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ElectricBoogaloo

S01.E04: Armour

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Arriving North, Lyra seeks allies in the witches, an aeronaut and an armored bear.

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Original UK air date: 11/24/19
Original USA air date: 11/25/19

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo

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Iorek was perfect. I was a little worried when I saw he was being voiced by a younger guy, but his voice was deep and growly enough that he felt like an experienced warrior bear to me. He also looked amazing. I don't mind not seeing many daemons in crowd scenes if it allows them to animate Iorek that well.

(Speaking of daemons: For anyone wondering why the Gyptians had dogs on leashes at the end of the episode, it's because there are real animals in this world in addition to daemons, and those are mushing dogs that will pull the sleds.)

I preferred Sam Elliott to Lin-Manuel Miranda for Lee Scoresby, simply because I always pictured Scoresby as being older and more of a cowboy, but Miranda was better than I expected. I liked how Scoresby went from brushing Lyra off to respecting her by the end of the episode. I also loved Hester and her dry sarcasm and "I love you, but you're an idiot" attitude towards Scoresby.

Lyra was more "Lyra" this episode, which I appreciated -- she's supposed to be clever, impudent, and somewhat reckless, and we saw all of that today as she outsmarted several adults and one bear. Dafne Keen appeared to be having fun and is really settling into the role.

It was nice to hear the explanation of how Lyra reads the alethiometer by stepping with her mind down the different levels of each symbol's meaning, and to see how quickly she can do that compared to the Magisterium's symbol reader, who can take weeks to get a single answer even with the help of his books. It really drives home the idea that Lyra is special in some way -- something Mrs. Coulter has clearly realized, considering her question.

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Ep 1:
Maester: Lyra, this is an alethiometer. It is TOP SECRET. It's very important that you not tell anyone you have it. Promise me.
Lyra: I promise.

Ep 3:
Lyra: Coram, I have an alethiometer!

Ep 4:
[Lyra takes the alethiometer out and walks around town with it]
Dr. Lanselius: I heard you have an alethiometer.
Lyra: Yup, sure do! And I can already read it!

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Yeah, I was thinking, “Stop waving that thing around out in the open!”

Apart from that, I thought it was a great episode. Iorek was terrific - his voice makes me think of Optimus Prime 😄

I continue to be impressed by the dastardliness of the Magisterium’s upper ranks. I’m rewatching the first season of the Crown, and Will Keen (who plays Father MacPhail, and is also Dafne’s father) plays one of the Queen’s private secretaries - and he has hair!

I’m also liking LMM as Lee Scoresby, and Hester too. The bar fight was a good scene.

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They seem to be hiding Serefina. She's not been glimpsed in any of the 'Coming Next...' bits.

I can only assume she's going to make one heck of an entrance.

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Sounds more and more like what’s happening to the abducted children is horrific.

But they haven’t yet depicted graphic violence so if there’s a malevolent force that Lyra will be confronted with, it seems fairly abstract or hidden up to this point.

That bear could have gored those soldiers.  If Lyra witnessed that or if she sees evidence of the abducted children having been hurt, she wouldn’t be looking at this expedition as some adventure, even as the Gyptians anticipate war.

Too much graphic violence would be tonally out of place with the fantasy-like style that they’ve set so far.  After all, it sounds like children gravitated to the books.

For now those new to this story are still discovering this wondrous universe unfold.

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12 hours ago, Capricasix said:

I’m also liking LMM as Lee Scoresby, and Hester too. The bar fight was a good scene.

LMM won me over from the first season.  And "She stole my bacon!"

I think I may like Hester more than Pan.

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I must be the only person in the world suffering from Lin-Manuel Miranda over-exposure. It's like he's in everything these days. And I say that as someone who was just fine with him in Mary Poppins Returns but geez . . . enough already with this guy. He's everywhere. I actually groaned out loud when I realized he was in this, too.

There's so much world building for a story like this I have a hard time following the characters, and it doesn't help that they have such odd names. I have to look them up to make them out - Farder Coram, for example, I was hearing "Father Coram."  

