The Last Kingdom

Nov 2017
789
Commune
Didn't their history of writing the Sagas begin after the Viking invasion of England though? Forgive me, for my knowledge of the Vikings is somewhat limited but I think I remember reading that they had not started writing their sagas down until later than the 8th century. If true, would this make that portrayal in The Last Kingdom possible?
They already possessed runic writing and had contact with written cultures for hundreds of years by then. Their oral skalds and sagas, fragments of which being written in runestones, were also clearly intended for writing.

In all honesty, I loathe this series. It's crass and obscene and with a tremendous English jingoism verging on UKIP rhetoric about evil continental Europeans destroying England. Every non-English people is portrayed as barbaric, savage and just generally inhuman in comparison to the English. The Welsh king, for instance, was portrayed as living in a hut, for Christ's sake.

I will not lie, however, that I like Vikings portrayed as brutal and warlike. I'm tired of romanticisation of them. Raiding and invading is not something to romanticise.
 

History Chick

Ad Honorem
Jun 2010
3,336
Colorado Springs (PA at heart)
They already possessed runic writing and had contact with written cultures for hundreds of years by then. Their oral skalds and sagas, fragments of which being written in runestones, were also clearly intended for writing.

In all honesty, I loathe this series. It's crass and obscene and with a tremendous English jingoism verging on UKIP rhetoric about evil continental Europeans destroying England. Every non-English people is portrayed as barbaric, savage and just generally inhuman in comparison to the English. The Welsh king, for instance, was portrayed as living in a hut, for Christ's sake.

I will not lie, however, that I like Vikings portrayed as brutal and warlike. I'm tired of romanticisation of them. Raiding and invading is not something to romanticise.
That's complete nonsense - if anything, the series romanticizes the Vikings/Danes because they are "free" from the oppressive and hypocritical Christianity. Bernard Cornwell is a known atheist and his contempt for Christianity comes through his work loud and clear. The main character is not Christian and because of it, he has a difficult relationship with the English king and many of the church officials in England. Many of the protagonists are Viking/Danish and many of the antagonists are English.

Trying to apply modern politics to historical fiction is definitely looking for something that's not there. Any historical fiction told from the English point of view is going to be pro-England, it doesn't mean there's a greater modern political agenda being told. So what are you saying, that everyone should cease making historical fiction about English history? That's hardly an unbiased point of view either. :suspicious:
 
Nov 2017
789
Commune
That's complete nonsense - if anything, the series romanticizes the Vikings/Danes because they are "free" from the oppressive and hypocritical Christianity. Bernard Cornwell is a known atheist and his contempt for Christianity comes through his work loud and clear. The main character is not Christian and because of it, he has a difficult relationship with the English king and many of the church officials in England. Many of the protagonists are Viking/Danish and many of the antagonists are English.

Trying to apply modern politics to historical fiction is definitely looking for something that's not there. Any historical fiction told from the English point of view is going to be pro-England, it doesn't mean there's a greater modern political agenda being told. So what are you saying, that everyone should cease making historical fiction about English history? That's hardly an unbiased point of view either. :suspicious:

What? I don't get this upset reaction. I was only criticising the TV show in particular, without any reference to the book series. At no point did I even imply that there shouldn't be any historical fiction, only criticised this TV show for what it appears to be UKIP rhetoric, which I think it's fair to do.

I do definitely oppose to fascists writing anything (they have the right to and shouldn't be banned, but that doesn't make it okay either), but that is different from saying that no one should write any historical fiction at all, or saying that the author of this book series is a far-right UKIP lunatic, since again, I wasn't talking about him but the TV adaptation, which seems to diverge significantly from the books.

I also disagree that an English POV is by necessity pro-England. Even if you have a pro-England main character, you can make it so that the narrative proves him wrong and the opposite site right. The "Vikings" TV series is an example of this, portraying the Viking point of view but without being completely pro-Viking either, which is why it's somewhat superior to "The Last Kingdom" (somewhat since I also think "Vikings" is pretty dreadful overall).

