Historical drama. The life of Saxon boy Uhtred is turned upside down by his father's defeat in the Danish invasion of York. His quest begins to regain the Saxon lands.
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The tide is on the turn!
I'll not warn you again!
The devil's turds.
Are they traders?
No. They come as Vikings. We go!
Where's my son?
Uhtred, take half a dozen men and ride to the river.
There are pagans there. Watch them, see how many they are!
-Of course, Father.
-Do nothing more, you understand?
Osbert, what is it?
-Ships! I saw them first from the beach.
Danes. They're heading for the river!
God and his saints preserve us, they have no soul.
-We must pray.
-We must act.
Uhtred, do not fight them - not a single one.
-Be back by nightfall.
They are sent by God, to punish us for our sins.
Our sins be damned. They're here to support the Viking army in Eoferwic.
-You must instruct the priest to pray for our deliverance.
-Lord? Get them inside!
Take in as many women and elders as we can.
The rest, to higher ground and out of sight.
Send word to rouse the country. I want every man inside this fortress
and every man must be prepared to die.
-Port side, ready to row!
-Port side, ready to row!
-Starboard side, ready to row!
-Starboard side, ready to row!
-What else do you see?
I see a clear river, with fish as big as a man's leg.
I see a forest alive with meat
and, more than that, I see a place to grow fat and old.
Yeah. I see spies, shitting themselves.
We'll meet sword with sword! You are pagans!
We have a greater god on our side!
Kjartan, I think we should teach this boy a lesson.
Taking her in - at speed.
-Pick up the speed!
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.
The Danes may be heading south to Eoferwic,
but they will kill whoever they can on the way.
Now, go find the priest.
Come in, Osbert. Don't skulk in the shadows.
He...wants to know if you're ready?
Do you know what I'm tasked with?
Er, a letter?
A response to a letter - this letter, from King Aella...
..asking your father for his support, his army,
to help recapture the City of Eoferwic.
This is why it's important for you to be able to read and write.
Father can't read nor write.
Yeah, well, for your father, it's too late.
King Aella could have sent a man on horseback.
Yeah, but who's to say the man on horseback speaks the truth,
or has remembered the true message?
What these letters will represent is history, facts...
Your father is informing King Aella and King Osbert
he will be alongside their armies at Eoferwic
and the mark of Bebbanburg will guarantee the truth of it.
Why do we fight for Eoferwic?
Well, we fight for Eoferwic because we do not wish to see England,
piece by piece, become Daneland.
I heard it said that we were pagans once -
that Woden and Odin are the same.
We saw the error of our ways and we looked to Rome.
I heard the pagans had fierce gods of war.
Well, we are right and they are mistaken. Osbert, we are blessed.
I should make you swear on St Cuthbert's comb
never to mention the likes of Woden again.
But what if I had a hound called Woden?
-What if I did? What would you do then?
-You haven't, you have not!
What if you had a pig called Thor? Come, let's go see your father.
-A pig called Thor! Is it really St Cuthbert's comb?
Of course it's St Cuthbert's comb
and his holy hair lies in the teeth of that comb.
Where was your father last?
He was humping the servant girl.
-That's a lie, Osbert.
-Are you never going to tire of teasing?
He rides Uhtred's horse.
Bury what's left of him.
Osbert, come on.
Remind me of the last words I spoke to him.
You told him to watch, do not fight.
We have no idea of the circumstance...
-"Do not fight" means "do not fight".
-He was young.
There was no fight to be had until Eoferwic.
You wanted to see Osbert, my Lord.
You are now called Uhtred. Uhtred, son of Uhtred.
You have your stone, the amber?
-The priest will show you your history, the parchments.
Make him understand who he is.
Lord, I... I should like to baptise him again.
Well, if he arrives at heaven's gate as Uhtred,
they might wonder what's happened to Osbert.
Do what you must, but do as I ask.
We were kings here once, boy.
Kings of all the lands between the Rivers Tuede and Tyne.
We should be kings again.
Yes, we should, but it does not matter what they call us,
so long as they obey.
