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Kratos

Voiced in English by: Terrence C. Carson (God of War - God of War: Ascension), Christopher Judge (God of War (2018))
Voiced in Latin American Spanish by: Diego Guerrero (God of War: Ascension), Idzi Dutkiewicz (God of War (2018))
Voiced in European Spanish by: Rafael Azcárraga (God of War (2018))
Voiced in Japanese by: Tessho Genda (God of War - God of War: Ascension), Kenta Miyake (God of War (2018))
Voiced in Brazilian Portuguese by: Ricardo Juarez (God of War: Ascension - God of War (2018))

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/greek_kratos.png
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/norse_kratos.png
Above: Kratos in Greece
Below: Kratos in Midgard, with his son Atreus

"The gods of Olympus have abandoned me. Now there is no hope."

The Protagonist of the God of War series, Kratos is known by many as the Ghost of Sparta, due to his ashen white skin and his Dark and Troubled Past not unlike that of a traditional Greek tragedy.

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Once the brutal captain of the Spartan army, Kratos led his men throughout several conquests all across the lands, eventually coming across a savage Barbarian horde. Confident of his own victory, Kratos led his army into battle, but soon found himself hopelessly outmatched and outclassed. The Barbarians' brutality exceeding his own, and on the verge of death, Kratos struck a deal with the God of War Ares to further his exploits. He would then commit atrocity after atrocity under Ares' name, spreading death throughout the world with his armies and justifying it all by proclaiming his intent to make "the glory of Sparta known throughout the world." For a time, it seemed, his only tether to humanity was his beloved family, yet even they grew horrified by him, to the point where his wife Lysandra would state outright he cared nothing for Sparta's glory, but for his own. He would not listen to her, and continued his rampage, blindly following the will of Ares in his pursuit of more bloodshed and infamy — yet this took a tragic turn when the god tricked him into killing his wife and child, all to destroy what little humanity he had left. Branded the Ghost of Sparta for this terrible deed, the ashes of his wife and child would remain fused to his skin forever.

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Completely undone by the killing of his wife and child, Kratos became a constantly-suicidal and greatly-bereaved wreck of a man beloved by none yet known to all. Devoting himself to the other gods of Olympus in a desperate attempt to rid himself of his memories, Kratos would hang on to the small glimmer of hope that perhaps he would one day be able to redeem himself. Yet no matter how many enemies he'd slaughter or how many lives he would save, the gods would continue to put labor upon labor upon Kratos' shoulders, forcing him to endure the pain of his memories for ten long years of servitude. Maddened by his memories and unable to find a moment of peace, Kratos would develop a deep-seated hatred of the gods, and especially Ares in particular, for toying with his life. Though Kratos would eventually defeat Ares and claim the throne of the God of War for his own, his resentment of the other gods would bring him in conflict against all on Olympus, culminating in a cataclysmic series of battles against them that would decide the fate of Greece itself.

Eventually leaving Greece as well as his bloody past behind, Kratos moves up north and makes his way into Midgard. Having come to view his troubled past with great shame, Kratos has taken the initiative to mature and grow past his self-destructive tendencies, choosing to live as a man under the thumb of the Norse pantheon. He even finds love again with a woman named Faye, eventually fathering a child with her named Atreus. When Faye dies of mysterious circumstances, Kratos and Atreus set out on a journey to spread her ashes from the highest peak in all the nine realms. However, he and Atreus come into conflict with various supernatural creatures along their way, and are constantly pursued along their path by a mysterious Stranger — seemingly under orders from the leader of the Norse pantheon himself, Odin.


