The character gallery for Makoto Yukimura's Vinland Saga and its anime adaptation.
WARNING: Contains unmarked spoilers for the first major arcs of the manga.
Characters Introduced In the First ArcThe Prologue.
Thorfinn "Karlsefni", Son of Thors
Voiced by: Shizuka Ishigami (Child), Yuuto Uemura (Teenager)
The Hero of the saga, an Icelandic warrior and son of a great general turned freehold farmer. Thorfinn starts the series as a violent, revenge-driven warrior in employ of his own father's killer. The saga follows his growth from his origins into the "true warrior" exemplified by his father.
- Actual Pacifist: He tries to become this to make a clean break from his past as a killer, and does it pretty well for a while. Unfortunately, he is eventually forced into more battles by forces outside his control and settles into being more of a Martial Pacifist when he has to.
- Anti-Hero: When first met, Thorfinn is a sullen boy who lives only for revenge and gives little if any thought to matters not related to killing Askeladd. He grows out of it.
- Ancestral Weapon: The dagger his father gave him before he died. Thorfinn used it as his main weapon for his time with Askeladd. He lost it right before being sent into slavery and it hasn't been seen since. Though it has sort of become a metaphor for his anger. He gained the dagger right before he gained his hate for Askeladd, and lost it right after Askeladd's death. To complete the symbolism, when Thorfinn learns that Floki was ultimately the man responsible for his father's death, he tells Hild about his desire to kill Floki, with imagery of him killing Floki with that dagger, even though Thorfinn lost it ages ago.
- The Atoner: Became one in general because of all the horrible things he did when he was part of Askeladd's band. Hild doesn't think it's enough, though seeing Thorfinn actually trying to be a better person is starting to change her mind somewhat.
- Badass Pacifist: In the second arc Thorfinn manages to defuse the situaton at Ketil's Farm entirely without violence.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: His knife skills also translates well into fist-fighting. When forced to fight unarmed, he acquits himself well.
- Beard of Sorrow: Sports one at the beginning of the second arc, and eventually shaves it off into a more straightforward beard.
- Berserk Button: It doesn't take much to set Thorfinn off given his short fuse, but he becomes damn near feral when someone mentions his father Thors in a poor light. Askeladd does this when he duels Thorfinn, which only makes it easier to trip the boy up and defeat him.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Post character development Thorfinn is a very affable and kind guy, and has sworn himself to pacifism. However, when forced to fight, he is still able to almost single handedly knock out a squad of Jomsvikings, who are the best of the best. And Odin help you if you earn his wrath even now, as Floki has.
- Blood Brothers: With Einar during the second arc.
- Book Dumb: He spent his entire life killing people and thus doesn't know a lot of things that others generally do.
- Celibate Hero: Thorfinn remains either too sullen or too broken to show any interest in the fairer sex (or his own sex) at all. This continues into his adulthood, at least so far.
- He doesn't really know anything about the female body either. After adopting Karli, he thinks Gudrid can just feed the baby with her breasts - not knowing she would have to be pregnant first to actually produce milk.
- After saving some women from raiders, one of them shyly offers to pay him back with her body - but he doesn't pick up on it at all, which annoys her.
- He has no reaction except confused "hmm?"s when Gudrid admits she likes him to Thorkell, and is blindsided by her saying it to him directly, leaving both deeply blushing and lost for words.
- Presumably averted after he marries Gudrid.
- Character Development: Cheerful Child -> Sociopathic Hero -> Extreme Doormat -> All-Loving Hero.
- Cheerful Child: Before Break the Cutie stands in.
- Child Soldier: He began working for Askeladd at the age of six.
- Co-Dragons: Serves as this to Askeladd alongside Bjorn, being the former's preferred assassin.
- The Comically Serious: By the third arc, at the latest. Thorfinn's reunion with his mother and sister lets us see him in relatively light-hearted situations, reacting pretty much exactly as you'd expect him to. What really cements it is the panel after Gudrid explains to him that she can't breastfeed Karli: shocked expression, a (realistically drawn) Sweat Drop, horizontally-hatched facial shadows, and a starburst background. Because Thorfinn Karlsefni doesn't know how breasts work.
- Deadpan Snarker: During the first arc, delivering one bitter comment after the other with his usual sullen look. He eventually manages to provoke even Canute with it.
- Death Glare: His default state during the first arc. One of the reasons Askeladd signs him up in the first place is because he's able to stare daggers at his men at the age of six.
- Though it appears much more rarely after the first arc, there are times where he gives one just as well as he used to when he's truly angry.
- The Determinator: In regards to his revenge. Then the guy he wanted to kill gets killed before his eyes.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: About Thors' teachings, up until he finally 'gets it' during the second arc.
- Dual Wielding: Thorfinn uses daggers during his employment under Askeladd.
- Everyone Has Standards: Even during his darkest years as a viking raider, Thorfinn never committed unnecessary cruelty. When an English lady saves him from a river after he had been shot with an arrow, even though he goes through with the previously made plan to set off a signal telling the Vikings to commence their raid, he attempts to tell her (in English, a language he isn't fluent in) to run and is clearly upset when the mother shows up to the site of the raid and probably dies shortly after. Likewise, during the raid that killed Hild's family, after killing Hild's father, he tells her to run before the other vikings who would probably rape and murder her show up since she wasn't his target.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: During his revenge seeking years, he never looks very attractive. A lot of it is admittingly the fact that he doesn't take care of himself at all, causing him to look generally shaggy. But when he really gets angry, his face becomes pretty grotesque looking. After undergoing positive character development after years of slavery, he becomes rather attractive, especially after getting a shave and a haircut.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Formerly an innocent kid with neat short hair, he lets his hair grow and be unkempt while living rough with Askeladd's band. After being enslaved, he lets it grow even longer out of apathy, but begins to groom and tie it back after Einar and others bring him out of his depression. After regaining his freedom and returning home, Ylva gives him a haircut and shave to his chagrin, making him look the most like an older version of his child self. When he returns from his merchant voyage, he has grown his hair out akin to his teen self, but more groomed.
- Extreme Doormat: During the second arc. Having lost his reason to live with Askeladd's death, Thorfinn is completely calm, humble and stoic and resigned to whatever comes his way, seeing no point to anything. It takes a combination of Einar, Snake and Sverker to make him realize he's still capable of meaningful living.
- Flat "What": His reaction to hearing Gudrid confessing that she likes him.
- Fragile Speedster: During the first arc. Thorfinn is extremely fast and very skilled (a necessity when one fights with daggers) but built lightly and lacks the girth and strength of older, larger fighters. His first battle against Thorkell goes badly as a result.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Receives a large clean cut on his right cheek during the Farmland arc, which stays. At that point his body is already Covered in Scars, but the facial scar is the first one that permanently changes his everyday appearance. Then after going on a merchant voyage, he then shows up with new scars on his left cheek and nose-bridge. The scars just make him look more rugged than anything.
- He's All Grown Up: After he was sold into slavery, he starts to look much older and rugged due to growing his hair and beard out, and also by often being covered in dirt and sweat. He is still pretty short though, presumably due to all the stress and malnutrition he experienced during his formative years. Though after he gets his freedom back, he gets cleaned up, his hair cut and his beard shaved and he is shown to have a pretty youthful face offset only by a scar (he's only in his 20s at latest).
- He Who Fights Monsters: He killed whoever Askeladd tasked him to kill without conscience simply to duel him, not caring for whoever suffers along the way. To be specific, he callously murdered Hild's father right in front of her, the very same reason why he wants Askeladd dead. This comes back to bite him hard later.
- Historical Domain Character: Loosely based on a real Icelandic explorer. Presumably the real Thorfinn didn't spend his formative years as a revenge driven viking.
- Hypocrite: Teenager Thorfinn hated Askeladd with all he had because Askeladd killed his father in front of him, but killed Hild's father in front of her with a spine-chilling cold precision.
- I'll Kill You!: He does this to Askeladd a lot. The most notable case is right after Thors' death. The sheer genuine hate was enough to unsettle Askeladd's crew.
- Jerkass: Not exactly *evil*, but he's surly, unpleasant and uninterested in anyone who doesn't help or hinder his vengeance. He completely ditches it after being made a slave though.
- Knife Nut: His weapons for the first arc are a pair of knives, one of whom was given to him by his father during his childhood. He later re-develops his knife-fighting skills for use in barehanded fighting.
- Lack of Empathy: During his time as a raider, he thought nothing of the rape and murder Askeladd's band committed and simply walked away from the sight of it in mild disgust. He'd at least tell would-be victims to run, but didn't truly care either way. He regains it after Asekladd's death.
- Lightning Bruiser: As a result of muscle mass he builds up doing manual labour during the second arc, Thorfinn trades some of his agility for power and mass and becomes more like his father in body build. This allows him to punch out or disable armoured men during the third arc.
- Luminescent Blush: Can't look Gudrid in the eye after her confession.
- Made a Slave: Canute sells Thorfinn off as a slave after the Prologue as punishment for assaulting him. This is described as being merciful because Canute could simply execute Thorfinn if he wanted to.
- The Magnificent: He gets saddled with the epithet "Karlsefni" (which can be translated a lot of ways but generally comes down to some form or another of "a really skilled guy") after his duel with Thorkell.
- Manly Tears: While dry eyed during the entirety of the first arc (childhood excluded), he becomes far more compassionate in the second arc, complementing his character development after his spiritual awakening. He is shown openly weeping on several occasions such as during his reunion with his mother and after Arnheid's death.
- McNinja: His use of daggers, role as a scout, and fighting style based on agility definitely seems to invoke Ninjas despite him being Nordic. Even does a Ninja Run at times in the anime.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Realizing who Hild is and what he did to her. One panel has this trope etched all over his face.
- No Social Skills: Being a child soldier and ruthless raider for so long resulted in having very few actual people skills. After regaining his humanity, this is shown more prominently during the third arc a couple of times.
- Not Afraid to Die: After the events of the first arc, Thorfinn states that he cares little if he lives or dies. Snake shakes him out of it with pure Killing Intent, making Thorfinn realize he wants to live after all, though it takes time til he finds his reason for why.
- Offered the Crown: A succession crisis after the chieftain of the Jomsvikings dies pits Floki against Vagn over whom will be the next chieftain of Jomsborg. Floki is grooming his grandson to be the next chieftain and Vagn wants the title himself. Thorkell declares that since Thorfinn is the grandson of Sigvaldi and the son of Thors, he actually has the most legitimate claim to the title. Thorfinn refuses.
- Official Couple: Thorfinn and Gudrid get married at some point during the second time skip, which is unsurprising for anyone with knowledge of the historical sagas the story is based on.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Towards Askeladd. Ends up a Deconstruction as the older man calls him out for being an idiot about it.
- Perpetual Frowner: During the first arc, Thorfinn's three expressions are stoic disinterest, frowning, and screaming anger. As the arc continues he adds the occasional 'surprise' to his repertoire before his entire personality is rebooted in a Heroic BSoD.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: As a child and teen, the other characters tower over him (particularly Thorkell the Tall, who is, ironically, his great uncle), but even as an adult he is much shorter than the average man in the setting. Sometimes people are Expecting Someone Taller due to his reputation. His height doesn't stop him from kicking ass.
- The Power of Hate: Played Straight and Deconstructed. Thorfinn's vendetta against Askeladd is basically what drives him for ten years of constant war but when Askeladd dies he is basically reduced to an Empty Shell due to the source of his hate (and indeed reason to live) being killed off.
- Revenge Before Reason: Thorfinn in the first arc is fueled exclusively by his thirst for revenge against Askeladd, but he will only attempt to kill the man in a proper duel. He never tries to take his life by any other means, not in the midst of a chaotic battle, or by sneaking up on him in his sleep, nothing else. Askeladd calls Thorfinn out on his idiocy when he tells him the story of how he killed his own father out of revenge as a child through patience and cunning.
