Kratos is the main protagonist and anti-hero of the God of War series. Born a Spartan, Kratos held the military rank of General, before exacting his revenge on the Olympians.
Living in Sparta, Kratos was monitored, like all other younglings. During several tests, those that were deemed fit were to stay in Sparta to be trained as Spartan protectors, while those deemed unfit would be sent to the mountains, sealing their fate. Kratos, already feisty and aggressive at his young age, along with his brother, Deimos, trained, and dreamt of joining the Spartan army. On an ill-fated day, when the young brothers were training outside their home, the city was raided by the gods, Ares and Athena , and their army of centaurs, in search of the Marked Warrior. Ares, seeing Deimos’ birthmark as a sign of the prophecy, then snatched him away. In anger and desperation, Kratos jumped to attack the god and save his brother, only for Ares to smack Kratos back in to a pile of wood, leaving him with a scar. Kratos’ scar, delivered by Ares.
Calliope, however, was the victim of a plague and was deemed weak, thus, she would be thrown into a chasm and left to die, according to Spartan law. Kratos then heard from an elder the capabilities of the healing elixir known as Ambrosia. Determined to save his daughter, Kratos set out on a journey for the Ambrosia, not knowing that Ares, God of War, had chosen him to be his champion in the wager of the Gods, a contest with the ultimate goal being the capture of the Ambrosia. He later encountered a healer who gave him the Flames of Apollo in order to aid him in his quest. Over the course of his journey, an army of Spartans joined him, along with Captain Nikos. Eventually, he encountered Herodius, Poseidon’s champion, and killed him, with Herodius’ army slain by the Spartans. After taking the ship, Poseidon, angered at Kratos for costing him the wager, unleashed a handful of hazards at sea to kill the Spartans, but failed, as Kratos and the Spartans made it to land. Later on, Kratos encountered Artemis’ champion, Pothia, and killed her as well, her army also falling victim to the Spartans. In fear that Kratos would defeat his champion, Alrik, Hades sent a torrent of fire through the sky in order to kill Kratos, but failed, instead killing many men in Kratos’ army, including Nikos. Coming across the Ambrosia, he encountered Helios’ Champion, who was, too, killed by the Spartan. After retrieving the Ambrosia and returning to his Spartan army, Alrik and his Barbarian army battled the Spartans for the Ambrosia, as Alrik’s Father is very ill, and is in need of the elixir. After a grueling battle between the two leaders, Kratos successfully captured the Ambrosia (at the cost of his own men) and summoned an army of Rocs to continuously torture Alrik. Kratos then returned to Sparta, healed Calliope, and was promoted to the title of a Captain by the King of Sparta.
Over the course of his battles, Kratos’ brutality and war-hunger increased. He won battles through unorthodox, but effective tactics. However, Kratos and his Spartan army would prove no match for the merciless Barbarian tribes from the east. Outnumbered and overpowered, the Spartans began losing the battle quickly. Kratos, whom was nearly killed by the Barbarians’ leader, Alrik, desperately pledged allegiance to Ares, the God of War, in exchange for victory. The God accepted, killing the Barbarians, and giving Kratos the Blades of Chaos as a sign of his servitude. Kratos served Ares loyally, raiding villages and spreading chaos in his name.
However, during a raid on a village of Athena’s followers, Ares tricked Kratos into killing his wife and child in a fit of blind rage. Ares justified his trickery as a means to make Kratos the perfect warrior. Stricken with horror and grief, Kratos left the bodies to be burned within the temple as he cursed Ares’ name. The village oracle in turn cursed Kratos, forcing him to forever wear the ashes of his dead family on his skin. From that day forward, he was known as The Ghost of Sparta; his skin now ‘pale as the moon’ from the ashes that coated him.
Distraught, Kratos was haunted by terrible nightmares over the death of his family. In due time, the memories and nightmares began to consume him, driving him to the brink of madness. Abandoning Sparta, Kratos traveled throughout Greece, finding small solace in sailing the Aegean Sea. To find peace again, he pledged himself to the other Gods of Olympus, in the hope that they would one day relieve him of his burden.
To other mortals, he was now marked by his white skin. The knowledge of his past actions had been shown to repulse normal people to the point where they would rather die than allow him to save their lives. He became known as the personification of cruelty and selfishness.
