Warning: Contains SPOILERS for His Dark Materials season 3, episodes 5 and 6, and Philip Pullman’s book The Amber Spyglass.
Lee Scoresby’s return in His Dark Materials season 3 ends with a significant book change. Despite not having much screen time in His Dark Materials, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Lee Scoresby would often steal the show every time he was on screen. Lee’s interactions with Iorek and Lyra were a highlight of the show, which is why Lee’s death in His Dark Materials season 2 finale was so heartbreaking to many.
Now, Lin-Manuel Miranda returns as Lee Scoresby in the latest His Dark Materials season 3 episodes, with “No Way Out” and “The Abyss” following Lyra and Will’s adventure in the land of the dead. While Lyra entered the land of the dead for Roger, whose death Lyra blames on herself, Roger was not the only dead character His Dark Materials season 3 revisited. There was, however, a significant difference in how His Dark Materials dealt with Lee Scoresby’s return compared to the books.
Lee Scoresby’s Final Death Comes After His Dark Materials’ Last Battle In The Book
Unlike in His Dark Materials season 3, episode 6, “The Abyss,” Lee Scoresby’s final farewell in the books only happens after The Amber Spyglass’ last major battle. Similar to the previous two His Dark Materials episodes, Lyra and Will encounter Lee in the land of the dead. However, instead of setting Lee’s soul free to become part of the Dust right away, as happened in the latest His Dark Materials episode, Lyra and Will reunite with the ghosts of both Lee Scoresby and John Parry toward the end of The Amber Spyglass for the battle against the Specters.
Therefore, HBO’s His Dark Materials cut a significant part of Lee Scoresby and John Parry’s “ghosts storyline.” That said, both their farewells in His Dark Materials tried to capture the essence of Lee and John’s final moments in The Amber Spyglasses. John Parry and his son Will shared a heartwarming final conversation, with Will finally realizing his role in that journey. Though it plays out differently from the books, Lee’s final moment keeps the essence of Lee’s soul becoming part of the Dust and ascending to the sky as Lee and his balloon had done so many times.
Why Did His Dark Materials Season 3 Change Lee Scoresby’s Ending?
There are a few reasons why His Dark Materials may have changed Lee Scoresby’s ending. First, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who plays Lee Scoresby in His Dark Materials, often works on several projects and may not have been able to play a larger role in season 3. Another possibility is that HBO’s His Dark Materials season 3 is simply trying to streamline the narrative to adapt The Amber Spyglass in the most efficient way possible. Finally, His Dark Materials season 3 will have eight episodes, meaning that the show only has two episodes left to wrap up Lyra’s story.
With the final war between Lord Asriel and Metatron yet to happen, His Dark Materials season 3 risks having a too-convoluted finale. For that reason, having lots of dead characters returning in His Dark Materials season 3 only to die again a few moments later can be confusing and take a lot of screen time for a story that is already rather complex. While Lee Scoresby will not get to help Lyra one more time as he did in The Amber Spyglass, the essence of his story has been captured in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s final His Dark Materials episode, thus justifying the change.
His Dark Materials season 3 releases new episodes Mondays on HBO.