So you’ve seen the new, Scandinavian-themed God of War demo from E3. You’ve watched Kratos’ transition from furious, eye-popping death-man to concerned but emotionally repressed father. You’ve seen rangey, rapid-fire combat replaced with slower-paced, altogether more intimate, father-and-son beast slaying. But there’s still one big question regarding the series’ new direction. Just what the **** exactly is going on? 

What is Kratos’ role in this new world of Norse mythology? Who is his son, and how will his presence affect the shiny-scalped berserker’s usually solo jaunts of dismemberment? What is Kratos’ place in this new realm, and how will the known roster of Norse gods and monsters play into his story? I think I might have some serious answers. Because I’ve spent the last couple of days performing a graceful deep-dive into Norse myth, investigating, comparing, and exploring a great many parallels and hints that might just tell us rather a lot about the new God of War’s story, characters and concerns. 

But let’s start with the question that’s been going around most frequently, shall we? 

Is the son Thor? 

Despite popular internet opinion, I don’t think he is, no. There are several reasons for this. First, and probably most important, is the logistical problem of using such a – literally – storied character. We already know too much about Thor. We know too many specific tales of his life. We even know his ultimate fate. He’s the son of Odin, king of the gods. He’s very much a god of the common man, a warrior of the people. He’s destined to fight Jormungandr – the huge World Serpent, and child of Thor’s trickster brother, Loki – at Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse. He’ll have a go at catching the thing on a fishing trip along the way, before his giant friend stops him because it is A Very Bad Idea. 

Thor is undoubtedly a hot character, but he’s too much of a known quantity to write around, even if adapting his lore in abstraction. Do not forget that Kratos was an original character created to exist around Greek mythology, able to drift in and out of it without being restricted by pre-documented actions. The new God of War’s characters will need to do the same. 

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