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The Last Kingdom

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Uhtred and Leofric lead a raiding party to Cornwall on a mission for wealth and independence. The party becomes mercenaries for a Cornish King, and Uhtred attracts the attention of a beautiful sorceress queen named Isuelt. Iseult’s charms and the promise of silver make Uhtred feel like he finally has the chance of a new start. However, when he returns to Wessex he is faced with the wrath of King Alfred and a judgment that leaves both his life and the life of his best friend Leofric hanging in the balance.

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Well, i guess Uhtred's luck is running true to form. I found it hard to support Uhtred's actions in this one. Refusing to pay off the dead guys family is just punishing his innocent kids and the way he treated Mildreth was harsh. Bringing home another woman and then refusing to acknowledge his son because he had been baptised was very unfair. I'd say Mildreth is better off without him but if she's living in creepy Odda's house that will not end well.

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Uhtred is kinda dumb.  I knew the other Dane would double-cross them and Uhtred's group made it so easy for them to do so.  The plotting is simplistic and juvenile.  Uhtred instantly falls in love with every pretty face.  Though to my eye they're having a hard time finding pretty woman who are anywhere near as pretty as AD.

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refusing to acknowledge his son because he had been baptized was very unfair

 

    Especially when he's been baptized twice himself.

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I don't get Uhtred's decision making at this point.  In the beginning it made sense that a young, power-hungry warrior would desire to reclaim his birthright.  Now it's apparent that he has nothing in common with the people he means to rule, and in fact is doing everything possible to alienate them.  Abandoning his wife and son for some sorceress?  Great idea, I'm sure that won't come back to bite him in his perfectly formed ass later.

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man, Skorpa was one of the scariest dudes I've seen lately on tv.  I can't remember from the books, but I hope he is a recurring character.

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Mildreth didn't deserve any of that. She didn't cause him to be humiliated. I don't understand him.

I do like Yseult and find her compelling and mysterious.

I like the redemption arc of Aethelred.

No idea why Leofric would turn on Uhtred.

I think working with Scopa was an awful idea in the first place. That guy clearly had no honor-- he killed the king right after he swore he wouldn't. And how did Uhtred think that wouldn't be found out?

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I'm glad it wasn't Aethelred that spilled the beans. I'm starting to grow fond of the little guy. Leofric must have a plan. Obviously Uhtred won't die but I hope his pal doesn't either.

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It has just dawned on me that I have misunderstood this show's intentions until now. This is not so much a typical story with one long narrative arc but more episodic, like a soap opera, as someone earlier said... Like those old serials that used to play before the movie in the olden days... Like 'the Continuing Adventures of Uhtred, Son of Uhtred'.... Like heroes in myths: a guy who just found himself in situations and had things happen to him, not necessarily even connected. I think this show is trying to be less like Game of Thrones and more like Supernatural. Kinda.

 

Also for the last 3 episodes, I have been frustrated with Uhtred's dumb decisions. Tonight I realized finally that Uhtred is not an annoyingly bad hero - he's not really a hero at all, but instead he is a protagonist: young, impulsive, short-sighted, and not real bright. To me, this makes him more interesting. 

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Yeah, Uhtred has annoyed me since the very first episode where he disobeyed his dad's orders and ran off to the battle and ended up being captured. Of course,he was young and if he hadn't done that he probably would have been killed by his uncle but I have struggled to like him. He has some charm but so much of what he does irritates me. It maybe would be easier to watch if we don't try and make him out to be the hero. He isn't a hero and If it was a choice between him and leofric then I want Leofric to survive.

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Mildreth didn't deserve any of that. She didn't cause him to be humiliated.

Mildreth annoys me, probably because she strikes me as such a fundamentalist religionist--she badgers Uhtred constantly about giving himself up to God's hands,or whatever.  I suppose the attitude is common enough, at least with Alfred and the people surrounding him.  Nevertheless, she didn't require him  to take Jesus as his savior before she slept with him.  So baptize the kid--which she did--and drop the subject with Uhtred.  Which is not to say that she shouldn't be pissed that he's just up and running off with the sorceress.  Then again, although he "had loved"  Mildreth, he didn't pick her and was basically forced to marry her and take on her father's debt.  It's not like she was deceived about his motives for marrying her.

