Uhtred of Bebbanburg vs William Wallace: Who is the better leader? We have before us two of the mightiest leaders of the middle ages. On one side, William Wallace, a leader who has united different factions fended off English armies. He even managed to puncture English defenses and conquer some of their lands. He is thoughtful and compassionate and knows how to touch people’s hearts. Even the simplest farmer would heed a call to arms by him. On the other side, we have Uthred son of Uthred. He is a leader and a warrior who is inherently more of a lone wolf. He doesn’t necessarily want to lead. When we think of ‘unorthodox’ leaders, especially ones that can lead and inspire, the two medieval swordfighters legends come to mind.
Is Uhtred of Bebbanburg real?
Uhtred the of Bebbanburg, the main character in the Netflix medieval series hit ‘The Last Kingdom,’ was based loosely on a number of characters, one of which was none other than Uhtred the Bold. An Earl of Northumbria, he was a legendary swordfighter who knew to refrain from fighting when the odds weren’t favorable. He spends his life fighting off invaders, but when a much bigger force came rolling about, he knew to bend the knee and yield. Sadly for the real Uhtred the Bold, he was ultimately ambushed and killed after one of his servants betrayed him. Will our Uhtred of Bebbanburg follow the same fate?
Is William Wallace real?
William Wallace, however, is firmly based in history. Born in 1270, Wallace was a Scottish medieval knight who became one of the main leaders during the war for Scottish independence. What ‘Braveheart’ chose to ease over, though, was the way he was executed. Who doesn’t remember Mel Gibson defiantly standing up to the executioner before being beheaded? Unfortunately, the real William Wallace was dragged through the city, hung, maimed, tortured, and then finally quartered. Much less pleasant.
William Wallace vs Uhtred of Bebbanburg: Inspirational Speeches
One of the most famous speeches in movie history goes to William Wallace before Scot’s fight against the English.
“…fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live — at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that…” Everyone together now: “THEY MAY TAKE OUT LIVES, BUT THEY’LL NEVER TAKE OUR FREEDOM!!”
As far as Uhtred goes, he seems to be a man of fewer words than Wallace. He is usually a man of action when it comes to the battlefield. Although he has his moments of inspiring those around him. Here is a famous speech Uthred gives before his men clash against the Vikings:
“This is our land! Fight! And keep on fighting, until the victory is ours, fight for your women and children”
William Wallace vs Uhtred of Bebbanburg: Who is the better swordsman?
Vikings and Scots were actually both viewed very similarly by outside peoples who viewed them as barbaric savages. Much of the literature that survived the middle ages, though, was written by the English and French which might be a bit biased. They were constantly raided by both Vikings and Scots after all. Ever since he was a wee lad, William Wallace has seen his share of bloodshed. He fought English armies, conquered English cities, and united different warriors under a single cause.
Uhtred of Bebbanburg, on the other hand, has spent his life as a warrior. His fight for both Danes and Saxons has allowed him to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each fighting style. This has undoubtedly made him a dangerous foe to encounter. Both characters are indeed proficient at fighting the English. However, we have to believe that Uhtred’s experience would give him the upper hand in the fight against Wallace. He simply won more battles and has more range as a fighter. Surely, that means that he’s more of a hardened warrior than Wallace. If these two figures were to walk into an area, we are quite confident that Uhtred would be the one to walk out alive.
Watch: Uhtred of Bebbanburg vs William Wallace Who Would Win?
William Wallace vs Uhtred of Bebbanburg: Who is the better leader? Conclusion
Whether by force or by kindness, inspirational speech, or warrior skills, different leaders have different ways of leading their army to victory. The Medieval Period was a hard time to be a warrior. Without the sophisticated weaponry, machinery, and especially medicines that we have today, nearly everything on your journey could spell the end of your fighting career, or even more likely, your life. Heck, a little cut from some rusty metal could be enough to be the end of you! Not what you think of when you picture a powerful medieval warrior now is it? And it’s because these times were so difficult. Often fraught with dangers, not only did you need a stone-hard group of warriors to fight for you, but you needed an even stronger leader to keep them in line and keep them on the battlefield.
Uhtred of Bebbanburg
He is a different kind of leader altogether. In no world would Uthred be classified as a ‘classic’ leader. He’s much more of a fighter, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive. That may be due, partially, to his upbringing with the Vikings. The Vikings do, after all, but much more of an emphasis on force and fear than they do on elegance and respectability. Having said that, Uhtred isn’t a bad leader, only a different one. He leads through action. Rarely will he be commanding troops from afar or detached from the battlefield.
On the contrary, Uhtred will most likely be the first one leading the charge. Uhtred is often much less thoughtful about his actions, acting out of instinct and gut feelings. This can make him extremely unpredictable at times. It has both pros and cons—if you can’t predict his next move, neither will the enemy). His warriors follow him into battle not because of inspirational words or emotional clarity. They follow him because of something much more visceral that ignites them and urges them to fight alongside him on the battlefield. He might not speak to the softer side of their emotions, but he definitely knows how to rile them up.
Uthred battled invaders and safeguards those he loves and feels an innate sense of obligation to. He might be seen as more reckless, but that’s only because he acts on his gut which often proves to be the right choice. Uthred unites people through personal example and inspires them to overcome their personal fears and inhibitions through sheer fierceness.
When you think of a ‘classic’ leader, especially one that you would trust with leading your forces into battle, you might think of someone who is inspirational, fearless, and brave. Someone intelligent who knows how to take risks, but also knows when restraint is the better strategic move. All of these traits might remind you of one of our contestants more than the other one—the great William Wallace, of course. Mel Gibson’s version of William Wallace is a bold, intelligent, skilled warrior, and a compassionate leader. And most of all he’s…Brave (yes, we went there).
He proves time and time again the quality of his leadership abilities. Wallace proves himself to be as worthy a candidate as any to lead the armed forces into battle. He knows how to unite different factions to fight for him or inspire his army to fight against incredible odds. He inspires his forces through their emotions. Wallace reminds them of the reasons they have for fighting and what’s at stake if they lose. That usually hits the spot well enough.
William Wallace vs Uhtred of Bebbanburg: Who is the better leader? Vote Below
Our next question, then, is a no-brainer: Who would you choose to lead your forces against the enemy? Uhtred of Bebbanburg, (Netflix version) or William Wallace (Braveheart, Hollywood version)?
Verdict: Uhtred of Bebbanburg vs William Wallace
Sorry, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, we prefer the Hollywood character, William Wallace!
“Going Wallace, he fought for freedom and love of country he was reluctant to pick up the sword. He never rushes into battle and usually planned fairly well.
“He is also far more intelligent than Uhtred. Uhtred fought for a country he hated. Wessex. He keeps allowing himself to get sucked into Oaths. His only aim was to reclaim his birthright Bebbanburgh. He also doesn’t have the manpower Wallace has. Also if any of you read the book ‘The Last Kingdom’ Uhtred is almost always cut off and surrounded. He even allowed himself to get enslaved. Wallace all day.”