While fans are excited for season four of The Last Kingdom to arrive on Netflix, they’re also probably quite worried about what could happen to their favourite characters.
The show has never been shy about killing off major players and given the large ensemble cast set to appear, it seems likely that not everyone will be making it out alive.
With that in mind, now seems like a good time to look back on the first three seasons of The Last Kingdom, to remember some of the most shocking deaths so far… (beware spoilers for season 1-3 of The Last Kingdom)
Uhtred crossed paths with Iseult (Charlie Murphy) when he went plundering across Cornwall, quickly falling for the pagan queen with apparent clairvoyant abilities. Of course, the way she ambiguously promised to be with Uhtred “until the end” suggested her days were numbered. Such language has a tendency to tempt fate in shows like The Last Kingdom. But while not unexpected, Iseult’s violent death remains a sad moment in the climax of season one, beheaded by wicked viking warrior Skorpa of the White Horse.
Halig (Gerard Kearns) was a humble and honourable Saxon man, who was so loyal to Uhtred that he was sold into slavery alongside him after King Guthred’s betrayal. They were held captive on a ship together and subjected to terrible abuse, with their only escape attempt thwarted and punished with Halig’s barbaric death. Strapped to the front of the boat, he was slowly drowned by the waves as it sailed across the sea, rowed by Uhtred and his fellow slaves who could hear him suffer. A truly horrifying end for a character that didn’t deserve it – but rest assured, he was avenged…
Sometimes you just can’t wait to see a character get what’s coming to them and this was one such occasion. Abbot Eadred (David Schofield) was as spiteful as they come and the true architect of Uhtred’s banishment to slavery. Not only was Halig’s blood on his hands, but he also attempted to force Uhtred’s lover, Gisela, into marriage with a man she despised. He was a bad egg through and through so when Uhtred stabbed him in a fit of rage, it was hard not to feel like justice was served.
Odda the Younger/Elder
The Oddas were a truly unfortunate line of noblemen. Introduced in season one of The Last Kingdom as two of King Alfred’s most trusted advisers, it soon became apparent that Odda the Younger (Brian Vernel) was not to be trusted. His loyalty to the crown was exposed as fleeting when he sided with the Danes, believing Alfred to be dead after the invasion of Wessex. As you can tell from his inclusion on this list, it didn’t end well for him.
Odda the Younger’s death stands out as one of season one’s most shocking as it was dealt by the hand of his own father! When Odda the Elder (Simon Kunz) realised that Alfred was still alive and planning to recapture Wessex, he knew his son was doomed to execution for treason. Rather than go down with him, he chose to make the ultimate display of loyalty to Alfred by taking a knife to his son as he addressed the people of their estate. The drastic decision was made with sadness, leaving him without an heir.
In the second season, as Alfred threatened to destroy Wessex by paying a huge ransom to the Danes, Odda the Elder realised the devastation this would cause in the long-term. He acted against the king (quite rightly), summoning an army to fight the vikings that resulted in a crucial victory for Wessex. However, for disobeying the king’s orders and risking the life of his kidnapped daughter, Odda was branded a traitor. He killed himself in prison while awaiting execution, without doubt one of the most unjust deaths in The Last Kingdom.
One of The Last Kingdom’s most despicable figures, Skade (Thea Sofie Loch Næss) was a sadistic and bloodthirsty seer who destroyed men from the inside out with her curses. Uhtred came under one such spell and felt its effects terribly, learning that the only way to break it would be to kill Skade without any blood being spilled. But time passed without any action and it seemed as if he had fallen for her seduction. He had everyone fooled, from characters in the show to the viewers watching at home, making Skade’s grim fate all the more shocking. During a steamy bath in a secluded stretch of river, Uhtred suddenly held her under the water until she drowned in one of The Last Kingdom’s darkest moments to date.
When Erik (Christian Hillborg) was introduced early in season two as a troublesome viking warrior, few could have expected they would be rooting for him so passionately just a few episodes later. When he and his brother kidnapped lady Aethelflaed of Mercia, a softer side to his character emerged and they soon fell in love. On paper it sounds like Stockholm syndrome, but rest assured their romance blossomed naturally and their earnest plan to run away together was really compelling. It’s a great shame that it didn’t work out, as Erik was slain by his brother when he discovered what had been going on.
Ragnar the Younger
The Last Kingdom has no shortage of truly shocking moments and this was yet another. Uhtred’s adoptive brother Ragnar (Tobias Santelmann) had been a friendly face throughout the first three seasons, proven to be a reasonable man as well as a fierce warrior. So when Aethelwold hatched a crazy plan to kill him, no one thought the power hungry menace would actually succeed! Alas, he crept into Ragnar’s tent in the dead of night and stabbed him repeatedly in his sleep, sending him to the cold world of Niflheim (hell) rather than glorious Valhalla (heaven), according to the viking beliefs. A dishonourable way to go for one of Uhtred’s key allies.
What goes around comes around. When Ragnar was discovered murdered in his tent, there was no way that Uhtred and Brida were going to let the death go unpunished. Aethelwold (Harry McEntire) had been a treacherous presence in Wessex since The Last Kingdom began, believing that the throne was rightfully his. His scheming didn’t become a genuine threat until season three, where he stoked up opposition from all sides against the ailing King Alfred. But his fate was sealed when Brida learned of his part in Ragnar’s death. In the closing moments of the series finale, Uhtred stabbed a terrified Aethelwold in the woods, which allowed his brother’s soul to finally be at peace.
Of course, not every death in The Last Kingdom is violent (although most of them are). King Alfred (David Dawson) passed away in bed after suffering from ill health for many years, but fortunately he was able to make peace with Uhtred beforehand, acknowledging that he should have treated him better. The complicated relationship between them has always been a huge part of this series, so Alfred’s death stands to have the biggest impact on The Last Kingdom moving forward.
Perhaps the most upsetting death on this list, the murder of Thyra (Julia Bache-Wiig) at the end of season three made for extremely distressing viewing. After being rescued from years of abuse and captivity, Uhtred’s adoptive sister finally found happiness in Wessex with her marriage to Father Beocca. Thyra overcame the trauma of her imprisonment and treated everyone with kindness, only to meet a dreadful fate at the hands of a cruel man who hated her solely because she was a Dane. She hid under the floorboards when he followed her home, but found herself trapped when he set the house on fire, tragically perishing in the blaze.
The Last Kingdom season four lands on Netflix on Sunday, 26th April