King kingdom

Why Fans Hate Edward As King (But Love Alfred)

Warning: this article contains spoilers for The Last Kingdom.

King Alfred (David Dawson) of The Last Kingdom is loved by viewers, but his son King Edward (Timothy Innes) often receives hate. Adapted from the novels The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cromwell, The Last Kingdom is a British historical drama that offers viewers five seasons of life in medieval Britain. The fast-paced drama unravels the political turmoil caused by the Viking invasion of Britain, and the show is filled with incredible fight scenes, backstabbing politics, murder, and romance.

The main protagonist of The Last Kingdom is Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon), who was born a Saxon in the northern stronghold of Bebbanburg but grew up as Dane Uhtred Ragnarsson after his capture by the Vikings. While Uhtred is central to the plot, much of the political intrigue and war-trading at the heart of the series involves the two Kings of Wessex – Alfred and Edward.


Related: Why The Last Kingdom Ends With Season 5

At the start of the show, Alfred ascends the throne after the death of his brother, and the sickly king reigns for three seasons. After Alfred’s death, his son Edward takes over and reigns for the remaining two seasons of the series, and proves far less successful than his father, with his range of mistakes and reckless moves leading him to be hated as King by many viewers.

Alfred made smarter political decisions as king

The Last Kingdom - King Alfred

Like Canute of Vikings: Walhalla, Alfred is sharp and skillful even before he ascends the throne. Alfred sees the value of recording threats against the kingdom, as he explains to Uhtred that “everything I find out about my enemies is written down.” To get to know his enemies better, Alfred develops skills in espionage, as he has “eyes and ears in each of the realmsand isn’t afraid to become a spy himself. In season one, he dons a balaclava and hides among the crowd to witness the betrayal of Odda the Younger (Brian Vernel) and rallies the surprised crowd to his side when he goes out after young Odda’s death. By knowing how those around him think and act, Alfred can anticipate the actions of his allies and enemies, and force them to work to his advantage.

Despite the rivalry Tyrion Lannister The iron Throne Fame in intelligence, Alfred is aware of his own limitations. Remarking that “a good king relies on good advice,“He uses the skill of others to defend Wessex and lay the foundations of a united England. He often uses Uhtred’s battle plans to achieve several military successes, and he values ​​advisors like Father Beocca (Ian Hart), Odda the Elder (Simon Kunz), and his wife Aelswith (Eliza Butterworth). If he is always attentive to others, he is also wary of potential betrayals. Even when he follows Uhtred’s advice, he knows the warrior will never be truly loyal. As a result, he takes precautions to throw Uhtred in jail or have him killed if he proves too ambitious. fortunately poor Uhtred is ready for a happy ending in the next film, making up for her tumultuous relationship with Alfred and the constant threats. Although Uhtred repeatedly proves his loyalty, King Alfred thinks ahead and trusts only God, which makes him hard to betray. When his ambitious nephew Aethelwold (Harry McEntire) claims to have spied for Wessex, Alfred sees through his charade and takes one of his eyes to punish him for his betrayal by joining the Danes.

Alfred’s pious personality makes for an interesting relationship with Uhtred

Alfred rides a horse in The Last Kingdom

Perhaps even more than his skill as a king, Alfred’s fragile relationship with Uhtred makes him a beloved character. Although Alfred may seem too devout to modern viewers, his faith is historically accurate and matches the precedent set by similar shows. Alfred’s unshakeable beliefs are also important to the plot, as they bring him into an unpredictable and dynamic conflict with Uhtred. Uhtred’s refusal to embrace Christianity leads Alfred to consider that the devil may have sent the pagan warrior to cloud his judgment. This mistrust is fueled by Uhtred’s ungodly actions as he repeatedly murders priests, draws his sword into a church, and desecrates hallowed ground. Grateful that Uhtred”is not pious and never will be,“Alfred sometimes seems to really hate Uhtred for his pagan crimes and threatens to have him killed. Uhtred endures Alfred’s divine ways for a long time before the warrior loses patience and holds a knife to the king’s throat. As the series has now come to an end with viewers asking about what’s next for The Last Kingdomthroughout the first three seasons, they constantly wondered what would happen next between Uhtred and Alfred.

