is the last kingdom based on real events
Source: Adrienn Szabo/Netflix

'The Last Kingdom' Beautifully Blends Fact with Fiction (SPOILERS)


May. 6 2020, Updated 4:56 p.m. ET

Netflix's The Last Kingdom is back with another season of epic battle scenes, political intrigue and never-ending deception. Season 4 of the series continues to follow Uhtred of Bebbanburg as he reckons with his conflicting Saxon heritage and Danish upbringing, while trying to navigate clashing loyalties and a quest for retribution. 

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Set against the historical backdrop of 9th century England, prior to its unification when the nation consisted of a series of independent kingdoms, The Last Kingdom also revolves around the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms whose lands were constantly being invaded by the fearsome Vikings of Northern Europe. 

But with this masterful blend of historical fact and fiction, many fans are wondering, is The Last Kingdom based on real events? We take a closer look at the historic records of the time to figure out whether Uhtred’s journey to claim his birthright is based on a true story.

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is the last kingdom based on real events
Source: Adrienn Szabo/Netflix

Is 'The Last Kingdom' based on real events?

The Last Kingdom is not a true story, but many of the show’s details are drawn from historical fact. The Last Kingdom is based on The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell, which so far includes twelve books. 

Even though the books and series are fictional, there are many aspects rooted in real milestones of British history.  

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For example, the backdrop of the Anglo-Saxon period with its many Viking invasions did very much happen. The depictions of infighting and alliances within the many scattered kingdoms of England, like the relations between Wessex and Cornwall, are also fairly accurate.

Additionally, many of the show’s supporting characters are based on real historical figures. King Alfred was a popular figure in his time, who won the war against the Vikings, as the series portrays, and had grand visions to unify England. Asser the Monk is also based on a real Welch monk as are King Alfred’s family, including his wife, Eahlswith; son, Edward; and nephew, Aethelwold.

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is the last kingdom based on real events
Source: Adrienn Szabo/Netflix

The show’s main character, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, is also based on a historical figure who happens to be the book author's real-life ancestor. However, while Uhtred the Bold, Earl of Northumbria was a real person, he existed well after the Anglo-Saxon period. Therefore, Uhtred of Bebbanburg is a fictional character who certainly did not play a role in the many real historical events depicted in the series.

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Season 4 of 'The Last Kingdom' adapts Books 7 and 8 of 'The Saxon Stories'.

The Last Kingdom covers a turbulent period of British history and successfully blends historical fact and fiction to create a gripping tale of revenge and identity. Season 4 will cover the seventh and eight books of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories, titled The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne

After King Alfred dies, his son Edward the Elder takes the throne of Wessex and his daughter Aethelflaed is married off to the ruler of Mercia. Meanwhile, the Danes, headed by Haesten and Cnut, are about to attack again, sensing that Wessex is in a weakened state as they go through a transition of rulers. 

As for the series hero, Uhtred brings himself to challenge his uncle Aelfric for the lordship of Bebbanburg in Northumbria, as it is his birthright.

Seasons 1 to 4 of The Last Kingdom are streaming on Netflix now.

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