- Thorfinn also cared little for anything outside of his vengeance, even his remaining family and friends back in Iceland. When he first reunited with Leif, he refused to return home or even pay any consideration to how his disappearance affected his sickly mother and overworked sister as in his mind, he couldn't focus on anything else until he regained his father's honor.
- Scars Are Forever: His body is covered with all sorts of scars from the constant fighting when he was in Askeladd's band. Interestingly, his face remains scar-free until the Farmland Saga where part of his left ear gets cut off, the later he gets a longer scar running down the side of his face. It only really serves to make him look more rugged.
- After the two year timeskip post Baltic Sea War, Thorfinn has another scar across the bridge of his nose. It once again serves to make him look more rugged.
- Screaming Warrior: Thorfinn's main weakness in battle is that he tends to devolve into violent screaming rage when things do not go his way. Askeladd repeatedly points out that it's holding him back.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: After the first arc is concluded and Thorfinn gives up on his violent ways, he's still haunted in his dreams by the men he's killed.
- Slasher Smile: When not stoic or frowning in the first arc.
- The Stoic: For most of the first arc, this is his default mood. Also during much of the early second arc due to becoming an Extreme Doormat by his experiences.
- Straight for the Commander: Askeladd routinely uses Thorfinn as a battlefield assassin by sending him after opposing commanders first. When he attempts this tactic on Thorkell during the Battle of London it goes badly.
- Supporting Protagonist: In the first arc at least, he plays this to Askeladd and Canute who are the characters who really drive the plot. He firmly becomes the lead after Askeladd dies and Canute becomes king however.
- Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder: Thorfinn serves this role for Askeladd's crew, essentially being used for any job that requires someone very expendable, but more reliable than the rank-and-file. This includes being used as a messenger (for possibly hostile forces that Askeladd plans to betray), being sent to kill Thorkell (and immediately abandoned once he fails), and being ordered into a forest fire on a recovery mission (without any backup). In fact, Askeladd repeatedly shows surprise that Thorfinn keeps coming back alive.
- Tears of Remorse: During his dreams in the second arc Thorfinn finally realizes what his father had been trying to teach him as a child and comes to regret all the people he killed in his thirst for revenge.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Thorfinn charged headfirst into Thorkell's band to save Askeladd, just so he could have the chance to kill him. Askeladd dying by Canute's hand instead breaks him, and he even tries to kill Canute for it.
- Askeladd: I-I always knew you were crazy but...
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Attempts to become an Actual Pacifist during the second arc. He is eventually forced to fight in order to save other people, but only as a last resort and still refuses to kill.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: After Thors's death.
- Took a Level in Kindness: After being sold into slavery and the death of Askeladd, Thorfinn becomes a much more somber and kinder character.
- Tragic Keepsake: In a way his twin daggers are this to him, having been given to him by his father. In an interesting example this keepsake is also Thorfinn's preferred weapon when he would finally get to kill Askeladd as well as a symbolism of his murderous rage, given that it symbolizes his desire to attain vengeance for his father.
- Unstoppable Rage: Averted. When Thorfinn gets really angry in a fight it usually leads to him getting his ass kicked by a more composed opponent (usually Askeladd).
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: In the beginning, he was just a curious and adventurous young boy who loved his family very much and wanted to explore across the ocean to new lands.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: At the end of the Farmland Saga, as Thorfinn finds a purpose in life, he delivers a three-part speech on his new views on life and suffering at Arnheid's grave, to Canute's housecarls and finally to Canute himself that essentially serves as this.
- You Killed My Father: Askeladd killed Thors, so Thorfinn has to avenge him by killing Askeladd. It's deconstructed. Not only does the oath of vengeance pretty much ruin Thorfinn's life, but Askeladd makes it clear to him that he's an idiot who has no real clue what really wanting to kill someone means. When Askeladd is mortally wounded he tells Thorfinn he can finish it if he likes, and Thorfinn isn't able to do it, instead getting a Heroic BSoD and attacking Askeladd's killer.
- Reversed later after Thorfinn makes peace with his past. He happens to meet a woman whose father HE had killed when he worked under Askeladd. Even though he has become a different person since then, she doesn't care and wants nothing but his death.
- Turns out his anger over his father's death hasn't truly dissipated. He has come to terms with his anger towards Askeladd, sure, but when he learns that Floki was the one who actually orchestrated it all, he has to calm himself down and acknowledges that if he met Floki, he would probably tear him limb from limb. And then when he does run into Floki by chance, he picks up a sword for the first time in years, preparing to kill him.
"Askeladd", Son of Olaf
Voiced by: Naoya Uchida
A Danish mercenary commander of mysterious origins, driven to excel through his own unknown motivations. Askeladd serves as antagonist and surrogate father-figure to Thorfinn during the first arc of the saga, pushing around the younger man through having killed his father Thors and using the promise of revenge to make Thorfinn follow him.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: It's not his freakish strength or speed that makes Askeladd so dangerous, it's his mind and his ability to read people. Only Thors ever gets the better of him.
- Badass Baritone: Courtesy of Naoya Uchida.
- Berserk Button: Do not bring up his mother or the circumstances of his childhood.
- Boomerang Bigot: Hates vikings and the Norse for their short-sighted violent nature while shepherding around a band of marauders and thugs, fully admitting he's really no better.
- Born into Slavery: Was a thrall of a Danish lord.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Not as obvious or as much in general as Thorkell since he likes to use his head, but it's there. The sight of Askeladd single-handily chopping one of his men in half, starting at the helmet, frightened his men. One of them professed that he couldn't do that even with an axe, while Askeladd did it with his sword.
- Combat Pragmatist: He thinks nothing of using deceit, distractions, feints and taunts to keep people off their game.
- Cool Old Guy: Evil version.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Askeladd has given numerous of these to Thorfinn over the years. He doesnt even need a weapon to do it!
- Deadpan Snarker: Oh indeed.
- Dragon-in-Chief: For Canute after the rest of Askeladd's band is massacred. Canute is perfectly fine with this arrangement, recognizing Askeladd's experience and political acumen.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Verging with Death Equals Redemption. He ends up essentially martyring himself for Wales, saving thousands, and goes down killing a king, butchering twenty royal guards, crowning his Prince, and even comforts Thorfinn in his final moments.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: If Askeladd invokes his mother's name, or his ancestor's name, it means he intends to keep his promise. If he invokes his father's name, he isn't.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Wanting to end the Viking Age, he became every bit as bad as his 'opponent'.
- Heroic Lineage: Is a living descendant of King Arthur.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Given the choice of sacrificing Canute or Wales, Askeladd picks "himself" and assassinates Sweyn Forkbeard at the cost of his own life.
- If I Wanted You Dead...: Askeladd eventually throws all pretence to the wind and makes clear to Thorfinn that if he really wanted an end to the constant 'duels to the death' or grew sick of him, he could have killed him years ago.
- Last of His Kind: He is, or at least believes he is, the last living direct descendant of Artorius.
- Lonely at the Top: Askeladd doesn't really have anyone he can relate to as an equal. Thors was the closest he got, and he had to kill him. Bjorn claims that his professed hate for everyone else probably mirrors a lot of hate for himself.
- Lightning Bruiser: He's just as quick as Thorfinn, and more physically powerful (Though not to the same extent as Thorkell).
- Manipulative Bastard:
- He's excellent at playing politics, having orchestrated his father's assassination and pinned the blame on one of his brothers. He employs this skill against Sweyn as well, but is Out-Gambitted at the most crucial moment.
- He's played Thorfinn like a fiddle during their whole time together.
- Meaningful Name: Several levels.
- The Askeladden ("Ash Lad") is a well-known Scandinavian Guile Hero archetype, usually The Un-Favourite third son who saves the day when his "noble" brothers fail.
- Askeladd's real name Lucius Artorius Castus is identical to that of a real Roman soldier who some historians think is the basis for the King Arthur legends. In-universe, Artorius (later remembered as Arthur) was the leader of the British (Welsh) against the Anglo-Saxon (English) invaders, as well as the ancestor of Askeladd. It's implied that in-universe the original Arthur's full name would also have been "Lucius Artorius Castus", since Askeladd's mother named him after their illustrious ancestor. In real life, Arthur has a similar role as the British leader against the Anglo-Saxons in early literature such as Historia Brittonum. But the real Lucius Artorius Castus lived centuries before the Anglo-Saxon incursions (and the name Arthur might have had a different origin) so most other historians doubt his relevance to the Arthurian legend.
- Morality Pet: Askeladd has a soft spot for his mother's homeland of Wales, and for Thorfinn as well.
- Mysterious Past: He intentionally cultivates an air of mystery. If they know nothing of your origins, they cannot blackmail you.
- No Place for Me There: All but outright states that in being no better than a viking he's lost all rights to trying to build a better world, despite having both the ability and bloodline to become king of Wales or a powerful Norse chief.
- Not So Above It All: In spite of his cynic view of life, he holds a kernel of belief on the Arthurian legend and his own role as the royal scion of the Britons/Welsh.
- Not So Stoic: Askeladd usually exhibits Nerves of Steel and tends to snark or quietly bemoan his bad luck when things don't go his way. His facade cracks briefly when Sweyn declares his plans to invade Wales, which is all the latter needs to read him.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Askeladd usually presents a cheerful, joking and jovial attitude to employers and strangers to catch them off their guard. His true nature is far more straight-laced.
- Only Friend: Says this to Bjorn as the latter dies in his arms. Whether he was geniune or just invoking Let Them Die Happy is never made clear.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Towards the end of the first arc, as he loses his men, sees Canute turn into someone who can make his dreams come true and makes an enemy of King Sweyn, Askeladd becomes increasingly morose and introspective. It comes to head in his final 'duel' with Thorfinn which happened moments after having put down Bjorn, his only friend (probably). He forgoes his usual demeanor of essentially playing around with Thorfinn and simply beats him to a pulp with his bare fists. It seems he was even planning to seriously kill an unconscious Thorfinn if Canute hadn't stepped in to stop him.
- Parental Substitute: Thorfinn eventually realizes that ten years living as a part of Askeladd's band meant Askeladd was practically his father for much of his formative years. He only realizes this after Askeladd is dead however.
- Rags to Riches: Legitimised bastard of a Danish lord turned mercenary commander turned advisor to the future king of Denmark, England and Norway.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He gives these to Thorfinn from time to time, though the young man often misses his points because of his sheer wrath towards Askeladd.
- Self-Made Orphan: Killed his own father.
- Smug Smiler: Does this a lot during the early first arc, occasionally going straight into Slasher Smile territory. After losing his men to Thorkell, he drops the act completely.
- The Social Expert: Is an adept political operator. He can examine a person's character just from looking at their face.
- Spirit Advisor: To Thorfinn during the Farmland Arc, continuing in much the same fashion as when he was alive.
- Supporting Leader: A villainous version. While Thorfinn remains the protagonist and viewpoint of the first arc, Askeladd is the one who drives the plot for much of it and it is his plans that eventually become the focus of the prologue and he and Canute are the ones whose actions end it.
- The Svengali: He shapes Thorfinn into a viking, and indulges him in their duels to the death in order to keep the young man in his service and manipulate him for his own gain.
- Trickster Mentor: To Thorfinn. A lot of interactions between them involves Askeladd attempting to imbue the younger man with a bit of wisdom and a sense of perspective, which he doesn't seem to pick up on consciously but eventually ends up shaping his character in a lot of ways.
- Vague Age: The evolving artstyle makes it hard to determine his precise age. He's obviously in his thirties upon meeting Thors and Thorfinn, though, and well into his middle-age by the time the prologue ends, with Thorfinn in his middle teens.
- Villainous Friendship: With Bjorn, possibly. While Bjorn clearly admires Askeladd, it's unclear if he reciprocates. Askeladd claims it's the case as Bjorn lies dying, but if he was genuine or not isn't made clear.
- When it comes to the rest of the vikings in Askeladd's band, it's thoroughly averted. He makes it clear after they turn on him that despite years of raiding together, he has always hated every single one of them along with everything they represent. They were simply tools for furthering his own aims.
- Worthy Opponent: His view on Thors, probably the only person (besides post-Character Development Canute) he ever held any respect for.