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    General Tropes 
  • Accidental Murder: His murder of his wife and child while in a blood frenzy. Athena's death is unintended too — she happened to get in the way of a very angry Kratos.
  • Action Dad: Is the father of two children (that we know of), and specific details on those children are kept in the different folders below.
  • Anti-Hero: Goes through multiple shades of it, zigzagging between this and being a Villain Protagonist. For specifics, check the folders below.
  • Anti-Villain: The Noble or Woobie variations. Basically, what makes him somewhat sympathetic is his frankly depressing backstory, though whether it still holds weight after the horrendous and honestly unjustifiable actions he commits is polarizing, to say the least.
  • Arc Symbol: The Omega (Ω) symbol.
  • The Atoner: While Kratos does dwell a lot on his family's death, it's mostly just used as a source of his volcanic rage, and his idea of atoning for his actions is basically just wishing his bad memories away. Played more straight after he destroys Olympus, where Kratos has come to realize that his constant desire for vengeance in his youth was nothing more than petty immaturity and seeks to end the cycle of violence. The PS4 installment is essentially one long quest to make his son into a better person than he ever was, and though at first he is convinced that he can never become a better person himself, by the end he seems to have realized that he can keep trying.
  • Bald of Awesome: Kratos is never seen with hair, not even as a child.
  • Badass Baritone: Both TC Carson and Christopher Judge play Kratos with a deep, gravelly voice that befits such a badass Spartan warrior. In the Japanese dub, Tessho Genda also does the same thing as well, albeit he sounds even more aggressive than in the English versions.
  • Badass Beard: A goatee at that. He grows a thicker beard in the fourth game.
  • Barbarian Hero: He hails from Sparta, by far the most barbaric of all Greek city-states if not among one of the most barbarous nations of the Ancient World in general. He's a warrior of pure unadultered physical power and immense savagery, driven by animalistic and atavistic fury, and is often opposed by sorcerous adversaries. Also, in true Barbarian Hero fashion, his first instinct when accosted by beautiful women in scant clothing cringing in terror is to have sex with them. His throne as the Greek God of War was also draped with willing female slaves like a Frazetta piece.
    • Emphasized even more after making it to Midgard, in which his aesthetic as a Barbarian is further enhanced by the enormous beard he's grown and the furs he wears. He's also switched out the Blades of Chaos for a battleaxe, a much more classically Barbarian weapon. Ironically enough, his temperament is actually less barbaric than his days in Greece, having found love again, is raising a son, and actively reining in his rage.
  • Bastard Bastard: Born out of wedlock to a Spartan woman named Callisto, it can easily be determined that Kratos growing up without a father figure in the city-state of Sparta contributed to him growing up into the Jerkass he is today. To his credit, he's always been shown to love and care for his family members (save the Greek Pantheon), and in the Norse Era is actively trying to rein in his worse instincts. Despite his potential for heroism, Kratos can't truly be called a Heroic Bastard because he's ultimately too self-serving to care about putting himself on the line for others, outside his loved ones.
  • Berserk Button: While Kratos is in an almost perpetual state of fury or simmering anger and it's a bit hard to tell if he's more irritated than usual, there are a few sore points you don't want to press unless you want to learn the difference in agony between a savage beating and a horribly disfiguring, dismembering, mutilating death. To wit:
    • Don't mention Ares around him, as Kratos despises Ares. Simply mentioning his name is enough for Kratos to rearrange your dental work with a solid shot to the face.
    • His immediate family is another big ol' button you do not want to press. Hell, even when they were alive, he would kill, maim, and destroy to keep them safe. Mentioning any of them specifically will probably earn you a beating, while mentioning any of them disparagingly will have him plunging the Blades of Chaos straight into your chest before he hefts you into the air (and that's just for starters). Don't test his love for his family either. When Atreus insulted him by saying he didn't care about Faye, Kratos verbally tore into him.
    • Don't lie to him or use him as a pawn. Most of his tragedies came from the fact that the gods kept messing with him, and as such he's distrustful of most people, to put it mildly.
  • The Berserker: A lighter version, ironically. Kratos won't let anything stand in his way, and he is full of fiery rage. But he can tell friend from foe in the middle of a fight. He just has way, way more foes than friends. This was sadly played straight the night Ares tricked him into killing Lysandra and Calliope; Kratos was in a blood frenzy at the time and didn't realize what he was doing or who he was attacking until it was too late.
  • Blood Knight: In his backstory, much to the discontent of his wife. It didn't end well for him, as he ended up facing an opponent who he couldn't defeat. And then he made his Deal with the Devil. After becoming god of war, he engaged again in this, much to the discontent of the other gods. It didn't end well for him, as he ended up facing an opponent he couldn't defeat. And then he made a deal with Gaia, and that went so poorly he ended up just killing everybody.
  • Body Horror: The ashes of his wife and daughter are magically fused to his skin, turning it white. Furthermore, the chains of the Blades of Chaos were seared into his forearms, to the point where long after abandoning them, he still has their marks along his flesh. The novelization also reveals that the chains burned so deeply into his arms, the heat's scorched his bones.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Kratos hates the gods and think of them as untrustworthy at best, even after becoming a god himself and later discovering his Divine Parentage by Zeus. Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t have a high opinion of himself, either.
  • Born Winner: Being the demigod son of Zeus, the Top God himself, has its perks. Those perks are coming Back from the Dead often, Super Strength to rival Hercules, and becoming the leader of the Spartan Army!
  • Bright Is Not Good: The "Ghost Of Sparta" moniker refers to both his ghost-white skin and him cheating death. He was also enough of a psychotic madman whose rampage caused a lot of suffering.
  • Broken Ace: One of the greatest warriors the world has to offer... and one of the most troubled.
  • Byronic Hero: Kratos is characterized mainly by his desperate desire to escape the many atrocities that plague his past, culminating in a vicious cycle of events wherein he would constantly commit more atrocities when his guilt over his actions, and his rage at his terrible life, overwhelm him. He's utterly self-concerned, uncaring of any set standards or values from society and even the gods. He is deeply cynical and world-weary, often dwelling on the many injustices brought upon him by the gods, and yet unable to truly accept or forgive himself for his own transgressions. But when the chips are down and Kratos has something he truly wants to fight for, he gives it everything he has, often to the point of self-defeat.
  • Cartwright Curse: Any woman Kratos has gotten romantically involved with ends up dead, sooner or later. His first wife, Lysandra, was killed by him completely by accident, as all part of a machination by Ares to deaden Kratos' humanity. Kratos' Second Love Faye died in much more peaceful circumstances, and he was even given the closure of cremating her, something he could never achieve with Lysandra.
  • Character Development: Despite being infamous among the gaming community for being one of the most monomaniacal characters in all of gaming history, Kratos has gone through more ups and downs in his personality than one would expect. The extent of which is detailed in the folders below, but for a general overview: Kratos grows from a blood-drunk Glory Hound, to a violently depressed and suicidal shell, to an out-and-out Villain Protagonist only out for himself, to a gruff but stern Cynical Mentor who only wants to protect his son from harm.
  • The Chosen One: An Oracle prophesied that one day, a mortal "Marked Warrior" would take up arms against the Greek gods and destroy all of Olympus. The Olympians initially assume that Kratos' brother Deimos was the Marked Warrior thanks to his peculiar birthmarks, but Thanatos manages to figure out that the prophecy spoke of Kratos, the eponymous "mark" being the ashes of his wife and child fused to his skin. And when Kratos later moves up to Midgard, it is revealed that his coming was prophesied by Faye and the Jötnar, and that Kratos became known to them as the "cruel striker" Fárbauti, known in Norse myth only for his role as the father of Loki.
  • 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 whose 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.
  • Composite Character: Kratos is a combination of several different characters: he shares the same name with the Anthropomorphic Personification of power, while his backstory was inspired by Heracles (whom ended up a separate character later on) as a demigod son of Zeus who murdered his family in a fit of madness and spent several years trying to atone for it. The 2018 game combines him with characters from Norse mythos such as Farbauti due to being Loki's father, Hodr due to killing Baldur, and Odin himself, since he carries Mimir's head in his belt.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Deconstructed. Kratos' life went down the drain the moment he gave his life to Ares, and later on he develops a hatred of gods that only gets worse the more they toy with his life. Not only does this hatred spur Kratos to action against them when he reaches his Rage Breaking Point, it allows him a means to blind himself to his own faults and failings—eternally blaming the gods for all his problems (even when they're self-inflicted) until it's too late. He tries to move past this mindset by the time he makes it to Midgard, and imparts upon his son the importance of responsibility and discipline in order to protect the boy.
  • Crusading Widower: Twice. He accidentally killed his first wife due to the trickery of Ares, and spends the entirety of the very first game trying to kill the God of War in revenge. The second time he marries, his wife died in presumably more peaceful circumstances, and Kratos at least has the closure of cremating her and eventually spreading her ashes.
  • Dance Battler: The only reason Kratos' trademark twin blades work as well as they do on the battlefield is because, despite his savagery, Kratos is the only one with enough brutality yet enough grace to handle them with such finesse and skill. The Leviathan Axe he gains in the Norse entries lends itself to a more methodical moveset of course, but when Kratos retrieves the Blades of Chaos, they use the same moveset from the Greek entries. Even after what must have been a long time of refusal to use them, he never missed a step.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He shows some signs of this in the third game.
    Hephaestus: Kratos. I thought that Zeus would have killed you by now.
    Kratos: I thought you would have escaped this cavern by now.
    • He doesn't pull any punches with his son, either.
    Atreus: What're we hunting?
    Kratos: You are hunting deer.
    Atreus: Which way?
  • Death Glare: Pretty much all the time. In Midgard, despite mostly having his back to the player, he gives several obvious ones to people who annoy him or threaten his son, but none more hateful and seething than the one he gives to Athena's ghost when she implies he is merely pretending to be a father.
  • Defiant to the End: Although, all things considered, dying is more or less a Wednesday for him, so he knows he can get back to fight another day.
  • Deity of Human Origin: While Kratos was the son of Zues, his mother was mortal which makes him a demi-god. However, later he is raised up to Olympus as a full fledged god. While Zeus strips him of his power in the second game, Kratos gains more power through the second and third games to the point where he can kill any of the Greek gods including Zeus. Even after he finishes and almost dies at the end of God of War III, it's implied that he still has the full power of a god as with most pantheons, the Greek one revolves around You K Ill It You Bought It, with a god's power inherited from another god that kills them or from their own offspring. This is further implied as Kratos ends up thousands of years old in Midgard without aging a day and is still super strong and capable of killing gods.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: His brutality, selfishness, and utter lack of scruples are all right in line with the values of the source of inspiration, and if anything, he's probably less of a dick overall than many other classical heroes. This actually gets played up when Kratos is forced to raise Atreus by himself in Midgard, as Atreus’ more virtuous and selfless nature heavily conflicts with Kratos’ pragmatic and often self-focused mindset.
  • Destroyer Deity: It's heavily implied come the end of Ghost of Sparta that Kratos has become this. The shadow of death has always been a part of Kratos from the very beginning, but after Kratos kills Thanatos in vengeance, he's left in a rare moment of self-awareness and wonders aloud what he's become, all the while with an uncharacteristically somber tone of voice. The Gravedigger answers Death, the Destroyer of Worlds, implying that Kratos has now taken Thanatos' place and has inherently become the God of Death as well as War. This development is especially relevant come the events of II, where he outright declares war upon the Greek Gods for their transgressions against him. Sadly, even after Kratos' migration from Greece to Midgard, it's revealed that Kratos' son is likely destined to follow in his father's footsteps and bring about the destruction of the Norse pantheon, as well as the rest of the Nine Realms...and Kratos killing Baldur is what helps set it all off hundreds of years too early. Really, it'd be weird at this point if Kratos couldn't be classified as a Destroyer Deity.
  • Determinator: Nothing will stand in his way. Whether it's the Gods, the Sisters of Fate, the legions of Hades, the army of Rhodes, the Titans, monsters, or "heroes" from all the corners of Greece, Kratos is more than up to the challenge. 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 that Kratos has inherently became the God of Death.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Throughout the series, it's been shown time and again that Kratos can be quite shortsighted. This is a flaw that costs him just as much as his selfishness or his refusal to take responsibility for his actions. Much of the plot of the original series could have been avoided if Kratos literally just stopped and thought for a second about what effect his actions could have on himself and those around him. He does get better as time passes, especially by the time he moves up north, but he still shows shades of it in his interactions with Atreus, to whom he withholds the truth of his Divine Parentage until the boy’s life gets put in danger because of it.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Expect Kratos to kill at least one god once every game. But just like other legendary heroes, he is half-Cthulhu himself.
  • Disappeared Dad: His mother raised him and his brother by herself. Kratos eventually finds out who his father is, and is none too happy to learn that, of all people, it's Zeus.
  • Distinguishing Mark: His ash-white skin marks him as the Ghost of Sparta. Also, his signature red markings across his face and arm.
  • Does Not Like Magic: He has no love for the gods and isn't too welcoming of magic. He wears the ashes of his original family because an oracle cursed them on to him. He also grabs the Witch's hand when she tries to put a magic sigil on his neck for solitude.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: He typically gives characters in his way that he is not out to kill a single chance to walk, which is never heeded due to either their sense of duty or their hubris (or a combination of both).
  • The Dreaded: His infamous reputation as the Ghost of Sparta. On more than one occasion during the first game, the citizens of Athens are actually more terrified of him than of the monsters attacking them and prefer certain death to being saved by him. In the third game, Pandora outright states that everyone — including the Olympians — is scared of Kratos. His reputation does not die with Greece. Mimir, a Norse god of wisdom, is taken aback when he realizes Kratos is the Ghost of Sparta, and it's implied that the rest of the Norse pantheon knows his history as well.
  • Emotional Bruiser: See here:
    Anyway, I'm of the opinion that Kratos is a bit of an anomaly in the world of Macho Action Dudes, in that he is just a bottomless sieve of emotions. Like, usually action dudes have their moment of unrestrained rage at the end of the story to prove What A Badass Dude they can be, that Super Saiyan “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” moment where they let it all out. Kratos, on the other hand, is like… perpetually exhaustingly angry. And when he runs out of angry, he’s sad. He’s just this constant torrent of unrestrained heart-on-his-sleeve emotional whiplash. He’s never the cocky, aloof, too-cool-for-school emotionally distant robot you expect to play in a macho action dude game, he just kind of exists in this cycle of getting all angried out and trying to kill himself until someone on the suicide watch crew can find him a new thing to be angry about. He’s the only game hero I can think of who’s like “Oh man, I checked everything off my to-do list and now I’m out of things to be mad at, I am so drained I think I’m going to kill myself now”.
  • Escaped from Hell: He's escaped from various underworlds and afterlives a grand total of six times. He even makes it a Badass Boast in III, saying "The gates of Hades have never held me!” In the first Norse entry of the series, he’s even escaped Helheim, the realm for those who died dishonorably, after being flung straight past the point of no return. Mimir is quick to note that he wouldn’t have to escape Helheim if Kratos hadn’t killed the gatekeeper, who usually stops living souls from crossing the bridge, the first time he visited the realm.
  • Experienced Protagonist: By the time of the first game, he's already a seasoned Spartan warrior. It also counts by the time he enters Midgard, as he had the whole original series as experience.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Kratos showed no intentions for his daughter to be the ruthless warrior he was, even though Calliope was considered weak by Spartan standards. He's also very adamant about making sure that Atreus doesn't turn out like him.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: A specialty of his.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Starting with II, Kratos begins to wear armor on his right shoulder and arm only. At first, it is the Golden Fleece, but Kratos has cast it aside for other pieces of armor for the retool (though he can equip a full suit of armor).
  • Fatal Flaw: Considering his personality is largely based off characters in Greek Mythology, it's no surprise that this trope comes into play. Kratos, however, is not necessarily beset by one huge major flaw that plagues his character; rather he's faced with multiple character flaws that often overlap, causing him way more trauma than he can handle, most of the time. These are expounded upon in the folders below.
  • Fight Magnet: Kratos is always getting into a fight with someone or something. He's been involved with a prophecy or two and people either fight him to prove their worth or to take his former title as the god of war. By the 2018 game, Kratos has stayed under the radar for a century and has still managed to find a fight when Baldur came to the door and started one.
    Mimir: Why don't you tell me how all this began with Baldur?
    Atreus: He just knocked on our door!
    Mimir: Baldur of Asgard just knocked on your door?
    Atreus: Yeah, he just showed up and started a fight
  • Genius Bruiser: Can go toe-to-toe with gods as well as solve puzzles and death traps.
  • Good Parents: Was this to Calliope, given some of his most human moments in the original series is when he is with her.
  • Guilt Complex: Surprisingly very realistically played out; the impetus for much of Kratos' Never My Fault tendencies lies in how much he utterly hates himself for the many terrible things he's done. His inability to accept the weight of his own atrocities, coupled with his inability to forgive himself for them, leads him to commit more atrocities in a vicious cycle to stave off his own guilt. While much of his anger directed towards the gods is understandable, a large portion of it is pretty much just him projecting his inner self-loathing onto them. Even hundreds of years later, when he’s managed to get away from Greece and his terrible past, he’s haunted constantly by everything he’s done, and hopes for Atreus to not make the same mistakes he once did.
  • Guttural Growler: All that rage really does a number on Kratos' throat.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Throughout his time in Greece, Kratos has a predisposition for Unstoppable Rage that would put most other examples of this trope to shame. After leaving Greece, however, he actively makes attempts to control and refine his rage, to the point where he would “train” by actively getting ravaged by wolves, all the while choosing not to fight back—just to see if he can go through a single tussle without giving in to anger. Still, if you push him hard enough, he’ll just unload and your corpse’ll be paint by the time he’s done with you.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: He is a demigod, after all.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After an unbelievable amount of bloodshed in the third game; however, it was too late for him to truly fix all the collateral damage. This is taken further after the setting shift to Norse Mythology. Over the years, Kratos has worked on taming his rage and has a better understanding about the responsibilities and consequences that come with being a Physical God.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: For most of the Greek era, Kratos tried to externalize his flaws, to the point of rejecting blame to horrific effect. No matter what he did, it was in the service of the Cycle of Revenge, even if he had what happened to him coming. It takes his Heel Realization at the end of God of War III to get him to stop thinking this, and his Rage Against the Heavens shifts into his belief as My Greatest Failure by the Norse era, to the point of shame at almost everything he did as a god. While at this point he still externalizes it to a hatred of gods in general, he hates none of them as much as himself for his Jumping Off the Slippery Slope Never My Fault complex and role in the Cycle of Revenge, and has become somberly aware that he is to blame for many of his own problems. Mimir eventually flat out says it to him:
    Mimir, to Kratos: Look, I get it. You hate the gods. All gods. It's no accident that includes yourself.
  • Hot-Blooded: With his volume constantly on maximum and his be-as-visceral-as-possible fighting style, you will feel his fury. By the Norse era, this seems to have leveled out on the surface, but his Spartan Rage makes the fact that it’s more kept in restraint than outright gone.
  • Hunk: Very muscular, very manly, and quite the ladykiller — figuratively speaking...
  • Hypocrite:
    • Kratos' whole motive throughout the original series is revenge for the deaths of his family, but he killed countless families without hesitation during his service to Ares and shows little to no hesitation to doing the same during his quest for vengeance. Not to mention he eventually rages at Zeus for trying to kill him, when he’s killed ‘’thousands’’ more people and for even more petty reasons.
    • In the first Norse entry, when Kratos is pissed that Freya concealed the fact that she's a goddess, she dryly points out that he's not really in a position to point fingers. Kratos ultimately concedes the point, and works to correct it over the course of the game.
  • I Am a Monster: Kratos knows just what kind of person he really is, but has a very difficult time coming to terms with it, since it would mean actually owning up to his actions. In the original Greek entries and even after moving to Midgard, Kratos has resigned himself to the fact that the many terrible things he's done can't be redeemed in any sense. But by the time of God of War (PS4), he has at least learned that while he cannot be redeemed, he will always have the chance to be better, and as such strives towards that goal.
  • Immune to Fate: Implied. In II, Kratos manages to defeat the Sisters of Fate. In God of War (PS4), he manages to kill Baldur hundreds of years before his fated death, triggering Ragnarök way earlier than was prophesied. Mimir even lampshades that Kratos has "changed something." See Spanner in the Works below for more details.
  • Implacable Man: No amount of monsters, warriors, obstacles, traps, or Gods will stop Kratos from getting his revenge. Even death itself is little more than a delay for Kratos.
  • It's All About Me:
    • This guy killed a pantheon rather than admit that maybe, just maybe, something was his own damn fault. Most evident in the second game, when he starts doing the exact same thing that Ares did, i.e. the thing that prompted the gods to help Kratos kill him. Then he claims that the Gods of Olympus betrayed him by stopping him. This gets called out in the third game, where Hermes gives him a Breaking Speech on how his path only leads to destruction and Kratos undergoes a slow Heel Realization. Also lampshaded in the first game, where it's shown in a flashback that his wife Lysandra refused to believe that his brutality was for "the glory of Sparta" as he claims, telling him that he does it all for his own personal glory.
    • Downplayed in God of War (PS4). While he's not as bad as he was before, he still actively endangers Atreus' life — despite warnings from both Freya and Mimir — by refusing to tell Atreus about their true nature as gods because he's too ashamed of his past and is more interested in hiding from it than facing it. He gets better, but not until it's nearly too late.
  • Jerkass: A complete and total one. Kratos appears to have two default settings, one being molten fury and the other a snide, rude asshole who cares nothing for the suffering of others (and often goes out of his way to cause it). His family's death isn't an excuse either: flashbacks show that he was largely the same giant douche before as well. Even after a ton of Character Development, he still demonstrates a self-centredness that seems more out of pragmatism’s sake than anything from callousness. That being said, he can still be unnecessarily unkind, especially when compared to his Cheerful Child son Atreus.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Although on a couple of occasions he has decided to take things into account and show a more selfless, caring side to him. Upon arriving at Midgard, he’s mellowed out a lot more thanks to Faye and Atreus, and actively starts helping people at his son’s urging midway through the game.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: To be fair, a lot of his victims really deserved it. Looking at you, Ares. And Baldur, though even that was played out in a more Alas, Poor Villain kind of way, where Kratos genuinely didn’t want to kill him, but had no choice, as the guy was too far gone in his insanity to be stopped in any other way.
  • Lack of Empathy: This exchange from III stands out:
    Athena: As we speak, the war for Olympus rages on and mankind suffers.
    Kratos: Let them suffer. The death of Zeus is all that matters.
    • In God of War (PS4) this is instead played for drama. Kratos can't relate to Atreus' grief when Faye died and he's never had a normal relationship with his father. The arc of the story is having Kratos learn how to open up to Atreus and move on his past.
  • Last of His Kind: After the death of the Last Spartan in the original timeline. And by the end of ‘’III’’, he’s the last living remnant of the Greek pantheon of gods, discounting Atreus, who is only half-Greek.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Extremely powerful and tough, yet also quite agile.
  • The Lost Lenore: Make no mistake, Kratos is indeed capable of love and compassion, as much as they're buried under a boatload of cynicism and self-loathing. Killing his first wife Lysandra along with his daughter Calliope sent him in a spiral of torment and self-destruction that culminated in him becoming even more of a psychopath than he'd already been. You'd think he would've gotten over the pain of loss by the time he reaches Midgard, but losing his second wife Faye clearly takes a toll on him even then.
    Atreus: I guess you never really get over losing the ones you care about.
    Kratos: Never.
  • 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 demigod.
  • Magic Knight: While by no means a skilled mage, Kratos always ends up coming across a variety of magical powers and/or artifacts in every game that he uses to either solve puzzles or devastate his enemies.
  • 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.
    • In God of War 2018, the scars of the chains on his arm become one as well. He spends most of the game hiding them in cloth wraps. Naturally, at the end of the game Kratos is more at peace with who he was and discards these wraps.
  • Meaningful Name: "Kratos" means "strength" or "power" in Greek. And Fárbauti means "cruel striker".
  • Miles to Go Before I Sleep: In Greece, Kratos had nothing to lose in his path vengeance and would only consider his own death once he's calmed down. By the Norse Era, Kratos gives himself purpose by raising Atreus and ensuring that he has the means to protect himself from those who desire to harm him.
  • Morality Pet: His family. In III, Pandora, whose very presence reminds him of the daughter he once had. And in after falling in love with Faye, she and his son Atreus become this to him to an even greater extent, as the latter's presence actively reminds Kratos to restrain himself and be a better person. Kratos also will appear to be one to Atreus as well; since the boy is in fact Loki, and Kratos’ prophesied death in front of Atreus will likely mark the beginning of Ragnarok.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • Three in the original trilogy. Failing to save his little brother Deimos from being kidnapped, murdering his family by accident, and failing to save Pandora.
    • In God of War (2018), his entire rage-fuelled god-slaying rampage has become one big collective failure on his part, one he's too ashamed of to speak of openly to his son. His greatest secret is killing his own father, Zeus, as revealed by the illusions in Hel. This is the very last secret he reveals to his son.
  • Naytheist: He interacts with the gods on a regular basis, but he by no means worships them and openly declares them to be useless. Considering all of the shit they've put him through, one can't honestly blame him. This did not improve by the time of God of War (PS4) where he now lives in the domain of the Norse Gods, but holds disdain for them and human's worship. He tells Atreus that "men don't need to worship monsters".
  • Never Found the Body: The post-credits scene in God of War III 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 his Heroic Sacrifice. Indeed, he did, and made his way up to Midgard.
  • Never My Fault: The bulk of his turmoil is caused by an inability to blame himself. Our Spartan friend prefers to point fingers at the gods rather than own up to what he's done. That being said, it's made clear throughout the series and its spin-offs that he's perfectly aware of how atrocious his actions throughout the series have been, but he simply can't bear the weight of all of them because the pain's just too much. By the time he finally realizes this and the full consequences of his actions in III, it's seemingly too late to fix anything. After moving to Midgard, Kratos has taken great pains to move past this mindset of his, but it rears up every now and again; Kratos would constantly criticize and be gruff with his son Atreus, yet would rarely chastise himself for his own mistakes, such as destroying the trees acting as a protective stave around their home (though to be fair he had been advised to do so by Faye, before her death).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • By opening Pandora's Box, he released the evil inside, which possessed the Olympians and turned them all into bastards... Well, moreso, since the atrocities of Greek Mythology establish that they were dicks beforehand.
    • While the Greek Gods were no saints, Kratos practically brings the world to ruins with each God he slain. Once Zeus is killed, the world is practically in Chaos.
    • His killing of Baldur in the 2018 game, while done to save Freya's life, not only gets the ungrateful Freya to swear revenge on him, but also kick-starts Ragnarok over a hundred years ahead of schedule.
  • No Badass to His Valet: His first wife Lysandra told him straight to his face that his bloody campaigns throughout Greece were monstrous, and were all driven by Kratos' own desire for personal glory. Likewise, Kratos' son Atreus does as his father tells him, but it's clearly a matter of respect, not fear: the boy has no qualms about calling his father out if he deems it necessary.
  • No Indoor Voice: Which makes the few times he isn't screaming (notably in Ghost of Sparta and Ascension) rather surprising.
  • Nominal Hero: Kratos has repeatedly expressed his Lack of Empathy towards others and in the original trilogy has gone on record stating that his need for vengeance matters more than the lives of innocent people. Much of the "heroic" acts attributed to him (namely defeating Ares, and slaying all manner of creature terrorizing Greece) were done not out of any desire to defend the helpless but rather out of Kratos desire for either vengeance or peace from all the trauma-fuelled nightmares he endures daily. Even in the PS4 game, where he's become a much kinder individual, his primary motivations are taking care of his son and getting Faye's ashes to the highest peak in Midgard. In optional questlines where he can help out the Dwarves or disturbed spirits, he always makes sure to voice out that any altruistic actions he takes on are largely for his and Atreus' benefit, and that they just so happen to align with helping out others.
  • One-Man Army: The gods throw everything they have at him, and it barely slows him down. Even in a World of Badass, Kratos is still able to tear his way through endless hordes of zombies and monsters.
  • Papa Wolf:
  • Person of Mass Destruction: In a more personal level. Kratos usually doesn’t do monumental damage...unless it kills his enemies. Then comes III, and for every god that Kratos kills, the world suffers a natural calamity that will never end. This is made all the more apparent when ‘’Ghost of Sparta’’ reveals that Kratos was destined to be the Marked Warrior, prophesied to end the reign of Olympus. Sadly, this doesn’t get averted even when he leaves Greece for Midgard. In killing Baldur, Kratos kickstarts Fimbulwinter hundreds of years too early, setting the stage for Ragnarök.
  • Pet the Dog: Flashbacks to his life indicate that for all his brutality, Kratos was a loving family man who cared greatly for his family. This extends to his new son in God of War (2018), whom Kratos is far more patient with than anyone he's ever encountered before. Kratos even genuinely compliments his son after his first kill.
  • Really Gets Around: Between his first wife's death and meeting his second, Kratos slept with many women. However, he could find no comfort from it.
  • Red Baron: The Ghost Of Sparta.
  • 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, for his monstrous aura forbids him from ever entering Elysium.
    • After moving to Midgard, this has become a defining character trait. He tries to act like a better person, but he's resigned to the fact that he is, and will always be, a monster defined by the enormous atrocities he leaves in his wake. The reason he raises Atreus the way he does is to ensure the boy doesn't become another him. At the end of the game, he finally gets some closure, as Atreus at least accepts his father.
  • Say My Name:
    • "AREEEEEEEEEEEES!!!"
    • "ZEEEEEEEEEEEUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSS!!!!!"
    • "ATHENAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!"
    • "GAAAAAIIIIAAAAAAAAAA!!!"
    • Boy!”
  • Screw Destiny: Even when the Fates themselves dictate Kratos' death, he just storms their home and murders them to change the moment of his death. In the PS4 game, it's implied by the fact that the three-year-snow preceeding Ragnarok has happened a hundred years early, and the deaths of Thor's sons (who were supposed to survive it) that Kratos' presence may allow him to play with or possibly even break the prophecy of Ragnarok, one of the biggest examples of You Can't Fight Fate in any mythos. However, it's implied that even this isn't foolproof. See You Can't Fight Fate below.
    Kratos: Fate is another lie told by the gods. Nothing is written that cannot be unwritten.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Killed his mother after she was turned into a monster, then kills his father Zeus. Deconstructed later on, in that even when he arrives at Midgard, ‘’hundreds’’ of years after his rampages throughout Greece, the death of Zeus has become the biggest in a long line of regrets, and he fears that Atreus may one day follow him down that dark path.
  • Semi-Divine: Revealed to be a demigod in God of War II. A son of Zeus, to be specific.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Though he Really Gets Around, it's noted in-universe that Kratos finds no real comfort or happiness in doing so, with his wife Lysandra being the only woman he ever loved. Averted come the first Norse entry, where he's found love again and fathered a son, and his reminiscent dialogue makes it clear he really, sincerely loved Faye.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Kratos is blunt, speaks with purpose, easily annoyed and prone to extreme bursts of Unstoppable Rage that understandably puts a lot of people off him, both in and out of universe. But his life's just one big Trauma Conga Line that never stops going bad for him, so it's at the very least understandable why he's so volcanically angry and unpleasant almost all the time.
  • Super Mode: The rage ability present in every main game grants Kratos increased offensive power and durability can be built by killing enough enemies with large combos or taking damage. The "Rage of the Gods" in the first game covered him in lightning, the "Rage of the Titans" engulf him in flames and can be turned on and off, the "Rage of Sparta" allows him to use the Blade of Olympus. In God of War (PS4), the "Spartan Rage" has him use his bare fists on fire.
  • 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. Not without a lot of effort, as the QTEs prove.
  • Superior Successor: To Zeus. Kratos plunges the whole world into Chaos by defeating every single god in opposition against him, defeating Zeus with his bare hands in an uncomfortably bloody Extreme Mêlée Revenge. That being said, after moving up north, Kratos clearly expresses quite a lot of regrets towards his actions in his past life, and after revealing Atreus' heritage to him as well as confessing to his killing of Zeus, Kratos outright invokes this trope in that he and Atreus resolve to be better gods than the generations that spawned them.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Surprisingly for a main character, Kratos tends to end up in the land of the dead in nearly every installment. And his trip during the PS4 installment was the first time he didn't actually die to end up there.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: In Greece, Kratos was known as the Ghost of Sparta, the God-Slayer, the God of War, and after the events of Ghost of Sparta, Death, the Destroyer of Worlds. The most recent game adds a new alias to the mix in a mural in Jötunheim: Fárbauti, meaning "cruel striker".
  • Unstoppable Rage: His rage is a form of him getting his vengeance.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Kratos gets played for a fool a lot in the series. He only wises up at the very end of III and kills himself rather than allow Athena to become Greece's only goddess. There's also the reveal at the end of God of War (PS4), which implies he might have been this to Faye.
  • Variable-Length Chain: His chain blades can stretch quite far. Justified as the blades are explicitly stated to be magical.
  • War God: Surprisingly, for the protagonist of a series titled God of War, Kratos' status as a War God is pretty complicated. After defeating Ares, Kratos himself ascended to godhood and was awarded with the mantle of the God of War—considering how much of a Blood Knight he was even as a mortal, it's a title all too fitting for one such as he. However, his resentment of the gods leads him to abuse his power, to the point where he begins a Divine Conflict against all on Olympus when Zeus retaliates by stripping him of his powers and sending him to the Underworld. In subsequent Greek entries after II, Kratos is no longer addressed as the God of War, but is still addressed as a god because of his inherent divinity as Zeus' son. It's also implied that his killing of Thanatos ascends him to the status of a straight-up Destroyer Deity, embodying both Death and War. By the Norse Era, Kratos no longer wears the mantle of the God of War because he decimated his whole pantheon, but his Character Development by that point has shaped him into a world-weary man who's just plain tired of conflict, much like a soldier who's suffering from PTSD long after his war has ended. So while he may no longer be the God of War in terms of title, it can be argued that he's almost certainly an embodiment of the glory to be found in a war, the rage and suffering that spurs men to begin one, and ultimately the consequences one must face when it ends.
  • Weapon of Choice: The trusty Blades of Chaos, later replaced with the near-identical Blades of Athena, and, later still, with the Blades of Exile. As of his entry into Norse Mythology, he's taken up a rough-looking runic battle-axe called the Leviathan Axe. He later retrieves the Blades of Chaos from his home to fight in the deathly cold realm of Helheim to find the cure for Atreus's sickness.
  • When He Smiles: Trapped in an unending spiral of rage, grief, self loathing and guilt, Kratos understandably does not have much to be happy about... but if ever caught off guard or allowed moments to true happiness, such as his afterlife reunion with his daughter Calliope or when trying to bond with his son Atreus, Kratos has a disarmingly warm, gentle and kind smile; even if it is always twinged with a distinct melancholy and sadness.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Kratos has evolved into something of a mascot for the PlayStation brand, having made appearances in several first-party games for the console brand, while also making crossover appearances in games such as Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny and Mortal Kombat 9.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Would? Kratos not only would hit, as he would kill them in a way just as gruesome as the men. Kratos is a lot of things, but his violence is equal for all genders.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Kratos killed his own daughter, but didn't do so intentionally, and later claimed that "a simple child will not trouble me" when Athena tells him that Pandora must be sacrificed in order to kill Zeus. However, when the time actually came to let Pandora die, Kratos couldn't bring himself to do so, and only released her into the flame to attack Zeus in a blind rage. Even after heading up to Midgard, Kratos maintains this trait; he is stern and not above shouting at his son Atreus to reprimand him for what he's done wrong, but he never lays a hand against him. The one time he does get physical with Atreus, it is under duress (the Stranger is there to kill them both and Atreus refuses to step back from the fight) and Kratos is clearly shocked with what he did and is momentarily unable to get out a sentence to Atreus.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Despite killing the Sisters of Fate themselves, Kratos actually fulfills a prophecy spoken of long ago, wherein a Marked Warrior would one day bring about the end of Olympus itself. And long after he's left Greece, Kratos very much wants Atreus to grow into a better man than him, but due to Atreus' true identity as Loki and his apparent role in Ragnarok, it is heavily implied that despite all of his efforts, Kratos' son will indeed make the same mistakes as his father once did.