Related: What Is Blood Month In The Last Kingdom?

Despite their religious differences, Alfred also admires Uhtred and rewards him. He gives Uhtred a settlement in Coccham and orders that Uhtred be freed from slavery. Near death, Alfred apologizes to Uhtred for not acknowledging his sacrifices and he makes it clear that he is indebted to the warrior. It’s a respectable admission that makes Alfred more sympathetic as he reconciles with the protagonist. After all, Uhtred helps save baby Edward’s life, repeatedly saves Alfred’s beloved daughter Aethelflaed (Millie Brady) from capture, and keeps Wessex from falling into Viking hands. As Alfred has a strong sense of duty to his kingdom and is extremely dedicated to protecting his family, it is only right that he make amends with The Last Kingdom protagonist Uhtred of Bebbanburg before succumbing to his illness.

Edward has terrible political instincts and makes stupid decisions

Queen Aelflaed in The Last Kingdom

Unlike his father, Edward is an extremely reluctant king. He stubbornly proclaimsI don’t want to do my duty,and supports his marriage to a poor woman rather than marrying a wealthy, status woman. As he is young, this reluctance to live up to expectations is perhaps forgivable. However, Edward’s terrible political instincts and incompetence as king quickly become apparent. Unlike his father, Edward trusts too much and listens to his ambitious stepfather Aethelhelm (Adrian Schiller), who turns out to be an incompetent traitor. Aethelhelm joins another key character by being omitted from Uhtred’s edit in Season 5, despite her pivotal role in Edward’s betrayal and starting a war by accidentally killing Edward’s wife (and own daughter) Aelfflaed (Amelia Clarkson).

Besides trusting traitors, Edward is brash and frequently makes rash decisions based on his emotions. In his ambition to fulfill his father’s dream of a united England, he leaves his family utterly helpless in Wintancaester, and the town is captured by the Danes. After a month-long failed siege, Edward grows impatient and madly suggests that the city be burned down with his heirs inside. Fortunately, Uhtred steps in to sacrifice himself in exchange for the release of the king’s sons. Uhtred saves Edward again as he convinces him to negotiate in the midst of the Battle of Wintancaester, and in The Last Kingdom toat age 5, Uhtred’s daughter, Stiorra (Ruby Hartley) saves the King when his army is pushed off a cliff by the Scots at Bebbanburg.

Edward cares for nothing but his own selfish glory


Rather than looking after his family and working in the interests of Wessex, Edward only seems to want the glory of being a better king than Alfred. As well as allowing his family to be captured in Wintancaester, he allows his mother to be imprisoned on Aethelhelm’s orders, and he turns against his sister Aelthelflaed when all she tries to save Mercia from the Danes . He even neglects his sister, niece and son as they roam the countryside as a plague ravages England. Alfred would never have stood still and allowed such injustice to be inflicted on his own family.

Related: The Last Kingdom Season 5 True Story: Every Major Change To The Real Story

In the end, Edward relies on Uhtred’s superior tactics and Aethelflaed, who dies in The Last Kingdom season 5. A few amusing lines and an interesting relationship with Lady Eadgifu (Sonya Cassidy) barely make up for Edward’s inability to deal with traitors, his terrible battle tactics and his lack of respect for his family. While he almost fulfills Alfred’s dream of England, Edward does not deserve the glory he receives for his victories. In contrast, Alfred uses Uhtred’s help and his own wit to secure Wessex and gain lasting alliances, wealth and men. Even on the brink of death, Alfred mounts his horse and draws his sword as the people of Wintanceaster sing “Long live the king!“Despite his illness Alfred proves iconic and loved by the public as much as the people of Wessex. Taking on a whole series to ensure a legacy that stands the test of time, he forges a name for himself as Alfred the Great Of the two kings of Wessex in The Last Kingdom, it makes sense that Alfred is the most beloved, while Edward has a lukewarm reception as king among viewers at best.

Next: The Last Kingdom: What remains to be done before the end

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