Uhtred of Bebbaburg
Uhtred of Bebbaburg
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.
- The Ace: He is an expert swordsman, a cunning strategist and a charismatic leader, which is why Alfred tries to retain his services for Wessex by any means necessary.
- Aethelwold considers Uhtred to be Alfred's most powerful supporter and Wessex's best defense against Danish invasion. In Season 3, in preparation for his own bid to take the throne of Wessex, Aethelwold manipulates events to have Uhtred banished from Wessex and later tries to kill him before he can return to Wessex.
- Eadred mistook Uhtred for Guthred when they first met, attracted to his charisma, and later saw Uhtred's influence over Guthred as a threat to his own political power. Guthred himself noticed this, becoming somewhat jealous of Uhtred as a result.
- Skade realized that Uhtred has the best chance to conquer Wessex and unite a conquered England, should he decide to defect to the Danes. As a result, she tried her utmost to persuade Uhtred to make his own bid to become king of England with her as his queen, by either threats of curses or promises of power and sexual trysts. This eventually resulted in her death, with Uhtred holding Skade responsible for his misery due to her supposed curse.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: From blond in the books to dark-haired in the series.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: His treatment of his eldest son. In the books, he reacts to his conversion to Christianity by furiously disowning him, striking him and stripping him of his name. He's such a bad father that when his son sits by his bedside and it looks like it might die, Uhtred admits that calling him a great father is a lie. He's much gentler in his treatment here, treating his conversion more like a mildly annoying youth phase and trying to bond with him, even if the way he goes about it isn't the most endearing.
- Arranged Marriage: With Mildrith. It initially seems like a Perfectly Arranged Marriage until their drastically different world views cause misery for all involved.
- Badass Beard: Fitting for someone who grew up a Dane warrior, Uhtred is never clean-shaven and an absolute monster in combat.
- Badass Crew: He is the leader of a small, loyal band of hand-picked fighters who can each kill dozens of lesser warriors on their own. Uhtred sometimes leads these fighters on infiltration missions unsuitable for conventional armies.
- Barbarian Hero: While he's biologically a Saxon and ultimately on their side, he's considerably closer to the Danes culturally and this reflects in both his tactics, appearance and personality.
- 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. One of his main grudges against Kjartan and Sven is that they kidnapped and abused her and he takes considerable glee in punishing them for it.
- Breaking Speech: Gives one to Alfred after the Danes take over, though it is at least partially intended to get Alfred fighting.
- Break the Badass: In Season 2, Uhtred is sold into slavery and has to endure months of horrible, back-breaking labor and terrible living conditions. He even tries to escape once, but fails and ends up getting a close friend of his killed in a horrible way for the attempt. By the end of it he's so broken that when Ragnar the Younger finally saves him, he just breaks down into tears.
- Cartwright Curse: His love interests tend to meet premature ends, assuming they don't leave him first.
- 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.
- Child of Two Worlds: His most blatant character trait. Danes consider him a coward who makes himself a slave to a weak king and Saxons consider him to be a brutish, godless heathen who's nothing but a selfish barbarian. Yet he comes off as such an overall charismatic badass that even though he ultimately sides with the Saxons, his own men are typically made up of both peoples.
- Childhood Friend Romance: He and Brida were close since childhood when they were taken by the Danes. They were expecting to get married but ultimately part ways mid-way through Season 1 when she can't handle the Saxon lifestyle.
- Clear My Name: 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: He has a sword easily recognizable as his own because of an amber pommel. Uhtred commissions a master smith to forge "a warrior's sword to last a lifetime" in Oxford. Uhtred asks the smith to set the amber pendant his father gifted to him at his birth into the pommel. The smith say he has "given her some beauty, but she is a tool, no more, no less." Uhtred is so pleased he agrees to pay the smith his original asking price, two pieces of silver more than agreed. Nun Hild refers to Uhtred's sword as "Serpent-Breath".