Our ancestors took this land
and it has been strengthened with our blood and bone.
And now, you are the new heir of Bebbanburg. You hear me?
-And you will die for it, if needed.
And I'll give you the head of the man who killed Uhtred.
No, you are Uhtred!
Have you not been listening to me?
Do not tell me what it is you will do, you are just a pup!
You will give me nothing. You will watch and you will learn!
-Put him in the water, before his mother's tongue gives me grief.
-She's not my mother.
Will you take him with you to battle, to watch and learn?
He's old enough.
I need you to choose 30 men and remain here at Bebbanburg.
Protect the boy. He is the heir.
30 will hold and is few enough to feed. Will you do this for me?
-I'd rather be with you at Eoferwic, but I'll do as you ask.
Come on, quickly.
Up there, go on.
receive your servant, Uhtred,
into the holy canon of saints
and into the ranks of the most bright angels.
Let your holy waters cleanse him
and make him worthy of your blessing.
Make him your instrument and your rod.
Let him realise the significance of the written word,
so that he may learn of your glory and, in turn, may spread your word.
-Let him grow in wisdom and in respect,
so he may lead in a Godly manner.
Beo... Beocca, he's cleansed!
-UHTRED GASPS FOR AIR
Uhtred, son of Uhtred of Bebbanburg, welcome to the Christian world.
-Behold your people and your lands.
Where are the people, the soldiers?
On the road to Eoferwic, led by your father,
where he'll join the other two Kings of Northumbria.
With...? Without me?
You are to remain at Bebbanburg, with your kindly uncle.
I'm sworn to keep you safe.
Should you wish to fight, we can always arm-wrestle.
-Where's the priest?
-With your father. Eat.
You have work to do, Uhtred, in the stables.
Thankfully, we've been left some horses.
-You should eat.
-I'm not hungry.
We have work to do, horseshit to shovel.
Come and find me when you've finished.
Scallion, if my brother falls in battle...
..the boy must fall.
All this way and no reception party(!)
Guthrum. How are you?
I'm fine. I'm hungry! And your boy?
-Ubba, I brought men and horses.
Good to see you. Are you well?
You made a gift of his own son's head?
How did this Lord react?
He did nothing.
He brought his warriors into the fortress and kept them inside.
It was not cowardice.
He's saving his men.
That man is Uhtred,
one of the three Kings of Northumbria - a warrior king.
The other two are fools. They would rather be fighting each other.
-This is true?
-King Aella and King Osbert -
they both lay claim to Eoferwic.
They have the strangest of names.
So, when do we fight?
Soon, I hope.
I'm still to decide.
Fools or not,
they have three armies.
-They have numbers.
-But are divided.
Three kings, but only one who can lead them - this Uhtred.
Then we kill him and Northumbria is ours - all of it.
Listen to him, listen to the boy, he reminds me of me!
Yeah, when you were younger.
Of course, when I was younger. He's just a boy.
-Did you say I was old?
-I'm not getting old.
Ubba, I have seen the land outside the city.
I have a plan in mind, a good plan.
And my son would like to wet his sword with you.
So, do we fight?
The signs are good.
Only this morning, I saw a raven flying towards the Saxon camp
-and he was asking me to follow, I'm sure of it.
-Then, we fight.
What kind of hell is this?
It's a pagan's hell. We outnumber them.
But there are more - there must be.
Nothing changes. We attack with half our number -
the second half to follow, once we have the measure of them.
They have conceded the higher ground.
King Aella, yours and Lord Uhtred's armies
will attack in the first wave.
SWORDS DRAWN HORN BLOWS
No. No, not without me!
Come nightfall, we'll be rid of this plague
and counting our share of the plunder.
VIKINGS WHISPER AND HISS
Kill them all! SAXONS BATTLE CRY
The wall is holding.
Go! Hands below your shield and drive! Drive!
Push! Keep pushing! It's working!
They're tiring, they can't fight back.
-We're winning! Look, we're winning!
Not yet! Not yet!
