Iseult of Cornwalum was a supporting character in both The Saxon Stories novel series, and The Last Kingdom television series. She was a Briton shadow queen ("gwrach" or sorceress) from Cornwalum who was married to a minor petty king named Peredur who kept her virginity in the belief that it maintained her powers of prophecy.
She has saved the life of the infant Edward, when he was on the brink of death, with her knowledge and gift.
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Upon meeting Uhtred, Iseult discovers that his arrival will result in her freedom. She convinces Peredur to hire Uhtred and his ship's crew when they appeared off the coast, in order to fight the Danish warlord Skorpa, who had captured a nearby fort. Skorpa and Uhtred ended up colluding to turn on Peredur and pillage his settlement. Uhtred and Skorpa return to claim the king's silver after killing him. She tells them that the silver is under his throne and they begin searching. Skorpa double crosses Uhtred. He holds an axe to the queen’s throat as his men walk out with the riches. Skorpa whispers something into Iseult’s ear before releasing her and leaving. After they’re gone, Iseult tells Uhtred that she can get him more silver. There’s more hidden outside under a stack of hay. ("Episode 1.6")
Uhtred returns home with Iseult. He informs Mildrith that she’s a Queen of Britons. His son has been baptized against Uhtred’s wishes. Iseult tells Mildrith that she’s no longer part of Uhtred’s path. And then Uhtred informs Mildrith that he’s settled her debt to the church. That’s the only reason he came back. Before Uhtred left, he’s said that he loved her, and while that’s true, he no longer wishes to be with Mildrith. And she kicks him out. ("Episode 1.6")
Uhtred and Queen Iseult take shelter with the animals. She tells Uhtred that she will be with him from now until the very end. He wants her to see his home. However, Iseult tells him to give into fate and attend Alfred’s Witan. They later arrive in Winchester for the Witan, where Uhtred is sentenced to death. ("Episode 1.6")
The battle between Uhtred and Leofric is about to commence. Iseult watches from the crowd. Wulfhere stands between them and officiates. They grab their swords and shields and proceed to battle. As Uhtred and Leofric trade blows, the town gets word of a Dane invasion led by Young Ragnar and Guthrum. ("Episode 1.7")
Uhtred, Leofric, and Iseult take cover. They watch as Young Odda and Wulfhere ride out on horses. Without a means to escape, the three of them take refuge in the attic of a shack until nightfall. They watch from the attic as three Danes rape a nun named Hild. She pleads with them for mercy, and so Iseult intervenes. She jumps down and stabs a Dane in his eye with a dagger. Hild finishes him off while Uhtred and Leofric kill the remaining two Danes. Uhtred and Leofric disguise themselves as Danes and parade Iseult and Hild as their prisoners in order to escape Winchester. ("Episode 1.7")
The four of them travel to Athelnev. They cross paths with priests fleeing from Danes. Uhtred and Leofric kill the attacking Danes while Iseult and Hild prepare a boat for them to escape on. As it turns out, one of the priests is actually King Alfred. His family is in the boat ahead. Uhtred blames Alfred for the attack on Winchester. He should’ve had watchers and spies on lookout. Like every kingdom before it, Wessex has fallen. ("Episode 1.7")
Iseult gives Alfred a tonic for the pain in his stomach. She knows that he passes blood, which he hasn’t shared with anyone and hopes to heal him with herbs. He drinks it, and she tells him there will be more tomorrow. ("Episode 1.7")
Alfred returns to Iseult for another tonic. Uhtred tells him how Iseult is a healer and could possibly help his son. However, Alfred merely walks away. Hild warns Uhtred and Iseult that their tonic better work or else Iseult will be blamed for the child’s death. ("Episode 1.7")
Iseult brings Alfred over another tonic. Still, Ælswith sees her as nothing more than a pagan witch and wants nothing to do with her. If they allow it, she can try to help Edward. Tonight is a good night but tomorrow will be too late. Ælswith refuses her help and tells Iseult to get out of her sight. Æthelflæd tends to Edward, but he starts to cry and Alfred picks him up. Uhtred tells Iseult to go prepare and reminds Alfred that they only have one chance. ("Episode 1.7")
Iseult prepares to heal Edward. He will pass from one chamber to another. From near death to life. However, if the child lives, then another somewhere will die. She will be taking a stranger’s life. Uhtred assures her this must be done. ("Episode 1.7")
Iseult tends to Edward overnight. Alfred finds them the following morning. She presents the child to Alfred as he has been healed. Alfred takes his child and rejoices. Iseult proceeds to cry for the stranger’s child who will now die in Edward’s place. ("Episode 1.7")
Uhtred, Leofric, Iseult, Hild, Alfred, Beocca, and Brother Asser leave the marshes and set sail for Winchester. They arrive on land and cross paths with Wulfhere’s man, Halig. He reveals that Wulfhere left without saying where. So, they continue on their path to Odda’s estate. ("Episode 1.8")
They arrive at Uhtred’s farmstead. Uhtred and Leofric go ahead of the group, where they find that his home has been attacked. His tenants were killed and burned. In his backyard, Uhtred finds a small grave. He suspects that it’s his child. He digs up the grave with his hands and cries over the child’s body. Iseult comforts him. Iseult tells Uhtred that Mildrith has left and that his tears on the earth will show Young Uhtred that he was loved. ("Episode 1.8")
Iseult blames herself for the death of Young Uhtred. She believes that she killed him by saving Edward. She sees too much and knows too much and wishes to do so no more. She gives up her her power by having sex with Uhtred in the woods. ("Episode 1.8")
After having sex, Iseult reveals to Uhtred that his sister, Thyra, didn’t die in the fire and is very much alive in the north. Skorpa told Iseult. She thought it could be a lie, but she’s seen it for herself. However, Iseult’s gift is now fading. When this battle is over, Uhtred is to head north and face his past. ("Episode 1.8")
Alfred gives a speech to his army of great numbers. They will murder the Danes and any who wish to take from them. They will strip them of what they have plundered and show them no mercy. Uhtred tells Iseult that should he fall, he wants her and Hild to take his horse and ride clear of the battlefield. Iseult assures him that he won’t fail and they part ways. ("Episode 1.8")
Watching as the Danes lose ground, Skorpa takes his men and attacks the camp. Many are killed in the attack. Hild tries to defend the camp, but is knocked down. Iseult then runs off on her own after being spotted by Skorpa, who kills her. Skorpa calls out Uhtred and reveals that he has the head of his queen. Skorpa tosses Iseult’s head to the ground. ("Episode 1.8")
This list shows the battles Iseult has participated in:
|The Saxon Stories||✔|
- Iseult is a native of Kernow or Cornwalum (modern Cornwall). And as a 'shadow queen' is one of the remaining Celtic pagans in Britain.
- In "The Pale Horseman", Uhtred describes her as being "thin, so thin that she looked like the ælfcynn, the elf-kind, but she was happy".
- Iseult converted religions, she was born a pagan but converted into Christianity in the novels. She had befriended Father Pyrlig who would later baptise her.
- Iseult was a noble; she was married to a petty king in Cornwalum, making her his queen.