The Last Kingdom (Season 1)

Deb and I finished season one of The Last Kingdom last night. The first four seasons are on Netflix. Wikipedia provides an excellent synopsis of the series. Briefly, the story is set in England in 866, and focuses on Uhtred, who grows up as the son of a Saxon lord. His father is killed in battle by the Danes and is taken as a slave by Earl Ragnar. Eventually, he is considered as a son by his captor. Uhtred’s adopted family is killed by rival Danes, so he heads off to Wessex to side with Saxons. From there, he provides guidance to the young King Alfred, essentially helping to teach the Saxon’s to fight for what is there, instead of surrendering to the Danes whenever a battle is on the horizons. The Danes see the Saxon’s as timid and cowardly, and gleefully rape and pillage the English countryside. Uhtred essentially teaches King Alfred and the Saxon’s how to fight the Danes in battle, both in tactics and in ruthlessness. If you’re looking for a show to replace your Game of Thrones fix, this is a good place to start. The acting is pretty good, although some of the actors portraying the Saxon baddies overdo it a bit. The show portrays the commoners as perpetually covered in mud. This makes sense because unless you were royalty and had a castle, you really didn’t have a way to bathe. I’m guessing the regular folks smelled to high heaven back then. The battle scenes are really well done, and gruesome. They reminded me of Braveheart. Like GoT, it has its share of swordplay and feisty love interests. Uhtred has a love interest wherever he goes, the lucky bastard! A suitable drinking game for this show would be that everyone drinks whenever a character says “plow” or “hump” (which is often). The show tries to keep things realistic. There are no dragons or white walkers or sorcerers. Although there are “seers”, one of which seems a complete fraud and another who seems to have some low-level witchcraft. The female characters in this show (the “good” ones) are well written with strength and intelligence. Heck, even a nun partakes in a battle at one point! Recommended for those craving for medieval mayhem and romance.

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