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SilverStormm

The Last Kingdom

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Since I don't have Netflix, I didn't realize this was airing. I actually thought that it wasn't picked up for a second season. While watching something on the site that I watch shows that air on channels I don't get or in countries I don't have the ability to visit, I saw it as a newer addition and have now binged the last four episodes. There are so many shows I would pay for if given that option, which is why I'm glad the cable subscription channels have decided to let us purchase season passes for shows. But, I digress...

Last season I found this show to have excellent pacing, and this year seems to be following suit. A little rushed in parts, a little drag in parts, but overall, things move along at a nice pace. I love choreographed fight scenes when they are done well, and this show spends the time and money to do them well. None of the actors are annoying me too bad, and so far, I haven't rolled my eyes at some ridiculous plot contrivance. It's probably just because I was so happy to see it back.

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I omitted a lot due to bad memory, fear of overloading the page and annoying people,  but just one more scene and I'll stop, I promise.  
 
It takes place on Cynuit Hill, after Ubba has returned from Ireland.  Alfred has split the army and is off fighting Guthrum, while Odda takes on Ubba.  At an impasse, a negotiation meeting is arranged because these are always so productive. 

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Can't add much except to say that I'm really looking forward to this.  So glad that David Dawson's Alfred is still on board, and new characters as well.  The other Viking show is enjoyable but a bit too 'stylish' for my tastes.  I prefer the more historically accurate, grittier version, and the cast is excellent.  Here's hoping it will continue.

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3 years of Peace have left Uhtred restless. When Aethelwold approaches him with a prophecy that they will both become Kings, Uhtred decides to travel to Mercia, against Alfred's orders.

Well, after the last couple of episodes where Aethelwold looked like he was maturing, he's back to being an idiot. But assuming the whole "Ghost" is a fake (which I do), I'm trying to workout what exactly whoever is behind it is trying to achieve. Is it just to prise Uhtred away from Alfred? Generalised mayhem to allow the Danes an easier invasion? No doubt we'll see soon.

Did like the way Alfred's wife was trying to keep the serving girls away from her husband (bit of a lost cause there, I think) and I was so pleased to see Father Beoca finding happiness (even if it was odd to see a priest getting married, but that was permissible for another two centuries or so after this period). But I don't believe that Alfred would be quite so blatant in showing quite so much contempt toward a "friendly" King in Mercia, no matter how much of an idiot you think he is.

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On 2017-04-13 at 2:26 PM, John Potts said:

Well, after the last couple of episodes where Aethelwold looked like he was maturing, he's back to being an idiot. But assuming the whole "Ghost" is a fake (which I do), I'm trying to workout what exactly whoever is behind it is trying to achieve. Is it just to prise Uhtred away from Alfred? Generalised mayhem to allow the Danes an easier invasion? No doubt we'll see soon.

Did like the way Alfred's wife was trying to keep the serving girls away from her husband (bit of a lost cause there, I think) and I was so pleased to see Father Beoca finding happiness (even if it was odd to see a priest getting married, but that was permissible for another two centuries or so after this period). But I don't believe that Alfred would be quite so blatant in showing quite so much contempt toward a "friendly" King in Mercia, no matter how much of an idiot you think he is.

Aethelwold. Yeah. He keeps proving that wisdom is not inherited. His father exercised it by choosing Alfred as his successor to rule Wessex. Aethelwold still hasn't a clue what it is. (still, I was impressed with how he managed to do what Alfred required of him last episode) Aethelwold is just too susceptible to fawning and flattery.

My current suspicions re: who's behind this "Ghost" is Seigfreid, Eric's one-handed brother. Uthed owned him and he's got to get revenge if he ever plans to hold his head high again. If they can get Alfred to severe ties with Uthed that weakens them both. Then, after pretending to support Uthed they can stab him in the back (both literally and figuratively) and carve out their own territory - just like in the good old days. Don't think it was a co-incidence that Eric was the follow-up after Athelwold and that it was one of E & S's men who was there to greet (and direct) Uthed & co. to witness the Bjorn prophecy.