- Would Hurt a Child: He doesn't relish dueling Thorfinn, but whenever they cross blades he has no reservations about seriously hurting the kid.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Essentially replaced Ragnar, the man he killed, as Canute's right-hand man. Invoked by Canute, who demands Askeladd atone his murder of Ragnar by loyally serving Canute much like Ragnar himself.
Voiced by: Hiroki Yasumoto
The Dragon to Askeladd, being his second-in-command and closest confidante. Known for his usage of mushrooms to drive him into a berserker rage.
- Badass Beard: Fittingly, a braided one.
- Barbarian Longhair: Long spiky hair.
- Best Friend: To Askeladd. His one and only friend.
- The Berserker: After eating a mushroom he becomes little more than a wild raging animal attacking anyone he sees, even his own men.
- Blood Knight: He openly admits that he just likes killing, and that it's worth more than money to him.
- Co-Dragons: Shares the role of Askeladd's chief enforcer with Thorfinn for much of the first arc. Bjorn is second-in-command of the viking band, while Askeladd entrusts Thorfinn with vital solo missions.
- Cooldown Hug: Given to him by Canute. Sadly, being distracted by it allows one of his opponents to mortally wound him.
- Died Standing Up: As per his own wishes, killed by Askeladd in a Duel to the Death.
- Duel to the Death: After taking a gut wound that gets infected, he requests that Askeladd kill him this way so he can go to Valhalla.
- Hidden Depths: Before dying, Bjorn reveals that he's always yearned for Askeladd's friendship.
- No Brows: Though he has his helmet on most of the time, so it's not too noticeable.
- Nothing Personal: He holds no grudge towards Atli stabbing him in the side.
- Psycho Serum: Eats poisonous mushrooms to induce his Unstoppable Rage. This is one of several hypotheses on how historcial berserkers drummed themselves into battle rage.
- Super Strength: During his Unstoppable Rage he is able to perform Thorkell-like feats of lifting and throwing.
- Undying Loyalty: He's one of only two people in his band that Askeladd trusts unconditionally (the other being Thorfinn).
- Unstoppable Rage: When he consumes mushrooms. It's a Subverted Trope in that it never allows him to win any battles — Thors defeats him just as easily with them, and during his second rage he's mortally wounded as Canute is talking him down.
- Villainous Friendship: With Askeladd, possibly. Bjorn clearly admires Askeladd, and his last words to the latter is that he always wanted to be his friend. Askeladd replies that Bjorn is and was his only friend just as Bjorn dies.
- Would Hit a Girl: When a women stands up to him for eating her familys food, he offhandedly backhands her into a wall so hard it knocked her out.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Takes a gut wound during a fight. Bjorn chooses to die fighting before the wound kills him.
Thors "The Troll of Jom", Son of Snorre
Voiced by: Kenichiro Matsuda
Thorfinn's dead father, the mightiest and most favoured captain of the Jomsvikings mercenary band turned anonymous Icelandic farmer and family man. Thors only appears in the saga for less than ten chapters during a flashback, but Thorfinn spends the first two arcs haunted by his death or trying to live up to the ideals Thors attempted to impact on him.
- Always Someone Better: To Thorkell, who admits that Thors is the only man stronger than him.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Able to take on a ship full of Vikings with his bare hands.
- Bumbling Dad: Towards his children.
- Decoy Protagonist: Serves as this in the anime, due to the timeline beginning at his desertion and going onto Thorfinn's childhood from there.
- Defector from Decadence: Gave up his life as a professional mercenary and ran away to Iceland to become a peaceful farmer. Fifteen years later, his former life comes knocking.
- Died Standing Up: After being killed by multiple arrows.
- Gentle Giant: A tree of a man, who has taken a vow to no longer kill and is a generally kind man.
- Faking the Dead: He faked his death during a battle to run away from his life of killing.
- Heel Realisation: He used to be an unrepentant killer until his daughter's birth, at which point he became a pacifist.
- Heroes Fight Barehanded: As part of his pacifist philosophy, Thors avoids confrontation whenever possible. Once forced into a fight, however, he prefers to use his fists for non-lethal force. Given his strength and skill, it's hardly a handicap.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Allows himself to be killed to ensure the safe passage of his crew and son.
- Martial Pacifist: "A true warrior needs no blade."
- Offhand Backhand: Beats one of Askeladd's men in this way.
- One-Man Army: He took on half of Askeladd's mercenary band, including a berserking Bjorn, single-handedly, un-armoured, unarmed and won without a scratch (or without killing anyone).
- Posthumous Character: In the manga, where he has been long dead in the main story.
- Red Baron: The Troll of Jom.
- Spell My Name with an "S": "Thors" is not a common Norse name, and would probably be better represented as "Thor" (with all its mythological undertones). His name as spelled would give Thorfinn the somewhat silly surname of "Thorssson". The father of the historical Thorfinn was named Þórðr, which could be rendered as Thord or Thordar in modern English.
- Spirit Advisor: To Thorfinn, briefly, during the first arc.
- The Strength of Ten Men: He literally rows for five men.
- Technical Pacifist: He becomes one of these after his desertion from the Jomsviking.
- That Man Is Dead: Tries to tell Floki that his days as the Troll of Jom are over, but things don't pan out so well.
- World's Best Warrior: Even with his vow of not-killing, none of the other warriors seen in the manga could hold a candle to him.
Leif "The Lucky", Son of Erik
Voiced by: Yoji Ueda
Based on the historical character of the same name. Son of Erik "The Red" (the discoverer of Greenland and founder of the Norse settlements there). At the start of the manga he has already discovered Vinland (Newfoundland) and come back, and spends his time as a farmer and trader between Greenland, Iceland and the mainland.
- Bold Explorer: His tales of exploring Vinland incite Thorfinn to do the same.
- Cool Old Guy: Already in his thirties during Thorfinn's childhood, and the kids in the village calls him 'old man Leif'.
- Father Neptune: Has already sailed from Vinland in the west to the Baltic Sea in the east, and knows the way to Constantinople as well.
- Historical Domain Character: The legendary explorer himself.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Was a friend of Thors and continues to be a friend of Thorfinn.
- Nice Guy: In a society like Scandinavia he stands out, being a pacifist, a trader and having no emnity towards anyone. He even managed to make friends with the Skraelings if his own tales are to be believed, and spends several years trying to honour Thors' final wish to take care of his son.
- Non-Action Guy: The kids in the village make fun of him for not being a strong warrior.
- Real Men Love Jesus: Historically brought Christianity to Iceland after being converted by Haakon "the Good" of Norway, and mentions that one of his common trade goods is wine he can use in Mass.
Helga, Daughter of Sigvaldi
Voiced by: Ao Takahashi
Thors' wife, mother of Thorfinn and Ylva.
- Arranged Marriage: To Thors, most likely as a way for the chief to designate Thors as his heir. It eventually turned into...
- The Bus Came Back: Like most of the Icelandic characters, she's only seen in Thorfinn's flashbacks and dreams. She's still around when Thorfinn returns home, and encourages him to seek Vinland.
- Curtains Match the Windows: Both her hair and eyes are gold-coloured. Her children inherited her hair but not her eyes. She has blue eyes in the anime, though, just like her children.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Thorfinn and Ylva inherited her hair colour, and she's shown to be a good mother and an all-around moral person.
- Ill Girl: Downplayed, but she has a naturally weak constitution. Thors and Ylva dote on her as a result.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Given she willingly left Jomsborg with Thors following his HeelFace Turn and encouraged his new life.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Given she was able to intimidate Thors...
Ylva, Daughter of Thors
Voiced by: Hitomi Nabatame
Thors' first child and the older sister of Thorfinn.
- Anger Born of Worry: Once Thorfinn returns home. When she mistakes him for a conman she strangles him a a bit. Once she's convinced it's actually her long lost, thought dead little brother she outright assaults him.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Why can't her father just buy them a nice thrall like everyone else?
- Cool Big Sis: Ylva is a multi-talented girl and a good sister to Thorfinn. She can fish, whale, knit, crochet, tend sheep, cook.
- Dude Magnet: Though she herself blames it on the village's small population.
- Indifferent Beauty: It seems like every boy in the village has attempted to propose to her. She just finds it annoying.
- The Unfavorite: Towards her father as a baby. Thors was a hardened warrior who was disappointed when she turned out to be a girl rather than a son like he had hoped. He refused to name her and treated her roughly; Helga protested and this was the only time Thors had ever seen her angry. He got over it eventually and came to love Ylva.
- Women Prefer Strong Men: Thors points out to Ari that his daughter has a taste for strong men and warriors. She marries Ari after he becomes a strong man.
Halfdan "Iron Chain"
Voiced by: Yoshimitsu Shimoyama
A powerful Icelandic farmer and money-lender, known for his harsh and unyielding nature and harsh treatment of slaves and men under his employ.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Essentially what most of his loans come down to in the end: Give up your farm and serve him, or starve.
- Bad Boss: Treats his men and his debtors as crap, and his slaves even worse. He mentions off-handedly that he's going to have one of his escaped slaves tortured to death as a warning to the rest.
- Break the Haughty: By his own admission he hates pridefulness, and sees his loans as taking the debtors' pride as collateral.
- The Bus Came Back: He only appears briefly in the flashback during the first arc to underline Thors' good nature. He returns for the third arc, where he becomes far more important.
- Chained by Fashion: He seems to treat a chain wrapped around his arm as common attire.
- Chain Pain: He uses it to strip the flesh off the face of an employee who dishonours him.
- The Chessmaster: Ultimately shown to be attempting this, as he hoped his accumulated wealth and influence would lead to Sigurd somehow taking control of Iceland and bringing prosperity to the land. Sigurd argues that the land has not seen war for generations which is invaluable in its own way, and this would cease if they were to shake up the status quo.
- Hobbes Was Right: He seems to believe a version of this, believing that laws are chains that make men out of savages and thinking to himself how men chain themselves to concepts like honour and pride.
- Inadequate Inheritor: He seems to view his own son Sigurd in this way.
- Ironic Name: His name means "half Dane" but he never does things by halves.
- Loan Shark: He wields his economic power like a cudgel, all but enslaving the people who owe him.
- Marry for Love: Despite forcing his son into Altar Diplomacy, his own wife was a fisherman's daughter. She sarcastically notes this when he starts talking about the benefits of marriage alliances.
- The Patriarch: Marries his son to Gudrid for a financial alliance. This is Truth in Television, as Icelandic farmers would frequently intermarry in this manner and family alliances are an important part of the Icelandic Sagas.
- Pet the Dog: He hosts Thorfinn and Gudrid's wedding and the subsequent feast (though he makes them foot the bill).
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ends up on the receiving end of one from his wife, pointing out that he thinks of men and women both like hnefatafl pieces who always move in fixed patterns, but the truth is they only do so because they choose to do so.
- Secret Test of Character: Inverted and then played straight. Halfdan openly attempts a Break the Haughty deal on Thorfinn because he expects him to act like everyone else, but Thorfinn is a Humble Hero who willingly goes along with it. Halfdan, surprised at this, backs off. This makes him decide to test Thorfinn's determination by giving him Narwhale horns as a 'gift', with the underlying understanding that he wants to see if Thorfinn is willing to go to Greece and back to sell them at a profit to fund his mission.
- The Stoic: His face never seems to change from a view of cold disdain. Except the one time he gets furious at his son, when he appears to go Super Saiyan.
- So Proud of You: He's quite restrained about it but he's actually proud of Sigurd for defying his will, showing he is his father's son.
Voiced by: Atsushi Ono
Current captain of the Jomsvikings and recurring minor antagonist of the series. He orchestrates the assassination of Thors and later shows up in the service of the Danish royal family.
- A Day in the Limelight: He takes centre stage during the Baltic War arc as leader of one of the two major factions gearing up for war, after having been The Dragon to one king or another for most of the storyline.
