Vinland Saga episode eight really shows up the problems with Thorfinn that we’ve more or less known would be an issue since the fall of his father: Thorfinn cannot let go of his desire for revenge or for his pride. Though this episode was his first chance to genuinely duel Askeladd, he faltered once the man began to insult his father and pretend he was an inconsequential foe. Askeladd noted earlier in the episode that it was the fault of a slave owner for not properly utilizing a girl he had bought as a slave, ‘Anyone can be used if done properly’. He looked at Thorfinn as he said that and it’s the absolute truth: Askeladd acts as if Thorfinn is just a nuisance, but he is coming into his own, and Askeladd knows he has to use him in the right way in order to get what he wants.
This is also one of the more human episodes for Thorfinn. Even though he has been a pile of burning rage up until now, losing allows us to see him sitting with his agony and discontent. On top of it he spends time interacting with the girl who was bought as a slave, and it emphasizes how he views himself in contrast. But though he doesn’t view himself as a slave to Askeladd, he can’t seem to bring himself to be completely bitter to the girl. Ultimately he tells her the story his father told him, of a far off land called ‘Vinland’. Even now he holds many hopeful thoughts in his head, even if he can’t really confirm if they were ever real.
This is the beginning of Thorfinn really becoming the man his father was raising him to be. The importance of freeing a slave, of being free yourself, how to fight and who to be. I lost my mind at the ghost of his father appearing for him. “You’re my son, so even if I told you not to seek revenge it wouldn’t matter.” The way Thorfinn views him is so pure but so true to what he was. In the end, he was a man who valued freedom and loved the family he created.
Is Vinland real at all? Who really knows. But Askeladd is going to let his men enjoy the winter as a far away king allows his son, Canute, to fight in an upcoming battle to gain prestige. This surely will have no consequence to anything! Who is Canute, never heard of em!