The Last Kingdom has always made an effort to be as historically accurate as possible. While the books the show is based on — The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell — are fiction, Cornwall certainly knows his history. Being the man behind the popular Sharpe series (set during the Napoleonic Wars) as well as works like Grail Quest and The Warlord Chronicles, the author’s expertise runs deep. The Last Kingdom is undoubtedly more historically accurate than Vikings and other similar shows, but just how much of it is actually true?
The Last Kingdom takes place in 10th century England when the United Kingdom as we know it today didn’t exist. Instead, the land was divided into several separate older kingdoms, including Wessex, Mercia, and Northumbria, with invading Vikings attempting to carve out their own piece of the British pie. It’s a period that will feel comfortable for Game of Thrones fans, as the separate kingdoms were the inspiration for Westeros and the Northmen inspiring the Ironborn.
The show follows the adventures of Uhtred of Bebbanburg as he tries to reclaim his birthright over a period of many years. Uhtred’s eventual goal is always retaking his ancestral home of Bebbanburg in Northumbria, which was usurped by his uncle when he was a child. He becomes pivotal to English history as his plans get sidetracked by iconic real-life figures such as King Alfred the Great and his son Edward the Elder. And There’s no shortage of real-life Vikings on the show, with Haesten, Rǫgnvaldr and Sigtryggr all based on real people.
However, not everyone and everything in the show is historically accurate. Much has been expanded or invented; this is, after all, a drama and not a documentary. Many plotlines and characters are removed as well. So let’s take a look at what parts of The Last Kingdom Season 5 aren’t entirely historically accurate.