the party arranged by Mrs Coulter begins and Lyra serves drinks to the guests. When she meets Adèle Starminster, they speak together. Adèle tells her she doesn't look happy there and invites her to sit. At this point, Carlo arrives at the party and tells Marisa that he's been to Oxford. As Adèle and Lyra talk, Adèle informs her that the General Oblation Board is the Gobblers and that Marisa is the head of the organisation. Adèle then asks for any information as she is a journalist, but Lyra refuses. Carlo and Marisa see the scene and decide to remove Adèle.

Adèle Starminster

Immediately deciding to flee, she goes towards the open lift before realising her alethiometer is still in her bedroom and decides that she can't leave without it. Marisa escorts Adèle away before Carlo takes over and takes Adèle with him. Going to her bedroom, Lyra decides to flee through her window and travels along a short ledge between two buildings, climbing down some stairs, and running away to search for Roger.

Carlo forces Adèle into his car and takes her dæmon into his hand and crushes him making her faint. Meanwhile, the kidnapped children are told by Sister Clara that they are to travel to the North, immediately. As they flee, Pan tells Lyra to get off the streets. She curls up in a doorway and decides to find Roger before trying to go to sleep. Then Pan spies a fox-dæmon in the dark and, in a trance, heads towards it. A man creeps up behind Lyra who is then captured.[1]

Release[edit | edit source]

"The Idea of North" comes from the title of the second chapter of Northern Lights. It was released on the 10 November 2019 on BBC One at 8pm GMT in the UK and on 11 November 2019 on HBO at 9pm ET in the US and was watched live in the UK by around 5.7 million people (a drop of under 2 million from the week before)[2] and 7.709 million in the week following the release and over 8.908 million times during the 28 days following its release.[3] In the US, it was watched by around 369 000 viewers live.[4]

In the first draft for this episode, Jack Thorne wrote Ruta Skadi into the script.[5]

Cast[edit | edit source]

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

Videos[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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
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