I have written an earlier post on 8 lessons from the Last Kingdom. This is a continuation from that post.
About the Last Kingdom
If you liked Game Of Thrones, then you would absolutely love The Last Kingdom
Interestingly, The Last Kingdom is based on the same period that also served as inspiration for the Game of Thrones, which is the war of the Roses.
The series follows Uthred on his quest for vengeance, whilst he serves different kings. We get to see Uhtred transform from
- being petty
- a womanizer
- to become a legend
- as well as a moral compass which such a show can be worthy of.
The series has picked the names of historical Viking and Saxon Kings and nobles and then proceeded to fit them together into an engaging plot.
By the way take the events that happen with a pinch of salt. These are not true stories, just fiction.
Clif hanger upon clif hanger
The action is palpable and the fight choerography is top notch!
If you could not already tell, each episode ends with fever pitch anticipation for the next episode. The end of each episode is always the cringiest of moments. The series simply makes you want to watch the next episode in a never ending loop.
It all comes together to make it an entertaining series. Whilst some series water down the drama, as well as the pain felt by the protagonist, The Last Kingdom does justice to both the character and the plots. And the series gives it in grizzly, gritty details.
Destiny is all we have
We all have equal opportunities to alter our destinies. The slogan is it captioned from the series is much more nice.
It is shortened to “Destiny is all”. It is quite apt. For our destinies are in our hands.
Evil always fails
In the final episode of season 3, when it seems like all is lost and the naysayers have won against Uthred by having him banished. Fate comes in to turn it all around.
Uthred makes a sturring speech equalled by the King Alfred’s son. Everyone else is then powerless to stop the merging of Uthred victorious forces with that of Edward.
The mighty fall too
Uthred is seen constantly has brave and almost never loses his battles.
However the one instance where hs is almost finished and infact destroyed is in season one when he is made a slave.
He is broken and there is no life left in him. Fortunately, for us all he is rescued at the very last moment. The series keeps it real in letting us know that the mighty fall too.
Good effort does not always go rewarded
After all the fights and battles Uthred wins on behalf of other kings and lords, he is rewarded Mercia to protect.
When we fulfill lesser responsibilities, then greater responsibilities are placed on our shoulders. May your efforts be rewarded with even greater ones.
Team work, friendship and relationships
Blood is thicker than water
In season 4, even though the devout Christian son of Uhtred despises what his father does, he consents to help his father break into Burbenbuh in episode 2.
It is not surprising that the greatest stress comes from the family, because we can never deny family bonds.
There seems like there would always be a constent stream of unfair treatment being handed out this life time. Things like nepotism, class and rank are usually the reasons for this.
In the series in season 4 episode 6 when the sickness is in the air, the queen is allowed into the forts of Mercia whilst the native towns folk are forced to stay outside and perish.
Be wary of situations like this, and endeavor to do your best not to be placed in such unfortunate circumstances nor to treat others unfairly.
Your loyalties will be constantly tested
Your fidelity to your spouse, your work colleagues, your family and to your partners are always being tested, sometimes even daily.
Sometimes these could be in the form of bribes. In the series, Uhtred is asked many times to join the side of the Danes.
In season 3, when Uhtred is forced to flee from King Alfred, a proposition is placed before him to help the Vikings destroy his tormentor. With such compelling reasons, many of us will only see it as fair game if he had decided to wage a crusade against King Alfred.
However, he says no to the offer, and stays loyal to the King.
New friends and enemies
There would always be new friends and foes who would come into our lives.
Throughout the 4 series, new enemies constantly want to kill Uhtred. Some are sword wielding vikings and others are sweet talking Saxon nobles.
Shady foundations make for bad friendships
Friendships built on a hatred of one party never bode well for the united parites. In season 3 , Uhtred’s prediction is right. The different Dane armies under Ragnar are together only for the spoils of war and a hatred of Wessex. It does not take long for them to conspire to kill each other along the way.
Never trust the word or friendship of shady partners. Men without honor will alway act without honor both to each other and the rest of us.
Who thought that a blood and gore series could teach you about love and relationships? Skade is a psychotic woman who becomes Uhtred’s woman. She gives him bad advice and influences his behaviour negatively. And as such we (the audience) feel like Uhtred is digging his own grave by continuing to walk with Skade. She holds Uhtred to her by blackmail and a curse.
What else can we expect by such women ? Fortunately Uhtred’s devotion to her is all a ploy to get her devotion until when he kills her to avert further tragedy.
Virtous qualities in a single man
Uthred leads with his heart, and wears his heart on his sleeve. It is refreshing to see a believable character like this on screen, for he has a good and a bad side like we all do. He experiences both highs and lows we all do. Our main character
- has his first war as a child
- becomes a slave to Vikings
- is left ophaned when his Viking family dies
- becomes an outlaw
- becomes a mercenary for hire
- then becomes a family man
- after which he becomes an outlaw again
- a cunning military man
- a slave again
- earns his freedom
- becomes a military advisor again
What a journey! Past relationships, rivalries and friends come back to both haunt and aid the protagonist. All the while, he dreams of fighting to reclaim his right to be king of Burbenburh. It goes without saying that Uhtred is
- loyal to a fault
Greed is real
There are many characters in the show who follow the trail of the money and power. For example, after Lord Bewoulf kills his king, he gives his sister as a whore to King Alfred.
In the end however, all the wrong parties get the justice they so rightfully deserve. We should not let the pursuit of power and greed lead us to an ungraceful ending.
Speaking the truth
Speaking the truth never fails you and it never goes out of fashion. When you say a lie, it will only come back to bite you later.
In the series, when lies are told about King Edward’s children as being the seeds of an illegitimate union, it comes back to haunt the queen in the future. This among others cause unrest in the Winchester court. To the extent there was even talk of killing these children !