Service to the Gods
“Is this all you would have me do? Is there nothing else!?” – Kratos
During Kratos’s ten years of servitude (despite destroying cities and taking loot), the greatest task given to him came after he joined the army of Attica in their struggle against the invading Persian Army and the great beast they brought forth, the Basilisk. After a lengthy battle, Kratos killed both the Persian King and the Basilisk, and, upon speaking to the Gods, he witnessed the Sun disappearing from the sky, leaving the world in eternal darkness.
As the only presence of light was seen somewhere in the distance, Kratos journeyed there, only to discover the Temple of Helios and the city of Marathon. Kratos realized that Helios, the God of Sun, had been captured by an unknown force, allowing Morpheus, the God of Dreams, to place the other Olympians under his spell, putting them into a deep slumber, allowing him to invade and seize control of the land by covering Greece under his Black Fog. Fighting through Morpheus’ minions, Kratos entered the temple of the Sun God, and after learning of the events that transpired, he was tasked by Eos, the sister of Helios, to awaken her brother’s Fire Steeds, which would take Kratos to where their master was being held captive.
After having awakened the Helios’ Steeds, Kratos was taken to the Underworld, where he saw Helios’ glowing light in the distance, right before the Pillar of the World. Kratos fought his way through Hades’ domain, acquired the mighty Gauntlet of Zeus, went down into Tartarus, and killed Charon, the ferryman of the dead. Kratos then discovered the Titan Atlas had somehow escaped Tartarus and captured Helios.
Throughout his journey, Kratos was plagued by visions of his daughter, Calliope, and the song she played on the flute he himself once presented her. When Kratos reached the Pillar of the World and the Temple of Persephone that lay nearby, he had already forgotten his task, thinking only of reuniting with his daughter. He encountered Persephone, Hades’ wife, who revealed he could be with his daughter again, if he gave away all of his powers to the Forsaken Tree. Desperate to see his daughter again, Kratos did, and thereupon entered the Elysium fields, where he met with his daughter and was seen happy for the first time since he became the Ghost of Sparta.
Persephone, however, appeared before him, revealing that it was she who rescued Atlas and asked him to capture Helios. With his help, she devised a scheme to destroy the Pillar of the World, thus killing the Gods and all of mankind as well. She taunted Kratos with the knowledge that he may live with his daughter for a short period, but would ultimately see her die again, upon the completion of her plan. Kratos then forced himself to become the Ghost of Sparta again by killing the innocent souls of Elysium, and regaining his powers. Whilst giving pursuit to Persephone, he realized he would never have the chance to be with his daughter again, and, hearing her crying behind him, his hatred for the Gods he served grew even stronger still.
Kratos succeeded in killing Persephone and chaining Atlas to the ground above the Pillar of the World, thus completing his task. Before he left the Underworld, Atlas asked Kratos if he truly believed the Gods would keep their promise. Kratos replied it was the only thing he could hope for now, since he had lost his welcome in Elysium. With the use of the Fire Steeds, Kratos then escaped the Underworld, but found himself too exhausted from the journey, and fell from the Chariot, to the ground below. Subsequently, he was saved by Athena and Helios, who stripped him of his powers and equipment, leaving him powerless and unconscious upon the cliffs of the Aegean Sea.
The Final Task
“Ares, you will die for what you did that night!” – Kratos
Five years passed since Kratos defeated Atlas and Persephone, and after having killed the sea monster known as the Hydra, Kratos received a chance to seek his revenge on the God of War and rid himself of the terrible nightmares that haunted him. He was ordered by Athena to seek out Pandora’s Box in order to help him destroy Ares.
Kratos made his way through the war-ravaged city of Athens, killing countless minions of Ares and even the infamous Medusa, the Queen of the Gorgons. Following the Athenian Oracle’s instructions, Kratos traversed the Desert of Lost Souls and found Pandora’s Temple atop the back of the Titan Cronos. After having summoned the Titan by using the Titan Horn, he climbed to the top, made his way through the temple, and ultimately retrieved Pandora’s Box, being the first human ever to do so. Sensing Kratos had obtained the Box, Ares, still in Athens, taking a huge broken pillar, hurled it towards Pandora’s Temple. The pillar impaled Kratos into a wall. As he slowly died, Harpies took the Box back to Ares, while Kratos was sent to the Underworld. When falling down towards the River Styx, Kratos grabbed hold of the Captain’s leg, who had previously died at the hands of Kratos, climbed onto a ledge, and kicked the Captain down below into the River Styx. Reaching the top again, Kratos managed to escape the clutches of Hades. Meeting up with the Gravedigger again, whom he had met earlier at the Oracle’s Temple, he then reacquired Pandora’s Box from Ares, and used it to grow tremendously in size, as well as receiving a substantial amount of power in order to battle Ares on an even footing. After a vicious fight, Ares trapped Kratos into a void where several demonic incarnations of himself attempted to kill phantom versions of his family. Kratos attempted to save them, but watched helplessly as Ares stripped him of the Blades of Chaos, and used them to kill his family again. Kratos, now distraught and vulnerable, nearly met his end at the hands of Ares, but took notice of the Blade of the Gods, proceeding to use it to finally destroy the God of War.