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I woulda been out of there so fast. The Saxons are no fun and have screwed with Uhtred from the get-go. I have no idea why he has stuck around. So far I can't see anything about Alfred that would inspire anybody to want to follow him. If Mildrew wanted to hang onto her husband, she should have worked a little harder at it. I have no sympathy for her. 

 

I have to give credit to the show for showing the culture-clash that would have been inevitable when these different peoples came into conflict. In a way it's a miracle the groups ever blended. 

Edited by lidarose9
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Well, drat.  Uhtred and Leofric are now going to have a fight to the death.  Baring an outside interference that prevents it or stops it, I don't see how this won't end is Leofric's death.  Because there is no way Uhtred is dying, obviously.

 

Uhtred really is pretty much burning everything to the ground right and will almost have now allies or friends left.  Don't blame Mildrith for blaming, although going to Odda the Younger is probably going to end up being just as bad for her.  That twerp is shady as hell.

 

Uhtred sure does fall head over heels pretty easily, although Shadow Queen Iseult is freaking gorgeous, so I can't blame him too much.  Although I just discovered that the actress' name is Charlie Murphy, so now I'm going to be picturing Charlie Murphy from the Chappelle Show/Eddie's brother, in this show.

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The only reason Uhtred has stuck around is the Viking mentality of "power and wealth" -- he wants land and silver.  We know he's aware of raiding and "going to Ireland" but he seems to believe the only way to get what he wants is by staying in southern England and playing power off of power.

 

Problem is that he's a young, immature hothead who is currently very politically naive and led around by his penis.  

 

He'd attained the kernel of his goal -- land, wife, heir.  Now he just had to build on that.  He could be as obstreperous as he wanted to be -- run off and raid and ask forgiveness later but the trick is to ask forgiveness.  Which his hotheadedness won't let him do.

 

In some characters that's amusing and "oh, that silly man"-worthy.  In this character it just comes across as mentally challenged.

 

"The Adventures of A Stereotypical Young Man" would be the Victorian title of this show if it were set around Downton Abbey time.

 

Therefore, I find Uhtred kind of tedious.  On the other hand, I like the supporting ensemble and the rest of the show (wardrobe, direction, lighting, location) so I'll keep watching.

Edited by Captanne
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Uhtred is clearly his own worst enemy. Even most impulsive fools know better than to pull a sword on their King and he was VERY lucky to be let off with just a humiliating penance (since that was a capital offence). If he could just be a little bit more political he could have increased his landholding and/or been excused his debt for his actions in destroying the Viking fleet but he has to be stupid about it and end up worse than where he started. At least his wife & son were OK, which I was slightly surprised at.

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No idea why Leofric would turn on Uhtred.

 

Why do people misunderstand this scene? Leofric is trying the best way he knows how to help Uthred escape certain death by execution. 'Let God decide' is a way to settle misunderstanding where the parties involved claim the truth. He tried to back Uthred's version of the story but it wasn't enough as he knew Odda meant him to die. He SAID all this as soon as he appeared in the scene. Obviously Alfred was going to rule in favor of Odda (as there was evidence that Uthred raided against Wessex) and against Uthred. Leofric was giving him a chance to fight for it. Of course he was not going to say, ' I won't survive this my Lord'. Uthred is a much better fighter than I am'.

Edited by skyways

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No, I mean why did Leofric say what Uhtred was going AT ALL? Why didn't he just deny it? He was a witness and without his testimony they wouldn't be able to convict.

I really like Leofric, and he is more loyal to Uthred than to his master Odda, but he knows how this Saxon Christian system works. When a priest (the one from Cornwall) lays an accusation he will be believed. To save himself he confessed, begged to be forgiven and gave his share of the plunder to the church. He is nothing if not pragmatic. He likely hoped Uthred had run off with the Ghost Queen, but when he turned up Leofric knew Uthred would not do the same as he did. The only way to save his friend's life is for "God" to save Uthred.

I think he's going to give a good fight but I don't think he expects to be the one who survives, or even wants to, because Odda would be unsufferable to him even if he killed Uthred.

