Vinland Saga season 2: Why did Canute poison King Harald? Explained

Stills from Vinland Saga Season 2 (Image via MAPPA)
Stills from Vinland Saga season 2 (Image via MAPPA)

On Monday, March 20, 2023, Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 was released, bringing with it an extremely thrilling and tense chapter that set up future battles for the season. Yet, a major issue has persisted since the previous episode.

In Vinland Saga season 2, episode 10, as Sweyn's voice is heard taunting Canute for being afraid of poisoning after having poisoned others himself, viewers are left wondering whether or not Canute poisoned King Harald. While the answer to that question is yes, Canute's reasoning behind such an act is still unclear to many.

Disclaimer: The following article contains major spoilers for Vinland Saga Season 2 and manga. All external media belongs to their respective owners, and Sportskeeda claims no ownership of the same.


Vinland Saga season 2: Canute's ultimate goal of unifying all nations led him to poison his elder brother

Canute has proven to be one of the most engaging characters throughout Vinland Saga season 2, and as a result, many readers have developed a fondness for him. This is due to the character growth he has demonstrated over time.

He was first shown as a coward and a timid individual, but over time, he has evolved into a cunning and manipulative character, as is shown in Vinland Saga season 2.

The reason why Canute poisoned King Harald is a commonly asked question because it was just a brief point in the manga and anime, and many people skipped ahead. To answer this question, we must first learn who King Harald was.

Harald was the oldest son of King Sweyn's three children, including a boy named Canute and a daughter named Estrid. After King Sweyn died, Harald succeeded as King of Denmark, and Canute inherited England. Even in episode 10, Canute was shown remembering his childhood days, when he and Harald would look after one another and how the latter would help Canute.

A still from Vinland Saga season 2 (Image via MAPPA)
A still from Vinland Saga season 2 (Image via MAPPA)

However, as Canute became the king of England, he gained more authority and became anxious to gain greater power to unify all nations. Canute resisted the notion of having two kings, declaring in Vinland Saga season 2, episode 10, that this would only cause trouble in the end, even though they were on excellent terms and his brother backed his English conquest.

For Canute, there was no other option but to poison his brother to fulfill his goal of bringing all nations together and maintaining order in the kingdom. As for Harald, he had no children and had to pass on the throne of Denmark to Canute on his sickbed. Nonetheless, this raises another question: why did Canute want to unify the nation under him?


Why did Canute want to unify all the nations?

A still from Vinland Saga season 2 (Image via MAPPA)
A still from Vinland Saga season 2 (Image via MAPPA)

Like Thorfinn, Canute also wanted to bring world peace and create a utopia on Earth. According to him, God has forsaken the Vikings, as they bring chaos and destruction and have committed too many sins.

Canute further says that it is his job to save them and fight against the idea that peace can't be found on Earth and must only be found in the heavens by creating a paradise on Earth itself for the Vikings.

Canute desires to unify all Vikings, create order, and bring culture and order to the Vikings. Nonetheless, Canute is willing to use all measures necessary to accomplish his goal, unlike Thorfinn, who prefers to avoid conflict. Canute aims to establish a large, permanent army that is completely obedient to his orders and threatens to use force against anybody who disobeys him.


A recap of Vinland Saga season 2, episode 11

Vinland Saga season 2, episode 11 begins with Canute sparring with Wulf and defeating him, earning the respect of his soldiers as a warrior. Unfortunately, Canute struggles to raise enough money to support his realms, so he contemplates procuring property from powerful landowners to pay for the army.

Meanwhile, Ketil comes to Jelling with a rich tribute to Harald but hears of his death through Thorgil. He then decides to offer it to Canute.

The scene switches to the street, where Olmar fights Bug-Eyes, whom Leif Erikson had adopted during his quest for Thorfinn. After talking it out, Ketil and Leif come to the conclusion that the man Leif believes he is looking for, Thorfinn, is a slave on Ketil's property.

Next in the scene, Canute grants Ketil an audience, which Olmar rudely interrupts by drawing his sword and asking the new king whether he would be allowed to join his guard. To do so, Canute challenges Olmar to prove his abilities by slicing through a roasted pig, but Olmar is unable to do so, which puts Ketil and Thorgil in an extremely awkward position.

A still from Vinland Saga season 2, episode 11 (Image via MAPPA)
A still from Vinland Saga season 2, episode 11 (Image via MAPPA)

While Wulf is hesitant to have the arrogant and inept Olmar on his guard, he concedes that he could be a helpful component in acquiring Ketil's land, which is the first stage in Canute's financial strategy.


It will be interesting to see how season 2 unfolds and how viewers react before the season ends. Fans can watch Vinland Saga season 2, episode 12, on Monday, March 28 at 12.30 am (JST). Stay tuned for more anime and manga updates as 2023 progresses.