Dear God, no.
Dear God of infinite mercy, not this!
Kill them all!
SHRIEKS AND CRIES
Legs! Legs! Protect your legs!
Lift up your sword
and spare these men of England, who fight in your name.
Let the heathens' hearts crumble and wither.
Restore your power upon these men of England,
so they can glorify your name with the blood of the devils.
Have mercy now, Lord.
Do not forsake us. Do not forsake England!
Follow me! Follow me!
Close the shield wall! Close the wall and take him!
UHTRED CRIES OUT
He's like a wasp.
-The wasp has lost its sting.
UHTRED CRIES OUT EARL RAGNAR WINCES
-Are you sure he's a Saxon? He fights like a Dane.
GIRL SCREAMS Leave her!
She is to live.
Some of these young ones can come in useful.
Father, here's the boy I spoke of.
The one who almost killed you?
You're leaving him with me?
I've never seen a man get the better of you yet.
VIKINGS SHOUT AND CHEER
Cut me some chicken.
Careful, the blade is sharp.
It can kill a man.
The chicken is on your platter.
Have you always been blind?
Oh, I see enough.
So, who have they been killing below?
Just now, a king.
Did he die well?
Then he shouldn't have been King.
Tell me, who sits in the middle of the hall?
-Please, please... Ahh!
Is it the big man and the small man?
Yes, and a grey man sits in-between them.
If you get to live, you should beware of the big man, Ubba.
My advice for you is to never to cross Ubba
and never, never fight him.
"If I get to live"?
He listens to no-one but the gods.
Men who take their orders from the gods are unpredictable.
WOMAN SHRIEKS CHEERING
What did you mean when you said, "If I get to live"?
You're my prisoner.
The grey man will be Egbert.
He's a Saxon Ealdorman.
He has pledged his allegiance and now calls himself "King".
He is king of nothing.
Soon, all the kings in England shall be kings of nothing.
Northumbria is ours.
Mercia will soon be ours.
Then East Anglia, Cornwallum -
and then, the greatest prize is the last kingdom -
-I've heard of Wessex.
Anything will grow in Wessex.
Tell me your name.
Uhtred. I am the ealdorman of Bebbanburg.
I am. I own lands to the north.
How long have you been an ealdorman of these lands?
Your father chose to fight us...
..and is now dead.
He... He was not fond of me.
I now understand why my son spared you...
..Uhtred of Bebbanburg.
You are a warrior.
Have some ale.
..lots of it.
Take it up there.
I'm thinking of keeping them both -
the boy and the girl - they can help your mother.
But we did kill his father.
And, if he is an ealdorman, we could sell him for a ransom.
Brida, be careful not to spill the water.
You'll turn the floor to mud.
Uhtred, wood needs to be chopped!
Brida, you can do the goats.
Will there be time for Uhtred to play?
Only when work is done.
I don't like our daughter having to play with the slaves.
-They're only children.
-They have a place.
Hey, Ragnar Ragnarson!
Hey, Uhtred of wherever.
How about you teach me how to use a sword?
We don't teach slaves how to fight!
That tongue of yours will be your death, boy.
Now, get back to work!
What does the play involve?
We built a hall in the gorge.
I'm the mistress and Uhtred is a warrior.
Not a servant?
It is a game.
That's it, a wolf.
Boar, watch out!
I saw it - its sharp teeth and yellow eyes.
Don't let the wolves get to me, Uhtred!
Use the fire to keep them away.
I see them. They're as big as Ubba and smell worse.
Did you see that?
Stay up there.
Uhtred, what is happening?
Stay up there, Thyra. It's Sven, he won't hurt you.
-But he'll kill us!
He'll kill us! run!
That was a real sword!
I saw it.
You been fighting again?
-Uhtred, he's much bigger than you.
-He's a turd.
-Why do you say that?
Who started it?
-Who began the fight?
-I began the fight.
For no other reason than that he's a turd?
-Danes have murdered for less.
-Uhtred, that's enough!
-Do you want to be sold, boy?