I am also starting to enjoy Aethelwold. He caught on to Leofric's plan quickly and jumped in to give it momentum. Loved the look on his face when he twigged to it, and also earlier when Uthred gave him the backhanded compliment about his fighting skills.

ETA: I meant Aethelwold not Aethelred

Edited by Anothermi
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I have no idea why Uhtred is sticking by dour Alfred and his annoying wife. You just know that as soon as Alfred wins back his throne and land, he will turn on Uhtred and Iseult. The actress who plays Iseult is beautiful. 

 

I hope that Uhtred goes with Ragnar to get their revenge and find their sister alive in the season finale because the show has low ratings and is not likely to be renewed for a second season.

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As for his stupidity, I think (as I have read along) no one here has said the character is stupid and that that isn't a result of his age and maturity.  He is in-character for a young man known as a "warrior" and, alternatively, appreciated for his aggression, bravery, and tactical know-how but also admonished for his short-sightedness, temper, and unearned pride.

 

Typical young guy.  

 

It's fascinating but it's also frustrating.  That's not to everyone's taste.

 

ETA:  Especially in the meta -- not everyone has ample free time to be used watching television.  If I watch something, I'd rather it not be like a root canal.  Root canals are interesting and scientifically amazing.  But that doesn't mean the 45 minutes I have to string together once a week needs to be spent watching one performed.

 

For the record, I'm enjoying this show.  It made a fair balance between the juvenile and adult (The Bastard Executioner.)  Now that that show has ended, we'll see how my watching of "Uhtred Grows Up" fares.

Edited by Captanne

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I thought it was getting perfectly reasonable numbers?

ETA: last 3 weeks viewing figures:

Wk 4 3.09M - 1st highest for the week

Wk 5 2.65M - 2nd highest for the week

Wk 6 2.53M - 4th highest for the week

I've also read elsewhere that it has been picked up for S2, but I haven't been able to verify that.

Edited by Which Tyler
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I don't know if Alfred will turn on Uhtred again.  Iseult saving his son's life scored major points for them.  But then I've found Uhtred's loyalty to Alfred pretty unbelievable for most of the season.

 

I have a bad feeling it was Uhtred's son who died in exchange for Edward.  I wonder how Uhtred will react if this is the case - he certainly doesn't seem to care much about him.

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I was afraid it was Uhtred's son too. but if so wouldnt Yseult say?

I was worried they were going to turn on her but looks like that hasn't happened.

I for one am glad Uhtred is standing by Alfred. I can't explain why.

I was surprised and delighted that stupid fight ended with both Leofric and Uhtred alive. Hopefully Alfred learns a lesson from that./ No, you cannot afford these silly distractions or risk losing a good man for idiotic reasons.

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I have no idea why Uhtred is sticking by dour Alfred and his annoying wife. You just know that as soon as Alfred wins back his throne and land, he will turn on Uhtred and Iseult. The actress who plays Iseult is beautiful. 

 

I hope that Uhtred goes with Ragnar to get their revenge and find their sister alive in the season finale because the show has low ratings and is not likely to be renewed for a second season.

Has the show even aired in the UK yet where it is produced? I don't believe they would cancel it before airing there. I also thought the viewing figures were okay given this is BBCA and taking into consideration the way people watch TV these days.

 

I liked this episode. It was a good exploration of the differences between the Christian and the Pagan faith. And Uthred for once wasn't so bone headed and rash and was able to give some good advice to Alfred.

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I thought it was getting perfectly reasonable numbers?

ETA: last 3 weeks viewing figures:

Wk 4 3.09M - 1st highest for the week

Wk 5 2.65M - 2nd highest for the week

Wk 6 2.53M - 4th highest for the week

May I ask the source of these numbers?

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I was afraid it was Uhtred's son too. but if so wouldnt Yseult say?

 

 

Also I don't remember the exact wording, but I'm pretty sure she said the other child would be a complete stranger.  She might not know Uhtred's baby, but I believe she at least was in the same scene with him so the baby would not be a complete stranger.  Anyway, that's just what she thinks - in all probability it was just that a mud bath near the marsh cured the baby.

