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Thread: The Last Kingdom

  1. #1
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    The Last Kingdom

    Probably not so much to say about this one compared to, say, GoT (less to speculate) but I just love it. I'm a couple of episodes in to season 2 and I still love it. All the entertaining things are still entertaining and I'm still impressed by the relatively tasteful handing of sex and violence. The female characters in particular continue to be well handled.

    Solid, reliable entertainment.

    It turns out that the book series was written by the same guy who wrote the Sharpe series, which makes sense because I also loved Sharpe. Something very... down to earth... about the writing. Neither overly cynical nor romantic.

    @Architect @Senseye any further thoughts?

    Could definitely do a drinking game:

    Uthred acts rashly
    Uthred falls in love with someone he just met
    Uthred bonds with Father Bielka
    Alfred pauses for effect before permitting himself a sliver of a sly grin (Alfred <3)
    The set looks exactly like a scene from Skyrim

    So far one plot point bugs me.

    Spoiler: ...
    I don't get how Brida could have missed the fact that the sister was still alive. She was watching everything.


    Also it seems to have gotten much easier to travel between Northumbria and Wessex, but anyway...

    It's formulaic and I love it. I love it as it is and I want it to stay that way.
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  2. #2
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Oh I thought of one more plot hole:

    When the Danes send the cowardly nephew (love him!) to assassinate Alfred, knowing full well that he is a coward, they completely failed to send someone along with him to see that he finishes the job. Whoops.

    Some more thoughts on Season 2:

    Queen Whatshername, Alfred's wife, finally stepped up her style. The sack look together with that unfortunate, yoke-looking hairstyle was sort of hypnotically awful in its own right, but it is a relief to see her in something that's actually attractive. She has grown on me so much. She's still a self-important bigot, but prestige suits her.

    Also I thought the nun would get on my nerves, as we seem to be running the gamut of Mary Sue female characters... but it turns out that the possibilities are endless, and they're all really well done, and I love her!

    So far all the princesses are shaping up to be a "strong independent woman unfortunately bound by social convention" type, and I am 100% down for that. Bring it, Last Kingdom.
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  3. #3
    Pull the strings! Architect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    Solid, reliable entertainment. @Architect any further thoughts?
    Hwæt! I'd add solid historical fiction. I took an interest in the English language in my wanderings, 6 years of Latin, 2 of Greek and 1 of Old English later I gained an appreciations of the Saxons, but I had little cultural feeling, other than the Anglo Saxon Chronicle which doesn't tell you much really. This show is spot on (only Uthred is fictional) and they did a beautiful recreation that amazed me. Same group that did Downtown Abby so they know their beans. The filth, homespun goods, weather and food all portrayed beautifully. Formulaic? No more than usual I think. We're eagerly looking forward to a Season 3, hoping it pans out and gets done.

    I don't get how Brida could have missed the fact that the sister was still alive. She was watching everything.
    But she was having the tryst with Uthred during the attack, and didn't see her go off with the Vikings as far as I remember. Not sure, it didn't jump out at me at the time, she's not the NSA.

    When the Danes send the cowardly nephew (love him!) to assassinate Alfred, knowing full well that he is a coward, they completely failed to send someone along with him to see that he finishes the job. Whoops.
    Good point. OTOH perhaps they would have had trouble finding someone who fit the part (e.g. teeth weren't filed, no tattoo's, spoke OE (well which wasn't a part of the narrative but ..))

    The female characters were very well done, both narratively and the acting. I'd say it differently though, they weren't independent, and not so bound by social convention. Rather, they all fit within the social milieu in their own unique and strong ways.

    Spoiler: ...

    Brida - really the only true independent, but she aligns with the Viking brother and charts her course as a tough Viking warrior women regardless.

    Queen Isolde (Iseult) attaches from the North King to Uthred, and reveals her powers as a pagan witch

    Alfred's Queen (forget the name) - a power behind the throne, especially later she exerts quiet influence

    The Queen's/Kings daughter (forget names, been a while) is the only real victim, due to one weakling, but she wins out in the end, at a price

    more examples ...

  4. #4
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    I'm on my second watch through of the series, currently...watched it all back in April/May when I had an abundance of time to do so...and now I'm watching an episode each night with my wife, so that we can enjoy season 3 together, whenever that comes out. Just finished season 1 last night...

    I love all the casting...except for the nephew-king-wannabe...I think because he has this sort of contemporary look to him that doesn't hide well behind the costumes and set pieces...like maybe his teeth are too white or something...
    All the other characters look very authentic, right down to the dirt in their nails...
    This being said, it actually plays well on screen for him to look too clean, and for him to seem out of place...like a lazy modern day gamer, who really is not fit to rule an empire in the 9th century or whenever this takes place, lol.

    I like how pretty much every character develops...very few cases of flat characters.

    After watching Uhtred get screwed over so much, I'm not sure if I'm compelled more by the prospect of seeing him finally win *AND* get to enjoy that winning for more than 12 seconds, before the rug is pulled out from beneath him....or if I'm compelled by the prospect of seeing him slapped in the face yet again by his destiny, lol.