    Greek Era 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kratos55.png
"By the gods, what have I become?"
"The hands of death could not defeat me, the Sisters of Fate could not hold me, and you will not see the end of this day! I will have my revenge!!"

After killing his wife and child, Kratos becomes a willing servant of the gods, dedicating himself to their every whim and performing every task they would demand of him. His efforts would eventually bear fruit when the city of Athens falls under siege from Ares himself; a petty move of jealousy from the God of War. With the knowledge that the gods are forbidden from waging war upon each other, Athena tasks Kratos to find Pandora's Box and empower himself with the evils laying within, ordering him to defeat Ares and save Athens.

And by defeating Ares, Kratos, the once mortal warrior, becomes the new God of War. However, Kratos soon finds himself alone on Olympus, shunned by his fellow gods; the feeling is mutual, as Kratos resents them deeply for their refusal to rid him of the memories of his past. For, in Athena's own words, no man nor god could ever forget his terrible deeds.

A spiteful Kratos proceeds to send out his Spartan armies all throughout Greece in a massive campaign of war, putting him in conflict with Zeus himself. When it then becomes clear that he's made an enemy out of every god on Olympus, Kratos then proclaims, "If all on Olympus will deny me my vengeance, then all on Olympus will die." Allying himself with the Titans, Kratos triggers the Second Titanomachy and sets the stage for Olympus' fall.


