Vinland Saga, Thorfinn & the art of Stoicism

Thorfinn as seen in Vinland Saga season 2
Thorfinn as seen in Vinland Saga season 2 (Image via MAPPA)

Vinland Saga is one of the best ongoing anime right now. That being said, the anime has given its viewers lots of lessons during its run. The series is so well written that it has been able to depict how a person can change if they look into themselves deeply and decide to make a change.

Compared to the first season, which was full of action, Vinland Saga season 2 has focused on Thorfinn's growth. With that, viewers have been able to witness his iron-clad mind to reach his goal, i.e., to attain inner peace and redeem himself for the crimes he committed in the past.


How has Vinland Saga used Thorfinn to portray the art of stoicism?

Thorfinn and Askeladd as seen in Vinland Saga season 1 (Image via WIT Studio)
Thorfinn and Askeladd as seen in Vinland Saga season 1 (Image via WIT Studio)

Vinland Saga is a character-driven series that is based on the theme of honor, duty, betrayal, and redemption. The series is set in the 11th century during the time when the Danes were trying to conquer England. Here, the series chooses to focus on a single character named Thorfinn and his self-development.

In season 1, Thorfinn was a dark character who was obsessed with his goal of getting revenge on Askeladd. The latter is the man who killed Thorfinn's father, Thors, in front of him. Following that, Thorfinn followed Askeladd and was part of his group that would take part in wars and dangerous missions.

Thorfinn as seen in Vinland Saga season 1 (Image via WIT Studio)
Thorfinn as seen in Vinland Saga season 1 (Image via WIT Studio)

Despite the fact that Thorfinn was a child at the time, he fought against men far stronger than him and survived, hoping to one day become strong enough to achieve his goal.

During his journey, he met several new people, leading him to question the nature of reality and violence. Nevertheless, his iron-clad mindset helped him to stay true to his goal. Unfortunately, he could not see his goal through due to Canute's actions, which led him to become depressed from having no purpose in life.

Thorfinn as seen in Vinland Saga season 2 (Image via MAPPA)
Thorfinn as seen in Vinland Saga season 2 (Image via MAPPA)

In the second season, Thorfinn is able to reflect on his actions and realizes how he can attain inner peace only by attaining control over himself, i.e., getting rid of his burdens. One must only focus on the external circumstances that they can control. If one becomes overly obsessed with external events that are out of their control, they will only distract them.

In this way, Thorfinn became the embodiment of stoicism as he developed an unwavering and unbreakable mindset that he only uses to focus on things that are under his control. According to philosophy, through this inner power, individuals can develop a sense of inner peace as any external burdens are discarded for the best.

Thorfinn as seen in Vinland Saga season 2 (Image via MAPPA)
Thorfinn as seen in Vinland Saga season 2 (Image via MAPPA)

Earlier, he was burdened by his regret of having killed people in the past and had nothing to live for. However, after he got his thoughts cleared up and pointed it towards his goal of achieving peace, he was able to think straight and come up with ideas to redeem himself. Following that, he gave up on violence and focused on his dream to find Vinland, a place where there was seemingly no war.

While Thorfinn's journey is yet to finish in the anime, it is clear that his stoicism helped him attain inner peace and will soon help him achieve his goals.