|The valkyries, agents of the gods, ever seek the souls of great warriors. Heroes worthy of being called Einherjar. Only those will live true in battle and die true in battle, will be allowed to cross Bifrost and dwell within Valhalla in Asgard. How did you fight and how did you die? That's what matters. The stronger the foe, the better.|
Thorkell (トルケル, Torukeru) also known as Thorkell the Tall, is a Jomsviking commander who later commanded his own band during the invasion of England. He switched sides to fight for the English before choosing to ally himself with Canute. Due to his colossal strength, he's considered as the strongest Viking, noted by Floki and Garm. Thorkell is the brother of Sigvaldi, the Jomsvikings chief, uncle of Helga, uncle-in-law of Thors, great uncle of Ylva and Thorfinn, and father of Cordelia (Halvar).
Thorkell is an overly tall man (Towering even over Thors) as his epithet indicates, also being extremely muscular and covered with scars, with spiky blond hair held up by a bandana and a small beard. He lost the tips of his right ring and pinky fingers in his first duel with Thorfinn and later lost his left eye in the second duel, necessitating the use of an eyepatch.
After he got burned alive in the Year 1019, his hair became curly.
In the Year 987, Thorkell pretty much had the same physical characteristics as he does in the present, except that he was less muscular and his hair was shorter. He was also shown using only 1 two-handed poleaxe with both hands, although another flashback showed that not long after, he began using 2 two-handed poleaxes in each hand, like he does in the present.
|Yeah, I get ya. So it was just a misunderstanding. When it comes to beer, saxon beer is great. I personally love'em. There's nothing quite like enjoying some saxon beer at night, so imagine you went without beer for the whole day to make it even better. But when you get back home, you realize you're completely out of beer. At that point, you'd be dying to drink any booze, know what I mean? So can you now understand? Because that's how I feel right now. I don't give two shits about the reason or whether it was a misunderstanding. I. JUST. WANNA. FIGHT.|
|— Thorkell's battle-mad thirst for battle.|
Thorkell is a jolly, fun-loving man, in and out of combat. He's almost always laughing and smiling. When deprived of combat for too long, he becomes far more gloomy and irritable. He isn't necessarily cruel, nor seems to enjoy inflicting pain, especially on weaker opponents or civilians. He is only motivated to fight against people who can protect themselves, mainly vikings and soldiers. When he encounters an enemy without a weapon, Thorkell would even give said enemy a weapon to give the opportunity to die a glorious death in combat and go to Valhalla instead of killing them outright. While Askeladd's followers were fine with raping women and killing civilians, Thorkell's band is never seen doing the same. Instead, they just enjoy the various privileges offered for their efforts in the conflict. He has no qualms about ordering his men to kill Askeladd's company despite them defecting to his side with the hope of them being spared by Thorkell's forces (although this has more to do with the fact that Thorkell hates cowardice).
Thorkell loves the thrill of combat and greatly enjoys fighting, claiming that he hates to be stopped in the middle of a fight worse than retreating. Thorkell loves battle and war to the point that when Canute (now King) united England brought, peace to the country, and promoted him to the rank of Earl, he would go around raiding the homes of the people under his earldom, barging in with his weapons whenever he hears a fight to 'join in' out of extreme boredom. He even passed out from shock after Canute ordered the disbanding of the troops (which implies that Thorkell will no longer be required to fight under Canute anymore), with his underlings exclaiming that Thorkell 'will die if he gets any more peace'. Thorkell rarely cares about the outcome of a battle or the decisions his opponents made in battle, as seen when he slaughtered the members of Askeladd's crew even after they surrendered. He also does not care about his affiliations except to those of his own men and is quick to switch alliances and betray former allies as long as he gets to fight the most fun battle, depending on which side is weaker. He also does not care about his status in society, and only truly cares about fighting and battle.
Whenever Thorkell meets a powerful opponent in his battles (most notably Thorfinn), he prefers to fight said opponent alone in a one-on-one fight to the death rather than ordering his men to surround and attack. He will also acknowledge any warrior that is strong enough to survive an encounter with him and will not permit his men to insult the challenger in any way. This can be seen when he killed one of his men for laughing at Thorfinn. He also does not like his men interfering or helping him in any of his duels, or as he puts it, 'sullying his honor'. However, he is willing to admit defeat when having been given a good fight, which hints at that he is simply a man who enjoys a good fight rather than just a man with a 'fight-to-win' mindset.
