• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting

 Thorkell: Good friar, what say you? Who is greater, your Jesus or our Aesir?

Willibald: ...Whichever created liquor.



 Thors: A true warrior needs no blade.


A manga series created by Makoto Yukimura, author of Planetes. Vinland Saga was started in 2005. It chronicles the adventures of a band of Vikings.

Taking place in the 11th century the story chronicles the life of Thorfinn Karlsefni, an Icelandic boy who becomes a warrior to avenge his father's death. He does so by dogging the heels of his father's killer, Askeladd, by fighting in Askeladd's band. But it's not some story of deception. Askeladd is aware that Thorfinn wants to kill him, and he gleefully uses this information to manipulate the boy into doing his bidding in exchange for a one-on-one duel.

As we follow Thorfinn around, the story expands to the Danes' pacification of England of the early eleventh century and the rise to power of King Canute.

Ultimately the series has a lot of brutal (but fun!) battles. It's also fairly accurate about viking culture, so it teaches you stuff while you read (yes, it's that awesome). It's also got some pretty snappy dialogue and humorous little exchanges between characters both major and minor.

No relation to the classical viking sagas known as the Vinland Sagas, about the explorations of Erik the Red and his son Leif. Though they are alluded to through the stories of Leif Erikson, alias, Leif the Lucky.

Can be read at pretty much any scanlation site.

Tropes used in Vinland Saga include:

  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Ketil's housecarls eventually convince Ormar into believing in this trope. It's deconstructed: Not only is his attempts to cut down slaves 'to become a man' a miserable failure he can't go through on, but when he actually ends up killing a man in a fixed duel he becomes horrified.
  • Acceptable Breaks From Reality: In Chapter 79, The Bible is being read to confort an old man's soul, that's okay, it quickly delivers the message of a dying man seeking for help beyond men's capabilities. Still they're in 1018, the Dark Ages, no Bible was written in any language other than latin, also pretty much any class below nobles and the clergy didn't know how to read; the odds of any lower class being able to read latin, or a bible being translated to his language, and even so being able to read his own language is extremely low, to downright impossible.
  • Action Girl: In a Canon omake, Ylfa fantasizes about becoming a Badass pirate queen. The fact that she eagerly joins in on the occasional whale hunt proves she's no tender maid.
  • Alternate Realm Interpretation: In Thorfinn's nightmare, Valhalla is depicted as an never-ending battleground for the "glorious dead." The aforementioned dead people are rotting away and there is nothing glorious about it at all.
  • Anti-Hero: The only hero in the entire story is Thors, and he's been dead for over a decade when the plot starts.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted, arrows are often used to great effect.
  • Anyone Can Die: Only Thorfinn is left in the story out of all the characters from the opening chapters. It's safe to say that any character that doesn't have a historical basis, and even some that do, will meet a grisly end.
  • Art Evolution: When it changed from being a weekly Shonen to a monthly Seinen, the art became more detailed and a few of the character designs were tweaked as well, most notably with Bjorn.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted altogether for the most part, with only two minor exceptions.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: After Ragnar's death, Canute flips out, not wanting to leave without his body. Askeladd gives him one of these and he shuts right up.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: After Askeladd kills King Sweyn, Canute kills Askeladd, as part of a plan to transfer control of the Danish army and kingdom to Canute. Thorfinn, being hugely upset to learn that he has been robbed of the chance to avenge himself on Askeladd, launches an attack on Canute but only manages to slash Canute's face. Canute, declaring that someone must take control of the situation, picks up the fallen crown from the floor and crowns himself, all the while bleeding profusely from his face. Friggin' awesome. Anyone else see the pun?
  • Axe Crazy: Literally and in the trope sense with Thorkell, who dual-wields poleaxes. It helps that he's seven feet tall.
  • Badass: The entire cast. They're Vikings, how can they possibly be anything else?
  • Badass Army: The Jomsvikings. While the other vikings are mostly pirates, these men are an elite mercenary army. They even go for The Faceless look, alsways wearing their eye covering helmets and their cloaks covering their lower faces.
  • Badass Boast: When facing off against Thorkell the second time, Thorkell tells Thorfinn that if he wants to hear more about his father, he'll have to keep fighting him. Thorfinn responds by telling Thorkell he's okay with that, but Thorkell might not be in any condition to speak after they duel. strangely enough, this isn't an actual boast on Thorfinn's part- it's a statement of fact.
    • In the same battle Askeladd mutters "To think the day would come that I, Askeladd, would be unable to escape from just 50 men.", while standing on a mound of corpses.
  • Bastard Bastard: Askeladd
  • Battle Butler: Bjorn serves as Askeladd's right hand man.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Thorfinn after the death of Askelladd, his motivation in life has been taken from him, his usual cold composure and social detachment becomes even more pronounced, though he loses his battle ferocity and becomes (more) silent, docile, and generally bored of life, and he eventually becomes a slave)
  • Berserk Button: Do not threaten Wales while in the same room as Askeladd. Or mention his mother.
  • The Blacksmith: Thors becomes an apprentice blacksmith in Iceland. He's not very good at it.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: This being Scandinavia, a number of characters are blonde. This being a Grey and Grey Morality kind of manga, even the nicer ones are evil in a general sense.
  • Blood Knight: Thorkell fits this trope to a t, going so far as to betray his countrymen for the sake of a decent battle. He even looks like a danish Kenpachi.
    • Thorgill is a bit less insane and more serious, but he sure loves to fight. And when he does, it's just as messy.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Thorkell, and how. Just make sure you don't disappoint him.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Ormar, through and through. Though ironically he is much less boisterous since he actually killed a man for the first time.
  • Break the Cutie: In Thorfinn's case, it'd be more accurate to call it curb stomp the cutie.
    • Anne, in record time too! And, to an extent, Canute.
  • But for Me It Was Tuesday: Askeladd claims that the slaying of Thors doesn't particularly stick out in his mind, since he has killed so many other people.
