Depiction of Norse mythology in the God of War franchise

God of War has grown to become one of the finest video game series of all time since its inception in 2005. Norse mythology has played a vital role in the game’s storyline. Stay with us here to learn how the franchise has handled the folklore in its flagship game!

Kratos & Atreus on the official God of War game cover
Kratos & Atreus on the official God of War game cover

God of War: A franchise for the ages

David Jaffee created this action-adventure, fantasy video game franchise in the year 2005. It consists of 8 games in total, with a 9th slated for release in 2022. Players follow Spartan warrior Kratos, tricked into killing his own family by his master Ares, the Greek God of War. Then, the storyline shifts to a series of wars involving mythological gods.

Games in the franchise
The God of War series

The entire series is set in two parts. The first seven games make up the Greek era. This involves all the games from God of War I to Ascension. The Norse era begins with the franchise’s biggest venture to date, God of War (2018). Atreus, Kratos’ son, was introduced into the franchise as a secondary lead. Furthermore, the current edition traces the journey of Kratos and his son, on their quest to fulfill the final wish of Faye (mother of Atreus).

How has the franchise handled Norse Mythology?

The pantheon of Norse mythology is fairly similar to its Greek system of counterparts in more ways than one. The series takes advantage of the enormous interest shown in Norse mythology. This spike in interest is a direct result of the influence of pop culture. In addition, The Lord of the Rings franchise and Marvel’s films have been some of the biggest contributors to the rage.

God of War depicts Norse mythology as a dysfunctional and alien society. This portrayal is more similar to the original than most people realize. Bringing traditional mythology to the screen, especially in a video game, is a challenging undertaking. However, the writers at Santa Monica Studios have performed this task flawlessly. The franchise has taken the license to improvise since mythology leaves a lot to the imagination. The makers have carried out the detailing of every aspect with surgical precision. The franchise does not replicate Norse mythology as it is. However, it does not go too wayward from the original tale either.

A few improvisations made

The entire team was tasked with satisfying both fans of the video game and admirers of Norse fiction. However, they did make some tweaks to the original concerning characters and specific events. Here are a few of those:-

The World Serpent from God of War
  • Jormungandr / The World Serpent – In the video game, it is depicted as being sent from the future to battle with Thor. However, in the original Norse version, he is actually the son of Loki.
  • Mjolnir – This is a famous weapon, especially among fans of the MCU. It appears just twice throughout the game. Odin orders brothers Brok and Sindri for its creation. However, it is Loki who is responsible for the weapon’s inception in the original tale.
Baldur from God of War
Baldur appears consistently throughout the game
  • Baldur – He is a psychopathic, clever, and ruthless warrior who constantly follows Kratos and his son. He considers his invulnerability to pain a curse and even returns from the dead. This is not the case in mythology. Instead, he dies just seconds after discovering this inability.
  • Atreus – This is probably the most notable change the franchise had decided to implement. However, it was not shown right until the end. Atreus is revealed to be Loki. He has qualities like being emotional, mischievous, and spontaneous, similar to Loki himself. This has probably been the biggest surprise and certainly the most loved piece of improvisation in the game.
Atreus from God of War
Atreus’s revelation as Loki was loved by fans of the God of War franchise

What the franchise retained

The game did not make changes to a few elements and events. This allowed it to retain a sense of originality. Here are a couple of those as well:-

  • The war between Aesirs and Vanirs – Throughout the game, there are a handful of references to the war. This conflict is one of the most significant components of Norse mythology. Odin leads the Aesirs, whereas Freyja and Njord, the gods of fertility and the sea, lead the Vanirs. The war ends with a truce, and both sides decide to go live with each other.
  • Brok and Sindri – The dwarf brothers are always competing to show who’s the better blacksmith, although Sindri has more talent. They handle the customization of the weapons in the game and were previously an ace blacksmith duo.

Proper justice done to the folklore by God of War

God of War takes a daring yet cautious approach towards their depiction of Norse mythology. They have made it a priority to treat the entire concept with utmost respect and awareness. To conclude, the franchise has done an excellent job portraying Norse mythology elements. It is what makes the game one of the best-selling video games of the century. To all mutual fans of Norse mythology and fantasy video games, it is safe to say that you can’t go wrong with this one!

Jayanth Andrew

Running on football, caffeine and videogames

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    😍😍 great work!

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