Vinland Saga Episode 10
Vinland Saga is initially set mostly in 1013 AD England, which has been mostly conquered by the Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard. As King Sweyn nears death, his sons, Prince Harald and Prince Canute, are arguing over his succession. The story draws elements from historical accounts of the period such as The Flateyjarbók, The Saga of the Greenlanders and The Saga of Eric the Red.
Fifteen years ago the Viking commander, Thors Snorresson, deserted a sea battle and commenced a peaceful life in Iceland with his wife Helga. Now, in the year 1002, their young son, Thorfinn, longs to see the paradise called Vinland. One day, the Jomsviking Floki arrives at Thorfinn's village to enlist Thors into battle, who is revealed to be a former Jomsviking himself. However, Floki's true motive is to murder Thors as punishment for deserting fifteen years prior. Thorfinn sneaks on his father's ship despite his orders to remain home, and the ship is eventually lured into a trap at the Faroe Islands and ambushed by a band of mercenaries led by Askeladd, with whom Floki had conspired to kill Thors. With his great strength and skill, Thors at first fights off the attackers even without using deadly force, but submits to execution after Thorfinn is taken hostage. After his father's death, Thorfinn joins Askeladd's crew in order to avenge his father and constantly challenges his commander to various duels. By 1013, Askeladd's company find employment as mercenaries in the Danish invasion of London under Thorkell the Tall.
The two Viking bands later clash when their commanders seek to capture the young Danish Prince Canute, Askeladd's company succeeding but are forced by Thorkell's forces to take refuge for the winter in the frozen north of England near the Danish encampment at Gainsborough. Upon finding the effeminate Canute timid and heavily dependent on his caretaker Ragnar, a deeply disappointed Askeladd briefly changes his initial plan of backing the prince to hold him ransom. But a sudden attack by Thorkell's brigade forces Askeladd to change his mind, murdering Ragnar to force Canute to stand up for himself. The prince brings both Thorkell and Askeladd's remaining forces under his command as he confronts his father, who decides not to kill Canute after he proves his worth, while adamant to have Harald as his heir.
Canute and his companions formulate a plot that requires Askeladd to be killed by the prince after he slaughters Sweyn and his attendants during an audience, Askeladd then securing Canute's position as king while stopping Sweyn's intent to invade his homeland, Wales. But Thorfinn, feeling denied of his revenge, attempts to kill Canute before being stopped. Canute, understanding Thorfinn's pain, spares him the death penalty and instead sentences him to life as a slave.
A year after Askeladd's death, Thorfinn is working in a farm owned by Ketil, a rich and kind farmer who treats slaves well. He later befriends another slave named Einar who teaches him how to farm. With Einar's help along with Snake, the farm's head of security, and Sverker, Ketil's father, Thorfinn learns to let go of his dark past and is encouraged by dreams of Thors and Askeladd to pursue a life of peace and away from the Vikings' violent lifestyle. As Thorfinn and Einar work to earn their freedom, Canute had become both King of England and Denmark after poisoning his brother Harald. But Canute is driven mad by being haunted by Sweyn's ghost, planning to seize Danish farmlands to fund his armies.
Canute begins his campaign with Ketil's farm, tricking Ketil's sons, Thorgil and Olmar, into justifying the seizure with Ketil's men easily defeated by Canute's Jomsvikings. With Ketil injured during the battle and gone mad due to his mistress betraying him to save her former husband, Thorfinn confronts Canute to convince him to spare the farmers. Canute renounces his claim to the farm after seeing the formerly merciless Thorfinn's new-found devotion to peace. With Thorfinn and Einar now freed, they say their goodbyes to Sverker and Snake before sailing back to Iceland with Leif, an old friend of Thorfinn's father.
Reunited with his mother and sister, Thorfinn explains his intent to settle Vinland and build a new life of peace. In order to gain the funding for the trip to Vinland, Thorfinn, Leif, Einar and Leif's adopted son, Thorfinn "Bug-Eyes", plan to travel to Greece and sell Narwhal horns there. Thorfinn's crew is later joined by others including Gudrid, a tomboy who wants to travel the world and is running away from her fiancé; Karli, an orphaned baby boy and his pet dog who are survivors of Viking raid; and Hild, a skilled hunter who wants revenge on Thorfinn for killing her father during his time in Askeladd's company, but is convinced to spare him long enough to see if Thorfinn has truly changed.
Thorfinn's crew then continues their journey through the Baltic sea while being pursued by Sigurd, Gudrid's fiancé, who is determined to bring her back to avenge his honor. Unfortunately, he is captured by some Jomsvikings after attempting to fight them and then put into service under Thorkell. Thorfinn's crew arrive at the trade town of Jelling and Thorfinn is escorted by Thorkell's men who take him to meet Thorkell and Floki. The former suggests to Floki that Thorfinn lead the Jomsvikings following the recent death of the Jomsviking chieftain Sigvaldi. Thorfinn refuses and recommences his journey with his crew, but is then pursued by Floki's assassins after Floki realizes who Thorfinn is, fearing retribution for Thors' death.
Thorfinn and Hild draw away the assassins around a set of islands while the rest of the crew escape toward Odense. After using non-lethal combat to protect some villagers from the Jomsvikings, two spies among them take Thorfinn and Hild to meet Captain Vagn, the leader of a rebel camp of Jomsvikings who seek to usurp power from Floki before it goes into the hands of Floki's grandson Baldr. Vagn reveals to Thorfinn that Floki had Thors assassinated and would also have various prominent Jomsvikings killed in order to help Baldr became chieftain. A surprise attack is launched at the camp by Thorkell and Vagn is assassinated by Garm, a psychopathic warrior who is eager to fight to the death.
The surviving men of Vagn's camp swear allegiance to Thorkell who promises revenge against Floki for using Garm as an assassin. Leif, Einar, Gudrid and Karli are taken hostage by Garm and sent to Jomsburg, leaving Bug-Eyes behind to tell Thorfinn where they are. A series of battles erupt between Thorkell and Floki's forces at Jomsburg, including a duel between an unarmed Thorfinn and Garm, leading to the latter's non-lethal defeat. Thorkell's army defeats Floki and capture him and Baldr, who was earlier revealed to be Thorfinn's cousin. Baldr is uninterested in power and feels a sense of remorse for his grandfather's evil actions.
Thorfinn is temporarily made leader of the Jomsvikings and, with help from Thorkell, carries out orders from Canute to disband the Jomsvikings and spare Floki and Baldr from execution, despite protest from the warriors. Floki and Baldr are sent into exile. Gudrid, admitting her feelings for Thorfinn, talks Thorkell out of a duel that Thorfinn promised him and they're allowed to leave and continue their journey to Greece. Sigurd returns home without Gudrid, but realizes he never had romantic feelings for her and sets her free. He leaves his father's estate behind to explore the world with his first wife and their servants.
Two years later, Thorfinn's crew return to Iceland with the wealth they acquired from selling the narwhal horns. Thorfinn and Gudrid get married and raise Karli as their son. With the resources promised by Halfdan, Thorfinn begins to assemble a crew to colonize Vinland.