HBO’s ‘His Dark Materials’ comes closer to the end with the conclusion of its sixth episode where Lyra and Will take an important step in their journey. With only two more episodes left in the story, the show uses its every moment to infuse gravity in its every character. This perfectly sets the stage for the ending which will leave most of the characters, if not all, tattered. For now, however, war knocks at the door of Lord Asriel, who has been waiting impatiently to get started on it. Here’s what the ending means for him, Lyra, and every other person in their world and beyond. SPOILERS AHEAD
His Dark Materials Episode 5 and 6 Recap
Lyra and Will arrive in the Land of the Dead and find Roger in a bad state. It doesn’t take them long to decipher that this place is a prison for souls and they need to rescue everyone, not just Roger. However, cutting out of this world is not going to be so easy. They have to take another perilous journey that tests their wits and mettle. Still, there are a few moments that bring closure to both Will and Lyra.
While his daughter tries to execute a prison break, Lord Asriel prepares for war with the Authority. In the last episode, he sent a beat-up Archangel Alarbus back to his master. As expected, Alarbus warns Metatron of Asriel’s intentions and the lengths he is ready to go to. This leads the Regent to take a drastic step, which creates the Abyss, leading to dire consequences in all the worlds, including the one in which Mary Malone currently lives with the Mulefa.
His Dark Materials Episode 6 Ending: What Happens to Roger, Lee Scoresby, and the Rest of the Dead?
Lyra came to the Land of the Dead to help Roger. She felt guilty for his death and wanted to help him get out of the place where he has been stuck ever since he died. Once there, she realizes that she needs to free every soul. This isn’t a place where anyone should live for eternity. She, Will, Roger, Lee Scoresby, and every other person take a difficult journey to the highest point in the Land of the Dead. From here, Will cuts into another world. When Roger and the others cross the threshold of this window, they dissipate into thin air. What does it mean for them?
The dissipation of the people from the Land of the Dead is similar to the way daemons dissipate after death. This is a nod to the fact that Dust constitutes everything in all universes. When the living beings die, they are supposed to merge back into Dust. However, the Authority, in trying to exercise control over all the worlds, created the Land of the Dead. Here, people are held captive after their deaths, without their daemons. This is just another form of the Authority’s oppression.
When the likes of Roger and Lee Scoresby leave this place, they get to become one with the real universe again. In the Land of the Dead, they were so tortured that most of them had forgotten who they used to be and where they came from. They were never supposed to be in that place. They were supposed to merge back into the dust that they came from. With Will and Lyra’s help, they get to die properly and find peace. They are freed, never again to be imprisoned or tortured by anything else.
How Does Lyra Defeat Death?
In the first season, the witches revealed a prophecy about Lyra. She was supposed to bring an end to destiny. She was supposed to be Eve, the mother of all sins, and she was supposed to defeat Death. The important part of this prophecy was that she couldn’t know about any of it. Things were to take their course so that she could make her own path to the thing that she was destined to do in the first place. In the sixth episode of the third season, she finally fulfills one part of that prophecy.
When she and Will release the dead from the Land of the Dead, they change the course of things as set by the Authority. After their deaths, everyone was sent to this world where they were imprisoned for the rest of their lives. There was no way out of it. It was an abysmal way to live for the rest of eternity. This terrible afterlife is something that was never supposed to exist but was specifically created by the Authority to exercise control over people in all worlds. Lyra breaks this cycle of oppression.
By opening a window to another world, Will and Lyra don’t just help the people that have died already. They also set everyone else free, even the ones who have not died yet. With the Authority having lost control over the purgatory it created, everyone who dies now will receive a proper death. Just like their daemons, people will dissipate and become one with Dust. They will not be caught in the afterlife, living as their warped versions after death.
Now, Lyra and Will have removed that possibility. By doing so, they’ve also exposed the Authority’s lies of heaven and hell, when there is in fact none. No matter what kind of life they lived, everyone ended up in purgatory for the rest of eternity, until they were eventually rescued. This drives home Asriel’s point, that the Authority has created a web of lies to control people, and the organizations like the Magisterium in different worlds are doing nothing but upholding those lies, forcing people to live in fear. With the Land of the Dead out of the picture, Lyra and Will have freed everyone in all universes and have, in a way, defeated Death by releasing every single soul out of its grasp.