Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 8

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 8

His Own Worst Enemy

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 8 starts off with a nightmare. But, this is a slightly different nightmare than the one we saw in Episode 4. Back in Episode 4, Thorfinn’s nightmare had 2 main components.

First, he was coping with the ever-present threat of death he faced on the battlefield. We saw that the enemy soldiers attacking him appeared as demons in this dream. But, there was a shift toward the end of the nightmare. When he decapitated one of the soldiers, he saw the face of a scared human.

What I took away from this nightmare was that both sides fear the other killing them. Thorfinn fought for his life, as did those he fought against. War isn’t a pleasant experience for either side. And Thorfinn is only now starting to see the effects his 11 years of war had on him.

Thorfinn seeing his past self in a dream from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 8
Thorfinn seeing his past self in a dream

The nightmare from this week’s episode is a bit different. In it, Thorfinn sees his past self for what he was — a barbarian. He sees his past self entering Einar’s family home as part of a raiding party. He sees the fear and suffering he caused people in the past.

Now, I need to give my thoughts on the elephant in the room. Does this dream mean that Thorfinn was a member of the group that raided Einar’s home? It’s possible. Though, by their ages in the dream, this would have to have been the first raid in which Einar’s father died.

However, I don’t believe Thorfinn was part of that raiding party. It’s entirely possible he was. But, the way I viewed this dream was that Thorfinn is recognizing he hurt people like Einar — not Einar himself. We’ll have to wait for confirmation, though.

Can People Change?

The big question Thorfinn asks in Episode 8 is, “Can people change?” The answer, of course, is yes. And something Sverkel said caused Thorfinn to start thinking about this question. He said that Thorfinn can learn new things and that maybe being empty will actually benefit him here.

So, what did Sverkel mean when he said that? First, he was referring to Thorfinn learning to live a life of peace. Thorfinn only knew war and suffering for 11 years. But now, he has the opportunity to learn something new. He can learn how to farm and provide for himself in peace.

Second, when Sverkel mentioned being empty was good, he meant Thorfinn can start from zero. At this point, Thorfinn doesn’t have to unlearn his rage and anger toward Askeladd. As Thorfinn himself pointed out, he no longer hates Askeladd. He’s already starting his new life from a neutral position.

Thorfinn looking at the ocean from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 8
Thorfinn looking at the ocean

Moving on to Einar, I think he did more to show Thorfinn that changing is possible. And all he had to do was say one, simple thing. He said that anyone who met Thorfinn today would never guess that he was once a warrior.

By saying this, what Einar really means is that Thorfinn has already begun changing. He’s no longer the person he was when he was a warrior. He already changed a lot without even trying — to the point that he’s unrecognizable as the same person.

If that’s possible, imagine how much more he could change if he puts in the effort to do so. And, of course, Thorfinn doesn’t have to go through this changing process alone. He might not recognize it yet, but Einar is going to be there for him the whole way. That’s what friends are for.

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Farmer’s Wrath

Let’s start this discussion of Einar’s anger toward the retainers by mentioning Thorfinn. I thought it was pretty interesting to see Thorfinn be the voice of reason here. Thorfinn is the one who doesn’t want to get into a fight. That alone shows just how much he’s changed.

Now, as for Einar, his reason for being angry wasn’t what I expected. I’m sure I’m not alone in assuming that Einar was angry about how the retainers treated him. And, that’s definitely part of why he’s angry. But, I wasn’t expecting the main reason he’s angry.

What really made Einar mad was that the retainers know how hard growing crops is. They know how much hard work and commitment it takes to grow wheat. And yet, they still destroyed the crops Einar and Thorfinn grew. The retainers knew how much this would crush them.

Einar telling Thorfinn to be angry from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 8
Einar telling Thorfinn to be angry

To me, the reason Einar was angry said a lot about Einar. It implies he would forgive someone for destroying his crops if they didn’t know better. Well, obviously they would know it was wrong. But, if they didn’t understand how much work growing the crops is, it would be less malicious.

Someone who doesn’t know anything about growing crops might think of their actions as a joke. However, there’s no way a fellow farmer would think of something like this as a joke. And this makes Einar seem both mature and a bit ignorant about the world.

He’s mature because he could forgive someone else for destroying his crops. But, he’s ignorant because he fails to understand that there are bad people out there who don’t care. And that’s a little surprising considering his home village got raided twice. You’d think he’d understand that bad people exist.

Conclusion

What do you think of Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 8? Do you think Thorfinn actually raided Einar’s home when he was younger? Did the scene by the ocean give you Attack on Titan vibes? And do you think Einar should have let it go and played nice with the retainers? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of Episode 9 is available now.

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2 Replies to “Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 8”

  1. I’m completely confident that Thorfinn did not raid Einar’s home when he was younger. Askeladd and his group only went to Einar’s village once, and we know that Einar and his family were already preparing to flee when they saw that danger was coming. It was physically impossible for Thorfinn to have raided Einar’s home like he did in his nightmare.

    Yes, I do believe Einar should have played nice with the retainers, but we know from past episodes that Einar actually harbours a lot of rage and has been wanting to let it loose on someone he perceives as doing him wrong, so I’m not surprised that he couldn’t stay calm. He has previously wanted to unload on the retainers only to be stopped by Thorfinn.

    1. I’m confident Thorfinn didn’t raid Einar’s home, as well. But, I’m looking forward to seeing Thorfinn come to terms with the pain he caused people like Einar as this season progresses.

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