From New York City glamorous offices and outfits and bright, happy endings in the last post, to this – the year 900 something in Mercia.
It’s cold and unglamorous. There is a lot of mud, which arguably, Louis Litt might have enjoyed.
So much for my attempt at humor.
A brilliant show, The Last Kingdom is full of harsh lessons, and harsh moments, and harsh everythings.
Which is probably why the tenderness and bonds that we witness are that much more meaningful. And also why the deaths and partings are that much more heartbreaking.
I so hoped Uhtred & Aethelflaed would end up together. Because the real Aethelflaed is thought to have perished in battle at age 47-48. Nobody really knows.
So I imagined the writers would take some liberty here, with mercy, and give us at least a little bit of a fairytale.
But it was not to be.
I do not yet know what the next 5 episodes of TLK offer, but after episode 4, like all fans I am sure, I too was left heartbroken.
Of course I yelled at the TV before, when Aethelflaed chose Mercia over her own happiness. A duty I can not possibly understand, because who would chose to bear such a sacrifice? Wouldn’t we all give ten kingdoms to live a life next to someone we truly love?
I get power alliances through marriage throughout history. Unfair, often horrific. But these were not chosen by their victims.
Here, there was so much love, and the possibility to choose.
I suppose Aethelflaed imagined that after a time, with a hopefully more secure situation and also peace, the freedom to step down and embrace personal happiness would eventually come. Perhaps it was mentioned in the series and I don’t remember.
What I do remember is what actually happened. And it reminded me of stupid choices people make every day.
Reminded me of pride, of stubborn clinging to prejudices, of clinging to irrational fear, of refusal to heal, of family influences that destroy, of shackles taken and worn because of some distorted sense of duty, or money, or some other thing.
Always some poisoned thing that is thrown onto real and beautiful chances at happiness. Like acid on tender skin.
What are people thinking? Nothing, nothing, is more important than a chance at happiness. A shared chance.
Science confirms this. Real life examples confirm this. People get sick when they choose shackles. Literally. No wonder they had Aethelflaed get terminally ill. It’s what happens when people choose to break their own hearts.
Over the years, I heard stories of happiness denied from older members of the family, from older acquaintances. None ended well.
And yet, no matter how much circumstances change, how many more options society offers, people often still choose shackles. In glamorous offices while wearing glamorous outfits. In everyday places and everyday outfits.
Why is anyone still doing this? Let’s not. For god’s sakes.
Here is a beautifully done video edit about Uhtred & Aethelflaed. I have no words.