Much has been theorized about the new character in the upcoming God of War game, Atreus. What we know about him is fairly obtuse: he’s Kratos’s son, he’s good with the bow and arrow, can apparently command electricity, possesses a strong connection with nature, and, apparently, bares some kind of curse. Pretty much everything else said about Atreus is pure speculation, based on the many little details that appear in the footage and other materials we’ve seen so far. That being said, I’m going to present you with my own theories as to who Atreus is, and what’s his significance in the God of War universe. Mind you, none of this has to be necessarily true. It’s just fun to hypothesize.
Before we begin, I would like to point out that I have several different theories as to who Atreus is. I won’t go into them all, but I will present you with two distinct possibilities. The theories diverge based on one important fact that we don’t exactly know for sure, regardless of what the promo material so far has led us to believe. So, here’s the important dilemma that could affect the course of the game and Atreus’s identity significantly: Is Kratos Atreus’s real, biological father? If he is, then the situation might be relatively simple and straightforward. If, on the other hand, Kratos is Atreus’s adoptive father, then things could get a little more complicated.
First, let’s assume that Atreus really is Kratos’s biological son. That would explain several things: his Greek name, his ability to control electricity (being the grandson of Zeus), and other supernatural stuff about him. In this scenario, the mother might be less important. She could be a mortal, or a Valkyrie, or even a goddess herself. I’ve even seen people claim that it is Artemis, but I disagree. Somebody had to give Atreus his runic tattoos, and since Kratos can’t read them, it had to have been the mother. But, that’s a discussion for another time.
In this scenario, what might be the nature of Atreus’s curse? Well, continuing the themes from the previous God of War games (and Greek mythology in general), perhaps his destiny is to kill Kratos. Also, his tattoos (lucky arrow, strong arm, quick hand) might just be lucky charms. That being said, why would the Norse gods be out to get Kratos and Atreus? Well, my guess is, it’s because they’re outsiders. Norse mythology is very driven by destiny, and, perhaps, the outsiders might upset the way everything is supposed to go. Personally, I believe that God of War is set just before Ragnarok is about to happen. So, we’ll either be trying to stop it; might even accidentally kick it off. But, again, that’s something for another article.
Seeing how Odin knows exactly how Ragnarok and the fate of gods is supposed to play out, perhaps he fears Kratos and Atreus and their meddling. In one of the trailers, we find out that the great serpent Jormungandr offers help to our two protagonists. The serpent is the enemy of the gods, destined to kill Thor, but die by his hand. Perhaps the Giants, or Jotun, want to stop Ragnarok from happening, and want to use Kratos and Atreus for their own agenda. In short, in this scenario, Atreus is the grandson of Zeus, and a potentially dangerous element of surprise for the Norse gods.
Let’s explore the second option now: Atreus is not the biological son of Kratos. For one, the mother then becomes much more interesting. She could then well be a Norse goddess, perhaps Frigg or Freya. My money is on Freya, for two reasons. One; she is of the Vanir gods, which means that she has a strong connection with nature and magic. That’s where Atreus gets his abilities. The second bit of evidence is that the runes on Kratos’s horn spell out DISA. Another name for Freya is Dis of the Vanir, according to Prose Edda. Now, I’m not an expert in Old Norse, so somebody please correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that DISA is not a name, but rather the genitive of the word Dis, meaning “of Dis”, as in, her property.
From here on out, I’ll be straying away from Norse mythology a bit. Considering how the previous God of War games took huge liberties with Greek mythology, they might do the same in this game. The story of Ragnarok goes: Loki tricks Baldr’s brother, Odr, into shooting Baldr with a mistletoe arrow. Mistletoe being Baldr’s only weakness, it kills him, and the events of Ragnarok are in motion. This takes us back to Atreus’s curse. What if his destiny is not to kill Kratos, but Baldr? There’s a reason why his skill in archery constantly gets the spotlight. This would also give more meaning to the tattoos. It would be a huge departure from the mythology, but, again, God of War is no stranger to that.
Originally, I thought that Atreus might actually be Baldr or Odr, and Kratos just calls him Atreus, but I don’t think that Atreus is necessarily a god at all. Perhaps he’s just a tool to be used. If this is the case, then perhaps the Gods want to kill him to prevent Ragnarok, and Jormugandr helps them in order to trigger Ragnarok. After all, the serpent is Loki’s child. So, my second theory basically is: Atreus is cursed to start Ragnarok. The gods are trying to kill him before that happens, but Kratos protects him, because he loves him like a son. The Jotun, on the other hand, are egging them both along in order to trigger the end of the world.
All of this is, of course, just my speculation. I could be very, very wrong. So, please, share your own opinions in the comments below. Feel free to bust my theories wide open. And, of course, we’ll keep you posted when and if more information comes out.