Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 17

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 17

Warrior of Miklagard

We finally learned where Snake is from in Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 17. While fighting Thorfinn, he referred to himself as a warrior of Miklagard. Miklagard is the Viking’s name for Constantinople and it means “The Great City.” So, Snake is from Constantinople.

But, there are still some pieces of his background that are unclear. For example, was he born in Constantinople? Or, did he travel there and become a warrior of Miklagard? Snake doesn’t particularly look like he’s from the north. So, it’s possible he’s actually from the city.

However, there’s also evidence pointing toward that not being the case. For example, he refers to the city as Miklagard. If he was from the city, would he call it that? That’s an outsider’s name for it, which implies he’s not originally from there. But, there’s actually a third option, which might be the truth of Snake’s past.

Snake vs. Thorfinn from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 17
Snake vs. Thorfinn

Based on his appearance and his use of the name Miklagard, I’m going to predict Snake is of mixed descent. By this, I mean his father was a Viking who fought for Miklagard and his mother was a native of the city.

His mother being from Constantinople could explain Snake’s dark hair and tanner skin. But, since he refers to the city as Miklagard, he was likely raised by a Viking. And being half northerner, he would have joined a Viking legion of the city when he came of age.

Now, we’re not done with Snake. There’s still a lot about him we need to learn. What crimes did he commit that he’s running from? Was he introduced to Christianity in Constantinople, possibly by his mother? And, how did he come to be a warrior of Miklagard? Was he born into it, or did he travel there?

Arnheid Chooses Death

After Thorfinn and Arnheid get Gardar to let go of Snake, Arnheid makes a choice. She’s going to leave the farm with Gardar, despite his fatal wounds. Thorfinn protests against this, but in the end, she chooses to go through with it.

Why did she make this choice, though? Everyone could see that Gardar wasn’t going to survive the trip home. And, despite what Arnheid told Gardar, they were never going to live as a family with Hjalti again. We still don’t have confirmation of what happened to Hjalti. But, it’s been heavily implied multiple times that he’s dead.

There appear to be two reasons why Arnheid made the choice she did. The first is that she wanted Gardar to be able to die in peace. He thought he was going to pick up his son from his older brother’s care. This is how Arnheid wanted him to believe in his final moments.

Arnheid seeing off Gardar from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 17
Arnheid seeing off Gardar

The other reason Arnheid chose this outcome is a bit less clear. But, from my understanding of the situation, she’s on a suicide mission. She knows that for freeing Gardar and helping him escape, she’ll likely be put to death.

We know she didn’t particularly want to die before this episode. She has a new baby on the way and she wants to raise it. But, I think this is also her way of getting to be with Hjalti and Gardar again. If she dies, she can at least be with them in the afterlife.

I don’t see Arnheid dying, though. Ketil won’t have her put to death because he loves her. And considering she has his child, I can’t see any of Ketil’s underlings pushing for her death. She’ll probably receive some sort of physical punishment — like lashes.

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The Road Home

Now that we have the conclusion of Gardar’s arc, we can clearly see what his story was all about. From what we saw earlier in the season, we knew it was about him losing his family by going off to war. But, there’s more to it than that.

Yes, that was a huge part of Gardar’s arc. However, the conclusion of his arc also sets him apart from other characters. Despite being a warrior, we don’t see him ending up in a version of Hell as Askeladd did. Gardar appears to have found peace.

One of the morals of Vinland Saga is that everyone who chooses to partake in war will receive punishment. For some, the punishment is eternal. But, that’s not the case for everyone. Gardar’s punishment was everything that happened to him since leaving for war.

Hjalti sitting on a swing from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 17
Hjalti sitting on a swing

Think of everything Gardar lost. His son died as a result of Gardar not being there to protect him. His wife was also taken as a slave. And even Gardar himself became a slave to a cruel and abusive master. Then, he died shortly after believing he had regained his freedom.

He suffered every day since he left for war — even if he didn’t realize it that whole time. But, he became a changed man once he realized his mistake. He says he’ll never leave Hjalti and Arnheid again. And he even says that he won’t let his son leave the way he did.

It’s clear from the things Gardar says in his final moments that he’s learned from his past actions. He doesn’t just regret going to war because of the things he lost. He realizes that going off to war doesn’t benefit anyone and only causes pain. That’s why he gets a good afterlife.

Conclusion

What do you think of Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 17? Before Snake revealed he’s from Miklagard, where did you think he was from? Do you think Arnheid is going to die for her crimes? And were you expecting Gardar to end up in the same Hell as Askeladd? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of Episode 18 is available now.

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2 Replies to “Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 17”

  1. The most elite unit of the army of the Byzantine Empire, and the Emperor’s personal guards, was the Varangian Guard, all of whose members were recruited from Scandinavia. Snake’s likely a Varangian who erred in some way and was kicked out.

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