Vinland Saga“takes us on an epic journey following the figure of Thorfinn, a Viking who quickly plunges into a mission of revenge but who, over time, reconsiders himself and faces all the atrocities he commits throughout his life. It is a journey of reflection, of war and also of exploration, precisely in search of this “Vinland” which brings a better life closer. Despite the fact that the story of “Vinland Saga” (which you can see on Crunchyroll) has many “made up” elements, the truth is that it has many historical roots that are very easy to trace, especially in its characters..


Thorfinn Karlsefni

  • Yes, Thorfinn existed in real life as Thorfinn Karlsefnialthough the truth is that many aspects have changed from what we know.
  • To begin with, it must be said that the real Thorfinn was not a warrior, but rather a kind of scout. Obviously, this implies that he did not go on a journey of revenge in the early years of his life either.
  • What we know in broad strokes about the life of Thorfinn Karlsefni is as follows:
    • He was originally born in Iceland.
    • When he was older he married a woman named Gudrid.
    • He traveled to “Vinland”, which was essentially North America, where he founded a colony whose exact location was completely unknown.. During this trip, he notably followed in the footsteps of Leif Erikson, another Viking considered to be one of the first to set foot in North America.
    • With Gudrid he had a son named Snorri, who is at the same time considered the first European to be born in what is called “The New World”.i.e. America.

Leif Erikson

  • In Vinland Saga, we first encounter Leif Erikson as the kind of guy who tells Thorfinn all kinds of war stories about his travels. After Thorfinn’s father dies, Leif takes Thorfinn’s protection very seriously and keeps trying to find him despite Thorfinn’s years as a slave.
  • In real life, Leif Erikson was also trusted by Thorfinn on his travels, but at the same time he mainly followed the figure of Bjarni Herjolfsson, who originally organized the crossing to North America. However, unlike Bjarni (who did not land in North America as he was only looking for his father, who had gone to Greenland) Leif YES came to land in North America, being the first European to do so.
  • Arriving in the North American region, it is believed that specifically Leif Erikson and his family arrived at establish a colony closer to Canada in fact. They also gave it the name ‘Vinland’, in reference to the large number of vineyards that were found to produce wine.. Leif was only able to make one trip to Vinland, although other Vikings (e.g. Thorfinn) followed him visiting these lands.


  • Gudrid is a character who appears in Vinland Saga with the story already relatively advanced, but who quickly gains relevance by becoming the Thorfinn’s love partner, having a child with him and accompanying him on his travels. The truth is that this is very real compared to the historical figure.
  • Wake up to historical records, Gurdid was the daughter of a clan chief and came to travel to territories such as Greenland. She also met Leif Erikson and her little brother, Thorstein, whom she married… but he eventually died.
  • Gudrid too converted to Christianitybut despite this, he had no problem continuing to help his Norse friends with all the rituals they had to perform.
  • On the other hand, in real life, Gudrid also met Thorfinn at some point, and yes, they had a son named Snorri who is considered of utmost importance as he was the first European born in North America. This story differs a bit in Vinland Saga, where its geographical and historical relevance is removed by making it Gudrid and Thorfinn’s son is someone they adopt.

Ash load

  • Askeladd is one of the most epic figures in the first season of the Vinland Saga anime, and the truth is that He also lived in real life… albeit with various readings.
  • Initially Askeladd was considered to be inspired by the figure of Olaf the peacock, a merchant who stood out above all for his striking bearing and about their products.
  • Eventually Vinland Saga gave Ashkeladd a “second identity” whose name is revealed to be “Lucius Artorius Castus”. At this stage, what is done is to deal directly with a parallelism between the figure of Askeladd and the iconic legend of king arthur. However, Askeladd’s fate did not turn out to be the same as the one we know for the legendary King Arthur.
  • Askeladd is a long way off one of the characters whose historical traces are more difficult to measurebut at the same time it is one of the most interesting that ends up being in this aspect.


  • Thorkell is one of the toughest characters we meet in the first season of Vinland Saga, a warrior of enormous power able to devastate waves of enemies single-handedly. But was it really like that in real life?
  • Thorkell’s character derives from that known as Thorkell the Great, a Viking mercenary who was part of the Jomvikings.
  • Historically, Thorkell and Prince Canute were also very close to each other, with Thorkell acting as something of a mentor when Canute was growing up. (especially with anything related to war). It must be said that this happened after the line of Canute initially faced on the battlefield that of Thorkell.


  • Canute is a character who, at first, in Vinland Saga we know him as a gentle prince unable to fend for himself. A figure who needs constant protection and who has little to do with his adult self, who comes across as a truly capable king in all the facets that it must accomplish.
  • Historically, Canute’s face of a successful king could not be more accurate, since conquered much of England. Moreover, he even made a major assault on the City of London.
  • As king, Canute was one of the most influential of his time., and he was not afraid to bring people of Danish and English origin together in his environment. After all, he had English, Danish and Norwegian territories under his control.
  • Two key moves by Canute during his tenure as High King were, firstly, be open to churchAnd on the other hand help the English economy to settle and even to develop compared to other territories.

Sweyn Forkbeard

  • Sweyn Forkbeard, Canute’s father, receives this curious nickname of ‘Fork Beard’ precisely because of the facial hair he sported. Leaving that point aside, the truth is that he is a king who, like Canute, was very successful in war.
  • Contrary to how Vinland Saga depicts it, the truth is that Sweyn and Canute didn’t have a bad relationship, on the contrary. Where Sweyn’s life got complicated was with his own father, whom he fought and killed to inherit the thrones of Denmark and Norway.
  • King Sweyn finally planned an assault on London with which he conquered the city and he began to greatly extend his rule over England. However, died within weeks of being seriously injured attacking the city itself.
  • In real life, Canute inherited his father’s war plans and successfully continued the work his father had started.. Again, contrary to how the Vinland Saga portrays it, it seems father and son saw a lot of things the same way.

And these are the great characteristics of the main characters of “Vinland Saga”, both manga and anime, who today have been identified with their relevant real historical character. The truth is that the base taken by Makoto Yukimura could not be more interesting, in a time of war where figures of great ambition crossed paths with each other. Come on, how hard it will be for there to be another viking anime (no, Vicky the Viking doesn’t count) as acclaimed as this one.

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