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What Happens To Will’s Knife In His Dark Materials & Why It’s So Crucial

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for His Dark Materials season 3, episode 2, “The Break,” and Philip Pullman’s book The Amber Spyglass.Will Parry’s subtle knife breaks in His Dark Materials season 3, episode 2, but it can (and should) be fixed. The subtle knife was introduced in His Dark Materials season 2, where Will became its new bearer (at the cost of a couple of fingers). The double-edged blade is incredibly powerful – one side is able to cut through any material; the other can open windows to other worlds – which makes the knife breaking in His Dark Materials season 3, episode 2 all the more shocking.


Although Will has become increasingly adept at using the subtle knife, he has not yet perfected opening windows into other worlds. That’s something Mrs. Coulter preys upon in His Dark Materials season 3. While Will is attempting to cut open a window, she distracts him with talk of his own mother. The knife requires a clarity of thought and emotion, something he doesn’t have at that moment, and with the knife caught trying to make a portal, it shatters into several pieces. While it’s a surprising twist, Will’s knife will continue to play a big role in His Dark Materials season 3, including being mended.

Related: His Dark Materials Season 2: Is Mrs. Coulter Secretly A Witch?

How The Subtle Knife Is Fixed In His Dark Materials Season 3

Broken Subtle Knife in His Dark Materials season 3

Having escaped from Mrs. Coulter, Lyra and Will’s next stop will be getting the knife fixed. Their ultimate goal is to reach the land of the dead, where Roger was first seen in His Dark Materials season 2’s ending, but getting there requires the knife. Luckily, they know just who can fix it: Iorek Byrnison, who can work with just about any metal known to man (or bear). Iorek is wary of the knife’s power – not only because it was able to effortlessly cut through his sky-iron armor, but because it seems to have intentions of its own – but he agrees to fix it for Lyra and Will nonetheless.

As skilled as Iorek is, it takes a great effort for him to fix the subtle knife. It requires assistance from Lyra and Will: the former has to collect specific stones that will release a gas, preventing hot air from weakening the blade; the latter has to mentally holding the blade together as Iorek physically mends it. The panserbjørn has to be very deliberate with every action, from the wood gathered for a great furnace to work in, to forging a stone hammer just the right shape and size for the job. Eventually, Iorek is able to hammer and meld the knife back together, a lengthy process that leaves all three of them exhausted.

Why Will’s Subtle Knife Is So Important In His Dark Materials

Subtle Knife in His Dark Materials

Ultimately, His Dark Materials‘ subtle knife has to be fixed because it is crucial to the story’s endgame. So far, two abilities of the knife have been revealed, but there is a third not yet seen. The subtle knife is also known as the Æsahættr, which translates to “God-Destroyer.” That should be taken rather literally, as it’s the exact role it has to play in His Dark Materials season 3. In The Amber Spyglass, the final book His Dark Materials is adapting, it factors heavily into the death of the Authority, the figure Lord Asriel is waging war against. The Authority cannot be defeated without it, making it all the more pertinent it’s fixed sooner rather than later.

His Dark Materials season 3 releases new episodes Mondays on HBO.

Next: His Dark Materials Season 2 Fixes The Show’s Daemon Problem

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