MOVIE NEWS – Seven Kings Must Die brings the remaining plot of The Last Kingdom to a close. But it will require a significant change to the ending of the book. Warning! SPOILERS are coming!
Seven Kings Must Die is very different from the source material. Among other things, it makes a much-needed change to the ending of the book series. As always, some changes are necessary for adaptations from literature to the silver screen. The Last Kingdom, and indirectly Seven Kings Must Die, changes many elements from the original novels. It is, therefore, understandable that the series and the film lead to a significantly different ending than that found in the books.
The movie is a continuation of The Last Kingdom series, and is primarily based on Bernard Cornwell’s novel cycle, The Saxon Stories. The film catches up with Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), who has regained his lands and estates and has been living in peace for many years. Meanwhile, the Danes continue to try to invade, and the Anglo-Saxon throne is vacant following the death of King Edward (Timothy Innes). This conflict finally culminates in the Battle of Brunanburgh and the unification of the English, in which Uhtred plays a decisive role. He ensures that the next king, Aethelstan (Harry Gilby), will be able to realise Alfred’s (David Dawson) vision of a united England.
How does The Last Kingdom change the ending of the book?
The film concludes after the Battle of Brunanburgh, with Uhtred seemingly given the choice of staying alive or entering the halls of Valhalla. But before he does, he swears an oath of allegiance to Aethelstan as lord of Northumbria, thus forming a united England, which brings the ongoing political plot to a complete conclusion. The books, however, could not have toyed with the possibility of Uhtred’s death, as he himself recounts the events in his old age. The series of books ends with a similar battle, with Aethelstan and Uhtred on one side and Anlaf (Pekka Strang), Constantine (Rod Hallett), Owain of Strath Clota (John Buick) and others facing off against them. The difference, however, is that the story ends there with Aethelstan ordering Uhtred to marry so that he can become Lord of the North.
Why should Seven Kings Must Die end with the passing of Uhtred?
Some argue that it makes more sense for the series and the film to end with the death of Uhtred. After all, it can provide a complete closure to the narrative. Moreover, he does not tell the story in the film as he does in the books. Thus, the production can give him an explosive ending worthy of all he has achieved in the franchise. But beyond giving his character a decent ending, Uhtred’s death in the film further explains why the franchise ended with the movie instead of season 5.
The Last Kingdom franchise continued after season 5 primarily because the series ended with the accession of King Edward to the throne. However, the books went further than that by setting up the reign of Aethelstan, which meant that the series had more storylines. The point of the book series is to show the birth of a united England, but the plot of the series ended earlier. But this film concludes the arc of Uhtred while also giving the historical context of the true unification of England.