- Don't Call Me "Sir": Detests his wife calling him "my lord," to the point of being legitimately angry when she continues to do so.
- Goal in Life: While he many smaller goals over the course of the series, his ultimate prize always remains the same: to reclaim his birthright as the lord of Bebbanburg.
- 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.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: This would seem to be Uhtred's fate. Despite all his contributions to Wessex, Uhtred's deeds are, so far, not recorded at all. It is implied that Alfred deliberately leaves out mentioning Uhtred out of disapproval for his Danish beliefs and out of personal pride.
- Heroic B So D
- Following his many months in slavery, the malnutrition that accompanied it, and Halig's death following an escape attempt that failed... Uhtred's will is utterly broken and he is a shell of his former self. The fact that he was once powerless over his fate and the man closest to him then devastates him. It's only the love of Hild that starts to bring him back from the edge of the abyss.
- In Season 4, Uhtred falls into despair after Beocca dies during his botched attempt to reclaim Bebbanburg.
- Honorary Uncle: Both of Alfred's children, Edward and Aethelflaed, consider Uhtred to be the closest thing they have to family outside their own. Within his circle of advisors, allies and commanders, Alfred would only trust Uhtred or Steapa with his children's well-being.
- Iconic Item: Uhtred has his signature sword with amber pommel.
- Idiot Hero: Uhtred is an excellent warrior and a skilled military commander. In every other respect he's a meathead who thinks with his sword or his other sword.
- 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. 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.
- Made a Slave: As a boy, Uhtred was captured and made a slave to Ragnar the Elder, who started to treat Uhtred like a son after he saved Thyra from being raped. In Season 2, Uhtred was sentenced to slavery by Guthred and rescued several months later by Ragnar Ragnarson. In Season 3, Skade all but claimed to own Uhtred through her curse, which resulted in her death once Uhtred learned how to undo it.
- Master Swordsman: The only character better with a sword than Uhtred is Leofric.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Basically every mentor and paternal figure he has ends up dead once they've taught him everything they can.
- 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.
- The Danes refer to him as Dane Slayer, given how many of them he's killed.
- Is known to other Saxons as Uhtred the Godless, given his fierce paganism and disgust for Christianity.
- 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.
- Older Than They Look: Uthred first meets with Alfred when his son Edward is still a sickly baby. By Season 4, Edward is a grown man with two sons of his own, and Uthred's children are teenagers, but Uhtred looks (and fights) exactly the same.
- One-Man Army: He's badass enough normally, but when his buttons are pushed, 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.
- Rōnin: 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.
- The Strategist: He is the one who formulates strategies to enable Wessex's army to hold off the Danes, who have the advantage in numbers. In addition to understanding how Danes think, Uhtred considers many aspects when planning for battles, including the gathering of information through scouts and spies (usually Sihtric), the use of advantageous terrain and the battlefield positioning of soldiers. He is also skilled in the use of deceptions and distractions to make his enemies let their guard down.
- Tragic Keepsake: Two actually, one each from his Saxon birth father and his Dane adopted father. The former is a perfectly round amber jewel inlaid with various insects. He has this put in as a pommel for his signature longsword. The latter is a necklace of Thor's hammer. He buries this into Ragnar the Younger's grave in Season 3.
- 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.
Guthreds headstrong and passionate sister. Guthred means to marry her to someone for political gain, but she and Uhtred have other ideas. Thoughtful and intuitive, Gisela knows Uhtred better than he knows himself, and Uhtreds love for Gisela is unlike that he has ever known. However, the course of their romance does not run smooth, and both must overcome monumental obstacles if they are to build a life together.
Uhtred's eldest surviving son by Gisela.
- Adaptation Name Change: Or rather Lack of Name Change. In the books, he renames himself Judas as an Appropriated Appellation after Uhtred strips him of his birth name for becoming a Christian. Since Uhtred is kinder to him here, he stays Young Uhtred.