Though his past had been forgiven, the Gods could not relieve him of his nightmares. His last hope taken from him, Kratos attempted to commit suicide by jumping from a cliff. Athena had a different plan for the Spartan. She saved his life and offered him the empty throne of the God of War on Olympus. He accepted the offer, settling upon the fallen god’s throne, and becoming the new God of War.
Kratos, New God of War
“My Lord, Kratos! Another city is ready to fall! Soon all will know the glory of Sparta!” – The Last Spartan
Kratos, shortly after becoming the new God of War, entered Tartarus once again in search for the Ambrosia, but with the intent to destroy it, for Disciples of Ares desired to utilize the Ambrosia in order to resurrect their deceased God. Throughout his journey, Kratos received flashbacks about his first quest for the Ambrosia. As the new God of War marched through Tartarus, he encountered a giant arachnid who was sent to kill him. However, it was unsuccessful, as Kratos killed both the spider and its children. After pulling his blades out from the beast, Athena spoke to him in an attempt to warn him about the new dangers on the path he took once before. Kratos then shrugged off her warnings, confident that nothing would stop him. Later, Kratos encountered Athena again, and was told by the goddess that it is now the dead he must fear. Kratos simply moved along, finding the dead bodies of the Spartans he had abandoned in his earlier quest for the healing elixir. The Spartans then rose from the dead, ready to exact vengeance on Kratos for abandoning them. They failed, however, as Kratos managed to kill them all. Upon entering the island once again, the island then revealed itself to be a monstrous beast named Gyges, who vowed vengeance on Kratos after one hundred of his arms were burned off in the Spartan’s battle against Helios’ Champion. Kratos, however, revealed his intentions and incinerated Gyges with the Flames of Apollo, destroying the Tree of Life and all its Ambrosia. He then left the island, knowing that the disciples of Ares would hunt him down for destroying the last hope they had at reviving their fallen God.
Later on, Kratos has a visio of his mother, being held at the Temple of Poseidon in the City of Atlantis. He argues with Athena while en-route to Poseidon’s kingdom, only then to be attacked by Scylla. Shortly after Kratos sends the monster fleeing and has a vision of his childhood, training with his brother Deimos. He enters the temple and encounters his long presumed dead mother Callisto, who then tells him his father Zeus had taken her there and that Deimos is still alive; trapped and being tortured in the Domain of Death. Both shocked and angered, Kratos asks why she lied to him all those years ago and who his father was. Callisto tries to tell him but is transformed into a hideous beast, forcing Kratos to kill her. Enraged over the gods having taken yet another member of his family, Kratos embarked on a journey to save his brother. At one point, Kratos encountered the Titan Thera, imprisoned inside a volcano, who told him he would be incapable of leaving if he did not free her. After freeing her, Kratos obtained Thera’s Bane, and left the volcano. Upon his descent, he impaled Scylla, who had been pursuing him relentlessly ever since he arrived. Before returning home, Kratos then found himself under attack by Erinys, daughter to Thanatos. Upon Erinys’ defeat, Kratos found the key to saving his brother in the Temple of Ares. The Spartan then returned to the sinking city of Atlantis, entered the Domain of Death, and continued onwards. Finally coming across Deimos, deep in the Temple of Thanatos, Kratos set Deimos free, only to be attacked by him, as Deimos blamed Kratos for not helping him when in dire need. Witnessing the battle from close by, Thanatos finally intervened, and snatched Deimos. Barely able to stand from the fight, Kratos followed Thanatos and Deimos to the Suicide Bluffs, and rescued Deimos from falling to his death. After being reunited, and having reconciled their differences, the Spartan brothers took arms, and joined forces against Thanatos. In a climactic battle, Thanatos took Deimos’ life, only to have an enraged Kratos take his in return. Kratos then took the lifeless body of his brother to his grave. After putting Deimos in the grave, dug by the enigmatic Grave Digger, Kratos stated his brother was now free. He once again attempted to kill himself at the bluffs, but ultimately relented, asking himself what he had become. The Grave Digger, who had been close by, revealed he had become “Death, the Destroyer of Worlds”, before vanishing. Athena then pleaded to Kratos to forgive her, and attempted to empower him to full Godhood, but saw her pleas ignored, as Kratos promised her the gods would pay for their actions.