- Always Someone Better: As the leader of a faction of the Jom after Sigvaldi dies; he is a peerless warrior and seaman. The only two times he fights a named character? Well... Askeladd had carved through twenty or more opponents and still overpowers Floki in their Blade Lock and brings the proud viking to his knees. When he comes across Thorfinn many years later; a Thorfinn who knows that he was the architect of Thors' demise - he doesn't even get to swing his sword before he's defeated!
- The Dragon: To Sweyn Forkbeard, and later one of two Co-Dragons to Canute. He takes a leadership role in the third arc.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite being a venomous snake of a man most of the time, he genuinely seems to adore his grandson.
- Evil Old Folks: He mentions during the Baltic War arc that he's forty-nine, an impressive age for a career soldier.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: A reverse example in that he has a 'good' scar down the right side of his face (with no eye damage) but is not a good person at all.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Thorfinn's involvement in the entire Baltic War arc is essentially his fault. If he'd simply let that person go on his way the whole arc may have gone a lot better for him.
- The Resenter: Upon meeting Thorfinn and realising his parentage he reflects on how much he disliked Thors for always being better than him.
- Shame If Something Happened: Threatens Thors into joining the Danish invasion of England by holding his home village as a hostage.
- Smug Smiler: During his initial appearance.
- Smug Snake: He tends to misjudge both his allies and his enemies while holding them in contempt.
- Villain Has a Point: Horrible as his setting Thors' death was, he's not wrong when he points out that Thors deserted the Jomsvikings in the middle of a battle. Such an act would not only be considered highly disgraceful and dishonorable for a Norse Warrior, but also goes against the code of the real life Jomsvikings, and even today warrants harsh punishments up to and including the death penalty in modern militaries.
Thorkell "The Tall"
Voiced by: Akio Ohtsuka
Former captain of the Jomsvikings, Thorkell is an extremely tall and mighty and above all jovial warrior based on the historical/mythological figure of the same name. He has his own band of Blood Knights defined by their tendency to switch to whichever side is losing so they'll have the stronger side to fight against.
- Achilles' Heel: Despite his size and strength, Thorkell has a glass jaw and gets knocked out very easily if being hit there. Knowledge of this allowed Askeladd to instruct Thorfinn on how to beat him.
- Adaptational Early Appearance: Shows up during the Action Prologue of the anime's first episode, fighting alongside Thors.
- An Axe to Grind: He dual-wields Dane axes, two-handed poleaxes designed to stop horses in their tracks and break shield walls.
- Anti-Hero: Type V.
- Attack Hello: Upon reuniting with Thorfinn after the Farmland Arc, he "greets" him by trying to fillet him with his axes. This also proves to him (since Thorfinn dodges) that it really is Thorfinn and not an imposter.
- Badass Army: His band of 500 men are almost as bloodthirsty as he is. He also seems to invoke this. When deserters from Askeladd's group beg to join him, he slaughters them on the grounds that he doesn't want cowards to join him.
- Badasses Wear Bandanas
- Badass Baritone: A very powerful warrior with a deep and strong voice to match, courtesy of Akio Ohtsuka.
- Badass Beard
- Berserk Button: Interfering with his fights. He was truly enraged when his men tried to kill Thorfinn after the boy gouged his eye out. He makes it clear that he does not like being shamed. Also stealing his kills As Askeladd did with King Sweyn, as well as Garm later on with Jomsviking Commander Vagn.
- Blood Knight: This is his most prominent personality trait. Upon realizing that the Vikings would steamroll through England, he decides that sort of war is no fun, and so switches to the losing side. When Askeladd declares his intention to kill King Sweyn Forkbeard to his face, in front of his whole court, Thorkell's knee-jerk reaction is to demand they switch places so he can kill Sweyn.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Less nice version.
- Boom, Headshot!: Headshots a soldier with a thrown spear. He does the same thing later on again, but even more impressive, having thrown a spear from over a kilometer way and impaling 4 soldiers, with one losing his head in the process.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Simply put, he's utterly ridiculous. He regularly chops up dozens of men to pieces in casual single-handed swings, can kill 4 with one throw of an axe or a spear from afar (as he did so in his first appearance in the anime as well as when he killed 4 of Askeladd's men with a spear he threw from over a km away), tosses wooden posts like spears, can lift a 5 ton boulder and throw it, punch horses into the air (with the hand where he only has 3 fingers), killing them, and punch a bears' tooth out and hug them to death. When searching for Floki in the Baltic War Arc, he even bulldozed 2 houses on his own, fought with a mutant for hours until morning until he finally won.
- Colonel Badass: In the past he served as one of the four battalion captains of the Jomsvikings.
- Cool Old Guy: Is mentioned to be fifty in the arc he first appears in. This would make him arounf fifty-six by the Baltic War arc. After the two years timeskip, he would be now around fifty-eight.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Thorkell loves to fight. If your side would be more fun to fight against, he'll switch sides to fight you instead.
- Cruel Mercy: In a meta sort of way, this is him never having seen Thors again. This saddened him immensely, but if going by Thorkell's reaction to seeing Canute bring peace to England and promote pacifism as his main philosophy, which is to immediately lose all respect for him to the point of barely being able to restrain his contempt just at hearing his name, perhaps it's for the best that he never learned of the kind of man Thors eventually became, as he most likely would've wound up losing the respect he had for his best friend and the only man able to best him in combat. Thors dying before Thorkell could see him again means that Thorkell still respects his name immensely.
- The Dreaded: Despite being friendly and jovial, his legendary battle prowess makes him this to his enemies.
- Dual Wielding: Dual-wields Dane Axes, poleaxes meant to break shieldwalls, as though they were regular battle axes. They give him a practical "Instant Death" Radius in battle.
- Eyepatch of Power: Receives a menacing black eyepatch after losing his eye to Thorfinn.
- Eye Scream: Has an eye gouged out by Thorfinn.
- Famed in Story: Thorkell is already famous throughout Scandinavia as the story begins, and beating him in a duel is what gives Thorfinn his nickname and reputation as "the one who beat Thorkell".
- Fingore: Thorfinn cuts off the ring and pinky fingers of his right hand when they first met. Didn't bother him at all.
- Four-Star Badass: He used to be a Jomsviking captain until old age forced him to retire. He then became a general for the English (and later for Canute).
- Graceful Loser: He admits that he doesn't like losing, but he will accept defeat and chews his men out for trying to kill Thorfinn.
- Handicapped Badass: Realistically, losing two fingers ought to be crippling for a warrior as it would impact their ability to properly weild a weapon. This is not a problem for Thorkell. Same goes for after Thorfinn takes out his eye later and he's still a force to be reckoned with.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Thorkell's antics is almost consistently Played for Laughs, even as they involve insta-filleting men, starting wars for fun or egregiously expanding the scope of an already devastating war just for a better fight.
- Historical Domain Character: Based on the historical character of the same name, who was a jomsviking, fought for Ethelred, and eventually became one of Canute's staunchest supporters. The real-life Thorkell was made an earl of East Anglia and eventually moved to Denmark. History is uncertain what became of him, save that he lived to at least his fifties and remained Canute's companion until the end.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Downplayed, but the reason Thorkell fought against the Vikings was because during a raid on England his men drunkenly killed an archbishop and Thorkell in remorse defected and enlisted in Ethelred's service. Whereas in Vinland Saga Thorkell's only reason for switching sides was his Blood Knight tendencies getting the better of him.
- Hidden Depths: Canute describes him as the inversion: A man who hides nothing at all about himself.
- It is played straight though, when he reveals that his greatest regret is not following Thors to find out what it neans to be a "true warrior". His friendship with Thors was also deep enough for him to lie about Thors breaking into the Jomsviking fortress.
- Laughing Mad: At times.
- Large and in Charge: Thorkell is easily over two metres tall.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: He's the uncle of Thorfinn's mother, making Thorfinn his great-nephew. Revealed when they are duelling.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Was more or less completely unfazed when Thorfinn impaled his palm and cut off his fingers when they first met.
- Manchild: He's massively tall, he's in his fifties, he's a One Man Army, he's the strongest Viking but at the same time...He's very easy-going. He loves to play jokes on Thorfinn and when he beat the mutant in the Baltic Sea War Arc, he told his men not to kill it because he wanted to keep it as a toy but Asgeir used common sense and told him that that thing probably eats a ton of food and how food doesn't come free. Thorkell answered that he would give it half of his share then and like a kid who's talking to his mother, repeatedly pleaded to him if he could keep it. When Asgeir still gave him a no, Thorkell went into his "Can't-Give-A-Shit-Mode" and pouted.
- Manly Tears: Was a sobbing wreck during Thors' funeral, when he thought his comrade had died.
- My Greatest Failure: He mentions that his greatest regret was not following Thors when he met him again after his "death" and discovering what a "true warrior" was. Which is why he'll follow post-Character Development Canute because there's no way he's letting it happen to him twice.
- Nothing Personal: He has this attitude towards killing in battle.
- Old Soldier: Got old enough to be forcibly retired from the Jomsvikings, an impressive feat for someone in as violent a lifestyle as his.
- Older Than They Look: Due to the art early on in the series, Thorkell looks like he's in his thirties during his first appearance when he's described in-story as being over fifty. Due to Art Evolution he looks considerably more age-appropriate from the late first arc on.
- One-Handed Zweihänder: The Dane-axes he prefers would need to be wielded by both hands by anyone not named Thorkell.
- One-Hit Kill: Can pretty much one-shot any of his enemies. Thorfinn stated that one hit of Thorkell would be enough to kill him.
- One-Man Army: Literally the defintion of it. Thorkell is a walking Human Blender◊, he easily can chop men into pieces as if they're butter, can throw and swing logs like quarterstaffs around, the list goes on. 4000 men are said to be not enough to stop Thorkell. He's so strong that the only thing rumored to possibly kill him would be too much peace. And indeed, during over a year of peace, Thorkell was suffering from battle withdrawal and once passed out in a comedic scene.
- Out of Focus/Put on a Bus: He briefly appears near the beginning of the second arc but is absent for the rest its duration. He comes back to the forefront during the third arc, where he's severely bored from being an earl in England and decides to get involved in the internal drama of the Jomsvikings.
- Rated M for Manly: Thorkell is the measure of all vikings. Most of the other warriors in the series strive to be more like him.
- Real Men Love The Aesir: He and his men believe in the old gods, wanting to die in battle and be claimed by Valkyries.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Thorkell despises cowardice, deserters and traitors, preferring open battle. When encountering deserters he tends to chop them to pieces.
- Shipper on Deck: He takes a liking to Gudrid's bravery and tells Thorfinn to marry her as soon as possible.
- Smarter Than You Look: He may seem to be just a dim, raging brute, but Thorkell is actually quite intelligent and introspective. He is a capable and charismatic leader, a keen observer of tactics and fighting styles, and has a good understanding of politics. He just can't be bothered with all the mind games and intrigue and sticks to what he is best at: battle.
- Super Strength: No other way to justify his improbable feats of badass. He kills a horse and launches it into the air with a single punch, amongst other things.
- Telephone Polearm: Chucks massive logs like javelins during the Siege of London.
- Victory Is Boring: Finds easy victories tedious. He joins the English side when Denmark invades just so there will be a challenge for both sides.
- During the third arc, we see that the lack of fighting during his tenure as the earl of East Anglia has left him tired and depressed.
- War for Fun and Profit: Emphasis on the fun. Thorkell enjoys battle like a boisterous toddler getting to have a romp outside.
- Warrior Poet: He's capable of being eloquent and thoughtful, especially on the concept of battles and duty. Most of the time, however, he doesn't want to, and he's completely unable to grasp Thors' philosophy on what a "true warrior" is.
- We Can Rule Together: Offers Thorfinn his backing if he wants to become the chief of the Jomsvikings, mainly because it would involve fighting both Floki and Vagn. Thorfinn rebuffs him.
- World's Strongest Man: He may not be as smart as Thors or Askeladd, but his prodigious strength makes up for it. Floki and Garm constantly call Thorkel the strongest Viking and Askeladd calls Thorkell a invincible monster. Ragnar mentioned that even 4000 men wouldn't be enough to stop Thorkell.
