Thorfinn (トルフィン, Torufin), also nicknamed Karlsefni, is the main protagonist of the manga and anime, Vinland Saga. He is a former warrior of the Askeladd band, and the son of Thors, the most famous Jomsviking warrior until his defection. Thorfinn is related to the leadership of the Jomsvikings through his mother Helga, who is the daughter of Chief Sigvaldi and the niece of Thorkell.
After attacking Canute in a rage when the latter killed Askeladd, the death of which was Thorfinn's goal for most of his life, Thorfinn was enslaved as a punishment. Four years later he gained his freedom and changed his life. He is currently a traveling merchant working with Leif Ericson and attempting to colonize Vinland.
Thorfinn's appearance is pretty consistent throughout the story. He has bushy hair, old clothes, two knives, and a rebellious, angry face. He is also relatively short.
When Thorfinn was a child, he had a happier face, round with bright, curious eyes, and well-kept hair.
He has a somewhat slight build that belies his strength.
When the series begins, Thorfinn is shown as an innocent and friendly boy who is searching for adventure. He shared a very good relationship with his family and enjoyed stories told by Leif about his adventures. He has a good relationship with his father and looked up to him immensely, shown when he decides to follow Thors by sneaking on his boat to follow him. This would become the foundation of Thorfinn's drive to avenge his father.
However, by the time he joins Askeladd's band, he is a cold-blooded individual, hellbent on his goal to avenge his father. He becomes aloof toward others, unmoved by and uninterested in what they do or thinks of him, choosing instead to keep to himself. This is seen when Thorfinn ignores the invitations from his fellow Vikings to join in on the fun and his refusing to eat dinner with the rest of them.
His flaws lie in his temper and impulsive nature. This is seen when he ignores Askeladd's input despite the benefits it may be able to bring him, which leads to him losing fights against Askeladd. Frequently throughout the series, Thorfinn's reckless nature leads to his own suffering and failure. Even if he does possess talent far beyond the norm for his age, his hot-headedness is easily his biggest weakness. This weakness also unfolds with an inability to learn from mistakes, and several times, Thorfinn has hallucinations with his late father, asking him if this is really the right way to go, and he just ignores it all. This is probably a metaphor to show that the difference between the old Thorfinn and the current one is not much big, and inside his iron fortress, he is just a wrong-headed boy.
He also showed a great lack of empathy, as he did not seem to care when Askeladd's gang murdered civilians and raped women, he just walked away with disgust. Although he sometimes told his possible victims to run when he was not in the mood to kill them, but he didn't really care anyway.
However, his personality suffers a huge blow after Askeladd's death, where Thorfinn was overcome by despair and tries to attack Askeladd's killer. However, this caused him to lose his purpose and become an empty shell after being sold as a slave. During that time, Thorfinn became totally depressed, melancholy, stoic and unwilling to live, living a deplorable life being mistreated by his merchants, with none of the exuberance of his childhood, the pride and belligerence of his adolescence, or even the will to stand up for himself. Fortunately, he began to regain his will and courage with the help of Einar, Snake and Sverker, who helped him to realize that he is still capable of a meaningful life.
Thorfinn slowly begins to recover and then takes on a more kind and pacifist attitude. He seems to have become more like Thors and seeks to become a merchant to become a better person and forget his dark past as a murderer. His time as a slave also appears to have affected his behaviour. For a while, he refrained from fighting and always tried to resolve the situations in the conversation, but even then this attitude backfired several times, and so he saw that sometimes it was necessary to use force to resolve conflicts. He also seems to have few social skills and doesn't seem to know much about the female body, seen this when after adopting Karli, he tells Gudrid to feed him with her breasts, not knowing that she would need to be pregnant for this to happen.
Thorfinn was born in Iceland on April 7th 996, where his family had fled after Thors had decided to abandon the Jomsvikings. He grew up not knowing about his father's past or his connection to the Jomsvikings.
He lived with his family and was a happy, lively boy. He played with the children in the village especially in mock combat with a wooden sword and shield, even though he was always one of the first to lose. One day Floki, and his Jomsviking crew come to Iceland to get aid from his father, Thors. When his father was going out to a battle, Thorfinn hid in a barrel on his father's ship. A mercenary called Askeladd, who was hired by Floki to take down Thors, came and dueled Thorfinn's father. Thors took down half of Askeladd's men, including his second in command, and then the two faced off. Thors won the battle, but in exchange for Thorfinn's life, he was killed by many arrows from Askeladd's men. After his father died, Thorfinn vowed to seek vengeance for his father, by becoming one of Askeladd's men and dueling him every time he completes a mission in combat, so he can avenge his father's death in a fair battle.
Thorfinn has now became a shell of his former self and is constantly haunted by the lives he took in his nightmares.
"No he is the real thing, for sure. A fighter that agile is rare to come across...." --Garm
Overall Abilities: Thorfinn grew up on the battlefield, having experienced it following his father's death and, as such, has a wealth of battle experience. He quickly grew into a highly skilled warrior capable of swiftly killing warriors at least twice his age. As Thorfinn's fight style plays focus on striking vital points instead of clashing with blades directly, he developed a nimble style that emphasizes speed. Thorfinn's strength is recognized by fighters such as Thorkell the Tall stating he was capable of becoming the next head of the Jomsvikings.
Dual Wield: Thorfinn's fighting style emphasizes speed combined with the dual-wielding of two knives, one of which was formerly owned by Thors. By targeting his opponents' weak points and taking advantage of his speed, he could typically finish off an opponent swiftly while avoiding their attacks.
Knife Throwing: Thorfinn is also able to effectively use throwing knives, although they are not his primary weapon.
Enhanced Durability: Although he doesn't usually engage in unarmed combat, Thorfinn knows how to take solid hits if given the chance to prepare for them. This ability appears when he withstands 100 blows from Drott to earn the right to speak to Canute. However, when set upon by Ylfa in a rage, he was completely unprepared and was knocked out.
Enhanced Agility: Thorfinn's agility is amongst the fastest in the series, he is capable of evading a platoon of soldiers within seconds on a battlefield, as well as scale a wall of a fortress, including jumping over a moat. In combat, he can use his agility to strike from an angle where he may finish his opponent and to find his balance quickly after taking a hit or dodging.
Enhanced Speed and Reflexes: Thorfinn's speed is regarded as his primary asset in combat. During the invasion of London, he earned Thorkell's praise despite losing to him in combat. His reflexes have enabled him to dodge and react to surprises attacks such as Snake's drawing attack. Although, he was not able to dodge Garm's spear. Despite Garm proving faster than Thorfinn as well as wounding him, Thorfinn was nonetheless able to dodge his movements with his eyes. At Jomsburg, he was able to cover a distance of several meters before his pursuers could notice he had run away from them. A testament to Thorfinn's reflexes is shown when he was acknowledged by Garm as being the only fighter he has met to dodge his spear so quickly.
Enhanced Strength: Thanks to years of manual labor as a slave on a farm, Thorfinn achieved an explosive increase in strength when he reached adulthood. With this new skill acquired, he was able to throw a man away with just one punch and break the bones of a Jomsvikings even though he was wearing a armor and Thorfinn was a little weaker. Other feats include breaking a sword with his knee.
Battles & Duels
- Thorfinn and Askeladd has dueled on multiple occasions. However Askeladd death greatly affected Thorfinn as it was his primary goal to Avenge the Death of his Father & Kill the man who killed his Father.