  • 0% Approval Rating: As the series goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that Kratos' hatred of the gods is mutual, and in II he's explicitly described from the beginning of the game as being shunned by the rest of Olympus. By the time of III, when Kratos has declared war upon the pantheon, all the gods (except Aphrodite) immediately take up arms and fight him without hesitation.
  • Anti-Hero: In Ascension, the first game, and the prequels, he's more or less a Byronic Hero, who eventually shifts into pure Villain Protagonist territory by the time of the second and third games, willingly ensuring the destruction of the world all for the sake of his petty vengeance.
  • Anti-Villain: Kratos' more unsavory actions, especially throughout II and III, can be seen as reprehensible at best and irredeemable at worst, as at his lowest point he proves himself ready and willing to cause an Apocalypse Wow on all Greece solely for the sake of vengeance. That being said, Kratos' suffering, though largely self-inflicted, is equally perpetuated by the machinations of the gods and forces just plain beyond his control. Whether or not one can feel sympathy for the man is entirely up to the player to decide.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Becoming a marauding Spartan captain with an army numbering the thousands bolstered Kratos' ego to incredible heights, and his desire for glory only intensified after his declaration of servitude to Ares. He was taken down a peg the minute Ares forced him to kill Calliope and Lysandra, but didn't learn his lesson even then—after killing Ares and becoming the God of War, he becomes even more petty and arrogant than before. Though to be fair, by that point, he's lost his brother and his mother thanks to the trickery of the gods, so his unflappable anger is at least somewhat understandable if not sympathetic.
  • Ax-Crazy: If he wants to kill you, don't expect your corpse to look pretty.
  • Badass Boast: He sends these out pretty often. The baritone helps. Just look at the quote for this section!
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Or, in particular, Elysium. The reason Kratos doesn't just saunter over to the Underworld to meet Lysandra, Calliope, or anyone else he's lost, is because he once massacred a vast majority of the Elysium Fields in order to kill Persephone, horrifying his daughter to the point of tears. He's barred from entering Elysium on principle, but it's heavily implied that even if he wasn't, he's far too guilt-ridden to even think of facing his daughter again after what he'd done.
  • Bash Brothers: With his younger brother, Deimos, in ''Ghost of Sparta’’.
  • Big Brother Instinct: When Ares and Athena showed up to kidnap his brother Deimos in Ghost of Sparta, he, despite being a little kid at the time, actually tried to attack Ares directly to save Deimos. And when he found out Deimos was still alive years after that, he immediately went on a quest to save him despite the warnings of Athena. It didn't end well at all.
  • Blasphemous Boast: "A choice from the gods is as useless as the gods themselves!" He even says this straight to the face of Zeus, who was impaling him on the Blade of Olympus at the time.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: In Chains of Olympus, Kratos manages to reunite with his beloved daughter Calliope in the Elysium Fields. To do this, he had to forsake all of his weapons and powers, in turn rendering him completely mortal but pure. However, thanks to Persephone's plot to destroy the world (which would, in turn, destroy Elysium and Calliope), Kratos is forced to abandon his daughter and slaughter nearly every soul in Elysium in order to reclaim his powers. Leaving a horrified Calliope in tears, and stoking Kratos' hatred of the gods.
  • Brought Down to Badass: After losing his godhood in II. He's still a One-Man Army capable of throwing down with creatures several times his size.
  • Cain and Abel: With both Ares and Hercules. Though it's justified, in that Ares made him kill his own family. And Hercules wanted to kill him and actually attacked him first. His list of killing his other siblings is long, though: Perseus, Persephone, Peirithous, Pollux, Athena (though the last one was an accident). The one time where he was the Abel instead of the Cain was with his mortal brother Deimos, whom he genuinely loved, but he ended up blaming Kratos for being trapped in Thanatos' domain and tried to kill him (they make peace with each other before Deimos' death, however).
  • Cerebus Retcon: Much of Kratos' actions throughout the main trilogy of the Greek series are contextualized and expanded upon further by the prequels and midquels. With these releases, Kratos Jumping Off the Slippery Slope in II is no longer him merely lashing out in petulant vengeance, but instead it becomes whole decades of pent-up anger and aggression at the gods and himself being unleashed completely.
    • Ascension features Kratos at his most vulnerable point in the whole series. Having killed Calliope and Lysandra just months prior to the events of this game, Kratos is faced with nightmares and illusions that plague him daily—partly because the Furies are trying to torture him with visions, partly because he's just so horrified by the things he's done. As if that weren't enough, it also shows Kratos being fully capable of interacting with others and even forming friendships, striking a bond with Orkos and regretting having to kill him in order to free himself from his oath to Ares. All this goes to show just how damaged Kratos ends up becoming while under the servitude of the other gods later in life, as well as how much empathy and compassion he lost from all the pain and suffering he's endured.
    • Chains of Olympus features Kratos reuniting with his daughter Calliope, only to be forced to abandon her thanks to the trickery of Persephone. Worse yet, Kratos has to re-traumatize his daughter by slaughtering every soul in Elysium right in front of her eyes, so as to regain enough power to kill Persephone. Cast out of Elysium for good, without a single chance to reunite with his daughter ever again, Kratos' hatred of the gods begins to fester right at this point.
    • Ghost of Sparta follows Kratos as he travels throughout all of Olympus in search of his brother Deimos, who had been kidnapped by the gods at a very young age, on the grounds that he was the Marked Warrior destined to destroy Olympus. However, along his journey, he loses his beloved mother, as well as Deimos himself, thanks again to the gods. Worse yet, his relationship with Athena gets strained, when he learns that she had directly aided Ares in the kidnapping of Deimos in the first place. This is where Kratos promises to make the gods pay for everything they've done to him, and sets the stage for God of War II. Ghost of Sparta also reveals that Kratos' red tattoo was in fact made as a reminder of his failure to protect Deimos when they were children.
  • Chained by Fashion: The Blades of Chaos/Athena/Exile were attached to his skin by magic chains. The ending of the 2018 game shows that they left chain-shaped scars across his forearms.
  • Character Development:
    • In a journey of conquest with his fellow Spartans, Kratos comes across a Barbarian King; assured of his victory, Kratos and the Spartans do battle against the King and his horde, only to find themselves epically outclassed. On the brink of death and in an uncharacteristic act of cowardice, Kratos begs the God of War, Ares, to destroy his enemies in exchange for his allegiance. Ares does as promised, granting Kratos the power to slaughter the Barbarians — but Kratos would serve Ares' whims all his days, enabling his Blood Knight Glory Hound tendencies even more. While Kratos justifies the atrocities he later commits under Ares' name "for the glory of Sparta," Kratos' wife knows all too well that his monstrous acts were all for his own glory, never Sparta's.
    • This all comes to a head when Ares sends Kratos to a village worshipping Athena, ordering him to slaughter all who lay within — naturally, Kratos obliges, but finds himself wracked with guilt and horror at having murdered his own wife and child in the haze of violence. Knowing this was all a manipulation by Ares to make Kratos a more efficient warrior, Kratos would be forever marked by his sin — with the ashes of his wife and child fused to his skin forever, Kratos transforms from a ruthless warrior devoted only to conquest and violence into a cold shell of a man endlessly tormented by his crimes against humanity. This would only get worse when he later encounters his daughter Calliope in the Elysium Fields—though their reunion brings out one of the few moments of genuine joy we'd see from Kratos himself, he's forced to abandon her yet again due to the machinations of Persephone. Leaving Calliope in horrified tears, Kratos abandons her and his rage at the gods begins to gnaw and exhaust him both physically and emotionally.
    • After defeating Ares and becoming the God of War himself, Kratos becomes bitter against the gods of Olympus, who refused to remove the PTSD-fuelled nightmares and visions he'd endure daily, despite having promised him they would do so with the defeat of Ares — in Athena's own words, no one could ever forget the many atrocities Kratos has committed. Though Kratos seethes with rage, he feels no immediate need to clash against the gods — that is, until he discovers that his brother Deimos, who had been kidnapped as a child by both Ares and Athena under the belief that he was the prophesied "Marked Warrior" who would destroy Olympus, is actually alive and kept tucked away in an Eldritch Location to be endlessly tortured by Thanatos. Though Kratos would defeat Thanatos, he would lose both Deimos and his mother along the journey — his grief for his loss eventually turning into rage against the gods themselves for stealing more family members away from him. In his rage, he sets the Spartans all across Greece in a mass slaughter campaign, earning him the ire of Olympus.
    • After being betrayed by Zeus in II and left to die, and discovering that Zeus later on destroyed Sparta just to spite him, AND being told by Athena that every god on Olympus would deny him his vengeance against Zeus due to Zeus' intrinsic ties to Olympus and reality itself, Kratos decides then and there that he's had enough of the gods and their manipulations, declaring that any god who would dare stand in his way would die. So consumed is Kratos by his vengeance and his refusal to take any responsibility for his own actions at this point that he deliberately ignores the rampant destruction he causes to the world from the deaths of the multiple gods he encounters throughout his quest. But even all this gets eclipsed thanks to the advent of Pandora, who forms a shaky bond with Kratos himself — as she resembles Kratos' daughter. Once Pandora decides to sacrifice herself in order to grant Kratos the power to defeat Zeus, Kratos' burgeoning emotional attachment to her clouds his senses, and when the time comes, he cannot bring himself to let her die. She manages to sacrifice herself anyway, only for her death to have meant virtually nothing, since the power to defeat Zeus had been inside Kratos all along. It is this that destroys Kratos' will, and propels him to make his first heroic act, by sacrificing himself to grant humanity the power of Hope, and let them live without need for the gods.
  • 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".
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the traditional heroes of Greek Mythology. Many of those heroes, such as Oedipus, Achilles, and even Hercules at some points, had a Might Makes Right mentality; their worth as heroes wasn't measured by their moral character, but through their strength and power. Kratos is essentially what these kinds of heroes would be in real life; sociopathic, selfish, bloodthirsty, and extremely entitled.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Crosses it when he accidentally kills his family, and remains past it from that point onward. But it gets real bad when he learns that the gods cannot (or will not) end his nightmares, even after the death of Ares. 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...
    • In God of War II, when The Last Spartan passes away after their encounter in the Palace of the Fates (they were in a dark room and could not see each other clearly), Kratos loses all will to fight and is about to let the Kraken kill him, but then Gaia -taking the appearece of Kratos' deceased wife- talks to him in a vision and brings him back into battle.
    • He nearly crosses it again at the end of Ghost of Sparta after the death of his brother Deimos. He briefly considers jumping off to his death at the Suicide Bluffs again, but pulls out of it at the last moment. He then decides to turn his despair into hatred for the gods.
  • Dirty Coward: Generally, no. But a few rare moments of cowardice pop in and out. His greatest moment being the circumstances that led him to swear his life to the War God. More obsessed with his reputation than his Spartan traditions (which demanded soldiers to either win a battle or die honorably), Kratos called upon Ares to bail him out when he was threatened by the Barbarian King. This, of course, ruined his life. He would eventually grow out of it.
  • Disney Death: At the end of III, it was unclear if Kratos survived his self-inflicted wound, or simply cast himself off the cliff, as he tried to do at the end of the first game. God of War (PS4) reveals that he totally did.
  • 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 III, but that is more of a Heroic Suicide, and even then, it turns out he survived that.
  • The Dragon: To Ares, during his time in the God of War's service. He is 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.
  • Dual Wielding: The Blades of Chaos/Athena/Exile, the Claws of Hades, the Nemean Cestus, and the Nemesis Whip.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Two, really, during the first chapter. The first is when Kratos finds a trapped slave/prisoner, who declares that even being locked up on a sinking vessel with monsters swarming over it won't persuade him to accept Kratos' help. The second is at the end of the boss fight, where Kratos saves the captain who was previously Swallowed Whole... then yanks away the key he was wearing around his neck before deliberately throwing him down into the dead hydra's stomach. For absolutely no reason.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Throughout Kratos' search for his brother, he is confronted repeatedly by Athena, who desperately attempts to turn him away from this path he's taken. Though Kratos is furious at the gods for their hand in kidnapping his brother, he actually seems to consider Athena's advice at one point, only to fall back on anger when he realizes that she helped Ares kidnap Deimos. Judging from the Tranquil Fury he displays towards her later on, it's clear that this betrayal stung Kratos pretty deep.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He did care for Callisto, and was enraged and guilt-ridden when she turned into a monster and he had to kill her.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: Kratos is a callous and violent man, but even he has been loved. He and his wife were actually Happily Married, before Kratos let his Glory Hound tendencies get the better of him, and when Calliope reunited with him in Elysium, she happily ran over to him and embraced him tightly. When he first encounters his brother Deimos, Deimos rages against him for "leaving him behind" in their youth, yet after Kratos saves his life from Thanatos, the two brothers work side-by-side to defeat the God of Death. His mother Callisto also loved him dearly, to the point where even after Kratos kills her in Ghost of Sparta, he can find a note in the Underworld presumably written by her, begging the gods to punish her in his place. If we're gonna go real far with this, even Zeus is said to have cared for Kratos at the very least (before succumbing to his fear), having taken pity upon him at his birth. When Kratos falls into the Underworld thanks to Ares, Zeus even helps Kratos escape under the guise of a lowly Grave Digger, affectionately referring to him as "my son."
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: You'd be surprised at how many. His wife Lysandra and his daughter Calliope were Kratos’ last tethers to humanity, and his love for them was so strong that in accidentally killing them, he immediately renounced his service to Ares. He also loved his mother Callisto dearly, to the point where when she transformed into a monster, he killed her in the most humane way he could. He also was so distraught over losing his brother at such a young age that when Kratos discovered that Deimos was still alive, he immediately went off to go save him from wherever he'd been trapped.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He expresses much disgust at the torture the victims of the Olympians get. Kratos is no saint, but there are levels that he will never stoop to — well, not willingly any more. Despite almost being killed by Hephaestus, he understands why he did it; to save his child. A child is the one thing that Kratos is never seen killing — except for his own daughter — in any of the games.
    • Kratos also has a strong sense of brotherhood, due to the fact that he lost his brother Deimos at a young age as well as Sparta instilling this in all Spartans. After discovering that Zeus is his father, Kratos tries and fails to reason with his half-brother Hercules. In Ascension, he was most likely disgusted as well by Pollux's cowardice, when the guy tried to pin the blame for his and Castor’s atrocities on the latter — while crawling away all the while.
    • While he will generally do anything to accomplish his goals without remorse, Kratos does knows there are limits. As Kratos says to a dying Athena in II he doesn't seek to destroy Olypmus, only Zeus. Indeed, III' shows Kratos is fine letting the other Olympians and Titans live, but they kept provoking him.
  • Family Values Villain: Kratos deeply loved his immediate family, to the point where when he discovered he'd killed them in a blood frenzy, he nearly went mad from the grief alone. In fact, the death of his brother Deimos is a large factor in what caused his rage against the gods to fester, culminating in his eventual declaration of war upon Olympus. Ironically, though he hates the gods and makes motions to destroy them in III, him being Zeus' son means that throughout the game, he's slaughtering all his family members.
  • Fatal Flaw
    • In his younger years as a Spartan captain, Kratos' Blood Knight and Glory Hound tendencies were so insatiable that when he dedicated his life to Ares, he grew drunk on the atrocities he committed daily under the God's name, justifying himself endlessly by proclaiming his intent to spread the "glory of Sparta" throughout the world...even though it was perfectly clear that he only sought personal glory. This mad dash for power and bloodshed cost him dearly when Ares tricked him into killing his wife and child in a blood frenzy, solely for the purpose of undoing more of Kratos' humanity.
    • Kratos' Unstoppable Rage is exactly that — unstoppable. He's perpetually in a state of gruelling anger and self-loathing, and it's awfully easy for him to take his anger out on completely innocent people; when anybody wrongs him in any fashion, whether they be gods or men, Kratos immediately goes for the kill regardless of their reasons. After becoming the God of War and going on a massive campaign all over Greece just to anger the rest of the gods, Kratos is warned by Athena that Olympus won't take too kindly to his rampage. Shockingly, when Kratos refuses to listen to her and tries to destroy Rhodes by entering the battlefield himself, Zeus takes action and proceeds to end his life.
    • His unbelievably deep-seated self-loathing is one of the biggest contributors to why he is as screwed up as he is. Kratos is completely aware of what kind of man he is, and he bears a great many regrets about the numerous atrocities he's committed over the years, his greatest failure being his killing of his own family. Unable to bear the weight of his sins, furious at the gods for refusing to remove his memories of them, and driven to the brink of madness from the multiple travesties they committed against him and his loved ones throughout the years, Kratos unleashes all his self-hate in a projection against the gods and lashes out in II and III, to the point where he outright declares war on Olympus itself.
    • His shortsightedness and self-centeredness have cost him much throughout the series. Kratos spent his entire life doggedly focused on singular goals, and as such has a very difficult time seeing the big picture, so to speak. Throughout the original series, he's so blinded by his desire for revenge that he fails to notice or even care that in killing the gods, he's heralding the destruction of Greece.
  • A Father to His Men:
    • The Spartans are loyal to him even in death itself. What we see of living Spartans has them treat Kratos with reverence and awe. In III and the most recent entry, it's their power he draws upon, not the Gods or the Titans as in previous games.
    • Two of the particular Spartans he's particular with is Atreus and the Last Spartan:
      • Atreus was a Spartan warrior who believes in having hope and often inspire his fellow Spartans in battle. After his death, Kratos decides to honor him by naming his son after him.
      • The Last Spartan had served Kratos even after Kratos' fall from grace as a god. Even after his accidental murder by Kratos' hands, he still puts faith into Kratos before he dies.
  • Freak Out: Kratos was always a little unstable, what with the constant nightmares, the shame of killing his family weighing down on him, his short-sightedness and temper causing him to lose what few things held him in check and the gods playing a constant game of "kick the Spartan". But by the time of II, he's on the knife's edge of madness, and Zeus's betrayal shoves him right off said edge into full-blown insanity: by that point, nothing matters to him but killing Zeus, no matter who gets hurt. While his actions are reprehensible, they're understandable: Kratos has literally nothing left but revenge.
  • Glory Hound: Used to be a big one. During his tenure as the captain of the Spartan army, he led his men throughout the lands in an endless pursuit of conquest. This only got worse when he dedicated his life to Ares, as from then on Kratos began slaughtering more people and became infamous all throughout the world. And of all the ways he could've had a Humble Pie moment, it had to be him killing his family during one of his many random slaughters.
