we review Vinland Saga Episode 03: Thors goes to war in England, but there's Thorfinn hiding in a barrel and an ambush on the horizon!
The previous episode had left us with the discovery of a Floki plot
infamous, who thought well to turn to Askeladd to assassinate Thors. How will the matter go on?
Vinland Saga, Episode 03: the plot
Askeladd he reveals himself as a mercenary who is not content with being promised gold in exchange for murder. After all, he's already heard of Thors the Troll, so not only is he trying to get Floki some more information about why they want him dead, but he is also asking to be paid in advance.
Floki does not seem to like the request, but the moment of tension is broken by a spear planted on the tapestry on the nearby wall, thrown by mistake by Askeladd's second-in-command. Bjorn. Floki at this point gives half of the pay before work. However, when Askeladd leaves the house, we discover that one of Floki's men was lurking behind the tapestry, who was ready to kill Askeladd before dying impaled.
These, in fact, turns out to be smarter than expected by Floki and apparently also smelled the fact that it is not the Jomsviking company that wanted Thors dead, but Floki himself. Furthermore, Askeladd wonders why Floki did not kill Thors himself: that it is because he is too scared of it, although you say Thors is no longer a warrior?
The departure from Iceland
Meanwhile, in Iceland, Thors, Leif and the five young warriors prepare to leave for England. Ari, one of the guys who will accompany Thors, takes the opportunity to declare himself to a sleepy Ylva. Too bad that his mother interrupts him, his other companions also want to declare to Ylva and Ylva herself is more sleeping than anything else.
However, we soon find out that Thors has no intention of bringing the five boys to die in England. In fact, as soon as they landed in Norway, where they were supposed to refuel and find other warriors, Thors will order them to return to Iceland on Leif's boat. But it is a secret and the whole village has come to greet the brave warriors. The whole village except, apparently, Thorfinn.
And in fact, when the two boats are now on the high seas and can no longer go back easily, Thorfinn jumps out of a barrel. Needless to say, Thors isn't happy, but he'll soon be right.
Memories of the past
During one of the nights of the trip, Ari asks Thors what a battlefield is like. In contrast, Thors asks the boy if he is in love with Ylva, thus telling him about when his eldest daughter was born. At the time, Thors was still part of the Jomsviking and had recently married Helga, who turns out to be the daughter of the army leader.
In the flashback that follows, we discover how Thors was a totally different person at the time, very detached from his wife and disinterested in his newborn daughter. In fact, the leader of the Jomsviking had asked them for a boy. Thus, Thors would have left for the war without even giving his daughter a name, were it not for Helga who, angry for the first time, intimidates him enough to choose her mother's name for the little girl. It was from that moment that Thors began to fear the battle and not to be able to return home to his family.
The Askeladd trap
The next morning, the two ships arrive in the Faroe Islands, where they planned to refuel. However, Leif has a bad feeling and, in fact, the exit from the fjord their boats entered is blocked by a sudden avalanche of debris. In the meantime, two ships approach theirs from the bay, preceded by the dark sound of the oars' drums: they are the soldiers of Askeladd.
Thors intimates the five boys to sheathe their swords and let him do everything, as he realizes that Ari and the others are too terrified to fight. So, reluctantly, he recovers his weapons and gives his dagger to Thorfinn, ordering him to use it just to protect yourself, only in case of necessity. Finally, he asks Ari not to use the word "kill" so easily, before jumping on one of the two ships, the one commanded by Bjorn and to land with punches seven men.
The introduction of Askeladd
For those who have read the manga, Askeladd is one of the basic characters of the plot. Without spoiling anything, this leader of a gang of marauding Vikings will be a permanent presence in Thorfinn's life.
Shrewd, unscrupulous and gifted with the inevitable tragic past, Askeladd is one of my favorite characters from Vinland saga. So for me its introduction in Vinland Saga Episode 03 she is perfect, since she shows us, during the scene with Floki and the one immediately following, some of the fundamental aspects of her character.
Indeed, Askeladd approaches Floki with the attitude of goliardic and friendly drinking companion, asking clever but naive questions. Having ordered Bjorn to take care of the hidden Jomsviking, Askeladd shows that he is, however, a person who plans his moves in advance, always staying one step ahead of his opponents. Furthermore, the fact that he understands how murky Floki's words are also suggests that he is an extremely person capable of reading people and situations.
However, the fact that Askeladd still decides to accept the job and kill Thors makes us understand how he is also a person for whom money is important, being willing to do Floki's dirty work without too much remorse. In fact, Askeladd senses that Thors doesn't deserve to be killed, but he doesn't care too much about it.
Although these scenes are not the ones that introduce us to the character in the manga, I must say that in the anime, with its modified storyline, they have a great effect. This animated Askeladd makes me very happy. I want 15 more.
Drawings, settings and music by Vinland Saga, Episode 03
Thanks to the trip to Norway, with Vinland Saga Episode 03 we can see one great variety of landscapes at different times of the day and night. This allowed the illustrators of the anime to go wild.
In fact, here the Wit Studio has done an excellent job in creating the backgrounds and naturalistic scenes. We have an extremely realistic and well-kept sea, as well as beautifully colored nights and sunrises. The cliffs full of seagulls from the Faroe Islands are a pleasure for the eyes.
This great background care bodes well for the coming season, where you should travel a lot more.
In Vinland Saga, Episode 03 even the slender make their figure music, particularly during the tense confrontation in the fjord. The skilful use of the same drums of the rowers gives a lot of pathos.
Vinland Saga, Episode 03: conclusions
Predictably, we are facing a passing episode, in which nothing striking happens, but the foundations are laid for the dramatic events of the next episode.
Vinland Saga, Episode 03 is not focused on the drama of war, but still shows us again how the village of Thorfinn sees the war with a naive lightheartedness to make your skin crawl. It is impressive to see young people in chain mail swabbed by apprehensive mothers, who remind them to eat and bathe.
Also, Thors' comment to Ari, in which he instructs the boy to stop using the word "kill" so lightly, is short, but profound. Ari, in fact, he still hasn't understood what it means to kill someone, and it is easy for him to wave this concept carelessly.
Then there's that little scene where Thors gives the dagger to Thorfinn, telling him to use it only to defend yourself. Without spoilers, but this scene is terribly important for future developments and it always makes my stomach tighten.
In general, Vinland Saga Episode 03 it flows well and also offers us a nice glimpse of Thors and Helga's past, who turns out to be a noblewoman. I've always been fascinated by the character of Helga, who has had so much influence on her husband and, indirectly, on her son, so these well-made flashbacks always make me happy.
I can't wait for the next episode to come out: without spoilers, but I have the impression that we will have twenty minutes of fighting and magone. And it will be beautiful.