his dark materials iorek byrnison
Source: HBO/BBC

Who Voices the Armored Bear Iorek Byrnison in 'His Dark Materials'? — Meet Joe Tandberg

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Apr. 21 2020, Updated 11:25 a.m. ET

Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen) continues on her treacherous journey to the north as she attempts to gain allies in her fight against The Magisterium, who has kidnapped her friend Roger (Lewin Lloyd) and other children to experiment on separating the kids from their daemons. In Episode 4 of the HBO/BBC series His Dark Materials, fans of Philip Pullman’s book trilogy will get to finally meet Iorek Byrnison (Joe Tandberg). 

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As Lyra and the Gyptians search for more clues surrounding the whereabouts of the missing children, the group stops in the town of Trollesund, where they try to convince the dethroned King of the Armored Bears, to join them in their journey. 

So, who is the actor who voices the iconic bear in His Dark Materials? Here's what to know about English actor Joe Tandberg.

iorek byrnison his dark material actor
Source: Getty
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Joe Tandberg's acting credits include a few popular video games. 

Fans may recognize the actor from the Netflix series The Innocents (2018), in which he plays a police officer. Before landing the badass role of Iorek in His Dark Materials, Joe worked on numerous video game projects, including lending his voice to Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series (2014), in which he played a bastard son named Josera Snow. 

Gamers may also recognize his voice from Battlefleet Gothic: Armada and Final Fantasy XIV.

He's friends with his costar Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The actor is very active on Twitter and regularly promotes the show on his personal social media. This past month, Joe has been teasing fans with the arrival of his infamous character. "Tonight! Thanks for the patience and endless love and support. Enjoy," he tweeted ahead of the fourth episode. 

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If you continue to scroll through Joe's personal Twitter page, you'll see he regularly tweets back-and-forth with his HBO/BBC costar Lin-Manuel Miranda, who plays Lee Scorsby. On Oct. 15, the Hamilton star tweeted a video of Joe, captioning it: "Jooooooooe I miss youuuuu [sic]."

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In response, Joe tweeted: "Although we are worlds apart right now, I still remember everything we shared. Miss you too cowboy. FRIENDSHIPTOUR." 

Seriously, we don't know what we love more, seeing these two costars interact on social media, or their characters on-screen? 

iorek byrnison his dark materials actor
Source: HBO/BBC
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Bringing Iorek Byrnison to life on His Dark Materials.

According to Radio Times, Joe wasn't just in a studio during post-production recording his lines for His Dark Materials. The actor would be on-set with Dafne in a bearskin costume or wearing a special rig that had a life-size head of Iorek, saying his lines. Though, other times he would be replaced with a large scale model. 

A big moment in the novels (that production wanted to make sure they got right) is when Lyra rides on Iorek's back. To achieve this, a rig was created for puppeteers to move the young actor around. “I loved the bear rig,” Dafne told Radio Times. “Though, I was too light for it."

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dafne keene lyra
Source: HBO/BBC

She added: “It was very funny. They made this rig, and they didn’t calculate my weight. So they had to then harness me because I bounced too much off the bear. So that was really fun."

Catch new episodes of His Dark Materials on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on HBO.

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