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What All Fans Need To Know About God War's Atreus

Kratos has always been the star of "God of War," as players have followed him through a journey filled with tragedy, anger, and revenge. However, 2018's "God of War" introduced players to a new deuteragonist in Kratos' young son, Atreus. Throughout the game, players watch as Kratos struggles to learn how to be a good father to Atreus. Kratos is afraid of his own trauma and mistakes being passed on to his son, and across the game learns that the only way to try and avoid that is by being truthful and vulnerable with Atreus. 

Spoiler warning for 2018's "God of War," but at the end of the game players also learn that Atreus is also called Loki by the Frost Giants. This implies his involvement in a world-ending event known in Norse mythology as Raganarök. With all of this in mind, it seems impossible for Atreus to not play a very large role in "God of War Ragnarök." So, here is everything that fans need to know about Atreus before jumping into the newest "God of War" title.

Atreus at the beginning

Shortly after players are introduced to Atreus at the start of "God of War," it is established that he has been sick for most of his childhood. For this reason, Kratos fights against the concept of traveling with him to spread the ashes of his recently passed wife and Atreus' mother. Kratos ultimately feels that they have no option but to embark on the journey, however. Throughout the journey, it is revealed to players just how thin of a relationship the two share. The pair have a very difficult time communicating at all with one another, and Kratos is quick to berate and scold Atreus

In the companion book "God of War: Lore and Legends," fans are given a more in-depth look at Atreus' emotional state and opinions at the start of the game. This is done through excerpts from Atreus' own journal. In those excerpts, Atreus explores how he feels like he doesn't even know Kratos because of his emotional distance. Atreus also discusses the struggles of growing up so sickly, and how he worried about not being strong enough. Interestingly, in the journal Atreus also explains how he could sense the presence of other creatures, and even emotions. However, he says that those abilities of his never worked on Kratos.

Atreus' origins

Toward the end of "God of War," Kratos finally tells Atreus of his true nature. While Atreus had assumed that he was a mere mortal, Kratos tells him that he is in fact a god, just like his father. This triggers something in Atreus as he begins to believe that not only is he strong enough to complete the journey, but that he's special as well. The information quickly goes to his head, making him cocky, dismissive of others, and impetuous. 

Atreus even goes so far as to attack Kratos and begin to complain and think less of the dwarves Sindri and Brok that have helped him and Kratos repeatedly throughout their journey. Atreus' actions are so dire that Mimir, a legendary man of immense knowledge in Norse mythology, begins to worry that Atreus is destined to be a violent and destructive god. This is exactly what Kratos feared for Atreus from the start and shows him that he is terribly close to failing his son.

Atreus changes his way

It is only after Atreus derails their journey and gets himself and Kratos to Helheim. Shortly afterward, Kratos snaps at Atreus and scolds him. While this doesn't completely solve the problem, it does stop Atreus from acting out further. Instead, he recedes back into himself. He follows all of Kratos' orders begrudgingly, is clearly frustrated and embarrassed, reluctant to do anything. While this temporarily prevents Atreus from acting out, Kratos recognizes that to really help Atreus be better than he was, he needs to open up to his son. 

He does this after they kill Baldur at the end of the game, when Atreus questions if constant death is all there is to being a god. In particular, he wonders if he is destined to kill Kratos himself after he attacked him and watched Freya being willing to let her son Baldur kill her. In that moment Kratos tells Atreus about his past destroying the pantheon in Greek mythology. This vulnerability allows Kratos to connect with Atreus and explain to him that they will both try to be better than that and be gods who don't succumb to the violence and squabbles that others do.

Atreus' Godly Powers

As Mimir explains in "God of War," every god's power manifests in a unique way. However, parts of Atreus' powers do seem to have been inherited from his heritage through Kratos (via GameInformer), like his incredible strength, stamina, and agility for his age. While Atreus being sickly did diminish the effects of these powers early on, the knowledge of his godhood allowed him to begin fully accessing his strength. He also has generative abilities similar to Kratos, allowing him to quickly heal and recover from the damage that he takes in combat. Atreus also shows evidence of having his own version of Spartan Rage, although all of his abilities that are reminiscent of Kratos' are much weaker than his father's.

