HBO’s ‘His Dark Materials’ is set in a universe ruled by the Authority which has subjugated all life forms. The key to ending the oppression of this god-like figure is a girl named Lyra, who, as the prophecy dictates, would bring an end to destiny and change the world forever. But she won’t do it alone. While there are many people who help Lyra through her journey, the two characters that have the most important role in shaping her journey are her parents, Lord Asriel Belacqua and Mrs. Marisa Coulter. In the final season, Asriel wages his own war against the Authority, and in the penultimate episode, he concludes it too. What happens to him, Mrs. Coulter, and their enemy, Metatron? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD
What Happens to Lord Asriel, Mrs. Coulter, and Metatron?
When Lord Asriel decided to fight the Authority and end its oppression, he thought he was the hero of this story. Eventually, however, he realizes that it is his daughter who has been tasked with saving the world. This means that he is not the one who will see the whole thing to its end, but he can surely make things easier for his daughter.
When Lyra and Will create a window in the Land of the Dead and free all the people, Metatron’s hold over the world is loosened. In retaliation, he strikes back. Finally, he brings the war to Asriel, who had been waiting for it all this time. Asriel knows that Metatron is an all-powerful being and won’t be killed by any weapons created by humans. However, he also knows that Metatron is an angel, which means he is made of pure Dust.
Previously, when the Abyss was created following the actions of Father McPhail in an attempt to kill Lyra, Asriel discovered that beings made of pure Dust, like daemons, couldn’t survive the fall into the Abyss. They would disintegrate before falling into it and being destroyed. It happened with Ruta Skadi’s daemon, which led to her death as well. Asriel plans to use the same thing on Metatron. If the regent falls into the Abyss, he will be destroyed and it will certainly make things easier for everyone.
Asriel knew that it wouldn’t be so easy to push Metatron. It would require brute force, which means that the one pushing Metatron would also risk falling into the Abyss. It is a terrifying prospect because the Abyss is not a world. It is a space between worlds where nothing exists, so whoever falls into it keeps falling forever. There is no coming back from it. But Asriel is ready to take that risk if that’s what it takes to win the war. He had planned to do it all by himself, but then Mrs. Coulter joins him in the task. She leaves behind her daemon to pull the plug on the machine that would cause the Clouded Mountain to destabilize and fall into the Abyss.
In the end, Asriel’s plan works. As soon as Will uses the Knife, Metatron senses his presence and is momentarily distracted. This is when both Asriel and Mrs. Coulter use all of their power to push him into the Abyss, but they also fall with him. As the three of them reach the end of the Republic world and enter the Abyss, Metatron and Stelmaria, who were made of pure Dust, dissipate, signaling their deaths. Separated by his daemon, Lord Asriel dies too and falls into the Abyss.
Similarly, when Mrs. Coulter reaches the boundary between the worlds, the connection between her and her daemon is severed. While they had been able to stay at long distances from each other, the Abyss is something that destroys anything that is made of pure Dust. A person’s invisible physical connection with their daemon also falls into the same category. So, when Mrs. Coulter falls into the Abyss, this connection is broken and her daemon dies as well.