Last Kingdom season 5: Will Aethelflaed and Aldhelm start secret romance?
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The Last Kingdom season five is in the making for Netflix and the series will continue to follow Lady of Mercia, Aethelflaed (played by Millie Brady). At the end of season four, she was forced to part ways with her lover, Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), having sworn herself to the Mercian people. Fans have discussed whether she will now form a relationship with her close friend Aldhelm (James Northcote).
The Last Kingdom saw an unlikely friendship blossom between the Lady Aethelflaed and Aldhelm, who had served her former husband Aethelred (Toby Regbo).
Aethelflaed had never been keen on the idea of the marriage, and she quickly discovered her husband was more interested in power than her wellbeing.
Despite the emotionally and physically abusive relationship, Aethelflaed stood her ground and was not afraid to show that she was not happy.
But it backfired as Aethelred started to see her as a threat, and was keen to cut her out of the picture, asking his men to kill her.
However, Aldhelm realised Aethelflaed was better suited for leadership than her husband and took pity on her, helping her escape.
The pair have remained close friends ever since and Aldhelm has been welcomed into the group by Uhtred and his friends.
In the collection of books the show is based on, called The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell, Aldhelm only acts as a supporting character.
However, he was given a bigger role in the series, as his decision to abandon his ruler to save Aethelflaed initiated the downfall of their marriage.
In the fourth season, fans got to see how fond Aldhelm had grown of Aethelflaed, as he refused to take her life on the battlefield.
During the Battle of Tettenhall, Aethelflaed had said if the Danes ever had them surrounded, Aldhelm would be the one to kill her so she could die with dignity.
But when it came to that moment, Aldhelm could not go through with the plan, and thankfully Aethelflaed’s brother Edward (Timothy Innes) saved them both just in time.
Fans have taken to Reddit to discuss whether Aldhelm and Aethelflaed could ever form a romantic relationship, with haroldangel saying: “Forgive me if this is a stupid question, I haven’t read the books and I may not understand the politics but why was Aldhelm never even considered as a ruler of Mercia? Or maybe as a husband for Aethelflaed? I know she doesn’t love him but he loves her and loves Mercia.”
Some viewers have suggested the creators of the series were sticking to the historical facts, as Aldhelm’s character was not inspired by a real person, unlike Aethelflaed.
Alessia1255 said: “I think they’re somewhat trying to stick to historical fact. Aldhelm is a fictional character while Aethelred and Aethelflaed are not. Upon Aethelred’s death, Aethelflaed assumed control, which is historical fact.
“The way the books handled fictional Uhtred’s involvement in all that: The author of the books connected Uhtred to Aethelred by making them cousins (not factual), thus Uhtred was next in line as Aethelred’s only surviving male relative. After a rumble with the Witan, they accepted him as Aethelred’s successor but only after Uhtred had them recognize that he would have the indisputable right to name his own successor. After Uhtred accepted, he immediately abdicated to Aethelflaed.”
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In real life, Aethelred, the King of Mercia, married Aethelflaed as part of a political strategy to unite Mercia and Wessex.
Similarly, Aethelflaed’s mother Aelswith (Eliza Butterworth) had married King Alfred (David Dawson), to form a link between the two kingdoms.
Aethelflaed has always been strategic when it comes to protecting her people and her family, and she would only marry again if it was to benefit those she cares about.
Fans will remember that towards the end of season four, she made a pact to remain ‘chaste’ so long as she was the ruler of Mercia.
This means she is unable to form a romantic relationship with a man, and it forced her to part ways with Uhtred.
However there is nothing to stop the creators of the series from stepping away from the facts for part of season five, so Aethelflaed may grow closer to Aldhelm after all.
Speaking about the evolution of his character throughout the series, actor Northcote said: “He has evolved in a way that I found really fascinating to play. He has grown up from a master manipulator, puppeteer, coming up from the Mercian ranks, from who knows where, to this position of influence and importance – but one that is incredibly complicated and difficult and hard to navigate.
“He’s become a much more compassionate and honourable person, with a much clearer vision for the England that he wants to be a part of creating. In some ways, I think
he takes on the challenge that Alfred leaves with his death, in the same way that Edward and Aethelflaed do and I think that’s one of the reasons he feels so close to her.”
He also admitted his character was in love with Aethelflaed, which suggests their relationship could be addressed further in the upcoming season.
He said: “Aldhelm and Uhtred are not as different as I first thought. They are both men with strong principles and they now both love the same person. I think that’s the thing that really ties them together.
“You really get to see that in season four, where they’re both in love with the incredibly important, powerful, amazing woman that is Aethelflaed.”
The Last Kingdom is on Netflix now
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