Vinland Saga: Did Askeladd Care About Thorfinn?

askeladd and thorfinn

Back in the first season of Vinland Saga, one of the things that we learned was that Thorfinn was traveling together with Askeladd’s band of mercenaries so that he could earn a duel with him and defeat him in an honorable way as vengeance for his fallen father. Of course, Askeladd didn’t mind having Thorfinn around, as he even allowed him to tag along with them. So, does that mean that Askeladd actually cared about Thorfinn?

Askeladd didn’t care about Thorfinn because he never cared about anyone or anything other than keeping Wales safe from the Danish invaders. He had no friends except for Bjorn, who he regarded as his only friend in the world. In that regard, he only kept Thorfinn around because the young boy was useful.

In a way, there was a symbiotic relationship between Thorfinn and Askeladd because they both benefited from each other. Thorfinn became stronger and more experienced while traveling together with Askeladd’s band. Meanwhile, Askeladd was able to make use of Thorfinn’s skills. So, with that said, let’s look at whether or not Askeladd actually cared about Thorfinn.

Did Askeladd Care About Thorfinn?

Back in the first season of Vinland Saga, one of the things that we learned was that Thorfinn’s entire life revolved around his revenge quest. Askeladd, a leader of a strong mercenary band, killed Thorfinn’s father in a manner that was beyond dishonorable. In that regard, Thorfinn swore to be the one to kill Askeladd in a fair duel so that he could avenge his fallen father.

That was why Thorfinn joined up with Askeladd’s band, as he wanted to stay close enough to the mercenary leader to kill him. However, he wanted to earn a duel with Askeladd, and that was the reason why he continued to travel and work with the mercenaries, as it allowed him to become strong enough to eventually kill Askeladd in a fair duel.


But the thing that Thorfinn really wanted while he was traveling with Askeladd was to earn a fair duel with the man. As such, he was willing to do anything for Askeladd to earn a fair duel with him. Of course, Askeladd simply allowed the young boy to stick around. But did Askeladd actually care about Thorfinn?

In a manner of speaking, Askeladd didn’t care about Thorfinn or wasn’t interested in the boy at all. That’s because Askeladd’s entire personality revolved around the only goal that he had in life, and that was to protect Wales from the Danish invasion. In that regard, he was pretty choosy about the people that he actually cared for and kept in his close circle because he kept a very secretive life as a possible heir to the throne of Wales due to his noble stature.

RELATED: Vinland Saga: Will Thorfinn Fight Again? (& What Will He Fight For)

There’s also the fact that Askeladd never cared about anyone in his life except for Bjorn. In the fight that he had with Bjorn so that he could send the man to Valhalla, he said that Bjorn was the only friend he ever had in his life as it was clear that he never had any friends or didn’t care about anyone else at all. That is why Askeladd is such a complex character because he has worked and lived alongside a lot of men in his life, but he has never told anyone else about his true nature and his real goal.

Of course, it’s not that he didn’t care about Thorfinn. In a way, Thorfinn’s presence was something that he never really minded. If he didn’t care about Thorfinn at all, Askeladd would have already dumped him long ago. But the fact that he allowed the kid to tag along with his band of mercenaries shows a level of respect and admiration toward the young boy despite the fact that he never truly cared about him.

Why Did Askeladd Keep Thorfinn Around?

As mentioned, Askeladd never actually cared for Thorfinn in a legitimate way that a father would care for his child. In a way, he tolerated the boy’s presence and allowed Thorfinn to try to achieve his goal of killing him. But if Askeladd never cared about Thorfinn, why did he keep him around?

The first reason why Askeladd kept Thorfinn around was that he was useful. While Askeladd has a lot of grown and experienced men fighting on his side, Thorfinn is the strongest out of all of them despite being very small and young. Thorfinn’s skills with a knife and speed on the battlefield are unmatched. In that regard, Askeladd was how useful Thorfinn was because he could send him out on special missions that required his speed and agility.

Thorfinn, of course, agreed to do whatever Askeladd told him because of how he always promised the boy a duel. The fact that Thorfinn wanted to fight and kill Askeladd allowed him to become somewhat obedient to the mercenary leader. In that regard, there was a symbiotic relationship between them because Thorfinn could get a duel from Askeladd while the latter was able to find a lot of uses for Thorfinn’s incredible abilities as a fighter.


But the one thing that fans know is that Askeladd, no matter how despicable of a man he may be, actually respected and admired Thors. When Askeladd failed to defeat Thors in a fair duel, he still had to complete his job of killing him because that was what he was paid to do. As such, while he killed Thors in a dishonorable way by peppering him with arrows, he still respected the man’s strength and honor.

As such, Askeladd felt a bit guilty about the way that he killed Thors, and that was the reason why he allowed Thorfinn to tag along with them. Allowing Thorfinn to travel with his band in the hopes of earning a duel with him was Askeladd’s way of paying back what he took from the boy.

RELATED: How Tall Is Thorfinn in Vinland Saga? (Inches & Cm)

In a way, Askeladd also saw himself in Thorfinn. He saw how Thors’ death affected Thorfinn’s life, just like how Askeladd’s father’s abandonment affected him. The hatred and determination that he saw in Thorfinn were the same as the hatred and determination he had when he was still just a young boy. As such, Thorfinn was basically a mirror image of himself and was his way of atoning for some of the horrible things he did in the past.

By allowing Thorfinn to become strong enough to eventually kill him, Askeladd had a security blanket for all of his sins because dying at the hands of Thorfinn would have allowed him to atone for Thors’ death and for the many things that he did in the past. As such, he allowed the boy to stay with the mercenary band despite the fact that he knew that Thorfinn’s only goal was to kill him.

  • Ysmael Delicana

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