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His Dark Materials returns to HBO for its third and final season this December — and it’s been some time since viewers caught up with Lyra (Dafne Keen) and Will (Amir Wilson). We left both characters in precarious situations at the end of His Dark Materials Season 2. But since the finale aired all the way back in 2020, fans may have trouble recalling what happened. This recap of His Dark Materials Season 2 will get you up to speed before season 3 arrives.

[Warning: Major spoilers ahead for His Dark Materials Seasons 1 and 2.]

Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson as Lyra and Will in 'His Dark Materials' Season 3, which will serve as the show's ending. They're laying next to one another on an icy floor.
Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson in ‘His Dark Materials’ Season 3 | HBO

‘His Dark Materials’ Season 2 left off on a major cliffhanger for Lyra and Will

Lyra and Will travel together for the majority of His Dark Materials Season 2, but the pair get separated during the finale. Although they’re camping with the witches, Will wanders off to find his father. And he gets a reunion, even if it’s short-lived. Right before John Parry (Andrew Scott) dies, he tells Will that he’s the new Knife Bearer.

For those who don’t remember, Will wrestled the Subtle Knife from Giacomo Paradisi (Terence Stamp) in Cittàgazze. Apparently, that means he’ll play a major role in the war to come. John instructs Will to seek out Lord Asriel (James McAvoy). To what end remains unclear. Perhaps he’ll use the knife to open passages to other realities.

While Will is away from their tent, Lyra finds herself facing her mother again. Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) shows up after learning about Lyra’s role in the Magisterium’s prophecy. According to the witches, Lyra is Eve. As such, her choices could bring about “the end of destiny.”

Determined to prevent this from happening — and keep her daughter safe — Mrs. Coulter takes Lyra away from the witches. When Will returns, his friend is gone. And the two are likely to find themselves in even more danger heading into His Dark Materials Season 3.

Lord Asriel recruits powerful soldiers during ‘His Dark Materials’ Season 2

Lord Asriel is absent for much of His Dark Materials Season 2, but this recap will remind viewers what he was up to during the last outing.

His Dark Materials Season 2 reveals that Asriel is going to war with the Magisterium and the Authority. And not only does he have the witches on his side, but he appeals to actual angels during the finale. With such powerful beings pledging their allegiance to him, the Magisterium won’t be able to stop him. That’s doubly true if he gets his hands on Will and Lyra.

We’ll learn more about Asriel’s intentions when His Dark Materials Season 3 arrives. It’s clear his goals are massive — but whether they’re right, wrong, or somewhere in the middle remains to be seen.

Mrs. Coulter has a new army at her disposal ahead of ‘His Dark Materials’ Season 3

His Dark Materials Season 2 introduces creatures called Spectres while Lyra and Will are in Cittàgazze. These beings come from another reality, and they feed on anyone who’s reached puberty. They pose a threat to many characters in His Dark Materials, but Mrs. Coulter finds a way to control them.

During the His Dark Materials Season 2 finale, Lyra’s mother takes advantage of the Spectres to get her daughter back from the witches. She feeds her enemies to them, rendering them a powerful tool at her disposal. They could keep her and Lyra safe in His Dark Materials Season 3 — though that may come at a cost.

Lee Scoresby makes the ultimate sacrifice during season 2

Speaking of steep prices, Lyra’s friend and protector, Lee Scoresby (Lin-Manuel Miranda), makes the ultimate sacrifice in His Dark Materials Season 2. After going to great lengths to find John Parry — and reunite with Lyra — Lee perishes during a showdown with the Magisterium. It’s a devastating moment, and it’s one Lyra will have to grapple with in season 3.

Of course, Entertainment Weekly reports that Miranda is reprising his role for His Dark Materials Season 3. His death seemed to be confirmed, so it’ll be interesting to see how the series brings him back in.

Mary Malone digs into the truth about Dust


‘His Dark Materials’: Why the Series Is Ending With Season 3

His Dark Materials Season 2 introduces Lyra to Mary Malone (Simone Kirby), a physicist and scholar residing in Will’s world. Thanks to Lyra, Mary begins studying Dust — and she learns that it’s more than mere particles. Dust is the substance that makes up angels. And knowing what Asriel is up to, it’s likely to play a massive role in His Dark Materials’ final season.

Likewise, Mary will continue to play a part in Lyra’s story. The His Dark Materials Season 2 finale sees her making contact with Dust, which sends her to Cittàgazze. She’ll no doubt track down Lyra from there. And her knowledge could turn the tides of the looming war.

Roger returns at the end of ‘His Dark Materials’ Season 2

Perhaps the strangest development of His Dark Materials Season 2 comes after the finale’s credits. One last scene sees Roger (Lewin Lloyd) communicating with Lyra. But Lyra’s friend died in His Dark Materials Season 1, so it’s hard to say what this means. Is Roger’s plea for help a dream, or is he actually beckoning Lyra from beyond the grave?

Judging by HBO’s trailer for season 3, it’s the latter — and Lyra will find herself attempting to bring Roger back from the dead. That’s a daunting task, and it could have major consequences. Either way, Roger’s return will have a massive impact on the events of the final season.

His Dark Materials Season 3 premieres on HBO and HBO Max on Monday, Dec. 5.

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