Vinland Saga: Who Is Ymir? & And What Is He?


One of the things that Vinland Saga is known for is that it can be quite grounded in reality, especially when it comes to the different people we’ve seen in the storyline. However, one of the characters that have led fans to question whether or not Vinland Saga is truly grounded is Ymir, who had the most unrealistic appearance in the entire storyline. So, who and what is Ymir in Vinland Saga?

Ymir was kept around by Floki as a pet but was raised in secret because he was saving him in case he needed someone to fight Thorkell, who is still the strongest character in Vinland Saga. However, Ymir seems to be a hairy and feral human being only kept around due to his massive size.

Even though Vinland Saga is a series with no powers or real monsters, Ymir is as close to supernatural as anything can get, and there was no explanation as to who or what this person or creature could be. So, with that said, let’s try to learn more about Ymir to understand what exactly this beast-like man is.

Ymir Was Kept to Fight Thorkell

One of the Vinland characters that you can’t help but hate is Floki because he does different things throughout the storyline. Floki was one of the Jomsvikings commanders and one of the most powerful people in Vinland Saga regarding his military might. Of course, this also means he is a capable fighter, although he isn’t at the top of the ladder of the strongest fighters in the storyline.

In fact, Floki was the one who hired Askeladd to kill Thors because he always hated him. Floki was also jealous of Thors’ innate power and influence over other Vikings, as he was the strongest Viking of his era. So, while Askeladd may have been the one who killed Thors, it was Floki who secretly ordered his assassination.


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Of course, many people also hated Floki, including Thorkell, who didn’t always see eye-to-eye with him. Thorkell is the strongest Viking in Vinland Saga after Thors’ death, which means that Floki pales compared to Thorkell’s power. And because the Vikings value strength above anything else, Thorkell is often seen as an untouchable person that no one would want to mess with.

floki thorkiell

Because Floki understood that there was no way for him to keep Thorkell under control, unlike King Canute, who seemingly understood how to control the gigantic man, the Jomsviking commander needed to find a way to eliminate him in case it ever came to a point where he needed Thorkell dead. That is where Ymir comes in as the “son” or “pet” that Floki raised and kept in secret as the weapon that he could use against Thorkell when the time to use him came.

Many people thought that Thorkell’s size allowed him to gain the advantage over all of the other Vikings. As such, Floki thought that someone who was bigger and stronger would be able to defeat Thorkell. And because Ymir was bigger than Thorkell, he was seemingly a match to the gigantic Viking.

Nevertheless, in their head-to-head battle, Thorkell didn’t struggle too much against Ymir even though this big and hairy giant was larger. As such, Thorkell defeated the bigger man and even decided that he wanted to keep him as a “pet” or even as a “son.”

thorkell vs ymir

In that regard, not even someone bigger than Thorkell stood a chance against him, as it was clear that Thorkell’s size wasn’t the only thing that made him the strongest Viking in the entire storyline.

What Exactly Is Ymir?

As mentioned, Floki kept Ymir as a “pet” during the entire storyline and unleashed him on Thorkell so that he could eliminate the gigantic Viking from the equation. We also said that Ymir is bigger than Thorkell and has a very hairy appearance. So, what exactly is Ymir?


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It was never explained what Ymir was or where he came from. The only thing we can be sure of is that Ymir is human because he can understand and speak human speech and has human intelligence. He may look like a giant monkey that walks on both of his feet, but he is seemingly human.

ymir vs thorkell.jpg

As such, it is possible that Ymir was the product of a genetic mutation that forced him to grow bigger than anyone else in the storyline and grow hair at an uncontrollable pace. We all know that “freaks” that are larger and/or hairier than most people exist in the real world, and Ymir could be the Vinland Saga counterpart of a real-life freak. But it is very much possible that Ymir was suffering from a genetic disorder or mutation that caused him to grow bigger and hairier than everyone else.

That means that while he may look like a monkey-like man with freakish size and strength, Ymir may be just a regular human being that Floki managed to find and use to his advantage. After all, Vinland Saga is one of the most grounded manga and anime series due to the absence of supernatural elements. So, while Ymir may look supernatural, he likely became freakish due to a genetic disorder that 11th-century Vikings don’t know anything about.

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