A successful seinen manga, written and illustrated by Makoto Yukimura and published by Kodansha, Vinland Saga follows the story of Thorfinn, son of Thors, one of the greatest warriors among the Vikings. When his father is killed in battle by Askeladd, Thorfinn joins the latter’s band to challenge him to a duel but ends up getting caught in the war for the crown of England.
The manga received a 24-episode anime adaptation in 2019, with the second season set to premiere in January 2023.
Despite its acclaim and positive reception, not every character in Vinland Saga can match the popularity of fan favorites like Askeladd and Canute. For instance, characters like Gunnar and Floki are generally unwelcome by fans, who do not appreciate their actions and behaviors.
Here, we have compiled a list of some other disliked characters from Vinland Saga.
Disclaimer: This article reflects the writer's personal views.
From Ketil to Floki, some of the most disliked characters in Vinland Saga, ranked
Ketil, son of Sverkell and father of Thorgill and Olmar, is a middle-aged farm owner in Jutland, western Denmark. He disposes of many people, including Thorfinn and a young woman named Arnheid, as his slaves, but he is not needlessly harsh towards them. He believes that even slaves deserve fair treatment. For this reason, he gives every slave a chance to work and earn their freedom.
Arnheid tried to escape along with Gardar, his former husband, but he soon died from his wounds, and she was recaptured. When Ketil became aware of the incident, he became immensely enraged because Arnheid was his personal maid and concubine. For this reason, he beat her in such a way that she lost the baby she was carrying and died from her injuries.
Vinland Saga fans disapproved of Ketil for this merciless act of inhumane violence against an innocent woman.
Ketil's narrow-minded behavior, which led many of his fellow farmers to lose their lives in a worthless battle against King Canute's soldiers, was another event that led fans into lowering their appreciation for the character.
Gunnar is a politician who currently serves as an adviser to King Canute. He is the brother of Ragnar, the retainer who has served Canute since he was a child, acting as a guardian and a foster father for him. Gunnar appears to be different from his brother and has a more gaunt appearance.
Gunnar's behavior is also completely different from Ragnar's. While the latter sincerely cared for King Canute and did everything he could to support and protect him, the former's loyalty lies elsewhere. In fact, he is a double agent who works for King Swayn. After Swayn's death, Gunnar pretended to be loyal to Canute, but he was ready to betray him at any moment, should such an opportunity arise.
While Vinland Saga fans get to witness many inspirational and honorable fighters in this series, Gunnar is the exact opposite of that. He is a despicable, opportunistic man who lacks both honor and strength. Most fans despise him, and that certainly doesn't come as a surprise.
Thorgil is Olmar's older brother and Ketil's oldest son. Believing that might is the only true justice in the world, he is the personification of the ideal Norse warrior - a sort of physical manifestation of a warrior's fury. Thorgil dislikes the rest of his family for their peace-loving nature. He left his father Ketil's farm to serve in King Canute's household.
Thorgil enjoys fighting more than anything else. He is a bloodthirsty warrior who kills without a second thought. A violent and ruthless man, he is also quite cunning. A testament to his nature is how he immediately understood that the duel where his brother was involved was a set-up created by King Canute to provoke Ketil's family.
The exaggerated violence certainly looks familiar to Vinland Saga fans, given that the series is a seinen that takes place in the Viking Age. While Thorkell's lust for battle can sound somewhat funny and entertaining, Thorgil's bloodthirsty behavior is not as acclaimed.
Atli is Torgrim's brother. Together, they were a part of Askeladd's notorious band of Viking pirates. He is an experienced and merciless Viking warrior who is very friendly towards his mates and his brother. Like his brother Torgrim, Atli is a very opportunistic man, as was shown when they had no qualms in betraying Askeladd.
Atli, Torgrim, and the rest of the band turned on Askeladd, Bjorn, and Thorfinn. Many former members of the band died fighting Askeladd, while others lost their lives at the hands of Thorkell's Vikings. Atli and Torgrim were the only survivors of the band. Askeladd let Atli leave under the premise that he would settle down and live a life far off the battlefield and never return.
Vinland Saga fans commonly despise Atli for his treachery to the detriment of his former leader Askeladd. For years, Atli and his brother took advantage of being part of Askeladd's notorious pirate band, but they were ready to betray him without a second thought when that seemed like the most convenient option.
Torgrim is a former member of Askeladd's infamous band of Viking pirates. As a consummate and brutal Viking warrior, he is experienced in battles and raids. Torgrim and his brother Atli had no qualms in betraying Askeladd, showing their treacherous and dishonorable nature.
The two brothers decided to turn on Askeladd and managed to involve the rest of the band in their betrayal. After two brutal battles against Askeladd and then against Thorkell and his Vikings, Torgrim and Atli were the only survivors of the group of defectors. After witnessing Thorkell's killing intent, Torgrim fell into a state of shock which resulted in deep psychological damage.
Like his brother, Torgrim is generally one of the most disliked Vinland Saga characters. Fans didn't like the way they immediately turned against Askeladd despite being a part of his band for years.