-I wish to eat.
I wish to eat!
You want to eat?
You want to eat?
You know what?
I say you starve.
Fighting is expected, disobedience is not.
Sven began the fight!
Earl Ragnar, let me first say, he's a... He's a good boy.
He brought a sword onto my land. I will have words with him.
-In time, he'll serve on your ship. He... He...
-He has offended me.
He will honour you and he meant no harm, Lord.
He meant no harm? He looked at my daughter's nakedness.
And he was punished. Your Saxon slave cut him.
Shall I make a square of branches?
Are you to fight me for your son or fetch him?!
Sven! Come out here.
-Tell him what you have to say.
-He can't hear you.
I'm sorry, Lord, for what I did.
You laid hands on my daughter.
You stripped her naked.
-Half naked, Lord.
-He's at an age, Lord.
Is this true - half naked?
Then I shall only take his one eye.
No, no, please!
Kjartan, you are banished from my land.
I have something for you.
What is it?
An amulet. Thor's hammer.
-Don't you want it?
-I... I do want it!
-Then take it.
-I don't think he wants it.
-I... I do want it!
No, I don't think so.
Tell me about Denmark...
What can I say about Denmark?
The ground is so flat and sandy, you can't grow a fart,
which is why we're here in England...
And why young Ragnar will soon be going for Ireland.
You leave to fight?
To make my wealth.
If you want land or silver, you have to take it.
You made me proud today...Uhtred.
You made me proud.
I don't know you, you don't have the appearance of a messenger,
and Ubba's payment's not yet due.
I was a ship's master.
Ah. Well, I have no ships. I need no ship's master.
I have news that you will want to hear.
-I would want something in return, Lord.
-Not now, not coin.
But perhaps we can continue to help each other.
Two days south of here is Earl Ragnar,
the man I used to serve, until he banished me.
He has a slave - treats him well.
This is a slave you are entitled to buy back, if you wish to.
It's your nephew - Uhtred, Lord.
What if I'm against being ransomed?
Your family has discovered that you're still alive...
..and they wish for you to be returned,
but they must pay.
-Ubba takes more than half.
But I have no family.
Keep them over there, tether the horses.
Are they treating you well?
-I am fed, yes.
-Good, good. That's all we ask.
And what is that around your neck, some symbol?
Oh, this? They make me wear it.
May I see it?
Look, I will speak plainly.
Your uncle will kill you.
Right? You cannot go back to Bebbanburg, you must escape.
He wants to be the ealdorman. He wants to be the king, in fact,
like the pathetic Egbert over there.
A puppet king for his Danish masters. You should go to Wessex.
King Aethelred, real King Aethelred and his brother, Prince Alfred,
they're good men - good Christian men.
That's enough whispering in his ear, priest.
-One more word and I'll have your ball-bag for a purse.
(I'll meet you there.) That will not be necessary.
What did he say?
He... He asked if you were treating me well.
That is a ridiculous amount.
How can a boy be worth 300 pieces of silver?
Because I say so.
Because he is a lord and an ealdorman.
He is a boy. I am the ealdorman of Bebbanburg.
I carry the seal and the banner.
That seal is my father's, which is now mine!
You be silent. You are for sale, nothing more.
-For ransom, Lord.
-That is what I said.
My Lords, I have given up land, horses...
I've offered a generous supply of food, as well as my sword.
All I ask in return is a fair price for my only nephew.
What would you say is a fair price?
-I will offer 100 pieces of silver.
My allegiance and 100 pieces is surely a fair price.
It is not.
I will give 120 pieces of silver for the boy.
Very well. 200 pieces.
I agree to your terms.
EARL RAGNAR WHISPERS
-The boy is sold to Earl Ragnar.
That's what I said. The matter is closed.
My Lords, I have come a long way. I have offered my allegiance...
Which is why you are allowed to breathe.
If you have an argument, it's with me now.
If business is done, we have ale to drink.
-And King Egbert needs to shit!
Am I not for ransom anymore?
You heard Ubba, I bought you.
