The Swords of England!
At the War council in the marshes Alfred ( David Dawson) sticks to his ‘one-battle-for-the-kingdom’ plan. Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) admits to Fr. Beocca (Ian Hart) that for Alfred to succeed Odda the younger’s men are needed, his being the largest faction in the army. He also asks Beocca to curtail Fr. Asser’s influence on Alfred and Beocca agrees. In Winchester Aethelwold (Harry McIntire) is regarded with wolfish amusement by Guthrum (Thomas W. Gabrielsson) who pumps him for information about Alfred. He gives him a dagger to assassinate Alfred.
Sorrow & Treachery
As the road is crawling with Danes the King’s Party decides to journey to Odda’s via Uhtred’s manor to Odda’s estate. We meet Halig (Gerard Kearns). Clairvoyant Iseult (Charlie Murphy) warns of sorrow. Uhtred’s son is dead, Mildrith (Amy Wren) is gone, the servants slaughtered. Alfred sends out a call to arms to the whole kingdom. Uhtred and Iseult finally make love in the forest. Chilly.
Ealdorman Odda (the elder) lives in style in a palatial hall. Mildrith has now become a nun. Odda the younger is up to no good in the woods meeting mad Skorpa. Skorpa is initially contemptuous but changes his tune realising the resources of Odda and they make a peace pending more discussion. Back in the woods Iseult tells Uhtred his sister Thura is alive and held in the north by Kjartan and Sven. Skorpa whispered it in her ear in Cornwalum.
Uhtred and Leofric arrive at Odda’s hall with a rally to arms. Odda the younger is killed by his father after incriminating himself of treason. Alfred makes his comeback speech with Leofric whipping the crowd into a patrotic frenzy. Uhtred meets Mildrith but she tells him to get lost. Next day Skorpa appears to talk but Uhtred informs him the traitor Odda the younger is buried in the ground. As the party continue to the Wessex army bivouac Ragnar the younger (Tobias Santelmann) spies on them, reporting back to Guthrum
Alfred elaborates his battle speeches and strategies with Uhtred and they arrive at Egberts Stones the meeting point. No one is there and as Aethelwold creeps up behind Alfred dagger at the ready, the first troops emerge from the woods.
The Swords of Wessex
The two armies face off. No-love-lost Brida (Emily Cox) urges Ragnar the younger to kill Uhtred if they meet in battle. Wulfhere (Sean Gilder) a lieutenant of Alfred’s is now revealed as a traitor. Leofric kills him but shortly after is fatally wounded and dies.
In a pincer m,ovement Skorpa attacks the camp of the Saxons returning to wave the severed head of Iseult at Uhtred. Enraged with grief Uhtred leaps over the ranks to dispatch Skorpa with the maximum pain. Uhtred saves Ragnar on the field protecting him. As the Saxon troops are galvanised to victory Guthrum’s fascination with Christianity and the Christian God reaches it’s apex. The, battle of Athendun 878 AD is over, peace is secured with Ragnar and Brida among the hostages. Wessex is safe and Alfred has secured the kingdom. Earl Guthrum is baptised whilst Uhtred Halig and fighting-nun-warrior Hild set off on horseback for the north.
Notes & Quotes
King Alfred. ‘for me there can be no other country but England’..
Skorpa. ‘talk too much and I will kill you‘
Odda the younger to Aethelwold ‘when are you leaving?….
This series has been fantastic, exciting and beautifully filmed and shot. It almost gives the other side of the History Channel series ‘Vikings’ and is a great watch from that point of view. The music used is amazing as well, some of the artists are well worth a listen. Such as: –