Vinland Saga Season 2, Episode 11: Norse men don’t follow weak men

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 11 opens with King Canute training with Wulf. His sister Estrid watches concerned that Wulf will hurt him. Canute manages to dodge Wulf’s attack while wearing heavy armor, impressing the men observing. When Canute gets tired he according to Wulf has a “bad habit of retreating.” Wulf encourages him to keep moving forward to “cut his way through the enemies.” Canute distracts Wulf when he tells him that Estrid is watching, suggesting that he showing off for her. At first Wulf claims that he’s not falling for the attempt to distract him but he glances over to Estrid and Canute attacks. Wulf concedes.

Canute heads to his room and discusses with Gunnar the Kingdoms finances. Without a large number of rich men, they may need to raise taxes. As I predicted in earlier reviews Ketil would likely be asked for some of his wealth. Gunnar recommends Ketil due to his large land and massive wealth. Gunnar also notes that raising taxes so close to his brothers death could result in backlash. King Canute was using taxes from England to maintain his Danish forces. As a result, the English became “discontent,” and he needs to generate funding from the Danish.

Ketil’s farm is in danger

Canute argues they only have two options, “bring more land under their control,” or “requisitioning land.” By taking land that ready to cultivate, they would avoid having to raise taxes. Ketil, Thorgil, and Olmar are in Jelling. Ketil is informed by his son that King Harald is dead. He asks if he can meet with Canute to establish a good relationship. Meanwhile, Olmar heads into town alone and bumps into Bug-Eyes, a merchant working for Leif. Bug-Eyes drops a cloth he was planning to sell in the mud. Pissed, Bug-Eyes prepares to fight Olmar but when he pulls out his sword, Bug-Eyes notes how unfair that is.

Olmar tells him that “walking around unarmed it just means he isn’t a real Norseman.” Ketil arrives a punches his son for always starting fights. The four of them have dinner. During the meal it is revealed that Bug-Eyes real name is Thorfinn. Ketil responds that one of his men is also named Thorfinn. Leif asks if that man is a slave and Ketil confirms. Leif tells Ketil that he is looking for Thorfinn who was enslaved. Ketil agrees to allow Leif to go to the farm to see if Thorfinn is the one he’s looking for.

Ketil meets with Canute who promises that ” he has no intention on changing how things were done between Ketil and his father and Harald.” Suddenly, Olmar asks if he can join Canute’s forces. He embarrasses himself and his family by failing to cut a cooked pig. Canute however sees potential in Olmar as a hostage because Ketil’s farm will be the first one they requisition. Canute continues to show himself as a harsh King. Lying to Ketil and planning to use Olmar is cold and calculating. We know Ketil isn’t fighter so his response like won’t be violent but his son Thorgil is violent and I suspect he won’t like being betrayed.

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