Fans of the historical drama genre are blessed with the fact that we have two of the best historical drama shows in the modern age in the Vikings series and The Last Kingdom. Both of these shows happen during the Viking Age as they follow the Norsemen in their battles against the Saxons of England. But while The Last Kingdom has events that happen after Vikings, does that mean that you need to watch Vikings before The Last Kingdom?
You don’t necessarily have to watch Vikings before The Last Kingdom. Even though they take place at about the same time period, they are both entirely different and unique shows that are not connected to one another in any way. But learning a bit about history will allow you to understand The Last Kingdom.
Even though it might be true that both of these shows take place during the Viking Age, they aren’t necessarily connected. That means that you can watch either show without having to watch the other. So, for you to understand why you don’t need to watch Vikings to understand The Last Kingdom, it’s better for you to learn more about what these shows are all about.
Are Vikings And The Last Kingdom Connected?
When Vikings made its debut on the History Channel back in 2013, it quickly became very popular because of how it was able to showcase the Viking Age in a stylized manner that was able to blend gory action scenes together with a dramatized version of what it was like to be a Viking.
Vikings initially revolved around Ragnar Lothbrok and his rise to power when he started leading raiding parties in England until he eventually became the king of Kattegat and arguably the greatest Viking who ever lived.
However, as the series went on, we also got to see him fathering sons that eventually continued his Viking legacy. His sons went on to forge their own path in life and eventually became notable Vikings in their own right as well.
Vikings ran for six seasons, as we got to see the rise of the Viking Age and the different characters that contributed to how the Vikings were able to strike fear into the hearts of Anglo-Saxon England during the 8th and 9th centuries.
Meanwhile, The Last Kingdom became available for streaming on Netflix in 2015. While Netflix wasn’t as popular back then as it is today, the series still became very popular because of how it was able to portray a great series that is based on the novels entitled The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell.
The Last Kingdom focuses on a fictional character named Uhtred, who struggles to lead his Scandinavian people against 9th century Anglo-Saxon England. The story also takes place during the Viking Age and portrays the wars between the Norse invaders from the north and the Saxons that had already settled in England.
As you can see, the two series have a very similar scope in the sense that they both happen at almost the same time period and that they also take place in the same place, which is Anglo-Saxon England. So, does that mean that Vikings and The Last Kingdom are connected to one another in any way?
First things first, there is no connection between Vikings and The Last Kingdom as far as the intentions of the showrunners are concerned. Both of these shows were made to be exclusive from one another in the sense that they have different premises, main characters, source materials, and stories.
But then again, it can be tough to avoid looking at the coincidental connections that they both have because, again, they both happen at almost the same time and in the same place. And that’s a conversation we feel is going to be interesting to explore.
Like Vikings, The Last Kingdom happened during the 9th century when Viking raids were quite common in England and the area that is now known as France. These Vikings live in harsher and colder northern territories and are often raiding the southern lands in the hopes of finding loot that will allow them to live better lives in their own lands.
However, The Last Kingdom takes place when the Vikings were already on the rise under Ragnar Lothbrok’s leadership. This is why Ragnar’s name is often mentioned in The Last Kingdom, even though he isn’t one of the central characters of the series. On top of that, figures such as Ubbe/Ubba, Hvitserk, and Ivar the Boneless are all present in both Vikings and The Last Kingdom, but they are portrayed much differently.
So, in a manner of speaking, both Vikings and The Last Kingdom tell the same story in a manner that is different from one another. They both use the same source material, but the manner in which the character’s stories are told and the way the important historical events are portrayed are different. The focus of Vikings is more on the Vikings themselves, while The Last Kingdom’s focal point is the fictional character Uhtred, who is both Saxon and Viking.
Of course, they also talk about similar prominent players such as King Alfred, who is one of the most important characters on both Vikings and The Last Kingdom. The way the show’s creators were able to trace the lineage of the aforementioned king is spot on as they both tell how Alfred was able to rise to power despite the fact that he had a weaker claim than a lot of other people who should’ve been king.
But the thing that you need to know about Vikings is that the show’s creator was a bit too loose with the way he handled the characters and the timeline of events. That means that there are a lot of historical inaccuracies in Vikings as compared to The Last Kingdom.
Without getting into the details of such inaccuracies, Vikings includes characters and events that don’t quite fit with the historical accounts of the characters and events. There are some characters that can be found in Vikings even though their historical counterparts did not exist at the time of Ragnar’s rise or the reign of his sons. On top of that, events that were supposed to be decades apart happen in a matter of a few years in Vikings.
On the other hand, because The Last Kingdom takes its story from a source material that was faithful to the events of history, the series is a lot more accurate compared to Vikings. That’s why you might wonder why certain events in Vikings happen differently in The Last Kingdom.
So, with all that said, there are connections between the two shows, but such connections can only be found in the fact that they both occur at right about the same time and in the same place. They both feature characters that are prominent in the history between the Norse people and the Anglo-Saxons of England. However, the way the story is told in Vikings is different compared to The Last Kingdom.
As such, if you do watch both Vikings and The Last Kingdom, it is important for you to understand that any connections that you will see between them are purely coincidental and are due to the fact that they simply use the same historical characters and the same events that really happened long ago.
Should You Watch Vikings Before The Last Kingdom?
While we did say that Vikings and The Last Kingdom happen at right about the same time and the same place, another important detail that you should know is that a good part of Vikings takes place before the events of The Last Kingdom.
Vikings initially chronicled the life and the rise of Ragnar Lothbrok, who is already a prominent character in The Last Kingdom. As such, you can say that a good part of Vikings pre-dates the events of The Last Kingdom. So, does that mean that you should watch Vikings before The Last Kingdom? Not necessarily.
Again, both Vikings and The Last Kingdom are exclusive from one another and were written to make sure that you get to understand each show without watching the other. There is no need for you to watch Vikings before watching The Last Kingdom because they tell stories that aren’t necessarily the same due to the fact that they don’t focus on the same group of characters.
Then again, it might be a good idea to learn or understand more about Ragnar and his rise to power before you watch The Last Kingdom. Doing so will allow you to get a better understanding of the story behind the Norse invaders that you will find in the events of The Last Kingdom.
But, considering the fact that Vikings isn’t the most historically accurate show you can find about the Viking Age, it might be best to learn more about the history of the Vikings through other means, such as books or short historical summaries, to better understand the situation in The Last Kingdom.
Still, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you know a thing or two about Viking history before watching The Last Kingdom. This series is made to be a standalone story that will allow you to understand the situation happening in Anglo-Saxon England regardless of what you know about the history between the Norse and the Saxons.