- Worthy Opponent: He regards Thorfinn as this during the first arc, being the son of the one man he could never beat.
- Wrestler in All of Us: Wrestled a bear for fun.
Voiced by: Ryota TakeuchiThorkell's second-in-command. Much smarter and calmer than his boss.
- All There in the Manual: He is never named in-story, only in the side materials and in the credits of the anime.
- The Consigliere: One of the only people capable of mouthing off to Thorkell and not get filleted.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: He lacks Thorkell's strength and charisma, and knows he'd have no way of keeping Thorkell's band together without his boss, but he's the one who handles logistics and the day-to-day running.
- Only Sane Man: The only man in Thorkell's band who isn't a complete Blood Knight, though the fact that he's able to stay in said band implies he probably knows his way around a battlefield.
- Please Kill Me If It Satisfies You: Offers to let Thorkell kill him for stopping Thorkell's duel with Thorfinn, because he knows he's replaceable but Thorkell isn't.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Thorkell's red.
- Satellite Character: He's never seen in a scene without his boss.
Atli: Voiced by: Shinya Takahashi
Torgrim: Voiced by: Hiroki GotōTwo brothers who are apart of Askeladd's crew.
- Bash Brothers: Literal ones. They fight together as a team.
- The Bus Came Back: Atli comes back in the Baltic War arc, being the last surviving witness to Askeladd's assassination of Thors, and more importantly the only living person who knows who hired him.
- Fat and Skinny: Torgrim is the fat, Atli is the skinny.
- No Brows: Torgrim.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Both played straight and subverted.
- After leading the rebellion against Askeladd during their Stern Chase, Torgrim tries switching sides only to discover that Thorkell hates traitors. Thorkell 'rewards' Torgrim for his part in the rebellion by fighting him personally, which causes the latter to have a breakdown.
- Atli gets off lighter: As part of his OOC Is Serious Business, Askeladd gifts Atli a ring of silver when they part despite the latter having mutinied against him. He tells Atli to settle down and have children, and if he ever sees him hold a sword again he'll kill him whether they're on the same side or no.
- Small Role, Big Impact: They're barely characterized but end up leading the mutiny against Askeladd, and in his second appearance Atli's testimony allows Vagn to learn what really happened to Thors, and leads to Vagn being able to pass that info on to Thorfinn.
- The Starscream: They lead the rebellion against Askeladd in the prologue.
- Those Two Guys: They stick together in Askeladd's crew and are never seen apart. Alti even brags to Willibald how their fighting style involves working in tandem.
- Villainous BSoD: Torgrim is forced to duel Thorkell, whose Killing Intent causes his mind to shatter. He doesn't recover and is last seen having regressed to a child-like state.
Prince Canute, Son of Sweyn, aka King Canute "The Great"
Voiced by: Kensho Ono
Youngest son of Sweyn Forkbeard, king of Denmark and England. Based on the historical king of the same name, making his character arc somewhat of a Foregone Conclusion to any student of history. Starting the story as a girly-looking Royal Brat, he comes into importance during the latter half of the first arc and is an important background figure and ultimate antagonist of the second arc.
- Badass Pacifist: His first act of badassery in the series is done entirely nonviolently, by managing to frighten a berserking Bjorn with nothing but a glare and then talking him down from his rage. He promptly takes control of the entire situation with nothing but strength of personality and talks Thorkell into joining his cause.
- Beauty = Goodness: He's one of the fairest characters in the manga, and one of the kindest. With becoming king, his eyes becomes noticeably harder and he gains the scar on his cheek. He also stops smiling until Thorfinn manages to coax a laugh out of him.
- Big Bad Friend: During the farmland arc, he is the looming threat on the horizon that threatens Ketil's farm. He's also personally acquainted with Thorfinn.
- Bishōnen: In his younger years. After the timeskip he grows a beard and cut his hair short, giving him a more masculine appearance.
- Break the Cutie: He begins as a rather meek and introspective prince. The tribulations of losing his surrogate father figure and realizing his actual father has no love for him breaks him.
- Break Them by Talking: Willibald pretty much breaks him with his speech on true love, destroying his Shrinking Violet persona. Later, Thorfinn manages a more benign version, making him realize he's not alone in trying to make a better world.
- Cain and Abel: His internal narration reveals that he poisoned his elder brother, Harald, so he would inherit the throne of Denmark.
- Cool Helmet: Owns a winged helmet during his Prince years. Later on he favors an eagle's head shaped one.
- Character Development: Shrinking Violet -> The Wise Prince -> Dark Messiah -> The Good King.
- Dark Messiah: What he sees himself as after the first Time Skip. He will save the world from the predations of his own people, and some have to be sacrificed towards that end.
- Drunk with Power: The crown does the same to him as his father, though Canute is able to avoid the worst of it.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: In his younger years, to the point of using an actual woman as a Body Double.
- The Emperor: Downplayed. He refers to himself as the "Emperor of the North Sea" even though that isn't officially one of Canute's titles. He's still the sovereign of multiple nations so he fits the definition well enough.
- Generation Xerox: Most of the Farmland arc is devoted to how he starts becoming just like his father in the name of building a better world. Thorfinn manages to shake him out of it.
- Foil: To Thorfinn. Thorfinn is a brash loner that wants to avenge his father, Canute is a well-mannered prince that has problems with his father. Not to mention Canute represent Thors words of "a true warrior needs no blade" than the revenge driven Thorfinn.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: A clear cut on his check during the Farmland Saga, given to him by Thorfinn in the prologue.
- Hime Cut: In the Prologue arc. It emphasizes his feminine appearance and demure nature.
- Historical Domain Character: The meek prince in the Prologue will end up becoming Canute the Great.
- I Did What I Had to Do: His chief rationale after becoming King is that any ruthless actions he takes are justified in pursuit of his greater goals.
- Lonely at the Top: The power of the crown has that effect.
- Long Haired Prettyboy: In the Prologue.
- Mythology Gag: The incident of Canute commanding the tide to stop in folklore (the single thing Canute is known for through Pop-Cultural Osmosis) happens when Thorfinn confronts him in the second arc.
- Nay-Theist: Has a grand speech in chapter 97 covering the subject.
- No True Viking: His lack of talent or interest in fighting, shy disposition, cooking skills, and following the Christian faith have resulted in him not meshing well with the other Viking characters, including his father, write him off as an Inadequate Inheritor. At least at first.
- Rage Against the Heavens: He plans to build paradise on Earth to spite God for leaving His creation such a mess.
- Real Men Cook: Inverted. In a society that puts no 'manliness' stock in cooking (it is seen as slave's work, at least to the upper class), Canute's ability to cook becomes another strike against him as someone who's not a real man.
- Royal Brat: Starts off as one. Unlike most examples however Canute is less spoiled and more emotionally withdrawn and dependent on his retainer/father-figure Ragnar.
- Scars Are Forever: Still has the scar that Thorfinn gave him even after four years.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Begins the story as an inexperienced young prince.
- Shrinking Violet: Social interaction with others sends him into into an anxious episode.
- Sibling Murder: Canute killed his own brother Harald to gain the Kingdom of Denmark.
- Took a Level in Badass: Goes from a meek and frail prince to a cold and calculating monarch.
- He's also shown to have gone from utterly despising even having to touch a sword to a capable warrior who's able to hold his own against his bodyguard and stay nimble even under a full suit of armor.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Hand in hand with his increasing confidence and regal qualities, Canute becomes much more manipulative and calculating in prosecuting his political and military campaigns.
- Tranquil Fury: His reaction when Askeladd admitted of being Ragnar's killer. It was pretty clear that Canute contemplated to kill him right then and there.
- Tsundere: Acts like one once Thorfinn got him to speak.
- The Unfettered: Post-Character Development.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: In his youth he is depicted as a kind and mild child under the tutelage of Ragnar.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: He's willing to go pretty far in an attempt to create his paradise on Earth.
- Visionary Villain: His goal is to consolidate all the vikings in the world in order to save themselves from their own violent nature.
- Vocal Evolution: Before his Character Development kicked in, he spoke in a high, soft voice representative of his Shrinking Violet nature and naïveté. After growing a spine and embracing being the king, his voice deepens to a husky tenor that is far more appropriate for his position.
- You Are Not Alone: What Thorfinn eventually makes him realize by challenging Canute not to muck up too badly so Thorfinn won't have so much trouble building a place for everyone Canute neglects, which softens his stance.
Voiced by: Jin Urayama
Danish nobleman and Canute's Parental Substitute.
- Commander Contrarian: Towards Askeladd when the two are forced to work together to aid Canute.
- Killed Off for Real: By Askeladd.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Invoked by Askeladd.
- Real Men Cook: Taught Canute how to cook. As mentioned above, it really underlines how he's not a 'true' viking.
- Real Men Love Jesus: Is a Christian, as opposed to most of the other characters.
- Overprotective Dad: Non-blood related version, but he loves Canute as a son and tends to be overprotective of him.
- Parental Substitute: He may not be Canute's actual father, but he sure as hell was a better father to him than King Sweyn.
Voiced by: Satoshi Hino
A drunkard English priest who's lost his faith. He considers God evil and is searching through Creation for any signs of true love that might convince him otherwise.
- Act of True Love: He seeks one. When told about Thors' last moments, he almost looks like he's found one.
- The Alcoholic: Is constantly roaring drunk because he can't stand living otherwise.
- Breaking Speech: Is responsible for Canute's first step of Character Development by telling him there's no such thing as 'love' in humanity.
- Crisis of Faith: He undergoes a serious case of this after witnessing numerous atrocities while in England. At one point he openly questioned God's benevolence while leading Canute on a prayer.
- Evil Stole My Faith: More specifically, God Is Evil stole my faith.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: He believes God's creation is love, but that humans inherited none of it due to Original Sin — in essence, the opposite of traditional Christianity.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Constantly, or he goes into shouting fits.
- Never Gets Drunk: Never seriously so, anyway. He's seen taking on several vikings in a row in a drinking contest and still looking fine after fifty-seven horns of wine.
- Younger Than They Look: When shaven he loses about twenty years. He's really twenty-three but looks like he's in his forties with the hair on.
- The anime reinforces this by making his hair so pale that it looks white in direct light, making him seem a lot older than he really is.
King Sweyn "Forkbeard", Son of Harald
Voiced by: Takayuki Sugo
King of Denmark and the Danelaw at the beginning of the series, father of Canute, and later the sovereign of all England.
- Abusive Parents: Towards Canute in particular, most notably when he violently lashes out when a young Canute prepared a meal for him, decrying it as a slave's work. Then there's the entire ploy of sending him to a warzone in order to kill him without implication.
- Archnemesis Dad: Doesn't really have any personal enmity for Canute, but becomes his political rival for kingship of England.
- Beauty = Goodness: Yeah, there was no way that guy was ever going to be good.
- Black Eyes of Evil: As a spirit advisor for Canute.
- Greater-Scope Villain: For the first arc.
- The Chains of Commanding: He likens his crown to a sentient being that drives him to commit atrocities to increase the power of the king.
- Deadly Decadent Court: Rules over a court full of intrigues and plots.
- Death by Adaptation: Well, he died in Real Life after a very short reign of England too, but he probably didn't get his head cut off by the last scion of king Arthur.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Until Canute confronts him directly at the end of the arc, he's always shown with his face cloaked in shadows or by the camera angle.
- Historical Domain Character: The real son of Harald "Bluetooth" and first Danish king of England.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Suprisingly so. When he met Canute in the present again, he said that Canute looks just like him when he was young.
- Nerves of Steel: Not even Askeladd putting a sword to his neck visibly unnerves him.
- Offing the Offspring: Attempts to do this to Canute in order to ensure his elder son would succeed him instead.
- Self-Made Orphan: Nonlethal version, he drove his father into exile to seize the crown for himself.
- Played for Laughs in a non-canon omake, where his head introduces Canute to his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, all of whom are severed heads killed by their respective sons.
