Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 11

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 11

How a King Fights

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 11 starts off with a scene of Canute doing combat training. As a king of Danes, it’s important for him to be able to lead his men into battle. If he doesn’t do this, they won’t consider him to be their king.

During this training, Canute’s sparing partner (I forget his name) points out a flaw of Canute’s. Whenever he’s tired, Canute tends to retreat in an attempt to give himself a break. But, this is a bad idea for 2 reasons. The first is that it only extends the fight.

It’s better to be more aggressive and push forward to defeat your opponent quickly. That will actually lead to expending less energy than if you get into a long, drawn-out fight. And on top of that, if you pull back, your opponent could capitalize on it and push their advantage.

Canute wearing armor from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 11
Canute wearing armor

The second reason it’s a bad idea for Canute to retreat is that it looks bad. His men will be looking to him to lead by example. If they see him retreating, that will destroy their morale and cause their ranks to break. This is why he needs to be able to fight.

Additionally, the enemy will be looking at him because he’s the commander. If he shows signs of weakness, such as by retreating, that will bolster their morale. This, combined with the hit his own soldiers’ morale will take, could be costly on the battlefield.

One last thing I want to point out is how Canute defeated his sparring partner. Canute tricked him into looking away so he could launch a surprise attack. This is risky because his men could view it as a cowardly tactic. Or, they could view it as Canute using his knowledge of his opponent.

The Idiot Son and the Merchant

By the time Ketil arrives in Jelling, King Harald has already died. But, that doesn’t mean this trip is all for nothing. King Canute is in town, which means Ketil can attempt to get in his good graces. However, there’s one thing standing in Ketil’s way: Olmar.

As we saw, Olmar made a fool of himself multiple times in Episode 11. The first time was when he bumped into a merchant and caused the merchant to drop his wares. Olmar claims the merchant bumped into him. But, I think we all know whose fault it was.

This merchant turns out to be the adopted son of Leif Ericson — and his name is Thorfinn. At least, that’s what Leif introduces himself as. This “Thorfinn” also goes by the name Bug Eyes. And it’s unclear if his name is actually Thorfinn, or if that’s just the name he’s currently using.

Olmar combing his hair from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 11
Olmar combing his hair

I’m going to assume that Leif offered up a bounty for anyone who could locate Thorfinn. So, this “Thorfinn” could be one of the people who took him up on that. You know, like how people sometimes pretend they’re a kid who went missing 20 years ago.

Obviously, this isn’t the Thorfinn Leif is looking for. But, he seems to have kept him around for 2 reasons. The first is that he could use the help with his merchant business. And the second, and more important, is that Leif can use him to find the real Thorfinn.

I’m not sure how often the fact that Bug Eyes’s name is Thorfinn actually comes up. But, because he sort of looks like Leif’s Thorfinn, he’s a good model to use when explaining who Thorfinn is. If you can say “he looks like this guy,” that could be helpful.

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Requisitioning Ketil’s Farm

We finally know how Thorfinn’s and Canute’s worlds are going to collide. Canute plans to requisition Ketil’s farm for the benefit of his kingdom. That means he’s going to take the farm from Ketil and it will belong to the kingdom. Why? So the kingdom can keep 100% of the profits it generates.

Technically, Canute doesn’t need a reason to requisition Ketil’s farm. Ketil is one of his subjects and Canute is the king. He can take the farm if he wants and there’s nothing Ketil can do about it. But, Canute isn’t going to do that.

If Canute began taking the land of his subjects without cause, that would reflect poorly on him. His other wealthy subjects may worry that their farms could be next. And once that happens, an uprising could be on the horizon. That’s not what Canute wants — and that’s also why he doesn’t want to raise taxes.

King Canute from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 11
King Canute

So, how is Canute going to justify requisitioning Ketil’s farm? This seems to be where Olmar comes into play, once again. Canute and his inner circle believe they can use Olmar because of his stupidity. And the implication was that they’re going to use him to take the farm.

How does that work, though? My guess is that they’re going to trick Olmar into committing some sort of crime against the kingdom. For example, they might get him to unknowingly steal something from the King. Or, he might get antagonized into starting a fight with someone he shouldn’t.

Regardless of what offense Olmar commits, Canute could then use this against Ketil. Let’s say Olmar steals something from the King. Under normal circumstances, the punishment might be death. But, Canute could be merciful and allow Ketil to trade his farm for his son’s life.


What do you think of Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 11? Will Canute’s tendency to retreat come up again and hurt him? Has Olmar’s character gone beyond the point of redemption? And, how do you think Canute is going to justify requisitioning Ketil’s farm? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of Episode 12 is available now.

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