Season 1, Episode 13: Child of a Hero
It’s clear at this point that Askeladd is Vinland Saga’s most interesting character. Originally presented as a greedy mercenary that only existed to be motivation for Thorfinn to get stronger, Askeladd has step up to be the most complex character. We learn that Askeladd has Welsh heritage. Before the credits, we see a young Askeladd carrying his pale nearly dead mother back to her homeland. Kept as a concubine by his father, Olaf, his mother was abandoned when she became ill. Askeladd begins his negotiation with the leader of the Brycheiniog forces. The relationship between Wales and the Danes is terrible. Askeladd reveals his heritage to create some trust between himself and the negotiator. One of the last descendants of Artorius, a famous former commander of the Britannia army in the 5th and 6th centuries.
His mixed blood allows him to “blend” in with the Danes. However, Askeladd secretly hates them. He plans on becoming an insider in Denmark, making Canute King and becoming a high member in his court. With this new power, he could create a treaty of non-aggression with Wales. It’s possible that Askeladd is making some of this up or at least his goal regarding Canute. Regardless, he manages to get the Brycheiniog leader to cooperate. This episode once again highlights the importance of bloodlines in this world. Canute, Thorfinn and Askeladd all hail from strong bloodlines. Askeladd and his men are permitted to travel through enemy land.
After some teasing from Thorfinn, Canute finally speaks. He tells Thorfinn that he’s not a coward. He’s merely cautious. Being aware of his potion as a prince, his “words have political repercussions.” In a foreign land he must be careful and doesn’t have the power to enter into treaties. The men all stop in, shock of the broken silence. Thorfinn’s lack of respect for him seems to have forced Canute to step out of his shell. It seems like being in such close proximity to Thorfinn may have a positive impact on Canute. That said some potentially harrowing developments are beginning. If Askeladd does indeed mean that he “hates” the Danes, then his men are going to be possibly betrayed by him at some point. Furthermore, Bjorn seems to be doubting Askeladd more and more. For now, he seems resigned to follow him. As they had north, winter begins to approach.
Reviews of the Other Episodes
- Vinland Saga Episode 1 Review: Somewhere Not Here
- Vinland Saga Episode 2 Review: Sword
- Vinland Saga Episode 3 Review: Troll
- Vinland Saga Episode 4 Review: A True Warrior
- Vinland Saga Episode 5 Review: The Troll’s Son
- Vinland Saga Episode 6 Review: The Journey Begins
- Vinland Saga Episode 7 Review: Normanni
- Vinland Saga Episode 8 Review: Beyond the Edge of the Sea
- Vinland Saga Episode 9 Review: The Battle of London Bridge
- Vinland Saga Episode 10 Review: Ragnarok
- Vinland Saga Episode 11 Review: A Gamble
- Vinland Saga Episode 12 Review: The Land on the Far Bank