Glad Uthred had the wisdom to have one of his men stay back and watch - especially after the show was over. That was quite an elaborate set up. Killing that poor (2x a thief) guy just for the harp string illusion.

-------------

I've been enjoying the humor in the scripts as well. From the serving girl/Alfred's wife interaction to Alfred's own snark. There have been more, but I can't bring them to mind right now.

1 hour ago, Which Tyler said:

There is no king in Mercia.

It's hard to keep track of who's what and where. I thought Alfred called Guthram (Aethelstan now) a King, and I think he's in London? doing as little as possible - Kingdom wise?

I know it's only a few episodes back but to my mind it's feeling a bit "mists of time-ish".  Please correct any faults in my memory. There WAS a king of Mercia, correct? But he died while demanding swords from Alfred (and drinking Alfred's wine/ale at Alfred's table no less). Aethelred (the pretty guy who's to marry Alfred's daughter) is his son? Yes? Wouldn't he be, or become, King of Mercia? I only really know that Alfred wants a family connection to Mercia - hence the wedding -  but don't know how much say he has in who rules at this point. Could use some help here.

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Guthram / Athelstan is king in East Anglia.

 

Previous king of Mercia died last episode, so 3 years ago now. Aethelred is no relation, just a Mercian noble who has become (politically) foremost noble in Mercia through the upcoming marriage to Aethelfraed, but still not a king.

IIRC they had a discussion in-episode that Alfred would not allow the Mercian Witan to appoint a new king in Mercia.

 

I'm happy to clarify these things, but don't want to risk heading into book-lore or real-history as the show differs from both in some respects.

Edited by Which Tyler
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Works for me. (grin) Thanks. I've got Raspberry's map in the Season 1 refresher thread for locating East Anglia (just look to the right).

Your assistance has helped me figure out why Uthred and his "tough crowd" were so disparaging of Aethelred when he arrived. They expected to see a leader, but what Alfred wants is a follower.

55 minutes ago, Which Tyler said:

I'm happy to clarify these things, but don't want to risk heading into book-lore or real-history as the show differs from both in some respects.

OK. I need confirmation that the guy with the Scottish (to my ears, but someone else posted Irish-guy when referring to him) was the guy on the slave ship with Uthed? If so, I don't remember his backstory or if he even got one. I keep confusing him with the young guy who defected to Uthred after being sent with Kjartan's infiltrators a few episodes back - Sitrick.  Which came first? I think I need to start taking notes.

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Finan is Irish, and was already enslaved on the ship by the time we joined them. AFAICR we've not seen his back story on screen yet.

 

Sihtric is Kjartan's bastard son, and was sent with Kjartan's men a few episodes back.

 

Clapa is one of Guthred's household guard that Uthred put together - no explanation given as to why he's sticking with Uthred rather than his liege-lord in Northumbria.

 

Hild, the nun-turned warrior, about to become an Abbess.

 

Gisela is Guthred's sister, and Uthred's wife.

 

In Uthred's household, you've got:

Finan, Irish, bearded with a too-modern haircut.

Sihtric, Danish, beardless, much younger and inexperienced.

Clapa, big brute with a big, brutish 'tache.

Edited by Which Tyler
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Did all the Season 1 episode threads get grouped together into this one? (I haven't read this particular thread yet because I haven't finished watching Season 1). I swear just last night I was reading separate threads for Season 1 episodes - I just checked my browsing history to confirm and the pages are no longer found.

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2 hours ago, Anothermi said:

Yes. There is a Mod note at the top of the first post explaining that and warning that some posts may be out of order.

Ah, thanks! I didn't want to read the thread to avoid getting spoiled. But I binged the last few season one episodes today, so at least I can safely read here now!

