Veltigar

The Last Kingdom II - NO MERCY [SPOlLERS Season one]

252 posts in this topic

1 minute ago, kairparavel said:

This entire series is laid out in the opening of the first book.* It's the story of Uhtred, son of Uhtred, trying to get his rightful home of Bebbanburg back as well as how his story as it intermingles with Alfred. So women and other men will always be side characters to those two. I'm sure the more read persons here can confirm or expand on that. 

 

*No snark intended. 

I understand that, but some side male characters had their own character driven stories that didn't solely rely on them driving the leading male stories.  Forgive spellings of these names, I'm too lazy to check, but off the top of my head Ethelwold, Odda, Earl Ragnar (to a much lesser extent even young Ragnar), I would argue Leofric and Becca as well, though I think those would be easy to dispute.  These men drove the lead characters' plots, but they also had their own as well.  They had service to the story as a whole separate from the men.  

Like I said, they appeared to have Mildrith begin to stay on her own as a character not solely driving a male character's plot while also still servicing the story as a whole (it may not turn out to be this as it could end up just being nothing more than her being a plot device for Udda and Uhtred to repent their behavior).  It's doable to have female stories that are more than just servicing the male characters.  

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What constantly kills the momentum of an otherwise great show is no can act.  Ironic on Vikings the reverse is true shitty shitty story but fantastic acting from at least 4 of people on the cast if not the entire ensemble.  

Fingers crossed for a cross over episode it would be EPIC. 

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Yup, I wanted to really hate Alfred but the actor sold him.  It was like every little mannerism painted a more fuller picture of who this character is.  I think this was true of most of the cast.  I can't think of one that I had issues with in terms of acting.  Maybe the war lord ( i don't remember his name.  scipio?), he wasn't all that great.  A lot of the times, the type of characters Isolde, Mildrith, and Osber (?) played can be easily despised, but the actors made them great to watch.

Also, I just have to say that I'm still not over Leofric.  I was gutted.  GUTTED!  

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Uhtred is the only casting choice I had reservations about. Took me a while but I warmed up to the actor by the end.

Father Quirrell* was awesome, as was Alfred

 

*Beocca :P 

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8 minutes ago, Dr. Pepper said:

Also, I just have to say that I'm still not over Leofric.  I was gutted.  GUTTED!  

:crying: he was the man. 

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3 minutes ago, Mark Antony said:

:crying: he was the man. 

When he and Uhtred were fighting, I had no clue who I wanted to win.  I knew they would both get out of it, because plot.  But aside from that, I just didn't know.  He was definitely the man.

3 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Uhtred is the only casting choice I had reservations about. Took me a while but I warmed up to the actor by the end.

 

I think the actor also really improved with each episode.  In a way, you could almost see him growing into his role.  

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3 minutes ago, Dr. Pepper said:

When he and Uhtred were fighting, I had no clue who I wanted to win.  I knew they would both get out of it, because plot.  But aside from that, I just didn't know.  He was definitely the man  

You should definitely read the books. Leofric was a combination of two book characters which kinda made him extra awesome.

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I was sad about Leofric who I enjoyed immensely in book and show, but the two characters that really impressed me were Beocca (who I couldn't stand in the book) and Guthrum who was far far more interesting : no doubt a mix of story and actor. And Uhtred's just so nice to look at, if you're into that kind of thing.

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6 hours ago, Dr. Pepper said:

I understand that, but some side male characters had their own character driven stories that didn't solely rely on them driving the leading male stories.  Forgive spellings of these names, I'm too lazy to check, but off the top of my head Ethelwold, Odda, Earl Ragnar (to a much lesser extent even young Ragnar), I would argue Leofric and Becca as well, though I think those would be easy to dispute.  These men drove the lead characters' plots, but they also had their own as well.  They had service to the story as a whole separate from the men.  

Like I said, they appeared to have Mildrith begin to stay on her own as a character not solely driving a male character's plot while also still servicing the story as a whole (it may not turn out to be this as it could end up just being nothing more than her being a plot device for Udda and Uhtred to repent their behavior).  It's doable to have female stories that are more than just servicing the male characters.  

Not really I'm afraid. Everyone has their own little story here; but we only see the bits that directly revolve around Uhtred and Alfred. All you'll get of anyone else is exposition as to who they are, and the odd hint that they do their own stuff when Uhtred/Alfred aren't around.

The males will be better fleshed out on the whole, which given it's placement in history, and it's centring on warfare is to be expected; and (from the books at least) you get a sense that the author condemns the "women are seen and not heard" or "father / husband's chattel"; but that's the era depicted.

There will be the odd exception of course; which won't come as any great surprise to those who know their history. Cornwell is genuinely good (IMO) at retelling real history through fictional eyes; so the real characters of the age will be there, even if not with the image they'd like us to have of them.

 

 

Oh, and yeah, the series is incomplete (I understand, I haven't actually read #10 yet, I'm on #5 of a re-read); but each book ends with acceptable closure.

Edited by Which Tyler

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16 hours ago, Zorral said:

 

ETA:  I just saw in an article from this autumn that the second season might not be ready to view until late next year, or maybe even 2018.  

