Vinland Saga just finished out its first season with one of the most shocking finales of anime not just for 2019, but perhaps for the history of the medium in general. Fans have been taken aback by the events that took place, with Askeladd taking out his sword and killing the king of the Danes. Sacrificing his life to save both his home country of Wales and pursue the young prince Canute's dreams of becoming king, Askeladd's death was akin to a shocker on the level of Game of Thrones' Red Wedding.
One of the biggest reasons as to why Askeladd's death was such a surprise was the fact that this completely derives Thorfinn from getting his revenge after the older Viking had killed his father, Thors. With Thorfinn dedicating his life to bringing honor back to his father and his family, he joined Askeladd's troop of rampaging vikings, improving his fighting skills and consistently challenging the man who killed his father.
With Askeladd and Thorfinn having a duel prior to the first season's finale, it was clear that the anime protagonist still wasn't up to the task of defeating his father's killer, with his anger getting the better of him. When the Danish king set out a plan to attack Wales, Askeladd felt trapped and determined that the only way he could forward the plans he had set into motion was to sacrifice his life.
As Askeladd falls after being stabbed, Thorfinn is taken aback by the death of the man that he had wanted revenge against for so long. Though a second season has yet to be confirmed, the final scene of the season ender shows plenty of new characters that will be entering the fray. Clearly, should Vinland Saga return for a second season, things will be greatly different from the episodes that came before.
Originally created by Makoto Yukimura for Kodansha's Weekly Shonen Magazine,, Vinland Saga has been collected into 21 volumes and has more than five million copies in print as of 2018. Kondansha USA Comics has licensed the series for an English release and describes Vinland Saga as such: "Thorfinn is son to one of the Vikings' greatest warriors, but when his father is killed in battle by the mercenary leader Askeladd, he swears to have his revenge. Thorfinn joins Askeladd's band in order to challenge him to a duel, and ends up caught in the middle of a war for the crown of England. From the creator of the classic Planetes manga, comes this epic, highly-anticipated tale."