The first season of Vinland Saga was a massive hit and there were many key reasons behind its success. Along with the riveting story, the first season featured some very interesting characters, and it is fair to say that Askeladd was the best of the lot.
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Askeladd managed to steal the spotlight from Thorfinn and became one of the most adored characters. Askeladd was not a friendly person, but his character was so well-written that the fans could help but appreciate him. Over the course of the first season, Askeladd committed some outrageous acts, which made him stand out as a villain.
Updated on March 24, 2023, by Suzail Ahmad: The second season of Vinland Saga is roughly halfway done, and it has lived up to expectations. The current season is a lot different from the first one, with the biggest change being Thorfinn's demeanor. In the first season, the protagonist came off as a reckless individual who was motivated by his desire to kill Askeladd. It is not a secret that Askeladd played a critical role in shaping Thorfinn's character. Many of the former's actions affected the latter both directly and indirectly, which is why Thorfinn sought to kill him. However, the impact that Askeladd's decisions had on the series as a whole is often overlooked. With that in mind, the list has been updated to include the consequences of Askeladd's actions.
7 Killed Thors
Thors was a legendary warrior, who made a name for himself on the battlefield, but eventually, he had a change of heart, and he decided to run away with his wife to another place. This behavior was unacceptable for a Viking and when the truth about Thors came out, he was asked to rejoin the ranks of the army.
After having no choice left, Thors set out with some youngsters from the village to join the fight. He was completely unaware that he was heading into an ambush. Askeladd's men were easily defeated by Thors, which led to the former getting involved in a duel with Thors. However, Thors proved to be too powerful for Askeladd. So, the mercenary leader resorted to breaking the rules and holding Thorfinn hostage. Thors could not let his son die, so he sacrificed himself instead.
The Result: Due to Thors' death, Thorfinn went down the path of destruction. He became so obsessed with his goal of killing Askeladd that he couldn't differentiate between right and wrong. Furthermore, the death of Thors robbed Helga, Ylva, and Thorfinn of a happy life.
6 Murdered His Own Men
Askeladd was an amazing fighter, and he was able to land one blow on Thors, which was impressive considering the latter had single-handedly beaten multiple mercenaries. However, Askeladd's real strength was his ability to strategize, and it made him an incredibly successful mercenary.
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Askeladd was a great leader of men and his soldiers were happy under his leadership as they were able to crush almost every enemy and gain a great deal of loot. When his own men decided to rebel against Askeladd, he told them that he hated every single one of them, and then he proceeded to kill the people who had served him for almost a decade.
The Result: Askeladd's decision to kill his soldiers shocked all of them. They couldn't believe that their leader despised them so much that he was willing to get rid of all of them. After revealing his true intentions, Askeladd had to fight against his underlings.
5 Ordering The Massacre Of An Unarmed Village
The Vikings were known to be great warriors and in Vinland Saga, their appetite for bloodshed has been highlighted several times. There have been many instances where the Vikings have chosen the more violent way to resolve an issue.
One of the most gutwrenching scenes in the series was when Askeladd and his men ransacked an entire village. The villagers were without any weapons, and Askeladd had no qualms about sending all of them to the afterlife. This incident showed Askeladd's ruthless side.
The Result: Considering Askeladd's persona, it wasn't shocking to see him order the destruction of a village. He took the job because of the money. Although it did not affect the story too much, it did show how greedy Askeladd truly was.
After witnessing his father being killed by Askeladd's men, Thorfinn swore to take revenge. He went from being an innocent young boy to becoming a merciless killing machine, who did not back down from any kind of challenge. Thorfinn killed many people because he wanted to get stronger.
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Askeladd used Thorfinn's skills to further his goals. He would send him on dangerous missions and as a reward, he would let Thorfinn fight against him. So in a way, it wasn't even a reward considering Askeladd knew Thorfinn would never be able to beat him. Askeladd repeatedly used Thorfinn's trauma to get the better of him, which solidified his reputation as an incredible villain.
The Result: Askeladd was devoid of any emotions, and most of the time he was solely focused on attaining his next goal. Even though he allowed Thorfinn to travel with his group, he hoped to use the young boy to take down strong opponents. Askeladd continued to treat Thorfinn as an object until his dying breath, which caused the latter many problems.
3 Accepting Any Job That Paid A Lot
As a Viking, Askeladd was all about fighting and pillaging. He loved money, and he was willing to do any kind of job if his employer paid him enough. Most of the jobs that Askeladd received involved murdering people, and he had absolutely no problem accepting them.
For Askeladd, these jobs meant more money, and since he did not have a moral code, it did not bother him in the least. Askeladd and his group had been pillaging and doing all other kinds of evil things for almost a decade.
The Result: Askeladd did not care about morals or principles. He was only concerned with filling his pockets, so he took on all kinds of jobs. Due to his greed, many innocent people died, yet he was completely unfazed. There were many instances where Askeladd's decision to prioritize money over morals even caused problems for his soldiers.
2 Not Caring About Others
Askeladd was the farthest from being a compassionate man, and he did not care about anyone except for himself. Askeladd's cold-hearted nature was shown several times in the first season.
He would kill anyone, who made him unhappy or stood between him and his money. He was ready to kill innocent unarmed people because it gave him joy.
The Result: Throughout history, there have been many ruthless military leaders who achieved their goals by walking on a path filled with the bodies of the innocent. Despite their cruel attitude, they still cared about their men. However, Askeladd was completely different. He hated his underlings and couldn't care less about what happened to them. When he finally revealed his true colors, his henchmen nearly killed him.
1 Denying Thorfinn Vengeance
Thorfinn only traveled with Askeladd's group because he wanted to exact revenge. Thorfinn stained his hands with blood, and it was just for the sake of being able to beat Askeladd. Towards the end of the first season, Askeladd was given a choice by King Sweyn.
In order to protect Wales, Askeladd decided to fake madness, and he lobbed off the king's head. This resulted in the soldiers attacking Askeladd and killing him in the process. This incident shocked Thorfinn as he was denied the one thing that he wanted the most. The protagonist was visibly distraught when he saw Askeladd die before his eyes.
The Result: Thorfinn's desire to avenge his father's killer was so great that he strayed from the path of righteousness. He was so engrossed in his desires that he even forgot about his family. When Askeladd allowed himself to be killed, Thorfinn went absolutely berserk. His obsession had become so powerful that he felt empty after Askeladd's death.
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