Imagine this: One of the books you love most is adapted as a movie or series. You are very excited and happy to watch it. And you really enjoy watching it. But then there are some major changes that you just don’t understand and that really disappoint you.
This is something that happened to me watching “The Last Kingdom”.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the show. I really do. But I love the books a lot more. And I just don’t understand some of the changes that were made.
But first I’ll start with the things I loved. I really love the performance of the actors. Especially Stiorra, Sigtryggr and Finan who are my favorite characters in the books and seeing them on the show made me love them even more. Also this strong bond between Finan and Uhtred is so well displayed. I also liked Uhtred the younger a lot in this show. Even though there is something.. well, I’ll get to that when writing about the major changes I disliked.
But there were also some things I missed. Let me start with some small details that are mentioned in the books quite often: Æthelflæd’s golden hair, Uhtred’s fair hair, Hild’s Cross that is forged into Uhtred’s sword hilt, in the books Sigtryggr is not a Dane but a Norseman, Æthelhelm’s red cloaked troops. Small details, but especially the latter would have been nice to see in the series. (And let’s not discuss historical accuracy of some weapons and clothing..)
Father Pyrlig was described as a big guy if I recall that right who always lets his enemies cut him once into his belly before he kills them. This way he has sort of a collection of men he’s killed so far on his belly.
I hope we’ll see Æthelflæd’s flags in the upcoming season – in the books Uhtred always thought it kind of funny.. I won’t tell you more in case it’ll turn up later in the show. 😉
What I really missed a lot in the show is Uhtred saying “wyrd bið ful aræd – fate is inexorable”. In the books he says this a lot. In the show he says “destiny is all.” WHY?!? It really makes me sad everytime I hear him say “Destiny is all”. Maybe it’s because “destiny is all” is shorter and maybe easier to remember. But this “wyrd bið ful aræd” is so present in the books. Always. It’s about as iconic as “may the force be with you” in Star Wars. It would have been great if it had made it into the show.
There are more smaller changes. And some bigger changes. Some I did not mind. Like the death of Ragnar the younger which was sad of course, but it gave the storyline a new twist and in the books Ragnar was sitting in Dunholm, became fat and wasn’t mentioned that much anymore anywas.
But some changes really bugged me. And here they are:
WARNING: I am not sure whether some of these things may still happen in season 5. So the next part may contain spoilers for those who haven’t read the books.
First of all – where is Uhtred’s second son? I thought shows love drama. And in the books it was a huge drama. His firstborn wanting to become a priest, Uhtred disowning and renaming him, making his second son watch. But later, when Brida hurts him quite badly it becomes clear that Uhtred still thinks of him as a son and wants revenge.
Uhtred’s significant wound is left out. Or maybe it’s the one that is hinted in the end of the season? However, they’ll have to make a major change here because he already knows Eadith and she seems to fall for Finan and not for Uhtred. And her brother is already dead, so she can’t join them on their journey to find the sword that hurt Uhtred against her brother’s will. But we’ll see what they make of it. IF they make something of it at all.
And then these, in my opinion totally unnecessary deaths of Thyra and Beocca. I hated those scenes. And I still don’t understand why they had to do this. Probably for the sake of drama.
But – all in all I really love the show. And I can’t wait for season 5!