The main protagonist. Once the brutal captain of the Spartan army, Kratos made a deal with the God of War Ares to further his exploits—which took a tragic turn when the God tricked him into killing his own wife and child. Now branded the Ghost of Sparta as a mark showing his terrible deed, the rest of the series follows him in his quest for revenge against Ares, which later extends to the Gods of Olympus themselves.
Anti-Villain: Type I or II. Basically, what makes him somewhat sympathetic is his frankly depressing backstory, though whereas it still holds weight after the horrendous and honestly unjustifiable actions he commits is polarising, to say the least.
The Atoner: Sort of. While Kratos does dwell a lot on his family's death, it is mostly just used as a source of his volcanic rage.
Character Development: He starts out as a man on a mission of revenge in the first game and then becomes into a tried and true "Solve all problems with intense violence" pattern. At the end of the third game, we're told he's gained at least some compassion, even if he doesn't really deviate from that pattern.
The Chew Toy: The Gods played him around which made him extremely angry. Outside GOW canon, he didn't fare any better when he becomes a Guest Fighter. In Mortal Kombat 9, Sub-Zero punked him and turned him into a popsicle, and in Soul Calibur V, he got eaten by Lizardman of all people.
Combat Pragmatist: Kratos will use whatever means and dirty tricks to defeat his enemies. If he figures out an enemy's weakness, he'll gladly and quickly take advantage of it. Just ask all the cyclopes which eyes had been ripped out of their sockets, or Hercules, who he performed a sneak attack behind his back and then pinned him underneath a very heavy floor that Herc was going to use against him before beating him to death.
Deal with the Devil: As a young Spartan commander, he was nearly defeated by the Barbarian King until he promised to serve Ares in exchange for the strength to achieve victory. He turns on his master after Ares tricks him into killing his own family to remove his only "weakness".
Despair Event Horizon: Crosses it when he learns that the Gods cannot (or will not) end his nightmares. He attempts suicide soon afterward, only to be saved by Athena. Whether or not he actually recovers, or simply finds other channels to ease his suffering is left ambiguous.
Kratos: The Gods of Olympus have abandoned me. Now, there is no hope...
Determinator: Nothing will stand in his way for revenge. Might it be the Gods, the Sisters of Fate, the legions of Hades, the army of Rhodes, the Titans, monsters and "heroes" from Greece's all corners. Hell, not even Death itself can stop him. Literally, in Ghost of Sparta, Kratos actually KILLS Thanatos. And by Zeus saying he has become Death the Destroyer of Worlds, one can theorize Kratos has inherently become God of Death.
The Dragon: To Ares, during his time in the God of War's service.
He is arguably a Dragon to the gods of Olympus, Athena in particular, after the deaths of his family, acting at their behest to perform tasks that they either cannot or will not do themselves, such as killing Ares.
Driven to Suicide: At the end of the first game, when he is told that the Gods can't end the horrific nightmares caused by Kratos' guilt over his family's deaths. He is saved by Athena, who had other plans for the Spartan. Such as giving him Ares' now empty throne, making Kratos the new God of War.
He seems to briefly consider suicide again after Deimos is killed, but ultimately decides against it.
He impales himself on the Blade of Olympus at the end of God of War 3, but that is more of a Heroic Sacrifice, and even then, it's left ambiguous if Kratos truly died.
Dual Wielding: The Blades of Chaos/Athena/Exile, the Claws of Hades, the Nemean Cestus and the Nemesis Whip.
Even Villain Protagonists Have Loved Ones: His wife Lysandra and his daughter Callyope. In the comic is revealed that he even went on a dangerous quest (actually organized by the gods) in order to retrieve the mythical Ambrosia to cure her.