During the siege of an unknown city, while aiding the Spartans in his mortal form, he was attacked by Argos, Hera’s pet. Before he could defeat the beast however, an unknown Assassin killed it in his stead, apparently trying to destroy his reputation on Olympus. Kratos pursued the Assassin, but saw his progress halted by the minions of Hades himself. The God of War did not surrender, and continued his relentless pursuit, only to be stopped by Ceryx, messenger of the Gods, who allowed the Assassin to escape. Ceryx, in the name of Zeus, ordered Kratos to sway pursuit. Providing no valid reason, Ceryx only managed to infuriate the God of War. Kratos then killed the messenger on the spot, instantly realizing Zeus would not stand for this action.
When Kratos decided to lead his Spartans to Rhodes, Athena, still concerned with Kratos, implored him not to continue the endless wars, as the other Gods grew weary of his brutal warfare. Kratos chose not to heed her warning, and instead plunged down to Earth, aiding his army in further destroying the city. Moments after, an eagle, who Kratos assumed to be Athena, robbed him of his immense size, shrinking him back down to mortal size. The eagle then flew past the Colossus of Rhodes, which was then brought to life. Kratos fought a long and arduous battle with the giant, until Zeus offered help in the form of the Blade of Olympus, which the King-God himself used to end the Titan War. Infusing all of his powers and immortality into the blade, Kratos took down his foe. As he shouted at the heavens, the Colossus’ falling hand crushed him. Severely wounded, and stripped of all his powers, Kratos knew his rescue lay with the Blade. Limping towards it, the eagle came soaring down, revealing itself to be Zeus in disguise. Zeus informs Kratos of the fact that he didn’t want to suffer the same fate as Ares, demanding that Kratos serve him. However, when Kratos refused, he was viciously attacked by Zeus, who killed him by driving the Blade into his abdomen.
Changing His Fate
“You will never control your fate, Kratos!” – Clotho
After being killed by Zeus, Kratos was dragged down by the arms of the Underworld. The Titan Gaia, who had been watching him his entire life, then decided to intervene. She saved Kratos, sealed his wound, and gave him the strength to escape death once again. Climbing out from the Underworld, and back into Rhodes, he then instructed the last surviving soldier to return to Sparta, in order to prepare for another battle. Kratos then took Pegasus, a gift from Gaia, and attempted to fly back to Olympus so he could exact his revenge, but discovered that he could no longer enter Olympus, as he was no longer a God. Instead, Gaia instructed Pegasus and Kratos to seek out the Sisters of Fate. She informed him the Sisters had the power to travel back in time, which he needed to use to reclaim the Blade of Olympus, and take his revenge on Zeus. Kratos then first traveled to Typhon’s lair, where he met with Prometheus, who pleaded him to release him from his torment in the Flames of Olympus. Kratos, having previously stolen Typhon’s Bane from the Titan, used it to break Prometheus’ last chain, sending him down into the flames, burning him alive, and finally releasing him. and his ashes granted him the power of the Titans.
Kratos safely arrived on the Island of Creation, where he met Theseus, who guarded the Steeds of Time. They fought to determine the best warrior of Greece; with Kratos emerging the victor, after having bashed Theseus’ head against a door, and skewering him with his own spear. Kratos later defeated Perseus (who tried to save his beloved Andromeda), the Barbarian King (who escaped Hades’ torment to change his fate), and Icarus (who had gone crazy). After having defeated them all, he once again fell prey to the Underworld, where he once again met with Atlas. Intent on crushing the former God for his imprisonment, Atlas ultimately ceased his attempt when Kratos revealed he was now an enemy of Zeus, and sought to change his fate in order to destroy Zeus. After Atlas aided him back to the surface, he continued his journey into the Palace of Fates. There, unbeknownst to him, he encountered the remaining Spartan warrior, only this time shrouded in darkness. Not knowing they were facing, both warriors intended on reaching the Sisters themselves, therefore intent on killing the other. After a quick battle, the Last Spartan fell prey to Kratos’ Blades. The Spartan warrior informed Kratos of the fact that Zeus had now destroyed Sparta, causing Kratos to be overtaken with anger, proceeding to shout to the Heavens. Blinded by anger, he was then attacked by the Kraken. Held firm in its grasp, Kratos then saw an astral projection of his wife, which was actually Gaia in disguise, encouraging him to go on or face eternal torment in Hades. Kratos was informed of the fact that the Titans wanted the Spartan to lead them into battle. Kratos, ultimately regaining his will to live, killed the Krakken, and continued his journey.
