Evolution of Kratos

VOICE OVER: Aaron Brown WRITTEN BY: Aaron Brown
Welcome to MojoPlays and today we'll be examining the evolution of Kratos throughout the God of War series and how the Ghost of Sparta has evolved from the angriest man in all of Greece to the reserved father figure we see in 2018's God of War. There will be full spoilers for the entire God of War series from here on, so be warned! Which version of Kratos is YOUR faorite? Let us know in the comments!
Script written by Aaron Brown

The Evolution of Kratos

Welcome to MojoPlays and today we’ll be examining the evolution of Kratos throughout the God of War series and how the Ghost of Sparta has evolved from the angriest man in all of Greece to the reserved father figure we see in 2018’s God of War.

There will be full spoilers for the entire God of War series from here on, so be warned!

Kratos is not an easy character to like. And boy, he’s not supposed to be. In the earliest entries in the God of War series’ original run, we saw a man haunted by his own actions. Things he either willingly chose to do in the pursuit of victory at all costs or was manipulated into doing as part of the God’s either testing him or attempting to push him to his limits. While many still love the angry Kratos of the early games, it became harder to identify with him as the series progressed and developers seemed to want to see just how far they could push him. With some of the actions presented to Kratos, it seemed like neither he nor the player had any say in the matter.

Don’t want to sacrifice that soldier pleading for his life? Too bad, it has to be done. Would rather just take Hermes’ boots instead of cutting off his legs to get them? No choice. And these are just a couple of the tamer examples of Kratos doing absolutely whatever is necessary to accomplish his own goals and the developers pushing the envelope as much as they possibly could at the expense of whatever humanity Kratos might have had left.

In other ways however, Kratos’ unbridled rage became more understandable as further entries fleshed out the Ghost of Sparta’s backstory and the history of the legendary name he carries. Either betrayed at every turn by the Gods he served for their own purposes or tricked into killing any remaining family he had left. The chip on Kratos’ shoulder is bigger than Mount Olympus itself.

By the time Kratos finally kills Ares at the end of the first God of War, we, like Kratos, are hoping for an end to the nightmares that torment Kratos from all the horrific actions and atrocities he performed in his quest for not only revenge but for some peace. But of course this is not to be and after being crowned the new God of War, Kratos is again betrayed by the only God he still believes in, Zeus, who by the end of God of War II we learn is actually Kratos’ father. By God of War III, none of Olympus is safe and even Kratos’ newest allies continue to turn on him at every opportunity.

In the end, Kratos chooses his humanity over Godhood, sacrificing himself to give humanity a chance now that all the Gods of Olympus are dead. However, not even Kratos can kill Kratos which brings us to his biggest step in development as a character, 2018’s God of War.

Having traveled for an undetermined amount of time before finding himself in Midgard, Kratos is once again a family man, with his wife Faye and son Atreus. Kratos continues to try to deal with the consequences of his actions within himself, attempting to lead a simpler life, and trying his best to keep his rage and personal history and trauma in check. Midgard represents a fresh start for Kratos. An opportunity to leave his past behind him and start over again. Which he does with his wife Faye, and son Atreus. Kratos seeks to find a simpler life than the one he had before and he found it. For a time at least.

This is not the Kratos we are used to. This Kratos is in a constant battle with himself and we can see him wanting to fulfill the fatherly role his son Atreus wants and needs. Kratos himself is a broken man. Someone so haunted by the past that he almost appears completely emotionless and numb. Kratos once again becoming a father must be a terrifying prospect. Having lost everyone he could have ever loved or cared about, mostly by his own hand, the thought of losing another family is clearly something that weighs heavily on Kratos’ mind.

And then he does.

Fatherhood is a challenge no matter what the circumstances may be. It’s a constant battle of nurturing your child while at the same time not only preparing them for the world ahead and letting them make their own decisions but also struggling to control your own emotions in the face of theirs. For someone like Kratos, whose rage brought down the entirety of Greece, the struggle within him cannot even be measured.

Atreus acts as Kratos’ anchor to the world of Midgard. Kratos does not fully understand the world of Midgard and their customs or languages, Atreus would not survive without his father’s strength and guiding hand to help him become a capable fighter. One cannot exist in this world without the other and while Atreus undoubtably respects his father, he clearly wants a relationship more akin to what he once had with his mother who taught her son the world with a gentle hand.

As the two journey together, we watch as a mutual respect begins between them as their bond also starts to grow until, like most things in Kratos’ life, a God interrupts and threatens to destroy everything Kratos has left in this world.

Atreus falling ill is one of the first real times we witness Kratos' love for his son. The genuine worry and feeling of helplessness is immediately identifiable to any parent having to sit by unable to fix the problem on their own. Kratos drops his own personal hatred of the Gods in order to save his boy’s life. And in doing so, is forced to revisit a past he wanted more than anything to leave behind.

Kratos’ retrieval of the Blades of Chaos, hidden in his new home, is another representation of how Kratos is unable to let go of his past. He could have easily left behind the weapons he was burdened with that had caused so much death and destruction in his past, but he couldn’t. Even kept secret under the floorboards, they continue to haunt him. And then the ghostly image of Athena appears to Kratos reminding him of who he is and this is the first instance we see Kratos begin to accept his past as a way to move forward. As the blades once again course with power, Kratos takes his first strides towards reconciliation with who he once was.

Finally revealing the truth of who and what he is to Atreus, Kratos witnesses first hand his own arrogance coming forth in his own son and the chances of the cycle of hatred and violence once again coming full circle. In the end, Atreus sees the consequences of his actions and is reminded by Kratos that all of his choices as a God and man can have severe ramifications on not only their lives but the world and those around them.

Kratos saves Atreus’s humanity and in turn begins to save his own.

By the time Kratos and Atreus reach the land of the giants to spread Faye’s ashes, Kratos finally accepts there is nothing more to hide and embraces his past because it will not determine his future. In the end, Kratos is finally free and has made peace with himself and not only who he was but also who he is. Which is all he wanted from the start.