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I was a bit conflicted by this episode. On the one hand I was thinking Utred was going against his own best interest as things seem to be going fairly well for him in Wessex. Challenging Alfred is going to end badly as whilst Utred is not unintelligent he is not the strategic thinker that Alfred is. On the other hand it does seem that no matter what Utred does Alfred will never respect him because he is not a Christian. Utred knows how the Danes think and foresees problems and his warnings are going unheeded. The lack of respect and the possible threat to his family if war returns to Wessex could drive him to act. I tend to think the idea of heading North is better than attempting to become King of Mercia. That just seems like an ego trip.

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With the marriage of his daughter to Ethelred of Mercia, Alfred's influence is spreading North. But relations between Uhtred and Alfred reach a new low, just as a new Danish invasion of Mercia is underway.

Wow, they were really hammering on the unlikability of Ethelred. It wasn't enough that he was insulting to Uhtred, they had to make him a chauvinist, an abusive husband and a treacherous bastard too. I was actually surprised he and Uhtred met up in London, because I thought he was going to "sacrifice" Uhtred's force to kill Uhtred. But Ethelflaed has to be one of the most dutiful daughters to be so uncomplaining because she knows her father's plans involve her marriage working. And now she can expect brutal treatment at the hands of the Danes. Although (book spoilers):

Spoiler

Assuming they follow the books, things do get better for her: She acts as Regent of Mercia for her son and is effectively its Queen, taking Uhtred as he lover.

Can't believe Alfred is acting like such an jerk to Uhtred. In the past they've had his disagreements, but they've ever descended into outright hostility. Glad Uhtred still has friends to vouch for him in Wessex, though

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THAT was a cliff hanger.

Really enjoying this series. Seems that a few years of peace is undermining Alfred's sanity.

On 2017-04-20 at 2:43 PM, John Potts said:

Glad Uhtred still has friends to vouch for him in Wessex,

You said it. Good thing Father Beocca got in at the 1st floor and gained the trust of Alfred. I'd say the same of Steapa, but I can't remember when he appeared (OK, I checked IMDB and he appeared in the first episode of this year, but I can't remember him). He seems to be this season's Leofric. Respects Uthred, but is bound to Alfred by shared religion. Speaking of Leofric... did he mention his nephew, Osbert, last season? We just got to meet him, but nothing more. I guess his role will be revealed in the next episode?

Aethelwold's purpose seems to be 1) comic relief, and 2) pot stirrer.

I was pleased that my assessment of who was behind Bjorn (the Ghost) was correct. I can't help but think that B. Cornwell tends to prefer the Danes in his telling of this story. There seems to be a lot less back-stabbing among them. Sure, there's stabbing - and plenty of it - between rival Danes but they seem to be slightly less slimy than the Saxons Christians. (IMHO)

So, I'm guessing that Uhthed was keeping secret his knowledge that the Ghost was a set up so that he could gather more intel on Sigfrid and Erik? Not that it's helping with Alfred suspicions. I like that Alfred is showing his weaknesses. Feels a bit more real.

Aethelred of Mercia (not to be confused with dead Aethelred who named Alfred as his successor) appears not to be the yes man that Alfred expected. Good thing he taught his daughter the politics of becoming a leader/ruler because she's having to put it to use sooner than I expected. So far she, Aethelflaed, seems to be the only "Aethel" with brains.

Edited by Anothermi · Reason: the is not synonomous with that

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Really enjoyed Osferth's arrival, a re-imagined Aldhelm as spin-master rather than mindless thug, Oda as Uthred's supporter.

 

Have to say, they're doing a good job of some of the books' clunkier parts; and he shaky cam for towards the end was actually really effective - for the first time since the Blair Witch Project

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Very sensitive correction there WT.  The Osbert I referenced is actually Osferth (some kind of character amalgam that I'll figure out when I read the books). One up side of all this warring and take-overing  by various other cultures is that the naming options will become more diverse (in the future) and I'll be less confused. That's my theory anyway.

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Sorry @Anothermi whilst my comment doubled up as a name correction, t was also a genuine comment on its own

Book spoiler

Spoiler

2 weeks ago i was convinced Aethelfraed was being given Osferth's role; even last week it was still perfectly possible.