- Aw Look They Really Do Love Eachother: While he and Uhtred's relationship is strained, they do have several scenes showing they truly care about one another.
- Cowardly Lion: While he isn't a warrior like his father or sister, he's braver than he seems. He rather defiantly announces his identity to his great-uncle Aelfric and later joins the fight at Winchester.
- I Owe You My Life: A posthumous example. Beocca died saving Young Uhtred from a crossbow bolt, and since Beocca spent his life in the service of God, Young Uhtred feels he must also dedicate his life to God and become a priest to honor Beocca's sacrifice.
- Like Father, Unlike Son: Has no interest in war and fighting, and has fervently embraced the Christianity his father still treats with disdain.
Uthred's daughter by Gisela.
- Damsel in Distress: During her time as a captive in Winchester, Brida makes frequent comments about wanting to send Stiorra's head to her father as revenge for Uhtred's past transgressions against her. Sigtryggr refuses to allow it though.
- Defiant Captive: Not even Eardwulf menacing her with a knife and threatening to kill her stops Stiorra from calling him out as a self-pitying piece of shit who has no one but himself to blame for his problems.
- Like Parent, Like Child: Given the way she acts and thinks, if she had been born a boy, Uhtred would have found her much more to his liking than his actual heir.
- A Match Made in Stockholm: She and Sigtryggr bond after he captures her due to their similar outlooks. She ultimately decides to willingly go with him to Northumbria in search of a life more suited to her.
- Plucky Girl: Like her father, she hates being tied down and wants freedom.
- Strong Family Resemblance: She's the spitting image of her mother.
Uhtred's Retainers & Warriors
Halig earned his stripes with Uhtred at the battle of Ethandun, and has been his faithful servant ever since. Trusting, light-hearted, and likeable, Halig is also brave and fiercely loyal, and will follow Uhtred at the cost of all else.
- Beard of Sorrow: He grows a formidable beard during his and Uhtred's time as slaves.
- Canon Foreigner: He's nowhere to be found in the source material.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: He's tied to the keel of a ship while it's at sea. Ouch.
- Due to the Dead: Ragnar the Younger assures Uhtred that Halig has been buried as befitting a warrior.
- Made a Slave: Thanks to Guthrum, he ends up a slave alongside Uhtred.
- Servile Snarker: He's not above trading barbs with Uhtred but is loyal above all.
- Undying Loyalty: To Uhtred and Alfred.
Uhtred meets Finan in dire circumstances, and they forge a bond that will keep them fighting at each others side for a lifetime. A former warrior of Ireland, Finans swordskill is as nearly as quick as his wit, and Uhtred learns to rely on Finan for his counsel, battle strategy, and friendship.
- Combat Pragmatist: His solution to the problem of being outnumbered by the brothers and their army? Kill them in their sleep.
- Deadpan Snarker: Finan is quick with a joke to lighten the mood or just get through a bad situation. Being a slave meant he had to develop a pretty sardonic sense of humor.
- Fighting Irish: As he puts it he "loves a fight as much as the next idiot."
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He's Uhtred's closest companion and Ragnar compares their bond to his and Uhtred's brotherhood after the pair are liberated from slavery. He also is the one to comfort Uhtred after Beocca's death and urge his son to reconcile with him.
- Ironic Echo: "Pull!" Finan snarls this at Sverri, the sadistic slaver who kept him and Uhtred (it being Sverri's command of choice while forcing them to row) while driving a sword through the slaver's throat.
- The Lancer: He develops into this for Uhtred, becoming among his most-trusted and constant companions.
- Only Sane Man: He seems to become this during Season 3.
- Real Men Love Jesus: Finan is a devoted Christian and prays before a battle in Season 4. He's also nearly as formidable a badass as Uhtred.
