Welcome to the ultimate Middle Ages death match! The last kingdom vs Vikings! The Netflix and the History Channel series cover a lot of the same ground: Both depict the conflict between the Nordic and Saxon people. But which is the better show? Well, in this battle report we face off the two series characters, storylines, and historic accuracies.
‘Vikings’ is a series high on adventure, exploration, conflict, warfare, and bloodshed. These were extreme times, but, at its heart, it is a family saga.
The series follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok, a historical figure, and the greatest hero of his age, and the gripping sagas of Ragnar’s band of Viking brothers and his family – as he rises to become King of the Viking tribes.
‘The Last Kingdom’ is a British historical fiction show. The series is based on Bernard Cornwell’s ‘The Saxon Stories,’ series of novels.
The show is full of heroic deeds and epic battles. But with a thematic depth that embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love, loyalty, and our universal search for identity.
Combining real historical figures and events with fictional characters, it is the story of how a people combined their strength under one of the most iconic kings of history in order to reclaim their land for themselves and build a place they call home. It’s basically the Lion King with blood and sex.
The Last Kingdom vs Vikings: Which is better? Verdict!
There will be pros and cons to every show. Both series are more fictional than factual. Vikings was an excellent show, a few issues here and there regarding the timelines, inaccurate outfits, and such, but overall a superb watch. I can’t wait to watch the Vikings Valhalla spinoff. It’s easy to get into its great characters. But Vikings stumbled along and just lost interest. It’s just not the same series without Ragnar. Travis Fimmel as Ragnar Lothbrok is one of the greatest TV characters of all time! TLK, on the other hand, has just got better.
But, Ragnar had to die at some point. The Last Kingdon is historically more accurate and its purpose is not to blow your head up with spectacular battle scenes, but tell a story of identity struggles, relationships, and the Saxon vs Vikings history. It’s very impressive story-wise, especially with Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred of Bebbenburg. He portrays his character flawlessly. They couldn’t have done it better. On top of that, David Dawson’s King Alfred’s is just brilliant, the relationship between the two characters is what makes TLK a superb series.
The Last Kingdom overall, is the better show for me, though some of the votes have gone for Vikings.
The Last Kingdom vs Vikings: Characters Face Off
Here’s another thing ‘Vikings’ and ‘The Last Kingdom’ have in common: the main characters overlap as well. Some characters are based on historical figures some are pure fiction.
So grab some popcorn, take a seat, because we face off everything from swordswomen, kings, queens, warrior priests, brothers, leaders, fortune tellers, villains, and eccentric characters. Please don’t forget to vote for your favorite characters below.
1. Uhtred of Bebbanburg vs Ragnar Lothbrok
Uhtred of Bebbanburg
The main character of the Netflix hit show ‘The Last Kingdom” is based loosely on a number of characters, one of which was none other than Uhtred the Bold. An Earl of Northumbria, he was a soldier who knew to refrain from fighting when the odds weren’t favorable.
In the words of the man who hated Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) son of Uhtred: “He’s as strong a man as you will find, he’s also as clever a man as you will find”. Uthred is famous for his abilities as Military Commander.
King Alfred from ‘The House of Wessex’ who was threatened by Danes seeks Uthrted’s assistance in dealing with the Vikings’ raids.
Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) is a mighty Viking warrior who is destined for greatness. He is driven from battle and glory.
Ragnar has since risen to power, beginning with his successful and infamous raids of the kingdom of Wessex, and Paris. He believes to be the descended of Odin. He is a fierce warrior, but his intellect is his biggest asset. He’s clever and outwits his enemy.
His historicity is under debate. According to the “Viking Sagas,” yes Ragnar was real. He was the son of Swedish King Sigurd Ring.
Historians now believe that all the folk heroes, who are famous today were real men who did quite uncommon things. Thus they were rewarded with a story of them told to the future generations.
We can assume that the Ragnar Lothbrok shown in the show is an amalgamation of several characters, alive or dead.
Who would win in a fight to the death?
2. Rollo vs Ragnar
From the dawn of man, good old sibling rivalry, combined with jealousy, anger, and feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.
Rollo (Clive Standen) has grown up in a world of violence, all he knows is war and raiding. He wants to be Ragnar and craves glory and power. More than anything Rollo wants that “Magic of Ragnar Lothbrock”, and to enter Valhalla as a god.
The real Rollo has no blood relations to Ragnar. It is a purely dramatic addition to the show. He might be related to the 860 AD Viking warrior.