His battle-hungry personality aside, Thorkell is also slightly doubtful of the path he had chosen in life, and constantly wonders the meaning of a 'true warrior'. He claimed to not understand the last words Thors uttered to him, as well as Thors's strange gaze that, as Thorkell described, 'is looking at a place far away'. He often wonders that perhaps he should have followed Thors and left the Jomsvikings that day to find out what it means to be a true warrior, and he eagerly waits for Thorfinn, who lived with Thors after he left the Jomsvikings, to tell him the answer. He was disappointed when Thorfinn was unable to answer and claimed that young Thorfinn 'wasted his time spent with Thors'. After Thorfinn decided to leave violence behind him, however, Thorkell was satisfied upon seeing that he 'had the same eyes as Thors', though he still did not find out the answer to the meaning of a 'true warrior'. Though constantly plagued by this question, Thorkell does not let it get in the way of his battle-hungry way of life.
Thorkell is a fellow Jomsviking commander and friend of Thors. However, he deserted when the war was over because he considered the army 'boring' as they were undefeatable. Therefore he joined the English forces as he considered this more interesting because they were 'weak and pathetic' and he was tired of being on the side that always emerged victorious, which to him was unchallenging, uninteresting, and meaningless.
His first appearance was at the siege of London where King Sweyns Forces were trying to seize the city. He joined the English forces much to the dismay of Floki who he has known from his Jomsviking days. Floki told him to go back to the army as those are King Sweyn's wishes. Thorkell agreed that the English are really weak since he fought them himself until last year, and how the country is finished, but then however stated that it would be more fun to fight against the Jomsviking army instead, leaving Floki speechless. As Floki panics and offers him double the money England gives him, Thorkell ends the conversation by throwing a giant boulder at Floki's ship, nearly sinking it in the process, causing Floki and all of his men to flee the scene.
Askeladd and his band, at that time in service of King Sweyn, were trying to take the city as well. Askeladd immediately saw Thorkell as the primary threat and only reason why the city hadn't been captured yet. He ordered Thorfinn to get rid of Thorkell for a duel with him.
None of the ships that were trying to get close to the bridge managed to survive long enough as every single one was destroyed by Thorkell. Thorfinn, standing on the mast of one of those ships with a shield in hand charged at Thorkell and took a huge leap towards him. Thorkell tried to swat him out of the air with a log but Thorfinn managed to dodge in time, jump off the log, and land on the bridge. Thorkell, sensing potential in the young fighter, ordered his men to not interfere with his battle with Thorfinn.
Thorkell possesses superhuman strength, with the only person ever being able to beat him in the past being Thors. Thorfinn stated that one punch from Thorkell would be enough to kill him. Despite being massively huge, Thorkell is quick in close combat. Amongst his many feats include being able to lift an around 5 tons enormous boulder and throw it strongly enough to sink longships, throw several logs with ease and use/swing them as quarterstaffs, throwing a spear over a kilometer and killing several men with it in the process, kicking Thorfinn several feet into the air, punching a horse in the abdomen so hard it flies off in the air and most notably, bulldozing two houses on his own with his axe.
While skilled in hand to hand combat, he truly excels when wielding his battle axes, using them to slice through fully-armored warriors and trees into pieces. Though large and powerful, his slashes are accurate and fast, truly testing Thorfinn's dexterity.
On top of his strength, he possesses inhuman resilience and a high pain tolerance, capable of taking heavy damage and laughing it off later. For example, Thorkell does not even flinch after being stabbed through the hand and losing 2 fingers and survives after being burned alive, and being completely unfazed by the wounds and able to throw men around while bandaged, not weakened or slowed down whatsoever by serious injuries.
As a leader, he may be calm and have goodwill for his men, who respect him for his strength, despite all being seasoned fighters. His band of 500 men are almost as bloodthirsty as he is and Thorkell can motivate them with a powerful speech. Thorkell may seem to be just a dim, raging brute, but he is actually quite intelligent and introspective. He is a capable and charismatic leader, a keen observer of tactics and fighting styles, and has a good understanding of politics. He just can't be bothered with all the mind games and intrigue and sticks to what he is best at: battle.
Thorkell possesses a terrifying aura, as Torgrim's mental state broke when having to face against him. While Torgrim survived due to Thorkell not killing him, he succumbed to amnesia afterwards and his mental state reverted back to that of a child. Even hearing Thorkell's name causes fear in experienced vikings including Askeladd.
Thorkell's colossal power gave him the epithet Thorkell the Invincible by Askeladd, and he's considered as the strongest Viking due to it. Thorkell is in fact so strong that the only thing rumored to possibly kill him would be "too much peace." And indeed, during over a year of peace, Thorkell was suffering from battle withdrawal and once passed out in a comedic scene.