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I, too enjoyed Iorek Byrnison's portrayal. The CGI and voice casting was spot on. I dislike LMM as Lee Scoresby though; in my mind Lee is confident but not obnoxious. He's charming but isn't an attention-seeking showboat. LMM is great, but he's such an over-actor and I feel like he's such obvious comedic relief that it takes me right out of the story. Overall I felt it was a slow episode but I'm glad they're finally on their way north. The set for Trolleslund was perfect and the backdrop (wherever they filmed this) was stunning. 

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13 minutes ago, alotmorestupider said:

I dislike LMM as Lee Scoresby though; in my mind Lee is confident but not obnoxious. He's charming but isn't an attention-seeking showboat. LMM is great, but he's such an over-actor and I feel like he's such obvious comedic relief that it takes me right out of the story.

I'll just go with "same." I was waiting for him to start Broadway rapping. 

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I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I think “Swashbuckling adventure,” and “The spirit of the old West,” I automatically think of Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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Oh yeah, now we are getting to the really good stuff! Witches, Iorek Byrnison and the armored bears, Lee Scoresby and Hester, this is all kinds of awesome. The effects look great, from the airship to Lorek Byrnison, who especially looks amazing! I was unsure about Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee, as much as I love him (Sam Elliot looks exactly like the Lee I imagined in my head reading the book) but I thought he was really good here, bringing a lot of energy to Lee, and he already has a great dynamic with Lyra and Hester, who is hilarious and adorable, and I love their warm snark together. "She took my bacon." 

Lyra, you have GOT to stop showing that alethiometer around to everyone and their brother! There is a reason that you were told to keep the thing a secret and only show it to people you trust! I did think that Lyra had a lot of good moments this week, we got to see her be more independent and making her own moves to help find the kids, and you can see her people able to talk her way out out of problems and use her smarts. 

I wonder how many kids have gotten mean nicknames based on what their daemons settle on. 

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On 11/25/2019 at 7:50 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Ep 1:
Maester: Lyra, this is an alethiometer. It is TOP SECRET. It's very important that you not tell anyone you have it. Promise me.
Lyra: I promise.

Ep 3:
Lyra: Coram, I have an alethiometer!

Ep 4:
[Lyra takes the alethiometer out and walks around town with it]
Dr. Lanselius: I heard you have an alethiometer.
Lyra: Yup, sure do! And I can already read it!

Right?  I guess our memories are meant to be short, ha!

I struggle with Lyra because it's clear the show (and maybe the books?) intends to show her as wise beyond her years, but still a child.  And okay, she's special.  No problem with that...in theory.  The execution is less than ideal. Dafne Keen is getting a lot of acclaim for her portrayal of Lyra, but I think she veers into obnoxious territory more often than not.   

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1 hour ago, ribboninthesky1 said:

Right?  I guess our memories are meant to be short, ha!

I struggle with Lyra because it's clear the show (and maybe the books?) intends to show her as wise beyond her years, but still a child.  And okay, she's special.  No problem with that...in theory.  The execution is less than ideal. Dafne Keen is getting a lot of acclaim for her portrayal of Lyra, but I think she veers into obnoxious territory more often than not.   

Yes, she could keep the thing a bit more secret. Also the adults could talk about flying bug things so she’d know why they were concerned.

she is a pushy little woman. Knows what she wants. Doesn’t wait for permission. Forges ahead  

In our society, even now, woman and girls who are like this can often be called ‘obnoxious’. 
 

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Well, in the first book anyway, she wasn’t presented as all that special at the outset. She was always getting herself into trouble IIRC, and she was at best an indifferent student.

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Without a parent, nobody set boundaries on her.

A parent for instance wouldn’t allow her to run across the roofs of the college.

But when she learned who her parents were, particularly her mother, seemed to barely register.

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20 hours ago, Affogato said:

In our society, even now, woman and girls who are like this can often be called ‘obnoxious’. 

Indeed, and it is most often unfair and sexist.  Sometimes, though, it's apt. 

19 hours ago, scrb said:

Without a parent, nobody set boundaries on her.

I can definitely see this angle.  We didn't see much of Roger, who was an orphan as well.  But he seemed less impudent, perhaps because he had to work for his keep.

I also prefer Sam Elliot's Scoresby. 