Much like the fictional character, the historic Rollo became the first ruler of Normandy. He was an exceptional warrior who secured a permanent foothold on Frankish soil.
Charles the Simple, the king of West Francia, granted him lands in exchange for Rollo agreeing to end his raids. Moreover, the real Rollo also pledges to defend Normandy from Viking raiders. Basically, we don’t know a lot about him before he started invading French territory in the late 9th century.
Ragnar from The Last Kingdom is Ragnar Ravnson (Tobias Santelmann). There is no connection to Vikings’ Ragnar Lothbrok. The similar names might be a coincidence because of common names (Ragnar was a fairly common name in Denmark in the 5th-10th century).
Unlike Rollo, Ragnar is brave, loyal, and fair. He always comes to Uhtred’s aid when he’s most needed, despite struggling with his brother’s enduring loyalty to Alfred and the Saxon cause.
Both Rollo and Ragnar are fierce, strong legendary swordsmen.
Who would win?
Related Content: The Very Best 12 Vikings Movies Ranked!
3. Floki vs Haesten
The ‘Vikings’ TV series is inspired by the sagas of Danish/Swedish Viking Ragnar Lothbrok. Floki, the highly eccentric character (Gustaf Skarsgård) is a close friend of Ragnar.
He is one of the smartest major characters, especially in later seasons. Floki is based very roughly on the life story of the actual ninth-century explorer and sailor Flóki Vilgerðarson. He was the first Norseman to deliberately sail to Iceland. He is also known as Flóki of the Ravens, and it was he who gave the name to Iceland.
Haesten (Jeppe Beck Laursen) is a Dane warlord who loves to manipulate both sides. He’s only looking out for himself. You never know where his loyalties really lie, except with himself.
Haesten is very smart and a quick improviser who’ll do whatever he needs to get out of bad situations and he’s a good talker at times.
Unlike Floki, who shines on the battlefield, Hasten hardly ever participates in them. And if he does show up, he usually would be seen fleeing the scene.
This medieval warrior character is most likely based on the real Viking chieftain – Hastein, a notable Viking chieftain of the late 9th century who made several raiding voyages.
Who would win?
4. Lagertha vs Brida
Swordswomen depictions in medieval tv series and Viking movies are drawn from Scandinavian folklore and mythology. The word “Shield-Maiden” or “Skjaldmær” is a word that appears only about a dozen times in Old Norse literature. When it comes to actual history, historians debate whether women participated in combat during the Viking era.
Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) is a skilled Amazon, a warrior, and mother of Bjorn “Iron-Sides”. She is a swordswoman who raided England, France. And she is the wife and mother to other famous Vikings in the Sagas as well.
As the show began, Lagertha was a shieldmaiden/farmer. And as the show progresses, she finds herself sitting on the throne as Queen of Kattegat.
According to the legend, Lagertha was a Norwegian Viking shieldmaiden who subsequently married famed Norse chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok. Some historians claim that Lagertha is a fictional character. Others claim that she is Thorgerd, a certain woman described in other early medieval chronicles of the 6th century.
Brida (Emily Cox) is a badass Viking warrior. Uhtred is Brida’s first love and probably his oldest friend. They’re both Saxons raised by Danes. She always resented Uthred for choosing the Saxons at times over Danes.
Brida resents him for not embracing Danish culture 100% as she did. She sees all of his and her failures as a result of Uhtred not embracing the culture like she did and she blames him for all his misfortunes.
The problem with Brida is that whilst she may have a really deep and rich backstory explaining all the times she’s been wronged and hurt, this translates to a super one-dimensional character on screen.
Later Brida became the ‘Lady of Dunholm,’ commanding her own league of raiders. She becomes a cruel swordswoman who is delighted in the slaughter of her foes, including women and children.
Who would win?
5. Father Beocca vs Athelstan
Do you need some Spiritual Guidance? Search no more. We have just what you need to see the light! They are the holiest of holies, the priests, and the monks who can abolish you of your sins. And they can carry a sword!
The term warrior-priests is usually used for armed priests of the antiquity and Middle Ages, and of historical tribes. Throughout history, armed priests or soldier priests have been recorded. Distinguished from military chaplains who served the military or civilians as spiritual guidance (non-combatants), these priests took up arms and fought in conflicts (combatants).
Athelstan (George Blagden) is a Briton monk. He is open-minded enough to regard the Vikings not as inferior heathens, but as people with a different culture.