    I actually enjoy how Uhtred's distaste for the church can coexist with his appreciation of various religious people in the show...and how he is quite dedicated to his conscience...and yet, every time he sets out to follow his conscience, it makes him appear more savage, sinful and unworthy in the eyes of church authorities...even when following his conscience results in the best outcomes for the church...the whole dynamic of faith and destiny and religion and conscience is handled so well by the show...very enjoyable.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  5. #5
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    Just rewatched the episode where Uhtred is a slave...so good.
    In my memory, I thought those events had taken place over several episodes...but they packed a lot in there! Great emotion in that one...from Uhtrde, and Halig, and Hild...and even Guthred, being conflicted over his actions toward Uhtred...
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  6. #6
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    Just rewatched the episode where Uhtred is a slave...so good.
    In my memory, I thought those events had taken place over several episodes...but they packed a lot in there! Great emotion in that one...from Uhtrde, and Halig, and Hild...and even Guthred, being conflicted over his actions toward Uhtred...
    Finally got a chance to watch this one. Hadig... ;_;

  7. #7
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    The episode with Bjorn is probably my least favourite of the whole series to date...can't quite put my finger on why...though I'm sure the naivety of so many of the characters concerning Bjorn is a big factor.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  8. #8
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    So I'm still about mid way through the second season, and I was thinking of this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    I love all the casting...except for the nephew-king-wannabe...I think because he has this sort of contemporary look to him that doesn't hide well behind the costumes and set pieces...like maybe his teeth are too white or something...
    All the other characters look very authentic, right down to the dirt in their nails...
    This being said, it actually plays well on screen for him to look too clean, and for him to seem out of place...like a lazy modern day gamer, who really is not fit to rule an empire in the 9th century or whenever this takes place, lol.
    Yes. I didn't notice it so much in the first season, but now in the second season it's like they've given him an expanded role just because he's a fun character, but he doesn't really belong. I noticed it when he kept laughing inappropriately when the Mercian king visited - but that awkwardness in itself seems to fit his character.

    The second season is definitely feeling a bit more noticeably scripted, rather than immersive, but I'm still thoroughly enjoying it.

    I like how pretty much every character develops...very few cases of flat characters.
    I was definitely seeing in the past couple of episodes that slavery really changed Uhtred. It made him physically weak and emotionally jaded. I don't think he'll ever return to his naivete in the first season. I also like how Hild is developing as a soldier-nun, the conflict inherent in that.

    After watching Uhtred get screwed over so much, I'm not sure if I'm compelled more by the prospect of seeing him finally win *AND* get to enjoy that winning for more than 12 seconds, before the rug is pulled out from beneath him....or if I'm compelled by the prospect of seeing him slapped in the face yet again by his destiny, lol.
    I just watched the episode where they finally avenge Ragnar the Brave, and it was so satisfying. Everything went right for once, brotherhood and friendship restored, and then Uhtred actually decides to take a break rather than pursue his own goals that indirectly undermine Alfred! I went ahead and watched the beginning of the following episode just to see what the aftermath would look like. I wanted to watch Uhtred enjoy a bit of peace. Sure enough, there it was: a screen saying "Three years later. .."



    I actually enjoy how Uhtred's distaste for the church can coexist with his appreciation of various religious people in the show...and how he is quite dedicated to his conscience...and yet, every time he sets out to follow his conscience, it makes him appear more savage, sinful and unworthy in the eyes of church authorities...even when following his conscience results in the best outcomes for the church...the whole dynamic of faith and destiny and religion and conscience is handled so well by the show...very enjoyable.
    Beocca* and Hild are the saving graces of Christianity in this show. I also love this aspect of it.

    *Speaking of Beocca... His genuine distaste for Brida because she's mean, not because she's pagan, really amuses me. And I love how she only ever eased up on Uhtred after the revenge, and then she was his friend again. She needed revenge! That's why she was so cranky.**

    **Plus feeling super threatened by Christian piety and gender roles. I can sympathize.

  9. #9
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architect View Post
    But she was having the tryst with Uthred during the attack, and didn't see her go off with the Vikings as far as I remember. Not sure, it didn't jump out at me at the time, she's not the NSA.
    I still consider this a plot hole because after the attack was done and Uhtred had killed his uncle's man in the barn, Kjartan and Sven pulled Thyra behind them out of the compound as a slave. She was walking in broad daylight wearing a bright blue dress, and of course she has ultra pale skin and red hair. Brida was watching everything closely at that point because she wanted to make sure Uhtred was safe.

    Plotwise it makes no sense for Brida to withold that information. If anything she would use it to urge Uhtred to be smart and urgent about revenge and rescue. I just wish they had shown Thyra being bundled up in a cart or something because it makes no sense for Brida to have missed her, the way she was dragged out of her home.

  10. #10
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    So have you finished series 2 yet? we just finished the last 2 episodes tonight...
    ...I'm not one for violence, but man, I would follow Uhtred into battle! such a great character...even against the worst odds, he just does what needs doing...love it.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

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