Life is unfair
In one of the most sorrowful moments of the series, Tora is pursued by Christian men who eventually cause her to die a fiery death.
They pursued her just because she was a Viking. What can I say, life is not always fair?
King Alfred on his death bed askes for forgiveness from his wife. In his own words he said “I was young and foolish”.
Learn to ask for forgiveness. However, let this not be when you are so close to your own death.
Patience is a virtue
The Danes unable to defeat King Alfred while he was alive wait until he is dead before attacking. Even when false news of his death come, they grab at it with both hands and see it as the ripe time to attack.
They have to wait a few months, for King Alfred- the ailing King who does not seem to die. When he finally does pass on, they rejoice and ride off to battle.
What can I say these Viking warriors know the value of patience !
Everyone has their own agenda
Everyone believes they know what is right. However, sometimes even bad consequences come from the best of intentions. In the series this has led to
- side plans
For example, during the series, a sister allows the King to know her carnally because she wants to save the life of her brother. This was because the King would have surely killed for him losing the Kingdom of Mercia.
In another instance, the King’s father in-law is as cunning as a fox as he is only interested in preservering the position of his daughter and grandson in the Winchester court. Even though this is laudable enough, how this is achieved is not pleasant one bit.
Discern good and bad advice
People would only advise you. It is you who have to decide whether or not to act upon it.
In season 2, the King Curcat said “What do I do, do I fight ? Do I march against the brothers”.
Interestingly, the same priests who had just days ago sold Uhtred respond “It is not my place to advise a king on the ways of war.”.
To which Curcat responds “I am seeking counsel, for I am without a commander.”
Of course you are. You just sold your commander. Incredible ! The priest was the one who caused all the problems in the first place, now refuses to advice King Curcat.
It is never black and white
Plots and sub plots abound in the series. There are always underlying schemes and there are lot of them. No, I am not referring to a telenovella.
For example, in season two with King Alfred, there comes a time he must choose between his Kingdom and his daughter. It is so much easier to choose his kingdom but he takes the more difficult option and chooses his daughter.
When faced with certain choices in life, we must not take the easier option but the right option. Even when that option is the difficult one.
Loyalty is priceless
Uthred effortlessly attracts equally loyal men to his side. One example is Finan, who is loyal to the bone. Uhtred with his loyalty acting as a badge of honor is able to inspire men to do always do the right thing.
It is no wonder that people always want to confide in Uhtred since loyalty never goes out of fashion.
However, it is difficult to be loyal to someone who does not trust you. Someone who only sees you for your in tainted views.
This is exactly what happens between King alfred and Uhtred. The King only sees him as a hearthen and so distrusts his advice purely on this fact and nothing else. And that it despite the fact Uhred responds to the King’s call to fight over again and again.
How many times have you doubted the loyalty of someone because they belonged to one ethnic group or another ?
Good and bad advice
Bad management or counsel always brings disappointed consequences. You have to look at the company you keep. By looking at the kings Uthred served, it is undeniable that they all did keep some shady company indeed.
For example, the King’s wife was never one to put her trust in Uhtred, and so always gave advice which was contray to the battle hardened Uthred.
The more obvious choices are sometimes the wrong ones and vice versa. In the series, and at many other times Uhtred is faced with difficult dilemas.
- Does he save his own skin, or do he keep his oaths ?
- Does he do what is right morally or easy ?
Politics is strong enough to force brother against sister. King Edward is put at odds with his sister who becomes the new Queen of Mercia. It also pits Uhtred against his uncle, when the uncle steals the crown of the kingdom for himself.
Horrible leadership destorys all the good which was done before. In the series, after King Alfred dies, his wife fuelled by hatred as well as piety seeks to destory Uthred. By her actions she unknowingly emboldens the Danes and weakens the Kingdom of Wessex.
In your own affairs, can you see how changes in leaderships also turn the course of a nation, company and union for the worse ?
There are more problems at the top
As you climb the ladder of management and leadership, you should be prepared to carry on a load of responsibility that was greater than at the lower levels.
King Alfred cleary shows this in the judgements he makes. Even though some of these are not the best, he has Wessex and the idea of England first in mind all the time. This is perfectly depicted in his final words when he says “My England, my love”. That is hard core patriotism.
Make peace before its too late
King Alfred makes peace with Uthred on the eve before his death. Even though King Alfred left it very late and his wife tried to undermine what he did.
Still, it was better that the King made peace than never to have attempted at all.
Redemption is for us all
Uhtred is at the beginning seen as a heartless Saxon born Dane. With time and through each passing episode he grows to be a worthy leader, general and man.
People change and grow
Alred’s advisor is initially seen to be cunning. His only purpose seems to be to help his Lord lord it over others and rise through life. However with time his patriotism for Mercia makes him care for and even love Queen Althred.
You really feel for him at the end of season 3 when he dies, especially in that manner.
Securing the future
They go into battles for their children, for those yet unborn, their legacies, and most importantly for the future. Some also secure the future of their children by marrying their daughters and sons off to wealthy families.
The future is made for the generations yet unborn and our children. The Saxons and Vikings know that, hence they put their all for the sake of their children.
Good effort would always be rewarded
After all the fights and battles Uthred wins on behalf of other kings and lords, he is rewarded Mercia to protect. When we fulfill lesser responsibilities, then more greater responsibilities are placed on our shoulders.
May your efforts be rewarded with even greater ones.
Leadership is not in a title
The Lord Althred proves to us by his actions and inactions that he is no leader. By his lack of leadership, he is at one point in the series humbled to go and sleep with the pigs.
I will leave you to meditate on these 30 lessons for now.
Share this post with others who want an interesting series to watch. And finally, take care of yourself. Cheers.