Well, the show is going a bit afield from the books. Probably to speed things up.
Episode 2 was good as well. Ruth Wilson as Ms Coulter is great. They are really establishing her as a off balance manipulator/bad guy and they are doing a great job showing her relationship with her daemon. I am having issues with daemons though. Seems like your at an advantage or disadvantage depending on what form your daemon takes. I don't understand how a daemon can take the form on an insect either. And are there wild animals in this world to be wary of? Seems like a bug daemon or a prey daemon would be constantly under attack. And eventually why wouldn't every fight be determined by daemon? Getting a Pokemon vibe from it. And personally if I had a butterfly/moth daemon and I was in a life threatening situation, it wouldn't be fluttering around in front of the threats face. I'd have it in my hand or on my shoulder. It makes me wonder if they can't communicate with the insect daemons.
Agree with @JaimieT about the daemons. It would seem one's daemon could be either a great asset or a great vulnerability. Also there's the thing about bad stuff happening if a person and their daemon getting too far apart. I think Pullman just ignored a lot of these implications. "Realistically," daemons would have a much more significant influence on society than they seem to in the books and in this show. But, yeah, the butterfly effect was cool. Can we please have armored bears next episode?
Just in response to Cecily & Alexis’s question about what Brits call a ‘boot’ (I’d never heard it described as this!), we call it a ‘clamp’ - a word I think has a suitable nastiness about it!
Also, by introducing travel between worlds so early, and so matter-of-factly, aren't the writers negating the whole point of the first book's climax?
Just watched the 12/9 episode - spoilers ahead if you haven't watched! Where are the Daemons?? Having a couple birds fly across the screen every once in awhile does not cut it. And they are making poor choices with the daemons they do show - Pan and Lyra should have rushed into each other's arms after she was rescued like in the book. They don't even really interact with each other at all in the show in that moment. A bizarre choice. Some of the peripheral actors could be shown interacting with real tame animals to save CGI costs and make the daemons look more abundant. Maybe we could have had a few more daemons in Bolvangar and cut out a few cliff-ghasts at the end. Really you just need to show one and have Lee yell "Cliff-Ghasts!" and you don't have to show the rest very close-up.
This is more of a personal note but I always liked the moment in the book where the freed kids meet up with the Gyptians in the snow. I think they could have had Lyra basically destroy Bolvangar like in the book and avoided the cramped and confusing battle scene (and put the money into more daemons!). In the book, Lyra causes a big fire by breaking bags of flour over an open gas stove flame. I really thought we would see that since they had the moment earlier when Ma Costa was showing her how to do that over the stove.
I realize this is hard and costly material to adapt visually due to the daemons and they are getting a lot of things right too. I also feel like it is kind of a slog to watch sometimes. It should be building more momentum as the season goes on, we are in the action-filled parts of the story and I remember them being just boom-boom-boom in a good way when reading the novel. For the show, I kind of enjoyed the three episodes of set-up before they headed North more, which was opposite to my reading experience.
I wonder if they get through all three books how they will represent the important (but very different) world where a lot of the action takes place in the third book.