The thing about The Last Kingdom’s Danish warriors and their Saxon foes – they don’t live long. No sooner had we learned the correct spellings of Sigefrid and Erik than off to Valhalla they went, taking their tattoos, biceps and little beard bunches with them. It wasn’t only those two we lost in the second series, but also poor Halig and Clapa and Odda the Elder…
That left a vacuum for series three, into which spilled the little lot below. There’s a lion, a witch and a warlord, as well as a little prince and a dangerously bearded Danes. Meet the key newcomers to The Last Kingdom…
Haesten (pronounced: Heston)
Played by: Jeppe Beck Laursen
Who is he? The Dane with a mane we actually met last series, if you remember, but whose role is more prominent this time around. Haesten was the prisoner to whom Uhtred showed mercy in the second series opener. A follower of Sigefrid and Erik, Haesten was tasked with looking after things in the Danish-occupied Eoforwic/York while the two brothers rode North. Under his watch, the priests staged an uprising, and when Uhtred showed up, Haesten was being publicly humiliated. Uhtred rescued him on the condition that he swear him an oath of loyalty, which Haesten did.
In series three, Haesten is ostensibly serving King Alfred and an ally to Uhtred against new enemy Bloodhair, but will his desire for revenge against Aetheflaed for killing his former lord Sigefrid get in the way?
Official (slightly spoilery) description: A sly and self-interested sword-Dane, Haesten is a master of self-preservation and will do anything for the sake of personal gain. Once rescued from death by Uhtred who took pity on him, Haesten is now a leader of his own men and has agreed a truce with Wessex whilst allying with Danes; he is shameless in his greed. However, his reckless pursuit of wealth and reputation will eventually cost him dearly.
Wrestling ring name: Heston Services
Skade (pronounced: Scaid)
Played by: Thea Sofie Loch Naess
Who is she? A Pagan Seer who aligns herself with powerful men so her magic can work through them. She’s the consort of her lord Bloodhair (see below), and uses her visions to advise him on military strategy. She’s also—and I’m not sure what the sensitive term for this would be—a murderous screaming lunatic with a taste for torture and a strong stomach for bloody punishments and generally, blood. Basically then, a witch, with all the curses, prophecies and brooding that entails.
Official description: Bloodthirsty, violent and magnetic, Skade is capable of cruelty unlike anything Uhtred has seen before. As Bloodhair’s lover and sorceress, Skade is believed to be able to see the future for him and is his most prized possession. From the moment Uhtred crosses her, their lives become entwined and her chilling powers of manipulation ensure she holds a dangerous influence over Uhtred – he must find a way to control her, or risk losing everything.
Wrestling ring name: Sulk Hogan
Bloodhair (pronounced: as it sounds)
Played by: Ola Rapace
Who is he? In the books, Jarl Harald, a Danish warlord landed in Kent to try to take as much of Alfred’s England as he can. He coats his hair in fresh horse blood (hence the nickname) before battle, to give himself a fearsome appearance, and possibly, for the conditioning properties. He’s a brutal leader who’ll slit your throat as soon as look at you. His witchy consort is Skade, the mystical Seer.
Official description: A fearsome and impressive sword-Dane, famed for his battle ritual of sacrificing a horse to Thor and soaking his hair in its blood. Quick tempered and proud, Bloodhair’s weakness is his woman – the vicious sorceress Skade – and his desire for her will lead him to risk power, reputation and even life itself.
Wrestling ring name: Bloodhair. Obviously.
Cnut (pronounced: Canoot)
Played by: Magnus Bruun
Who is he? A fearsomely bearded, flame-haired Dane and cousin to Ragnar Ragnarsson who is staying with Brida and Ragnar in Dunholm at the start of the series.
Here’s the official description:
Danish warlord Cnut’s jovial persona belies a savvy and calculating mind, and his ambition holds no bounds. Cousin to Ragnar, his hunger for power will prove to be stronger than familial ties as he manipulates those around him in the struggle for supremacy.
Wrestling ring name: The Anagram
Aetheling Edward (pronounced: the first bit in Elvish, the second as you’d expect)
Played by: Timothy Innes
Who is he? The son of Alfred and Aelswith, and sort-of heir to Alfred’s throne (though his cousin Aethelwold would disagree). Alfred wishes him to be prepared for rule, and wants Uhtred to be at his side. Edward’s sister is Aethelfled, the Lady of Mercia. In series three he’s been aged up and given a more prominent role as his father’s health wanes.
Official description: An aetheling; though Edward is eligible to inherit his father’s crown, whether this comes to pass will depend on the support of the people and the decision of the witan. Alfred wishes Edward to become king to ensure his legacy is continued. However, Edward is thought to be too young by some and with enemies both Dane and Saxon, Edward will have to prove his mettle if he is to keep his place as next in line to the throne of Wessex. Edward takes after his father in some ways – he is intelligent, eager to learn, courageous and passionate. He soon learns the sacrifice of kingship when he is forced to deny his first love in order to prepare to wear the mantle of king.
Wrestling ring name: Edward the Gelder
All ten episodes of The Last Kingdom series three arrive on Netflix on Monday the 19th of November.