  • Celibate Hero: Thorfinn is far too busy being moody to sleep with anyone. Askeladd as well, seeing how he never seems to care much or find time for sleeping with anyone. Not to mention how disgusted and hateful he was towards the vikings from his past, whom he considered "filthy" and "moronic," who care about "base desires" (read: sex). Of course, this depends on whether or not you feel he's a... hero. His final actions might qualify him.
  • Character Development: At the end of the Farmland Saga arc, Thorfinn's eyes glow with the same understanding as that of his father's and is on the path to becoming a true warrior.
  • Cheerful Child: Thorfinn used to be a sweet kid, though even then he showed aspects of his eventual Screaming Warrior nature.
  • Clean Cut: Askeladd sends his men into shock when he slices a guy (helmet and all) in two. Not with an absurdly sharp blade either.
  • Cooldown Hug Canute does one to Bjorn in chapter 39. Naturally becomes an Interrupted Cooldown Hug.
  • Cool Old Guy: Lief the Lucky, Askeladd and Thorkell are very cool old guys.
  • Covers Always Lie: One cover for an issue of Afternoon, the magazine which the series runs in, features Thorfinn sporting an armor strikingly similar to the one his father wore back in the days, still Thorfinn never wore such armor in the series till then and not once in the whole "prologue" arc; given his later developement it could be seen as a foreshadowing, but no, the Thorfinn on that cover is the earlier revenge bent version of him, and his developement would strike dozens of chapters later; the safest bet is it that cover was just for promotional purposes.
  • The Determinator: Thorkell and Thorfinn. Thorfinn in his pursuit of revenge. Thorkell, for fun.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Sweyn Forkbeard's court
  • Deadpan Snarker: Askeladd, and Thorfinn to a degree
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Once Thorfinn has brought Thorkell down (removing his eye in the process), Canute (who Askeladd uses to further his plans) comes in and rallies everybody to his cause.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • The topic of slavery is brought up several times, and Ylfa complains about wanting some as if she's just asking for new clothes. Thors might have had different views on human ownership, but in the Viking Age, slavery was common.
    • In chapter 20, Thorsfinn is interrupted from his sleep in a barn when some of his comrades bring in an English women, ready to rape her. We'd expect Thorsfinn to do something... but he doesn't. But hey, it's a story about Vikings.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Ari towards Ylfa.
    • Einar seems to have set his eyes in the wrong woman too.
  • Drunk with Power: Sveyn Forkbeard gives a long monologue on the nature of power and The Chains of Commanding that comes with ruling, treating the crown he wears as a curse that makes the wearer want to get more power. After becoming king, Canute becomes just as bad as his father.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: When Canute first appears he's mistaken for a woman by the main characters. Thorfinn gives him the derogatory nickname of 'Princess'. Adds a whole new layer of (unintentional) subtext between them, though it's meant as an insult.
    • A very severe one, point of fact, to the degree that they'd be fighting words to almost anyone else — Warrior cultures take manliness very seriously.
    • An actual lady is used as a body double, and because of her, people suspect that Prince Canute really is a lady.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Coinciding with his Rage Against the Heavens moment, when Canute listens to Willibard's explanation of love, he quickly gets what he is supposed to be doing with his life and starts ordering people around.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Askeladd loves his mother so much that when he swears on her name, he means it. When he swears on his father's name, however...
  • Evil Uncle: Given the Black and Gray Morality of the series, it's more Kill-Happy great-uncle ( Thorkell to Thorfinn).
  • Eye Scream: Thorkell getting his eye gouged out, nasty!
    • Askeladd is shown using his fingers to poke out both eyes of an enemy soldier while fighting.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: When Thorsfinn gets injured during a mission in England, he gets nursed back to health by an English woman and her daughter. The mother was particularly set on taking care of Thorsfinn because he reminded her of her deceased son, even though they knew that he was a viking. Later, Thorsfinn sends a signal to Askeladd and the other vikings to raze the place. However, Thorsfinn did tell the woman to get away, but the damage had already been dealt to her. One of the few times that we see a glimpse of remorse from Thorsfinn.
  • Fingore: Thorfinn cuts off two of Throkell's fingers, Askeladd clips off fingers of an English officer to make him talk and whenever there's a battle, there are severed hands and fingers flying in the background.
  • Flash Step: Thorfinn's preferred method of short-range transportation.
  • Foregone Conclusion: History teaches us that Canute will end up as king — but then again the story up to that point was apparently only the prologue.
  • Foreshadowing: Askeladd remarks early on that a man with a gut wound won't last the night later this fate befalls Bjorn.
  • For the Evulz: Though in the context of the series, he's not actually all that evil (in fact coming off as a lot less horrible than guys like Askeladd), there's no denying that all Thorkell wants to do is kill people because it's fun. By most other series' standards that behavior would be considered Always Chaotic Evil.