- Spirit Advisor: His head haunts Canute for the Farmland Arc, mocking and praising him in equal measure for the Dirty Business he does to remain king.
- The Un-Smile: Sweyn's face is so decrepit that even his smiles become creepy by association. The fact that we know none of them are genuine probably doesn't help either.
- The Uriah Gambit: He puts Canute in charge of besieging London — against defenders led by Thorkell — in a blatant attempt to get him killed or otherwise made not his problem.
- Younger Than They Look: The historical Sweyn would have been thirty-seven during his first appearance in the manga, but when his face is finally revealed Sweyn looks like he's in his fifties.
Characters Introduced In the Second ArcKetil's Farm / "Farmland Saga".
- Adaptational Early Appearance: Shows up briefly during a montage in the final moments of the anime covering the first story arc. A very downplayed example as he is the first character to appear during the second arc.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: The first chapter of the second arc doesn't even include Thorfinn until the very end. Einar continues to be the viewpoint character for a good while afterwards.
- Big Brother Instinct: Since Thorfinn spent almost his entire life up to that point in a band of vikings, he is pretty ignorant of anything that isn't combat related. Things such as farming. Einar helps teach Thorfinn about all these things and generally helps him stand up for himself (Thorfinn having essentially become a Door Mat at this point in the story). The whole effect is helped by the fact that Thorfinn only comes up to Einar's shoulders and is about 2 years younger than him.
- Blood Brothers: Becomes one to Thorfinn during the second arc. The two begin referring to each other as "brother" afterwards.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Towards Arnheid, a fellow slave, who either never picks up on it or chooses not to.
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: He attempts to take vengeance on Ketil for killing Arnheid. Thorfinn, who has already been down that road, has to knock it out of him.
- Ironic Name: His name comes from the "Einherjar" - the warriors who died and went to Valhalla, and yet he's the Non-Action Guy of the group.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When he learns the fugitive slave of the neighboring village is Arnheid's husband, Gardar, he persuades Thorfinn to reunite the former couple and help them escape. They fail to protect Gardar, and Arnheid dies from punishing wounds inflicted by Ketil for trying to escape.
- Made a Slave: Enslaved by Norse raiders when they attacked his village. By the time he first appears he's already been a slave for a while.
- Nice Guy: Just in general.
- Non-Action Guy: He is one of the only main characters who has no fighting skills and has never killed anyone. He also hates warriors until he meets Thorfinn. That said, he manages to fight off three farmers single-handed in a fist fight, and displays impressively quick thinking during Thorfinn's knife-fight with a bear. And more impressive again trying to protect Thorfinn from Hild.
- Only Friend: To Thorfinn.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Thorfinn's blue, being much more passionate and optimistic.
- Revenge Before Reason: Averted. After learning that Thorfinn used to be a viking who fought along side the Danish army who pillaged Einar's town, Einar contemplates violence on a sleeping Thorfinn. But he sees that Thorfinn is suffering from his own problems and lets it go, acknowledging that it's not like Thorfinn was responsible for Einar's family's deaths.
- Shout-Out: His name stands out as peculiar for a man born in Danelaw and is likely a reference to Einar Haugen, a Harvard Professor who translated the Sagas of Vinland into English. It is also possibly a reference to Einar Jonsson, an Icelandic sculptor who created a well known statue of Thorfinn.
- The Ishmael: For much of the beginning of the second arc. The story is still Thorfinn's, but Einar is the POV character.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Since Thorfinn is mostly stoic, Einar is usually the one of the two to speak up.
Ketil "Iron Fist", Son of Sverker
- Afraid of Blood: He's shown to be clearly uncomfortable with blood and violence.
- Ambition Is Evil: More like 'Ambition is Well-Intentioned but Ultimately Foolish'. Ketil constantly expands his farmland and hires on more people, which Sverker claims will only cause trouble down the line by attracting attention. He is eventually proven right.
- Benevolent Boss: He's a pretty swell guy to work under. Just pray you won't catch him on his one bad day.
- Cool Sword: He's in possession of an Ulfberht sword, which is considered one of the finest Viking swords in the world...not that he gets to use it.
- Despair Event Horizon: When he's outlawed.
- Empty Shell: By the end of the Farmland arc he's left a one-eyed, shell-shocked mess in a deep depression, unable to do much beyond sitting on his porch and bemoaning Arnheid.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: He happens to share the name with the warrior known as "Iron Fist"; Ketil himself isn't much of a warrior.
- Kick the Dog: His beating of pregnant Arnheid.
- Non-Action Guy: Being this among the Norsemen gives him a considerable problem. It's probably the reason why he lies and claims the real Iron fist' deeds.
- Non-Idle Rich: No matter how rich his farmland gets, he constantly strives to improve upon it.
- One Steve Limit: A minor plot point. Ketil the iron fists did exists. It just happened to be a different guy.
- Pet the Dog: He spends a lot of the early farmland arc showing what a kind and soft-hearted man he is. This only makes it all the more noticeable when he breaks.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: A generally kind-hearted man who allows his slaves to buy their freedom through honest work, and trusts Snake and his fellow outlaws as household guards. Subverted in that he regularly beds his female slave Arnheid, who of course cannot refuse, and he does not offer her the same bargain. Being outlawed by Canute only exaggerated his worst attributes.
- Verbal Tic: He tends to say "aye" to himself a lot, as in thought.
- Beauty = Goodness: An inversion. Sverker looks exactly as old, decrepit and weather-bitten as you'd expect from a man of his age and status, but he's one of the nicer people on the farm.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his blunt demeanour and his tendency to quarrel with anyone within sight, he's genuinely good at heart, offering to give Snake his remaining farm so he can keep an honest job and even offering to sell it to pay weregeld for the men Gardar killed.
- Perpetual Frowner: He has a constant sour look on his face. He's a nice man despite it, however.
- Reconstruction: He offers one to Thorfinn's character, pointing out that being "empty inside" can be a good thing because it means you can be filled by something constructive.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: All throughout the arc, he makes decisions that result in the betterment of the farmlands as well as the slaves' well-being.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Constantly brutally honest and has little regard or care for things like social class and thralldom in how he deals with people.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Snake, who seems to pay more attention to him than his own flesh-and-blood family.
Thorgil, Son of Ketil
- Big Brother Mentor: To his little brother, in the stern, disapproving style only a real big brother who's been looked up at all his life can manage. About the only thing he succeeds at is to make Olmar realise what he's not.
- Blood Knight: Relishes the thought of having to fight his former liege lord.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: He's got a split lip from a wound, which aids in making him look menacing.
- Foil: To Olmar. A lot of Olmar's character arc is realizing that Thorgil is everything he thought he wanted to be.
- Genius Bruiser: Despite his menacing appearance and bloodlust, he's also quite savvy. He immediately smells a rat about his brother's duel, realizes Canute has set them up, and later concocts a scheme to assassinate Canute which comes very close to succeeding.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: As opposed to his brother. Thorgil is as hung-up on being a 'true warrior' as Olmar but he has the strength and skill to live up to it.
- Put on a Bus: He disappears after the Farmland Arc, with the narration only mentioning his current location is unknown.
- Social Darwinist: Believes that battle is the means in which the worthy are separated from those who aren't.
Olmar, Son of Ketil
Ketil's younger son and heir to the farm. Starts out the arc as a bratty rebellious teen with designs of following in his brother's footsteps, who goes through severe Character Development and ultimately proves himself a better man than his father.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Inverted: Olmar only becomes a 'real man' by realising that this trope doesn't hold after killing a man in a fixed duel.
- Actual Pacifist: The end of his character arc.
- Art Evolution: He becomes noticeably better-looking the more his character develops.
- Boisterous Weakling: All the swagger of his brother. None of the strength and skill.
- Emo Teen: Starts the second arc in this position.
- Heroic Wannabe: He really wants to be like his brother.
- Unwitting Pawn: He is the (unwilling and unwitting) linchpin in Canute's plan to appropriate his family's farm.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Delivers one near the end when he decides to surrender to Canute and accept outlawry to spare further loss of life, pointing out that he can never live up to the Nordic warrior ideal of 'death before dishonour' nor does he want to.
A freedman farmer and former slave on Ketil's farm. He serves as Ketil's main assistant and is responsible for Einar and Thorfinn.
- The Consigliere: Serves as Ketil's main voice of reason and provides a point of view from the farmers and farmhands to his boss. Ketil appears to genuinely appreciate him for his role.
- Eyes Always Shut: His character model. Unlike Fox, his never open fully.
- Meaningful Name: His name means 'father' in Latin. True to his name, he is a kind and fatherly figure to the younger Einar and Thorfinn.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: To Einar and Thorfinn. It's notable that even after Ketil's FaceHeel Turn, Einar and Thorfinn still hold Pater in extremely high regard.
- Death by Despair: While she was killed by wounds likely to have proved fatal no matter her response, her misery over her husband's death prevented her cooperating with someone who could give proper medical treatment.
- Imperiled in Pregnancy: She is secretly pregnant with her master Ketil's child. When her former husband comes to take her back - slaying several guards of the farm in the process - and she tries to escape with him, Ketil does not take it well. Just before her punishment, she reveals to him she is pregnant with his child; his response is to suspect that the child isn't his, and beat her half to death. And not only half, as she dies shortly after.
- Killed Off for Real: By Ketil of all people.
- Made a Slave: Over "pots and pans" as she tells it, as she and the other women of her village were captured and enslaved while the men were away fighting another village over an iron mine.
- Sex Slave: She does common slave labor as well, but Ketil makes her have sex with him.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Her name was interpreted as "Arneis" in scanlation due to the Japanese rendering (アルネイズ, Aruneizu) but the official translation uses the more authentic "Arnheid".
"Badger" and "Fox"
Two of the 'guests' of Ketil's farms, functioning as guardsmen to their 'host'.
- Animal Motifs: They even look a bit like the animals they're named after.
- Butt-Monkey: Every time they show up, someone or something ends up pummelling them. First Fox gets his nose broken by Snake for messing around with Thorfinn. Then Gardar ambushes and defeats them both. Finally, they fight for Ketil during the battle of the farm and Badger loses an arm.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Fox mentions that he's outlawed for killing a noble.
- Eyes Always Shut: Fox. When he realizes that Canute has brought the Jomsvikings to the farm Snake notes that this is the biggest he's ever seen his eyes.
- Fat and Skinny: Badger is the fat, Fox is the skinny.
- The Fettered: They end up joining Snake in defending the farm despite it being hopeless because they want to stick to their guns.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: All the 'guests' of the farm use nicknames because they're outlaws.
- Outlaw: In the classical sense. They have no legal rights at all, but since no-one on the farm wants them dead it doesn't matter.
- Punch-Clock Villain: They're not as nice or reasonable as Snake is, but they're not actively malicious either. Fox attacks and mocks Thorfinn because he's a thrall, and not because he's got anything against him personally.
- Those Two Guys: Their role in the series, functioning as viewpoint characters whenever the guards are involved.
- Uncertain Doom: Fox is seen surviving at the end of the arc, but Badger is not seen again after being pulled from the battlefield by Fox during the Battle for Ketil's Farm, at which point he's lost an arm to a Jomsviking.
Unofficial 'captain of the guards' of Ketil's farm as the leader of the warrior band who have settled on the grounds. Snake serves as an on-off antagonist and/or ally to Einar and Thorfinn during the farmland arc. He is hinted to have been a former member of the Varangian Guard, given his use of a sabre and his ability to read an Orthodox Bible.
- A Father to His Men: None messes with his men and gets away with it.
- Armour-Piercing Question: Asks Thorfinn very openly why Gardar's life should be more valuable than the five of Snake's men he killed. Thorfinn is unable to answer him.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He's the strongest of his band by far.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: He may look like a scruffy vagrant, and he mostly acts like a scruffy vagrant, but Thorfinn considers him in a fighting class similar to Askeladd. He could probably have joined the Jomsvikings or the household of a king (and is implied to have done just that in the past), but chooses to live on a farm instead.
- Call to Agriculture: Is last seen learning how to work the fields at Sverker's farm.