- Screw Your Ultimatum!: When facing a Last Stand, Finan makes his thoughts very clear on Haesten's offer of surrender.Haesten: Give up Uhtred and the rest of you will live! All I want is the Dane Slayer!Finan: What you will get, Haesten, is my sword up your hairy arse!
- Servile Snarker: He's loyal to Uhtred but still throws plenty of snark. In Season 4, he jokingly asks if Uhtred will ever be able to pay him and the others for their service.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Finan is utterly terrified of disease, saying he has seen men strong in the morning and dead by nightfall from sickness. When disease strikes Mercia in season four, Finan actually told Uhtred that they abandon the children—a group which included Uhtred's son and daughter—just to better escape the sickness quicker. Later when the option is either swim through a marsh filled with corpses of the diseased or fight the Mercian Guards, Finan eagerly takes fighting the Mercians over risking exposure.
- Would Hit a Girl: Finan punches out a woman of Sigefrid's during Uhtred's raid on the brothers' camp to stop her raising the alarm.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Clapa and Sihtric.
An illegitimate son of Kjartan, he defects by swearing an oath to Uhtred. Keen to turn his back on his roots, he is tireless in his efforts to serve Uhtred, and becomes one of his most faithful men. With striking Danish looks, Sihtric makes a cunning spy.
- Antagonistic Offspring: He abandons his father Kjartan to serve Uhtred, his Arch-Enemy. His relationship with Kjartan isn't explored much, but it seems unlikely he was a particularly good father considering how he doesn't seem to care about Sithric's fate.
- Happily Married: To a serving woman in Winchester: Uhtred is initially reluctant to give his blessing, considering her a Gold Digger but relents.
- Heroic Bastard: An illegitimate child and much nicer than his father or half-brother.
- Like Father, Unlike Son: Kjartan betrayed Ragnar while Sihtric is totally loyal to Uhtred's cause.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Becoming disillusioned with Uhtred and convinced his lord is losing his mind thanks to Skade's curse, Sihtric leaves Uhtred with the help of Dagfinn, Haesten's right-hand man. Ultimately subverted as he remains loyal to Uhtred; Sihtric's defection was planned between them to put a spy in Haesten and Cnut's camp.
- The Sneaky Guy: Of Uhtred's men, he is the one most often used for stealth and espionage.
- Those Two Guys: He and Finan are rarely seen without one another.
- Undying Loyalty: He has this to Uhtred for sparing his life and giving him a chance to prove himself.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Finan.
The nephew of Leofric, who fell at the battle of Ethandun. As Alfreds bastard son, he is destined to live out a quiet life in the church. However, Osferth has ambitions to be a warrior and though he isnt a natural fighter, Uhtred gives him a chance to prove that he possesses the courage of his late uncle, who was Uhtreds dearest friend and bravest comrade in battle.
- Carry a Big Stick: He uses a mace in combat.
- Character Development: Osferth goes through quite a personal transformation, beginning as a meek if well-meaning coward who can barely wield a sword and gradually transforming into a steadfast and courageous ally who's formidable in combat.
- Deadpan Snarker:Finan: If you die, Baby Monk, I'll kill you myself!Osferth: Very well. I'll try not to.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Finan nicknames him "Baby Monk". At times, it also doubles as an Affectionate Nickname.
- Morality Pet: Definitely one to Uhtred, who also mentions he was something of one to Gisela as well.
- Nice Guy: Osferth is always pretty friendly.
- Pet the Dog: Uhtred thanks Osferth when he offers to pray for Gisela after she dies. Finan and Uhtred also compliment him after he fights for the first time. Osferth also does this for Uhtred when he is conflicted after his killing of Skade, assuring Uhtred that given how evil she was, killing her was an act of necessity.
- The Resenter: Downplayed, but in Season 3, he tends to make excuses to leave the scene when his half-brother Edward appears.
- Took a Level in Badass: Finds his courage and fights to defend his lord and comrades when it seems they're making a Last Stand while surrounded by Haesten's men.