Kratos then entered the Sisters’ throne Room, met with Lahkesis, and was told the Fates’ decided upon the destinies of all, and how she had allowed him to come as far as he did. She then proclaimed it was not his destiny to kill Zeus, with Kratos declaring they no longer controlled his destiny, and engaged her in battle. Instantly, Lahkesis summoned her sister Atropos, who took Kratos back in time, to his battle with Ares, determined to destroy the Blade of the Gods, so his past and present self would cease to exist. Kratos managed to subdue her, and teleported themselves back to the present. Now fighting both Sisters, he managed to trap them in a mirror, and shattered it, trapping them in the past. Kratos then proceeded onto Clotho, who warned him not to go forward with his manipulation of fate. Kratos then killed the obese Sister of Fate, took control of his own fate in the Loom Chamber, and went back in time. Arriving in the past, he took the Blade of Olympus out of a surprised Zeus’ hands, pulling it out of his other self. Zeus and Kratos then fought on the Summit of Sacrifice. Kratos and Zeus engaged in a vicious battle, with Kratos fighting Zeus in his full Olympian size, as well as his normal mortal size. During the battle Zeus unleashed a powerful lightning storm, in which Kratos yielded defeat and surrendered. He then asked the King of Gods to release him from his torment, to which Zeus stated, “I will release you from your life my son, but your torment is just beginning.” Kratos then dodged the blow, pinned Zeus to a rock with his Blades, took the Blade of Olympus and drove it into Zeus’ abdomen. Intending to kill Zeus in the same way Zeus killed Kratos in Rhodes, he was then stopped by Athena, who was determined to defend Olympus. As Zeus tried to flee, Kratos took another swing at him, only for Athena to take the blow. Her dying words revealed Zeus to be his father. Zeus, wanting only to break the cycle of the son killing the father, cared not for the well-being of Greece, only for his own position and life.
Athena begged Kratos to stop his revenge, informing him that all of Olympus would unite against him. Kratos revealed that he would destroy all of the Gods, proceeding to travel back in time to the Titanomachy, bringing the Titans to the present in order to battle the Olympians for control.
The Second Great War
“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!!” – Kratos
Picking up right where God of War II left off, God of War III saw Zeus discussing the actions of the rogue God of War, Kratos, who was ‘commanding’ a small army of Titans rescued from the Great War, using the power of the Fates. The Olympians immediately rushed to battle as Hermes sped down the very peaks of Olympus, Hercules sent out his troops down into the fray, Hades, in giant form, lunged off the Mountain and engaged several Titans, and Poseidon, using his aquakinesis, shot down from Olympus like a torpedo, and struck a death-blow through Epimetheus’ chest, sending the Titan into a watery grave. The God of the Sea then manifested himself as a massive water being and spawned several Hippocampi to aid him in battle. With Poseidon as their greatest threat in battle, having already decimated numerous Titan, and now going after Gaia herself, Kratos engaged the God of the Sea and, drawing him into Gaia’s grasp, managed to knock a weakened Poseidon out of his godly form, and onto a separate platform. The two berated each other briefly before Kratos walked up and battered the Lord of the Sea severely, finally gouging out his eyes and snapping his neck as he tossed him off into the ocean. With Poseidon’s death, the seas cataclysmed and ocean levels rose significantly, causing a flood that engulfed the entire world, destroying almost all of mankind, save those on top of Olympia.
After killing Poseidon, Gaia and Kratos reached Zeus’ pavilion, where the king of the gods angrily anticipated Kratos’ arrival and, at last, assaulted both with a mighty blast of lightning, that blew a portion of Gaia’s arm clean off, sending the two spiraling down Olympus. