‘The Last Kingdom’ from a history nerd’s perspective

It is believed that every story is based on the truth at least to some extent.

The tricks of the directors of the movies include using the stories for their TV shows and series. This is one of the best ways to make the TV show interesting, engaging, and involving both for the drama series lovers as well as for the history lovers.

While it may work sometimes, other times this fact can cause some very negative backlash from the audience. The reason for that is the inaccuracy in the story and the inaccuracy in the habits which are shown in the TV show. The reason for the backlash can also be the inadequacy of the characters and the incorrect play by the actors. Usually, this does not happen as mentioned and the audience understands that the producers and directors need to make some amendments in the plot, in order to make it more interesting for the people.


This time, we will be telling you the story of The Last Kingdom. The TV show is shot in Hungary and represents the period of the story of Uhtred, a fictional 9th-century Northumbrian warrior raised by Vikings who, despite a conflicted relationship with the king of Wessex, became Alfred’s military tactician. The novel was originally written by Bernard Cornwell. Though, Ryan Lavelle the Professor of Early Medieval History became the advisor for the TV Show.

The Plot

The Netflix drama is based on Bernard Cornwell’s novel, a man who lived almost one thousand years ago. From the historical perspective, the show is definitely not historical fully, and has some differences in the plot, while the historical clock moves faster than in the show, though, with every clever and accurate advisor, the show turned out to be pretty interesting even for the biggest history nerds.

The show clearly retells the events of King Alfred’s reign from around 871 to the Battle of Edington, or Ethandun, as mentioned in other words. In the first year of Alfred’s reign, there were lots of different battles against the Vikings, and in the series, that basically boils down to two encounters. What makes the season even more interesting is the plot about the Vikings, which is based on Nordic mythology.

Nordic mythology always makes every show even more interesting than simply history drama. The gods and Vikings, who believed in those gods, have not only become the inspiration for the movie directors, but also the European kingdoms. Once the Vikings have become better known in Europe, many European kings and kingdoms took after some of the Viking patterns. Even in modern history and modern times. The Vikings and their stories all still very popular and created a lot of trends.

Many TV shows and games are based on the story of Vikings and Nordic traditions or mythology. This is something, which has become very popular and has entangled multiple people. The Last Kingdom can also be a clear example of that. Some online games, the likes of which you can find here, are based on the historical aspects of the Viking stories, while others are based on the Nordic mythology itself. The games are especially popular in the online casino, where thousands of people play online casino games with different backstories every single day.

The storyline

The most recent season took more liberties with the timeline. Edward the Elder’s reign, on which the fourth season is based, was from 899-900 through to 924. Some of the things mentioned in season four actually happened quite late in Edward’s reign, so you’ve got the battle of Tettenhall, which took place in 910. Aethelred, the ealdorman of the Mercians, died on 911. Aethelflaed receiving the submission of the men of York didn’t happen until in 918.

There’s a very good reason for the drama to condense these events: the age of its cast. If the series stuck slavishly to the historical chronology, its characters would have had to have aged almost two decades over the course of the last eight episodes. According to a lay-person’s timeline like this one, that would leave lead character Uhtred who is played by 37-year-old Alexander Dreymon, nearing his seventies by the finale, which clearly wouldn’t do.

One more very interesting character, who is going against the history timeline is King Alfred’s widow, Aelswith, who is played by Eliza Butterworth. Historically, she’s meant to be dead by 903! But she’s such a great character that I would have been very sad if she wasn’t there in season four. Aelswith, as a device, allows the family tensions to play out. If she wasn’t there, it would be difficult to get that to work.

In the show though, after being poisoned by the scheming Lord Aethelhelm in the season four finale, Aelswith was looking a bit peaky the last time we saw her, I point out. Lavelle laughs. “She’s not looking well at the end, no indeed! Maybe this is the historical clock catching up with her!

The Global Pandemic and the Black Death

Something which might attract your attention is the fourth season which aired back in the Spring when the novel coronavirus pandemic spread all over the world. By that time the TV show featured the pandemic in the show, which took the lives of millions. According to the historical, the pandemic was not the Black Death but was Bubonic plague. Which did not bring as bad outcomes as Black Death but still definitely affected the life quality of Medieval people.

Here is another historical misconception, which was seen in the show, Bubonic plague happened much later, in the Late Middle Ages. You can’t have something as momentous as the Black Death and have it not affect life for the next fifty years, but the way the story was panning out, it only affected the drama over a short period.