If you, like me, are constantly on the watch for exciting period dramas that could fill the Game of Thrones-sized hole in your life, then you've probably heard about The Last Kingdom. While there's plenty to love about this piece of historical fiction, it's the The Last Kingdom's handsome protagonist, Uhtred, I'm most interested in. Considering there are characters draw from history on The Last Kingdom, is Uhtred based on a real person as well?
This would require putting on my sleuthing cap and digging into the archives of the internet. According to a 2015 profile in The Guardian, The Last Kingdom is based the historical fiction series written by Bernard Cornwell. Cornwell, profiled for the piece, was inspired by the exploits of actual Saxon king Alfred the Great. Alfred is acknowledged as the first Anglo-Saxon king and the man who established what has become modern England. To bear witness to the mighty works of Alfred, Cornwell created a fictional protagonist through whom audiences could experience it all. Enter: Uhtred.
Uhtred is a pure work of fiction, both in the book and subsequently in the television show. While it's not difficult to imagine that there were plenty of men like Uhtred back in the day, there is no specific man named Uhtred who is clearly linked to King Alfred on the historical record. Interestingly, though, The Guardian notes that Cornwell's father, William Outhred, was the inspiration for the books. Uhtred to Outhred: sounds like Cornwell is paying homage to his father through his fictional protagonist, huh?
Per The Guardian, Uhtred is described as "a Northumbrian Saxon nobleman’s son from Bebbanburg [...] who is orphaned as a child and raised by the Danish warlord who defeated his father. He grows up to become the leading warrior of Wessex, the lone Anglo-Saxon kingdom standing up against the invading Viking settlers." The actually fits the television-version of Uhtred perfectly, who is every bit the handsome warrior and political tactician on the show.
Both seasons of The Last Kingdom are available to watch on Netflix right now. Go stream both seasons right now so you can watch the handsome but fictional Uhtred do his thing.