Seven Kings Must Die ties up the remaining plot from The Last Kingdom. However, it must make a big book change to the book’s ending to do so.
Warning! SPOILERS for Seven Kings Must Die!
The adaptation of Seven Kings Must Die significantly diverges from the source material, particularly in terms of its ending. As is often the case when translating literature to screen, adjustments are necessary to conclude the story in a manner that is suitable for the medium and the condensed narrative. Both The Last Kingdom series and its film adaptation have introduced numerous changes to the original novels throughout their production. Consequently, it is logical for Seven Kings Must Die to present a distinctly different ending from the one depicted in the books.
Seven Kings Must Die serves as a sequel to The Last Kingdom series and takes inspiration from The Saxon Stories book series. The film follows the journey of Uhtred of Bebbanburg, played by Alexander Dreymon. After reclaiming his lands and enjoying a period of peace, Uhtred finds himself facing new challenges. The Danes persist in their attempts to invade, and the Anglo-Saxon throne is left vacant following the death of King Edward, portrayed by Timothy Innes. The story eventually leads to the pivotal Battle of Brunanburh, where Uhtred plays a crucial role in uniting the English people. Uhtred’s actions contribute to the fulfillment of Alfred’s vision for a united England, as he ensures that the next king, Aethelstan, portrayed by Harry Gilby, is able to realize this goal.
How The Last Kingdom Movie Changes The Book’s Ending
In Seven Kings Must Die, the film concludes with a significant departure from the book series. After the Battle of Brunanburh, Uhtred appears to enter Valhalla as the seventh king to die. This allows him to fulfill his oath by pledging Northumbria to Aethelstan and contributing to the formation of a united England before his death. This particular storyline, tying up the ongoing political plot, was made possible in the film adaptation since Uhtred is not the narrator as he is in the books. In the books, the story ends similarly with a battle involving Aethelstan and Uhtred on one side and characters like Anlaf, Constantine, and Owain of Strath Clota opposing them. However, the series takes it a step further by concluding with Aethelstan instructing Uhtred to marry and become the Lord of the North.
Why Seven Kings Must Die Needed To End With Uhtred’s Death
Ending the series and film with Uhtred’s death provides a more satisfying narrative conclusion. Unlike in the books, where Uhtred serves as the narrator, the film adaptation allows for a warrior’s ending for the character, which is more appropriate considering his accomplishments throughout the franchise. Uhtred’s death in Seven Kings Must Die not only gives his character a fitting conclusion but also offers an explanation for why the franchise ended with the movie instead of continuing with season 5.
The Last Kingdom franchise extended beyond season 5 because the series concluded with King Edward’s rise to the throne. However, the books went further, depicting Aethelstan’s rule and leaving room for additional stories. Seven Kings Must Die serves as the culmination of this conflict, presenting the “true” ending of the series with Uhtred’s death or the suggestion of his imminent demise. This resolution brings closure to Uhtred’s character arc while also providing historical context to the actual unification of England.
The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die is now streaming on Netflix.