His Dark Materials: What is Dust? The crucial cosmic substance explained

His Dark Materials BBC Dust

His Dark Materials has arrived on BBC One and has brought with it a huge amount of questions

After an agonising wait, the first episode of the BBC's His Dark Materials has finally hit our screens. 

The series, which is based on Philip Pullman's legendary novel series, offers up so much promise and teased plenty of that in the first episode which set all the pieces in motion for the series to get into full flow.

While we learned plenty about daemons and the various groups of the His Dark Materials world, one detail in the first episode that was kept very secretive was Dust, the cosmic substance at the very heart of the His Dark Materials story but what is Dust exactly?

Spoilers ahead for His Dark Materials on BBC One.  

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His Dark Materials on the BBC

In a world where streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are starting to pull audiences away from traditional TV, the BBC needed something big to draw in the masses and have spared no expense with this adaptation of His Dark Materials.

While the BBC's colleagues in this endeavour, HBO, are no strangers to creating big-budget series, His Dark Materials is widely reported to be the most expensive show ever to air on the BBC.

The first series is believed to have cost around £50 million which works out at around £6.25 million per episode which is the same amount as HBO spent on the early seasons (1-4) of Game of Thrones.

Whether the big-budget adaptation can earn the same success as its HBO counterpart remains to be seen.

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His Dark Materials BBC Poster

The story of His Dark Materials

His Dark Materials follows Lyra Belacqua, a young schoolgirl who quickly becomes the central in a dark conspiracy that threatens to tear the fabric of her world apart.

Lyra's uncle, Lord Asriel, returns from a long expedition with new knowledge about the substance known as Dust which he has found to be the key to other worlds

His findings put him and his niece in instant danger and leaves them both searching for answers.

His Dark Materials BBC City In The Sky

What is Dust?

In His Dark Materials, Dust is not the same as the dust we have in our world and is a far more mysterious substance.

We get our first glimpse of Dust when Lord Asriel is showing his Oxford colleagues his photographed findings from his expedition north.

In a picture of an adult and child, we see that the adult is surrounded by particles of Dust whereas the child is untouched by the substance and more crucially, the Dust reveals an unknown city in the sky amidst the northern lights.

This happens because, as it will become apparent later in the series, Dust is the key to travelling between Lyra and Asriel's world and a whole swathe of new dimensions.

The reason why Dust is only attracted to adults, however, is linked to His Dark Materials' religious undertones. According to Philip Pullman's original books, Dust forms around adults as they have matured and grown a full conscience whereas children, being the innocent little things they are, remain free from it.

The Magisterium, the all-power religious authoritarian regime in His Dark Materials, seeks to destroy Dust as they believe it to be linked to humanity's original sin.

The BBC's adaptation of His Dark Materials will likely explore this more as the series progresses. The series continues at 8pm on Sunday, November 10th.

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