  • God Is Evil: As the God of War, he leads a brutal conquest of all of Greece in the name of Sparta (as far as non-Spartans can see, though he has good reasons), mainly to spite the gods for everything they've put him through.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Ares wanted to make Kratos the perfect warrior in his bid to conquer Olympus. First he gained his loyalty through a Deal with the Devil. Then he gave him the powerful Blades of Chaos. Then he tricked Kratos into killing his wife and child because they were all that was holding him back from being the perfect murder machine. Kratos even acknowledges this at the end of the first game.
    Ares: That day... I was trying to make you a great warrior!
    Kratos': You succeeded. (runs Ares through with the Sword of the Gods, killing him)
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a scar near his eye given to him by Ares himself, when Kratos attempted to attack him for kidnapping his brother. He also has one on his stomach where he was impaled with the Blade of Olympus, as well as marks along his arms from the chains he’d wear during his time in Greece.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: By the opening of II, he's become as bad as Ares, doing all of the horrible things Ares himself had done, which led to the gods assigning Kratos the job of killing him in the first place.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: The only reason Kratos managed to kill any of the gods after opening Pandora's Box is because he's been powered by the light of Hope itself.
  • Heel Realization: After causing the apocalypse, Kratos realizes that he's made a bad call.
  • A Hero to His Hometown: Kratos' birthplace, Sparta, is the only place in all Greece where anybody accepts him with open arms. After the death of Ares, the Spartans immediately welcomed Kratos as their new God of War, to the point where Ares worship quickly dwindled from that point on.
  • 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 "Screw 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. Not only that, but during his ten years of servitude to the gods, it's shown that several mortals who are aware of his past deeds are more scared of him than they are of the monsters attacking him and would rather be killed than be saved by him. It only gets worse after he becomes the God of War, though it's largely because he begins abusing his power upon the whole of Greece. This is averted when it comes to Sparta, though; seeing as how the city-state is founded upon a Proud Warrior Race Guy mentality, it only makes sense that they would be rather pleased with their fellow Spartan Kratos becoming the new God of War.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: After all is said and done in III, Kratos runs himself through with the Blade of Olympus, releasing the power of hope to mankind.
  • Heroes' Frontier Step: He did heroic deeds in the past, like fighting off a Persian invasion and saving Athens from Ares, but they were purely done for his own interests rather than any altruism. However, by the end of III, he reaches something of a Heel Realization, having finally discovered just what kind of damage his quest for vengeance had done to himself, the world, and those close to him. His response to this is to impale himself on the Blade of Olympus in a Heroic Sacrifice, bestowing Hope upon the rest of mankind in the process.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Kratos has repeatedly used godly weapons to kill other deities. In Chains of Olympus, Kratos defeats Persephone through use of Helios' Sun Shield and the Gauntlet of Zeus (the latter of which he used to deliver the final blow); this is important because Kratos hadn't even opened Pandora's Box yet, so he didn't even have any innate power to kill a god at this point. When Kratos and Zeus do battle at the end of II, Kratos manages to put Zeus on the ropes because he's wielding the Blade of Olympus (which contained Kratos' godly power at that time) throughout the whole fight. It's implied even that Kratos might have actually managed to pull off killing Zeus had Athena not intervened at just the right time.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Of all the characters to associate with this trope... It's complicated. In the original series, Kratos obtained the power of Hope when opening Pandora's Box to defeat Ares, while all the evils contained within the Box spread out amongst the gods of Olympus. Fast forward several years later, Kratos comes in conflict with Zeus and the other gods, and, driven by vengeance, utterly demolishes all of Greece in the ensuing Roaring Rampage of Revenge. But, upon realizing the full weight of his actions and how utterly empty his quest for vengeance has been, Kratos unleashes the power of Hope unto mankind by stabbing himself in the gut with a giant sword.
  • Idiot Ball: Throughout the original Greek entries, the guy gets manipulated left and right by gods and titans, repeatedly makes foolish decisions because he constantly chooses immediate satisfaction over long-term benefits, and willingly causes suffering to innocent people all in the name of his petty refusal to take responsibility for his own actions.
  • Insane Troll Logic: When Zeus confronts Kratos at the beginning of II, after the latter was drained of his godly powers, Kratos vocally demands an answer as to why Zeus would "betray" him. Note that at this point, Kratos has been ransacking the whole of Greece with his Spartan armies and has expressed nothing but disdain towards Zeus and the other gods after their refusal to remove the nightmares of his past, as well as their involvement in the deaths of Callisto and Deimos. Zeus even lampshades it:
    Kratos: Why? Why would you betray me?
    Zeus: It is you who would betray me! Am I to stand idly by while Olympus is threatened?
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: He was always a Sociopathic Hero on his very best of days, but he was perfectly capable of compassion and feelings of camaraderie. But then his mistakes start to add up, he spends every waking second being pushed and prodded and tormented by the gods, he loses half the things he cared about to his own failings and the other half is taken away. As of the second game, he's devolved into a straight-up Villain Protagonist. The game opens up with him waging war alongside the Spartans in Rhodes, and after Zeus betrays him, the man just snaps. It's all downhill from there.
  • Kick the Dog: Kratos does this a lot, though an In-Universe one that counts as well as a Moral Event Horizon to all who know him is the killing of his wife and child in a blood frenzy. Literally in the case of the ever-annoying Cerberus Pups.
  • Kill the Gods: By the end of the series, the only gods he didn't kill are Artemis, Apollo, Aphrodite and Morpheus, and that's because the first and the latter sort of suffered a case of What Happened to the Mouse? while Apollo was only mentioned by others...though then again, one could assume that all three of them died due to the events of III.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Mind you, it was by complete accident. Kratos left Calliope and Lysandra back in Sparta, but Ares transported them over to his position as he was slaughtering dozens of people in the same room.
  • 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.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: In III, he spends the entire game plotting to kill Zeus, killing multiple Physical Gods who get in his way in the process, which each cause a progressive Apocalypse Wow. Although he can survey the destruction at some points, and in-game text at these spots do indicate what is happening, it's rather evident that, past killing Zeus in a state of Revenge Before Reason, Kratos doesn't actually have any plans for what he's going to do afterwards. Ultimately, in the finale, he sees what he has wrought, and is Driven to Suicide mostly to spite Athena and keep her from getting Hope, but does seem to comprehend that he left the world in a horrible state, and while the gods won't rule over man any longer, there's not much left to rule over anyway.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Eventually turns on the entire Greek Pantheon of gods for all the times they've shafted him and his loved ones.
  • Moment of Weakness: Begging for Ares' help after being defeated by the Barbarian King. That one moment of cowardice ultimately proved to be the bane of Kratos' existence.
  • Not So Different: Like Ares, Kratos was willing to do virtually anything for what he wants no matter how cruel his action or whom he has to hurt. In GOWII it is stated he has become worse than Ares ever was. By ‘’III'' even his concern for Sparta is thrown out the window, as he does not spare it a thought despite knowing that his god-slaying rampage is destroying the world.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: In the past, Kratos was a warmongering, bloodthirsty Spartan who led his soldiers on conquest after conquest. When his wife Lysandra called him out on it, Kratos declared that he was going it for the glory of Sparta; Lysandra was not convinced and knew that he only did it for his own personal glory.
  • The Oathbreaker: He broke his Blood Oath to forever serve Ares. Ascension reveals that The Furies captured and punished him for it, but he managed to escape and kill them.
  • Offing the Offspring: Kratos accidentally killed his daughter Calliope in a blood frenzy.
  • Paradox Person: If II has any implications on the timeline, Kratos has either created an endless time loop of his own death and resurrection in his pursuit of vengeance, or, he has moulded with his past self. Undoing the events of the game.
  • Pet the Dog: He, on some level, does this. The Last Spartan and Pandora stand out. The former, who is a loyal follower, and the latter whom he feels fatherly affection to (despite killing her father in self-defense, he understand why he did it).
  • The Pornomancer: Aphrodite, two of her daughters, two random slave girls, two random matrons, and eight prostitutes simultaneously, each get a Hot Coffee Minigame. It's possible that Alecto wants in on that too, and so do Aphrodite's handmaidens.
  • Power Copying: Has a habit of taking weapons, items, and powers from defeated enemies. In certain cases, he even uses decapitated heads as weapons.
  • Properly Paranoid: In III. When the ghostly Athena confronts him in the Underworld and states her intent to help him kill Zeus, Kratos is suspicious, since Athena had previously sacrificed her life to save Zeus from Kratos' wrath. Athena claims she sees truths she didn't before, but during the ending, it turns out Kratos was right to be suspicious; Athena was just using him to take Zeus out so she could become the sole god of Greece and rule over mankind for herself.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: While he was never a particularly good man in the first place, it can be argued that the events that occur in Ghost of Sparta is what kick starts Kratos's transformation into the infamously unapologetic, psychotic, and selfish brute that eventually destroys the whole world out of revenge.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: He was born in Sparta, where war was a way, if not THE way of life.
  • Psychological Projection: Kratos has a tendency to blame pretty much all of his problems on the gods or on others, when it's perfectly clear to everyone and especially himself that his own actions are largely to blame for why his life has been as awful as it is. Naturally, he can't forgive himself for the things he's done, because that would actually mean facing his failures head-on, so he ends up causing way more trouble to others than he's worth.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Kratos can act like a mature adult, particularly to his daughter and the Last Spartan, but more often than not, he acts like a selfish, entitled, irresponsible brat who acts without thinking. The second and third games are stand out examples, where his rampages throughout Greece and Olympus are little more than him reaching emotional overflow and throwing deranged tantrums.
  • The Quiet One: In Ascension, he has considerably fewer lines.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: The perfect poster child for it. In fact, he currently is in this trope's page.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Played with, at the end of III, he kills himself with the Blade of Olympus to release the power of Hope. It is up to the viewer to decide if this was to humanity and try to make up for destroying the world in his quest for revenge or just to spite Athena. Either way, it didn't stick.
  • Reforged Blade: After the Blades of Athena are damaged in the River Styx, Athena's spirit remakes them into the Blades of Exile.
  • Regret Eating Me: In III, Cronos tries to finish him off by eating him alive. Kratos just cuts his way out with the Blade of Olympus.
  • Revenge: It's the fuel that runs Kratos's Character Development throughout the Greek entries.
  • Revenge Before Reason: If the fact that he singlehandedly destroys the world in his crusade against Olympus in God of War III is anything to go by. At the end of III, he has to choose between saving Pandora who he has come to see as a surrogate daughter or sacrificing her to complete his revenge against Zeus. Though he’s initially ravaged by the choice, as Pandora reminds him of Calliope, he ultimately chooses revenge over her due to Zeus’ taunts.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Basically his entire objective, throughout almost ‘’every single game’’ taking place in Greece.
  • Satanic Archetype: Kratos is widely feared and reviled for the horrible things he's done, and once he becomes a god he ends up abusing his power out of sheer spite towards Olympus. In II and III, Kratos becomes so fed up with the gods that he outright wages war against them, disregarding the consequences completely. By the time his vengeance is complete, he's ended all of reality and plunged the world into Chaos. The only "positive" aspect here is his association with light; by the time of III, Kratos is revealed to have been imbued with the power of Hope, when he first opened Pandora's Box all the way back when he fought Ares. So when Kratos discovers the weight of his actions in triggering an Apocalypse How upon all Greece, he performs a Heroic Sacrifice by impaling himself on the Blade of Olympus, releasing Hope to the whole world.
  • Scars Are Forever: Long after leaving Greece, he still has the scar over his eye that he's always had, as well as scars on his stomach and back from when he was stabbed with the Blade of Olympus in II. The ending of that game also shows his forearms are still scarred from having the Blades of Chaos attached to his arms.
  • Semi-Divine: As revealed at the end of II, he's one of Zeus' demigod sons.
  • 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.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Extremely concerned with self-interests, morally bankrupt, finds pleasure in the deaths of his enemies, extremely prone to emotional outbursts, violently reacts to things like betrayal, and severely lacking any form of empathy for his fellow man.
  • Start of Darkness: Regarding his Villain Protagonist mention below, he seems to start down this path in earnest by the end of Ghost of Sparta, owing to the deaths and divine manipulations of his mother and brother, followed by Athena essentially congratulating him for losing his mortal binds and becoming ready to become a god.
  • Strong and Skilled: He's a skilled warrior, once the captain of the Spartan army, and is capable of throwing down with and manhandling creatures far larger than himself. It certainly helps that he's a demigod.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: He grapples bare-handed with everything from civilians to soldiers, mythical heroes, large monsters, huge monsters, gods, and Titans, and no matter who or what he's fighting, they all seem to cause him the exact same amount of physical strain. Even opening wooden doors and treasure chests seems to give him the same amount of trouble as, say, tossing the Colossus of Rhodes across the city.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After accidentally mortally wounding Athena, he is horrified and tries to assure her that he doesn't mean to harm Olympus, just to kill Zeus. When Athena tells him that the survival of Zeus and Olympus are co-dependent, he angrily declares that Olympus will fall.
  • This Means War!: "Zeus! Your son has returned! I bring the destruction of Olympus!"
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Make no mistake, Kratos was never a nice person. But, as seen in Ascension, there was a time in which he still had some empathy for others. However, he gradually loses more and more of whatever standards he had left until, by the time by III, he has cast almost all of his moral concerns aside. In a Game Informer interview hyping Ascension, one of the developers was quoted as describing Kratos as "unlikable" and "an asshole" by the time of III.
    • In II, he's described right from the beginning narration as having "no need for the love of petty gods," and expressly tells Athena he "owes her nothing," after she brings up concerns that his warmongering throughout Greece is causing unrest among the Olympians. This is after she literally made him the God of War. Ghost of Sparta actually contextualizes this: his hatred of the gods intensified once Kratos discovered that his long-lost brother Deimos was still alive, trapped in the Domain of Death under the suspicion that he would one day fulfill a prophecy in which he would bring Olympus' destruction. Realizing that Athena herself had aided the gods in kidnapping Deimos, Kratos ventured forth to free his brother, refusing to heed any of Athena's warnings; sadly, Kratos lost both his brother and his mother in the process, and blamed the gods for it. It was actually one of the few instances where he lost a loved one through no fault of his own.
  • 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. Ironically, the destruction he causes by killing the gods in III is all but stated to have destroyed Sparta as well. By then he is too far gone to give any thought to his actions.
  • The Unfettered: Ares purposely made him into someone who would be capable of anything by removing the only things grounding him in morality, his family.
  • Unstoppable Rage: His default emotion.
  • Villain Protagonist: In the second game, Kratos cares little about anyone but himself, and leaves countless innocents to die in his wake. This is added to by the fact that he ended up trying to do the exact same thing he was told to kill Ares for attempting, and spent the remainder of the game and most of the third in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that led into a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum as a result. Even though he had his reasons as shown in Ghost of Sparta, it's still enough to make him rather unsympathetic.
  • Villain Respect: Kratos seems to have a respect towards famed heroes. In God of War 2 & 3 he spoke civilly to both Theseus and Hercules and offered to spare them if they stood aside or joined him. Theseus blinded himself with his ego and Hercules was driven by his envy of Kratos and loyalty to Zeus.
  • War Is Glorious: Definitely believed in this, having been raised as a Spartan. After the killing of his wife and child, though, Kratos began to suffer from visions of his past atrocities under Ares' name, which he could only quell through...more violence, in service to the other gods.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: By the end of III, he's succeeded in obtaining his revenge, having killed everyone who ever wronged him... but by that point, he's realized that most of his misery was his own damn fault. He also finally notices the devastation he wrought upon the world during his campaign for vengeance and he's been changed enough to actually give a damn about it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The past Kratos is left unaccounted for due to the current Kratos' ability to time travel in II, and he is last shown lying on the ground. However, Icarus' death still happened, so either past Kratos still escaped from the Underworld and still killed him, or he made time fix itself (somehow).
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Averted. In spite of the games implying that Zeus considered Kratos his favorite child, Kratos has no intentions of pleasing or gaining Zeus's approval. Even after discovering the truth about his parentage, Kratos is further driven to spite Zeus and destroy everything he built.
  • What Have I Become?:
    • At one point in the first game, Kratos has a rare moment of self-awareness and, horrified by the carnage around him, asks himself this question.
    Kratos: By the gods... what have I become?
    • Asks himself this again at the end of Ghost of Sparta. Zeus/The Grave Digger answers with ''Death, The Destroyer of Worlds.'’
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: This is a man that was completely broken by the gods and, in his rage for vengeance, turned the world to complete chaos.
  • Worf Had the Flu: The only demigod to ever defeat Kratos in single combat is Kratos' own brother, Deimos. Deimos had been kidnapped by the gods at a very young age because they believed he was fated to destroy Olympus thanks to his bizarre birthmarks, and throughout his torture by Thanatos in the Domain of Death always blamed Kratos for being unable to protect him. Kratos easily could wipe the floor with Deimos, especially since at this point he's become the God of War. The only possible explanations for the ensuing beatdown Kratos endures by the end of the fight is that he either loves his brother too much to try to seriously fight back, or that he completely agrees with Deimos' assessment of him and lets him beat him down.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech:
    If all on Olympus will deny me my vengeance, then all on Olympus will die. I have lived in the shadow of the gods for long enough. The time of the gods has come to an end!
  • Worthy Opponent: Cronos calls him a "skilled warrior".
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Kratos became the God of War after killing Ares, and in later killing Thanatos, is implied to have also become the personification of Death itself.
  • You Killed My Father: Kratos rages against the gods because of the many terrible things they've done unto himself and his loved ones. Of the latter, these include: tricking him into killing his wife and child, casting a curse upon his mother so she'd never be able to reveal the name of Kratos' father (on pain of Body Horror), and kidnapping his brother on the suspicion that he was the Chosen One of a prophecy detailing the downfall of Olympus. Ironically enough, with the reveal that Kratos is Zeus' son, his attack on Olympus is him taking out his extended family. He ends up killing his own father.
  • You Monster!: Typical reaction people get when seeing him. One instance of note takes place in the first game: while on a ship currently being attacked by a Hydra, Kratos approaches a terrified fisherman, who proceeds to lock himself in a cage immediately afterward.
    Fisherman: I know who you are, Spartan! I know what you've done! I would rather die than be saved by you!