Hero with Bad Publicity: While "hero" is stretching it, notice how the Olympians constantly throw flak on Kratos for supposedly trying to Take Over the World, without remembering that maybe they shouldn't have transformed his mother into a grotesque creature that he had to Mercy Kill. The Spartans' rampage through Greece was more of a giant "Fuck you" than it was out of boredom or conquest as Zeus feared. Granted, Kratos wasn't really forthcoming about it, but he never actually tried attacking the Olympians until after Zeus destroyed Sparta.
Light is Good: Post God of War I, Kratos is powered by the Light of Hope. Pretty much his sole redeeming trait, for a given value of "redeeming", is his stubborn refusal to give up hope (of revenge, of closure, etc.) and die. Ultimately, the realization of the kind of power that gives him leads him to try to atone by killing himself and releasing hope to the world to help make up for the destruction he's caused.
Light Is Not Good: On the other hand, it also powers his ambitions of revenge and makes him capable of screwing up the world by killing the gods. He also frequently uses fire or light based weapons.
Made of Iron: Even if he's no longer a god, he still can take punishment that would kill an average person. Justified in that he is Zeus' son, making him a Demi-God.
Mark of Shame: Cursed to bear the ashes of his murdered family forever, turning his skin ghostly-pale.
His eye scar and tattoo as well. He gained this scar when he tried to stop Ares from taking Deimos, while the tattoo is a tribute to Deimos, who had a birth mark with the same shape. In other words, his whole body is a Mark of Shame.
My Greatest Failure: Three. Failing to save his little brother Deimos from being kidnapped, murdering his family by accident, and failing to save Pandora.
Never Found the Body: The post-credits scene in God of War 3 shows Kratos' body missing from the spot where he stabbed himself, and a trail of blood leading over a nearby ledge, raising the possibility that Kratos had survived even this.
Redemption Rejection: In Chains of Olympus, he was forced to undo his redemption by embracing his monstrous self again when Persephone reveals her scheme to undo reality. The consequence is that he will never see Calliope again.
Self-Made Orphan: Killed his mother after she was turned into a monster, then killed his father Zeus.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: He's constantly attacked by the memories of his campaigns through Greece and the only way he can cope with them is through battle. The reason why he allied with the Olympians in the first place was the hope that they would take them away. Since they promised they would forgive him, but not take the memories away if he killed Ares, this is what pisses him off. At the third game, Zeus attempted to use his memories to break Kratos' will through a Mind Rape and almost succeed with it.
Super Strength: Kratos has occasionally pushed down giant stone structures by himself, used large and heavy objects to bludgeon enemies to death, and regularly manhandles beings several orders of magnitude larger than himself.
Undying Loyalty: Regarding Sparta. Kratos has shown dedication to their cause and almost fatherly concern for his fellow soldiers, particularly the Last Spartan. Unlike his predecessor, Kratos doesn't backstab his fellow Spartans or manipulate them like pawns. If anything, Kratos was lending Sparta a helping hand to their cause - it just so happened that the Spartans are very much a Blood Knight society, which (intentionally or otherwise) played into his hand of flipping the bird to the Olympians over what happened to his mother. Furthermore, Kratos only swears revenge on Zeus after he destroys all of the soldiers (from BOTH sides of the conflict, no doubt) before his eyes.
Villain Protagonist: In the second game Kratos cares almost nothing about anyone but himself, and leaves countless innocents to die in his wake. His quest for vengeance in the second and third games is tainted by the fact that he got what he deserved for trying to conquer the world when Zeus cast him into Hades.
War God: Was this for a short time as a reward from the Olympians for defeating Ares. However, he lost his god status when Zeus tricked him into giving up his god powers in exchange for the ability to use the Sword of Olympus against the Colossus of Rhodes.
Fisher King: In III, every time Kratos kills one of them, their death causes something to happen to one of their dominions.
Flaming Hair: Ares. Hermes had this in his original design, but his appearance was tweaked between II and III to give him hair made of pure light.
Jerkass Gods: Many of them. The comic is reveals that in order to see which one of them was better, they forced their chosen champions to take part in the quest for Ambrosia... by plaguing their home-lands with disease, famine and plague.