- Cool Sword: A very nice, thin, ornate, single-edged blade with a distinct curve, in quite the contrast to the large, straight, double-edged viking swords everyone else uses. Snake knows Greek, so it's possible that the sword itself is from Greece.
- The Fettered: He may not have much pride, honour or friends left, but by gum he's sticking to what little he's got.
- Hidden Depths: He's literate (very rare in 11th century Scandinavia) and can read Greek (even moreso), and hides a very strong sense of fairness under his scruffy, jerkish behaviour. His relationship with Sverker is also a lot warmer than it looks on the surface.
- Honest Advisor: He tries with Ketil by telling him just how outmatched they are against Canute's forces. Ketil shoots down every piece of advice, though Olmar proves much more receptive.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's coarse as all heck and the only one who seems to tolerate him at length is Sverker, but he has a strong sense of justice and loyalty and respects both Thorfinn and Einar.
- Lightning Bruiser: As fast as Thorfinn, with considerably more girth.
- Master Swordsman: He's shown to be a very skilled swordsman, able to put down a berserking Gardar with a single well-placed blow to the temple, and decapitates a Jomsviking in a single cut during the Battle for Ketil's Farm. During the Baltic War Arc, Thorfinn considers one of his Jomsviking opponents to be peanuts compared to fighting Snake.
- Noodle Incident: We never learn exactly what he did that outlawed him.
- Not So Different: During his fight with Thorfinn, with both men wondering what the heck someone this skilled is doing as a thrall/'houseguest' at some random farm.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Like the rest of his men he's outlawed and refrains from using his true name as a result. His real name is Roald, son of Grimm, as he reveals to Thorfinn and Einar at the end of the arc.
- Outlaw: Like the rest of his men. As such they stick together and serve Ketil because he's willing to shelter them.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Saves Arnheid even though he blames her for the deaths of his men.
- Shout-Out: With that nickname, it should hardly be a surprise that he looks a lot like Solid Snake.
- Threshold Guardian: He ends up becoming one to Thorfinn, who is forced to choose between his pacifism or protecting Gardar from him.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Sverker, who lets him bum around his house and eat his food in return for company and copious amounts of Snark-to-Snark Combat.
- Weapon of Choice: A Damascus steel sabre.
A Swedish slave from a nearby farm who decided to kill his master, his master's whole family, and burn down the house. He is now running into the territory that Thorfinn and Einar work.
- Ax-Crazy: As a result of his time enslaved, he's immensely angry and dangerous to almost everyone around him. Only being effectively killed by Snake and Arnheid giving him a Motivational Lie down calms him down in the end.
- The Berserker: He spends most of his time in a state of near-perpetual rage, and only Arnheid's presence makes him capable of being temporarily coherent.
- Crusading Widower: He starts out as this until he learns Arnheid is still alive.
- Let Them Die Happy: Courtesy of Arnheid, who lies to him and tells him their son is still alive and that they can still go home and be a family. Gardar spends his last moments happily talking about his regrets and planning to turn over a new leaf as he slowly dies of blood loss.
- Made a Slave: Was captured during his attempt to claim an iron mine for his village, and sold into slavery as a result.
- Man Bites Man: He kills one of Snake's men by tearing his throat out with his teeth.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: He kills his owner and escapes.
- Rasputinian Death: Receives numerous cutting wounds during his escape. Snake then knocks him out with a concussion. During his second escape he takes a wound to the side that incapacitates him, and is then stabbed in the heart by Snake. He still almost manages to kill Snake (suffering another fatal stab in the process) until talked down, and manages to cling on to life for almost an hour until he bleeds out.
- Unskilled, but Strong: He's immensely fast, powerful and almost immune to pain, but Snake is able to defeat him (nonlethally) with ease when forced into a stand-up fight.
- Unstoppable Rage: His fighting skill is entirely based on 'too angry to hold back'.
A jarl (Norse nobleman) serving as Canute's right-hand man during the farmland saga.
- The Dragon: To Canute.
- Eye Scream: Thorgil pokes one of his eyes out.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Scars on his brow and a clean cut over an eye that still works. He's also presented as an honourable man.
- Honest Advisor: To Canute, who respects him for his honesty.
- Historical Domain Character: Probably based on Ulf Torgilsson, a real Danish Jarl from the 11th century and one of Canute's most trusted men. Unfortunately he ended up betraying Canute by making Canute's son Hardeknut king, which in practice would make Ulf Denmark's real ruler. When Norway and Sweden invaded Denmark in a joint attack, Ulf helped Canute defeat them. However Canute never forgave Ulf for his treachery and later had him murdered.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: In terms of fighting, he's stronger than Canute.
- The Political Officer: During the Baltic War arc, where he represents Canute's interests in the Baltic Sea. Thorkell eventually tires of his presence and ejects him from the arc — forcibly.
- The Stoic: He never shows much affect about anything.
- Underestimating Badassery: He underestimates Thorgil's willingness to try and defeat Canute, leading to nearly being killed and losing an eye. In the Baltic War arc Ulf underestimates just how much Thorkell understands of who is behind the Baltic War, which leads to Thorkell humiliating and almost strangling Ulf when he tires of his presence.
Thorfinn "Bug-Eyes", Son of Leif
- Ascended Extra: He is introduced in chapter 76, but doesn't get much focus until the third arc.
- Brutal Honesty: He often whines about their predicament in the third arc, although his complaints are usually well-founded. He rightly points out that bringing a Sole Survivor baby and a Runaway Bride that attracts the attention of the groom-to-be will give them additional problems in their already hard journey.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Averted. See Brutal Honesty above; most of his points make sense (from his perspective) even if they're usually delivered in a harsh way.
- Foil: To Thorfinn (the main character). Both named Thorfinn, former slave, short, blonde. While Thorfinn is a former soldier who became a Nice Guy and an Atoner, Wide Eyes is a Jerkass former friar, already has a fully developed personality and is the Plucky Comic Relief.
- Happily Adopted: Treats Leif as his father, noting that his biological parents are likely long dead.
- In-Series Nickname: Everyone calls him "Bug-Eyes", to prevent confusion.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's not really a bad guy, but he's kind of selfish and he complains a lot.
- Made a Slave: Twice in his backstory; his parents sold him to a monastery because they couldn't afford to feed him, and then he was kidnapped by vikings and enslaved again before Leif rescued him.
- No Social Skills: Ditzy, oafish, and quick to overreact or panic at the drop of a hat, but he's a skilled sailor and one of the more practical-minded members of the crew.
- One Steve Limit: The notable exception.
- Only Sane Man: What he claims to be.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Next to Atoner!Thorfinn, Einar, and Leif he's sure to stick out in the crew.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: To Gudrid. The two rib on and mock each other constantly and they're hardly friends, but as members of the same crew they have to rely on each other.
- Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Always has a goofy facial expression, leading to his nickname.
Characters Introduced In the Third ArcWhile the arc is built around Thorfinn's merchant voyage, it's divided into mini-arcs with their own titles.
The Fettered Tern
- Action Survivor: Not a warrior or Action Girl by any stretch. After Thorfinn and crew are embroiled in the Baltic Sea War between Jomsviking factions, she gets stranded in the Jomsburg fortress and has to be rescued, but manages to stay alive before that by posing as a servant.
- Adaptational Early Appearance: Shows up briefly during a montage in the final moments of the anime covering the first story arc.
- Arranged Marriage: With Sigurd, entirely unwillingly. Sigurd ends up letting her go after seeing how much in love she is with Thorfinn.
- The Chick: Aboard the crew. Later shares this role with Hild, though she embodies more of the "heart" aspect.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: After a long voyage, she shows up with shoulder-length hair.
- Foregone Conclusion: If you're up to scratch with your Nordic history then you'll know she is Thorfinn's future wife and mother of his child, Snorri (who is the first European born on American soil).
- Important Haircut: Cuts her long braided hair to look "less like a woman" because she wants to perform masculine duties.
- Lethal Chef: She's a terrible chef.
- The Load: Gudrid is considered by others to be this, since she doesn't have "proper" woman skills (like cooking and cleaning), can't fight to defend herself (often needing her teammates to save her) and generally gets into trouble. However, she does make efforts to better herself and her closest friends, especially Thorfinn, think she's worth having around.
- Luminescent Blush: Whenever Thorfinn is involved, she has this happen to her. Two notable instances is when Thorfinn hugs her in relief for staying safe and alive during the Baltic Sea War and when she confesses to Thorkell that she has feelings for Thorfinn, while he's nearby. (She also has perpetually rosy cheeks unlike most characters, though it's drawn as lines instead of Blush Stickers.)
- Official Couple: With Thorfinn following the second time skip.
- Runaway Bride: Stabs Sigurd (nonfatally) on their wedding night and runs off.
- Ship Tease: She develops a crush on Thorfinn (Karlsefni, not Bug-Eyes). This later evolves into outright love and she even admits to Thorkell that she likes Thorfinn, who is within listening distance.
- Staring Down Cthulhu: She stares down and chews out Thorkell for trying to force Thorfinn to fight in a duel he doesn't want to participate in, even willing to take Thorfinn's place. This impresses Thorkell so much that he backs down, even telling Thorfinn that Gudrid is awesome and that he should marry her right away!
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: She's very tomboyish compared to the other women in this series but is quite girly when put against Hild.
Sigurd, Son of Halfdan
- Arranged Marriage: With Gudrid, entirely unwillingly.
- Art Evolution: He starts out looking like a young version of his father, and becomes less and less similar the more the arc progresses.
- The Chew Toy: Nobody gives him any respect and the story seems to delight in causing him setback after setback in humiliating fashion.
- Chained by Fashion: Like his father he favours the chain as part of his imagery.
- Chain Pain: Also like his father, he can use it as a weapon.
- Hidden Depths: A couple of farmers lampshade that despite his look, he knows manners produced from strict education.
- I Gave My Word: He swears never to set foot in his home again until he brings Gudrid back. After he willingly lets her go, he sails home only to bid his father farewell without disembarking, as he has resolved to make his own way in the world... unfortunately, Halfdan won't have any of it and has him clapped in chains.
- Inadequate Inheritor: His father, in his way, thinks he is this.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: His mission to essentially abduct Gudrid after almost raping her aside, Sigurd isn't exactly 'evil'. What with all the barriers the story throws in his way, he's no threat to the heroes at all and as a result is presented sympathetically. He undergoes a HeelFace Turn — for what little that's worth at that point — at the end of the arc.
- In-Series Nickname: His friends call him "Siggy". He hates it.
- Lie Back and Think of England: Male example. He neither loves nor cares about Gudrid, and the feeling is mutual, but attempts to go through with it anyway. Gudrid chooses not to and stabs him.
- Machiavelli Was Wrong: Halfdan is a feared man, and has no real friends except people who follow him because they have no other choice. Sigurd's crew, meanwhile, consider him a friend and follow him willingly despite Sigurd repeatedly trying to tell them off.
- Made a Slave
- Marital Rape License: His attempt to consummate his wedding with Gudrid is done when she's clearly not in the mood, and she ends up stabbing him and running off rather than go through with it.
- Pet the Dog:
- He eventually comes around to the fact that Gudrid is her own person and should be free to live her life, and lets her go.
- He saves one of Ylva's children from drowning in the sea since his ship was fortunately passing by.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Practically his Catchphrase when dealing with his friends.
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Is a huge fan of Thorkell. He's even willing to endure being a slave when he realizes he's been made a galley slave on Thorkell's ship, and expresses the wish to fight alongside Thorkell on the battlefield.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He is very clearly craving his father's respect.
Sigurd's original fiancee before Gudrid.
- Arranged Marriage: She was betrothed to Sigurd until Halfdan decided that Gudrid would be a better business match. She slaps Gudrid for her trouble and grouses that she would be just considered a concubine now.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Introduced soon after Gudrid, she reappears much later to free Sigurd from captivity after getting his guard drunk.
- Childhood Friend Romance: She actually grew up beside Sigurd and they seem to be already in some sort of relationship prior to Sigurd's marriage.
