Daemons! Witches! And, um, spoiled omelettes! His Dark Materials is well and truly back, with its season two opener delivering a total spectre-cal for viewers (read our His Dark Materials review).


But amid all the action and world-hopping, one thing in particular might have stood out to you. Well, one person: actress Bella Ramsey.

Most recognisable for playing fan-favourite young noblewoman Lyanna Mormont in fantasy series Game of Thrones, the 17-year-old star makes an appearance early on in the episode.

Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones' Battle of Winterfell
Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones' Battle of Winterfell

As new allies Lyra (Dafne Keen) and Will (Amir Wilson) explore Cittàgazze, a seemingly abandoned city, they cross paths with a girl named Angelica, played by Ramsey. If you can’t quite remember, she’s the character who tells Lyra and Will (Wyra?) that the adults of Cittàgazze have temporarily fled to avoid the menacing spectres – creatures that attack only adults but are harmless (and invisible) to children.

Without giving too much away, Angelica is a character in The Subtle Knife, the Phillip Pullman His Dark Materials novel, which season two is primarily based on. If the TV series is faithful to the book, she will have a bigger role in future episodes.

Fans of the books may also have noticed that Angelica was accompanied by her younger brother, Paolo. However, in the TV show, she’s accompanied by another girl called Paola (played by Ella Schrey-Yeats). Why the change? As Kahleen Crawford, casting director explained to RadioTimes.com, Ella’s audition was simply too good.

“It was the casting process. We had phenomenal kids coming in, and young adults coming in to see us for these roles.

Some of them had come through from the earlier search for Lyra, in fact. We’d met some, we’d been able to bring some of the kids back in. They invest with us early in the casting process, and it’s good if you can keep them in mind for things that might come up later down the line, and see if you can then find an opportunity to cast them […]we just had an embarrassment of riches in the casting process.

She added: “Ella and Bella were so strong in their performances. If I’m remembering correctly, it was essentially decided that their parts should be made bigger – and there would be more for them to do onscreen.

“So yeah, that’s what happened there. Sorry Paolos!”

Despite her aggressive cat-attacking ways in the episode, turns out that Ramsey was a delight to work with on set. That’s according to Dafne Keen, who told RadioTimes.com Ramsey is far from her character in real life.

“Ironically she's such a sweetheart,” Keen said. “She's so intelligent, so profound and so fun to be around at the same time. She's such a cool person and such an incredible actress. she's one of those people who if you start acting with her, it's impossible not to be in the scene.”

More like this

Of course, His Dark Materials and Game of Thrones aren’t Ramsey’s only recent screen roles. The actress has also appeared in The Worst Witch (as lead Mildred Hubble), Netflix series Hilda (as the titular Sparrow Scout) and Judy Garland biopic Judy (as Lorna Luft).

Ramsey won’t be the only new face to appear in His Dark Materials this season, with the show welcoming Terence Stamp, Simone Kirby and Jade Anouka. As teased in previous episodes, the show will also welcome Sherlock’s Andrew Scott as Will’s father Colonel John Parry/ Jopari.

And if that isn’t enough, Parry's Fleabag co-star Phoebe-Waller Bridge will voice John Parry’s daemon too. Now that’s some truly out-of-this-world casting.

Read more about the His Dark Materials cast, the His Dark Materials release schedule, the His Dark Materials books and the His Dark Materials age rating, plus find out where His Dark Materials is filmed, including the scenes set in Cittàgazze.

Additional reporting by Huw Fullerton.


His Dark Materials comes to BBC One on Sunday 8th November at 8:10pm. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide, or take a look at our new TV shows 2020 page to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.