Jabbathe is a Frank Nobleman who was trying to overtake a fortress, without achieving any success. When Askeladd noticed that the Franks were in trouble, he sent out Thorfinn to negotiate with them. The proposal was for the Vikings to join the Franks in return for half the spoils. If it was declined, the Vikings would join the other side.
Jabbathe accepted Askeladd's proposal and the Viking band joined Franks, resulting in the fall of the fortress. To the surprise of Jabbathe, Askeladd had already taken all of the spoils and treasures hidden in the fortress, leaving Franks with only the glory of victory. Then the Vikings departed, leaving their former allies speechless.
It's no wonder that Vinland Saga fans consider Jabbathe one of the worst characters in the series. He is greedy, arrogant, and idiotic, thinking quite highly of himself despite being worthless. In the end, given his inability to conquer the fortress with his army and the way he let Askeladd make a fool of him, he proved himself to be an incompetent commander.
Olmar is Thorgil's younger brother and Ketil's youngest son. He is a young and arrogant man who, despite his poor fighting skills, wishes to become famous on the battlefield. Olmar wants others to fear him as if he was a dangerous warrior, but in reality, he is nothing more than a coward who is afraid of other people's deaths as well as his own.
Olmar begged King Canute to accept him as his personal guard, like his brother Thorgil. Trying to show off his sword skills, he made a fool of himself. Witnessing that, Canute took the opportunity to bait Ketil's family into committing treason and staged a situation that ended with Olmar killing one of his messengers. To protect his worthless brother, Thorgil then killed some soldiers.
Canute's set-up was successful, giving him an excuse to attack the farm and seize Ketil's land and assets. Witnessing Canute's troops slaughtering Ketil's farmers, Olmar realized that war is not as entertaining as he thought. Olmar partially redeemed himself in front of Vinland Saga fans by using his authority as the farm's legal heir to surrender to Canute, saving further lives to be needlessly lost.
Garm is a young man who enjoys fighting more than anything else. He thinks of killing as a sort of fun game and is constantly looking for new challenges. Recognizing Thorfinn's remarkable combat skills, he started to consider him for a fight he sought after.
As a child, Garm was ostracized by other children and adults, even his parents, because of his psychopathic nature. Many years later, he was hired by Floki to kill Thorfinn. Realizing Thorfinn's combat prowess, Garm became obsessed with the idea of fighting him to the death, to the point that he eventually kidnapped Thorfinn's friends in an attempt to force him into a duel.
While Garm's thrill for battle and wish to challenge strong warriors are generally entertaining for Vinland Saga fans, his lack of respect and mercy for those he considers weak is usually unappreciated. In fact, Garm does not seem to know much about life outside of fighting.
2) King Sweyn
The father of King Canute, Sweyn was a ferocious and ruthless king. He managed to conquer almost the entirety of England and Wales, while at the same time keeping control of his northern kingdoms. King Sweyn had a strong lust for power and domination, and acted without any regard to make sure that he would keep his power over the land, and the people he was in control of.
King Sweyn was not only unable to share an emotional connection with his child, but he also had massive resentment for Canute. Seeing him as nothing more than a burden in the way of his older brother Harald, Sweyn even had no qualms in wanting his younger son dead. Canute himself was aware that his father did not love him and was actively trying to kill him.
Sweyn firmly believed that the crown itself holds the king under its will, causing the former to wish for more authority and influence. His lust for power made him inhuman, to the point where he was willing to have his son killed, thinking of him as not fit for the role of the king. For this reason, Vinland Saga fans commonly find Sweyn as a despicable individual.
Floki is one of the main antagonists of the Vinland Saga series. He is the Jomsviking commander who served as one of the most prominent leaders of the Viking army during the invasion of England. He can be very spiteful and petty. Feeling that Thors always looked down on him, Floki held a grudge against his former comrade for many years, until he eventually had him assassinated.
Floki is an extremely cold and calculating man. He is the one who contracted Askeladd to kill Thors. This act produced most of the events that happened in the Vinland Saga series and caused immense tragedy and suffering to the protagonist, Thorfinn, who is Thors' son.
His treacherous and disloyal attitude made Floki one of the most disliked Vinland Saga characters. He genuinely cares for his grandson Baldur and would do anything to make him the chieftain of the Jomsvikings, but even that isn't going to redeem him. Given that Baldur has shown absolutely no interest in the Chieftaincy, it's more of Floki's own ambition.
Vinland Saga has been widely hailed as one of the best series of the last decade, with the anime adaptation being especially praised. Over the course of the series, fans have been introduced to strong and honorable warriors who possess incredible fighting abilities, but also come from traumatic backgrounds.
Given that the series is trying to be realistic, it's not like everyone can be a hero. A lifelike cross-section of the Viking Age needs to show not only epic fights and honorable warriors, but also the malicious individuals who have no moral regard when it comes to achieving their goals, and Vinland Saga does this very well.
Poll : Who is more despicable between Floki and King Sweyn?