I've been watching His Dark Materials on HBO and was particularly disturbed by last night's episode, "The Daemon-Cages." It showed a number of the daemons in cages, which had been cut away from their humans, by process of intercision, with a rabbit repeatedly and slowly bashing its own head against the cage wall. Later, after being rescued, the daemons are left in the cages (at least for the short term) and Farder Coram remarks, "Poor little things. Can't even speak anymore."
I thought it a bit odd that they wouldn't have immediately tried to let each child hold their respective daemon in their hands, rather than leaving them caged up as common animals. But again, perhaps this was just a short-term condition to facilitate easier travel.
Clearly the children are still linked to the daemons even if the normal connection has been severed, as evidenced by the fact that Billy Costa's daemon, Ratter, disappeared into nothingness after Billy died. So there is still some level of connection, however thin. Do the novels indicate whether that connection can be rehabilitated in any capacity? Or if the powers of speech could ever theoretically return to the severed daemons?
I realize that at the end of the day, it's all fiction, but for some reason seeing the mistreatment of animals - even fictional, CGI animals - comes off as particularly disturbing to me. Moreso, I think, than the portrayed mistreatment of fictional humans. I'm just hoping there's some redemption for the daemons.