Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 9

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 9

It Was All a Dream

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 9 opens with Thorfinn waking from a dream. It turns out that everything since Askeladd’s men came to his home village was a dream. His father never died. He never spent 11 years on the battlefield. And he never became a slave.

Of course, this is all incorrect. Thorfinn’s father did die. Thorfinn did spend 11 years on the battlefield. And Thorfinn did become a slave. But, since he took a pretty good blow to the back of the head with a shovel, you can understand why he’s confused.

Unfortunately for Thorfinn, this nice dream doesn’t last long. It quickly becomes a nightmare after his father shows up in it. Thors asks his son who he killed with his knife, and that’s when things take a turn. But, before that, we get to see the life Thorfinn wishes he had.

Thorfinn relaxing in a dream from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 9
Thorfinn relaxing in a dream

Something we should keep in mind is that Thorfinn is a victim of war, as well. If Askeladd’s men never showed up at his village, he would have lived a very different life. And it wasn’t a coincidence that they landed there. They were specifically there to find Thors.

From what I remember, their job was to recruit Thors to fight for the King of Denmark. But, Thors didn’t want to fight. His fighting days were behind him and he wanted to live a life of peace. This is why they ultimately opted to eliminate him instead.

So, sure, Thorfinn’s village wasn’t raided in the same way Einar’s was. But, a group from the Danish military arrived to take his father away and ended up killing him. And, let’s not forget that Thorfinn had no way to get back home after this. He was a de facto prisoner.

The Strength to Protect

I didn’t remember this, but I guess Thors was the one who gave Thorfinn his knife. Though, Thorfinn had 2 knives — I don’t remember where the second came from. Either way, when Thorfinn meets his father in the dream, his father says he didn’t give him the knife to kill.

The point of giving Thorfinn the knife was so that he could protect himself. He was never meant to use it to attack other people. However, as Thors says, he died before he could teach Thorfinn these valuable lessons.

In that way, Thors feels responsible for the man Thorfinn became. But, at this point, Thorfinn is starting to understand the gravity of his past actions. And he doesn’t think his father is responsible for who he became. He’s taking responsibility for what he’s done with his life.

Thors visiting Thorfinn in a dream from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 9
Thors visiting Thorfinn in a dream

At this point, I want to bring your attention to something we’ve seen a few times in Thorfinn’s dreams. We see him killing a young boy who represents Einar. Obviously, Thorfinn never killed Einar. And I don’t believe he ever killed a child either. So, why do we keep seeing this show up in his dreams?

To me, it’s supposed to represent how Thorfinn’s actions have affected more than the dead. Every person Thorfinn killed had a family. So, what we’re seeing here is a representation of that. Thorfinn’s actions killed the innocence of countless children. And he knows what that feels like — he’s been there himself.

In Episode 8, Einar gets mad at the retainers for destroying his and Thorfinn’s farm. What makes him most mad, though, is that the retainers are farmers themselves. They know how it would feel to have their farm destroyed. In many ways, Thorfinn was like the retainers.

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The Farthest Place From Valhalla

Toward the end of Thorfinn’s talk with his father, both of them have corpses trying to pull them down. As we later learn from Askeladd, these are the corpses of those they’ve killed. But, there’s a key difference between Thorfinn and Thors in this scene.

The corpses are pulling Thorfinn down and he eventually falls through the ground. Meanwhile, Thors stays standing. This, combined with the fact we don’t see Thors in the underworld, represents how he was able to move on. Thors was able to move beyond his life as a warrior and lead a life of peace.

After falling for a while, Thorfinn manages to stop himself just above a large cavern. And when he looks down, he sees corpse warriors fighting in a lake of their own blood. Surely, this is the Valhalla mentioned in the myths — where warriors go after they die.

Askeladd in the underworld from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 9
Askeladd in the underworld

There are even some familiar faces in the cavern below Thorfinn. First, he spots Björn. And then, he notices Askeladd perched upon a column above the fighting. Unlike the other warriors below, Askeladd hasn’t gone mad from the continuous fighting. And he has some wise words for Thorfinn.

First, he laughs at Thorfinn’s thought that this is Valhalla. Valhalla is supposed to be a paradise. As Askeladd puts it, this is as far from Valhalla as you can get. With the continuous fighting, this place has much more in common with the world of the living.

Second, he tells Thorfinn to listen to the voices of those he killed. If Thorfinn actually wants to change and save himself from this fate, he needs to face his past. He can’t keep running and looking away from those he killed. He needs to accept his past.

Conclusion

What do you think of Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 9? Would you have liked to see more of the life Thorfinn could have lived? Did you like seeing the ghosts of Thors and Askeladd give Thorfinn advice? And, just how many people do you think Thorfinn has killed? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of Episode 10 is available now.

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