Who is the Authority in His Dark Materials?

The mysterious figure was mentioned in the season two finale...

His Dark Materials

One of the most appealing aspects of BBC One’s His Dark Materials is that it works equally well for fans of Philip Pullman’s source novels and those with no prior knowledge of Lyra and co, such is the sense of wonder the show provides.

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However, for those viewers who have not read the books, there are one or two things in the series that might call for a slightly fuller explanation  – the precise meaning of a daemon, for example, or the motivations of Mrs Coulter.

In the final episode of season two, one such reference is made – to “The Authority”. This is a figure who, as book fans will know, will continue to have a huge significance in the final season of the show, based on The Amber Spyglass, the third novel in Pullman’s trilogy.

So who exactly is The Authority, and what is his significance? Read on for all the information you need.

Who is The Authority?

Although he is mentioned in the final episode of the second season, The Authority won’t properly come into play until the final season, as it is in Pullman’s third novel The Amber Spyglass that he has the greatest plot significance – serving as one of the main antagonists.

In basic terms, The Authority was the first angel to have formed out of Dust – the mysterious particles which have been one of the main focuses of the series up until this point.

Dafne and Amir
Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson as Lyra and Will in His Dark Materials (BBC)

After his creation, The Authority convinced all other angels that he was their leader, and essentially became God, leading the Kingdom of Heaven and becoming the figurehead of many organisations in various worlds – including The Magisterium.

Although he is the figurehead, the Authority didn’t do all his work himself, and often relied on the help of Metatron, a former human who became an archangel and was chosen to be the Authority’s regent, and who himself is a major character in The Amber Spyglass.

Despite holding huge power for centuries, there is a growing faction of figures against the Authority who want to end what they see as his tyrannical reign.

This faction includes a number of rebellious fallen angels, who will also go on to play a huge role in season three – which, if the book is anything to go by, promises to bring the series to an epic conclusion.

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His Dark Materials seasons one and two are now available in full on BBC iPlayer. Looking for something else to watch? Visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.