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Uhtred of Bebbanburg

Played By: Alexander Dreymon & Tom Taylor

Born of Saxon nobility but raised a Dane, Uhtred grows up with a conflicted identity. A natural warrior, Uhtred is a leader of men, fearless, instinctive, and driven by a deep-seated need to reclaim his homeland of Bebbanburg, Northumbria. Quick-witted, impetuous with a taste for danger, he follows his gut and abhors the prayer, fasting, and obedience so precious to King Alfred. Like a Dane he believes life should be lived passionately and fully. He has charm, energy, charisma and an underlying sense of justice — qualities which make him very attractive to women. But his impulsiveness and irreverence sometimes land him in trouble.

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: From blond in the books to dark-haired in the series.
  • Arranged Marriage: With Mildrith.
  • Badass Beard
  • Barbarian Hero
  • Barbarian Longhair: It usually gets him mistaken for a Dane.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Uhtred is essentially the main practical reason why the Saxons can even hope to take on the Danes without getting their asses torn apart by axes. Even moreso in the show, since he apparently is the one who taught the Saxons how to make a shield wall.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Towards Thyra
  • Big Damn Heroes
  • Breaking Speech: Gives one to Alfred after the Danes take over, though it is at least partially intended to get Alfred fighting.
  • Character Development: After the Age Cut, he goes from brash young warrior only interested in achieving his revenge to steady and loyal servant of Alfred who is integral to his regaining his kingdom, something Alfred acknowledges, the two parting on good terms.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: With Brida.
  • Clear My Name: Eh, kinda. The slaughter of Cornwallum's Christians and the murder of King Peredur? That's all him and Skorpa. He didn't go to Cynwuit and pillage the church there, as Odda claimed, though. The whole thing's for naught anyway when Guthrum and Ragnar conquer Winchester, though.
  • Conflicting Loyalties: One of the driving motivations of Uhtred's character is his uncertainty of who he is; a Dane, or a Saxon. He was born a Saxon but raised a Dane. The ultimate reason why he chooses to be a Saxon is a combination of My Country, Right or Wrong, a reluctant respect for Alfred and a serious desire not be known as his own tribe's destroyer.
  • Cool Sword: With an amber pommel, no less.
  • Good Old Ways: Downplayed as compared to the books, but still there. Uhtred is pretty much the ultimate proto-Saxon - a Saxon carved in the image of the original pagan warriors who invaded Britannia during the fall of Rome. In the books he and his family are proud of their pagan ancestors and Uhtred personally is disgusted with how adherence to Christianity has turned the Saxons from a Proud Warrior Race into what he perceives as weaklings.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's often arrogant, brash and self-centred, but at the same time, he's capable of being very kind and affectionate, something that Mildrith sees, encourages and tries to convince other people of, and is dismayed when it appears to disappear.
    • It's also notable that despite the rift that develops between him and Mildrith, his declaration that he's going out drinking and whoring and later bringing back Iseult from Cornwalum, he stays faithful to Mildrith right up until he finds his son's grave and he turns to Iseult for comfort.
  • Master Swordsman: The only character better with a sword than Uhtred is Leofric.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Played straight with Ravn, Ragnar the Elder and Leofric. Averted with Beocca.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Is known to other Saxons as Uhtred the Godless, given his fierce paganism and disgust for Christianity.
    Uhtred: (to Mildreth) No priest will ever take my son and drown him under water, and whisper lies and deceit in his ears. He will be pagan like his father.
  • Naytheist: Uhtred despises both Christianity and the Christian god with a fury to eclipse that of ten thousand suns in supernova. Even moreso, he despises what Christianity has done to the Saxons and feels that a return to their ancestral gods (Wodin, Donar, Seaxnot) is the only thing that can restore their strength as warriors. This is one of the reasons he's so sympathetic to the Danes, particularly in the books where Uhtred genuinely believed that the Danes were there to lead to the Saxons back to their old gods. Also, see above.
    Beocca: You must now kiss the cross, and lay face down.
    Uhtred: (seething) Kiss my arse. You and your god.
  • Not So Different: To Alfred. Both are ruthless, both are steadfast in their beliefs and singleminded in their pursuit of their goals, and both are Good Parents. Both also have a weakness for beautiful women who aren't their wives.
  • One-Man Army: He's badass enough normally, but when his Berserk Button is pushed, he's a very literal version of this trope in that he effectively destroys the entire Danish army by breaking the shield wall and killing pretty much everyone within reach, allowing the Saxon army to follow him through the hole.
  • Pet the Dog: For all the antipathy between them, Uhtred does his best to help Alfred through his Heroic BSoD following Guthrum's conquest of Winchester and the ongoing illness of Alfred's son.
    Alfred: God is punishing me.
    Uhtred: For what?
    Alfred: For Aethelwold, for stealing his crown-
    Uhtred: Aethelwold is a fool, he could never be king. Your god is testing you.
  • Ronin: Following the death of Ragnar the Elder, he is effectively this, and the rest of the series is devoted to his trying to find a new place and a new master.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Being humiliated with the enforced penance after having the credit for Ubba's killing stolen by the craven Odda the Younger drives him down a darker path.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Skorpa pulls a Decapitation Presentation with Iseult's head, Uhtred goes absolutely berserk, vaulting over the shield wall and singlehandedly breaking it - effectively destroying the army - and chasing down the mounted Skorpa (who admittedly turns to face him), he spears him with a spear Father Beocca throws to him.

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