Through Athelstan, Ragnar has learned much about Briton culture. He also learns to speak the language (which is a big bonus for diplomatic interactions) and sees the world in a different way.
Father Beocca (Ian Hart) is a sort of father figure to Uhtred. He’s no pushover, give him his ax and send him into a Dane shield wall. While really likable and significant in the books, the show offers so much more of this interesting character.
Beocca is a father figure for Uhtred. He has strong morals as well as showing amazing humanity. Ian Hart gives such a tremendous performance and exudes the warmth of Beocca’s personality with added charisma.
Who would you dispatch as a missionary throughout your kingdom?
6. Bishop Heahmund vs Father Pyrlig
Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a devout holy man who lives in a cycle of sin, punishment, repeat. He attempts to take the city of York back from the Viking’s control, and Ivar eventually captures him and takes him back to the Viking-land.
Eventually, through some love stuff, Heahmund ends up working and falling in love with Queen Lagertha, fighting on her side against Ivar during the great civil war battle scene at the end of the current run of episodes.
The real Heahmund, Bishop of Sherborne: Died at the Battle of Meretun in 871. Little else is known about him, other than that he was consecrated as a Bishop in 867 or 868.
Father Pyrlig (Cavan Clerkin)is a Briton that grew up in Wales. He has a wicked sense of humor and he is a warrior prior to becoming a priest. He always bossing things and doing what seemed to be impossible.
Pyrlig demonstrates his superb sword fighting skills when Uhtred suggested to the Dane brothers to challenge him in combat and kill him that way for sport, knowing full well Father Pyrlig was an experienced fighter and would win the fight!
Who do you choose as supportive confidant?
7. Ivar the Boneless vs Sigtryggr
Ivar the boneless
The son of Ragnar Lodbrok and Aslaug Sigurdsdottir is a Viking warlord. Ivar the boneless, (Alex Høgh Andersen) is a man of exceptional anger issues, bloodthirsty, and driven by vengeance.
Ivar is also brilliant, and a master tactician who loves to outsmart the opponent. His disability drove him to compensate by furiously attacking England.
The real Ivar was one of the leaders of the Great ‘Heathen Army’ that invaded England in 865. The invasion was successful and the Vikings controlled northern England for many years. Some historians speculate that the real Ivar was not a cripple and that there’s really no evidence to suggest that.
Sigtryggr (Eysteinn Sigurðarson) is also a Viking warlord. His character signals the new generation of villains for the Saxons to adjust to. We don’t know much about Sigtryggr, as his character was first featured toward the end of The Last Kingdom’s fourth season. We eagerly hoping for season 5 is for Sigtryggr.
The real Sigtryggr is probably based on Sitric Cáech. His first name is Sigtryggr in Old Norse. He was a Viking leader who ruled over Dublin and Viking Northumbria in the 10th century.
The real Sigtryggr was also the great-grandson of Ivar the Boneless! and the great-nephew to Ubba and Halfdan. Sigtryggr was a smart leader. Much like his great-grandfather, he showed the qualities of a great war tactician. Unlike other Vikings when it came to political decisions, he was open to negotiation.
Who would win?
8. The Seer vs Skade
A Prophet (Navee) in the ancient biblical Hebrew sense is a unique person/ being on earth with a more direct link to God and guidance from God.
A “seer” is a term sometimes used for an ordinary or exceptional person who claims to occasionally have premonitions or inspirations, “visions” or “dreams”.
The real Vikings often consulted with seers as they do on ‘The Last King Kingdom’ and ‘Vikings.’ Most seers were female.
In the Vikings show, the Seer (John Kavanagh) is shown as a divine supernatural being. Perhaps a god himself but definitely guided or perhaps created by the gods.
In The Last Kingdom show, Skade (Thea Sofie Loch Naess) is a manipulative witch or sorceress, a shaman figure, if you will. She is allied with Sigurd Bloodhair, a Viking chieftain, and warlord. Skade may have been his lover too.
This medieval Medusa exhorts men not to look at her, because “once they do, she is in their minds forever.” She is no small intrusion in anyone’s mind. Skade is pure evil.
Which seer would you send with your forces into battle?
9. King Alfred vs King Alfred
Forget democracy, monarchs rule! Or to quote the great Mel Brooks: “It’s good to be the King.” Some medieval warrior-kings and queens are portrayed in fiction as being kind, strong, and efficient leaders. Others are weak and inefficient leaders of their country, causing disaster and chaos to reign supreme.
