The Last Kingdom plot hole: Why did Aethelflaed not marry Uhtred?

The Last Kingdom: Aethelflaed disobeys Aethelred

The Last Kingdom is on Netflix and season four arrived earlier in 2020, and it was full of surprises. In the latest season, Aethelflaed (played by Millie Brady), sacrificed her relationship with Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) so she could become Lady of Mercia. Fans believe Aethelflaed could have married Uhtred, and the pair could have ruled Mercia together.

Why did Aethelflaed not marry Uhtred?

At the start of season four of The Last Kingdom, Aethelflaed and Uhtred acknowledged their feelings for each other and they started a secret relationship.

Uhtred continued to support Aethelflaed’s plight and helped her fight against the Danes in the Battle of Tettenhall.

Yet fans were not happy with the way Aethelflaed repaid Uhtred for his support, particularly following the death of her husband Aethelred (Toby Regbo).

The people of Mercia faced a difficult decision as to who would take Aethelred’s place as leader, and many felt Uhtred should take on the role.

Aethelflaed, however, disagreed and said she should be the rightful ruler of the Mercian people, leaving fans shocked at her viewpoint.

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In the end, the people of Mercia agreed Aethelflaed could take on the role as leader after she vowed to remain ‘chaste’ and not let a man get in the way of her leadership.

Fans have since pointed out she could have married Uhtred, as the Mercian people had nothing against him and would have been happy to see him rule.

Markelorenz said on Reddit: “Aethelflaed, why did you not support Uhtred? You could have ruled Mercia together, but instead you said Uhtred was not right even though the Witten accepted him. Bummer – hope you enjoy seeing Uhtred with another woman.”

Uhtred had been appointed leader of Mercia as a temporary solution until a rightful heir was old enough to take over.

Lemurwars said: “Why did she take a chastity oath instead of saying she’d marry Uhtred? The ealdormen were only against her rule because they were afraid she’d take a husband they didn’t approve of…while the guy she loves is standing there and they’ve all just approved of him.

“Why didn’t she just say she’ll take Uhtred as a husband to calm them down? That would have solved all problems.

“She could have become the ruler of Mercia while keeping Uhtred as a lover. Instead she takes some stupid chastity oath!”

Fans were disappointed with Aethelflaed’s decision, saying it came across as she no longer wanted Uhtred in the picture after everything he had done for her.

Some have gone as far as to say she may become the antagonist in the upcoming season five if she continues to ignore her feelings for Uhtred.

One fan pointed out how it was never in Uhtred’s interest to rule Mercia, so Aethelflaed was simply doing him a favour.

EncryptedFreedom said: “I don’t think Uhtred ever really wanted Mercia. He was only following Edward’s orders so there could be peace.

“Giving it to Aethelflaed makes sense because he gets to dodge ruling Mercia and can find a new path for himself. Don’t for one second tell me that Uhtred’s destiny is to rule Mercia with Aethelflaed because that’s a very uneasy fan theory.”

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While some fans were against Aethelflaed and her decision, others supported her, saying she was one of the strongest and most relentless characters of the series.

The show is based on The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell, which draw inspiration from real events and real historical figures.

The real Aethelflaed did in fact become leader of Mercia, and she worked alongside her brother Edward (Timothy Innes) to rid the Saxon kingdoms of Danes.

With this in mind, the series is staying true to historical events by putting Aethelflaed in a high position of power.

The question remains as to whether she will be reunited with Uhtred again in the fifth season.

Ahead of the season four release, actress Brady said how she enjoyed the relationship between Aethelflaed and Uhtred as it was based on foundations of friendship.

She said the two characters see each other as “on par”, which suggests Aethelflaed does not think of herself as above Uhtred in any way – something fans have suggested in the past.

The trouble is, both characters are as fierce as each other, and are just as adamant to get what they want, so there may be some further clashes to come.

Despite their fallouts, the actress said Uhtred and Aethelflaed had a huge amount of love and respect for one another.

Fans are only hoping this can be explored further in season five, which is currently in the making.

The Last Kingdom is on Netflix now

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