The Last Kingdom season four has been trending in the top five programmes on Netflix, so a season five is almost certainly on the cards. Set in the late 9th and early 10th century, the show focuses on the Saxon and Danes’ battle for England. Season four ended with a shaky truce between the two sides but it’s almost guaranteed that this won’t last. What will this mean for the future of the country and for the show’s hero Uhtred?
Season four starts a few years into Edward’s reign with the young King still living in the shadow of his father, Alfred. Alfred wanted his best fighter Uhtred to swear allegiance to his son, something Uhtred refused to do. For years, the Saxon warrior, raised as a Dane, fought Alfred’s battles in the hope that one day his loyalty would be rewarded and Alfred would help him regain his ancestral home, Bebbanburg. But that never happened.
Uhtred is still close to Alfred”s daughter Aethelflaed, though, and his loyalty lies with her over her brother Edward. This season, they start a romantic relationship. When her husband, the ruler of Mercia, dies, Uhtred intervenes to put her on the throne. He also helps her ensure that Mercia is an ally of Edward’s Wessex rather than a kingdom controlled by the King.
In the series finale, Sigtryggr, a Danish warrior, holds power over Edward after capturing Wessex’s capital city, Winchester. He has Edward’s sons as hostages and asks him to choose which boy will live: Aethelstan, the firstborn from a secret marriage or Aelfweard, his son from his current marriage. When Edward can’t choose it’s Uhtred who offers himself up to Sigtryggr as the Dane killer. He’s the one who realises that Sigtryggr is willing to negotiate. What Sigtryggr wants is Eoferwic, a northern kingdom, and Uhtred’s daughter Stiorra, the girl he formed a connection with whilst he held the city.
Uhtred realises that his loyalty to the Saxons has once again cost him someone dear to him, though Stiorra is very willing to follow the man she’s fallen for.
That’s not the only loss Uhtred faces because of his loyalty to the Saxons. Throughout this series, his childhood friend, Brida, has grown to hate him for deserting her and the Danes, especially since Uhtred failed to kill her after battle.
This meant she became a slave rather going to Valhalla. In one of the most climactic moments of the finale she stabs Uhtred in the ribs and vows to be his undoing if he doesn’t kill her. She even states that the child in her womb will be bred to hate him.
As for the next generation of Saxon kings, in the final moments of the show, Edward asks Uhtred to take Aethelstan to safety and teach him how to be a warrior. Edward wants to protect his son and keep him away from the palace where his second wife and conniving father-in-law, Aethelhelm, will undoubtedly conspire against his firstborn to ensure his second son Aelfweard will get the throne.
So what does this all mean for season five? The series is loosely based on Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories. It will probably delve into the events of Warriors of the Storm (book nine) and The Flame Bearer (book 10). But there’s no knowing how much or how little, the showrunners will take from the novels.
Brida has set herself up as Uhtred’s nemesis in series 4 so she will undoubtedly be a formidable enemy to Uhtred. It seems unlikely that the show will skip far enough ahead for her child to do any real damage to Uhtred. But we could see her try to gain vengeance on him through his children.
In Warriors of the Storm, she castrates Uhtred’s oldest son. She also becomes allies with Sigtryggr’s brother Ragnall Ivarson. Together, they hold Sigtryggr and Stiorra, who are now married, under siege. She helps Ragnall because she knows that he lusts after Stiorra and wants to make her his wife. Uhtred rescues his daughter, but Stiorra is the one who kills Brida for everything she’s done to her family. Stiorra might not marry Sigtryggr in the series but the finale suggests that she will start a relationship with him. So, Uhtred’s loyalties will almost certainly become more divided. Though he used to have a closer relationship to the Danes, in season four he is on the side of the Saxons.
But that could change now his daughter is in a relationship with one of the Danish warriors who rule in Northumbria: the one kingdom the Saxons haven’t conquered. As long as the truce holds Uhtred won’t have to choose a side. When it breaks he could be forced to go against the Saxons.
It’s ironic, then, that Uhtred’s ties to the Saxons are stronger than ever. Even though he has stopped having a sexual relationship with Aethelflaed, it’s quite clear that he will continue to love her. Season five will probably also see him become a father figure to Aethelstan, Edward’s first born. With Edward’s father-in-law, Aethelhelm, potentially trying to kill his grandson’s rival, Uhtred could be the one that saves his life.
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