In debt to Uhtred for putting down the Scottish-Danish rebellion at Brunanburh, Aethelstan assured him that his deeds would be recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, but Uhtred refused. He didn’t care about recording his valor for posterity and only sought his ultimate destiny – the Norse afterlife in Valhalla.
That’s when Uhtred hears the sound of cheering and carousing, and has a vision of Odin’s Great Hall. The last time we see our hero, he’s standing between two worlds – life and afterlife, looking from his son Osbert in the land of the living, to his old comrades celebrating their victories in the land of the dead. We don’t see him walk towards Valhalla, but we do see his hand clutching under his cloak, perhaps holding the pommel of his sword – thereby fulfilling the Norse belief that a warrior must die with his sword in his hand to enter Odin’s Great Hall.
The chronicles do not record if my Lord Uhtred survived,” says Finan, “but those like me who knew him recognised him as the greatest warrior of our age, and the man who made a kingdom.”
As Finan tells us, King Aethelstan ruled for fifteen years and was “considered to be the first and greatest King of medieval England”. The Danes continued to invade England until its eventual conquest by their Norman descendants in 1066.
Who Was in the Great Hall in Uhtred’s Vision of Valhalla?
Inside the Great Hall, drinking and laughing, Uhtred sees Brida – his childhood companion turned lover turned enemy, who was killed by his daughter Stiorra in season five. With her are Danish warriors Clapa (who died in season two and was played by Magnus Samuelsson) and Haesten (who died in season five, played by Jeppa Beck Laursen). Most touchingly of all, they’re all joined by Earl Ragnar, Uhtred and Brida’s adoptive father, who was burned to death by the villainous Kjartan in season one.
Who Were the Titular Seven Kings?
Ingrith’s prophecy is brought back up in the film’s final moments, when that very question is asked. Five kings from the Scottish-Danish alliance escaped the battlefield, but their sons and heirs who fought alongside them were all killed (including Anlaf’s daughter Astrid) so their bloodline would not survive. Add King Edward’s death at the beginning of the film, and Uhtred’s possible death (though not styled as a king, there’s no doubt that he’s as much one as any of the Scottish chieftains or Danish Jarls in this story), and that makes seven.
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