When Carnival Films Was Adapted Death of kings (the sixth book in Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories series) they have — probably wisely — omitted a scene in which Uhtred of Bebbanburg is drugged in a witch’s cave and sexually assaulted by an Earth goddess. Season three had plenty to do without that little adventure. King Alfred was dying, Uhtred was cursed, the Danish warlord Bloodhair did what Danish warlords do and swore to run the streets with Saxon blood… yet another prophetess.
Cutting out the scene where Uhtred seeks out the old witch Aelfadell to hear her predictions about his future, left The Last Kingdom without what some consider a key moment in the Saxon tales. In the sixth book, Uhtred poses as the Lord Kjartan of Cumbraland and pays some monks to gain access to Buchestanes’ wise woman. In her cave, she anesthetizes him and he wakes up with his hands tied after a night of drug-fueled “dreams.” In one he was ridden by the beautiful Saxon goddess of the earth Erce, and in another he was breastfed by the mother who died giving birth to him. (Both women are likely the wise woman herself, whom Uhtred describes as “ugliness in human guise.” It’s becoming increasingly clear why the series never made it to the screen.)
After all the drug and breastfeeding cases, Aelfadell sees through Uhtred’s disguise and gives him the following prophecy:
‘Seven kings will die, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, seven kings and the women you love. That is your destiny, and Alfred’s son will not reign and Wessex will die and the Saxon will kill what he loves and the Danes will win everything, and everything will change and everything will be the same as it ever was and ever will be.”
Typically useful stuff towards the end there. It is suggested in Death of kings that Aelfadell’s prophecy is mere Danish propaganda invented to serve the villainous Sigurd, but her opening prediction that “Seven Kings will die” has an unmistakable echo in Netflix’s newly announced title The Last Kingdom movie. At the October 2021 MCM Comic Con London, actor-director Alexander Dreymon confirmed that after the TV show concludes with its fifth and final season in early 2022, there will be an “expansion” in the form of a two-hour film featuring the title Seven kings must die. The film is due to go into production in Bulgaria next year, based on a script by Martha Hillier, directed by Ed Bazalgette.