Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 10

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 10

Freedom Is Right Around the Corner

In Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 10, Thorfinn and Einar are so close to freedom that they can taste it. They’ve been at Ketil’s farm for about 3 years. And, according to Pater, they’ll be able to buy their freedom after the next harvest.

Not only is that great news, but the pair finally cut down the last tree on their allotted land. With the land all clear, they can focus more of their time on growing crops. But, the bigger benefit of having the land all clear is that they don’t need to cut down any more trees.

With all this good news, you’d expect that something’s going to go wrong. But, things actually just keep getting better. Master Ketil informs Thorfinn and Einar that he’ll give them a discount on their freedom. Instead of being free after the harvest, they’ll be free after they till the land and plant the seeds.

Thorfinn laughing from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 10
Thorfinn laughing

Of course, there is a catch. Ketil is traveling to Jelling to visit King Harald. So, he won’t be able to grant Thorfinn and Einar their freedom until he returns. That’s not a huge deal. But, I have a feeling that Ketil isn’t going to return from this trip.

As we find out later in the episode, King Harald is dying. And it’s Canute, his younger brother, who’s poisoning him. So, how are Canute and his supporters going to react to Ketil showing up? He’s a supporter of King Harald, after all.

It’s possible that Ketil being a supporter of King Harald doesn’t matter to Canute. And if that’s the case, he might make it back safely. But, what will Canute becoming King of Denmark mean for Ketil’s farm? It will likely mean Canute’s army coming to it to recruit soldiers.

A Tale of Two Kings

Maybe I missed the explanation earlier in the series. But, I didn’t realize that Canute and Harald were brothers until Episode 10 laid it all out. But, as we saw, Canute doesn’t care that Harald is his brother. He views him as a rival.

This is pretty surprising based on the limited information we have about King Harald. According to what we saw, Harald cares about his younger brother and views him as an ally. When they were younger, he looked out for Canute. And while on his deathbed, he leaves the Kingdom of Denmark to Canute.

It’s clear that Harald both likes and trusts Canute. But, Canute doesn’t see things the same way. Or, if he does, he doesn’t let that get in the way of his own ambition. At the end of the day, Canute wants to be King of both England and Denmark.

Kings Canute and Harald from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 10
Kings Canute and Harald

I’m not entirely sure when Canute became the ruthless (debatable) person he is today. It’s implied that obtaining the crown and becoming King of England is what did it. But, I’m still not completely convinced that he had nothing to do with King Sweyn’s death.

I know that Askeladd was the one who killed King Sweyn. And Canute definitely seemed surprised by King Sweyn’s killing. But, it was also Canute who benefited from Sweyn’s killing and he’s now haunted by what happened to Sweyn. To me, that shows that he feels guilty. And why would he feel guilty if he had nothing to do with it?

Though, we know that poisoning is more of Canute’s thing, not having people beheaded. I believe it was King Ethelred whom Canute had to fight for control of England. And, if I’m not mistaken, Ethelred’s son (I forget his name) died of poisoning.

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The Cursed Head

Is Canute actually cursed? No. I’m very confident that Canute isn’t actually cursed. And I’m also very confident that Thorfinn didn’t visit the afterlife and talk to Askeladd. The dreams and visions these characters have are manifestations of their psychological trauma.

In some ways, their psychological trauma is similar. For example, they’re both haunted by the dead. Specifically, they’re haunted by the dead they feel responsible for killing. Though, in Thorfinn’s case, he killed those people with his own hands. Canute uses proxies to kill those he wants to get rid of.

What really makes them different, though, is how their trauma affects them. Thorfinn’s trauma has changed him. He no longer wants anything to do with war. And early in Episode 10, Thorfinn even told Einar about his dream to rid the world of war and slavery.

King Canute as an old man from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 10
King Canute as an old man

Canute, on the other hand, has doubled down on the actions that caused his trauma. In his mind, now that he’s “cursed” due to the death of Sweyn, he might as well keep racking up more curses. He already benefitted from the killing of his father. So, why not also benefit from the killing of his brother?

One thing I do need to point out, however, is that this is the true curse afflicting Canute. Sure, seeing the severed head of his father everywhere he looks is a sort of curse. But, according to said severed head, the true curse is that Canute will always seek greater power.

Now that he knows what it’s like to have power, he’s going to continue to do everything he can to gain more. And, what we see him doing to Harald is a perfect example of this. The only reason Canute is killing Harald is to gain more power.


What do you think of Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 10? Do you think Ketil is going to survive his trip to Jelling? Do you think Canute had a hand in the killing of his father? And do you think Canute will be able to overcome his curse? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of Episode 11 is available now.

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2 Replies to “Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 10”

  1. You’re right that they’re not real curses but the representations of psychological trauma, DoubleSama. Maybe you don’t remember this, DoubleSama, but Sweyn himself thought about the curse of the throne in the first season. While I don’t remember any particulars, I can say with confidence that this is something the first season already introduced. Sweyn then and Canute now are/were troubled people because of what they had to do.

    1. We also see the concept of the Sword of Damocles here with Canute no longer trusting anyone around him. You know, the actual meaning of the Sword of Damocles, not the version from the anime K.

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