  • Frame-Up: Canute has this done to Ketil and his son, to take over his farm, who is one of the most prosperous in the region.
  • Gallows Humor: Lots and lots of it.
  • Generation Xerox: Canute ends up practically becoming his father, which his hallucinations/father's ghost ends up lampshading. It's foreshadowed and implied that Thorfinn may end up like his own father as well.
  • Genre Shift: The series had Family-Unfriendly Violence since chapter one to obviously be taken as part of the seinen demographic, oddly enough it started its serialization on Weekly Shonen Magazine (yeah, right along with a friendly series such as Fairy Tail), then it moved to Morning Two an actual seinen magazine but it wasn't a magazine popular enough to house Vinland Saga's impending success, the series finally found its place in Afternoon a popular seinen magazine which housed/houses many popular works and coincidentaly is also serializing another historical epic, Historie
    • The current arc, which has earned itself the title of "Best Farming Manga" or "Farmland Saga" among fans.
  • Gonk: The Frankish King at the start and the tracker Ears later on.
    • Averted, to an extent, with characters like Thorkell. Due to the mangaka's realistic style, characters don't have to be horribly ugly to be ugly.
  • Grass Is Greener: In Vinland, apparently.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: For some characters, their eye size change along with their character development: Cheerful Child Thorfinn had big innocent eyes, hellbent on revenge Thorfinn had narrow slits most of the time and spiritually awakened slave Thornfinn has big ol' idealistic eyes again.
    • Canute's eyes however are getting narrower and narrower.
  • Good Old Ways: Legatus clings stubbornly to the Roman traditions, while Thorkell lives like it's still seven hundred AD.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: This is the dark ages, the real dark ages. No one is a clear cut hero or villain.
  • Hell Is War: The place Thorfinn falls in in his nightmare and where he meets Askeladd could best be described as "hell". It's a horrible battlefield which has "no winner, no loser, and no end". Warriors fight and slaughter each other, over, and over, and over again. Forever.
  • Hero Antagonist: In the Black and Black morality of Vinland Saga its hard to call anyone a 'hero' but Thorkell's motivations are much more simply and his deeds much less villainous than many other characters. Really, all he wants to do is chop people into tiny pieces!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Askeladd, in order to save both Canute and Wales.
    • Which is made all the more ironic that he of all people (who was previously considered a completely evil bastard) would end up becoming a martyr that saves an entire country.
  • Heroic BSOD: Thorfinn, after Askeladd dies.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: When he first begins working for Askelaad, Thorfinn tries to warn a family to flee before the vikings come for them. By the time of the main story, he doesn't even raise an eyebrow when Askelaad's crew slaughters an entire village.
  • Historical Fiction: The story of Canute follows quite closely the life of the actual historic king, but takes very great liberties with the details. However, many of the battles actually did take place.
  • Historical Domain Character: Obviously Canute, his elder brother Harald, and their father Sweyn. Suprisingly, there was also an actual Thorkell the Tall who fought for the English but joined Canute after the death of his brother Henning, who had been a childhood mentor to Canute, just like Ragnar in the manga. Though their actual existance is disputed, Thorkell was reportedly a commander of the Jomsvikings.
  • Hot Shoujo Dad: Thors
  • How Dare You Die on Me! Thorfinn shouts this at Askeladd as he is dying.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Canute as of late.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Thorkell defends London armed with LOGS!. Note that he's defending London against ships, against which logs are rather effective (moreso than arrows, anyhow.
  • Indy Ploy: During Thorkell's pursuit, the protagonists improvise quite a bit. With varying degrees of success.)
  • Infant Immortality: Heheh, what a funny concept!
  • Irony:
    • A slave girl once told Thorfinn he reminded her of herself. He replied that he wouldn't know how a slave feels and that if he was one, he would kill his master and escape. By chapter 54, Thorfinn has become a dutiful slave to his master.
    • The one english woman laments her greed and sinfulness in stealing a ring and hiding it, taking it out every so often to marvel at it's beauty. It's only because she not only stole it, but spent time fussing with it that she survived the pillaging of her village and escaped to inform the surrounding towns of the devastation, which is the only reason the pillaging vikings were, in a sense, karmically punished.
  • The Ishmael: Einar
  • Fallen Princess: Askeladd's mother fell hard.
  • Jerkass: Thorfinn, whose single-minded obsession with revenge has made him rude, withdrawn and basically without a moral compass. When he is finally reunited with Leif, Thorfinn refuses to listen to him about abandoning his revenge and going back home to Iceland.
  • Just a Kid: An English woman's reaction to finding Thorfinn on her front step.
  • Kick the Dog: Boy do they ever, and they're the good guys!
  • King Incognito: Askeladd is the illegitimate offspring of a danish lord and also the last living descendant of King Arthur of all people.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Askeladd to Floki.

