That is, Aethelred in “The Last Kingdom 4”, which is finally coming out also in Italy: on Premium Action, every Friday (the fourth episode is coming).
Considering that TLK 4, in clear, has not yet been released, the rest of this article (even if it only speaks of the events involving Aethelred) can be a SPOILER!
In this season of TLK, the Lord of Mercia is definitely still in tension with his wife Aethelflaed and her brother Edward (King of Wessex)
On the other hand, he seems to have become king: as he wished, he wears a crown and coins coins with his own image.
Around him now revolve the two brothers Eardwulf and Eadith (originally from a discredited family), whom he unfortunately trusts.
Eardwulf, commander of King Aethelred’s guard, “buys” information from a Danish spy: the latter are abandoning the conquered lands to go to Ireland (in reality they intend to attack Mercia).
Meanwhile, in his palace, Aethelred tries to get Eadith to “lie” with him.
The attempt to approach is, however, interrupted by the arrival of Lord Eardwulf, who reports what he has just learned (and verified in person).
Since it is supposed to remain defenseless, Aethelred thinks he can easily conquer East Anglia and thus become more powerful than King Edward.
He toasts the project with the two brothers and, knowing that the “populace” gives importance to this, he also decides to send monks to recover the heart of the patron saint of Mercia.
Then, after reminding Eadith that “the game isn’t over,” Aethelred leaves the room.
The two brothers, left alone, however, show their true intentions: they certainly do not have the good of their master at heart; indeed, albeit in different ways and times, they only aim at their own social rehabilitation.
Aethelred puts his conquest project into action and believes that, in the continuing tension between Wessex and Mercia, Mercia will eventually prevail.
Aethelred gives Eadith a dress made for her and would like her to wear it right away.
Eadith, however, refuses to do so: she claims to come from a noble family, so she doesn’t want to undress in front of him.
Then, seeing that Aethelred doesn’t give much credit to her motivations, she adds that she also cares about her Christian soul: he’s married!
The lord of Mercia makes fun of Christian values, but then his response is nothing short of disconcerting: he will remove the obstacle, that is, he will have his wife killed.
After the meeting, Eadith has a rather lively dialogue with her brother: she informs him of Aethelred’s intention and invites him not to go along with him. The responsibility for Aethelflaed’s death would ultimately fall on her and it certainly wouldn’t favor the plan the two of them have in mind.
For his part, however, Eardwulf tells her that he would never oppose the will of King Aethelred and invites her to do the same.
While Aethelred is absent, the Danes successfully attack defenseless Mercia. This, according to them, will oblige the king of Wessex to defend the mercians and… even in this case their victory will be taken for granted.
Jamie Blackley and Stefanie Martini
While Regbo has been part of the TLK cast since Season 2, Blackley and Martini represent two new entrants.
Jamie Alexander Blackley (Douglas, 8 July 1991) is a Mannese actor, residing in London.
Blackley’s first success as a stage actor was at the age of 17, when he joined the main cast of Spring Awakening, the British version of the acclaimed and controversial American musical. On television he stars in numerous series playing supporting roles, some of them relatively popular as Matt in the first season of Misfitse Raphael in I Borgia…
On a cinematic level Blackley also appears in highly publicized films such as London Boulevard, Biancaneve e il cacciatore and Il quinto potere. In 2012 he plays main characters in films Vynil, British comedy about the life of singer Mike Peters, e And While We Were Here, a love story filmed in Ischia presented in world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
With the film Uwantme2killhim?, Blackley in 2013 wins together with the co-star Toby Regbo the award for Best Performance in a British Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The thriller tells dramatic events that really happened to two English students who frequent online chat.
He later increased his popularity by starring in the lead role in Resta anche domani, film adaptation of the best seller of the same name by the American writer Gayle Forman. In 2015 he starred in Woody Allen’s film Irrational Man.
Lorna Michelle Stefanie Martini (Bristol, 6 October 1990) is a British actress.
Stefanie Martini grew up in North Somerset, where she attended Churchill Academy and Sixth Form from 2002 to 2009. After graduating from high school, Martini participated in the one-year theater project Made in Bristol to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre. Since 2012 he has studied entertainment at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, obtaining the baccalaureate in 2015.
Historically, Aethelred is a real character: the lord of Mercia is definitely older than his wife and, at some point, perhaps due to his health problems, he lets Aethelflaed become the protagonist in the defense of his land.
In the TV series, Aethelred is indeed the lord of Mercia, but much of what is narrated has no historical basis: the relationship with his wife from the very beginning is one of absolute tension and the characters, which revolve around him, are even invented.
Good? Bad? Sure, Aethelred isn’t a good guy, but he’s not just a bad guy either. He is a complex character.
Aethelred defends Mercia but not the country and its inhabitants: he only aims to increase his personal power.
He marries Aethelflaed for political reasons but makes no effort to camouflage him: on the contrary, he makes terrible decisions towards his wife.
It allies and betrays with great ease: it depends on how functional it is to its purpose.
His attitude is often “light”: even when he makes the most disconcerting decisions he does so with an almost joking tone.
In short, he is an opportunist who apparently always manages the game as a protagonist. Do you believe it? Will you make us believe it? The strength of the character lies in navigating between the two possible answers.
An apparently simple role for the actor: Regbo played the good and almost perfect Francis (in “Reign”); therefore, it is enough to turn the interpretative skills from “positive” to “negative”.
But… as I wrote above, Aethelred is by no means a linear character. You have to make that “Do you believe it? Will you make us believe it? “. And, in my opinion, Regbo has succeeded.
An improper first, because in fact it concerns my work. Having received a request to do so, last week I also published the article translated into English. It was appreciated, so I think I do it again.
Last year, on the occasion of Regbo’s birthday, Dream It posted a short video recorded during LMSR 2019 in Paris.
LMSR 2020 also in Paris, for now, has been postponed to a later date.
On the other hand, for the next 14-15 November Dream It organized DIAH5.
Will Toby attend?
For now, even if in advance, I wish him HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
TIPS (LINK Web – YouTube)
- (Previous article in Italian) Toby Regbo: “TLK 2” (2017).
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