- Hidden Depths: While first appearing to be a typical snooty aristocrat (as far as wealthy Early Middle Ages farmers can be aristocrats), she defies Halfdan to run away with Sigurd. In a flashback she's also shown playing at being warriors with Sigurd as a child, the only girl to do such so far.
- The Ojou: Played extremely straight, to the point of having large Ojou Ringlets.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The Japanese reading of her name was interpreted as "Hattrgerd" in scanlation, with her childhood nickname being "Hatt", but the official translation has "Hallgerd" instead.
- Yandere: She gets furious when Sigurd admires Gudrid's free spirit, and demands that he praise her alone and never speak about the other woman ever again. After a stunned Sigurd complies, she gives him a sweet smile.
- Children Are Innocent: ...He's a child. The worst he'll do is cry loudly and soil his diaper.
- Cycle of Revenge: Thorfinn points out that as a 'true Norse', Karli's first priority when he comes of age should be to avenge himself on the clan that killed his own family.
- Happily Adopted: Thorfinn and Gudrid have officially adopted him by the time they return from Constantinople.
- Sole Survivor: Of his family.
- Tagalong Kid: The crew picks him up in the Shetland Islands. They eventually try to leave him with a foster family, but Gudrid and Thorfinn can't go through with it.
Karli's protective pet dog.
The Hunter and the Hunted
Hild, Daughter of Hrafnkell
- Adaptational Early Appearance: Shows up briefly — alongside her mentor — during a montage in the final moments of the anime covering the first story arc.
- Ambiguously Christian: Makes the sign of the cross and thanks God for leading her to Thorfinn. It's something that she probably grew up with, since her father told her that "bearing a heart of forgiveness will lead to salvation."
- Action Girl: Hunts bears and other animals for a living.
- Aloof Ally
- Archer Archetype: Handy with a crossbow and quite distant.
- Automatic Crossbows: A weird version, combining the reload time of the Zhūgé Nǔ historical examples, but the strength and accuracy of an Arbalest .
- Badasses Wear Bandanas
- Batman Gambit: Hild sees that Thorfinn's friends won't let her fight him one-on-one, so she says that she poisoned the soup she made and that only she has the antidote (a Poison-and-Cure Gambit). If Thorfinn wants to save his friends, he (and only he) would have to fight her. Since Thorfinn would sooner claw his eyes out than leave his friends to die, he follows her into the forest, as she knew he would.
- Big Damn Heroes: Does this several times throughout the story.
- Blinding Bangs: When she was younger.
- Crazy-Prepared: Prepared traps and a crossbow that can fire multiple bolts without having to reload each time so her prey can never escape from her.
- Death Glare: Hoo boy. If looks could kill, she wouldn't even need a crossbow.
- Doomed Hometown: She lost her family years ago when raiders led by Askeladd attacked her village.
- Determinator: Whatever she sets her mind to, she'll stop at nothing to accomplish it; from building a water-powered sawmill, to learning how to track and hunt, to reverse engineering (and improving) a crossbow, to killing Thorfinn.
- Establishing Character Moment: Snipes a rampaging bear from at least 30 meters away, through the space between a pot and it's handle (that was being waved around), and killing it in one shot. Shows that she's the Viking equivalent to a Cold Sniper.
- Foil: Is an obvious one to Thorfinn. Her character motivation mirrors younger Thorfinn to a tee.
- Forging Scene: Works with a blacksmith to help reverse-engineer a crossbow.
- Gadgeteer Genius: She used to design advanced (and anachronistic) mechanisms at home, like a circular saw for her father's sawmill. Her crossbow is a bit too advanced for the period also, hinting at this.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a large scar on her face from where her face hit a rock when she fell off a cliff running from the vikings that raided her town. It looks like an evil scar, but she is generally a good person. She does have a huge amount of hate for Thorfinn however.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: While surly and resentful of Thorfinn, she otherwise demonstrates sound morals and never harms the innocent. She makes a point of targeting only Thorfinn when they encounter each other, and although she claims to have poisoned his companions' soup and keeps them from interfering by threatening to destroy the antidote, it's later revealed that this was merely a bluff. She is also infuriated when she comes across Vagn's men forcibly prostituting kidnapped women, all of whom she saves along with Thorfinn.
- Hunter Trapper
- Ironic Echo: "'This is just a hunt. It's only natural for the strong to hunt the weak. That's how it is for every living thing in this world. If you want to hate someone, hate yourself for your own weakness. I'm the hunter, and you're the hunted. That's all there is to it.' Remember now? Those were the words you said to me. I've longed to return these words back to you."
- It's Personal with the Dragon: Even though it was Askeladd who ordered the attack on her family, Hild's main enemy is Thorfinn, who actually carried out the deed.
- Not So Different: She's essentially first-arc Thorfinn.
- No One Should Survive That: Said almost word for word by one of her pursuers. Then again, she did fall off a cliff, smash her head against a rock, break her leg, and nearly drown in the river.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "I'm the hunter, and you're the hunted."
- Red Right Hand: Or eye, specifically. The eye underneath her scar is visibly bloodshot, giving her a sinister appearance (Truth in Television: Some eye injuries can cause bleeding in the whites of the eyes, called subconjunctival hemorrhages. However, since subconjunctival hemorrhages usually heal quickly, it might be something more serious. Then again, she still has vision in that eye, so the injury probably wasn't too bad).
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Spent much of her teens learing to track bears and is a skilled hunter.
- The Stoic: Normally a Perpetual Frowner who doesn't emote.
- Not So Stoic: When she wants revenge.
- Teen Genius: In a flashback. Some of her designs are similar to what Leonardo da Vinci was thinking up centuries later.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Towards Thorfinn.
- Token Evil Teammate: Not exactly evil but she only agrees to join Thorfinn's crew so she can kill him after he completes his mission.
- Training from Hell: It's not easy to learn how to track, hunt, and survive in the wild-learned everything from her mentor Old Bear.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: She was much happier then, though introverted.
- Would Not Hurt A Child: She would have nailed Thorfinn with her very first bolt, but she hesitates upon noticing the baby Karli on his back. This gives Einar the opening to throw himself in front of them.
- You Killed My Father: To Thorfinn. When she recognizes him, she wants revenge.
The Baltic Sea War
Floki's ten-year-old grandson, who he's planning to set up as the next chief of the Jomsvikings.
- Clashing Cousins: His relationship with Thorfinn. A strange example too, as neither of them wants anything to do with it. Rather, the problem mostly comes from their supporters. Floki had more or less put it on himself the duty to make Baldr the Jomsviking's chief regardless of Baldr's own feelings while Vagn's and later Thorkell's side props up Thorfinn as their nominal leader to gives them a veneer of legitimacy.
- Children Are Innocent: Doesn't really want to be a chieftain and wants to solve the Baltic War peacefully.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Shares his uncle's blonde hair, though unlike him he's a good person.
- Morality Pet: To Floki.
- Puppet King: Floki essentially rules the Jomsvikings through him. A more benign example than most as Floki is genuinely fond of him.
- Unknown Relative: He's Thorfinn's cousin, as both of them are Sigvaldi's grandsons. Downplayed as while Thorfinn was unaware of this fact at first, Baldr and plenty others already knew about it.
An old captain of the Jomsvikings. Following Sigvaldi's death, Vagn attempted to become chief of the Jomsvikings, which put him in direct conflict with Floki and his own ambitions to put Baldur in that position. The two are currently gearing up for war as a result.
- Affably Evil: He's very nice to Thorfinn and lives by Norse virtues of honour, honesty and glory in battle... Rape, slavery and piracy, meanwhile, he has no problems with and allows his men to commit atrocities as they please.
- Decapitation Presentation: Garm beheads him and parades his head around on his spear.
- Drop the Hammer: Wields a giant two-handed hammer as his Weapon of Choice.
- Inelegant Blubbering: His reaction upon meeting the son of Thors (i.e. Thorfinn).
- Killed Offscreen: His death by Garm wasn't shown to the audience.
- Public Domain Character: Likely based on Vagn Åkesson, a guy who was an actual member of Jomsviking, at least according to medieval sagas.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Despite being the one who sets the Baltic War arc in motion by splitting the Jomsvikings, he barely gets three chapters of runtime before Garm kills him off-screen.
A young warrior who lives to fight anyone who's known to be strong. Floki hires him to kill Thorfinn. Looks and acts like a Japanese Delinquent despite living in 11th century Scandinavia.
- Ax-Crazy: Lives to fight and casually talks about the desire to fight and kill people he's just met. He has been this way since he was a young boy
- Ambiguous Disorder: In his memory, Garm is shown to be an Ax-Crazy psychopath since he was a very young boy, easily killing teenagers and adults in a fight. The flashback implies that his bloodlust stems more from the fact that he has no sense of restraint rather than pure malice. In his mind, he really is just playing a game and doesn't understand why Thorfinn doesn't want to play with him.
- Bastard Bastard: His parentage is absent and he never gives his father's name. Some of Thorkell's men joke that he might be Thorkell's get with the way he fights.
- Blade on a Stick: His favoured weapon is a long spear that can be split into two shorter spears.
- Blood Knight: Just as battle-crazy as Thorkell, and much less Played for Laughs. The two eventually end up fighting. They're so alike that people speculate that he actually might be Thorkell's bastard son.
- Creepy Child: there are implications that he was Ax-Crazy from a very young age, his father and villagers gave him the nickname 'Garm' or 'Hellhound Puppy' for such tendencies as...biting off his opponent's ear
- Death Seeker: Apparently wants Thorfinn to fight him seriously to the death because he wants to fight someone who will kill him in combat. It comes up again after his fight with Thorkell.
- Dissonant Serenity: Has a constant boyish grin, even while talking about killing people.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Garm is constantly following Thorfinn around pressuring him into doing something he doesn't want to do, refuses to take no for an answer, does not at all understand that what he is doing is wrong or why Thorfinn keeps running away from him, and is so obsessed with getting what he wants that he kidnaps and puts Thorfinn's friends in danger to ensure that Thorfinn has no choice but to 'have fun with him' if he wants to save them. This guy sounds a lot more disturbing and menacing the more you think about it, huh?
- Enfant Terrible: In his memory, Garm is shown to be a cute little boy who looked just like a girl, yet still he was an Ax-Crazy Creepy Child from the very beginning
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Cannot for the life of him figure out why Thorfinn won't fight him in a battle to the death, and finds the idea of living a nonviolent life to be incredibly boring.
- Foil: Set up as an obvious one to Thorfinn, being about the same age and just about as skilled, but having a completely opposite view on the value of life.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: 'Garm' was the name of a monstrous wolf in Norse Mythology that guarded the realm of Hel: For comparison, imagine someone called 'Hell Hound' or 'Cerberus'.
- Psycho for Hire: Originally hired to kill Thorfinn. Quickly ends up derailing Floki's plans with his bloodlust.
- Worthy Opponent: Is looking for one and hones in on Thorfinn for this reason. After drawing a lengthy fight with Thorkell, he also says Thorkell was truly fun to fight.
Characters Introduced In the Fourth ArcSailing West.
A slave of Halfdan who wishes to join Thorfinn's expedition to Vinland.
- Heroic Bastard: The bastard child of a Viking warlord and his Irish mistress who is nevertheless given a sympathetic portrayal particularly for being transgender. Physically male and named Halvor at birth by the father, the mother lied to him about the baby's sex (and he apparently never bothered to check) because she didn't want her child to go off to war like his father. She raised her child as a girl named Cordelia, but puberty hit like a longboat. When the father came back with a prospective husband for her, Cordelia and her mother fled before he could find out. Eventually she became a slave and ended up listening to Thorfinn's invitation and call for aid to make a new world.
- Shout-Out: Named after the daughter of the legendary Celtic King Leir (better known as King Lear thanks to Shakespeare).
- Strong Family Resemblance: It's extremely obvious that Cordelia's father is none other than Thorkell, who later appears heavily shadowed in flashback. Everyone picks up on it immediately, but Cordelia never knew his name.