How Old Is Uhtred in ‘Seven Kings Must Die’?

Alexander Dreymon and Bernard Cornwell in Seven Kings Must Die and The Last Kingdom 1
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*This article contains spoilers for Seven Kings Must Die.

Seven Kings Must Die concluded the saga of The Last Kingdom in an electric fashion, but the questions surrounding Uhtred of Bebbanburg from the show were not answered to the fullest. The issue of Uhtred’s actual age was a concern many fans had throughout the show’s five seasons because the show spanned so many years, but Uhtred showed no signs of succumbing to time. So, how old was Uhtred coming into Seven Kings Must Die?

According to Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories, Uhtred was born in 856, which would make him about 69 years old by the time the movie starts, which is when Edward died (924 AD). The age difference between the book character and Alexander Dreymon, who plays the role, is extensive because the actor was just 40 years old by the time production of the movie started. The show didn’t try to age the character using makeup and visual effects either because they wanted to retain his usefulness in the movie’s battles.

In The Last Kingdom, Uhtred entered Alfred’s service just before the death of Aethelred I, which happened in 871, according to historical records. The 53 years of service to the kings of Wessex concentrated in the show’s five seasons were more than enough to leave Uhtred grey-haired, but that didn’t happen in the show. So, why was Uhtred still a young man in Seven Kings Must Die, and what is his age discrepancy from the actual Uhtred? Let’s delve into it.

How old is Uhtred at the end of Seven Kings Must Die?

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Seven Kings Must Die ends after Uhtred fights in The Battle of Brunanburgh in 937 AD. That would make him 81 years old.

The movie concentrated on events that took place over a space of 13 years in just two hours, which meant skipping many details.

In War Lord, Cornwell’s last book in the Saxon Stories series, Uhtred is about 80 years old, which agrees with historical accounts.

Seven Kings Must Die would have had to recast the main roles or use extensive visual effects to adapt the characters to their book versions to make the characters appear as old as they are in the books.

The movie retained most of the stars from The Last Kingdom’s fifth season, led by Alexander Dreymon, who is just 40 years old.

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It means he is less than half the age of the character he portrays in the movie, an issue that raised some questions among the fans.

In the character’s defense, Alexander Dreymon said that he stopped thinking about age as far as the characters in The Last Kingdom and Seven Kings Must Die are concerned.

He also said the producers had to consider lots of things, including Uhtred’s fighting ability in the movie’s battle scenes which would have been affected if he had been portrayed by an older actor.

“For the aging part, I always suspend my disbelief a little bit, and I’m hoping that the fans will go along with that,” Dreymon told Radiotimes while encouraging fans to ignore the age difference between him and his character in the movie.

Is Uhtred dead in Seven Kings Must Die?

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It is not clear whether Uhtred is dead or just senile at the end of Seven Kings Must Die. The movie ends in Suspense, and Uhtred seems to open a door and see Brida, Ragnar, and all his Dane friends and family feasting in Valhalla.

Uhtred turns his back on Valhalla rather than joining Brida and Ragnar, though, which would suggest that he doesn’t die after all.

Turning his back could also mean that Uhtred decided to go to heaven rather than Valhalla, considering the fact that he never really denounced his Christian faith.

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Uhtred was hit in the head during the battle of Brunaburgh, after which he fell down unconscious and didn’t fully recover by the end of the movie.

He still survived long enough after the battle to swear his lands to Aethelstan and also advise his son and the rest of his men about the future.

So, while his work of uniting the English is seemingly done by the end of the movie, there is no clear statement that he is dead or alive.

How did Uhtred die in the books?

Bernard Cornwells book War Lord 1

In Bernard Cornwell’s last book War Lord, Uhtred is in his 80s but still alive, and there is no indication that he is in bad health or about to die.

The book actually leaves Uhtred contemplating the future, which suggests the possibility of a continuation, unlike the movie.

Seven Kings Must Die tried to adapt to Uhtred’s advanced age at the end of the film by portraying a more sunken and wrinkled face and a weaker Uhtred.

The show didn’t do much to make Dreymon look like Cornwell’s character at the end of War Lord, though. The end of the movie leaves fans guessing about Uhtred’s fate, just like in Cornwell’s books.

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