The arrival of the likes of Osferth,  Pyrlig and even Streapa gives me joy that they're not scars to have a large cast, with actors fading in and out over time, rather than condensg several into one to make it easier to keep track.

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I'm fascinated with this time period and the people involved, in particular Alfred and Guthrum.   I've been reading a couple of non-fiction books but there's not a lot out there for e-readers, and limited source material anyway, I suppose.  Admittedly all I knew about Alfred was that he succeeded in repelling Viking hordes despite terrible odds, but the totality of his accomplishments for the betterment of his people is truly astonishing.

There's even less on Guthrum, another interesting character.  Alfred had little reason to believe his conversion was genuine, or his pledges of never again raiding Wessex, but this seems to be the case.  Then again, it could be attributed to Alfred's massive restructuring of his army and defensive measures throughout the towns in Wessex.

Any book recommendations, or thoughts about the history appreciated.

The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great is a fascinating biography that I literally couldn't put down. 

Alfred the Great and the Viking Invasions of Europe, by Beatrice Lees written over a century ago but digitalized for e-readers, and a bargain at a buck.

The Last Kingdom, by Bernard Cornwell  The novel on which the show is based.  Excellent overall, but lengthy parts of it dragged for me. YMMV

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Do you follow Andrew Larsen's blog? An Historian Goes to the Movies (https://aelarsen.wordpress.com) Andrew does an excellent job of reviewing movies and TV for historical relevance and accuracy (or not).  He also provides links to what he considers good additional reading materials which I've found invaluable and educational.  Andrew is a medieval historian btw.

He hasn't done The Last Kingdom yet but if you are willing to make a donation to his blog, he will review things by request (he did Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, and I Claudius for me.)

Edited by DHDancer · Reason: "last" not "lost"
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Thanks, Dancer, what a great blog!  I've been down the rabbit-hole reading, reading, reading.  Love I Claudius too, but have to agree with his excellent points about the women depicted. The show 'Vikings' gets a going-over too, I see.   At least The Last Kingdom is somewhat more historically accurate, and it piques my curiosity to learn more.   It amazes me that Guthrum isn't even mentioned in Vikings.

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Following the "liberation" of London, Alfred's daughter is missing. But Uhtred learns she's a prisoner in Beomfleet and agrees to negotiate her ransom. But his Councillors are unsure if she's worth the price.

Must say, I'm surprised that they left it on that cliff hanger, because I can't see Uhtred agreeing to basically abandon Wessex for the life of a Viking (even if I hadn't read the books). I also don't really believe (sadly) that Ethelflaed would be treated as well as she was here. Though I guess "Stockholm Syndrome" is hardly surprising in her case considering her husband is such a turd (good to see that just about everyone from Alfred down realises that).

Did like that Alfred was prepared to bend on Uhtred's attending the Witan but wasn't going to lie to his wife that their daughter would be unharmed. And I also like the fact that he was prepared to listen to his councillors even when they were putting unpalatable proposals to him. I'm guessing Alfred does have a plan (beyond just paying the ransom) but I'm not sure what it would be, unless it's just a big ambush at the cash delivery.

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The last two episodes were pretty epic.  Almost Vikings worthy.  I especially loved the build up to the star-crossed lovers from different world subplot.  I'm rooting for these two all the way.  Thought the first two episodes of the season were a bit of snooze, but the rest left me on the edge of my seat or in tears.  Way to go. 

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Spoiler

The only thing the show isn't quite showing enough of is the affection that Uthred and Æthelflæd have for each other. That's why he considers helping her, because they love each other as friends and he knows her husband is terrible.  I know there are time constraints, but it's one of the most enduring relationships in the books. 

In the books, they later become lovers but for years, she was the only member of Alfred's family that respected him and liked him. Æthelflæd and his wife Gisela are close, too. Gisela is the one who tells Uthred that Æthelred (who is actually Uthred's cousin) is abusive towards her. Gisela talks about the light in Æthelflæd's eyes going out after she gets married and Uthred notices the light is back in her eyes when she is around Erik. It's all quite sad, really. 

