Yup, Dudley's a little bit older and a little bit wiser.

By Nick Romano
November 25, 2019 at 10:00 PM EST
Murray Close/©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection; Alex Baily/HBO
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Dudley Dursley has upgraded from locking cousins in staircase cupboards to blackmailing talking polar bears.

Actor Harry Melling, who played Harry Potter‘s annoying, selfish cousin in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world movies, surprised viewers of His Dark Materials when he appeared in the latest episode of the TV fantasy saga.

The show, based on Philip Pullman‘s Dark Materials book trilogy, airs first in the U.K. on Sundays through the BBC before hitting American TV screens on Mondays on HBO. So, Brits had a full day to gaze in amazement at how far Melling has come from his Harry Potter days.

On the fourth episode of season 1, “Armour,” Melling, now 30 years old, appears as Sysselman, the guy in charge of the port town of Trollesund, through which Lyra and company must travel to reach the north.

Alex Baily/HBO

Spoilers from the episode: He’s also one of the townsfolk who tricked the panserbjørn known as Iorek Byrnison (voiced by Joe Tandberg) by supplying him with spirits and stealing his armor. To the panserbjørn, their armor is as precious to them as a human’s daemon. Without his, Iorek was forced into ironwork by the town. In the grander scheme of things, Sysselman is just a puppet of The Magisterium. It was the idea of Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) to take Iorek out of the picture as a power play to control the panserbjørn kingdom of Svalberd, which currently hosts Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) as its prisoner.

The episode also featured the debut of Lin-Manuel Miranda as Texan aeronaut Lee Scoresby.

Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images

Since Harry Potter, Melling appeared in roles for The Lost City of Z, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the BBC series The Musketeers, and the more recent BBC miniseries The War of the Worlds.

His Dark Materials continues its journey north with next week’s “The Lost Boy,” airing Monday on HBO at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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