Vinland Saga: Why Is Thorfinn So Short?


When the Vinland Saga anime started out, one of the things that we saw was that Thorfinn was a small teenager that was fighting for Askeladd’s mercenary band. However, Thorfinn was still a short and small man even after he reached adulthood. This seems odd because of how his father, Thors, was a big man and that he comes from the same genetic line as the 7’7” monster named Thorkell. So, why is it that Thorfinn is so short?

Thorfinn could be short due to the fact that he was malnourished during the time that he was working for Askeladd and when he was a slave. However, anime fans would know that it could be a practical choice on the part of the author because shorter protagonists are easier and faster to draw.

The fact that Thorfinn is short is one of the many things that fans of Vinland Saga often discuss, considering that none of his family members are as small as he is. Then again, it makes Thorfinn a unique character in a world where there are a lot of huge men. So, with that said, let’s look at the reasons why Thorfinn is short.

Why is Thorfinn So Short?

Fans of Vinland Saga are quick to point out the fact that, out of all of the different characters in the storyline, Thorfinn seems to be the only one that’s short. Of course, this was something that was understandable when he was still a teenager working for Askeladd as he was still just a young boy. However, during the Slave arc, Thorfinn was still short despite the fact that he was already an adult.

einar and thorfinn in vinland saga

This is something that fans find amusing because of the fact that Thorfinn comes from a family of tall people. His father is a huge man that was once called the Troll of Jom because of his strength and size. Meanwhile, his mother is the niece of Thorkell the Tall, who stands 7’7” and is the biggest character in the series. 

As such, being big is in Thorfinn’s genetics but he is somehow quite short compared to the other characters in the storyline. In fact, he is actually shorter than the average man in the anime and manga. So, why is it that Thorfinn is so short in Vinland Saga? Well, we have a few possible answers to a question that was never addressed by both the story and the author.

He Could Be Malnourished

The first reason why Thorfinn is short could be due to the possibility of him being malnourished. He joined Askeladd’s band at the age of 6. Since then, he never had a good childhood as he mostly spent his years fighting. As such, he didn’t have enough time to rest and grow to become a big young teenager.

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On top of that, Thorfinn also became a slave after Askeladd’s death. During his time as a slave, he didn’t have enough to eat due to the fact that the workers that gave him food often ate chunks of his food before giving it to him. There is also the fact that he was a depressed man that didn’t have a reason to live.

With all those factors combined, it isn’t a surprise why Thorfinn didn’t have the right nutrition and conditions he needed to grow. His body, despite becoming strong, just didn’t grow due to his poor childhood and lack of proper nourishment.

It Makes Him Unique

Another possible reason why Thorfinn could be short is that it was a creative decision on the part of the author. The world of Vinland Saga is one where there are a lot of big and strong men. After all, Vikings are often regarded as huge men in the stories that were told about them. And creating a character that’s just as big and as strong as the other men in the storyline would not allow Thorfinn to have a distinguishable attribute.

thorfinn vs askeladd

As such, it is possible that the author purposely made Thorfinn short so that he would be a lot more unique compared to the other characters in the storyline. Most of the characters in Vinland Saga use their size and strength in a fight but Thorfinn being short allows him to move faster than the other characters, as he relies mostly on his swift attacks and precise knife attacks to win fights.

Shorter Protagonists Are Easier To Draw

Of course, the most practical reason why Thorfinn is so short could be due to the fact that it makes him easier to draw and animate. It is quite common in manga and anime for the main characters to be shorter than the other characters. That’s because authors and animators usually have to draw pages and animated scenes involving the protagonists a lot more than the other characters.

As such, Thorfinn being short could be due to the fact that it allows the author to easily draw him as he no longer needs to take a lot of time when it comes to a shorter character. The same could be said about the animators, who are going to have an easier time animating scenes involving a smaller character.

  • 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...