 

I'm pretty confident it will at least come out in 2017. but yes, it might be the second part of the year.

Production is far enough ahead that it will certainly come out next year IMO.

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11 hours ago, Crazydog7 said:

What constantly kills the momentum of an otherwise great show is no can act.  Ironic on Vikings the reverse is true shitty shitty story but fantastic acting from at least 4 of people on the cast if not the entire ensemble.  

Fingers crossed for a cross over episode it would be EPIC. 

I very much disagree there. Ragnar is brilliant on Vikings and he surpasses the shitty material. The others though, great as they may be, do often still succumb to the idiotic material. With The Last Kingdom, everyone was outstanding. I'm still not to keen on the lead actor, but in the end I did warm up to him. Ideally, we could just lift Ragnar from Vikings and have him play Uthred, but this is not a perfect world sadly :( 

11 hours ago, Mark Antony said:

Dude who played Alfred was brilliant. 

:agree:I have seen him in other stuff since and he's always great. David Thewles (I think that's his name), is a very underrated actor.

11 hours ago, Dr. Pepper said:

Also, I just have to say that I'm still not over Leofric.  I was gutted.  GUTTED!  

 NO MERCY!!!

Definitely one of the best death scenes I have ever seen. Sad, but true to character and unbelievably awesome :)

11 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

 

Father Quirrell* was awesome, as was Alfred

 

*Beocca :P 

Holy crap, that's the first time I have seen anyone making that connection :o Quirrell got old :o 

11 hours ago, kairparavel said:

Guthrum who was far far more interesting : no doubt a mix of story and actor. 

I love that guy. Really all the Danish antagonists were stellar. Ubbe was a force of nature, but Guthrum surpassed him. Talk about an incredibly interesting character :) I'll just repost that scene of his baptism from before, I love it so much: 

 

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25 minutes ago, Veltigar said:

:agree:I have seen him in other stuff since and he's always great. David Thewles (I think that's his name), is a very underrated actor.

David Dawson, actually. Loved his relatively small role on Ripper Street, he really made the best of it. David Thewlis is a different guy, and a damn fine actor in his own right.

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6 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

Not really I'm afraid. Everyone has their own little story here; but we only see the bits that directly revolve around Uhtred and Alfred. All you'll get of anyone else is exposition as to who they are, and the odd hint that they do their own stuff when Uhtred/Alfred aren't around.

The males will be better fleshed out on the whole, which given it's placement in history, and it's centring on warfare is to be expected; and (from the books at least) you get a sense that the author condemns the "women are seen and not heard" or "father / husband's chattel"; but that's the era depicted.

There will be the odd exception of course; which won't come as any great surprise to those who know their history. Cornwell is genuinely good (IMO) at retelling real history through fictional eyes; so the real characters of the age will be there, even if not with the image they'd like us to have of them.

Servicing the story isn't quite the same as what I was discussing about servicing only the male characters.  You admit that the male characters tend to have their own little stories and are fleshed out more.  This is true, and the point I've made.  

The time period being depicted has nothing at all to do with the stories that are told.  Women who are treated as chattel and discounted still have stories to tell.  Look at Mildrith, probably one of the more developed female characters.  She is all but sold to Uhtred without much choice, just a pawn in the political games of the men around her.  Yet she has a story, she has opinions and wants and needs.  Alfred's wife has a story and we've also seen she has opinions and a voice.  Furthermore, we have Brida who doesn't want to be a Saxon woman presumably because she doesn't want to be stifled.  She wants choice.  She's a woman of her time, but she's not the 'seen and not heard, her father/husband's chattel" that the Saxon Christian women characters are. Certainly she has a story that doesn't revolve around servicing only the plot of the male characters.

Look, I'm not suggesting that the female characters need to be the main characters.  That would be nice, but not the point I'm making.  I'm also not suggesting that the female characters have plots completely unrelated to the main story, that would just be annoying.  I simply would prefer that they have better stories, they are fleshed out more, that they are treated more similar to the secondary and tertiary male characters.  

It's not really a deal breaker for me (at least not right now) if the show continues as it is with the female characters because they are still well written and acted.  I just obviously always hope for better.

29 minutes ago, Veltigar said:

 

 NO MERCY!!!

 

I've discovered such joy in saying this to people the last couple days.  

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15 hours ago, Dr. Pepper said:

I'm glad to hear that.  Does Uhtred continue as the main character in each book?

One of the things I loved about this series is that while there were some open threads left, there was still a sense of closure to the season.  More shows need to follow this formula.  I'm not coming back to the show next season because of a cliffhanger, but because it's a genuinely well-crafted and thoroughly entertaining story.  

The one issue I do have with the series (and you all had to know this was coming lol) is the lack of women's stories.  The female characters are very well drawn and cast, but they tend to exist as support for the men or to drive the male plots.  I think Mildrith might be close to having her own story going forth seeing as we checked in with her towards the end when she'd become a nun, though right now it's still unclear if the scenes were about her or about Odda and Uhtred.  I think she and Brida should have had their own stories, especially when Brida had a line or two about not wanting to be a Saxon woman, presumably due to the lack of choice and agency Saxon women experienced, which we saw when Mildrith was married off without anyone really asking her opinion.  I'm looking at Season 2's cast and there aren't many women, but hopefully we'll still get some women focused stories.  If not that, at least the female characters they do have are written so well.

