The Last Kingdom: Is Haesten based on a real person?

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The Last Kingdom is an Anglo-Saxon series on Netflix, which is based on The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell. The author is passionate about history, and some of his characters were inspired by real figures from the past. Express.co.uk has all you need to know about whether Haesten (played by Jeppe Beck Laursen) is based on a real person.

Is Haesten based on a real person?

Haesten is one of the main characters, who was introduced in season two of The Last Kingdom, and he is also the enemy in The Saxon Stories.

He was taken prisoner by Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon), who later freed him, and he returned to Eoferwic with Erik (Christian Hillborg) and Sigefrid (Björn Bengtsson).

Haesten was grateful to Uhtred for sparing his life, but he was still determined to overthrow him eventually.

He helped capture Aethelflaed (Millie Brady) – the daughter of King Alfred (David Dawson) – and made even more of an enemy of himself.

His character is known for instigating battles, but he hardly ever participates in them, showing his weakness.

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By season three, Haesten had become one of the victims of the witch Skade (Thea Sofie Lock Naess), who captivated him with her charm.

His character changed in season four, as he started to reveal he was ready to give up war and settle down with a wife and some land.

He had one last opportunity to kill Uhtred, having captured him and his friends on the road, but he let it slip when he wandered off into the forest, resulting in Eadith (Stefanie Martini) cutting the protagonists down and freeing them.

Fans were shocked when Haesten actually tried to help Eadith at the end of season four, showing some sort of compassion towards her.

He was last seen fleeing the Winchester siege on his own, as Eadith had refused to go with him. His character is most likely based on the real Viking chieftain – Hastein.

Hastein was known to have led a number of raids during the late 9th century, although little is known about his early life.

He is believed to have been involved in raids on the Frankish Empire, as well as the 859 raid on the Mediterranean.

During the mid 800s, he led an expedition with Bjorn Ironside – a protagonist who appears to be similar in the TV series Vikings.

Bjorn does not appear in The Last Kingdom, so although Haesten is based on the historical figure, the events of his past have been changed for the TV show.

The real Hastein raided France, Italy, and he also travelled to North Africa to buy slaves.

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In 866 he became an ally of Salomon, the King of Brittany, and killed Robert the Strong during the Battle of Brissarthe.

He stayed in Loire – in central France – until 882 when he was expelled by the French king Charles the Bald.

In 892 he travelled to England and took over the village of Milton in Kent, and his allies took over Appledore.

After striking a deal with Alfred the Great, he moved to Essex and set up a camp in Benfleet, with a plan to raid Mercia.

The plan failed, however, and Haesten’s wife and sons were taken captive by the West Saxon army. Another talk was held between Hastein and Alfred, and Hastein’s children were released.

The Danish warrior did not learn his lesson, as in 893 he moved to Chester to build another base and attack Mercia.

Once again they failed, and Hastein’s army moved on to Wales. He seems to disappear from historical sagas after the year 896.

He may have had very little luck on the battlefield, but he was still known as one of the most notorious Vikings of all time.

The Last Kingdom fans are keen to see what happens to Haesten in the upcoming season five, as he ended up alone in the season finale.

Fans who have already read the books will know of his fate, but there is always a chance the series could stray from the source material.

The Last Kingdom is on Netflix now

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