 

I'm enjoying the series; read the books so long ago I don't remember them so everything's fresh for me.

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I thought it was getting perfectly reasonable numbers?

ETA: last 3 weeks viewing figures:

Wk 4 3.09M - 1st highest for the week

Wk 5 2.65M - 2nd highest for the week

Wk 6 2.53M - 4th highest for the week

I've also read elsewhere that it has been picked up for S2, but I haven't been able to verify that.

I don't know what this website is :   http://release-date.info/tv-series/the-last-kingdom-season-2-release-date-5849367281/

but the article says the show was released in the UK shortly after the US, that the ratings are good and that "no doubt the BBC intends to renew the TV series for a second season."  Seems like speculation to me, but the numbers don't seem that bad.  ( I do get a suspicion that the website is hyping the renewal because they offer to alert you as soon as it's renewed if you'll give them your email address :) )

 

 

I wish we had seen the queen's reaction to her son's return to health.  Did she just attribute it to God and the priests showing up (as Beocca would undoubtedly prefer) or did she in fact credit Iseult at all?

 

I still enjoy the show and am not bored by it although now I feel that I've lost the thread of exactly who Uhtred is and what he seeks to achieve.  But maybe that's the point.  

Edited by Marianne

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The show is doing ok on BBC2. Episode 5 just aired this past Thursday.

 

I think the point is that Uhtred is a train wreck and his own worst enemy. He could be so much more if he had a just modium of common sense and political savvy and was not such an hothead. We keep getting teased with glimpses of the heroic figure he could be if only he weren't such an impulsive jerk.

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May I ask the source of these numbers?

http://www.barb.co.uk/whats-new/weekly-top-30?; sorry, should have included the link as a matter of course.

Though it looks like that's weeks 1-2-3; not 4-5-6 My mistake there for not looking at the dates.

They've also added Wk 4 since I looked - 2.8M; 7th for BBC2 (looks like it was pushed down the list by the return of Masterchef and Children In Need)

Edited by Which Tyler

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Iseult is on my last nerve.  She is the perfect image of the Monty Python "watery tart" without the water or the tart.  She reminds me of Enya.  I'm so Celtish it hurts* and that warbble-y, druid, Stonehenge crap just makes me want to hork.

 

Kilts and warriors, I'm fine with.

 

Iseult will not be one of my favourites, I can tell already.

 

"Why are you crying?  You did well!"  "I'm crying for the unknown dead child I traded Edward for...."  aaaand, scene.

 

Oh, stop it.  Just stop it.

 

*Family is Scottish and Welsh.  Just did a 23andMe DNA test to find that I'm 14% Irish, too.  Celt and Gael (and some Scandinavian, too.)

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I don't go in for magic in non-fantasy shows. I think if Uthreds child dies it will be because of high child mortality back in the good ol' days and otherwise a coincidence. I also agree with up thread that the baby's fever was likely brought down by the cooling mud bath.

 

Of course both the superstitious Christians and the superstitious Pagans in this story will believe in the magic.

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I just ...... it's so fucking cliché.  I'll tell you where I saw depth -- in that poor, horrible queen and the miserable (but kind of cool) young nun.  The queen is so frightened and you can tell Enya goes against everything she's been taught to believe - and it's her child and she's away from home, in the swamp, under siege, and terrified.  The nun grounds her in something familiar and let's her just cry.  But we, the audience, know that Woo-o-O-Oooo Enya is going to save the day because we know our history and Alfred the Great begets Edward the Elder (not to be confused with HIS later son, Edward the Martyr.)

 

That is a beautifully done, complicated storyline with the queen -- who is so horrid -- becoming sympathetic.

 

While two-dimensional Wide-Eyed Virginal Enya uses her witchy, yet strangely seductive ways to win the heart and mind of the warrior hero.  Clee-Shay.

