An epic in all meanings of the word, The Last Kingdom portrays a story of the 8th and 9th century in what is now known as England. To set the scene, The Last Kingdom is based on history in England at point in time where creation and unification of England was only a dream in the minds of Christians. During this time, the land of England was split into several regions, each with its own king and constantly at war with each other to acquire more land and increase their influence. The two major opposing factions were the Christians of England (Saxons) and Pagans (Vikings) of Denmark, otherwise known as Danes. The Danes were coming to England in droves in hopes of a new life on good land; Thousands of Viking ships land on the shores of England and they had no intention of sharing the land with the English. Now that the scene is set, it is important to note that The Last Kingdom is no documentary nor is it for the faint of heart as there is killing and gore every episode.
The Last Kingdom follows one man, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a man split between being English and Dane. Born in the Castle of Bebbanburg in Northumbria with Christian name of Osbert and baptized, his biological father, Lord of Bebbanburg, would die while he was still young in a battle defending Bebbanburg against the Danes. He was too young to be able to take the throne, so his Uncle Ælfric took the throne and his first order of business was to have Osbert killed. His best friend, mentor, and most consistent father figure throughout the series, Father Beocca, makes Osbert flee to escape death, however he is quickly captured by Danes and enslaved. Osbert was enslaved along side a Christian girl named Breda and together, they would find a new family in the Danes that enslaved them.
Being brought into Dane society, there were no birthright kings or god given rights, the strongest warriors were the lords of the castles and leaders on the battlefield. Osbert was enslaved by the second strongest warrior of the Shield Dane Faction, Ragnar Uhtredsson, only second to Aba, the most fearsome Dane to ever land in England. Unlike Aba, Ragnar treated his slaves with decency and in return, Osbert would save Ragnar’s daughter, Thyra, however in doing this, creating a never-ending internal feud within the Danes. Ragnar give Osbert his Dane name, Uhtred Ragnarsson, after Ragnar’s father for saving his daughter and becomes siblings with Thyra and Ragnar(Jr.) Ragnarsson. Upon getting named Uhtred, he would openly denounce the name Osbert forever, throwing away his Christian past and vowing to take back Bebbanburg under Dane rule.
As the internal conflict of the Danes plays out, Uhtred would see his new father Ragnar, die in front of him and find himself having to flee from Dane land in North England to most powerful Christian stronghold, Wessex, in the south of England to try and raise an army to avenge both of his fathers and take back his birthright of Bebbanberg.
While this brief description of this epic does not even scratch the surface of depth of story and the emotion the actors and actresses put into their souls into the performance, I hope it makes for a good introduction to how interesting the story becomes. I can honestly say, The Last Kingdom on Netflix, is the best series I have ever seen. The story is unlike any other and each character is so thoroughly explored that I felt like I knew them personally. The Last Kingdom has a total of five seasons with 10 episodes per season, averaging about 50 minutes each. While this seems like a commitment, The Last Kingdom is well worth the time.