Alexander Dreymon discusses The Last Kingdom and life after Uhtred

The Last Kingdom season 5
The Last Kingdom season 5 /

For the last eight years, The Last Kingdom has captivated audiences with its tale of adventure, politics, scheming, war, and ultimately the unification of England in the ninth and tenth centuries. Five seasons and one film later, The Last Kingdom saga has finally reached an end.

Based on the bestselling historical novels by Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom told a sprawling story, but there was always one character at the heart of it: Uhtred of Bebbanberg, played by Alexander Dreymon. You could argue that this casting was the key to The Last Kingdom‘s success; in Uhtred we have a protagonist who is flawed and at times makes thoroughly questionable choices, yet we still root for him and his success, in part because Dreymon is so compelling in the role.

Speaking with Vogue, Dreymon talked about his approach to the character. “Uhtred has a sense of humor,” he said. “He’s like the kid at the back of the class who has a slingshot in his pocket. He’s extremely impetuous and impulsive. It was also important to me to portray a character who had vulnerability. Because he does go through all of these incredibly hard tests that life throws at him. If you only see the warrior, it’s really not watchable.”

Alexander Dreymon explains Uhtred’s accent

Part of Dreymon’s success in portraying Uhtred is because he feels a personal connection to the character. Uhtred is a Saxon who is raised by Danes, two people who are at war at this time. But Uhtred identifies with both groups. This is something Dreymon can understand, as he was born in Germany and raised across Switzerland, France, and the United States.

“I could really relate to the difficulty that Uhtred has just in getting accepted in whichever culture he was living in, because I moved around a lot, and especially as a kid,” Dreymon said. “If you’ve lived in many different places you don’t really feel an allegiance to one particular country.”

"I can also relate to the excitement that comes with not being from any certain place, because you bring something fresh, you bring a new perspective. And that’s what was so interesting and valuable in Uhtred—he’s a Saxon who grew up with Danes so he knows how to fight, how to build a shield wall, and he ultimately becomes the leader of armies."

This blend of identities helped inform Uhtred’s accent in the show, which “has this British base, but with a Scandinavian twist to it, which gave it that little quality of otherness.” The accent came from the showrunners wanting “Uhtred to speak differently from both factions [Danes and Saxons] to kind of highlight the fact that he belongs to neither world.”

The Last Kingdom star Alexander Dreymon talks fatherhood

With Seven Kings Must Die concluding Uhtred’s story, Dreymon feels it’s important “to get this next step [of his career] right. It needs to be something different to what I’ve done before, because obviously I don’t want to get stuck in a certain box.”

At the same time, Dreymon — who is a new father — isn’t stressing about the future too much. “I just love being a dad. And I’ve been very good about being present with my son and not worrying about what’s next.”

Wherever Dreymon’s career takes him next, he has definitely left his on TV fans. As Uhtred himself says, “Destiny is all!”

The Last Kingdom seasons 1-5 and The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die are available to stream now on Netflix.

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