Although The Last Kingdom may feel like a fictional story set in a real world, it wasn’t drawn up out of thin air. Based on Bernard Cornwall’s series novel series The Saxon Stories, both the books and The Last Kingdom include characters that are based on real-life individuals. The story put to page and now screen did take some liberties along the way. It’s not exactly like there was an immensely effective way to keep a detailed record of history from 800 – 1100.
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Which is why some of the things about Uhtred son of Uhtred are accurate to the real-life Uhtred the Bold. With there being limited records detailing Uhtred the Bold’s life, there was only so much to work off of. And what Uhtred son of Uhtred does share with Uhtred the Bold are still slightly different. That being said, here are 4 Historically Accurate Things About Uhtred (And 6 Things That Aren’t.)
10 Inaccurate: Era
The Last Kingdom is set in ninth-century England when Alfred the Great ruled Wessex and eventually became King of the Anglo-Saxons. On the show, King Alfred is, of course, based on Alfred the great, therefore the show’s era is accurate to his character.
However, it’s not accurate to Uhtred’s. Uhtred the Bold probably knew who Alfred the Great was, but he didn’t know him personally. And there’s no way Alfred the great knew who Uhtred the Bold was since he was born late in the 10th century, nearly 100 years after Alfred died.
9 Accurate: Place of Origin
Just like his fictional counterpart, Uhtred the Bold was a Saxon of Northumbria, the northern region of what is now England. Furthermore, he was from Bebbanburgh — which we’re reminded is Uhtred son of Uhtred’s home at least once an episode.
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It’s even in one of his many names: Uhtred of Bebbanburgh. Though Bebbanburgh was known as Bamburgh throughout Uhtred the Bold’s lifetime, it’s still the same place geographically.
8 Inaccurate: Birth Name
In The Last Kingdom, Uhtred son of Uhtred was originally someone else, not the main character who was also later known as Uhtred Ragnarsson. Uhtred was the old brother of the main character. He was killed by Danes in the very first episode of the show.
At that point, the main character was named Osbert. His father, also Uhtred, made him change his name upon receiving the news. Historical records show Uhtred the Bold was also known as Uchtred, but never Osbert. He was also not known as Uhtred son of Uhtred, given his dad’s name was Waltheof.
7 Accurate: Nobility
Uhtred the Bold’s father, Waltheof, was the ealdorman of Bamburgh. Uhtred would even go on to take over as Earl of Bamburgh before his father’s passing. He was also named Earl of York after Ælfhelm of York was murdered. This gave him significant power, now being the earl of both northern and southern Northumbria.
Needless to say, there’s a good chance Uhtred the Bold wasn’t going around telling everyone he was going to take over the title that was stolen from him as a child. (That would make for a much less interesting show. Though, it would shorting up about 85 percent of the show intros.)
6 Inaccurate: Relationship with the Danes
The Last Kingdom portrays Uhtred son of Uhtred as the blend of Saxon and Dane, making him the perfect candidate to bring the two groups together. It adds the element of internal conflict to the show. There are instances where it’s an episode’s driving force.
Uhtred the Bold was not raised by Danes. He did not fight on behalf of Danes. Uhtred the Bold did, however, marry the daughter of a wealthy Dane as a political move when he became Earl of York.
5 Accurate: He was a Warrior
He was called Uhtred the Bold for a reason. Uhtred son of Uhtred’s inspiration may have had the birthright to become Earl of Bamburgh, but he put himself on the fast-track to seat thanks to his work in battle.
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When King Malcolm II of Scotland invaded Northumbria, Uhtred led his people in battle, where he aging father could not. He was then rewarded the title Earl of Bamburg even though his father was still alive. Uhtred fought Danes, as well. He even dealt with a Viking named Cnut.
4 Inaccurate: Relationship with Ethelred
Uhtred Ragnarsson has a list of enemies in The Last Kingdom. There may be none more annoying that Æthelred of Mercia. He’s unloyal to the king and could not be a worse husband to Lady Æthelflæd.
Uhtred the Bold dealt with a lord by a similar name, Ethelred II, but was his ally. Ethelred the Unready had quite a bit to deal with in his time as King of England thanks to the Viking invasions. Uhtred the Bold helped him throughout this time and was rewarded as a result.
3 Accurate: Multiple Marriages
Uhtred son of Uhtred has taken two wives in the course of The Last Kingdom, in addition to the relationship he had with the shadow queen Iseult. Although the characters he marries in the show are fictional, Uhtred of Bebbanburgh is much like Uhtred the Bold in the sense he took on multiple lovers.
Uhtred the Bold was married three times. First, he married a bishop’s daughter. Upon being named Earl of York, he “repudiated” her and married the daughter of a wealthy Dane from York. He would later marry King Ethelred II’s daughter, though it’s unclear how Uhtred’s second marriage ended.
2 Inaccurate: Blood Feuds
Uhtred the Bold was still surrounded by blood feuds, don’t be mistaken. But he wasn’t necessarily the one who saw them through. Uhtred the Bold was killed in Thurbrand the Hold in 1016 after Ethelred had lost control of England to King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark a few years earlier.
Thurbrand was then killed by one of Uhtred’s sons, Ealdred. He was then killed by Thurbrand’s son, Carl. Ealdred’s grandson then took vengeance for his family years later. Such a loving family.
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1 Inaccurate: Religion
Not being raised by Danes likely means Uhtred did not believe in Valhalla or the Norse gods altogether. That, the fact he married a bishop’s daughter and records indicating he me the bishop’s daughter while helping transport the remains of St. Cuthbert mean he was likely of Christian faith.
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