On top of these powers, Atreus also has very high intelligence for his age, especially when it comes to languages. Not only does Atreus know a range of languages that come in handy during the journey, but he also quickly learns new languages with relative ease. The mastery of ancient languages also helps him to cast spells with his bow and even understand animals. He also has an innate sense for other living beings as well as their emotions in addition to being able to see glimpses of the future — assumedly thanks to his Frost Giant heritage.

Atreus' Giant Name

As Kratos and Atreus make their way to the highest peak to spread Faye's ashes, they come across a series of old carvings from the Frost Giants. These reveal that Faye had visions of their entire journey, and that she purposefully set them on the journey to help them get closer together. Along with this reveal, however, is the detail that Faye referred to Atreus as Loki to her Frost Giant kin. It is also revealed at the time that Faye wanted to name Atreus Loki when he was initially born, which foreshadows exactly what could be in store for Atreus in the coming future.

How Atreus' role as Loki in the timeline of "God of War" largely remains to be seen, however, because his role is already so different due to Kratos' involvement. Despite this, it seems very likely that the events of "God of War Ragnarök" will draw from some of Loki's myths and lore.

Loki in Norse Mythology

"God of War" has always derived a lot of its narratives from mythology. "God of War Ragnarök" is no different, so it is safe to assume that Atreus being Loki indicates some of what lies in store for him. According to Britannica, Loki is a trickster god in Norse mythology that was the child of two Frost Giants, despite traveling alongside the Aesir gods repeatedly. He is featured in many myths, as he travels with Odin and Thor frequently, although he was also known to side with the Frost Giants when it suits him. Loki's trickster nature also frequently gets him and others into trouble as he meddles in the affairs of others or fools around too much. Loki's sense of humor did save him and the other Aesir in multiple myths, however.

One traditional myth that does have a parallel in "God of War" is Loki killing Baldur. In Norse mythology, Baldur was a beloved god, rather than the violent and dangerous one presented in "God of War." One detail shared between the two is Loki's role in finding out that Baldur's weakness is mistletoe. While Loki in mythology then killed Baldur with a spear made of mistletoe, "God of War" still has Atreus be the one that exposes Baldur to mistletoe to remove the magic that kept him from feeling pain.

Loki's role in Ragnarök

Ragnarök is the term used to refer to the end of the world in Norse mythology. With the term appearing in the name of "God of War Ragnarök" it seems safe to assume that the game will take place during the apocalyptic event. So, taking a look at how Loki plays into the event in Norse mythology could hint at what players will see in the game. According to norse-mythology.org, Ragnarök sees a war between the Frost Giants and Aesir gods. For this final conflict in mythology, Loki sided with the Frost Giants.

He is said to even captain a massive ship made of the finger and toenails of the dead named Naglfar. With Naglfar, he transports Frost Giants to battle in the realm of the Aesir gods. One of the most attention-grabbing parts of Loki's role in Ragnarök, however, is his death. The myth states that Loki will fight Heimdall, the guardian of the gods, and the two mortally wound one another. Since the developers have said that the sequel will end the Norse "God of War" saga, it is very possible that this could give fans a hint as to how Atreus will die.

Jörmungandr is Loki's son

When players first meet the world serpent Jörmungandr in "God of War" it is a breath-taking scene. When the protagonists are introduced to Jörmungandr, they are told that he just showed up one day in the lake in the middle of the game's map. Later, Mimir explains to Kratos and Atreus that Jörmungandr is said to fight with Thor during Ragnarök. During that fight, Mimir says that Thor hit the world serpent hard enough to send it back in time. 

This is an important detail because Jörmungandr is actually Loki's son. This means that during the game Atreus meets his own child from the future without knowing it. It also provides interesting context for Atreus learning to speak Jörmungandr's dead language to ask him for help in the game's final battle. Whether or not this comes up during "God of War Ragnarök" remains to be seen, especially when it comes to the prophesized battle between Atreus and Thor. 

