Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 5

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 5

Two Kings

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 5 was all about Canute. Thorfinn and Einar didn’t even make an appearance in the episode. And, I didn’t mind that. It was nice to get away from the farm to see what else is going on in the world.

For me, the best things about Vinland Saga are the character arcs. For example, Askeladd’s character arc is what made Season 1 what it was. I loved how his character developed throughout the season. At first, he was someone we were rooting against. But, by the end, I think everyone watching the series loved him.

Of course, we can expect Thorfinn, Einar, and maybe even Olmar to go through similar arcs. I’d argue Thorfinn hasn’t done that yet, and it’s one of the big things I’m looking forward to this season. But, there are plenty of other characters to follow, as well.

King Ethelred II returning from exile in Normandy from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 5
King Ethelred II returning from exile in Normandy

Because of his age, I’m not expecting too much from Leif Erikson. But, I’m looking forward to seeing more of both Canute and Thorkell. And this episode did a great job of setting up Canute’s role in the future of the series.

We also got to see that Canute isn’t the same person he was back in the first season. He’s already grown quite a bit. After the death of his father, Canute finds himself fighting for the throne of England. And his first opponent is the former King Ethelred II, who went into exile when the Danes first attacked.

Now, as much as I like character growth, I’m glad we skipped over a lot of Canute’s growing up. We saw him before, we see him now, and we’ll see where he goes from here. It was a good call to skip over the middle.

Loyalty and Betrayal

My favorite part of Episode 5 came during Canute’s meeting with Eadric, a local lord. Eadric and his son are loyal to Ethelred II. But, they’re willing to pay Canute 8,000 pounds of silver for a truce. And by a truce, I mean they were paying for their survival.

If Canute wanted to, he could ignore the truce offer and take their land by force. But, he recognizes that Eadric could be a valuable asset if used the right way. And I think Canute dealt with this “truce” offer in the perfect way.

Canute doesn’t act like a contender for the throne who’s attacking his rival’s domain. He shows up to the meeting with Eadric as if he were the sole ruler of England. And if Canute is the King of England, why is Eadric attempting to pay him to leave his own land?

Canute meeting with Eadric from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 5
Canute meeting with Eadric

I wasn’t expecting Canute to handle this situation so well. He really put Eadric in his place. Everything about the interaction was perfect. He stepped on the payment, said it was such a small sum it didn’t matter, and then also played the savior role.

Canute isn’t there to conquer land from Ethelred. He simply showed up to stop a small rebellion that arose in his own country. And after all that, he turns the situation back around on Eadric. If Eadric is on Ethelred’s side, why is he attempting to strike a truce with Canute? Wouldn’t that count as a betrayal?

Of course, the answer is yes. But, Eadric attempts to worm his way out of it by saying that Ethelred would forgive him. And this is where he played right into Canute’s trap. Canute then implies that Ethelred must be a weak leader if he forgives betrayals like that.

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Canute, King of England

At the end of the episode, we see Canute officially crowned King of England. That comes after 3 years of war against 2 rivals, Ethelred and his son, Edmund. But, that doesn’t mean it’s only been 3 years since the death of King Sweyn.

The 3 years is only how long Canute fought against Ethelred and Edmund. It would have taken time for word of King Sweyn’s death to reach Ethelred in Normandy. And it would have taken more time for Ethelred to raise an army to attack England.

I’m not sure how much time has passed between the end of Season 1 and the present. You could probably figure it out by looking at the dates given in the series. But, that’s more effort than I’m willing to put in right now. So, I’ll guess and say it’s been something like 7 years.

King Canute during his coronation from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 5
King Canute during his coronation

Anyway, what can we expect from Canute in the future of the series? I don’t know — I haven’t read the manga. But, what I do know is that a lot of the characters in Vinland Saga are based on historical figures. Canute is no exception.

And because of that, I have a feeling Canute isn’t going to become the main antagonist of the series. Canute is the King of England. It feels like it would be a bit out of place for Thorfinn to go up against him in the end. Instead, I’m betting Canute is going to be more of an overarching “evil.”

Rather than going up against Canute, I could see Thorfinn going up against the idea of Canute. For example, Thorfinn and Einar want to live peaceful lives. So, what happens if Canute’s army shows up recruiting soldiers? Canute’s wars could be the real antagonists.

Conclusion

What do you think of Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 5? Did you like having an episode that focused on Canute? How do you feel about Canute’s meeting with Eadric? And, what role do you expect Canute to play in the future of the series? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of Episode 6 is available now.

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