The King of the Olympian Gods and father of several Gods and mortals, Kratos included. Zeus initially supports Kratos in his revenge against Ares, but later grows paranoid over the power Kratos obtains and betrays him.
Voiced by: Paul Eiding (God of War), Corey Burton (God of War II, God of War III, God of War: Ascension), Fred Tatasciore (Ghost of Sparta)
Its implied he wasn't still completely benevolent before though, specially considering what he did to Prometheus.
Not completely benevolent, but at least somewhat benevolent, considering how he gave Kratos missions to kill monsters which made the mortals' life hard, and Ares, who almost destroyed Athens. And he did try hard to keep the evils inside Pandora's box forever sealed so they wouldn't corrupt him or anyone.
Hero Antagonist: His paranoia in the second game isn't entirely unjustified, or his fault, and his rule beats chaos, marginally. And in the third game, he's trying to kill Kratos while Kratos is causing untold destruction and death among mortals by killing the gods.
Hypocrite/Not So Different: Zeus seeks to destroy both Ares and Kratos for their excessive violence and interference in the mortal world, but personally destroys the armies of Sparta and Rhodes and then all of Sparta out of revenge against Kratos.
Kick the Dog: Like Kratos, Zeus tends to lash out for his own petty reasons.
Mind Rape: Attempts this on Kratos during their final battle. He tried to break him by forcing him to feel the pain and angst of those he killed during his rampage and if it wasn't for Pandora's soul, his mind would've been destroyed by his sheer overwhelming guilt.
Offing the Offspring: The reason why he antagonized Kratos was because he was paranoid that his son would overthrow him the way he overthrew his own father, Cronos.
Pet the Dog: In his guise as the gravedigger, giving Deimos and Callisto proper burials.
Albeit that could be seen as a twisted from of self-assuring his victory, by burying those prompted Kratos to rebel against him. And then he says ominously "Now, only one remains" and the camera shows a third, open grave, meant for Kratos.
Rousing Speech: Delivers one to the other gods before the second Titan War.
My brothers, we were forged in victory. A victory that ended the great war and brought forth the reign of Mt. Olympus. Born from the depths of the underworld. Rooted in the river of souls. Our mountain emerged out of the Chaos. As it grew, so to did the might of the Olympians. We created a world of peace, a world of prosperity, a world that lives in the shadow and safety of my mountain. A mountain that has come to be the absolute measure of strength and power. Now, on this day, that power is to be tested. The mortal Kratos, seeks to destroy all that I have wrought. Brothers, put aside the petty grievances that have splintered us for so long. We will unite. We will stand together. And I will wipe out this plague! OLYMPUS... WILL PREVAIL!!!
He barely even took notice when Athena sacrificed herself to save him. Arguably even worse than his betrayal of Gaia, as Athena was Zeus' own daughter.
Villainous Valor: Throughout the third game in particular Zeus is defending the world as it stands from Kratos' thoughtless and destructive actions. He is fighting for family, subjects, and arguably, given the consequences of the game up until that point, life itself; the only reason he's a villain is because Kratos is the player character.
Batman Gambit: Athena's plan for Kratos in God of War III to kill Zeus so she can take over as chief god.
Broken Pedestal: In the third game, she becomes just like the rest of the Gods and only manipulated Kratos in his quest for revenge, just so she could take over Olympus. Maybe subverted, since it maybe were the evil of Pandora's box that corrupted her.
Manipulative Bitch: Due to her newfound lust for power, she manipulated Kratos' hatred for the Gods into killing them so that she could be the last God of Greece. Her plan ultimately failed, due to Kratos killing himself rather than letting her have the power of hope he had taken from Pandora's Box.
Morality Pet: One of few people Kratos has any respect for. Turned out she was no different from any other Gods after being corrupted by the evils of Pandora's box.