Overall, I think this season is well done and it's better than last season (which I also liked.) Bernard Cornwell is insanely prolific- they could make endless TV series about his books (in addition to this and Sharpe.) There is a just-post Roman series and a 14th century series. 

Edited by Pogojoco

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19 hours ago, John Potts said:

I also don't really believe (sadly) that Ethelflaed would be treated as well as she was here. Though I guess "Stockholm Syndrome" is hardly surprising in her case considering her husband is such a turd (good to see that just about everyone from Alfred down realises that).

I thought they did a really good job of selling a believable love story, and not, in fact, "Stockholm Syndrome", and recall that, unfortunately, Ethel's ladies met a worse fate (or so she was told), and that she herself was always in danger, just protected by her value to her father, and, happily, Erik, who became smitten with her. I really enjoyed their scenes. I SHOULD spoil myself and look at the history, but I want to believe for a little while that those crazy kids might make a go of it.

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I'm probably misusing the term Stockholm Syndrome, I'll admit, and yes, I did find the love story fairly believable, moreso given her husband was abusive (hate to think how he might treat her once he gets her back - I'm guessing we'll get a big battle next episode and  with any luck he'll be killed [No Spoilers, just speculation]).

One thing I did feel was anachronistic was Erik saying that if he got Ethelflaed pregnant then Alfred would be buying "Two hostages for the price of one," which just seemed too modern a saying for them to use. Though I guess they also shouldn't be speaking English either, so we're just seeing a translation of what they were actually saying. I'm sure a program entirely in Old English and Norse would get blockbuster ratings!

Quote

Bernard Cornwell is insanely prolific- they could make endless TV series about his books (in addition to this and Sharpe.) There is a just-post Roman series and a 14th century series.

There's also his Starbuck Chronicles, set in the US Civil War, which is the first Cornwell I read. I guess they weren't very successful as the last story ended in 1862 (Battle of Antietam). One of the minor characters is even Sharpe's son!

Edited by John Potts
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I am really enjoying this season. Aethelwold is still bringing the humor. As are Uhtred's band of merry men. "What do you call this game?" "Stones." "And why's it called that?" (loved the knowing exchange of looks at that joke)

Also like that Gisela knows Uhtred so well now. Perhaps it just a way to info dump, but it's entertaining. It made Osferth more at ease.

Bernard Cornwell never seems to leave Uhtred bereft of a christian in his gang. He loses Beocca but gains Osferth. (He lost Leofric but gained Hild.)

Did anyone else think that Uhtred needing to "take a piss" in the middle of negotiations had to do with getting an update from Sihtric? He'd have to be nearby waiting to tell him about every blade of grass 'cuz that was his mission. Can't see why else he'd agree to the (apparently) exorbitant ransom price. The Romeo & Juliet sub-plot is just going to make the final episode that much more exciting. I fear that one of that triangle (Eric, Ae'fled, pig's ass) is going to have to die...... destiny is all.

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This episode had a definate romance novel feel to it. A princess falls for her viking captor and is torn between love and duty. I'm guessing their story won't have a romance novel style happy ending but if the story ends with her husband and his manipulative friend dead I will be happy. One thing this show does well is creating characters that I love to hate. 

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I always wondered how the Anglo-Saxons and Danes communicated, and remember those awkward translation scenes in Vikings.   It's very simple, according to Andrew the Historian, because Old Norse and Old English were so similar that no translation was needed.   It's one thing to invent characters and situations for drama, but that just seems like bad history on Hirst's part, for no particular reason.

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Absolutely.  English is a melting pot of french, danish, norwegian, gaelic, angle and saxon!

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Yeah, my understanding is that it would have been a case of (pretty severe) regional accents and variations; more than being seperate languages.

