‘His Dark Materials’ fans have noticed a change from the books and they’re not happy

"The episode lost something desperately sad"

The latest episode of His Dark Materials has left fans somewhat disappointed after a certain change was made from the original book.

The BBC series’ fifth episode included a heartbreaking moment where Lyra (Dafne Keen) discovers a dying Billy Costa (Tyler Howitt) who has been cut away from his daemon.

He is brought back to his mother Ma Costa (Anne-Marie Duff) who lets him reunite with his daemon as he passes away.


His Dark Materials episode 5
Lyra and Lord Faa in ‘His Dark Materials’ episode five. Credit: HBO / BBC

However, this is a significant change from the book Northern Lights, where Lyra actually finds another boy, Tony Makarios, who has been separated from his daemon.

In the moment, Tony is discovered desperately clutching to a dried fish. It’s the closest thing he can find to a daemon before he dies.

Many viewers have expressed dissatisfaction in how the dried fish element was excluded as well as the merging of Billy with another character.

his dark materials episode 5
The Brecon Beacons doubled for the fictional North in ‘His Dark Materials. Credit: HBO / BBC

“I think tonight’s episode lost something desperately sad when they decided not to go with the dried fish part. In the book that is the moment that guts – the horror and futility of it. We lost the ringing poignancy of that scene in the book,” one fan wrote.


Another added: “This was exactly what I worried about previously; with so little focus on the daemons and how physically close they always are, I don’t think the moment landed at all. And without the dried fish part it lost so much poignancy/horror.”

“Literally nothing about this adaptation has pissed me off more than merging Billy Costa and Tony Makarios and making this moment about someone they know being hurt rather than the pure horror of something that shouldn’t be done to anyone,” a third said.

You can read NME‘s verdict on the latest His Dark Materials episode, which also gave viewers a first proper look at Will Parry.