The Obi-Wan: She's probably the only God who treats Kratos with actual humanity and kindness, and she advises him. She is also considered as the Obi-Wan to Kratos' Anakin. Subverted in the third game, when the curse of Pandora's Box has taken full grip.
The God of War himself. Ares was appealed to by Kratos and gave the young Spartan the power to fell his enemies in exchange for his servitude. However, he pulled a dirty trick on Kratos by making him kill his own family to shape him into the ultimate warrior. Kratos kills him in revenge and succeeds him as the new God of War.
Affably Evil: "Evil" is pushing it, but Hades acts remarkably polite to Kratos, albeit in a rather sarcastic fashion, despite utterly despising the Spartan and wanting to kill him.
Ambiguously Evil: Hades never actually goes against Kratos without a good reason. Even after being infected by the evils of Pandora's Box, he still has a good reason (several, by that point) to want Kratos dead.
Everybody Hates Hades: The makers attempt to avert it, by giving Hades some actually sympathetic motivation on his hatred on Kratos, and by portray him as a grieving loving husband, as well as the implication at the end of the game that it's the dark powers of Pandora's Box that made him a sadistic monster.
The game's visits to Hades and Tartarus, as well as Persephone hating her marriage so much she wants to kill herself and take the world down with her, hint that Hades was a major d-bag before the evils of the world possessed him. Then again, Persephone was a rather haughty bitch, and the aesthetics of the Underworld can be just Dark Is Not Evil.
Evil Uncle: Subverted; He's still loyal to Zeus, and Kratos ain't much the nephew of the year either. Actually, Kratos' willingness to kill his own family is the reason why Hades hates him to the core.
Face of a Thug: Despite his demonic appearance, Hades is one of the more reasonable Gods even after being infected via Pandora's Box.
Kratos, so glad you could carve out some time for US!. You know, we need it... Oh the memories, they're overwhelming really. Let's see. How many sins have you committed against me? Oh, that's right, you murdered my niece, Athena. And what else? What else?! Ah, and you killed my brother, Poseidon. And I have not forgotten that it was you who butchered my beautiful queen! I will see you suffer as I have suffered. Your soul is MINE!!!
Red Oni, Blue Oni: To Kratos. Also note that they share similar weapons and fighting styles, but of opposing colors (red for Kratos, blue for Hades).
Only Sane Man: It seemed that he was the only one who wasn't possessed by the evils of Pandora's box. His notes indicate that he investigated Zeus' actions, concluding that Zeus is no longer the brother he once knew.
Pet the Dog: According to his notes, he genuinely cared for the slave girl in his quarters.
Light is Good/Light Is Not Good: Played with. He himself is as arrogant as the average god (except for a brief Pet the Dog moment in the prequel where he feels sorry for Kratos), but his absence means the sky will be covered by dark clouds. After Kratos kills himself and releases Hope into the world, Helios might not be necessary anymore.
Dirty Coward: Subverted; he knows full well that he doesn't stand a chance against Kratos in close combat, and so attempts to use the chaotic environment around Olympus to kill him. It didn't end up as he planned. When he knew he couldn't run away any longer, he attempted with a Last Stand pull on Kratos.
Hannibal Lecture: When he was at Kratos' mercy, he mocked Kratos about his "sense of honor" and how it had given him nothing but "nightmares of your failures". Kratos didn't seem to give it much, but later it turned out it had some effects on Kratos' mind regarding on his conscience.
Uriah Gambit: He attempted to use this card on Kratos during the middlegame. Fearing for Pandora's life, he sent Kratos to Tartarus to find the Omphalos Stone, without telling him that Cronos had it, and that he now had a grudge on Kratos since he tried to kill Gaia.
The Goddess of Love and Hephaestus's very unfaithful wife.
Voiced by: Carole Ruggier (God of War), April Stewart (God of War III)
Anything That Moves: Apparently she's making love with her handmaiden only because no men are avaible (the bridges to her chamber are broken). In fact, when Kratos approaches she quickly disbands her lovers and attempt to seduce him.
