“My advice for you is: to never cross Ubba, and never, never fight him.”
—Ravn warning Uhtred of Ubba
Ubba Ragnarsson was a supporting character and antagonist in both The Saxon Stories novel series and The Last Kingdom television series. He was a powerful and feared Danish warlord. He is one of the sons of the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok, king of the Danes and Svear. Along with his brothers Ivar and Halfdan, Ubba was one of the principal leaders of the “Great Heathen Army”. Ubbe is played by actor Rune Temte.
“Destiny is all.”
Uhtred of Bebbanburg or Uhtred Ragnarsson is the protagonist in both The Saxon Stories novel series and The Last Kingdom television series. The character has over the course of the series become increasingly complex in his loyalty and general attitude. His birth name was Osbert, but later re-baptized as Uhtred after his elder brother Uhtred is killed by the Danes; his father, along with other Saxon noblemen of Northumbria, are killed in battle against the Danes. Only his uncle and stepmother survive. Uhtred and a Saxon girl named Brida are taken as slaves by Earl Ragnar, now settled in Danish Northumbria, which becomes their adopted home.
With half of the Saxon army waiting on top of a hill, looking down on Ubba’s camp below, there are very few options for the army headed by Odda the Elder. They can either attack and likely be slaughtered, or hold their advantageous position and hope that the Danes don’t wait them out, therefore going through all of their rations. This is where Uhtred’s hurried decision-making comes in handy. He offers to sneak into the Danish camp and light their boats on fire, causing a panic that will make it easier for Odda and his men to attack immediately.
Taking inspiration from a grease fire, Uhtred prepares wads of pig fat soaked in oil and sneaks into the Danish camp, successfully setting fire to all their ships. When fleeing, he is spotted by Storri and Ubba challenges him to a man-on-man fight to the death, from which he cannot back down.
Both men fight without armor, using only a shield and one weapon: a sword for Uhtred and an ax for Ubba. Things do not look good for Uhtred as he’s knocked to the ground defenseless, but when Ubba raises his ax to deal the final stroke, Uhtred grabs a nearby shard from his splintered shield and stabs Ubba above the knee. In Ubba’s moment of pain, Uhtred reaches for his sword and in one fell movement, slices Ubba’s Achilles heels open. Ubba falls forward as Uhtred makes another slice at his neck. Respectful of his opponent as a warrior, Uhtred places the battleax in the dying Ubba’s right hand and sends him on his way to Valhalla.
Of course, Uhtred is putting all of his trust in the Saxons, and while it pays off this time, Uhtred isn’t exactly rewarded for his loyalty. When he burns the ships he tries to make his escape, only to be confronted by Ubba, who wants to fight him to the death.
Much of the episode (the fifth episode of the first season) is a visual feast, disgusting or otherwise. After Uhtred kills Ubba, the rest of the Danes begin to move in on him, and the following shot, which sees Uhtred backing away into the darkness before a plethora of Saxon shields appears behind him, is stunning. It suggests that Uhtred has finally proven his loyalty and can be accepted by Alfred, the Saxon army swarming around Uhtred and protecting him.
Ubba vs Uhtred in The Last Kingdom (2015-)0.00
- The breathtaking photography and the glorious fight scenes.
- The Last Kingdom looks somewhat like a cross between History's Vikings and HBO's Game of Thrones, but over the course of its first two seasons, it establishes itself as a show that can stand on its own.