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On ‎26‎/‎04‎/‎2017 at 6:54 PM, Razzberry said:

The Last Kingdom, by Bernard Cornwell  The novel on which the show is based

Each book has a "Here's how it really happened!" (at least, as far as we can determine) bit at the end. When it gets to some completely implausible sounding plot twist, sometimes is, "Yep - bizarre as it seems, that's what we believe happened" and sometimes it's, "Sorry - I needed Uhtred to be at X at the right moment, so had to fabricate some way for that to happen," or "we don't have any account of what occurred between these dates, so I made something up." Normally I get about halfway through before my curiosity gets the better of me and I read it (he does the same with his other historical novels, such as Sharpe, Harlequin or Starbuck, too).

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This is a petty comment, I know it is petty comment about something in a great show, one of my favorite shows, but Uhtred's sad little beard has to go! It looks awful.

I've watched each episode more than once, something that I haven't been doing with some of my other shows this year. Vikings is over for me. The last few episodes of the season made me realize that I have absolutely no interest in Ragnar's kids, and they introduced the fighting priest with a sex scene. I'll probably watch a few more episodes, but it's no longer appointment viewing.

I watch this show online because BBC America apparently decided not to carry it this year. Hopefully, it means that Netflix paid more for it and it will have a long life.  

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Thank you for mentioning this, John.  It's been a few years, so I'm going to re-read the book and probably enjoy it even more this time.

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I read the 1st two books after Series 1 ended. It really added to the story for me. I plan to read the next two in the hiatus between Series 2 & 3. I prefer reading the books after because I'm not as annoyed by acquiring new/additional information or sub plots after that fact as I am noticing them missing from the TV version.

And yes, thanks to John Potts for reminding me about that section of the books. I also spent a lot of time flipping back and forth from the list of town names and their current equivalents.

Edited by Anothermi
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 There is deception and betrayal as Uhtred fights for Wessex. In a devastating showdown at Beamfleot, will the bonds of love prove stronger than the bonds of blood?

Call me hard hearted, but I really had trouble believing Erik and Seigfrid would fall out over a Ethelflaed. Yes, I can buy that (maybe) Erik might claim her as his "prize" to prevent others from raping her, but to actually take arms against his brother? That I have trouble believing (so that'll probably be the bit that is actually historically based!). Did like that, even as he killed him, Seigfrid made sure to put a sword back in Erik's hand - killing your brother's one thing, denying him entry into Valhalla is quite another. And good on Ethelflaed for killing Seigfrid - maybe given that she succeeded in killing him where he husband failed, he'll treat her better after this (because he's scared of her, if nothing else)? I can see it going either way.

Have to say, Alfred hasn't impressed in the last few episodes. At least Odda  knew what he had to do and was prepared to pay the ultimate price for doing it. At least Alfred allowed(?) him to take his own life rather than publicly execute him.

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Love it love it love it.

When's S3?

I'm even loving the changes in the adaptation keeping things fresh for me, and for the most part, tidying up the clunky bits.

 

Just wish they could extend it to 10 episodes and allow the characters a little room to breathe.

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I think you're on to something, Anothermi. Usually when I read a book first I'm disappointed in the film to some degree.  Some have said that they pictured Uhtred differently. I noticed the books now have new covers :), but not sure how I feel about it.  


Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that season 1 covered the first two books, and season 2 the next two?  Hopefully they plan on doing the entire series, like - 

Season 1
Book 1 - The Last Kingdom  
Book 2 - The Pale Horseman  

Season 2
Book 3 - Lords of the North  
Book 4 - Sword Song: The Battle for London  

Season 3
Book 5 - The Burning Land  
Book 6 - Death of Kings  

and so on....

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I think it was Wikipedia that I checked to confirm that the 2nd Series was based on Books 3 & 4.  I don't assume each series will be 2 books though. Some books can be denser than others.

While I prefer using my own imagination to lead the way when reading a book, if it's a book I'm only reading because I saw a TV or Movie adaptation, I'm fine with going with the casting director's vision. I probably wouldn't have read that book at all if there hadn't been an adaptation. It's hard to hold your own against ready made visuals.