Bi the Way: She regularly cheats on Hephaestus, having threesomes with her slavegirls.
Dissonant Serenity: Not really her (she's a goddess after all, she can handle things) but her apparently human slavegirls: the very world is crumbling in ruin around them outside, but they only think of "Sandwiching" their lady".
Gainaxing: A little when she moves. Justified, as she clearly wears no bra. Also her dark-skinned maiden, who can achieve this just by breathing.
Hot Coffee Minigame: In III. Unlike in other games (where the focus point during the button mash is an innocuous piece of scenery), this one has the focus on her slavegirls feeling each other up and saying that it's not for kids.
Sole Survivor: You might have a slight Oh Crap moment when you realize the only deity left on Olympus (among those mentioned in the series, save for Artemis) is one that has only one thing in her mind. Then again, it's better not to imagine what would have happened if Kratos had killed the goddess of love.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers one to Kratos when he gives up his powers to enter the Elysian Fields and be with Calliope, calling him a dumbass for not realizing that, without his powers, he can't save the world and everyone will be destroyed.
Kick the Dog: She interrogates one unfortunate Spartan about the whereabouts of Kratos. And after he tells her what he knows (which is that he has no clue), she gruesomely disembowels him with her bare hands.
Well-Intentioned Extremist -> Knight Templar: She definitely becomes this by the end of the third game, when the war scarred the world too bad for her to handle. It wasn't better that she survived a murder attempt by Kratos and had to climb the whole of Mount Olympus again.
Womb Level: Kratos navigates the inside of his back, and uses one of his vertebrae as a platform to navigate through his back and shoulder.
The King of the Titans and father of Zeus and several other Olympians, the rest of whom he devoured to keep them from overthrowing him; of course, he was overthrown anyway. Cronos is initially condemned to carrying the Temple of Pandora housing Pandora's Box, and is later sent to Tartarus to carry out the rest of his punishment.
Voiced by: Lloyd Sherr (God of War II), George Ball (God of War III)
While I was stuck cleaning the Augean Stables, he chose you to destroy Ares. (Kratos raises an eyebrow) Not convinced? How about this: while you were being crowned the God of War, I was sent to find an apple. (Hera laughs) They called them "Labors". Hah! Perhaps he did allow me to kill the Nemean Lion, but he made your name known amongst the people. A fierce warrior. A killer made hero. A man made a god.
Evil Gloating: He knocks Kratos out and turns around and boasts to Hera about his "victory", allowing Kratos to recover and retaliate
Flunky Boss: He brings Undead Legionnares into his battle with Kratos.
The Giant: Kratos is a pretty big guy (somewhere between 6'4 and 6'6), but Herc is easily three or four feet taller.
Genius Bruiser: At least he knows how to use proper military tactics against Kratos. To bad Kratos is the more tactical fighter.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: His torso is covered with claw-marks, presumably from his struggle against the Nemean Lion.
Took a Level in Jerkass: This isn't the usually good/noble-natured Hercules you're used to. In fact, this may be one of few stories to portray Hercules in a rather negative light.
He was probably affected with the evil Envy. Considering Zeus did more for Kratos than he ever did for Hercules, he has his reasons. Still, the evil seems to make him ignore that Zeus is a bastard who tormented Kratos. So, it's possibly a case of a Brainwashed and Crazy situation.
Come forward. Let us finally see which one of us is the greatest warrior in all of Greece!
A hero who seeks the help of the Sisters of Fates to rescue his love.
Voiced by: Harry Hamlin
Ascended Extra: Becomes a playable character in the multiplayer mode of Ascension, albeit with a brand new, impossibly cool armor and helmet.
Boss Arena Idiocy: Fights Kratos in a room with a giant pool of water, which limits the advantage provided by his Helm of Invisibility. In fairness, he was trapped and didn't choose the location of their fight, so it isn't idiocy on his part, just circumstances.