Yes, indeed the series centers its male protagonist -- he's also the narrator.

However, later in the books there will come along yet more women who matter.  In the books the women tend to get rather more time and credit -- from Uhtred himself -- than in this limited episode television series.  That's so even though the novels themselves are very short, particularly by historical fiction general standards.  And each book has decent closure too.

But back to women -- it's too early in the series for the over-arcing most significant female character to appear.  She's significant not only to Uhtred, but to the historical (fictional) narrative itself.  Characters come and go, disappear and return, new ones arrives, earlier ones die, but this woman whether on the page or not overtly will always matter in many ways.  This is one of the elements that has made these novels of Cornwell's as popular with female readers as with male readers on historical fiction forums.

Further it felt to me, in the television adaptation that Alfred's wife, Aelswith, was a fully realized human being, completely in the round.  To have a female character who is neither a gorgeous sexual object, nor intrinsically sympathetic or even pleasant, who is narrow-minded and rigid, yet show her in a sympathetic light of understanding her time and how she sees her place in it, for whom her religious faith matters almost more than her children and husband, both of whom she loves fiercely -- where have we seen anything like this character on any television show at all? This is another of the elements that makes the television show so good -- it's such plausible writing and character building.  More about all this here -- I don't think there are any spoilers, but you might rather wait until you've seen all the episodes. :cheers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Zorral

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4 minutes ago, Lord Sidious said:

Is this in its second series?, I didn't know a new one had started.

Don't know what "this" refers to.  However Last Kingom's second season won't be until next year or perhaps, Some Say, even 2018.

Some of us are speaking of the 10 novels that make up the series on which the television adapted Last Kingdom.  Without Spoiling, of course.

 

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23 minutes ago, Zorral said:

 

Further it felt to me, in the television adaptation that Alfred's wife, Aelswith, was a fully realized human being, completely in the round.  To have a female character who is neither a gorgeous sexual object, nor intrinsically sympathetic or even pleasant, who is narrow-minded and rigid, yet show her in a sympathetic light of understanding her time and how she sees her place in it, for whom her religious faith matters almost more than her children and husband, both of whom she loves fiercely -- where have we seen anything like this character on any television show at all? This is another of the elements that makes the television show so good -- it's such plausible writing and character building.  More about all this here -- I don't think there are any spoilers, but you might rather wait until you've seen all the episodes. :cheers:

 

Good points about Alfred's wife (and now I'm super confused about her name because I heard something on the show, but then read something when I looked it up on IMDB and now see something different here and in your link).  It's difficult to look past the narrow-minded religious person and see the fully realized character because the religious stuff is just so unlikeable.  But you're so right that she was well-rounded and I think I see her differently, and even the treatment of the female characters differently, now since reading these points.  

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1 minute ago, Zorral said:

Don't know what "this" refers to.  However Last Kingom's second season won't be until next year or perhaps, Some Say, even 2018.

Some of us are speaking of the 10 novels that make up the series on which the television adapted Last Kingdom.  Without Spoiling, of course.

 

Ah ok, I thought there might have been a second series out already as I've not been following it much, I was a casual viewer.

The books are quite good though I expect, I've read a couple from his Sharpe series which I enjoyed.

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11 minutes ago, Dr. Pepper said:

Good points about Alfred's wife (and now I'm super confused about her name because I heard something on the show, but then read something when I looked it up on IMDB and now see something different here and in your link).  It's difficult to look past the narrow-minded religious person and see the fully realized character because the religious stuff is just so unlikeable.  But you're so right that she was well-rounded and I think I see her differently, and even the treatment of the female characters differently, now since reading these points.  

I'm spelling her name the way many have -- and how the show itself spells her name.  These Saxon names are not -- easy . . . .

One of the primary reason this book series and the show itself are so solid in delivery is that this is an age in which religion matters to everyone.  The books and the program don't shy away from this, but make it integral to the narrative.

In the 9th century there's very little entertainment, and it is all handmade and personal.

Religion isn't only about faith, in a lot of ways. It's the opportunity to hone and exhibit one's wits in discussion. This talent, proving intelligence, really matters, as Uhtred himself is always going on about -- while exhibiting the culturally acceptable braggadocio of how good at it he is himself, just as he boasts of his fighting skills, which are also genuine.  Boasting of one's skills is acceptable as long as they are authentic. Discussing religion, arguing about it, and so on, function in those days even like the inter-office personnel's daily "water cooler" social  lubricants work. It's like talking about last night's big game.

It can't ever be overestimated just how much religious matters mattered in the 9th century.

Edited to add: It's inconceivable that either Alfred or his wife could possibly be married to anyone who didn't share their fierce devotion to Christ and his Church. One of the other would have to be killed if that wasn't so.  Neither could bear it.

 

Edited by Zorral

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