Edited by Anothermi
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I think 2 a season is working for them; they just need another 1-2 episodes to let things breathe and develop a little more naturally.

They did a great job splitting it this season; with a definitive "3 years later" bit where Gisela goes straight from "I'm pregnant" to have 2 kids scampering away; and they split the ancillary characters well into both halves.

 

It's possible they'll do 3 books in S3, but that really would be too cramped; and if they go down to 1 it'll be a huge slow-down for such a  fast-moving series, and would really put people off.

A lot of the reader-complaints about S1 was in the casting of Uhtred, though I've never particularly understood why casting is always so contraversial, unless the character's physique is actually plot relevant enough of the time. I do think that reading after watching is the better way around; so much less frustrating.

 

I made a post on another forum about this show during the off-season, talking about the historical time frames of the books; I'll put it in here under spoilers, though it isn't particularly spoilery (unless you consider real history to be spoilers); it means I don't have to do any heavy editting. I have added secondary spoilers-within-spoilers to cover the story the series hasn't got to yet.

Spoiler
Quote

I wonder if the author and production team will try and fix the problems with the mid-series slump? If they know this is how people felt about the books then I guess it's reasonable to think the TV show could suffer a similar fate. Maybe they can condense events eg get all the bad stuff out of the way or even consider skipping it? I guess trying to fix the problems is ideal.

I am absolutely convinced that that is the case; the difficulty though comes from the real history; there's not a lot you can write about the life of a warlord during times of peace.

Book 1 covers: 866-876; skipping a lot of his childhood between his capture by Ragnar, and the hall burning - dictated by the fall of York, and the Battle of Cynuit.

Book 2 covers: 876-878; dictated by trying to find something for him to do during peace (going viking); Alfred's withdrawal to Athelney, and the Battle of Ethandun.

Book 3 covers: 878-881; dictated by the rise of Guthred; something to do during peace (slavery); and the securing of Guthred's kingdom.

Book 4 covers: a looser time frame; roughly 885-888 or so; covering the securing of London, Aethelflaed marriage.

Spoiler

Book 5 covers: 892-893; dictated by the Battle of Farnham, and the battle of Bemfleet.

Book 6 covers: 894-899; dictated by Alfred's death, and requiring some busy-work beforehand (replacing the Seige of Exeter - the vikings seemd to love Exeter, and I can see why)

Book 7 covers: 900-910; dictated by the aftermath of Alfred's death, and the Battle of Tettenhall.

Book 8 covers 911-911; and is mostly busy-work and invented drama IIRC as Aethelred dies and Aethelfaed takes the reigns of power. I guess he needed to sort out the politics before...

Book 9 covers 912-918; as Edward and Aethelflaed start pushing the Danes back, clearing East Anglia and Northern Mercia... until Aethelfaed dies and Uhtred is finally clear of oathes to the soft-southerners.

Book 10 covers 919-???; Aged in his 60s Uhtred's getting a little old to playing the warlord anymore; and Cornwell needed a jumping off point with the TV series being produced.

So the difficulty is introducing the real history at the right time, without huge leaps where there's no story to tell mid-season.
I suspect that, for the show, they'll take (even) more liberties with the real-life time-line, and call it 5 years pass between seasons; and then condense a decade's action into a year or two on-screen.

Mods: if you feel the spoiler bit should be in the book thread, feel free to move it, it just feels to me like the "talking History" thread is more appropriate.

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Really enjoyed that. I am loving the writing this series. They're adding unexpected moments of humour. Aethelwold carried the funny bits in the 1st half, but these last two episodes it appears to be Finan's raison d'etre.

His bits centre around word play or literacy/illiteracy. Last episode was him asking why a game (with stones) he and the Big Bald Guy were passing time playing was called "Stones" (OK that doesn't sound funny, but the delivery WAS.)