An author can also be English and still portray an anti-English POV as well. There can be historical fiction with better writing that portrays the facts far better than other historical fiction. The Last Kingdom (the TV series) is dreadful in this regard because it shows the English as being the more civilised and morally right by disgustingly distorting history.

Edit: I will say this, though. If what you say about the book author is correct, the guy falls into the same category of Viking romanticist apologists that think that Viking raids and invasions somehow represent freedom-seeking or similar, which is hilarious and very dumb. I really am on the side of the Catholic Church here since, outside of Charlemagne, the pagan Germanics were the ones doing the most invasions and military attacks, not the Christians. The Vikings in fact adopted the religion of the people they brutally conquered and raided, rather than having Christianity imposed on them when that wasn't the case. It doesn't help that the Vikings were proto-colonial and tried to conquer Greenland and North America (and were thankfully expelled and repulsed).
 
Last edited:

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,736
Australia
What? I don't get this upset reaction. I was only criticising the TV show in particular, without any reference to the book series. At no point did I even imply that there shouldn't be any historical fiction, only criticised this TV show for what it appears to be UKIP rhetoric, which I think it's fair to do.

I do definitely oppose to fascists writing anything (they have the right to and shouldn't be banned, but that doesn't make it okay either), but that is different from saying that no one should write any historical fiction at all, or saying that the author of this book series is a far-right UKIP lunatic, since again, I wasn't talking about him but the TV adaptation, which seems to diverge significantly from the books.

I also disagree that an English POV is by necessity pro-England. Even if you have a pro-England main character, you can make it so that the narrative proves him wrong and the opposite site right. The "Vikings" TV series is an example of this, portraying the Viking point of view but without being completely pro-Viking either, which is why it's somewhat superior to "The Last Kingdom" (somewhat since I also think "Vikings" is pretty dreadful overall).

An author can also be English and still portray an anti-English POV as well. There can be historical fiction with better writing that portrays the facts far better than other historical fiction. The Last Kingdom (the TV series) is dreadful in this regard because it shows the English as being the more civilised and morally right by disgustingly distorting history.

Edit: I will say this, though. If what you say about the book author is correct, the guy falls into the same category of Viking romanticist apologists that think that Viking raids and invasions somehow represent freedom-seeking or similar, which is hilarious and very dumb. I really am on the side of the Catholic Church here since, outside of Charlemagne, the pagan Germanics were the ones doing the most invasions and military attacks, not the Christians. The Vikings in fact adopted the religion of the people they brutally conquered and raided, rather than having Christianity imposed on them when that wasn't the case. It doesn't help that the Vikings were proto-colonial and tried to conquer Greenland and North America (and were thankfully expelled and repulsed).

So the writers of 'The Last Kingdom' are fascists? You categorise the author of the books as a 'viking romanticist apologist'? I feel you are having trouble determining fact from fiction and are determined to find things that are not there to justify your views.
 
Nov 2017
789
Commune
So the writers of 'The Last Kingdom' are fascists? You categorise the author of the books as a 'viking romanticist apologist'? I feel you are having trouble determining fact from fiction and are determined to find things that are not there to justify your views.
Why is it so incredible? After all, UKIP was able to convince millions to vote to get out of the EU with its fascist ideology. It's not surprising that we see that appearing in British TV shows, even in medieval ones, where continental Europeans and non-English in general are portrayed as subhuman savages and barbarians that only destroy and kill.

And yes, if the author of the book portrays the pagan Vikings as morally superior to Christians and as being in the right, and portrays them as freedom lovers that don't want to be drag down by any oppressive institution like the oh so evil Catholic Church, he is indeed a romanticist apologist of Vikings, disregarding their brutal expansionism. Apparently, that stuff is only wrong when done by the oh so evil Catholics, but not by his invented polytheistic freedom seekers (that killed, pillaged and raped).
 

