For those of you who’ve been watching Vinland Saga on Amazon Prime, it’s also a manga series. Likewise, if you only read the books, you should know VS is a show as well. Whichever you love, we’re fans of both, and there are lots of fantastic facts about Vinland Saga to entertain us all. We curated this list of ten things you didn’t know about the show while we’re waiting to see if there will be a renewal and more episodes coming now that they’ve finished the original. SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven’t read the volumes and watched the show, there’s probably something here you don’t yet know.
1. Season Two?!?
If you watched the Vinland Saga and read the books, then you know the story could go a lot further. The original 21 volumes and a hundred fifty-two chapters may have been intended to fit into twenty-four episodes, but there’s a lot more story left to tell. We’ve got our fingers crossed for more, and there are some whispers of a continuation. It couldn’t happen before next year at the soonest, but we can hope season two is nearing post-production despite the lack of confirmation that it even exists.
2. Askeladd has Royal Blood
The wily commander of his own Viking band is known for his prowess in battle and his incredible military mind, but there’s more to his story. Askeladd’s mother was a Welsh princess, though his father is a Dane. That makes his blood royal, though we’re not sure if he’s technically a prince. As characters go, his backstory is one of the more enchanting. He believes in the myth of Avalon.
3. Call Me Arthur
Another odd thing about Askeladd is his name. It’s not the one he was given at birth. Askeladd is derived from Askeladden, a character from Norse myth known for his wily nature. His mother actually named him Lucius Artorius Castus, a very Roman name. The real Lucius Artorius Castus may have been the root of the King Arthur myths, which makes his fascination with Avalon all the more intriguing.
Bjorn, Askeladd’s second in command has a very famous Norse name with an ancient history as well. Bjorn means “Bear,” which was a prevalent and popular name given to many Norse boys. It’s still common to this day. Clearly, the author, Makato Yukimura, spent a great deal of time considering the names of his characters. The more profound meaning and influence of those names are felt throughout the story, whether the reader/watcher is savvy to the importance or not.
5. Thorfinn’s Servitude is Ironic
When Thors got sick of fighting, he faked his own death at the Battle of Hjörungavágr. He became a pacifist and moved his family to a quiet farm where they predictably became farmers. Thorfinn was raised as a farmer and only took up arms as a result of his father’s death to seek vengeance. So when Askeladd, who killed his father is in turn killed, he goes after the man responsible for taking his vengeance from him. However, he fails to kill Prince Canute and is sentenced to become the slave of a farmer in an ironic twist that takes him from the battlefield right back to the farmstead.
6. Historical, Though Not Quite Accurate
The whole Saga is based on past events, though not directly. It makes for a great tale that incorporates several characters who may or may not ever have met in the real world. Unfortunately, the records of that region of the world were often kept by oral tradition and not written down for many generations afterward, so the tales vary greatly.
7. This Seems Familiar
If you’ve been watching Vikings, a lot of this story may sound slightly familiar. Vinland Saga took place at the same time around the beginning of the eleventh century when the Vikings were invading England. If you’re wondering why the stories don’t quite mesh up, it’s for the reason we just gave. Simply put, the histories of the time are a jumbled mess of hearsay for the most part written as much as centuries after the fact. Perhaps you’re wondering if Ragnar and Floki, in particular, are the same. The answer is, maybe. Those two names are from real people who lived and participated in some events probably around that time, but which specific events and how they played out are a matter for historians and storytellers to hash out. At least, until we have time machines, no one will ever really know the answers.
8. Anime in America
Odd and random though it is, perhaps our recent fascination with Vikings is why this unusual release happened. Wit Studio began airing in America on July 7, 2019. That isn’t news by itself, but it’s a bit unusual for a Japanese company that is airing in both Japan and the US to send a show overseas first. Japanese audiences had to wait an extra day to see the first episode.
9. Well, Not Quite
The eleventh-century didn’t start until the year 1000 A.D. on the Roman calendar. Technically the TV series begins in the 900’s. Specifically, the first episode begins in the middle of the Battle of Hjörungavágr in the year 987. In so far as it’s possible WIT shows the battle as the truly bloody affair it would have been, which is, in our opinion, a spectacular choice. It certainly drew us in.
10. Inspired by Leif Erickson
According to the Vinland Saga, Thorfinn spent time as a child listening to the thrilling tales of Leif Erickson. For those who don’t know, Leif was the first European to set foot in the Americas. Leif died over four hundred years before Columbus set out with the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria to discover a new route to India for spices. Though both famous men plundered the world they found, Erickson did so unapologetically and several hundred years earlier.
Norse plus anime… it’s not hard to see why we loved it, and we’re not the only fans. Vinland Saga was massively popular because it’s brilliant and well-executed. Hopefully, that means there’s still more coming in the near future. SPOILER! Our favorite episode was number five, The Troll’s Son, where Thorfinn works so hard only to find defeat and new hope at the hands of Askeladd. Leave us a comment about your favorite episode or chapter.