‘Vinland Saga: Season 2’ Episode 12 Recap & Ending Explained: What Is the Love That Was Lost?

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Welcome to the Ending Explained for Vinland Saga, Season 2, Episode 12, titled “For The Love That Was Lost.” This episode serves as the culmination of one of the most important plotlines of the season. It also serves as a middle point for the season as a whole. We know that this second season will run for about 24 episodes, and this episode definitely feels like a cornerstone for the story and will ignite what is to come. The episode follows the previous episode’s events, where King Canute planned to take Ketil’s lands away from him.

In the previous episode, we saw a bit more about Canute as a king. And we were surprised to find that the fragile boy has now become a ruthless ruler, willing to do anything and sacrifice anyone to build a peaceful world. Of course, the term “peaceful” comes with many caveats, and some people might not be happy about which methods are used to achieve this peace. Olmar, Ketil’s younger son, offered his services as a royal guard member but was quickly rejected. However, Canute sees the opportunity to use Olmar to get what he wants.

The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Vinland Saga, Season 2, Episode 12. Read at your own risk.

Does Canute Successfully Manipulate Olmar To Do What He Wants?

Our previous interpretation of episode 11 ended up becoming true. We learned that Canute needed money in order to maintain his rule over both England and Denmark. Ketil’s farm is one of the biggest and most successful farms in all the realms, so Canute wants all that comes with the farm with him. He plans to take the farm away from Ketil, not in the nicest way possible. It paints a picture of Canute as a person who doesn’t know how to fight face-to-face. Everything he does is from the shadows.

Canute poisoned his brother to get the throne, and now he is willing to stage an entire incident to arrest Ketil and take the farm from him. Canute was never a warrior. Thus, he doesn’t know what honor is. All he sees, all he understands, is victory or defeat. As the episode starts, we see a cloaked man talking to some of the King’s messengers. He is there to give them orders, very specific orders concerning Olmar. We find Ketil’s youngest sitting on a bench, totally wasted. He knows he failed his test for the King’s guard, and now he drowns in alcohol.

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The messengers were told to speak with Olmar and to tell him that he was rejected for the post, something which Olmar already knows. They approach the bench, and they start speaking with the confused Olmar. However, instead of telling him he was rejected, the men start humiliating Olmar. They tease him that he couldn’t cut a pig during his test. They say a pig defeated him. Olmar tries to dismiss the humiliation, but it is too much for the young man. He draws his sword and declares that he will make them pay.


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The people around the market start running toward the incident with the illusion of seeing someone getting killed. On one of the benches, we see Thorgil, Olmar’s older brother. He follows the crowd with his eyes and them with his feet. We see that the leader of the messengers is fighting Olmar alone. The man feels that Olmar is not a threat and will be an easy target. Olmar tries to hit the man but fails with every swing of his sword. The man toys with Olmar and then strikes him in his belly and jaw, leaving the young man on the ground.

What Is The Love That Was Lost?

Olmar is on the ground, twisting with pain, when he hears a voice that tells him to stand up and fight. When Olmar opens his eyes, he sees the man is, in fact, his older brother Thorgil. Thorgil tells him that he needs to stand up and kill the man. Olmar can’t do it; he is in pain, and the humiliation has been too great. Thorgil grabs him and forces him to stand up. Thorgil says that there are two things a man can do when he is being humiliated: kill the person who humiliated him or die. If Olmar is unwilling to kill the man, he should die.

Thorgil’s peep talk works flawlessly on his brother, and Olmar screams as he prepares to tackle the messenger with his sword. However, at that moment, the messenger’s eye is struck by something, a coin thrown by the cloaked man from before. The coin strikes the messenger’s eyes and allows Olmar to kill him, but he cuts through the man’s neck with his sword. Olmar cannot believe it. He has killed someone, for real. He stays on the ground in shock while watching the man’s corpse. The messenger’s companions get their weapons ready to attack Olmar.

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However, Thorgil steps in at that moment, and it proves to be a very bad choice by the other men. Thorgil launches his attack and kills all four men easily. Ketil arrives and cannot believe that he finds both his sons in a sea of blood. Ketil understands that killing the king’s messenger is treason. They will go to jail, and get killed, probably. Thorgil is not worried; he sees what happened as correct and is sure they won’t get in trouble. However, when more guards arrive, they are ready to arrest Ketil and his family, but Thorgil decides to kill them.


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Thorgil dispatches all the men, cutting heads, hands, and legs. He leaves one guard alive, and the man reveals that it was all a farce to arrest Ketil and that the orders came from way up there. Ketil cannot believe the King is targeting him. Thorgil gets excited; he smiles as he knows a war with the king is coming. Ultimately, Ketil and his family leave with Leif, who was promised Thorfinn’s freedom. Meanwhile, Canute gets the news and decides that they should go to Ketil’s farm personally. Canute states that he is doing everything in the name of all the love he has lost. In his peaceful future world, everyone will be happy.

It seems all parties will converge at Ketil’s farm, and Canute, Leif, and Thorfinn will see each other again.