Poly

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
6,698
Georgia, USA
One of my favourite movies. :lol:
As for historically accurate...it's complete and utter tosh, it's Hollywood at it's worst...
No it's not.

I thought the producers went to great lengths to get the feel of the movie right.


(apart from Tony Curtis' accent of course)


They even went to Northumbria and filmed the final battle on location.

Now for complete and utter Hollywood tosh, watch Alan Ladd in the Black Knight or Curtis again in The Black Shield of Falworth.


EDIT: Or The Battle of the Bulge filmed on a Spanish plain in Summer under blue skies.
 

History Chick

Ad Honorem
Jun 2010
3,336
Colorado Springs (PA at heart)
What? I don't get this upset reaction. I was only criticising the TV show in particular, without any reference to the book series.
The TV show is based on the books and maintains the themes I talked about.

At no point did I even imply that there shouldn't be any historical fiction, only criticised this TV show for what it appears to be UKIP rhetoric, which I think it's fair to do.
Based on what? Have many episodes have you seen? How can you make that assessment when, as I pointed out, the show often portrays the English Christians as oppressive and hypocritical? When the main character was raised by and loves the Danes? When many protagonists are Danish and many antagonists are English? This all applies to the show as equally as it does in the books. Historical fiction is any fictional/dramatize portrayal of history - not just books. It seems to me the only one attempting to further their own political agenda is you - projecting your own agenda to make everything political onto the show.

This show has nothing to do with modern politics, and by trying to make it about that, you're hijacking the thread.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,020
Navan, Ireland
.....................In all honesty, I loathe this series. It's crass and obscene and with a tremendous English jingoism verging on UKIP rhetoric about evil continental Europeans destroying England. .
Sorry how is it UKIP 'rhetoric'?

Do you understand the history when its set?

Alfred 'the Great' the King of Wessex (today and English county but then an 'English' kingdom) was the last surviving King of English 'race' while all other had been conquered by 'Viking' invaders/settlers. He is credited with leading the defeat of the 'Vikings' and actually starting the idea that there were not 'English' Kingdoms but one English Kingdom-- there was a place called England. Before that there were just different 'tribes/groups/power' etc the main character Uthred claims to be King of Northumbria.

How is that UKIP Fascism?

Every non-English people is portrayed as barbaric, savage and just generally inhuman in comparison to the English.
The Danes are quite positively especially since they are the 'invaders' but the again because many settled they are also the locals.

The Welsh king, for instance, was portrayed as living in a hut, for Christ's sake..
The Cornish king shown was a small petty King-- not big or powerful beyond his locality--- and the showing of armies that were actually quite small is true.

In his books Cornwall (authors name not the place) does have a Welsh King and he is shown as being a powerful force-- which (in a regional context) he was.

I will not lie, however, that I like Vikings portrayed as brutal and warlike. I'm tired of romanticisation of them. Raiding and invading is not something to romanticise.
The Vikings are a complex history and 'popular' doesn't really do them any service.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,020
Navan, Ireland
.........Bernard Cornwell is a known atheist and his contempt for Christianity comes through his work loud and clear. The main character is not Christian and because of it, he has a difficult relationship with the English king and many of the church officials in England. Many of the protagonists are Viking/Danish and many of the antagonists are English.

..................................................
I understand where you are coming from and find it frustrating that so much historical fiction takes a negative view of the early Christian church which really reflects as much our modern day dissatisfaction as historical reality.

However to be fair to Cornwall while he does reproduce the cliché money hungry power grabbing, corrupt church (not totally myth to say the least) he does give several main characters as 'honest and good Christians' and also does show a Danish war leader as equally under the power of his Gods.

Iwpuld have to say loved the series and have read all the books-- and would recommend them both.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
The biggest issue about this series is, as far as I'm concerned, is that the BBC has walked away from this production and the third season will be exclusive to Netflix. This stinks.