'His Dark Materials' Screenwriter Jack Thorne Compares Lyra Belacqua to Greta Thunberg

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Greta Thunberg

The HBO/BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman's books had its world premiere in London.

Philip Pullman's critique of religion in the pages of His Dark Materials is well documented and debated, but at the world premiere of the latest screen adaptation of his acclaimed novels, a more topical subject was raised. 

Speaking at the launch of the big-budget HBO/BBC dramatization, writer Jack Thorne compared the Magisterium, the novels' overbearing and all-powerful religious authority, to the current British government, particularly given its response to pro-environmental Extinction Rebellion protesters who have recently been campaigning across London and causing disruption in order to raise awareness of climate change.

"We just saw today a protest being removed from the streets without due process of law, and it was done quite openly by a group of people that felt they were entitled to do it, and they denied another group of people the right to protest," said Thorne, one of the most prolific U.K. writers, best known for the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play.

"We live in scary times. And I think there's so much in Philip's books about now and where we're at now, even more than when he first wrote it," he added. "The thing that I most admire about his telling is that there's an obvious story to be told, and that's Asriel's story, and he doesn't tell it, he tells Lyra's, and that choice between following the person intent on greatness, Asriel, and abandoning that in order to follow the person intent on goodness in Lyra is such a bold and brilliant choice. And you know, Greta Thunberg...Lyra...there are quite a lot of similarities there."

Thorne was joined on stage at the premiere at London's BFI Southbank by Dafne Keen, who plays Lyra, plus Ruth Wilson (Mrs Coulter), Clarke Peters (the Master) and series producer Jane Tranter.

The first eight-part season of His Dark Materials, which is already shooting season two, launches on the BBC Nov. 3 and on HBO Nov. 4.