Written and illustrated by Makoto Yukimura, Vinland Saga is a successful seinen manga set in the Viking Age. When his father Thors, the greatest Viking warrior, is killed by Askeladd, Thorfinn joins the latter’s group to challenge him to a duel, but ends up getting caught in the war for the crown of England.
Published by Kodansha, the manga received a 24-episode anime adaptation in 2019, which covered the events of the War Arc. The second season of the anime has just begun, with the first episode being released on January 9, 2023.
Vinland Saga's second anime season will cover the events of the Slave Arc, also known as Farmland Arc. As such, this thread will gather the 10 most powerful warriors featured in the first season of the anime, ranking them from weakest to strongest.
Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the Vinland Saga anime season one and reflects the writer's personal views.
From Atli to Thors, the 10 most powerful Vinland Saga characters before Farmland Arc, ranked weakest to strongest
Ragnar was a retainer who served Canute since he was a child, acting as a guardian and a foster father to him. Ragnar sincerely cared for Canute and did everything he could to support and defend him from the intrigue of the court.
Despite multiple assassination attempts against the young prince, Ragnar successfully protected him every time. A further testament to his capabilities - he achieved a very high rank within the court of King Sweyn.
Ragnar was killed during an ambush set up by Askeladd's men, but still proved his toughness, managing to survive his grievous wounds for an extended period of time.
Along with his brother Torgrim, Atli was a part of Askeladd's infamous band of Viking pirates. He is an experienced Viking warrior who has survived many battles. As such, he is cunning and merciless.
Atli is a very opportunistic man. He, his brother, and the rest of the band had no qualms turning on Askeladd. However, many 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 from the battlefield, never returning to it.
A former member of Askeladd's notorious band of Viking pirates, Torgrim was, like his brother Atli, a consummate and brutal Viking warrior. Experienced in battles and raids, Torgrim has remarkable physical strength.
Like his brother, Torgrim has a dishonorable nature that led him to plot against his leader Askeladd. After two brutal battles against Askeladd and then against Thorkell's Vikings, Torgrim and Atli were the only survivors of the group of defectors.
Despite being a battle-worn veteran, Torgrim fell into a state of shock after witnessing Thorkell's killing intent. Following this, he suffered deep psychological damage.
Floki is an extremely cold and calculating man. Feeling that Thors always looked down on him, Floki held a grudge against him for many years, until he eventually hired Askeladd to kill him.
Floki's behavior makes him one of the main antagonists of the Vinland Saga series. Directly or indirectly, his actions caused most of the events that happened in the series. Although spiteful and petty, Floki is still a powerful warrior.
As a Jomsviking commander, he served as one of the principal leaders of the Viking army during the invasion of England. Undoubtedly, obtaining a high ranking position in such an army is a testament to Floki's fighting capabilities.
Asgeir is Thorkell's right-hand man. He has a close bond with him, acting as his trusted advisor and strategist. Given that Thorkell only respects strength, the fact that he trusts Asgeir as his second-in-command implies that the latter is a powerful warrior in his own right.
A testament to this, Asgeir is one of the very few individuals who are not afraid of Thorkell's immense strength. Even when Thorkell actively attempted to strangle him in a fit of rage, Asgeir didn't back away.
This character is yet to be featured in a proper 1v1 duel in the series. However, given his status, he clearly possesses remarkable fighting skills as an experienced Viking warrior.
Being his most devoted and strongest subordinate, Bjorn was Askeladd's right-hand man. Using his "berserk mushrooms," Bjorn can boost his strength even further, also becoming insensitive to pain, but at the cost of temporarily losing his sanity.
A hardened veteran, Bjorn has served Askeladd as his second-in-command for a very long time, playing a pivotal role in several battles. In fact, he was the only member of the original band who remained loyal to the latter when the rest of the group turned against him.
The Vikings believed that only a warrior’s death could allow their souls to reach Valhalla. As such, Bjorn, who was fatally wounded, requested a duel with Askeladd so that he could die as a warrior at the hands of his friend. In fact, Askeladd considered Bjorn to be his only true friend.
Thorfinn is the protagonist of Vinland Saga. The son of the legendary Thors, he joined Askeladd's band to someday beat the latter in a duel and avenge his father.
Having been raised on the battlefield since he was a child, at the end of Vinland Saga's first season, the 17-years old Thorfinn was already a seasoned warrior. He is especially skilled with his daggers, using them to overcome most opponents with quick and precise strikes in their vital points.