This episode was with Uhtred, Osferth and Finan putting Odda to bed:

U: (to Osferth) You will stay here & go no where.

O: Yes Lord.

F: You mean "No Lord"!

O: (confused face)

Maybe it's just that, even nowadays, people get confused about the proper response to negatives (i.e. don't go). But I was also reminded that although Osferth is a newbie at being a warrior he is literate and Finan is not. He knew his answer was correct, but knew enough not to contradict someone who could beat him up. Perhaps I'm just a weird word geek, but this kind of writing makes me pause and watch it again... laughing all the while.

22 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

Just wish they could extend it to 10 episodes and allow the characters a little room to breathe.

Definitely agree with this (and probably even more once I've read the next two books). But I wouldn't want to lose anything (writing, costuming, sets, cinematography, actors) just to get 2 more episodes.

23 hours ago, John Potts said:

Have to say, Alfred hasn't impressed in the last few episodes. At least Odda  knew what he had to do and was prepared to pay the ultimate price for doing it. At least Alfred allowed(?) him to take his own life rather than publicly execute him.

I thought Alfred returned to his former self at the end. Grudging respect for Uhtred's commitment to his word (not to mention his warrior skills) which Alfred had allowed himself to doubt during the peace. His way of (begrudgingly) rewarding Uhtred was to give him back some freedom - without setting him free of his obligation to Wessex/Alfred.

Regarding Odda: I don't think Alfred "allowed" anything. Alfred sees the value of ritual, and execution (especially of someone close) is a powerful ritual.  Odda DID know what he had to do and I think we were shown what he meant when he told Aethelwold that he might "have need of him". I'm pretty sure Aethelwold brought him the very knife he used to kill Odda-the-younger with at the end of last season. The dialog implied that Aethelwold actually went to Devonshire to fetch it. It clearly was symbolic for Odda-the-Elder.

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14 minutes ago, Anothermi said:

I thought Alfred returned to his former self at the end. Grudging respect for Uhtred's commitment to his word (not to mention his warrior skills) which Alfred had allowed himself to doubt during the peace.

True, but throughout Season 2.5 he seemed to be just reacting to events. I'm sure it's natural for a parent to want to "Do anything" to retrieve your kidnapped daughter but I expect him to see the bigger picture too - yet he had apparently no plan other than paying the demanded price (which was, as others observed, tantamount to signing his own death warrant in the long run). I wanted to see him using the initial payment as some means to find the weakness of his enemies and that he then manages to mount a rescue. As it was, Alfred was entirely passive and just lucked into a situation that enabled him to win. Now it's possible that that is pretty much what happened IRL (weirder things have happened), it's just not very satisfying.

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8 minutes ago, John Potts said:

I'm sure it's natural for a parent to want to "Do anything" to retrieve your kidnapped daughter but I expect him to see the bigger picture too

I certainly agree that Alfred was not so "Great" this season. I think I mentioned in one of the earlier episodes that the years of peace had given him time to let his (and his wife's) problem with Uhtred not being a christian poison his previous levelheaded strategic mind. I am OK with him being paralyzed by indecision when it came to his daughter. He had invested a lot of personal time and interest in her (education/upbringing). At least that was what we were shown... compared to zilch in regards to his heir, Edward. While he may have been Great (at least those are the records that he ensured were left for posterity) he was also human.

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Does Guthred remind anyone else of Ron Weasley?  The actor looks a lot like Rupert Grint.  And the confused expression on his face most of the time .

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Yay, the entire series is up on Netflix now in the states!   Hopefully our international friends will stick around.  I'm pacing myself have only viewed the season opener, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Lots of new cast members and names to keep track of, and of course, my favorite Alfred who's feeling pretty chuffed from his rising reputation, among other things.  Even Aelswith is looking hot, slinking around giving him the bedroom eyes.  I swear to god I didn't make up the following -

king2ooo.jpg

king2oooo.jpg

king2gg.jpg

king2ggg.jpg

Edited by Razzberry
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