His Dark Materials writer shoots down Golden Monkey fan theory

Mrs Coulter's daemon remains as officially unnamed as ever.

Ruth Wilson's Mrs Coulter with her monkey dæmon (BBC)

The fifth episode of His Dark Materials season two seemed to have solved an old mystery from Philip Pullman’s expansive fantasy world.

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Sharp-eyed fans who watched the episode with subtitles on were quick to point out Mrs Coulter’s (Ruth Wilson) Golden Monkey daemon, rather famously unnamed, had been referred to as Ozymandias during a fight with Lyra’s daemon Pan (“Ozymandias screeches”, etc.).

The name had been used before during a BBC Radio adaptation of the novels, and Pullman had already expressed his dislike for it, stating “It was a silly name, and if I’d had the chance, I would have vetoed it.” So, of course, fans were surprised to see it used once again in the series.

Now, His Dark Materials writer Jack Thorne has taken to Twitter to weigh in on the matter, explaining: “In the books and all the scripts the Golden Monkey is called the Golden Monkey. I’m one of those insane writers who puts all names in capitals (a daft practice) so actually it’s the GOLDEN MONKEY. We never refer to him by anything else.”

So, why was the Golden Monkey referred to as Ozymandias? Thorne also has a theory on that, as he told a fan “It wasn’t deliberate, on our part at least. I think it was just someone having fun in subtitling and I love subtitles so I’m good with it.”

The BBC has yet to comment on the matter, but it does make sense that the writers would have been aware of Pullman’s apprehension to naming the monkey. It definitely adds another dimension to his peculiar (read: dysfunctional) relationship with Mrs Coulter.

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His Dark Materials continues on Sunday 20th December at 7:10pm on BBC One. If you’re looking for more inspiration on what to watch, check out our TV Guide.