The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die is the sequel to the incredible historical-fiction series, and Netflix Original, The Last Kingdom. Martha Hillier wrote the screenplay adaptation for Seven Kings Must Die, which is based on the book War Lord, the 13th and final entry of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories.
The final chapter of The Last Kingdom has concluded as we finally say our goodbyes to Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and the incredible Alexander Draymon. The climactic end to Uhtred’s saga was rife with action, adventure, and plenty of deaths, but who lost their lives for the future of England, and did Uhtred live to see out his days as an old man in Bebbanburg? Let’s find out.
#1. The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die Ending Explained
The fate of England and the British Isles would be decided at the Battle of Brunanburh, where Uhtred had allied with King Aethelstan against the combined forces of the kingdoms of Ireland, Orkney, Man, Shetland, Strathclyde, and Scotland. Uhtred implemented a clever strategy by setting up a defensive position at the base of the hill and utilizing King Aethelstan's presence as bait for the enemy. Uhtred's forces then retreated to the tree line slowly, luring the enemy into a trap where hidden spikes caused many to injure themselves. Although the trap didn't give Uhtred's forces an advantage, it did buy them more time. Unfortunately, Father Pyrlig was injured in the advance, leaving Uhtred to think he had died in combat.
Alfan’s forces would plow into the shield wall, where the line would be held despite the overwhelming numbers. However, on the right flank where Aethelstan was engaged in combat with the Scots, they would begin hitting the shield wall with a Swine Wedge, a triangular formation that could pierce the line of a shield wall. With the enemy forces pushing hard on Aethelstan’s flank, the shield wall barely held, but did the job of turning the line around to face the trees.
On Uhtred’s orders, Edmund would give the signal for the hiding cavalry amongst the trees to charge the enemy from behind. Trapping the enemy between the shield wall, and the cavalry, the tide of battle would swing in Uhtred’s favor. With nowhere to run many men, including several princes of the enemy would fall in combat.
King Aethelstan and Ingilmundr were engaged in combat, fiercely fighting, which grabbed the attention of Uhtred. Concerned for the King’s life, Uhtred would try to rush his way through the battlefield in his attempt to save him, however, be it age, or just letting his guard down for mere moments out of concern for the king, Uhtred was wounded mortally several times. Before passing out, Uhtred was able to witness King Aethelstan defeating Ingilmundr, and the alive but wounded Father Pyrlig.
With their lines threatened due to their sons dying, all of the kings who had lost their heirs decided to retreat, leaving Anlaf with no army, and forcing him to return to Irland. In the aftermath of the battle Finnand and Sihtric would find the gravely wounded Uhtred, meanwhile, King Aethelstan would sentence Ingilmundr to death for his treason.
Returning to Bebbanburg, everyone was concerned for Uhtred’s health as he lay recovering from the battle. In Uhtred’s final moments, he would swear fealty to Aethelstan, making the latter the new King of Northumbria. As the King of Mercia, East Anglia, and Northumbria, for the first time in its history England was unified under the banner of one King. However, Uhtred’s oath came with one condition, that Aethelstan could never marry, and bear no children, so upon his death, the crown would go to his younger brother without challenge.
Uhtred, son of Uhtred would die of his wounds in his ancestral home of Bebbanburg, and thanks to his legendary deeds on and off the battlefield would be welcomed into the halls of Valhalla where his friends, adopted family, and other legendary Vikings were waiting.
With one last voiceover from Finan, the camera pans out of the window to modern-day Bebbanburg Castle, now Bamburgh Castle, where it still stands today.
#2. Seven Kings Must Die Ending: Does Uhtred Die?
At the conclusion of Seven Kings Must Die, the biggest question remains: Will Uhtred meet his end? Nigel Marchant, executive producer of both The Last Kingdom and Seven Kings Must Die, offered little assistance, saying that viewers will have to draw their own conclusions about Uhtred's fate.
“So I think that’s a lovely thing about the end of this show is there’s an ambiguity in there for an audience to decide was that the end or did he fight another day. And you’ll see at the end we kind of come out of – to the real history, as it were.”
Marchant is, of course, referring to how the final shot reveals that the fortress at Bebbanburg still stands today. Albeit, there have been considerable renovations to the fort since Uhtred’s days.
That said, it seems like Uhtred does die at the end of Seven Kings Must Die. After all, he suffered a grievous injury during the battle. While he awoke back in his home, surrounded by friends and family, he sees a vision of the halls of Valhalla as the film comes to a close. Waiting there are some of his closest friends, foes, and allies who have passed, including Brida (Emily Cox).
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