    Norse Era 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kratos_18.png
"Do not be sorry. Be better."

"I am from a land called Sparta. I made a deal with a god that cost me my soul. I killed many who were deserving...and many who were not."

Now Older and Wiser, Kratos is thrust back into fatherhood and is forced to raise Atreus by his lonesome when his Second Love Faye dies. Though he and his son are willing to work together to disperse Faye's ashes, it's clear he and his son have a strained bond; though Kratos cares deeply for Atreus, he's more than willing to dispense some Tough Love and is so ashamed of his past actions that he actively tries to hide his son's Divine Parentage from him.


  • Achievements in Ignorance: In God of War (PS4), Kratos killing Magni objectively should not have been possible; Magni was fated to survive well past Ragnarök and even become stronger than his father Thor. Kratos ups the ante later on by killing Baldur hundreds of years before his own fated death, triggering Ragnarök far earlier than ever anticipated.
  • Act of True Love: When Atreus falls gravely ill due to igniting his own Spartan Rage, Kratos is told that the only cure can only be found in Helheim, one of the most dangerous realms where his weapons and magic will be useless, and that he will need something powerful enough to burn through the icy hordes there. He then goes home to retrieve a relic of his past, the thing that he had tried to seal away forever, the reminder of his true, horrific, monstrous nature, his Blades of Chaos, and without hesitation takes up his old weapons once again to save his son.
  • Adult Fear: Despite facing countless dangers during their journeys, despite it being obvious that he is terrified of any harm coming to Atreus, nothing scares Kratos more than his son repeating his mistakes and becoming like him.
    • When he has to put on his Blades of Chaos to save his son, his hands are visibly shaking. This is a guy who has literally gone to hell and back without breaking a sweat in almost every one of his games, but it's clear that this is less a fear of danger, and more of becoming the monster he used to be.
    • When Kratos and Atreus are in Hel on a ship about to crash, Atreus witnesses his father literally beating the life out of Zeus, and as such Kratos is left pretty much speechless. However, witnessing this gave Atreus enough reasons why Kratos reprimanded him for killing Modi.
  • Aesop Amnesia: To an extent. Kratos has learned the futility of vengeance, the consequences of giving in to blind rage, and the necessities of discipline and taking responsibility for one's actions. But he has not fully internalized how his selfishness, his amorality, and his single-mindedness are massive catalysts to the things that have gone wrong in his life, and this leads to all sorts of complications during his interactions with Atreus.
  • The Aloner: In God of War (PS4), Kratos would rather be left alone to raise Atreus and spread Faye's ashes. Unfortunately for him, the gods have other plans.
  • Always Need What You Gave Up: Kratos discarded his original chained blades after moving to Midgard, using the Leviathan Axe in their place as his main weapon throughout most of the game. However, Atreus ends up suffering from a serious illness, the cure of which can only be found in Helheim, a realm where no flame in all the nine realms could ever burn. Luckily for Kratos, the Blades of Chaos aren't from the nine realms.
  • Amazon Chaser: A conversation with Atreus earlier in the game implies that this amongst other reasons is what attracted him to Faye.
    Atreus: She could fight, couldn't she?
    Kratos: Yes. She fought... beautifully.
  • Animal Motifs: In the steel book version of the game, the translated version of the runes on the cover regards Kratos as a bear. The Norse translation is "This is the story of a bear and a wolf, who wandered the realms of nine to fulfil a promise of one before; they walk the twilight path, destined to discover the truth that is to come".
  • Anti-Hero: He's a pronounced Nominal Hero this time around, as opposed to being an out-and-out Villain Protagonist. He still puts his own goals over the well-being of others, and continues to very much despise the gods. But now, Kratos actively goes out of his way to do things in a non-violent manner, only resorting to violence when he finds no other option available. He's also shown deeply regretting the many terrible things he had done while in Greece, even the killing of Zeus, and as such tries to instill in his son the importance of discipline.
  • Anti-Villain: Kratos' act of killing Baldur was done entirely with noble intentions in mind, in order to prevent him from killing his own mother and perpetuating the cycle of patricide that plagues even the Aesir. But despite being completely in the right, Kratos' actions have set the entirety of Asgard against him and his son, namely because the death of Baldur has triggered Ragnarök hundreds of years ahead of time. Mimir even lampshades this as Freya carries the corpse of her son away:
    Mimir: Guess we're the bad guys now.
  • Apologetic Attacker: After killing the gatekeeper and carving out the heart, you can see Kratos momentarily placing his hand on the gatekeeper's chest, indicating an apology from him.
  • Arc Words: Kratos' advice to Atreus whenever the boy fails or is on the verge of despair is always some variation of "Be better".
  • At Least I Admit It: When the specter of Athena visits to mock Kratos in his attempt to save Atreus, she tells him a teacher, husband, and father is something he can never be—but that he will always be a monster. Kratos doesn't deny it, but replies with how he is no longer her monster..
  • An Axe to Grind: In the 2018 game, he uses a magical axe called the Leviathan Axe, which has ice properties as well as being able to be thrown and recalled with ease.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Kratos isn't afraid to perform some gloriously brutal acts of violence upon his enemies, even when he's right in front of his son, but he is well aware that there's a difference between being witness to violent acts and actually acting them out. When he and Atreus are confronted by bandits early on in their journey, Kratos reminds Atreus to keep his distance and even asserts, "When we encounter them, you will leave them to me." When Atreus is forced to kill one of the bandits in self-defense, he falls into a Heroic BSoD and in response, Kratos comforts him as best as he possibly can...but maintains that they have to continue their journey. Likewise, Kratos absolutely refuses to let Atreus get involved in any business with the Norse gods, though this is more because the Aesir Would Hurt a Child, have much more experience in combat than Atreus, and because Atreus simply isn't yet ready for the consequences of killing a god.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Kratos is forced to grab his Blades of Chaos, which he originally planned to never touch again, once Atreus becomes ill and he has to travel to Helheim, where his Leviathan Axe would be useless.
  • Big Good: Surprisingly, Kratos is put squarely in this position by the end of the first Norse entry of the series. With the Norse pantheon being just as evil if not worse than the Greek gods, as well as Freya swearing vengeance on Kratos for the death of Baldur, Kratos has taken it upon himself to instruct Atreus on the responsibilities of being a god. He even tells him that they must be better than the generations of gods that spawned them.
  • Blessed with Suck: Kratos has come to view his godhood as a curse; a lifetime of having to suffer thanks to the treachery of his own pantheon, as well as self-loathing at his own arrogance after having become a god himself, has convinced him that "there are no good gods," and as such he desperately wants to spare Atreus from the life of tragedy that comes with being a god.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: When Atreus becomes ill and Freya asks Kratos to bring her the heart of Helheim's Gatekeeper to cure him, she warns that Hel is deathly cold, that no magic in the Nine Realms can make a blaze, and the ice magic of the Leviathan Axe would not avail him against the cold denizens of Hel. Kratos grimly realizes that he must unbury his past and returns home, retrieving his old Blades of Chaos hidden beneath the floorboards. The Blades, having been forged in the depths of Hades and infused with magic outside the Nine Realms, nicely fit his needs.
  • Brutal Honesty: Kratos, after a life of near-constant conflict, understandably doesn't handle social situations well, and often tends to shut down conversation as bluntly as possible.
    Atreus: But why would a fire troll burn mother's garden? And since when are draugr so close to the house? And what was that frozen thing that attacked us?
    Kratos: I do not know. Now be silent. We are almost home.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke:
    • Or in this case rather, a story; He bungles in telling the story of The Tortoise and The Hare to his son, emphasizing the tortoise's victory due to the Hare's foolishness and the Tortoise's discipline, never mentioning that the Hare took a nap halfway through the race. He gets better at telling stories later.
    • A less funny example later on is when he tells the story of the thief on death row who bit off his mother's ear because she showed him nothing but love instead of discipline. Kratos either forgot, was never told, or deliberately omitted that in the original fable, the mother spoiled the thief since he was a child, overlooking and forgiving every one of his crimes, and he never learned about consequences until it was too late.
  • Canon Character All Along: A bizarre example; Kratos is referred to in murals throughout Jötunheim as Fárbauti. The name itself means "cruel striker", but in traditional Norse legends, it is the name of the father of Loki ...which is revealed to have been the name given unto Atreus by Faye.
  • Character Development: It's clear at this point that Kratos deeply regrets his past actions, especially his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and has become a stoic yet more empathetic individual. Though he is still largely concerned with self-interests, he has gained greater control over his rage and is more willing to accept his own faults as a person. He still holds great disdain for any deity in his way, but doesn't go out of his way to massacre them indiscriminately — though he still despises gods, he knows that the consequences of killing one can be disastrous, and doesn't want to make a repeat of what had happened in III. The simple act of finding love with Faye shows that he's at least managed to move past the deaths of his original family. Though he tries to spend the whole game running away from his traumatic past life, his time spent with Atreus and others throughout the journey forces him to come to terms with who he is and what he's done, and by the end, he undoes the bandages along his forearms — a symbolic act signifying that Kratos has finally accepted himself and forgiven himself for his past sins, thanks to Atreus' acceptance of him.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: Kratos has moved on from being a modern Anti-Hero, and has become a much more Classical example. While he's still a stoic One-Man Army capable of ripping off a man's head with a punch, he's now faced with a situation in which he's completely unprepared for. He's often very stern and distant from his son, to the point where his actions can be classified as Parental Neglect if not outright abusive. But, underneath his constant frowning, Kratos is very clearly terrified of losing Atreus, having Atreus make the same mistakes he once did as a War God, or even letting Atreus know the truth behind his Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: It's revealed in the novelization that Kratos tried multiple times to be rid of the Blades of Chaos, but they'd always find their way back to him through various contrived situations. One of the strangest offenders of this was when he tried to dump them into the ocean while on a ship, and the sea got so "angry" that it wrecked his vessel and left him ashore with the Blades. Giving up, he decided to just keep them under the floorboards of his house as an eternal, painful reminder.
  • Combat and Support: Kratos does most of the dirty work up-close while Atreus supports him with his arrows.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Outright states this to Atreus, after he reveals his Divine Parentage to him. Kratos is now fully aware of the responsibilities and dangers that come with being a god, and does not want his son to suffer the same way he once did.
    Atreus: So I'm a man now... Like you?
    Kratos: No. We are not men. We are more than that. The responsibility is far greater. And you must be better than me. Understand?
  • The Comically Serious: Midgard's a lot more whimsical than Greece was, so Kratos becomes this when put next to characters like Brok, Sindri, and Mimir.
  • Competitive Balance:
    • The Leviathan Axe has the best single-target damage, but outside certain runic attacks, isn't too amazing when dealing with mobs.
    • The Fist/Shield combo has the fastest attack speed and best stun damage, but is the weakest physical damage and has no elemental damage, in addition to sharing the same area of effect weakness as the Leviathan Axe. On the plus side, it builds up Spartan Rage the fastest.
    • The Blades of Chaos have the best Area of Effect damage, best used for large mobs, but is noticeably worse for fighting single bosses than the Leviathan Axe due to the lower damage.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The original series is very much this to Kratos. Though he's now become a father, and he deeply cares for his son, it's clear that Kratos is still wracked with guilt over what he used to be.
  • Dented Iron: Kratos is still extremely badass compared to the average mortal (and even god), but it's clear age has started to catch up with him. While a younger Kratos is capable of tearing through hordes of enemies and killing gods without needing to stop to even take a breather, now even a small group of enemies can be dangerous and his first fight with Baldr leaves him bloodied and barely able to stand.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Everyone was surprised by Kratos killing Magni, but they weren't as awestruck as Atreus. Modi was traumatized and devastated by the death of his brother. Mimir was in dread of Thor's response to Magni's death.
    Mimir: (after an awestruck Atreus mentions Thor) Not Minor. Not Minor at all, him. This will not go over well in Asgard.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Kratos may be quiet and doing his best not to talk about her much, but when Atreus claims he doesn't actually care about his mom dying, he corrects him very quickly.
    Kratos: Mind your tongue, boy! Until our journey is over, one of us must remain focused. Do not mistake my silence for lack of grief. Mourn how you wish, leave me to my own.
  • Discard and Draw: Kratos discarded his signature chain blades and instead uses a magical axe as his primary weapon. He eventually recovers his old weapons, revealed to be hidden under the floorboards of his cabin.
  • Doesn't Trust Those Guys: He rather understandably has an instinctual hatred of all gods, claiming that there are no "good" ones and that they aren’t worthy of worship. This behavior negatively colors his experiences with Freya, but he seems to be okay with Mimir, mostly because he has a similar opinion on most of them.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Kratos really doesn't like it when Mimir finds out who he is and calls him the Ghost of Sparta.
  • Double Meaning: Kratos remains enigmatic about his past and during key plot points when he speaks to Atreus. It sounds like he's trying to assure himself more than Atreus.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: How he's introduced in the trailer for the 2018 game.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While he is still gruff and anti-social, he calls out Atreus when he talks down on Sindri, and hurts his feelings, stating that he had no reason to talk to him so cruelly. He's also a bit annoyed when Atreus bluntly asks Sindri about Brok's blue skin.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Despite the fact that Norther Europe is far colder than the Mediterranean, the most he wears is a leather shoulder-strap on his upper body by default. He can however equip actual chestplates that cover his body.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • As he's mostly gotten past the whole Never My Fault thing by this point, perhaps the most destructive flaw Kratos has nowadays is his inability to just talk to the boy. So many problems in the game could have been avoided had Kratos been able to communicate with Atreus: besides keeping Atreus's true nature from the boy, which caused Atreus's illness as detailed below, even after revealing the truth he keeps key tidbits away from Atreus, and this causes the boy to go Drunk with Power. Case in point, Kratos mentions that there are consequences to killing gods after Atreus kills Modi, and refuses to elaborate: predictably, Atreus blows him off and continues on his path down the slippery slope.
    • His self-loathing and refusal to face his past actions. Though Kratos wants to protect Atreus from the knowledge of being a god, it's revealed later on that Atreus' body is wrestling with his divine nature. If Kratos had entrusted Atreus with the truth from the very beginning, Atreus would never have become an Ill Boy. Later on, Kratos is forced to face the shame of his past actions; while it's clear he deeply regrets who he once was, what's most troubling to him is what his son might think of him. Even when making a confession, Kratos remains vague. He admits to killing his father Zeus, but settles on leaving out many other details for another time.
    • His shortsightedness rears up every once in a while. Even after moving up to Midgard, Kratos is primarily focused on caring for his son and getting Faye's ashes to the highest peak in all the realms. Despite his intentions being significantly more noble than they were before, he focuses on his relationship with Atreus and their goal so much that he brushes off the prophesies of the mural in Jötunheim — namely the fact that Atreus will trigger Ragnarök through Kratos' death — along with the implication that Faye had intended for all of it to happen.
  • Feeling Their Age: While still terrifyingly strong by normal-human standards, Kratos has become a fading shadow of his former mighty self by the time we see him Older and Wiser in Scandinavia. While still capable of a brisk jog, he is nowhere as fast or agile as he was in Ancient Greece and cannot even jump (much less double jump) anymore. More tellingly, the Warrior who once flipped over Titans the literal size of mountains now visibly strains and struggles against Trolls no bigger than the Cyclopses he once casually knocked out, and most tellingly is visibly winded and exhausted after his bouts with The Stranger in spite of once not even breaking a sweat beating the life out of Hercules and Zeus himself; in their first fight alone, the Stranger repeatedly mocks him for being a slow old man.
    • Some of this seems to be a case of being rusty, as Kratos more readily handles Baldur in their subsequent rematches, and by the time he trounces the younger god a third time, he is still standing tall. This can be attributed to his greater experience as a warrior and the assistance of his son, though he confides to Atreus soon after that he has only enough strength to finish their journey.
    • Throughout the game, Kratos is still fully capable of pushing building-sized objects with his bare hands, so he clearly has not lost his strength, and the developers have hinted that his reduced efficiency is more due to being out of practice than age.
  • The Fettered: Time and realizing the extent of the consequences of his actions has forced Kratos to become this, something he's trying to teach his son Atreus lest he turn out like Kratos had been in the past.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: The Blades of Chaos and The Leviathan Axe, respectively.
  • Foil: Done subtly, but every god that Kratos encounter is played as a foil of his in some capacity.
    • To the Norse Pantheon:
      • In the case of Baldur, Kratos and he are at two ends of the same path; being that Baldur is very much like the unstable, violence-prone god Kratos once was, and has since overcome. This is highlighted when the two enter Hel; Baldur’s biggest regret is that he didn’t kill one of his parents, whereas Kratos' is that he did.
      • Kratos and Freya share commonality as they both at times have selfishly put the needs of themselves over the needs of their offspring. Freya condemned her son to a living hell for her own sake, whereas Kratos kept himself aloof from Atreus so that he might keep his shameful past hidden from the boy, which caused Atreus to resent his father. Of course, Kratos grew past his mistakes whereas Freya... not so much.
      • Then of course there is Tyr, who was everything Kratos was not as a god of war: benevolent, compassionate, and willing to take responsibility for his mistakes, like with the Jötunn.
      • Magni and Modi, also being demigods with a terrible father, seem to represent everything he has risen above; namely his immature bloodlust, cruelty, and cowardice.
      • Then of course there’s Odin who actually seems quite similar to Kratos. Both are now older gods of war, both are veterans of wars between gods, both killed the previous “King of the gods” and god of war (Kratos killing Zeus and Ares, and Odin disposing of Ymir and Tyr). Both have also lost the great loves of their lives. Only the two operate differently. Kratos is more of a fighter on the front lines, where as Odin is more of a strategic manipulator, who avoid direct conflict. Also they have completely different reaction to receiving prophecies about their deaths. Odin goes berserk and commits genocide against those that are suppose to carry out the deed—whereas Kratos takes his calmly and in stride.
      • There is also more than a passing similarity between him and Mimir. Both, driven by ambition, swore allegiances to gods that they would vehemently come to regret. But whereas Mimir started to realize his mistake due to a growing sense of compassion, Kratos had to personally be harmed by his decision before he forswore any allegiance.
      • Thor shares more than a few similarities to Kratos from his younger day; being impossibly strong, overcome by rage and bloodlust, and being the son of the pantheon’s king. But Kratos only targeted those who wronged him and those who got in his way, albeit with zero regard for collateral damage. Also, Kratos refused to be Zeus’s attack dog, and showed far more ambition and care for his family. Thor in contrast is happy being Odin’s enforcer, and unleashes his fury on any acceptable target, not to mention he is implied to have none of the cunning or care that Kratos had, even at his worst.
    • Kratos has also become this to his father, Zeus. When confronted with the possibility that his children would overthrow him, Zeus would rather kill his own offspring out of a desperate need to preserve his reign. Kratos, on the other hand, bluntly admits he would allow Atreus to kill him if that meant the boy would live. There's also the fact that while Zeus usurped Cronos' position as the ruler of the Greek realms, Kratos regretted the destruction of Olympus so much that he exiled himself away to seek a more mundane life up north. All this underlines the primary difference between the two: Zeus sought to preserve his glory as King of Olympus at the cost of his children, while Kratos has begun making strides to better himself for the sake of his son.
    • Finally, the former God of War has no greater foil than his own son, who is everything he is not: kind, thoughtful, attentive, curious, friendly, full of hope, and has a lust for life that Kratos has long since abandoned. The developmental team even stated that when they were designing the boy, they gave him a diametrically different set of skills and abilities. Where Kratos is an up-close-and-personal berserker with as much finesse as a dump truck, Atreus fires precise arrows and magic from afar, distracting, disabling, or holding their enemies in place so his father can punch their heads off.
  • For Want of a Nail: Kratos' decision to migrate to Midgard essentially kicks off Ragnarok. If he'd never decided to leave Greece, he wouldn't have met Faye, and if neither had met, Loki would not have been born.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Kratos may have been a War God, but in the land of Midgard, he's practically just some guy living with his family, in a shack in the middle of the woods. He ends up killing Baldur, thus kickstarting Fimbulwinter and signaling the beginning of the end times. What's more, his Second Love Faye turns out to have been Laufey the Just, and their son is destined to become Loki, the herald of Ragnarok itself.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Kratos has the ability to regenerate or heal himself as shown with the fight against The Stranger however he doesn't use this ability when fighting in game, requiring him to find healing stones in order to properly recover. The closest explanation could be that Kratos never knew he had this ability until he impaled himself or he never wanted to use it. It could be that this power weakened or slowed down with age, which is why Kratos used this as a last resort albeit strenuously.
  • God Is Good: After everything that’s happened to him and because of him in the original series, Kratos acknowledges that the things he’s done can never be redeemed, and as such pleads with Atreus to "be better than him,” not because he wants to atone for his past mistakes, but rather because he doesn’t want his son to repeat them. After the defeat of Baldur, Kratos even declares to Atreus that they "will be the gods they choose to be," and he makes it clear that they must be better than the generations that spawned them.
  • Godzilla Threshold: When Atreus falls ill, Kratos is informed that the only cure is in the deathly cold realm of Helheim, where no magic in the Nine Realms can make a blaze, and the ice magic of the Leviathan Axe would not avail him against the cold denizens of Hel. With no other options, Kratos goes back home and retrieves the Blades of Chaos from under the floorboards; he hates having to use them, since they remind him of his shitty past, but he needs them, since their Greek magic means that they'll work just fine, even in Helheim.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Early on, Kratos makes an effort to teach Atreus not to feel for his enemies, because they won't return the favor. It works a little too well; after learning of his godhood, Atreus, suffering from Acquired Situational Narcissism, kills Modi, who was beaten bloody and defenseless, in cold blood despite Kratos ordering him not to on the grounds he was already beaten and Not Worth Killing.
  • Good Is Not Nice: By the time we meet him centuries after he destroyed Greece, Kratos is still a pretty self-serving individual, but he is a much better person than who he used to be, and while not a saint yet, to his credit is trying to be a better human being, even if it is with some difficulty.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Falls into this, especially when he's anti-social with other characters.
  • Happily Married: Kratos deeply loved Faye, and though he maintains a stoic and grim demeanor throughout the journey to spread her ashes, her absence causes him great turmoil. It's apparent that Faye cared for Kratos as well, as the default shield Kratos uses throughout the journey was given by Faye as a gift celebrating the anniversary of the day they met. How much Faye truly cared for Kratos, however, is put in question thanks to The Reveal.
  • Hates Small Talk: Speaks with purpose, and is as blunt and honest as Spartans tend to be. He used to be pretty keen on yelling his lungs out, and so it's clear that part of his attempt to rein in his more violent side is his decision to be more concise with his words.
  • Healing Factor: By the time of the Norse era, Kratos has somehow developed the ability to concentrate hard enough that he can regenerate from wounds (at least in cutscenes). This would explain how he survived impaling himself in the previous game. Though, whether he developed this power thanks to his natural divinity as Zeus' son, or if he regained his godly power after impaling himself on the Blade of Olympus is unclear.
  • Hearing Voices: It is not clear if he is hallucinating or being haunted by the ghost of Athena, but he's the one who can see or hear her.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: Kratos knows he can't exactly cry his eyes out for his dead wife while fighting Draugr on the battlefield, so he keeps himself steady and stoic throughout most of his journey with Atreus, despite grieving immensely for the loss of Faye.
  • Hey, You!:
    • His default term of address for his son Atreus is "boy". He only uses his actual name when he is seriously concerned for his safety.
    • He exclusively refers to Mimir as "Head".
    • He always refer to Brok and Sindri as the "dwarves".
  • Humble Goal: He's not out to kill a deity in the name of petty vengeance. All he wants is to get to the highest peak in all the nine realms, and spread the ashes of his dead wife along with his son.
  • I Hate Past Me: Kratos has repeatedly approached his past with shame and utter regret, having come to terms with the fact that much of the horrors taking place in the original series were largely his fault. He opts to Change the Uncomfortable Subject when people bring up his past, talk of patricide renders him silent, and being called the Ghost of Sparta appears to have become a minor Berserk Button. This self-loathing is one of the major reasons why his and Atreus' relationship is so strained, as not only is Kratos quite insecure with the idea of being a dad again, but also his refusal to open up to his own son causes the boy to be resentful towards him.
  • I Have No Idea What I'm Doing: A Played for Drama example. The death of his second wife Faye leaves Kratos adrift in a position he admits he's just not yet ready to return to: having to be a father figure again. Despite the fact that his hugely traumatic past life is centuries behind him at this point, Kratos is still so terrified of messing up with Atreus (as he has with so many other things) that he really doesn't know what to do or how to act, now that he and the boy are forced to deal with each other. It certainly doesn't help that Kratos kept himself distant from Atreus throughout most of the boy's childhood, again likely because of his own insecurities towards being a father again. Faye had always been the mediator between father and son, and now without her, Kratos is left grasping at straws.
    Kratos: Faye... What do I do? Our son is not ready to carry your ashes to the top of the mountain... and neither am I. I do not know how to do this without you.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Kratos wants absolutely nothing to do with gods of any kind, and would be more than happy to just live his life pretending to be just a normal man. Encountering the Stranger, and facing the consequences of hiding the truth from Atreus, resigns him to the fact that he can never live a normal life, and convinces him that the best thing that he can do at this point is to make sure that Atreus never repeats his mistakes.
  • It Was a Gift: Both the axe and shield were gifted to him by Faye.