Edited by Captanne

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I think those are historically valid -- also, the Romans made roads through those "marches".  You can still use them today.

http://www.dyfedarchaeology.org.uk/images/romanmilroads.jpg

 

http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/wooden-path-vanishing-marsh-3031598.jpg

 

ETA:  This is a better example (there are a couple of these hand drawn maps out there on the Internet -- google "roman roads wales offa's dike") which will take you to see modern maps of the old roads.  http://www.suelaflin.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/NameStudies/MA/MA04d.jpg

 

These show Wales and the roads in the same breath.  Folks go out and map them.  I chose this particular one because it shows (look for it east and south) the Severn River which is probably where Alfred is.  (Not to the North near Shrewsbury.)  We don't know but if he's headed across the marshes from Wessex he really could be anywhere.  Here is info on Offa's Dike (think the Welsh version of Hadrian's Wall for the Scots.)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offa%27s_Dyke  (750s)  As you can see, Offa's Dyke was built about 100 years before Alfred would come across it in the 850s (if he does.)  Hadrian's Wall was built by the Romans much earlier (120s). 

Edited by Captanne
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I totally forgot Uhtred had a son, as I suspect he did, so I wasn't worried about his son dying.

I found it hard to watch the Vikings randomly killing helpless men and women and raping the nun. I don't like the overly pious Saxons but the pleasure that the Vikings find in wreaking havoc on them is distasteful.

I found it strange Leofric calling Brida nasty. Did she really seem that different?

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She did seem that different to me -- she wouldn't even listen to Uhtred.  

 

But, that said, she looked like there was more to her story and we didn't get to hear it, either.  So, I just got this feeling that they needed about 5 more minutes of conversation and would have discovered it was all a misunderstanding on her part.  Whatever, that is, that got in her bonnet about him.  There was something left unexplained.

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Even if I thought Uhtred was justified in raiding Cornwall, I did think he was an idiot for not taking ANY steps to conceal his identity - he gave his real name and everything! It's hardly surprising that word got back to Alfred of his treacherous actions.

 

I agree that Leofric wasn't betraying Uhtred, so much as making the best of a bad job (so, as captain1 says, rather like Bronn from Game of Thrones). They'd been caught red handed and he was negotiating for a reduced sentence - for both of them, really, since he's saved his own life by confessing and giving Uhtred a chance to save his own in combat. Now I'm sure a Viking invasion of Wessex is going to mean the duel doesn't happen and Uhtred's heroism will lead to him being forgiven (I don't remember if that's how the book goes, even assuming they haven't altered it in adapting it to screen), but, if so, that's a massive authorial saving throw to pull out.

 

Not sure how I feel about Mildreth. Yes, Uhtred was a dick for bringing another woman back to their home, but she did know that it was a marriage of convenience for him, he paid off her debts AND he had told her explicitly NOT to baptise their son (which she did anyway). So the blame isn't entirely one sided. Oh, and since I'm not entirely familiar with the myth in this case, I'm wondering if "Iseult" is the same as "Isolde" as in "Tristan & Isolde" (who was related to the King of Cornwall).



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One of the hurdles Vikings also faces is "good narrative" over "good history" -- they have played fast and loose with genealogy in the interest of getting all the big names (Ragnar and Rollo, for example) on the same screen and interacting.

 

Here, it seems that TLK is playing with sociology -- in Vikings, Ragnar brings Auslaug (sp?) home from a raid and she also begins to give him children even though the highly capable Lagertha was home with their sons.  

 

Whether Iseult is historical or not (Isolde is), it is consistent with both shows that the man goes out on raids and brings home new women.  How they handle integrating the new women into their existing homelife seems to be something they had to face and treat on individual cases.  (Lagertha left and married an Earl.  When he died, she became an Earl in her own right.)  It looks like Mildredd has also taken off but will become the same second class citizen we're more used to seeing (as opposed to the more egalitarian Scandinavian cultures.)

Edited by Captanne
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... It looks like Mildredd has also taken off but will become the same second class citizen we're more used to seeing (as opposed to the more egalitarian Scandinavian cultures.)

 

I find myself waffling between the Saxons and the Danes as far as where I think Uthred should place his allegiance. Except for the glorification of killing and pillaging, I lean toward the Danes specifically because what we are shown is that women had more agency and autonomy. I agree that the Saxon women are being portrayed as second class citizens and having to be scheming and manipulative to have any power or influence over their own lives. Isuelt is kind of the middle road between Brida and Mildredd, some autonomy but still dependent.