Smug Super: Certainly has an inflated opinion of himself.
No! That door was my only escape! I have faced test after test in search of the Sisters. And now you have dashed it all away! You certainly do not live up to your reputation, Ghost of Sparta! But... perhaps this is a test. Are you watching me now, Sisters!? Give me a sign! Am I, the great Perseus, to kill this fallen god to recieve an audience with you? Will that allow me to bring my love back from the grasp of Hades himself!? If not, at least I can bathe in the glory of bringing down the mighty Kratos, the slayer of gods... Although I hardly think a harpie's fool such as yourself deserves such praise.
Badass Boast: Though she probably would have won if she hadn't blabbed her plan.
We control your destiny, foolish mortal! With our weaving, we can end your life! Or allow you to remain. Search your memory, Kratos. The sword which you stand on delivered your victory against Ares. Without it, you will be the one who dies this day. Not Ares! We can change your past and set your future! This is the power of the Fates!
Only Sane Woman: She seems to be the only sister who was against Lahkesis' decision to let Kratos waltz into their palace and the only one who seems to be actually concerned about the world if Kratos wins.
Doomed by Canon: Not surprising, given that they're the main antagonists in a prequel.
Lawful Stupid: All of them are ridiculously obsessed in imposing blood oaths, regardless of the morality of breaking them or their own survival. Subverted, the real reason they are enforcing Kratos' oath to Ares is because they are working with Ares to bring down Olympus, and Kratos is a crucial part of the plan.
One-Winged Angel: Turns into a giant Kraken-like monster during the final boss battle. This form is often confused with Charybdis, but there's nothing in the game to confirm the relation between the two.
The deity of oaths. He is the son of Ares and the Furies, as an attempt to create "the perfect warrior". Born "weak", he was rejected by his father, but accepted by his mothers and given his position, which he served diligently until he saw the injustice in Kratos' oath.
Morality Chain: Thanks to her, Kratos began to develop empathy for his fellow man and remorse for the things he had done, and not just the murder of his family. Mankind had use of it later when Kratos gave them the power of hope by killing himself.
Kratos...murderer of children. I know this! I am aware of the misery you have brought upon my brood! ...Ruthlessly cutting down my line; your hands wear their blood. Praise to the Sisters! For on this day, Kratos... You will meet your end!
Shout Out: His labyrinth is like the one from Cube. He also physically resembles Mahatma Gandhi.
Unwitting Pawn: Zeus promised to reunite him with his son if he built the Labyrinth, but Icarus was already dead and Zeus had no intention of bringing him back.
Voiced by: Erin Matthews
Gory Discretion Shot: Kratos forces her to hold open a gate for him, but she gets squashed and killed by the crank right after he gets through (though you can easily backtrack to see her body lying in a pool of blood).
Made a Slave: She was originally Poseidon's girlfriend, but a note of apology from him explains that the chains and bars were to keep Zeus from molesting her while he wasn't around.
Evil? It is not evil that I bring, Spartan. I bring the might of Persia and the sacrament of purification. As we speak, my Basilisk cleanses this land so that it may embrace the glory of the Persian Empire.
Oh Crap: No doubt those very words were running through his head as Kratos, just having defeating the lion he sicced on him, began walking towards him with more-than-obvious murderous intent.
Too Dumb to Live: The fact that he tried to have Kratos killed isn't what qualifies him for this trope (as much). It's the fact that he believed that Ares, whom Kratos had already killed, was helping him out via divine influence the whole time.
Kratos's brother who was kidnapped by Ares after being mistaken for the one who would bring ruin to Olympus. He had hoped to be saved by Kratos, but that hope turned into hatred for his brother when he didn't come.
Voiced by: Elijah Wood (God of War III), Mark Deklin (Ghost of Sparta), Bridger Zadina (Ghost of Sparta - young)