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Bebbanburg

    Lord Uhtred 

Lord Uhtred

Portrayed By: Matthew Macfadyen

"Why do I leave the villages unprotected and bring the men inside? Is that your question? A village can be rebuilt. A warrior can die only once."

Uhtred's father, Lord Uhtred, is a formidable fighter and leader of men, and ruler of the kingdom of Bebbanburg in Northumbria. He is a serious and rather distant man whose commitments to Bebbanburg leave little time for his two sons. Young Uhtred struggles to win his father's affection and approval.


  • Abusive Parents: He clearly thinks little of his youngest son, and is at times is even openly hostile to young Uhtred/Osbert.
  • Action Dad: A father to two, and a competent warrior.
  • Dead Star Walking: Matthew Macfadyen is probably the biggest name in the initial cast line-up, but Lord Uhtred doesn't last beyond the first episode.
  • Jerkass: Lord Uhtred is a pretty basic prick; he's grumpy, quick-tempered and ruthlessly pragmatic.
  • Un-person: Inflicts this on his oldest son, lashing out when Osbert wants to avenge him since now he is Uhtred.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ragnar sizes him up as a serious-minded and intelligent warrior king; the Danes certainly consider him more of a threat than his the other two kings whom they correctly judge as pushovers.
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    Aelfric 

Lord Aelfric

Portrayed By: Joseph Millson

Uhtred’s uncle, Aelfric, took control of the fortress of Bebbanburg usurping Uhtred. Aelfric is venal, scheming, and power hungry. He sees Uhtred as a threat to his claim on Bebbanburg and is committed to his demise.


  • Ambition Is Evil: It's unclear how long Aelfric has harboured ambitions to become Bebbanburg's ruler, but he thinks nothing of murdering a child so he can keep sitting the throne.
  • Arch-Enemy: Aelfric is Uhtred's first great enemy; he's been trying to kill his nephew since he was only a child.
  • Bad Boss: At the start of season 4, after a battle against Scottish raiders turns against him, Aelfric calls a retreat. As soon as he's inside Bebbanburg, he orders the fortress gates closed, leaving a lot of his own men to be butchered by the attackers, and then has the gall to call his remaining soldiers cowards.
  • Back for the Dead: After receiving only a cursory mention in Season 3, he returns in Season 4 only to be killed by his own son by the end of the second episode.
  • Beard of Evil: He's bearded, and very evil indeed.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has a pretty sharp tongue, sneering that Gisela must be fond of him to hide away.
  • Evil Is Petty: At first he's reluctant to marry Gisela, but the moment he learns that she and Uhtred were to marry, he decides he'll have her.
  • Evil Uncle: To Uhtred, whom he's obsessed with killing out of fear that Uthred will one day reclaim Bebbanburg.
  • Eye Scream: His own son puts a crossbow bolt through his eye.
  • Forever War: The opening of Season 4 implies Aelfric has been fighting to keep Scottish raiders out of his lands for a long time.
  • It Is Dehumanising: Insists on calling Uhtred by his birth name, Osbert. Of course, it's also meant to be a rejection of his claim to Bebbanburgh since the rightful lord always takes up the name.
  • Out of Focus: He makes only a single appearance in Season 2, and receives only a brief mention in Season 3.
  • Properly Paranoid: He lives in fear that Uhtred will return and reclaim Bebbanburg from him, and he should be afraid since Uhtred has been gathering power for years and has not forgotten Aelfric.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When he finds out Guthred had Uhtred sold into slavery instead of killing him (the condition Aelfric demanded as his price for an alliance), he angrily storms out of Eoferwic, refusing to help fight against Kjartan.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Is enraged at Guthred for following this trope, knowing Uhtred will break out of slavery.

    Wihtgar 

Lord Wihtgar

Portrayed By: Ossian Perret

The son of Aelfric and cousin of Uhtred, and therefore a rival to Uhtred as a claimant to Bebbanburg. He is initially believed lost while traveling overseas, but makes a surprise return accompanied by a number of hardened soldiers.


  • Adaptational Name Change: His name is Uhtred in the books, but since Season 4 alone already has two different characters named Uhtred, the name was presumably changed to avoid confusing people.
  • Clashing Cousins: His father stole Bebbanburg from Uhtred, and he is his father's heir. The only way his claim on the fortress remains secure is if Uhtred and his heirs are dead, and he harshly rejects Beocca's attempts to forge a reconciliation after Aelfric's death.
  • Evil Uncle: To Young Uhtred, just as his father is to Uhtred himself.
  • Hero Killer: Beocca dies to save Young Uhtred, jumping in the way of Wihtgar's crossbow bolt.
  • Kick the Dog: He makes a point of being sadistic when he has Uhtred at his mercy, attempting to kill Young Uhtred first so as to maximize his enemy's suffering. It backfires on him.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: No one is crying when Wihtgar kills his father, even In-Universe, due to his cruelty and incompetence.
  • Patricide: Puts a crossbow bolt through his father's eye when Uhtred has him at sword point.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: He came so very, very close to averting this, but had to grab the Villain Ball at the last minute. He fully intended to shoot Uhtred in the courtyard of Bebbanburg, but instead of just doing it and ridding himself of the principle threat, he spent some time gloating and then tried to kill Uhtred's son first.

