Episode 10 of Vinland Saga casts a distinction between the world around Thorfinn while focusing his personal trials at the center of the episode. Thorfinn’s personal journey for revenge continues to develop as we see the people he is with develop in the other direction. While we continue to see what vengeance means to our protagonist and we realize that deep down he knows this isn’t what his father would want or even what his father raised him to do, we see more of Askeladd’s journey as the leader of this group of Vikings and how he is drifting in the opposite direction. While Thorfinn’s personal struggle colors his worldview in every episode, Askeladd begins to shift towards the changing conflicts in the world and we are left listening to his perspective.
As a viewer it’s an interesting juxtaposition to see the villainous figure who slew Thors become the figure who pulls towards more meaningful endeavors. While it is always motivation for money, the group does end up playing more significant roles in changing the world around them. Thorfinn has even participated in actions that change the greater part of the world, all for the tiniest chance to slay a singular man. We even see that Askeladd concedes that it is only a matter fo time for Thorfinn: Slowly, he is growing older, and Thorfinn is growing stronger. Indeed, Askeladd seems to be cultivating a more nihilistic view that Ragnarok is inevitable. But in spite of this he doesn’t want to give up: instead he wants a very Norse ambition: to continue the fight in more extravagant ways.
Thorkell the log swinger is once again mentioned as after last episode he decided to attack the nearby Prince who is lacking in warfare skill. He defeated an army of thousands with only 500 men and one severely underpaid log. At this rate, he’s really gonna need to worry about the log union coming for him. You don’t even pay the log overtime, and look at how many people have died because of your mad log wielding action!
The episode ends with Askeladd killing a messenger who was going to seek aid from their allies to rescue the Prince. Why? They’re going to do it themselves and take all the credit. He has no idea how he is going to do it and has no comprehension of what might come after, but he has an inkling one thing will: money. So much money. And so now the Vikings in Askeladd’s band are throwing their lot behind Prince Canute. The show paints this as a cautious and troublesome decision, but as a writer I can fill you in on a secret: Canute is considered to be the most effective King in ‘all of Anglo-Saxon history’. Right on, Askeladd. You might be making the right choice.