Vinland Saga’s Brattiest Character Is Already the Next Thorfinn

Ketil’s son Olmar is desperate to prove himself as a swordsman, but as Thorfinn is already learning, seeking glory in combat is a fool’s game.

Olmar holding up sword


   Vinland Saga has returned for another season of medieval adventure and mayhem, but as the antihero Thorfinn Karlsefni recently learned, glorious combat is anything but. Thorfinn once thought that violence and seeking revenge would give his life meaning, only for everything to be taken from him once again.

   This put Thorfinn at an incredibly low point where he finally learned some hard-won lessons, and his new character arc is about to begin. Already, on Ketil’s farm, Thorfinn is facing his past not just in his memories but also in Olmar, one of Ketil’s sons. Olmar is starting down the same path Thorfinn once did, and if Olmar doesn’t wise up, he’s in for a potentially deadly rude awakening.

   Thorfinn Learned That He Has No Enemies

Thorfinn in Vinland Saga


   Twice, once with words and once with personal experience, Thorfinn was taught a vital lesson: that he has no enemies. The problem is that the first time, Thorfinn didn’t listen, and he actually tried going in the opposite direction. In his boyhood in Iceland, Thorfinn tried to take one of his father’s swords and run off into battle to prove himself against his enemies. Then his father Thors made an important point that Thorfinn didn’t yet understand: Thorfinn doesn’t even have any enemies. Thors even asked his son who exactly those enemies are, and tellingly, Thorfinn couldn’t come up with an answer. He just had a vague notion about fighting and defeating people because it’s what Viking boys like him were “supposed” to do.

   Then Thorfinn learned this lesson all over again upon Askeladd’s death, when Thorfinn failed to get revenge for his father’s murder. Thorfinn’s enemies were gone, and he had none left to vent his anger and frustration on. Now Thorfinn is a slave on Ketil’s farm, and violence plays no part in his life. Thorfinn feels lost and aimless, but this is actually where his true character arc begins. Now Thorfinn will learn that his calling is to make things, not destroy them, and that will make him more like his real-life inspiration, the explorer who built the Vinland colony in today’s Canada. Thorfinn will eventually learn that violence and war are tragic and pointless, a true medieval deconstruction, and this realization will mean the world to him. However, for now, Thorfinn must face his inner demons and hear the voices of everyone he has slain — and Ketil’s son Olmar is about to experience all this for himself.

   Olmar Tries to Prove a Nonexistent Point

Olmar is fussing at someone


   Recent Vinland Saga episodes were amusing with the bratty Olmar’s antics, including Olmar’s tsundere attitude and his inability to actually draw his sword, but there are more serious undertones to this new character’s antics. Olmar has it good for his time, being born and raised on a prospering farm with two caring parents to support him, and he will even inherit the farm someday. Everything is being handed to Olmar on a platter, but the ungrateful, misguided young man rejects this peaceful lifestyle in favor of the sword. Olmar thinks he can only prove himself and be a “real” man by drawing his weapon and running off to fight his enemies, whoever they may be. Ketil is deeply exasperated by his son’s attitude, and it’s a familiar sight.

   Olmar and his father Ketil are a reflection of Thorfinn and Thors in Iceland years ago, with the father urging the boy to embrace a peaceful and prosperous lifestyle and the son rejecting it so he could live up to vague notions of being a glorious warrior on some distant battlefield. Thorfinn and Olmar think that winning battles and slaying enemies is the whole point of Viking men like them being alive, but it’s not. No one told them to do that, and in fact, their fathers discourage it. However, Olmar is convinced that his culture demands he become a warrior, and he will give up his comfortable, stable lifestyle for it — a bad bargain indeed.

   Thorfinn already learned painful lessons about how miserable, pointless and empty war and violence can be, and if Olmar doesn’t wise up, he will experience the same thing, and he might not survive. This is a deciding moment in Olmar’s life; either he will listen to his father’s wisdom and embrace the peaceful lifestyle he’s being offered or chase his dreams of being a warrior and end up miserable or dying because of it. Whether Olmar becomes the next Thorfinn or catches himself at the last moment is up to him. Thorfinn, who has already been through all this, can only watch and hope that he doesn’t see his tragic experiences play out all over again in someone else’s life.

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