His Dark Materials Book Series Statistics

His Dark Materials Book Series Statistics

  • As of 2023, the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) by author Philip Pullman has sold over 22 million copies across 50 countries.
  • This is without even including sales for the other 7 titles related to the hit fantasy series (The Book of Dust trilogy plus companion books). 
  • In 2008, His Dark Materials was ranked second in a list of the 10 top books people have tried to ban in the US.
  • This was due to a perceived anti-religious sentiment within the books, although Pullman has indicated that this did not bother him as an author.
  • In 2005, due to His Dark Materials, Pullman shared a prize worth approximately $700,000 as a co-winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children’s and youth literature.
  • In 2019, His Dark Materials’ TV adaptation was the BBC’s most expensive show to date (the cost was shared with HBO for distribution to additional audiences).
  • The total budget for the first season was rumored to be upwards of $51 million and its debut episode attracted around 7.2 million viewers in the UK.
  • The first book in the trilogy, The Golden Compass, was made into a movie in 2007 with a budget of $180 million, grossing $372 million worldwide.
  • However, its overseas rights were sold in order to fund the production budget, meaning the production company (New Line Cinema) did not receive most of its profit.
  • This led to its two sequels being scrapped and the eventual decision to merge New Line with Warner Bros.

His Dark Materials books in order

  • As of 2023, the His Dark Materials trilogy is made up of three books released between 1995 and 2000.
  • The ongoing Book of Dust trilogy expands upon His Dark Materials trilogy (currently 2 books).
  • The first two books of The Book of Dust trilogy were released between 2017 and 2019.
  • The final book in The Book of Dust trilogy is a work in progress as of 2023.
  • There are also 5 other companion books related to the series.
  • Including all related works, there are a total of 10 books within the series.
Year publishedTitleCategoryPage countAudiobook length
1995The Golden Compass (US)
Northern Lights (UK)
His Dark Materials trilogy43211h 42m
1997The Subtle KnifeHis Dark Materials trilogy3418h 55m
2000The Amber SpyglassHis Dark Materials trilogy51814h 53m
2003Lyra’s OxfordCompanion book8047m
2008Once Upon a Time in the NorthCompanion book1042h 16m
2014The CollectorsCompanion book800h 32m
2017La Belle SauvageThe Book of Dust trilogy48013h 8m
2019The Secret CommonwealthThe Book of Dust trilogy63319h 44m
2020SerpentineCompanion book800h 26m
2022The Imagination ChamberCompanion book851h 29m

His Dark Materials FAQ

Why is it called His Dark Materials?

  • The author of His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman, was inspired to name the series after a phrase taken from John Milton’s poem Paradise Lost.
  • The title of His Dark Materials is intended to represent the complex themes of human nature, knowledge and morality that are present within Pullman’s trilogy.
  • In their essence, dark materials mysterious forces that can alter the perceptions and beliefs of each character.

What is His Dark Materials about?

  • As a fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials is about the adventures of the young female protagonist Lyra Belacqua.
  • Lyra explores the nature of free will, morality and consciousness through her encounters with parallel universes and oppressive institutions on a quest to understand the phenomena known as Dust.

What is dust in His Dark Materials?

  • Dust has a significant role in His Dark Materials’ storyline as a mysterious and elemental particle that is attracted to beings of consciousness.
  • Dust can be seen as a physical manifestation of consciousness, key to the understanding of knowledge, original sin and the idea of the soul.

What is The Golden Compass about?

  • The Golden Compass (known as Northern Lights in the UK) is the first book within His Dark Materials trilogy.
  • The story follows the lead character, Lyra Belacqua as she tries to rescue a kidnapped friend whilst challenging the Magisterium (an oppressive authority).
  • As she journeys, she discovers a grand conspiracy which involves parallel universes, armored polar bears and an unusual symbol-reading device.