How Historically Accurate is Season 2 of Last Kingdom?


The Last Kingdom poster for Season 2

Warning: This article contains spoilers!!!!

Check out our summaries for Season 1and Season 3.

The Last Kingdom is a historical-based series set in Anglo-Saxon England in the 9th century AD during a time of major Viking (Norse and Dane) invasions. Season 2 focuses on family conflicts that embroiled Uhtred, the protagonist, and the conquest of London, an actual historical event.

Season 2 is divided into two novels from the Saxon Tales series written by Bernard Cornwell, namely books 3 and 4 (Season 1 was books 1-2). The novels span roughly between 878-886 (Figure 1). The main focus for Season 2 in the first four episodes is Uhtred’s quest to go north from Wessex into Northumbria, a less tamed area of England that is ruled more by Danes but their hold is somewhat less clear. Uhtred seeks his ancestral home in Bebbanburg (Bamburgh Castle) and also wants revenge against Kjartan, who killed is adopted Danish father.[1]

Uhtred finds himself helping a Dane, King Guthred, who was a slave envisioned to be a king by priests serving Saint Cuthbert, specifically abbot Eadred. This was a period after Halfdan, a Dane, had conquered Northumbria. Guthred was indicated to be Hardcanut’s son, who somehow ended up in slavery. The story of Guthred being freed is depicted in the first episode, as he is rescued by Uhtred. The crowning of Guthred was preceded by a period of some anarchy, as the population arose against the Danes. Historically, there was uncertainty after Halfdan was killed in battle as he was fighting in Ireland. This was used by the series to create the context in which Guthred came to power.

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Categories: Historically Accurate


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