The real King Alfred, was Alfred The Great, King of Wessex from 871 to c. 886 and King of the Anglo-Saxons from c. 886 to 899. He is the king who fended off the Danish invasions, though it was left to his successors to conquer them.
He is also known as the Father of the English Navy and the father of the English school system; a cultivated man who produced some great translations of books and wrote some remarkable books himself.
King Alfred – The Last Kingdom
King Alfred’s (David Dawson) portrayal in the TLK show consistent with historical evidence. Last Kingdom’s Alfred is a great character. He is not a great combat warrior, but a shrewd man who recognizes the value of Uthred and is both a friend and an adversary to him.
So we assume that Alfred is King Alfred “The Great”. The Last Kingdom version of King Alfred is infinitely more historically accurate and actually believable as a series.
King Alfred – Vikings
Raised as King Ecbert’s grandson Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is the son of Ragnar’s slave Athelstan and Princess Judith of Northumbria.
This is a younger Alfred than in The Last Kingdom’s Alfred, he is basically at the start of his reign. Viking’s Alfred is weak, inefficient, and never changes his tactics at all. It’s hard to expect much from Alfred in the series because 50% of his appearances were in bed in a coma.
Who wins this battle of kings?
10. Harald and Halfdan vs Erik and Sigefrid
Harald and Halfdan
King Harald “Finehair” Halfdansson (Peter Vilhelm Franzén) is a warlord. He is charismatic, impulsive, and ambitious. He wants to become king of all of Norway, at all costs. And that includes his baby bro Halfdan. Harald is a highly skilled warrior. He especially loves to display his sadistic nature on the Saxons.
The real King Harald, known as Harald Fairhair, is believed to be the first King of Norway and thought to have been born in 850 and died in 932.
In ‘Vikings,’ Halfdan the Black (Jasper Pääkkönen) is portrayed as the brother of Norwegian King Harald Finehair. In reality, Halfdan was the father of Harald Finehair, the first king of unified Norway.
Erik and Sigefrid
Erik Thurgilson (Christian Hillborg) is the main character in ‘The Last Kingdom’ television series. He is a Danish Earl and the brother of Sigefrid.
Erik has a strong code of honor. Much like Halfdan, he is torn between his loyalty to his brother, and following his heart.
Sigefrid Thurgilson (Björn Bengtsson) is a Danish Earl and Erik’s brother. He takes joy from raids and slaughter. It’s most likely that Sigefrid and Erik are purely fictional characters. They were such great characters, and we need a Sigefrid & Erik spinoff!
Who would win?
The Lats Kingdom vs Vikings
11. Ubbe vs Ubba
One of the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok and, along with his brothers Halfdan and Ivar the Boneless.
The real Ubbe, (Ubba or Hubba) was one of the leaders of the great pagan army that invaded England in the mid-ninth century. He was killed in England in 878, alongside 1,200 other Norse warriors at the battle of Cynwit.
Not much know about Ubbe Ragnarsson. Most of the information that is available about him is written principally in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
Ubba (Rune Temte) is the master of Earl Ragnar. In ‘The Saxon Stories‘ books, Ubba is referred to as Ubba Lothbrokson. And his brothers Ivar the Boneless and Halfdan also put in an appearance.
Who would you bring to aid you on your next raid?
12. King Ecbert vs King Æthelred
The real King Ecbert held the title of Bretwalda: the chief king in Anglo-Saxon England. Little is known of the first 20 years of Ecgberht’s reign, but it is thought that he was able to maintain the independence of Wessex against the kingdom of Mercia, which at that time dominated the other southern English kingdoms.
The history channel version of King Ecbert (Linus Roache) is an egotistic, cosmopolite, and somewhat machiavellian overlord. He is one of the very best elements the show has to offer.
Æthelred character (Toby Regbo) in The Last Kingdom seems to be more faithful to the historical Anglo and Saxon characters and are drawn from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, including Alfred the Great, Ealhswith, Edward the Elder, Æthelstan, Æthelflæd, and Æthelred.
The historian figure Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians, became ruler of English Mercia shortly after the death of its last king, Ceolwulf II in 879.
His rule was confined to the western half, as eastern Mercia was then part of the Viking-ruled Danelaw. Æthelred’s ancestry is unknown. He was probably the leader of an unsuccessful Mercian invasion of Wales in 881, and soon afterward he acknowledged the lordship of King Alfred the Great of Wessex.