Being one of the very few Vinland Saga characters with peak human abilities, Thorfinn's capabilities are frightening. Despite his young age, he possesses durability, speed and physical strength on a far superior level than most Viking adult warriors.
A testament to Thorfinn's skills and potential, he was able to fight valiantly against the mighty Thorkell. On the first occasion, he wounded him, while on the second one, he even managed to lure him into a sort of knockout. However, Thorfinn was never able to win a 1v1 fight against Askeladd.
Lucius Artorius Castus, better known as Askeladd, was the leader of a group of mercenaries. Hired by Floki, he killed Thors and then allowed Thors' son, Thorfinn, to join his band. Half Welsh and half Danish, Askeladd eventually pledged his service to King Canute to keep Wales safe from the Viking invasion.
Askeladd was an incredible warrior as well as an excellent leader. A master swordsman, he displayed outstanding reflexes, speed, and dexterity, easily defeating Thorfinn every time the latter challenged him. Askeladd's intelligence and charisma also made him a brilliant commander.
Although ultimately overpowered by Thors, Askeladd was able to hold his own in a fight with him, even drawing first blood with a quick surprise attack. Several years later, despite being past his prime, Askeladd was able to single-handedly kill dozens of experienced warriors, including his own men, as well as King Sweyn's guards and lords.
To save both Canute and Wales, Askeladd was forced to kill King Sweyn, pretending to be an usurper. As such, he let himself be killed by Canute, allowing the boy to take the spotlight and obtain the crown. With his last words, Askeladd advised Thorfinn to let go of things and move on, becoming a true warrior.
The leader of a large band of Viking mercenaries, Thorkell is one of the most powerful warriors in the series. A ruthless individual who only respects strength, Thorkell always seeks war, as he enjoys fighting and killing. Merely hearing his name is enough to make the merciless Vikings tremble in fear.
Thorkell's physical strength is astonishing. He can single-handedly kill a bear in seconds. His favorite weapons are two huge battle axes, which he wields like toothpicks. Thorkell can also swing and throw giant logs with ease, taking out several enemies at once.
Thorkell also possesses superhuman endurance and pain tolerance. Moreover, despite his massive size, his movements are surprisingly quick. Admittedly, only Thors surpasses Thorkell's strength. Even when unarmed, the latter was able to defeat an armed Thorfinn, who is a very skilled fighter in his own right.
Thorkell is also a charismatic leader, able to lead a band of hundreds of Vikings who are almost as bloodthirsty as he is. At the end of season 1 of Vinland Saga, Thorkell decided to ally with Askeladd and support Canute's rise to the crown.
Thors Snoresson is undoubtedly the strongest character in Vinland Saga. Helga's husband, as well as Thorfinn and Ylva's father, Thors was a prominent leader of the Jomsvikings. Due to his immense strength, he was nicknamed “Troll of Jom”.
Despite being a fearsome warrior with unparalleled skills, he started despising violence. As such, he decided to desert the Jomsvikings and escape to Iceland along with his family, aiming to not get involved in war anymore.
In his few appearances in the series, Thors demonstrated capabilities that not even Askeladd and Thorkell can measure up to. With just his bare hands, Thors single-handedly beat Askeladd's band of Vikings with ease, including Bjorn, even though the latter was enhanced by his berserker mushrooms.
He later fought and defeated Askeladd in a 1v1 duel. In a flashback, it was revealed that an unarmed Thors easily beat Thorkell, despite the latter's tremendous strength and the fact that he was wielding his two axes. In fact, Thors is the only person that Thorkell acknowledges as stronger than him.
Being a seinen, Vinland Saga tries to be much more realistic compared to shonen. A testament to that, it features regular humans without special powers. Only a few individuals have superhuman feats, and they are still just normal people with capabilities above average, i.e. peak human level.
Thors is on a whole different level. Even mighty warriors such as Thorkell and Askeladd can't be compared to him. Thors' son, Thorfinn, is incredibly skilled and deadly, but still has a way to go. The other warriors who appeared in the first season of Vinland Saga are significantly behind them.
Following the events of Farmland Arc, the second season of the anime will introduce several new characters, as well as show Thorfinn's improvement. Vinland Saga's season two has just begun, but given the massive success of the series, fans will likely be blessed with the adaptation of the entire manga in the years to come.
Poll : Who do you think would win a 1v1 battle between Askeladd and Thorkell?