Vinland Saga Manga Chapter 156 Review

Video Version: (YouTube)


Coming out of this month’s chapter for Vinland Saga, three things are worth discussing here; the revelations through Garm’s backstory, the revelation that Garm believes Thorfinn to be his friend and the tease of the final showdown between Flokki and Thorkell for next month’s chapter and how we are going to move forward following the Baltic Sea War.

Garm for as long as we’ve known him has been insane, and now we can safely say that he’s always been insane. We got our first insight into the upbringing of Garm this chapter and it just reinforced his insanity. What’s frightening is just how loveable it was to watch this deranged child slaughter a village. The author positioned us to have no sympathy for these idiots as it was just an expedition to characterise Garm. When I realised we were getting a flashback pertaining to Garm, I assumed we were gearing up for some tragic tale that would justify Garm’s personality, but that’s not what we got at all, in fact I think the author was subverting that expectation to make fun of the tragic backstory trope. Garm’s just crazy! But I am interested in Garm’s purpose in the narrative now that Thorfinn defeated him. What thematic purpose does he have now? In this arc he served as one half of the ultimate test of Thorfinn’s pacifistic beliefs. He tested Thorfinn’s ability to defuse situations without relying on killing him, Garm is an equivalent fighter to Thorkell there will never be a greater physical test for Thorfinn. And in the end Thorfinn maintained his pacifistic beliefs and overcame, just as he overcame the other half of his ultimate test in controlling his inner-rage and vengeful tendencies when his mentality was tested in the presence of Flokki. Thorfinn has proved in this arc that his pacifism can work in the most extreme of situations. But bringing this all back to Garm, he wasn’t killed off he’s still in the story, so what comes next? Does he possibly join Thorfinn’s group and Garm becomes the next test of Thorfinn, will he attempt to convince Garm to become a pacifist and a true warrior? Maybe he joins up with Thorkell or maybe we never see him again. I’m not sure what the future holds for Garm now, and I’m very interested to see what Yukimura has in store for us.

While we are on the subject, shout out to the art on this page, its breathtaking.

A possible indication of how Garm will develop moving forward is this panel we’re he calls Thorfinn an idiot and explains to him that they’ve always been friends. This is an incredibly interesting comment and a great characterisation moment for Garm. So how does someone become Garm’s friend and what does this mean again moving forward? Maybe he approaches friendship similarly to the way Griffith does, if somebody can match him in skill he considers them a friend, and Thorfinn not only matched him in skill but surpassed him, even if Garm was making excuses after the fight. Interestingly, if we run with this hypothesis than Thorkell would also be considered a friend by Garm and that therefore you lend credence to the possibility of Garm teaming up with Thorkell following this arc, if they both survive. I would be totally down for Garm and Thorkell to team up and get into some trouble together after the Baltic Sea War comes to an end. Maybe he just believes everyone he fights to be his friend, that philosophy seems crazy enough to fit Garm’s character. That would also mean he kills 99% of friends immediately after meeting them. Hopefully this apparent friendship is explored more in the future and we will see if Garm maybe does join up with Thorkell, moving forward.

Thorkell is pissed at Flokki, he’s on a warpath for Flokki’s head and in this coming final confrontation I think it’s certain that one of them must die. Neither one of them has outstanding plot armour at this point, either one of them could die without out rightly effecting the greater narrative with Canute or Thorfinn. It would be interesting to see how Canute would react if Thorkell dies. I speculated earlier that maybe Garm would join up with Thorkell and if they do I’m sure they would have no trouble taking out Flokki and the rest of his men. Maybe Thorkell goes out with a hundred spears in his back fighting until the very end loving war as he does, I’m sure if Thorkell could choose a way to go out it would be similar to this scenario. If I had to wager on one of them dying over the other I would choose Flokki to die, it’s been a long time coming, don’t forget he was responsible for Thors’ death. Overall, this was a fine chapter and I can’t wait for the next one…





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