According to the Icelandic chronicler Snorri Sturluson, Cnut’s Danes had at one point occupied London, and Æthelred with the Norwegian noble Olaf Haraldsson set out to dislodge them.
Which one of these warrior kings wins in single combat?
13. Aethelflaed vs Gunnhild
Men and women weren’t quite considered equals in the Viking societies. But they were closer to equal than other European societies.
Women could become powerful political leaders, lead explorations, and have spiritual roles. They did have a great deal of autonomy in Norse society but were generally restricted from ruling positions. They certainly had power, but would not be rulers on their own.
Aethelflaed(Millie Brady) is strong, brave, and intelligent. She showed her sword fighting and leadership skills on the battlefield and can be pretty damn cold and ruthless. Aethelflaed is always King Alfred’s daughter and her priorities are to make his one nation dream come true.
Unfortunately, the show writers really butchered her character in season four. She’s the special snowflake of the ‘The Last Kingdon,’ and Uhtred is willing to do things for her with nothing in return. Aethelflaed is always King Alfred’s daughter and her priorities are to make his one nation dream come true.
The story of Aethelflaed is one of the actually most badass parts of Anglo-Saxon history. The Lady of the Mercians ruled Mercia in the English Midlands from the death of her husband, King King Æthelred.
Æthelflæd was born at the height of the Viking invasions of England. She is the eldest daughter of Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, and his wife Ealhswith. History shows that Aethelfled was an extremely rare example of a female ruler in the Anglo-Saxon era. And she was certainly one of the best rulers throughout the Anglo-Saxon period.
Gunnhild (Ragga Ragnars) is a shield-maiden, Bjorn’s wife, and the Queen of Kattegat. Many scholars debate if Gunnhild is a collection of various characters in Norse mythology.
We do know that she was the 10th-century wife of Erik Bloodaxe, and was known as Gunnhildr konungamóðir (mother of kings) or Gunnhildr Gormsdóttir.
Who would win in a fight to the death?
14. Aelswith of Wessex vs Judith of Northumbria
They are both the mothers of future Kings, and schrod politicians and they do a good job at making you hate them. Both are piety, scheming, and total hypocrite. But both have a ton of growth as a character we learn to respect.
Aelswith of Wessex
TLK’s Aelswith (the gorgeous Eliza Butterworth) is based on Ealhswith, a Mercian princess who married Alfred, Anglo-Saxon king of Wessex. She was never called the queen and she never witnessed any charters during Alfred’s administration. But she was the mother of illustrious children and she is remembered as “the true and beloved lady of the English”.
Judith of Northumbria
Judith (Jennie Jacques) is the daughter of King Aelle of Northumbria (Ivan Kaye) and Queen Else (Roisin Murphy). The Viking’s character is based on a real person – Judith of Flanders who became the Queen Consort of Wessex through her marriages to two Wessex Kings, Aethelwulf and Aethelbald.
Which Lena Headey would you pledge your allegiance to?
15. Gisela vs Aslaug
When she was introduced in the Vikings series, Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) had a vision about the Seer’s prophecy that Ragnar will have many sons, so she took advantage of it and seduce Ragnar, who was a married man. Lagartha is a warrior and has a warrior’s honor. Aslaug purposely seduced her husband to get pregnant (with Ivar The Boneless) knowing he was married.
Spoiler: One of the most memorable deaths in season two of ‘The Last Kingdom’ is Abbott Eadred, a spiteful priest who Uhtred kills when he attempts to stop him from marrying Gisela (Peri Baumeister). Sadly, Gisela dies in childbirth just as she does in the series.
Who has a better story to tell her children about how she met their father?
Check out the Faceoff community debate on Facebook and see the fans comments on which is the better show. Here are our favorite comments:
The last kingdom got so much better as it went on, Vikings went the other way.. lost its path after Ragnar died. Not overly impressed with the ending, portraying Saxon men to be cowards in battle when historically Saxons came from exactly the same place in Scandinavia just slightly sooner and were converted a hundred years sooner.Freya Somerton
Last kingdom was good but its literally what you’d get if you ordered Vikings from WishAdam Brucass
Vikings is amazing I’ve watched it a couple of times all the way through possibly my favorite show of all time, the last kingdom is also pretty good just not anywhere near as goodCharlie Anders
Vikings is amazing, best thing I’ve ever seen. Not sure why people are saying it’s not accurate enough etc etc etc, just enjoy it for what it is. I did enjoy The Last Kingdom too.Luke Samuels