Atreus' voice problems

In the first "God of War" Atreus is around ten years old and the sequel is set a few years afterward. Because of how the developers recorded the game's cutscenes and animations with performance capture, Atreus was played by Sunny Suljic, an actor of a similar age to the character. As reported by IGN, the gap between the two games saw Suljic go through puberty, bringing changes to his voice. In principle, this aligns well with Atreus getting older and his voice getting deeper as well. 

However, Suljic's voice changed frequently between recording sessions. Dealing with his voice changing made performing Atreus even more difficult for Suljic and required the developers to alter and edit his voice afterward to try and keep it consistent throughout the game. This added even more difficulty on top of the studio having to hold recording sessions with restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Atreus' Changing Attitude

At the peak of the schism between Kratos and Atreus, Atreus' behavior noticeably changes and has an impact on combat in the game. Normally, Atreus can be ordered to fire arrows at enemies by the player to stun them or interrupt their attacks. If players die, they can also have Atreus resurrect Kratos as long as they have a resurrection stone in their inventory. 

During the section where Atreus is mad at Kratos, however, this is no longer the case. During this portion of the game, Atreus will attack enemies before the player does, will randomly shoot arrows, and can ignore Kratos' commands to shoot at enemies altogether. Perhaps the biggest impact, however, is that Atreus will entirely refuse to resurrect Kratos, even if the player has a resurrection stone in their inventory. This system does a great job to make players feel the divide between Kratos and Atreus, as well as pushing their emotions to be aligned with Kratos' frustration. Thankfully, this state only lasts until Kratos scolds Atreus in Helheim and things return to normal. 

Atreus and Cory Balrog

Cory Balrog is the director of "God of War" and was responsible for the game's general direction as well as the introduction of Atreus to the series. With the game's themes exploring the nature of fatherhood and how to keep from passing one's trauma onto their children, it is not surprising that Balrog says he drew from his own experiences for the story. In an interview with The Guardian, Balrog revealed that the initial divide between Kratos and Atreus was inspired by Balrog's own absence early in the life of his child because of how often he was working. 

In another interview with Time, Balrog revealed that many of the conversations and struggles that Kratos and Atreus go through during their journey were derived from conversations he'd experienced. Even Atreus' ability to read a variety of languages for Kratos was inspired by an experience that Balrog had with his own kid.

Atreus' tattoos and markings

Despite Atreus' age, he has various tattoos that dedicated fans have translated. The first is on the right side of his neck, just behind his ear. That tattoo translates to "steady mind." Exactly why he got that put onto his neck is never explained, but it does correlate well with Atreus' struggles to handle the rage that he inherited from Kratos. He also has three tattoos on his arm that are all right next to one another. These have been translated to mean lucy shot, quick hand, and strong arm, which all seem to be focused on his penchant for using a bow and arrow.

Atreus also has a scar on his face that runs over his left eye. What exactly caused the scar has yet to be revealed, but its placement does match the red line that runs over Kratos' left eye. However, it also goes a bit deeper than that. Not only does Kratos have a matching red line over his left eye, but Kratos' brother Deimos had a similar scar in the same place. While there's no clear answer about the markings, it's something for fans to consider as part of Atreus' character.

Atreus is a Thor fan

Thor's appearance in "God of War Ragnarök" was not only hinted at during the end of "God of War," but has also played a key role in the sequel's advertising. It is well known by now that Kratos and Thor will face off against one another at some point in the sequel. While Atreus has not shown any issues with fighting those that have tried to interfere with him and Kratos, it could be that Thor will be the first foe he is reluctant to fight. This is because Atreus has been shown to be a big fan of Thor.

Atreus' respect for Thor was introduced with the game's reveal trailer at E3 2016. During the introduction to the trailer, Atreus is seen playing with wooden figurines of Thor and a Frost Giant. While the scene shown during the trailer is not included in the full game, players can still find Atreus' wooden figurines inside Kratos and Atreus' house. Atreus' respect for Thor also comes up during the game after Kratos reveals to him that he is a god. Atreus' first response to the news is his exclaiming that he is like Thor. 

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