I thought I might sacrifice you to Odin.
-You bought me for how much?
How much is too much?
My sword's weight in silver.
I agree, I may have been robbed, but we like you, boy.
We're going to keep you.
Does this mean I'm a Dane?
It means is that you are Uhtred Ragnarson.
You are a son to me now. UHTRED YELPS
Brida, not that way! Take the goat out the side.
Next time, I promise!
-It's beautiful, it really is.
I can't believe I'm losing you already.
I will be living across the field.
And if he doesn't treat you well,
you just come marching right back across that field.
Oh, look at this place!
Uhtred, do you like my wedding necklace?
I do. Very pretty.
He doesn't know anything about necklaces.
You might as well ask me.
Uhtred, with me. You can help me slaughter the goats.
I've only just washed.
Ha! The goats will be pleased.
Later, you can sweep the floor.
This is an excuse to talk, that's all.
With Thyra to be married, maybe it's time you got together with Brida.
There are men, good men, asking about her.
So, you have to decide what you are to her - what you are to each other.
Brida has her own mind.
She has, but I see the way she looks at you.
She's watching the charcoal tonight in the woods.
Take my horse and join her.
The earth will be warm... UHTRED LAUGHS
I just thought, in order to be a real Dane, I had to marry a Dane.
I love you, like I love young Ragnar.
SHOUTING AND CHEERING WITHIN
What are you doing here?
Do you ever think of your English life?
Who you were, before we came to Ragnar?
-I think of who I...
-WHISPERED VOICES CONTINUE
Danes. Who are they?
And that must be Sven.
This is wrong. We need to tell Ragnar.
They are between us and the hall.
Then we go up and around - we leave the horses and run.
In front of the door. That's it!
Fire! Thyra, wake up! Sigrid, wake up!
Come on, come on!
This way, Ravn. Come, come quickly.
-The door is blocked!
-So is this one!
This one's open, this one's open. Come on, follow me, this way.
Take the children!
SCREAMS AND SHRIEKS
Don't go up there - wait for me!
Close the doors. We have Thyra, let the rest burn.
Take her with you to Valhalla.
-I will meet you there.
Find the Silver!
They're searching for Ragnar's wealth.
They'll never find it.
Search in the back! Come on, we're leaving soon.
You thought I'd let you marry someone else?
But..do you know what I will do with this body...
I will do all I have dreamt of...and more...
..and who will call a halt?
Earl Ragnar the Fearless is gone...
..and with him Uhtred...
..his Saxon pet...
..a pile of ashes.
Look at that man, the Saxon.
His name is Scallion. He works for my uncle.
He'll tell him that I'm dead.
Let him do it.
I see him with Kjartan.
-Burn it to the ground!
-He and your Uncle, maybe they're in it together.
-What makes them believe that they can do this without punishment?
They will be punished, but not by you.
Uhtred, listen to me. We serve Ragnar best alive.
We tell the story.
-I need to kill someone...
..and I choose him.
-The barn's over there!
-Check everybody's pockets.
The main thing is to keep the horses together, here.
Don't leave any weapons behind.
We'll look in the back.
Don't leave anything in there, just bring it all out.
Right, come on.
You know who I am? It's me you're looking for.
-It's me you're looking for.
You remember me? You remember me?
SCALLION GURGLES THUD
There's no more. We're going.
-Bring the horses.
By right, it belongs to Young Ragnar.
Yes, but we spend what we need to spend. We stay alive.
We tell the story and then what?
We find a new lord to serve.
I will not stand by
and have everything that's mine taken from me.
I'm going back.
To the beginning.
-Is it Scallion?
-No, my Lord. He looks like a Dane.
Could be one of Kjartan's men.
I am Uhtred of Bebbanburg and I shall take what is mine!
Bebbanburg is mine!
It is AD 866. The life of Saxon boy Uhtred is turned upside down by his father's defeat in the Danish invasion of York. Taken by Viking warlord Ragnar and raised as a Dane, his quest begins to regain the Saxon lands of his inheritance.