The Kingdom of Cumbraland

    Guthred 

King Guthred

Portrayed By: Thure Lindhardt

Dane who is chosen to be a Christian king of Cumbraland and unite the tribes of Dane and Saxon. Sold to a slave trader, Alfred arranges his release in order to build allies in the north. Affable, funny and intent on being a good king, Guthred also has a ruthless streak that will lead to a betrayal of those he holds dear.


  • Big Brother Instinct: Although he butts heads with her at times, Guthred does care about his sister Gisela. He asks about her and expresses relief when Uhtred grudgingly tells him she's safe and happy.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: About the only reason Uhtred doesn't disembowel Guthred is because Alfred wants him alive to maintain stability in Northumbria.
  • Cruel Mercy: He genuinely believes he's doing Uhtred a favor by selling him into slavery instead of killing him outright.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he sees a pissed off Uhtred storming back into Eoforwic after being freed from captivity. Also during the multiple times Uhtred threatens to kill him if Guthred so much as annoys him slightly.
  • Puppet King: He's a puppet to whatever advisor is most adamant at the time, due to being easily swayed.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In spite of everything Uhtred does for him, including freeing him from slavery, Guthred still allows himself to be turned against him by Eadred. He sells Uhtred into slavery, and even laments the irony.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Uhtred makes it plain he will never forgive Guthred for his betrayal, nor the fact it got Halig killed.
    Uhtred: You will do as I ask or I will kill you! [...] I WILL KILL YOU AND TAKE EVERY CONSEQUENCE! What you did to me, what you did to Halig, I can never forget, and I will never forgive.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Having already been warned that he would die if he so much as crossed Uhtred, Guthred starts complaining that Uhtred merely exiled Sigefrid and Erik instead of killing them, at which point Ragnar advises him to shut up before his petulance costs him his life.
    Guthred: How do I know Sigefrid and Erik are gone?! Like your uncle, I would have preferred a head-!
  • Weak-Willed: As intent as he is on being a well-loved and strong king, Guthred is remarkably easy to persuade.

     Eadred 

Abbot Eadred

Portrayed By: David Schofield

A pompous and powerful priest who claims to have seen St Cuthbert selecting Guthred to be the King of Cumbraland in a vision. The abbot is deeply disapproving of Uhtred, and seeing his popularity as a threat to King Guthred’s influence, turns Guthred against him, with shocking consequences.


  • Arranged Marriage: Tries to force Gisela into one of these to make an alliance between Guthred and Aelfric. Fortunately, it's stopped by the arrival of Uhtred and Eadred's inability to keep his mouth shut until Uhtred has enough and puts a knife in his gut.
  • Corrupt Church: One of the worst examples in the series.
  • Evil Chancellor: Serves as one to Guthred.
  • Fantastic Racism: Another Christian who's openly racist towards pagans.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: He orders his men to stand down and let Gisela go when Ragnar threatens to kill them all. Unfortunately, he can't resist having the last word against Uhtred (see Too Dumb to Live for the end result).
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He's one of the driving forces behind Guthred betraying and selling Uhtred into slavery. Guess who's the first to die when Uhtred gets free.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: He does his best to contradict Uhtred's advice in front of Guthred.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: His attitude towards Gisela and his comments on women in general smack of these.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Having already earned Uhtred's enmity by conspiring with Uhtred's Evil Uncle Aelfric to sell him into slavery, when Uhtred comes back and finds Eadred in the middle of trying to wed Gisela (the woman Uhtred's eye has fallen on) to Aelfric by proxy, it would probably be a good idea to keep his mouth shut. Eadred instead insists on repeatedly pressing Uthred's Berserk Button about the matter until Uthred finally has enough and Eadred comes down with a fatal case of knife-through-bowels.
    Uhtred: Say [Gisela]'s married one more time and the devil will take you, priest, I swear it!
    Eadred: You're nothing but a heathen and the bitch is married! [Uhtred promptly stabs him in the gut].
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Other Saxons

    Mildrith 

Mildrith

Played By: Amy Wren

Uhtred’s wife, and Odda the Elder’s godchild, Mildrith is good-natured, trusting, and beautiful. A very devout Christian, she is generous and committed to the workers on her estate. Mildrith is ashamed of the debt to the church that she inherited from her deceased father. Her piety grows the longer she is with the untamed pagan Uhtred, driving a wedge between them.


