The God of War franchise is all about cycles, and there are reasons the upcoming sequel is likely to put the theme at the forefront.
By Charlie Stewart
Published Jun 12, 2021
God of War is all about cycles. Kratos has been stuck in a cycle of violence since before the original trilogy, one which risks encompassing his son in the 2018 game. The world of the series is shown to go through cycles of different pantheons as well, and through the use of time travel there are even some explicit cyclical loops that take place in the games’ timeline, like Kratos’ travelling back to the moment of his murder?God of War 2.
God of War’s upcoming sequel, so called Ragnarok by fans though that isn’t its real name, is likely to bring the theme of cycles to the forefront, perhaps far more explicitly than many fans were expecting. Here’s a breakdown of the main role cycles have played in God of War so far, and why the?theme is?likely to be even more relevant as the?series?approaches its version of the Norse apocalypse.
Continue scrolling to keep reading
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
RELATED:?Everything About God of War Suggests Atreus Will Kill Kratos, But That’s a Good Thing
The idea that Kratos’ life is a cycle of violence will come as little news to God of War fans. His story begins with the murder of his sibling by the Greek gods, who believe that Kratos’ birthmarked brother was the “marked warrior” destined to destroy their pantheon. Taking on his iconic red tattoos, Kratos steps in to fulfill the prophecy. His life since then involves being tricked by Ares into killing his own family, tearing?a path of destruction through the Greek pantheon over the course of God of War 2 and 3, and finding himself haunted by his bloody past once more in 2018’s God of War.
Kratos?has struggled to escape the cycle of violence for eons, no better symbolized than by the Blades of Chaos chained to his forearms, weapons he picks up once more partway through the most recent game. God of War 2018 also sees?Kratos’ son Atreus begin to show signs that he too may be at risk of becoming trapped in the same cycle. He becomes more aggressive as the game goes on, most notably when he kills Thor’s son Modi by stabbing him in the neck after he insults Atreus’ mother.
Not only that, but Atreus is hinted to be at risk of inheriting another part of his father’s past. Kratos’ father Zeus overthrew Cronos to become king of the Greek gods. Kratos eventually killed Zeus, and at the end of the 2018 game the Jotunheim mural hints that Atreus may one day kill Kratos as well. The final panel shows Atreus lying over a figure that resembles?Kratos, with the runes for “father” and “betrayal” inscribed around the pair.
While the lying figure could be Odin, Tyr, or a number of other characters, it is clear that God of War wants players to engage with Kratos’ cycle of violence as a theme, and his fear that his son may become trapped as well. God of War’s Ragnarok sequel, however, may take the God of War series’?focus on cycles to a whole new and very literal level.
RELATED:?The Best Alternative Titles for God of War: Ragnarok
The God of War universe’s version of Ragnarok is already practically confirmed to be a time loop. It is established in the last game that Jormungandr, the World Serpent Kratos and Atreus meet in the Lake of Nine, is from the future. Mimir explains that Jormungandr and Thor fight during Ragnarok, and that their battle splinters the tree of life. This sends the World Serpent back to a time before his own birth. Freya elaborates on the story, explaining that the presence of a Jotunn in the Lake of Nine immediately attracted Thor’s attention, leading to the “first” battle and stalemate between Thor and the World Serpent.
Atreus also plays a key part in the time loop. Mimir says that the World Serpent describes Atreus as “familiar.” This makes sense – Jormungandr’s shrine contains runes which can be translated as “Son of Loki and Angrboda. Brother of Fenrir, Hel, and the Iron-Wolves.” This confirms that the World Serpent is the son of Loki in the God of War universe, just like in Norse mythology. Since Atreus is confirmed to be Loki, that means that at some point in the future Atreus will become the father of Fenrir and the World Serpent.
After that, the younger World Serpent will likely be sent back through time during Ragnarok, while the older version of the World Serpent will presumably kill Thor as depicted in both the myths and the Jormungandr’s shrine’s final panel. Jormungandr’s involvement in a time loop may even be a clever reference to the idea of the World Serpent?biting its own tail, which is it said it will release when Ragnarok begins. This concept even appears to be the basis for the next game’s logo.
By this logic, the figure Atreus is cradling in the final panel could even be an older version of Atreus himself, explaining the resemblance to Kratos but also explaining the lack of the tattoos or clothing seen in Kratos’ other depictions on the Jotunheim mural. Thematically, Ragnarok is practically the perfect apocalyptic event for the exploration of cycles in a mythological world.
Ragnarok is all about the death and rebirth of the nine Norse realms. Not all of the Aesir and Vanir die in the myths – some survive, while others, including Baldur, come back to life after the end of Ragnarok to oversee the new world. Two humans are also said to survive – Lif and Lifthrasir. This has sometimes led to debate about whether or not Ragnarok is already supposed to have already happened in Norse mythology or not.
God of War’s upcoming Ragnarok stands to use the cyclical nature of Ragnarok from?Norse mythology as a way of exploring how its own characters are stuck in cycles. Whether or not Kratos can break the cycle, prevent the end of the world, or stop his son from becoming trapped in the same cycle of violence that has defined his life remains to be seen. Regardless, Ragnarok could end up being one of the most interesting installments in the series to date, bringing?a major theme from across the entire franchise to the forefront.
The sequel to?God of War?is currently in development for the PS4 and PS5.
MORE:?5 Mythical Weapons Kratos Should Wield in the God of War: Ragnarok Sequel
New Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Screenshots Show Graphical Changes
God of War
Santa Monica Studio