  Askeladd: Kneel before me! Let me give you the honor of kissing my feet and then you can die!

  • Knight Templar: Halfdan will not tolerate people flouting the laws of Iceland.
  • Knuckle-Cracking: Askeladd does this before his first duel with Thorfinn.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Canute and Sven.
  • Little Stowaway: Thorfinn.
  • Lonely At the Top: Enforced with King Canute. Due to Drunk with Power.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Whenever Askeladd, Thorkell or Thorgill fight. Slicing and dicing human bodies effortlessly as they do kind of breaks the realistic aspect of the manga…
  • Made a Slave
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Thorkell gets a few of his fingers sliced off by Thorsfinn - right after he had stabbed him through the same hand - and all he does is look at it, and then ask Thorsfinn for his name.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Askeladd once more.
  • Marital Rape License: Well, Askeladd's father, Olaf, didn't exactly marry his mother, Lady Lydia, but he did kidnap her and make her his "mistress."
  • Mauve Shirt: Ears
  • Meaningful Name: Askeladd. Named after a Scandinavian folk hero known for his wiliness and tendency to go from rags to riches.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Askeladd: "Let me teach you the real name my mother gave to me Lucius Artorius Castus."
  • Never Bring a Knife to A Fist Fight: Because your knife will get stuck impaled in Thorkells hand and he beats the shit out of you with it.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Father Willibald seems to swing between this and The Alcoholic.
  • Ninja: Flash-stepper, uses dual daggers, combat style based on dodging and stealth, usually sent on assassinations and scouting's very reasonable to call bullshit on Thorfinn being a pirate.
  • Not So Stoic: Askeladd. Any mention regarding Wales or his mother is enough to cause a reaction. This becomes a problem as his default look is to have no reaction at all, thus allowing King Sweynn to deduce how to try to manipulate Askeladd.
  • Older Than They Look: A more realistic example then most but none the less Thorkell does not look like he's in his fifties.
    • Also the old Priest. Once he's shaved and has his beard cut, he actually looks like 23. Before that he looks almost three times his age.
  • Old Retainer: Ragnar
  • One Steve Limit: Actually averted. Chapter 76 introduces a character named Thorfinn. It seems Leif mistook him for the other one at first but adopted him anyway.
  • The Only One Allowed To Kill You: Thorfinn really wants to kill Askeladd.
  • Papa Wolf: Thors
  • Prolonged Prologue: Chapter 54 - "End of Prologue"
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Deconstructed, subverted and played straight: While they're all proud warriors, most are also sellswords, murderers, thieves and rapists, as well as honest merchants and farmers when necessary, just like the vikings really were.
  • Psycho for Hire: Askeladd's band are all unscrupulous bastards willing to do anything for the right price, Thorkell and his band too, but his payment is a good battle. Thorfinn isn't a psycho, but he's got pretty loose morals.
  • Put on a Bus: Thorgimm and Alti are put on a Viking Longship.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Canute is doing it all to spite god, by creating an Utopia on Earth.
  • Rags to Riches: Askeladd went from being a slave boy to a respected and feared mercenary captain using nothing but his wits, firmly establishing his status as a Magnificent Bastard, at the age of fourteen.
  • Rape, Pillage and Burn: ...It's about Vikings.
    • Though interestingly enough, all the main characters thusfar have been very... not horny. Now, Ax Crazy on the other hand...
  • Rated "M" for Manly: Baddass action with no girl in sight, and Manly Tears in appropiate moments. This manga will make your chest grow hair on its own.
  • Reliable Traitor: Gunir. Its not really a spoiler, you'll spot him from a mile away.
  • Retired Badass: Thors, he used to be called 'The Troll' and for good reason.
  • Revenge: It's not just his motivation, it's Thorfinn's entire reason for existence (as he points out himself).
  • Rule of Cool: The fight scenes, some have complained that all the awesome detracts from the history.
    • Who are these people? They need to be punched like a horse, now.
  • Sadistic Choice: Sveyn Forkbeard gives Askeladd the choice between staying Canute's retainer or saving his homeland Wales from a Viking invasion.
  • Scars Are Forever: The cut on the cheek that Thorfinn gave Canute in the incident detailed in Awesome Moment of Crowning above has turned into one Badass scar years later.
  • Shout-Out: At one point there's a background character that looks suspiciously like Hagar the Horrible. Also Vicky and Ylfi from Vicky the Viking appear in one crowd shot. There are numerous others, mostly historical ones, littered through out.
  • Shown Their Work: Yukimura has often noted the pains he took to be as accurate as possible, such as the journey he took to Iceland at the beginning of his work on the story, and how he used a variety of historical and apocryphal stories to base his characters on.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Thorfinn's mother, with elements of a Mama Bear back when Thors was still an arrogant warrior