 

The show, so far, has Uthred drawn more to that kind of women, but that's probably to make him more interesting to modern viewers. It's working for me.

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The only reason Uhtred has thrown in with Alfred is because Wessex has the wealth and army for him to retake his birthright. Uhtred only wants Bebbenberg.

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Well, I guess a Dane invasion is one way to have he Uhtred/Leofric fight end in a draw and both still alive.  An obvious way, but I'll take it since this means Leofric sticks around.  He is still one of my favorites.

 

I'm a bit confused over what Uhtred's plan was with burning down the ships.  He said the ships and the group belonged to another Dane (Skopa, I think?), and he wanted this to force them to go to Gunthrum.  Does he want them to fight each other?  Or be in the same place so the Saxons can take them out?  All that went over my head.

 

Totally think that Uhtred's child will be the one ends up being the "sacrifice", for whatever Iseult did to save Edward.  Although, she did say it would happen to a stranger, so maybe not, since she did actually meet the baby.

 

Great work from David Dawson in this episode.

 

Glad to see Ragnar and Brida again.

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I can't get over what a horrible death Iseult had. Uhtred could not kill that guy enough. His poor friend. I am glad that he was able to save his brother and that Brida survived. At least Alfred's nephew found some honor and courage. The priest was a really good man and seemed so peaceful so I was surprised to see him so blood thirsty. The nun was a sight to behold on the battle field as was Brida though it was to be expected from Brida. I had to laugh at the Danish king converting. 

 

I hope we get another season where we see Uhtred, Ragnar, Brida, and their friends rescue their sister and slaughter her kidnapper and their father and family's murderer.

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Well, I guess a Dane invasion is one way to have he Uhtred/Leofric fight end in a draw and both still alive.  An obvious way, but I'll take it since this means Leofric sticks around.  He is still one of my favorites.

 

I'm a bit confused over what Uhtred's plan was with burning down the ships.  He said the ships and the group belonged to another Dane (Skopa, I think?), and he wanted this to force them to go to Gunthrum.  Does he want them to fight each other?  Or be in the same place so the Saxons can take them out?  All that went over my head.

 

1st Paragraph: I was totally expecting Leofric to die. In fact I speculated in last week's thread that it was his plan to do so as a way to save Uhtred. I've never been so happy to have been completely wrong. His plan was to accord Uhtred an honourable death - befitting a viking warrior. Still, thoughtful of him. ;-) So I put up with the raping, pillaging and random acts of murder as the price to pay for Leofric sticking around. (yay?) Loved Leofric's "Even I could see that" when Iseult stated Brida didn't care for Uhtred anymore.

 

2nd Paragraph: At one point Alfred and Uhtred were alone at night talking. Alfred expressed that he could not see defending Essex against repeated small raiding by the Danes. He said his only hope was one, large, definitive battle. Uhtred noted the ships nearby and figured out how to force all the Danes into one place so as to grant Alfred's wish - so to speak.

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So Uhtred is all broken up over the death of the son that he ABANDONED. Got it.

I'm gutted that Leofrich died. I loved that character. No one to call Uhtred assling anymore.

And when did the priest become so bloodthirsty and good in a battle?

Lastly, the Danish leader converts to Christianity? What did I miss? That seemed to come out of nowhere.

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So Uhtred is all broken up over the death of the son that he ABANDONED. Got it.

He was still his son.

 

 

Lastly, the Danish leader converts to Christianity? What did I miss? That seemed to come out of nowhere.

Well, that is historically what happened. Guthrum was, in my opinion, shown to be the most curious about Christianity of all the Danes. There was the part with the king and the arrows in episode 2 and he seemed to spend a lot of time with the hostage priest in episode 4. So while it probably could have been shown better, I don't feel it was necessarily out of nowhere.

I hope there will be a season 2. It seems Hild and Halig seem to have replaced Iseult and Leofric as Utred's companions. Question for book readers, based on the summaries I've read, it seems that this season covered books 1 and 2. Is this more or less accurate?

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