  • It's All My Fault: Blames himself entirely for the destruction he caused in the first three games. And when Atreus suffers a Heroic RRoD thanks to his godly powers going haywire, Kratos took full blame for Atreus falling ill. A surprising change from the man who once never accepted fault for any of his own actions.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: In the various sidequests, he initially makes it clear that he's merely taking them on to gather resources for his and Atreus' journey, and those goals just so happens to align with helping others... but oh so gradually begins to genuinely care for, respect and show compassion towards the world around him the more he helps people.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Kratos normally gets the answers he demands and keeps the secrets he wants to. But when Mimir refuses to answer his question about a section of Hel and tells him sternly to "Never go there.", Kratos backs down.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Him being a demigod and the son of Zeus were massive spoilers, back in the original series. Here, Kratos being a god is brought up in the first two hours of the first Norse entry, and Kratos outright reveals Zeus is his father when Helheim conjures up a vision of Zeus to torment Kratos.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Though Atreus is significantly more virtuous and generally a lot more sociable than his gruff, pragmatic-to-a-fault father, the boy can very easily lose his temper and fly into a mad rage. Kratos is fully aware of how this could cause problems for the boy in the future, and constantly tries to reign his son's more violent tendencies in by exercising his discipline and focus. Sadly, with the reveal that his son is none other than Loki, one of the biggest proponents of Ragnarök and the Satanic Archetype of Norse mythology, it's likely that his efforts to prevent his son from making his past mistakes might be all for naught.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Kratos is abrasive, single-mindedly focused on his mission to spread Faye's ashes, blunt to the point of insensitivity, and generally unsociable even in situations where it'd benefit him greatly to simply talk and ask others for help. Atreus, on the other hand, is gregarious and forthcoming, always willing to help others in need, greatly concerned for the well-being of innocent life, and fully embraces the adventures presented by the world around him. This is even portrayed through gameplay, in that while Kratos gets up-close and personal with his weapons, Atreus keeps himself at a distance and fires using arrows. It's shown as the game progresses that as much as Atreus's cheery personality can irritate Kratos at times, he would much prefer it over Atreus taking after him.
  • Love Redeems: Kratos initially does not believe that he deserves redemption for the things he's done, but it is thanks to his love for his son that he manages to find it in himself to improve as a person. He knows he'll never be able to make up for his past sins, but is equally aware now that he has every opportunity to do better for himself and for his child.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Kratos was gifted a retractable shield from his wife Faye, along with his other weapons, to protect himself from strikes and projectiles alike.
  • Martial Pacifist: It's clear that Kratos has come to loathe his inability to control himself, and actively makes an effort to rein his more violent impulses in; he also constantly tries to hammer in the importance of discipline to Atreus, in hopes that the boy won't Turn Out Like His Father. He initially refuses to fight the Stranger, simply warning him to leave and insisting that the Stranger does not want this fight. The Stranger not only refuses to leave, but starts actively provoking and punching him; Kratos gives in, pulls off a Punch Catch, and lays him out flat.
    Kratos: I warned you. You would not listen.
  • Mundane Solution: Tyr needed The Unity Stone, a supernatural MacGuffin so ancient that Mimir wasn't even sure it existed, in order to travel to and from different mythologies. As for Kratos, the novelization reveals he was able to make it to Midgard through ship.
  • Mundane Utility: Kratos wields the Leviathan Axe, a magical weapon imbued with the powers of frost and can be remotely recalled, forged by Brok and Sindri to rival Mjolnir, the greatest weapon ever made, and he uses it to mow through hoards of undead, monsters, and even gods. He also uses it to chop down trees, solve puzzles, and traverse ziplines.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When he shoves Atreus to the ground in a fit of anger at the boy's insubordination. He immediately realizes what he did and attempts to stammer out an apology before a furious Atreus nails him with a lightning arrow.
  • Never-Forgotten Skill: Wanna know how much of a Genius Bruiser Kratos really is? When Kratos wields the Blades of Chaos, after having refused to use them for what must have been a very long time, he retains most of his moveset from the original Greek entries.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Downplayed. Kratos didn't spend as much time as he should have with Faye and Atreus in their early days as a family, likely because of his own insecurities towards them. After Faye is cremated, Kratos keeps the pouch of her ashes latched onto his person for as long as he can, to the point of refusing Atreus' requests to carry her. He's clearly trying, in some fashion, to make up for the lack of time he'd spent with her. By the end of the game, he lets Atreus carry her ashes himself, signifying Kratos' newfound acceptance of himself and of Faye's passing.
  • Never Learned to Read: While he's conversant in the local language, Kratos cannot read Nordic runes and requires Atreus to translate them for him. Atreus at one point does make attempts at trying to teach him how to read runes only to interrupted by an ambush from Modi.
  • The Nicknamer: Kratos rarely seems comfortable with calling anyone by name, even his own son whom he named. This seems to be symbolic of his inability, or at least his issues with, connecting to others. The only person he easily addresses by name, is his deceased wife Faye, and of course, she is dead.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: His response to the taunting of Athena's specter.
  • No Social Skills: Kratos has a hard time bonding with anyone and talks to people because he has a purpose. This puts a strain on his relationship with Atreus, as the latter thinks Kratos doesn't really care about him.
  • Not So Above It All: Kratos pretty much puts on a no-nonsense attitude throughout his and Atreus' journey, but even he shows cracks in the surface from time to time, especially when the topic of his past is brought up or if his son's even remotely in any danger. The story mostly plays this for drama, forcing Kratos to confront his insecurities in order to gain his son's trust, but also plays this for laughs from time to time. Such as when after Kratos pushes an entire bridge in an arc with his bare hands alone, he feels the need to clarify that he isn't that old to his own son:
    Atreus: You didn't hurt your back, did you?
    Kratos: (indignantly) I did not hurt my back.
  • Not So Stoic: Kratos has become a lot more stone-faced and reserved with his emotions, having learned to temper them to a degree through time and experience (though he's still a Perpetual Frowner). The few times he breaks out of being The Stoic frequently involve Atreus' safety; the mere idea of his son being in danger is enough to make him uncharacteristically restless, and when Atreus suddenly falls ill due to his body and mind in conflict over his divine nature, Kratos immediately does everything in his power to cure the boy, even going so far as to unearth an old memento of his dark past. The very first moment in the game shows Kratos tenderly caressing a tree that his wife once marked, and then later grasping at the pouch of her cremated ashes, clearly showing that he's experiencing immense grief, only to snap back to a stone-cold visage without a hitch.
  • Obsessively Normal: Kratos hates the gods for how they treated and tortured him. He hates himself for what he did to Greece and now lives in the Scandinavian region in an attempt to sever all ties to his past and to the gods. His greatest fear is Atreus finding out about his godhood and turning into a monster because of it. He now lives a reclusive lifestyle to avoid gods and conflict.
  • Oh, Crap!: Being The Stoic, it takes a lot to get genuine shock out of Kratos, but the aftermath of his trip into the Alfhelm Light, which took WAY longer than he thought, completely takes the wind out of his sails.
    Kratos: BOY, I WAS GONE ONLY...(sees the mounds and mounds and mounds of dead Dark Elves that Atreus has killed in the time he was gone)...moments?
  • Older and Wiser: He's much calmer in the 2018 PS4 game, years after the end of GoW III, but he had a really low bar to clear. This isn't just reflected in his personality, but also his fighting style: methodical and measured, without the overt sadism and brutality shown in the earlier games. His killing of Baldur is the best example of this. No eye-gouging, ruthless pummeling or stabbing once his opponent was beaten: just a quick, clean Neck Snap.
  • Old Soldier: Once a Spartan warrior-turned-God of War, Kratos is now simply an old man who wants to live his life without conflict, though the Norse gods appear more than willing to break him out of his comfort zone.
  • Outside-Context Problem: After the events of III, Kratos somehow managed to find his way into Midgard, and judging from Mimir's dialogue, it appears that the Aesir have caught wind of his reputation as a god-slayer. This is actually something of a plot point; Kratos' mere presence as a Greek god in a Norse world appears to be shifting the balance somewhat, as he's directly responsible for, or is at least partially related to, several events that defy Norse mythology's own mythos: the deaths of Magni and Móði (both of whom were fated to survive Ragnarök itself), the death of Baldur (which was slated for hundreds of years into the future), and the triggering of Fimbulwinter (which heralds Ragnarök, having come hundreds of years too early—in conjunction with the death of Baldur).
  • Papa Wolf: An obvious way to get on his bad side is to go after his son, even though Kratos is rather distant to Atreus—even obliquely making a threat against the boy is enough to make Kratos go into Spartan Rage, and try and tur Baldur into a bloody smear. Kratos may have a hard time connecting with the boy, and at times make poor descisions and flat out mistakes in raising him, but the love is clearly there. Kratos is willing literally willing to go through hell for his son and to getting the Blades of Chaos for this express purpose, despite swearing to never use them again. Later, when Atreus asks Kratos if he would let his own son kill him, Kratos replies that he would if meant that Atreus would live.
  • Parental Neglect: In the 2018 game, Kratos has spent most of Atreus' life a cold and distant father, to the extent that Atreus was closer to Faye than Kratos himself and goes so far as to wish that Kratos had died instead of Faye (though he quickly takes it back). A big part of the game is Kratos moving past this and genuinely bonding with his son.
    • Kratos is never shown to be physically abusive, but his abrasive demeanor and deliberate distance from Atreus have obviously damaged the boy, ironic in that Kratos is trying to protect Atreus from his bloody past as the Ghost of Sparta. As the game wears on, Kratos undergoes Character Development and learns to bond with Atreus.
  • Parents as People: He tries to be a good father to Atreus, but his tendency to only tell him the minimum amount, be dismissive of his son's feelings and "do as I say, not as I do" approach causes tons of problems.
    • His flawed off-hand parenting is clearly demonstrated during the two instances when Atreus truly resents his father. In the first instance at Alfheim when Atreus believes that he is gone for a long time while it is only a few minutes in his perspective, he doesn't try to ask what's wrong with the boy nor properly explain his encounter inside and continues to push the boy around even as the latter continues to snark at his supposed negligence. In another instance when Atreus becomes Drunk with Power over his status as a god, Kratos doesn't really do much in trying to quell his perceived godhood and even when the latter demands the truth, Kratos just keeps silent which just gives the boy no reason as to why he shouldn't be arrogant and rude which is highly contrasted by Mimir trying as hard to quell this trait by informing what good gods are like. In both instances, Kratos's unwillingness to open up or console his son ended up making the problem far bigger that what is supposed to be and those two instances only end by Atreus being regretful for his actions.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Kratos isn't opposed to Atreus being a Cheerful Child, but is well aware that anything but ruthless pragmatism won't do him good in the heat of battle. And in a world where the Norse gods have taken up a huge dose of Adaptational Villainy, we can see where he's coming from.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: After supposedly killing the Stranger for the first time, Kratos spends a few seconds on the ground gasping for air before getting up and slowly walking back to the house.
  • The Power of Love: It is implied that Kratos' transformation from a monstrous Hair-Trigger Temper Villain Protagonist War God to a much more mellow and stoic hunter-gatherer is largely because of how Faye's love for and acceptance of him forced him to change. Years of reflection and regret notwithstanding, Kratos became a better man partly because Faye's presence gave him an avenue to mature and find a new life in Midgard. There's also his relationship with Atreus, as only through the boy's acceptance of him does Kratos find some measure of redemption for his past sins.
  • The Power of Trust: Kratos' intense shame of who he used to be isn't unwarranted. But his refusal to open up about his past, along with his emphasis on teaching Atreus discipline over providing actual fatherly affection, creates a massive rift between himself and the boy. Only when Kratos finally decides to tell the boy the truth behind his Divine Parentage do they truly form a bond.
  • Race Lift: From what little we know of the mythical Fárbauti, it can definitely be said that he wasn't a Greek God of War.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Played with. Kratos is The Stoic and has a very difficult time bonding with Atreus emotionally, but it's not out of some perceived sense of pride or manhood, but rather because he's still very shell-shocked from the events of Greece, and is so intent on teaching his son discipline that he neglects to show proper affection or concern. Eventually subverted as he begins to encourage, compliment, apologize to, comfort and finally even hug Atreus as they begin to properly bond as Father and Son on their epic saga. That being said, he does play this straight at times, for a few laughs.
    Atreus: (sees a submerged wheel structure) Hey, that looks like a water wheel. Or I guess...an UNDER-water wheel.
    Kratos: Hmph.
    Atreus: Did you just...laugh at that?
    Kratos: No.
    Atreus: Are you sure?
    Kratos: Yes. I do not laugh.
    Atreus: Don't I know it.
  • Reality Ensues: Even though Kratos still maintains his godly powers and strategic mind. His age becomes a tipping factor and the fact that he's been holding himself back for several decades. His regeneration abilities are very slow due to his advanced age and it takes a strenuous effort to regenerate quicker. Kratos is also exhausted after the fight with The Stranger and has trouble catching his breath.
    • His victories aren't as spectacular or theatrical as the older games because he doesn't have that amount of energy any more since his retirement. For example in God Of War 3, he kills Poseidon by first having Gaia send Kratos on a collision course with Poseidon's human form, which Kratos rips out of the watery construct and onto a platform. He then beats Poseidon uncontrollably; slamming his uncle's face repeatedly against a wall, and hitting him with his own head, before throwing him to a nearby wall. Where Kratos then breaks Poseidon's neck after gouging his eyes out. In God of War (PS4), He kills Magni by embedding his axe into Magni's skull and kills Baldur by breaking his neck. A far cry from his past brutalities.
    • Also, while Kratos has matured considerably from his past self, he still has a very long way to go before he can truly be redeemed for his sins. He may have taken a level in kindness and is trying his damndest to be a good father to Atreus. But he's so deeply set in his self-serving and pragmatic ways that, despite his willingness to go the distance for his loved ones, he still has the potential to alienate them and anyone close to them due to his impenetrably grim demeanor.
    Cory Barlog: ...because in that beginning pitch, that I talked to people about, I kept talking about this idea that...it's not like we're gonna erase Kratos' past. It's not like, all of a sudden, you start this game, and Kratos is this great guy, and he's gonna be saving people, and he's gonna be a good dad. No, he's the same guy, right? It's just that, in the previous games, the monster that was inside of him was let out all the time. And in this one, he's making the attempts to keep the monster inside.
  • Really 700 Years Old: God of War (PS4) is apparently set centuries after the third game, despite the fact that Kratos looks like he's merely aged up by a few decades. Judging from how he was an adult during the Persian Wars, he would be pushing a thousand years old by this point.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: He and his son zigzag positions between both. Naturally, when compared to his son, Kratos definitely more of a Red Oni—volatile, ill-tempered, ill-mannered, and just plain abrasive. However, Atreus is a lot more capable of flipping out in times of extreme duress, and the more experienced Kratos is the one who tries to rein in his more violent tendencies by instilling discipline into the boy.
  • Redemption Rejection: Of a sort. Kratos wants to wash his hands of any divine affairs and is perfectly content to live as a normal man, with Atreus. He is stern and harsh with the boy, but it's not out of lack of concern; rather, he wants to ensure that Atreus does not repeat his own mistakes. Athena even arrives just to insult his attempts at being a family man again, only for Kratos to admit that he will always be a monster, but he will no longer be hers.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Kratos wants nothing to do with gods of any sort, and his decision to live a mundane life posing as a mortal is largely driven by his guilt over his past actions as a god. He tries his best to end conflicts in a non-violent manner, but will resort to violence the second he decides it's necessary. There's also the fact that while he's not trying to antagonize anybody, his brusqueness as well as his self-centeredness easily rubs people the wrong way, and causes rifts during his interactions with others who might otherwise be willing to help him. Indeed, the only reason Kratos ends up on good terms with anybody is because his son is often endearing enough to compensate for his father's lack of social skills.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: He's long since cast away the Ghost of Sparta, but his enemies insist that he will never change, and he'll always be that man. Kratos initially agrees with them, though by the end of his and Atreus' journey, he's come to accept that they're wrong.
    Freya: You are just an animal, passing on your cruelty and rage. You will never change.
    Kratos: Then you do not know me.
  • Reluctant Psycho: In God of War (PS4) Kratos prefers to give stern warnings to any threats to him and Atreus. He'll only be violent when he needs to protect his son or himself.
  • Retired Monster: Played with, considering he IS ashamed of what he's done, but at the same time, Kratos knows that he will never escape the fact that he is a worse monster than all his foes combined, but he has long since cast aside his rage and vengeance to live a life of peace and isolation. The only thing that can bring back the monster now is if his son is in danger, and if you are foolish enough to try, he will show you just how much of a monster he still is.
  • Screw Destiny: By killing Magni, he defied the prophecy of Ragnarok.
  • Seen It All: He has centuries of experience with monsters, gods, and magic, and as such things that are surprising to Atreus and other characters are commonplace to him. When they have to go down Jormungandr's gullet, even the well-traveled Mimir finds it a novel experience, while Kratos just says it's only novel because the giant in question isn't trying to eat him this time.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: While going back to his home to retrieve the Blades of Chaos, Kratos is confronted by the spirit of Athena, who tells him that no matter how much he pretends otherwise or tries to change, he cannot be redeemed and will never be anything more than a monster. Kratos acknowledges this, but responds with one of these before dismissing them.
    Kratos: I know. But I am your monster no longer.
  • Sink-or-Swim Fatherhood: Kratos loves Atreus, but spent most of the boy's childhood as a distant figure. Atreus had a much better relationship with his mother Faye, and with Faye's death, Kratos is forced to raise the boy by himself. Given Kratos' massive family issues from way back in the original series, it's clear that though Kratos keeps a stoic facade, he's very much afraid of failing as a father figure again.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Kratos has difficulty bonding with Atreus, to put it mildly. Their relationship is so strained that Atreus at one point even comes to the conclusion that Kratos never wanted him, and viewed the boy's weak constitution as a curse. Kratos' sour disposition at all times certainly doesn't help, and more often than not his attempts to prepare Atreus for the cruelty of the world end up damaging the boy's self-esteem and innocence. Kratos truly does love Atreus, but it is difficult for him to act as a father-figure again, especially since he killed his first family, and spent most of his life from then on engaged in warfare. He wants to be a good father, and doesn't want Atreus to make the same mistakes he once did, but is so focused on strengthening the boy and teaching him to survive that he neglects to show proper affection. A big part of the game comes from Kratos learning to become a father once again, and recovering the humanity he had long ago buried beneath rage and vengeance.
  • Spanner in the Works: He and Atreus defeat Baldur hundreds of years prior to his fated death in Ragnarok, and in doing so they kickstart the world-ending event rather early. It is even implied that Kratos' very presence as an Outside-Context Problem in Midgard is causing some reality-bending and literal fate-defying issues, and as such he's capable of altering or outright breaking prophesied events.
  • The Spartan Way: fittingly enough for an actual Spartan, this is Kratos's approach to parenting. As the game goes on his dialogue to Atreus starts to change from "focus more" to "that's better" to "you did good" after combat.
  • Stern Teacher: Kratos is still nursing some old wounds from the original series, and attempts to impart upon Atreus his knowledge of how cruel the world can be, in an attempt to prepare the boy for the future hardships he's undoubtedly going to face.
  • Still Got It: Kratos uses nearly exactly the same moveset with the Blades of Chaos as he did way back in the original Greek series.
  • The Stoic: Kratos deeply loathes the Villain Protagonist Psychopathic Manchild he used to be, and so his attempts at control his impulses has led to him becoming much more stone-faced. Though this could just be because he's old, tired, and wartorn.
  • The Storyteller: Kratos starts telling stories to Atreus at the boy's urging; at first his stories are brief and straightforward but have poor lessons or meanings to them. By the time they spread Faye’s ashes, throughout all their experiences, it’s displayed that the pair have truly bonded when Kratos tells the story of an old friend called Atreus. Atreus remarks on this by admitting that Kratos finally told a good story and Mimir would be ashamed to have missed it.
  • Supporting Protagonist: It's made clear by the end of the game that while the player is controlling Kratos, Atreus is the one whom the plot and future events revolve around.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Kratos can't stand being around the dwarves Brok and Sindri, and it seems that the only reason he sticks around them is to get them to upgrade his stuff. Though, to be fair, he clearly recognizes their skill as blacksmiths, and is more than impressed with their handiwork on his weapons.
  • They're Called "Personal Issues" for a Reason: So ashamed is he of his past as a War God that he deliberately keeps his son out of any divine affairs unless forced to, and when pressed by his son and by others to just come out with the truth, he bluntly shuts them down when he can't just Change the Uncomfortable Subject. It's also apparent, however, that Kratos' evasiveness only builds barriers between himself and Atreus, and that if he and the boy are even going to have a chance at a healthy relationship now that Faye is dead, he must learn to accept himself and his past for what they are. And a big part of that, as painful as it is for him, involves facing that pain, taking responsibility for it, and finding the courage to forgive himself.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: By the Norse Era, he is a relatively calm, yet stern father to his son. He still has his Spartan Rage, and does yell at him at times, but he seems to actively rein himself in in order to be one of the Good Parents, as opposed to his father.
  • Tough Love: Kratos can appear distant, harsh and cold towards his son, but he genuinely wants to prepare Atreus to survive as he explains, being a god like him means they will have a target painted on their backs until the end of their days.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The Leviathan Axe he wields used to belong to his late wife.
  • Tranquil Fury: He's trying to conquer his demons and keep himself emotionally controlled, but a couple of times the control slips. Seeing how he's motivated and pretty much has Unstoppable Rage as his default emotion in the trilogy beforehand, this is especially notable.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Defied. By the time of the 2018 game, Kratos does everything he can to prevent his son from making his mistakes.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: It is heavily implied that Faye intends for Atreus (whose birth name was Loki) to trigger Ragnarok, meaning that Kratos' efforts to protect his son are essentially helping kickstart another god-apocalypse.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: After spending most of the previous series in a state of Revenge Before Reason, he has come to this realization, warning his enemies that revenge will not bring them peace. Sadly for Kratos, the message he's sending sails right over the heads of anyone who hears it.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Dramatic inversion; Kratos is wrought with regret and self loathing to the point of being blunt and no-nonsense, while Atreus is a Cheerful Child who enjoys doing the right thing even when there isn't a benefit to their journey.
  • War Is Hell: In his younger years, Kratos' default reaction to those who wronged him in any way (even if he was in the wrong) was to exact violent vengeance upon them in the most brutal way possible. Though he'd experienced severe bouts of PTSD, and had often been maddened by visions of his past brutalities, he'd use violence to solve his problems because he often didn't know how else to react otherwise. Having come to terms with the weight of his mistakes years after the destruction of Greece, he has at this point decided to abstain from acts of wanton violence. Dialogue with Mimir and others reveals that even the War God Kratos has come to view war itself as a senseless loss of life.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: In his old age Kratos has come to regret his path of destruction and revenge against the Olympians, viewing his revenge as hollow. He also speaks of Zeus in a mournful tone in Helheim, implying that he regrets killing his father.
  • Weirdness Magnet: What started out as a simple task of spreading his wife's ashes lead to a battle against the Norse pantheon and a quest to reach Jötunheim. Even Mimir has a hard time believing that Baldur just came to the door and started a fight. He highlights this when he finds out Kratos' origin.
    Mimir: I knew you hate gods, but you really can't stay away from them, can you?
  • What If the Baby Is Like Me?: One of Kratos' principal fears is the idea of Atreus inheriting the more unhealthy parts of his personality. Sadly, his insecurities concerning his own past constantly inch the boy closer and closer into turning out like his father, due to a combination of both the boy's resentment towards his father's evasiveness, as well as Atreus' desire to prove himself in his father's eyes.
  • The Worf Effect: Struggles against minor Norse gods to show that the Norse pantheon is more dangerous and to emphasize that his time is over, and that Atreus is the main protagonist. Though that doesn't mean his god-killing days are over by a long shot. Just ask Magni and Baldur.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Word of God hints that Kratos' reduced efficiency against the Norse monsters and gods is more due to being out of practice than a case of Feeling Their Age, and he's still capable of moving building-sized objects with his bare hands.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Gives a short but effective one to Athena's ghost.
    Athena: Put as much distance between you and the truth as you want, it changes nothing. Pretend to be everything you are not... Teacher... Husband... Father... But there is one unavoidable truth you cannot escape. You cannot change. You will always be... a monster.
    Kratos: I know. But I am your monster no longer.
  • You Are Not Ready: Kratos says this to Atreus when the latter goes into a uncontrolled berserker rage after the first troll fight, and that he cannot go to the top of the mountain to spread his mother's ashes. The Stranger showing up at their doorstep a few moments later gives Kratos no choice but to force the journey on the boy.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: He only uses names when he's afraid or distressed. Freya was keen to ignore him or push him away but as soon as he said her name. She immediately unlocked the door and helped him.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Partway through the game, Kratos and Atreus come upon Tyr's hidden vault, and discover that it is filled with relics from other realms...including a vase depicting an image of Kratos, pulled directly from Greece. Seeing as how there'd been no mention of the appearance of Tyr or foreign gods in the original Greek series implies that the vase was procured after the events of III, hinting that Greece was ultimately able to recover from Kratos' god-killing rampage. Despite this, it's probable Kratos won't ever return, out of shame for what he'd done.
  • Zen Survivor: Kratos is an Old Soldier who wants nothing more than to live his life peacefully, with his son, in the outback of Scandinavia. But when his back is against the wall, he proves he’s still good enough to take on Physical Gods, if a little rusty.

 
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God of War 2018

Kratos Fighting The Stranger at his home. Right when you think you're winning, The Stranger heals. "Care to try again?"

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Main / HealingFactor
Main / HealingFactor

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