Vinland Saga: Sad Girl in Snow

[minor spoilers]

Chapter 28 in Vinland Saga is about an English village that is raided by Askeladd’s men. Much of the chapter takes place in the POV of a village girl who survives the raid. While having dinner, her father is talking about heaven and hell.

The girl is distraught. She had stolen a ring and hid it in a tree, so she considers herself sinful. She believes that she will be the sole member of the family who will go to hell when the Day of Judgment comes. (The year is AD 1013, and Christ’s Second Coming is expected after twenty more years.)

That is when Askeladd’s band starts their raid. After taking all the village’s food and supplies, they round up all the villagers outside, and…

Only the girl survives, having hidden herself in the snow. Later, she wanders aimlessly in the snow. Alone and freezing, she implores to God:

The irony killed me. There she is, wondering if her family had gone to heaven, while she, mired in the sin of her theft, had been spared. While contemplating her petty theft, she came across an evil of an entirely different magnitude.

It is worthy of note that Vinland Saga has a rather pathetic portrayal of Christianity (i.e. in the context of evoking pity). Chalk it up to a difference of values (Askeladd’s band worship Odin, and deem a violent death necessary to go to a desirable afterlife, a stark contrast to the Christian belief that extols selflessness and virtue), and non-Christian protagonists?

I can’t help but feel sorry for that village. But vikings gonna viking, if you know what I mean. This chapter proves that Vinland Saga is not all about the wars and fighting, and has its own share of poignant moments, too.

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6 Responses to Vinland Saga: Sad Girl in Snow

  1. JoeQ says:

    I weep at the fact that for some fucking reason this STILL hasn’t been licensed.
    Don’t you WANT my money?!

    PS. Also re-release Planetes, the Tokyopop version is shit.

    • Matt Wells says:

      The Tokyopop version of EVERYTHING is shit. Good on them for popularising the regular manga pocketbook size format, but they could have at least tried with their translations and print quality. Or cared. 😦

      My hope is that Dark Horse will publish Berserk; it fits in tonally with the rest of their “historical action” series, and they could market it as Berserk for minors! Just you know, without the rape, ultra ULTRA violence, cultist orgy, more rape, demon slaying, and rape horse. On the plus side though, Vinland has Vikings, and a depiction of farming in Early Medieval Europe!

  2. hearthesea says:

    This is definitely one of the best scenes in the series. I don’t know if you’ve finished VS or if you’re currently reading it, so I won’t go into any spoilers. One thing I will say is that I completely agree with your note that ‘Vinland Saga is not all about the wars and fighting, and has its own share of poignant moments, too’. If anything, the Manga actually feels like one which focuses on character and drama above plot and bloodshed, which is particularly clear in the latest chapters. Even the fights are often used as a character study — the importance of the mental/psychological area in combat is often stressed, rather than a brawling for the sake of it.

    I’m looking forward to seeing where the series goes from here…Yukimura definitely made a fan out of me. (‘Planetes’ is also lovely.)

    • schneider says:

      Thanks for reading! I have caught up to the latest scanlations of Vinland Saga, and I am very interested in what direction Yukimura is going to take. The manga is just full of surprises!

      I only have one volume of the Planetes manga, since manga is hard to come by here in the Philippines, but I’ve seen the anime and loved it.

      • JoeQ says:

        You should read the rest, the manga is pretty different from the anime. They each have their strong points, but on the whole I very much prefer the anime. Allowing for more characters and more time for their development and for their relationships makes it a far better story.

  3. hearthesea says:

    I had a very twisted journey when it comes to ‘Planetes’ — I tried the Manga and the opening chapter or two bored me, so I switched to the Anime. I liked the way the Anime opened — it gave us a neat gateway into the story through the perspective of a new employee — but then I gradually lost interest in the episodes and plot, and some of the ‘comic relief’ didn’t gel with me. Finally, I went back and tried the Manga again, and this time I found that it became far better after the first few chapters — I read it all and loved it. One day I’ll go back and actually finish the Anime, as I think I unfortunately abandoned it just before the Big Events kicked in. It’s interesting to see how many changes they made to the source material.

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