The first season of The Last Kingdom, adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories, premiered on BBC America in August 2015 and was met with generally positive reviews. Fans of the books praised the show’s casting and set design, while other viewers were drawn to the violence and historical accuracy that distinguished it from its peers. Now, the second season is approaching its finale as Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) prepares to reclaim his ancestral lands from King Alfred (David Dawson). But how does this latest season compare to the books? Here are some notable differences to consider before you tune in Sunday night! How The Latest Season of The Last Kingdom Compares to the Books

Overall comparison


Since we’re about midway through season two, we’ve got a good sense for how closely showrunners are sticking to historical accuracy. This is generally an excellent adaptation that hews extremely close to its source material—which isn’t surprising, since Cornwell is an executive producer. A few liberties have been taken with details and characterization (mostly in order to avoid casting overlap), but for the most part, you can feel comfortable counting on historical facts. Onward! To battle!

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New characters in season 3


Fans have already noticed a number of characters making their debut in season 3 who have yet to appear in Bernard Cornwell’s novels. Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) plays King Alfred’s wife, Ealhswith. Tom Wu plays Great Heathen Army leader, Brude; and Eleanor Worthington Cox will portray noblewoman Aelgifu, wife of Æthelwold.

How The Latest Season of The Last Kingdom Compares to the Books
How The Latest Season of The Last Kingdom Compares to the Books

Resurrected characters from earlier seasons


Several major characters from earlier seasons were resurrected in season 3, including Aethelwulf, Aethelflaed and Alfred. With these characters back in season 3, many fans are wondering if these characters will have more screen time than before? Or is it possible that their resurrection has brought them back with a limited amount of screentime because they’ve already been explored previously? Will each character be given a chance to shine on their own or will they all end up being overshadowed by Athelstan?

Story lines are different


I’m not saying that there haven’t been a lot of changes from book to screen; it is a huge and costly production, after all. I’m also not saying that I can do a better job than some talented writers who’ve worked on season three of The Last Kingdom. But when you compare how each storyline differs from its source material, you end up with two shows that simply aren’t much alike.

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