“The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die” provides a concise and fast-paced conclusion for the five-season British series “The Last Kingdom.” Based on “The Saxon Stories” series, by Bernard Cornwell, “Seven Kings Must Die”, in its two hour running time, concentrates on the final chapters, where the unification of England is the ultimate goal. There are a lot of events crammed into these two hours, and it does carry a feeling of being overstuffed. However, if you are a fan of the series, the return of Alexander Dreymon’s enigmatic Uhtred of Bebbanburg should be enough to keep you invested. Even for non-fans, “Seven Kings Must Die” is gripping enough with its abundance of drama.

The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die [2023] Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis

The “Seven Kings Must Die” events occur quite a few years after the last season of “The Last Kingdom.” King Edward dies and that triggers a chain of events. King Anlaf (Pekka Strang), with his wolf-warrior army, invades Northumbria, of which Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) is the Lord. On the other hand, Prince Athelstan’s (Harry Gilby) claim is challenged by his brother, Aelfweard of Wessex. Queen Eadgifu (Elaine Cassidy), along with her son, Edmund, who flees to Bebbanburg. Uhtred protects them and promises to quash Aelfweard’s challenge.

However, Athelstan, who grew up under the wings of Uhtred, has taken Lord Ingilmundr (Laurie Davidson) as the new advisor. Ingilmundr’s influence, in the name of Jesus Christ, starts to sway Athelstan from the righteous path that Uhtred had instilled in him. Athelstan is steered to a new ‘righteous’ path that Ingilmundr lays out before him.

It is quickly revealed that Athelstan does not only revere Ingilmundr but loves him. Their sexual encounters are cleverly used by Ingilmundr to make Athelstan feel guilty. Because homosexuality is the epitome of all ‘sins.’ To atone for this ‘sin’, Ingilmundr asks Athelstan to start invading the realms of other Kings, in order to spread Christianity. Realms, like Scotland, which Athelstan’s father had a peace treaty with, are invaded by Athelstan.

Meanwhile, Athelstan starts to ignore his closest friends, like Uhtred. On provocation from Ingilmundr, he even begins to execute his closest aides who resist his reckless deeds. Uhtred falls in the same category, but Athelstan could not bring himself to kill Uhtred. Instead, he banishes Uhtred, asking him to leave the realm without any supplements or clothes. In exile, the cold and freezing Uhtred is discovered by the gangs of Anlaf.

The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die [2023] Netflix Ending Explained

What Happens to Uhtred in the Battle of Brunanburh?

When Uhtred reaches the encampment of King Anlaf, he finds that five other kings have reached there, including the Scottish King. Athelstan’s aggressive invasion has united the kings under the umbrella provided by Anlaf. The six armies prepare to march against Athelstan. They ask Uhtred to join them. Uhtred tries to dissuade them. They tell Uhtred that the only way to avoid the bloodshed is by killing Athelstan. If Uhtred goes back and kills Athelstan then the kings could call off the impending war.

Uhtred goes back to Athelstan and once again tries to tell him that Ingilmundr is a spy sent by Anlaf. The enraged Athelstan throws Uhtred out. However, Athelstan quickly finds Ingilmundr’s true allegiance once the six armies, led by the five kings and Anlaf arrives. The devastated Athelstan apologizes to Uhtred and Queen Eadgifu. Athelstan asks them to leave and protect themselves. He has bought this war, and he feels only he should be punished for it.

However, Uhtred comes to the aid of Athelstan. In the “Battle of Brunanburh,” Uhtred’s clever maneuvering and planning help Athelstan not only to survive but to win the battle. But, this comes with a steep price. Uhtred gets grievously injured in the process.

Does Uhtred die?

The ending keeps it open-ended. We see Uhtred, struggling to recover from his injuries, seeing the vision of Valhalla, the promised afterlife. In his mind, he seems to accept his death. But, he does not cross the doors of Valhalla. He still looks back and sees the people who were talking to him in reality. His friends, Athelstan, his son. It ends with Uhtred in limbo. This allows viewers to come up with their own interpretation.

But, if we go by the source material, the novel “War Lord” from Cornwell’s series, then Uhtred lives. Uhtred does not become a martyr as per the novel.

How did the prophecy get fulfilled?

The prophecy, which was made by the wife of Uhtred’s aide, Finan, was that seven kings must die. Finan’s wife, Ingrith, also mentioned “The death of a woman you love.” Throughout the story, the ‘woman’ here seems to be any woman that gets close to Uhtred. Queen Eadgifu seemed to be the perfect candidate to die, in that case.

However, when Ingrith said the part about the death of the woman, she was looking more at Finan than Uhtred. As Ingrith herself gets killed during Anlaf’s raid, it becomes clear that she meant herself. And that particular part of the prophecy was meant for Finan.

Among the seven kings that die, five are referred to as the uncrowned heirs of five kingdoms: Scotland, Man, Shetland, Orkney, and Strathclyde. All the heirs of these five kingdoms fell in the battle of Brunanburh. The sixth king is King Edward, whose death triggers everything. The seventh king probably refers to Uhtred, as Uhtred himself ponders. If we consider him dead, then he becomes the seventh king to die.

Why Uhtred asks Athelstan to not marry?

After the battle of Brunanburh, Uhtred agrees to swear fealty to Athelstan, to make one unified England. He agrees to make Northumbria part of that unification and accept Athestan as its King. However, he puts one condition. That Athelstan must not marry. So, his young brother, the son of Queen Eadgifu, Edmund can succeed to the throne. It seems Uhtred started to care for Eadgifu and Edmund. However, there is another reason for it.

Uhtred seems to be aware of Athelstan’s sexual orientation. And he appeared to be fine with it. Uhtred knew that Athelstan can never be happy in a normal heterosexual marriage, and neither can he ever come out. He sort of helps Athelstan, by providing the perfect excuse to not marry. No wonder Athelstan heartily says “Thank you” to Uhtred after the condition is given.

Also, Read: Take Shelter [2011]: An Emotionally Resonant Study of Anxiety and Uncertainty

Watch ‘Seven Kings Must Die’ Trailer

Seven Kings Must Die (2023) Links: IMDbRotten Tomatoes
Seven Kings Must Die (2023) Cast: Mark Rowley, Pekka Strang, Zoltan Andrasi
Where to watch Seven Kings Must Die

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