Vikings and The Last Kingdom: The main reason they’re so hard to beat


The hit show Vikings, premiered on the History Channel in 2013, is a deep and fascinating odyssey loosely based on Nordic culture and the events of 9th century Europe with great creative freedoms from its producer Michael Hirst. For its part, The Last Kingdom (in Spanish El Último Reino), released by the BBC in 2015, was presented on screen as a historical drama of medieval Great Britain that covers the novels of the famous writer Bernard Cornwell.

Both Vikings and The Last Kingdom make their on-screen debut featuring the historic Viking raid on the holy island of Lindisfarne. In Vikings, the main character is Travis Fimmel’s fierce Ragnar Lothbrok who leads the attacks. Meanwhile, in The Last Kingdom, the raid leads to the kidnapping of the young Saxon Uhtred of Bebbanburg who ends up being raised by the Vikings and as an adult becomes one of them, played by actor Alexander Dreymon.

The success of both series lies in addition to the talent of their respective casts, in that both bring a certain richness and an eye for detail that helps to color the narrative, create drama and deepen the atmosphere. It so happens that many of these finer details, at least on some level, accurately reflect actual Viking history or culture as documented, even though some of its most important characters did not exist as depicted in fiction. .

Its main protagonists are Ragnar and Uthred turned into characters who lead cast versions with a successful mix of reality with fantasy that is the main attraction of the two productions. In the case of Ragnar in Vikings, for example he only appears in real history as a legendary warrior named in various Scandinavian sagas, but whose veracity is practically impossible to trace. With the added value that he is accompanied by other characters who, although they are also legendary, only a few were related to each other and lived at the same time that the series intended to show.

It will never be possible to know with certainty if it really existed, if it is an amalgam of various figures from the 9th century or if it is totally invented. For in general, the Scandinavian sources from this time period are more irregular than the English they are much more documented, while the others were mostly transmitted orally. Which can partly explain the argument that The Last Kingdom is more adjusted to reality since it presents verifiable facts and Vikings does not, however it does not escape the use of creative freedoms either.

Uhtred of Bebbanburg is easier to explain, as there was actually a noble named so who ruled Bamburgh Castle at one time, and he may have had some personality traits in common with the Uhtred we know from the Saga of novels from The Last Kingdom, but lived in a different century than the one in which the show is set. Although Cornwell basically borrowed an ancestor’s name from his family tree, large-scale historical events and the vast majority of important people did exist.

The two fantastic series are also frequently related by their followers in addition to taking place in the same stage of history and showing the legendary life of the Nordic warriors, they have the presence of very similar characters, who without being directly related, some use the same name . As an example we can remember that there is a Ragnar and a Ubbe in both series.