TV & Movies

Truth about whether The Last Kingdom is based on historical fact

Netflix has dropped season 3 of The Last Kingdom, with 10 new episodes.

The series covers the end of King Alfred’s (David Dawson) reign and the subsequent conflict that emerges with his brother Ragnar Ragnarsson (Tobias Santelmann), with our hero Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon) being caught up in the drama.

With so many bloody and epic scenes on display in the historical drama, many fans have wondered whether or not the series, based on the novels by Bernard Cornwell, has a basis in fact.

Many are aware of Anglo-Saxons ruling over England before William of Normandy invaded in 1066, but you would be forgiven for being unsure just how much of The Last Kingdom is a true story.

We take a look at exactly where fact and fictions lies.

The Last Kingdom season 3: Is it based on history?

Yes, the series is based on history, but as it is historical fiction, poetic license does take over and gaps are filled in, as the period in which the series is set remains much of a mystery.

The show does contain a number of real-life characters such as King Alfred, Queen Aelswith (Eliza Butterworth), Aethelflaed (Millie Brady), Aethelred (Toby Regbo), and Ragnar Ragnarsson.

However, our lead character Uhtred is actually a fictional character to act as a audience surrogate in the series.

The series acknowledges his role as being lost in history, a nice excuse for him not being heard of before!

Seer Skade is also fictional, but women who spoke prophecy were commonplace according to historical record.

Bernard Cornwell told Post and Courier that his approach is to be responsible with the facts.

"I’m not an historian, I’m a storyteller, so fiction always wins. Which doesn’t mean I’m careless with the history, but I can’t allow it to dictate the story.

"The history has to be authentic, but the adventures of the men and women in the story are imagined.

"And sometimes that dictates that the history has to be ignored, though I do try to confess my sins in a historical note at the end of each novel."

So if you read the novels, you will get some more specifics as to what Cornwell chose to adapt, add or ignore from history!

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The Last Kingdom season 3 is available now on Netflix.

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