His Dark Materials has left fans in shock after its most recent episode.

It’s hard to say what’s more difficult and tragic to watch in a TV show, a character dying or there being a change from the source material, in the case of His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman’s acclaimed novel series. 

The new BBC-HBO adaptation of His Dark Materials has captivated TV audiences since it arrived on November 3rd but book fans have been kept on their toes as well by several changes from the original novels

Episode 5 of the first series, The Lost Boy, manages to blend both a tragic character death with a book change.

On the one hand, TV viewers have been left devastated but on the other, book fans aren’t shying away from letting others know what could have been.

Billy Costa’s death

We first meet Billy Costa in His Dark Materials’ opening episode as we see him snatched away by the Gobblers. In the episodes that have followed, hints have been dropped about the fate that could befall Billy and the other children who were taken.

And now, by episode 5, we finally see, for the first time, the horrific intentions of the Gobblers and Magisterium.

While reading the alethiometer, Lyra is warned of a ‘ghost’ in a nearby village. Naturally, the ever-curious Lyra ventures off for answers. 

Little does she know that the ‘ghost’ she’s warned about is, in fact, young Billy Costa, who has been separated from his daemon. The horrible fate leaves Billy a shell of a person, his soul ripped from him. 

While Billy is just about clinging to life as Lyra finds him, the poor boy loses his life after being taken back to his mother and brother.

Fans react

It’s a terribly tragic event for fans to witness, especially given the fact that Billy is little more than an innocent child. 

In the aftermath of the episode, fans quickly took to social media to offer their reaction to Billy’s demise.

One fan on Twitter commented “BILLY COSTA NO NO NOOO THEY DIDNT DO THAT NO PLEASE” while another wrote “Billy Costa does not deserve that for sure.”

And this fan was clearly left heartbroken by the tragic loss.

A change from the books

While there are obviously plenty of viewers who have been left in tears by the awful event, book fans haven’t been shy from letting everyone know that Billy Costa’s death was actually a change from the original book as this fan on Twitter explains.

In the books, the child that Lyra finds is actually a young boy called Tony Makarios, who’s found clutching a dried fish to ‘replace’ his lost daemon.

Meanwhile, Billy Costa remains alive and well and manages to escape the horrifying Bolvangar with Lyra and Roger. 

It’s understandable that book fans have been let down by the change but it makes far more sense to us as viewers for the boy to be Billy as we already have some degree of a connection with him, making the intercision of his daemon more impactful. 

Although, having Billy clutching a dried fish to replace his daemon would still have worked.

His Dark Materials continues on Sundays at 8pm until the series finale on December 22nd. 

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