  • Break the Cutie: She is left swimming in debt, gets pawned off to a semi-barbaric warrior despite never having met him before, and her Saxon friends wish for her husband's death in battle. Things start to get better until Uhtred actively becomes a Jerkass towards her and constantly insults her in her own home. The fact that she didn't become completely bitter earlier is a testament to her good nature.
  • Good Parents: She is, by all appearances, an excellent mother.
  • Happily Married: She and Uhtred genuinely love each other and she reacts with dismay when Aelswith tries to comfort her by telling her that Uhtred (who is a hostage of Guthrum) will soon be dead. If it wasn't for Uhtred's Pride being wounded by the enforced penance and other events, there's every chance that they would have remained so.
  • Nice Girl: She is, by default, a very lovely person, to the point where it gets in the way of her good sense, and it's a large part of why Uhtred warms up to her. This makes it all the more upsetting (for her and the audience) when the penance drives a wedge between her, pious, and Uhtred, pagan and prideful in equal measure.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: She and Uhtred don't meet until the wedding, but quickly warm up to each other and, one suspects, would have been very happy with each other if events had gone another way.
  • Taking the Veil: Has apparently become a nun.

    Iseult 

Queen Iseult

Portrayed By: Charlie Murphy

One of Cornish King Peredur’s two wives, Iseult is a ‘shadow queen’; a beautiful sorceress with magical powers.

Iseult captivates Uhtred from the first moment they meet, and teases him with visions of his future. Mysterious, cool, and slightly aloof, Iseult is a world away from Mildrith, and Uhtred is powerless to resist her charms.


  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She's a tall beautiful woman with dark long hair. She's mysterious, composed and aloof. And she is a seer.
  • Black Magic: What she is perceived to know.
  • Due to the Dead: Beocca restores her body and grants her a funeral pyre in accordance with Uhtred's wishes.
  • Hope Spot: Gives Uhtred one when she tells him his adopted sister Thyra is alive, albeit as a slave of Kjartan and Sven.
  • Hot Witch: Uhtred most certainly thinks so. She has seer powers and is a natural healer. She's also breathtakingly beautiful.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Iseult is a British shadow queen from Cornwall who is married to a minor king Peredur. She's mysterious and keeps her virginity because she believes it maintains her seer powers. Iseult is a great beauty with fair skin, dark eyes and black hair. She's very much admired and hero Uhtred falls in love with her.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: She goes through this when she believes the spell she performed to save Alfred's son killed Uhtred's son in his place.
  • Off with Her Head!: Skorpa kills her and throws her head at Uhtred's feet to taunt him. That is a mistake.
  • Pet the Dog: Alfred, in his final meeting with Uhtred, reveals he has never forgotten, nor ever stopped being grateful to Iseult for saving the infant Edward's life. Uhtred is genuinely surprised, having expected Alfred to have long since forgotten her.
  • Promoted to Scapegoat: When Iseult suggests to Uhtred she can save Alfred's seriously ill infant son, Hild warns Iseult will get this treatment if her efforts fail.
    Hild: You had best succeed. If the child dies, you will be blamed.
    Uhtred: We cannot sit and do nothing!
    Hild: That is not what I am saying...but Iseult is a woman and a pagan. She will be blamed, regardless of her good intentions.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: She clearly believes this to the point she stabs a Danish warrior in the eye for raping a nun.
  • Virgin Power: It is believed she will retain her powers so long as she remains this. In Episode 8, she begs Uhtred to take her virginity to free her from the power she has come to view as a curse.

    Asser 

Brother Asser

Portrayed By: Nicholas Rowe

  • Fantastic Racism: Surprise, surprise, another Christian prejudiced against Danes. He also is very vocal in disparaging Iseult, considering her a witch.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: For all his misogyny and fanatical prejudice, his testimony against Uhtred for illegally raiding Cornwallum and helping Skorpa kill King Peredur is accurate.
  • Oh, Crap!: His reaction when Alfred selects him to be a messenger to rally troops to fight at Ethandun. Also when Guthrum's army assaults Winchester and when Skorpa attacks the Saxon camp at Ethandun.
  • The Neidermeyer: A non-military example: Uhtred is worried Asser will try to undo his work to convince Alfred he needs to fight back against the Danes.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Uhtred and Skorpa join forces to kill King Peredur, Asser flees at the first chance.
  • Straw Misogynist: His distaste for Iseult seems as much on account of her being a woman as for her paganism.
  • Young Future Famous People: Historically, Asser became King Alfred's biographer and is largely believed to be the reason any record of Alfred survives to the present day. His life's work, "The Life of King Alfred" is believed to be one of the best historical sources of information on Alfred's reign.
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