  • Smug Snake: Floki all the way.
  • Son of a Whore: Askeladd
  • Spell My Name with an "S": A historical case with Canute or Knut. Also happens with Sweyn/Sven. But other than that the important names generally have a well-established romanization, surprisingly.
  • Spirit Advisor: Askeladd to Thorfinn
    • Lord Sven to Canute.
  • Take a Third Option "Wales or Canute. Choose." And oh, but he did.
  • Telephone Polearm: Thorkell sometimes fights using tree trunks.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Askeladd figures out the way to get Canute to power and prevent Wales from being attacked is to die. He declares he is the descendant of King Arthur, decapitates Sveyn, and then acts like he has gone mad and goes on a murderous rampage. He deliberately makes sure that Canute is the one to deliver the death blow, putting the final piece into place
  • The Berserker: Bjorn is a real bärsärk and uses a mushroom to achieve this state.
  • The Dragon: Floki of the Jolmsviking serves as a Dragon of sorts to King Sweyn.
  • The Mountains of Denmark: In volume 1, the village that is described as being on the Jutland Peninsula actually looks a lot more like the fjords of Norway than the almost perfectly flat marshland of Denmark.
  • The Stoic: Thorfinn has two expressions, disinterest, and anger. The only exception is that when he gets badly hurt it shows. Still doesn't slow him down much.
    • This makes the look on his face when he realizes his attempt at evading a strike from Thorkell ended up launching him higher than the treetops even more hilarious.
  • Those Two Guys: Thorgimm and his brother Atli.
  • Time Skip: After the prologue
  • Took a Level In Badass Several characters, most notably Prince King Canute, after his bodyguard and father-figure is killed; he learns from the disaffected priest that what the bodyguard felt was not "love" but "preference," that God is basically a Jerkass, and comes to the revelation the only way humans will ever attain Paradise is to say "screw you" to the Almighty and make it on earth with our own hands. The level however, is more in Social Badass than in Combat Badass, but undeniably Badass nonetheless.
    • After succeding the throne, he also takes one in jerkass.
  • Trickster Mentor: Askeladd likes to think he is more a mentor to Thorfinn then nemesis.
  • Tsundere: Ylfa certainly has a few Tsundere-ish tendencies
  • Turncoat: (Thorgrimm tries too, but Thorkell despises a coward.)
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: A realistic example (relatively).
  • The Uriah Gambit: Guess who pulled it off? If your answer is Askeladd, you're correct! He uses it to kill Ragnar.
    • King Sweyn tried to do this to get rid of Canute. Talk about a COMPLETE backfire.
  • Tyke Bomb: Askeladd kept Thorfinn around because he thought the little boy had guts, after he killed his father. In the following years, Thorfinn becomes his special assassin to take out enemy leaders, and the reward is always a duel that gives Thorfinn a chance to avenge his fathers death.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: According to Canute, yes. Yes it does. Just don't let anyone die for his sake, his single life isn't worth it. He eventually goes as far as to poison his very supportive brother to take over Denmark as well.
  • Victory Is Boring: According to Thorkell.
  • Villain Protagonist: Thorfinn is nominally the main character, but so much of the story is spent following Askeladd that he pretty much qualifies as one.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Snake and Old Man Sverker on Ketil's farm. More than half of any dialogue they have around each other is a barrage of insults. And they're both pretty damn good.
  • Warrior Heaven: Well it is about Vikings... Averted, however, in that the warriors who go there are now rotting corpses in an advanced state of decomposition who do nothing but continuously hack each other apart. Thorfinn visits it in a dream and gets advice from Askeladd.
  • Wham! Episode: Chapters 52, 53 and 54, wherein Askeladd kills King Sweyn, and reveals he's the rightful heir to Britain, in the process saving both Wales and Canute, before being killed by Canute, leading to Thorfinn's Heroic BSOD. All this culminates in Canute taking the crown for himself. For reference, 54 is called "End of the Prologue".
  • What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Chapter 24. It's no wonder that most of these Vikings have no concept of the emotion, but some of the others are interested enough to ask the priest for more info on it.
  • World's Strongest Man: Thors, implicitly.
  • You Are What You Hate: Askeladd, who hates Danes and vikings in general, but is one himself.
  • You Killed My Father: Essentially Thorfinn's motivation for everything he does. Despite being the main character, his desire for revenge makes him something below one-dimensional in personality, and it's literally all he can think of. He's repeatedly given The Reason You Suck Speeches by Askeladd over it, and when Canute gets to kill Askeladd instead of him, he snaps and is reduced to a hollowed-out shell, completely burnt out.
  • Younger Than They Look: Father Willibald is only in his twenties, but he looks like an old man. Its his shaggy beard and monk's tonsure that probably does it.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Askeladd's plot to take control of the throne.