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I guess this episode is meant to confirm that Askeladd is here to stay. It turns out his character is a lot more interesting than I gave him credit for. In addition, Canute finally starts opening up, and it’s to Thorfinn of all people. The relationship between the two is starting to look promising. I really like how subtle this series is. I feel like the episode makes no attempt to throw things in your face, but there’s plenty going on under the surface.
While I certainly sympathize with Canute for being put on the spot by Askeladd, I didn’t expect his personality to be quite like this. It ends up making sense, but he’s more haughty than I was thinking he’d be. I suppose he’s royalty, after all.
The revelation that Askeladd is half-Welsh makes things interesting. His stated hatred for the Danes makes sense given his mixed lineage, and I like the idea that he’s been hiding amongst the Danes this whole time. His relationship with Artorias probably explains why he tends to act with more pride than the other pirates and why he respected Thors.
Most importantly, Askeladd’s vendetta against the Danes makes him directly relatable for Thorfinn. It makes so much more sense now that he kept Thorfinn around. They both resent the people around them and seek vengeance for a parent. I especially like that this is combined with a shot of the two walking together through a blizzard in the opening animation. I’m looking forward to seeing how that turns out.
Canute’s speech in this episode is also cool. It’s perfectly reasonable for him to fear the ramifications of his actions. You can clearly see him hiding behind Sweyn in the conversation, stating that he can’t act without permission. I would say that he’s still technically acting like a coward, but there’s a logic to it. He probably sees himself as unworthy and refuses to take the responsibility of leading.
It would be cool to see Thorfinn break Canute out of this mentality, though. After all, Thorfinn has learned to act independently because he doesn’t ever expect anyone to bail him out.