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15 hours ago, ribboninthesky1 said:

Indeed, and it is most often unfair and sexist.  Sometimes, though, it's apt. 

I can definitely see this angle.  We didn't see much of Roger, who was an orphan as well.  But he seemed less impudent, perhaps because he had to work for his keep.

I also prefer Sam Elliot's Scoresby. 

I remember seeing the movie but I can't remember anything about it, even Sam Eliot. So, shrug. Miranda's portrayal of Scoresby isn't coming across as being stereotypically Texan (Eliot certainly can) , but I believe 'American' and I like how he relates to Hester and the bear--who are actually not there physically.

It is odd that someone upstream refers to Scoresby as obnoxious and you refer to Lyra as obnoxious. I believe that this shared quality--call it 'obnoxious' if you like--is one reason they bond. Stealing his bacon is obnoxious, but he is intrigued. 

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On 11/26/2019 at 10:42 AM, iMonrey said:

Farder Coram, for example, I was hearing "Father Coram."  

I think it is actually supposed to be a title like father. I don’t recall it ever being specifically stated in the books, but in both books and show they call him Farder Coram and they also call him Coram Van Texel. So it seems like Coram is his first name, Van Texel is his family name or last name, and Farder is some sort of title of respect. I also don’t think Farder was used in

Spoiler

the book of dust, when he’s younger

, so it’s probably a title somehow earned with age. 

Edited by LeGrandElephant
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"Farder" is the Frisian word for "sailing," which makes sense as a title of respect/nobility for a culture that primarily lives on the water.  Texel is also part of the Frisian Islands off the coast of the Netherlands.

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9 hours ago, starri said:

"Farder" is the Frisian word for "sailing," which makes sense as a title of respect/nobility for a culture that primarily lives on the water.  Texel is also part of the Frisian Islands off the coast of the Netherlands.

Isn’t there also a breed of sheep called the Texel?

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3 minutes ago, Capricasix said:

Isn’t there also a breed of sheep called the Texel?

Yep.  From the same island.

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Does everyone realize that Sysselman (the obnoxious official that Iorek nearly mauls) is played by Harry Melling -- the young actor we first met as Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter movies?  He's barely recognizable since he has slimmed down so much (and he's putting on an accent).  In fact, he slimmed down before the last HP movie and they had to put him in prosthetic make-up and a body suit to bulk him back up.

Good points above about the recklessness of Lyra walking around town with the Aletheometer in plain view but I hand-wave it away as plot necessity.  The plot required that the witches' concierge should know about it, so the veil of secrecy had to fall.

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30 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

Good points above about the recklessness of Lyra walking around town with the Aletheometer in plain view but I hand-wave it away as plot necessity.  The plot required that the witches' concierge should know about it, so the veil of secrecy had to fall.

Knowing things that regular people don't know should be part of being a witch. So they really didn't need the Lyra lapse in good judgement to make that scene work.

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On 11/25/2019 at 4:50 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Ep 1:
Maester: Lyra, this is an alethiometer. It is TOP SECRET. It's very important that you not tell anyone you have it. Promise me.
Lyra: I promise.

She never promised. In fact, she told them she didn't want any secrets and gave them the alethiometer back, at which point they pressed it on her. They advised her to keep her own counsel, but she still didn't promise anything.

When she handed the alethiometer back to them, as she walked away she threw in an oh-so-casual mention of how Asriel probably wouldn't want her to have it anyway. Which indicates that that whole bit was clever manipulation on her part. By refusing the gift and saying it would be against Asriel's wishes, she reversed the dynamic they were trying to establish - instead of having to convince them to let her take the alethiometer, they had to convince her to take the alethiometer. So they had no leverage to use to get a promise. She correctly sensed they absolutely didn't want her to leave Jordan College without the alethiometer.

It's like she said to Lee Scoresby in this episode: She often played cards with the masters, and even though they're cleverer than her, she usually won. (Because they're only cleverer in a book sense.)

Her scenes with Lee, Iorek, and John Faa in this episode were nicely juxtaposed with that of her mother with the Magisterium priests and Iofur. They both know how to manipulate to get what they want.

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