Warning: Contains SPOILERS for His Dark Materials season 3, episode 4, “Lyra and Her Death,” as well as Philip Pullman’s book The Amber Spyglass.Lyra Belacqua and her daemon, Pantalaimon, are forced to separate in His Dark Materials season 3, episode 4, “Lyra and Her Death,” so the former can travel to the land of the dead, with big implications for the future. Even by usual human-daemon standards, Lyra (Dafne Keen) and Pan (Kit Connor) have been shown as extremely close in His Dark Materials, and the best example of how daemons are a manifestation of a person’s soul. Unfortunately, while that’s often been a positive, it’s now been used to heartbreaking effect.
Ever since His Dark Materials season 2’s post-credits scene, Lyra has been having dreams of her friend, Roger Parslow (Lewin Lloyd). Overtaken by guilt for his death at the hands of her father, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy), Lyra is determined to reach the land of the dead and ostensibly rescue Roger, no matter the cost – even if that cost is her daemon. The boatman who takes the deceased across the water refuses to let Pan come aboard, insisting it’s an unbreakable rule that daemons cannot go with humans to the land of the dead. It’s a devastating, painful twist as much for viewers as it is Lyra and Pan themselves, though luckily not all is lost for them.
Why Lyra Couldn’t Take Pan To The Land Of The Dead (& What Will Left Behind)
Because His Dark Materials‘ daemons are souls (or manifestations of), they cannot enter the land of the dead. When a person dies, it is only part of them that goes there, known as their ghost – their corpse remains behind, and their daemon dies with them, turning into Dust. The ghost is what continues on, to be guided by their death to the land of the dead. It’s because of this Lyra has to leave Pan behind, and the same is true of Will Parry (Amir Wilson). Though he does not have a daemon at this point, he too must leave his own soul behind in order to enter the land of the dead.
Are Lyra & Pantalaimon Severed?
Lyra and Pantalaimon are not severed in the same way as Roger was by Lord Asriel or how Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) was attempting to do the children at Bolvangar, but they are separated in a manner that will leave a permanent mark upon them. When people are fully severed, they often die or are left alive only on a technicality, as briefly seen with Billy Costa (or Tony Makarios in the His Dark Materials books). Thankfully, Lyra and Pan avoid that kind of fate – they will be reunited, and her daemon remains a part of her.
Instead, Lyra and Pan’s separation in His Dark Materials season 3, episode 4 is more akin to what the witches undergo. When they are young, His Dark Materials‘ witches partake in a trial that involves them visiting a land in the North where their daemons cannot go. This means their daemons can travel great distances from them, and is why they always settle as birds. Lyra and Pantalaimon’s fate isn’t exactly the same (Pan won’t settle as a bird, but a pine marten, and Lyra won’t fly or live as long as witches do), but it’s very similar and the best example (along with shamans such as Will’s father, John Parry, and his daemon) for what to expect from their relationship in the future.
What Happens To Lyra & Pantalaimon After His Dark Materials Season 3 Ep 4
The land of the dead is ruled over by the Authority and guarded by harpies, who see the worst in everyone and feed off the ghosts’ misery, which is why Roger and all the others there are trapped in such a miserable afterlife. After swaying the harpies to her side by telling her story, Lyra and Will are able to free the ghosts. Will cuts a window into another land (His Dark Materials‘ mulefa world, where Dr. Mary Malone currently is), and when the ghosts pass through they vanish into the ether, finally finding peace.
Lyra and Pan find each other again as well. Pan makes an escape of his own from the land of the dead, going through one window and then another and another, until his and Lyra’s paths converge in the mulefa world. Even then, Pan keeps his distance from Lyra, initially remaining out of sight as a means of punishment, but the two are ultimately drawn back together. Still, though they end back on good terms, not everything is as it was. Philip Pullman’s sequel to the His Dark Materials books, The Secret Commonwealth, picks up 10 years later and has Lyra and Pan falling out, increasingly irritated and at-odds with one another. They may not be severed, but there is a separation between them.
His Dark Materials season 3 releases new episodes Mondays on HBO.