The Last Kingdom vs. Game Of Thrones: Which Show Is Better?

It is often said that The Last Kingdom and Game of Thrones are very similar to one another because of the fact that they cover medieval-like periods. But while The Last Kingdom is more historical in nature, Game of Thrones is more fantasy than reality. However, they are still the same in a lot of different aspects, such as the political nature of the series and the different battles that are portrayed in the shows. That said, which between The Last Kingdom and Game of Thrones is better?

Game of Thrones is better than The Last Kingdom, which was still able to put up a good fight and has become quite popular despite having a much lower budget. GOT just has a better cultural impact and better visuals and battles. However, The Last Kingdom does have a better flow to its story.

Even though it is far from GOT another in terms of budget and popularity, TLK still holds a candle to one of the greatest series of all time because it was able to do the best with what it had. That said, Game of Thrones is still the gold standard when it comes to shows. And you’ll understand why it is better than The Last Kingdom if you take a look at how we rated them.

Story

The Last Kingdom is adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon’s Stories. All of the books are set to be adapted from start to finish, as there will be a film that will give a concrete conclusion to the story. The series follows the life of Uhtred, an English-born noble who was raised by Vikings. He somehow got entangled with the war between the Vikings and the Saxons in a story that is historically accurate, except for the fact that Uhtred is a fictional character.

Game of Thrones was also adapted from books, which were written by George RR Martin. However, the series deviated from the books and changed a few things, especially when the show already surpassed the scope of the novels. That said, Game of Thrones started well because it had a clear direction that was based on the books. However, the ending was disappointing, especially considering that the later portions of the series were no longer directly adapted from the novels.

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As good as Game of Thrones is in terms of its story, it wasn’t able to keep up with the hype and the quality of the plot that we saw during the earlier seasons. However, TLK has been quite consistent in the delivery of its storyline, as we were able to see a clear direction in the narrative. And the creators of the show gave justice to the books when they decided to produce a movie that would give the series the conclusion it deserves.

Points: TLK 1, GOT 0

Budget

It would be surprising for any fan to know that The Last Kingdom has a budget of only $10 million during its first season. Yes, one of the best medieval shows you can watch has a small budget that pales in comparison to the budget that other shows have. But that speaks to how great TLK is because it was able to make the most of what the series could afford and was able to deliver a great series that looks more expensive than it actually is.

On the other hand, it would be unfair to compare any show to Game of Thrones when you look at the budget the show has. The total money spent by HBO to produce the eight seasons of GOT is around $1.5 billion, and that means that no expenses were spared to deliver one of the biggest and most epic shows of all time. In fact, the later seasons of Game of Thrones reportedly spent $10 million per episode. And you can clearly see where the money went because the series delivered in terms of its acting and special effects and was also able to garner over $3 billion in profits.

Image c/o Finance Monthly

Yes, we understand that TLK is underbudgeted when compared to other shows, but the fact that HBO’s Game of Thrones has the bigger budget and has a better production remains. GOT was able to maximize its resources because of the huge budget it had, and that means that it beat out The Last Kingdom, which was able to make the most out of the money that it had but still falls short in terms of the overall quality of the series.

Points: TLK 1, GOT 1

Action Scenes

One of the best and most underrated parts of The Last Kingdom is its action. You cannot get enough of how well its action scenes were done because the battles are quite complex and are well-choreographed as well. The battles may lack the epic-ness and gore that some series have, but you could see how complex and how strategic TLK is when it comes to how it brings to life its action scenes and battles.

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Of course, Game of Thrones wouldn’t be what it is if it didn’t have great battles. GOT doesn’t have a ton of battles because the story revolves more around the political side of the series. However, when it comes to its actions, no expenses were spared because you could really see how massive and how well-done the battles were. Fight scenes such as the Battle of Hardhome and the Battle of Winterfell still linger in the minds of many different GOT fans all over the world.

The best reason why GOT was able to deliver great action scenes and massive battles with great effects is its budget. That said, The Last Kingdom may not have the same budget, but the fact that it was able to deliver great battles and perfectly executed fight scenes remains. This is why we can’t give the point to any of these shows.

Both Vikings and GOT were able to deliver great battle scenes. While GOT’s action scenes are more epic in terms of their scale, Vikings had the more intense battles. As such, this category can be quite subjective, depending on what a person prefers more.

Points: TLK 1, GOT 1

Cast

The Last Kingdom, due to budget constraints, doesn’t have the most notable actors, but it did give rise to the careers of the main characters on the series while also highlighting how good of an actor Alexander Dreymon is. TLK has actors that have won awards as well, and that means that this is one of the most well-acted series you can find on television. Of course, the only reason why the characters are as compelling as they are is due to how well the actors portrayed them.

Game of Thrones became the launching pad of many different careers because of how the show’s actors were able to get the attention they needed to prove that they could act. That’s why different names that are currently big in the film industry today come from Game of Thrones. Of course, there were plenty of standout performances from the GOT cast, such as Peter Dinklage and Leda Headey owning their roles perfectly.

You can never discount the fact that GOT has one of the best ensembles of actors that were able to play their roles perfectly. Some actors may have just been supporting characters, but they were still able to attract international audiences because of their portrayal of their characters. This is why Game of Thrones takes this round.

Points: TLK 1, GOT 2

Ending

We are yet to see the ending of The Last Kingdom because we are still in season 5, which will eventually bring us to the conclusion of the series in the movie. That said, what we can say about how the creators handled TLK is that they gave the respect that the books needed when it comes to being true to the source material. As such, there can be no better way to end the series than to make a movie that perfectly encapsulates a true conclusion to a great story.

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Game of Thrones may have started on the best foot, but the problem was that the showrunners decided to end the series at a time when the series was not supposed to end yet. The final two seasons were rushed, and season 8 showcased just how much the showrunners were willing to end the series. The ending of GOT is the reason why some fans have become disappointed with the series, as the events were too rushed to the point that it was difficult to process why certain things needed to happen.

There is no doubt that GOT is an epic series that has become the gold standard when it comes to what a huge production should be. However, no amount of great acting or money could ever make up for how badly the ending of the series was handled. On the other hand, the creators of The Last Kingdom were considerate enough to make sure that the books were given justice.

Points: TLK 2, GOT 2

Popularity

The thing about Netflix originals is that Netflix doesn’t always give out the metrics of its shows because the numbers behind the viewership of their originals tend to be kept behind closed doors. However, The Last Kingdom consistently ranked within the top ten of most-watched Netflix shows, and that says a lot about its popularity. On top of that, TLK was nearly ten times more popular than the market average when the demand for the show was assessed. That means that it is a very popular series.

Game of Thrones, however, is widely regarded as the most popular TV series of all time because of how it consistently broke viewership records. The final episode did indeed break records as the series stayed true to how popular it is. You also can’t get enough of GOT’s cultural impact because the show has become an icon of the 2010s when it comes to excellence in a TV series. 

Yes, The Last Kingdom is popular, but it never became the most popular Netflix series. On the other hand, whenever GOT was on, people switched their televisions over to HBO. That’s why no other series can ever trump the popularity of Game of Thrones, as the show’s records will probably last for a very long time until something as epic will break the numbers.

Points: TLK 2, GOT 3

The Last Kingdom vs. Game of Thrones: Which Show Is Better?

The Last Kingdom was able to do well with the budget that it had and was able to deliver a great series that looks more expensive than what the numbers would suggest. But the fact is that Game of Thrones simply is the better series not only because it has a huge budget but also because of its overall popularity. The overall epic-ness of GOT remains unmatched as it still stands as the gold standard of television shows. Still, TLK is great in its own right and deserves to be streamed as well.