The story of God of War 2018 begins with an old mourning Kratos chopping down a tree to prepare the pyre for his dead wife, Faye’s funeral. Not long after her final rites, we are introduced to “The Stranger,” who comes down knocking on the door of Kratos and his son Atreus claiming to know the true nature of Kratos, leading to a bloody brawl between the two.
The stranger talks in ambiguous sentences that are difficult to interpret, raising far more questions than he answered, for instance, who he is and what he wants with Kratos? Interestingly, the answers to these questions are more connected to Kratos’ wife and son rather than him.
Who is “the stranger” in God of War 2018?
“The Stranger” is Baldur, the Norse god of light, son of the Allfather Odin and Vanir goddess Freya. Baldur is the main antagonist in God of War 2018, and he is invulnerable to all physical or magical harm.
In his initial dialogues during the brawl with Kratos, Baldur confirms that he is sent by none other than Odin himself to track them down and bring them to Asgard.
In the game, Atreus is the first person to guess Baldur’s name and introduce him to the players when Kratos asks him if Faye ever told him about a god who cannot feel any pain.
Freya, the mother of Baldur, out of her love for him, cast a spell on Baldur, which made him invulnerable to any harm. Horrifyingly, this boon of Freya became a curse for Baldur as it took all sense of feeling from him, such as pain, pleasure, and even joy.
Why did Odin send Baldur to find Kratos in God of War?
Odin sent Baldur not to track Kratos but giant guardian Faye, who had been hindering the Aesir’s plans for some time. Odin also wants the Giant’s ability to travel to Jötunheim- the land of the Giants, and seize their power to foresee the future.
The game never directly reveals why Odin sent Baldur to find Faye or a “Giant,” but if we listen to Baldur’s dialogues carefully and Mimir’s commentary/stories on Odin’s nature, we can figure out his intentions.
When Atreus draws the runes on the magically sealed gate to travel to Jötunheimr and opens it, Baldur accepts that he was chasing the wrong person as Kratos is only “meat,” but the boy is the “brains.” This dialogue explains that his target was a giant from the beginning, as Atreus is half-giant.
Mimir, “the head,” throughout his stories, explains that Odin is a cunning man who always wants to have control of all the events in all the realms at all times. He wants all the knowledge and power in the world.
Odin is also scared of his impending doom, that is Ragnarök, so he wants to control all the events leading up to Ragnarök in the desire of changing its outcome and betray his fate. Possessing the Giant’s gift of prophecy could allow him to tinker with the future events and survive the Ragnarök, or so Odin believes.
Unfortunately for Odin, before he could gather all the secrets of the giants, Thor slaughtered all the giants in Midgard. The rest of them retreated to Jötunheim, destroying all the mystical gates leading to their land and denying Odin his wish in the process. Faye was the last living giant in Midgard, but by the time Baldur tracked her, only her ashes were left.
What did Baldur seek by hunting Kratos/the giants on Odin’s order?
Baldur wished for a cure of his curse in exchange for hunting down Kratos or Faye on Odin’s order in God of War 2018.
Baldur is unintentionally “cursed” by his mother, and all his actions result from his attempt to get rid of the curse. During the final battle, Mimir explains that Odin may have convinced Baldur that Jötunheim holds the cure of his curse, making him hunt down giants who can open the gate to Jötunheim. Mimir further adds that Odin’s words are nothing but lies as he only wants to visit Jötunheim for his selfish desires.
Baldur’s curse is broken when he gets pierced by the Mistletoe arrows given to Atreus by Sindri as a reward for saving him from the dragon. Kratos ultimately kills Baldur by snapping his neck at the end of God of War 2018 as Baldur tries to kill his mother, Freya, in vengeance.
About God of War(2018)
Developed by Santa Monica Studios, God of War is a single-player action-adventure game. Unlike the previous installments of the franchise that deals with Greek mythology, this installment is set in Norse lore.
Before dying, Kratos’ second wife’s last wish is for her to be cremated at the highest peak of the nine realms. Therefore, with his son, Atreus, Kratos embarks on a difficult journey teeming with monsters and gods to fulfill his wife’s final request.