How Did Thorfinn Become a Slave in Vinland Saga? Explained (2023)

One of the most important parts of Thorfinn’s entire character transformation and development was the Slave arc of the storyline, which is now the focal point of season 2 of Vinland Saga. That’s because it was through his experiences as a slave and the people that he met during this time that he was able to see a different side to life and regain his reason to live. But how did Thorfinn become a slave in the first place?

Thorfinn became a slave when he attacked Canute out of anger. Canute was the one that killed Askeladd after the latter killed King Sweyn. Due to the fact that his only reason for living had been taken away from him, Thorfinn assaulted Canute, who punished him with slavery for his attempt on his life.

It is worth mentioning that Canute could have actually ordered the execution of Thorfinn if he wanted to. However, he chose not to do so because he was still thankful for what Thorfinn did for him during the war against England. As such, slavery was the harshest punishment he could give. But Thorfinn’s slavery was actually a blessing in disguise because it allowed him to see life from a different perspective.

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How Did Thorfinn Become A Slave In Vinland Saga?

Why Didn’t Canute Execute Thorfinn?

(Video) Vinland Saga: Farm/Slave Arc Timeline | Season 2

How Did Thorfinn Become A Slave In Vinland Saga?

We know that season 2 of Vinland Saga will focus primarily on Thorfinn’s life as a slave working on Ketil’s farm. This is the point in his life where he has lost all meaning and purpose as he only goes about every single day working on the farm without any direction whatsoever. He had already become cold and emotionless due to the fact that he no longer had a reason to keep on living, and the men that he killed during the War arc haunted him every night.

Of course, this journey of Thorfinn as a slave is arguably the most important part of his character development and growth because of how it allowed him to become a better person with goals that were far more altruistic in nature. We are talking about the fact that it was his experiences and the people he met while he was a slave that allowed him to see his true purpose in life, which was to go on an exploration to find the land of Vinland and establish a country free of slavery, wars, inequality, and oppression.

How Did Thorfinn Become a Slave in Vinland Saga? Explained (1)

Then again, he still needs to go through the massive character development that the Slave arc would put him through, especially because he meets a lot of different people that would change the way he looks at life. But how did Thorfinn become a slave in the first place?

Back in season 1, Thorfinn was still a part of Askeladd’s band so that he could avenge the death of his father by killing Askeladd in a fair duel. It was during his time in Askeladd’s band that he met Prince Canute, who King Sweyn entrusted as the commander of the Danish army that Askeladd and the others were part of.

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Due to Canute’s inexperience and lack of military training, he and the Danish men were forced to retreat and go on the run. During that time, Askeladd realized how important Canute was for the English men, and that’s why he ordered Thorfinn to guard the prince with his life. This was the time when we saw how different the two were from each other despite the fact that they were basically the same age.

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Thorfinn was a seasoned fighter that spent 11 years on the battlefield and was not afraid of the things that war had to offer. Meanwhile, Canute was a young man that hated war and weapons and was on the softer side of things because of how Ragnar kept him away from politics and war. However, it was Canute’s experiences with Thorfinn and the fact that Ragnar sacrificed himself for the prince that changed the way he saw life.

After the war, King Sweyn and the other men celebrated their victory against England. Thorfinn joined the guards that were allowed in the banquet hall so that he could stay close to Askeladd. However, after Askeladd learned that Sweyn wanted to invade Wales next, despite the fact that the king knew that Askeladd wanted to protect his home country, he snapped and killed Sweyn. As Askeladd was rampaging through the dining hall after killing the king, Prince Canute killed him with a surprise attack.

Of course, Thorfinn was distraught by Askeladd’s death, not because he cared about him but because he spent the last 11 years of his life working hard so that he would be the one to kill him. Killing Askeladd was the only thing he looked forward to in life, and it was taken away from him by Canute, who rose up to become the next king of Denmark.

Seeing that everything he had worked hard for in life had been taken away from him, Thorfinn snapped and attacked Canute, who suffered a slash on his left cheek. The guards were able to pin down Thorfinn before he could do more damage to the new king of Denmark. In that regard, Thorfinn wasn’t even thinking about what would happen to him because he no longer had a reason to live after the pleasure of killing Askeladd had been taken away from him.

(Video) When Thorfinn Became Interesting

Because of his crimes for attacking the king, Canute ordered Thorfinn to be sold off to slavery. He subsequently found himself getting bought by Ketil, whose farm Thorfinn worked in for years before he became a free man once more.

Why Didn’t Canute Execute Thorfinn?

In most cases, kings would not hesitate to summarily execute a person that attempted to take their life. However, in Canute’s case, he ordered Thorfinn to be sold off to slavery instead of executing him. So, why didn’t Canute order Thorfinn’s death?

The reason why Canute didn’t want to kill Thorfinn was that, as cunning as he may have become, he still saw Thorfinn as a comrade and an ally that helped him during the war on England despite the fact that Thorfinn only protected Canute to get a fair duel from Askeladd. He said that he and Thorfinn wanted the same goals in life but followed a different path. As such, he still respected Thorfinn enough that he didn’t want to kill him.

RELATED:Who Is the Real Iron Fist Ketil in Vinland Saga? Here’s What We Know

After all, during the time that Thorfinn protected Canute during the war, they formed a connection, regardless of whether or not Thorfinn meant to connect with the former prince. As Ragnar said, this was the first time he saw Canute being open to a person other than him, as he felt that the prince could trust Thorfinn.

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Considering that Canute still saw Thorfinn as an ally and as a person that helped him get to where he was at that point, he decided to spare his life. But because the law was still clear, and Thorfinn did indeed attack the king, Canute decided to give him the harshest punishment other than death. Of course, we are talking about slavery, as Thorfinn was subsequently sold off as a slave to Ketil.

  • How Did Thorfinn Become a Slave in Vinland Saga? Explained (2)

    Ysmael Delicana

    Ysmael “Eng” Delicana is a writer based in Davao City, Philippines. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at Ateneo de Davao University before continuing to teach part-time at the same university. While teaching was a fun gig, being a geek and a writer seemed to be his cal...


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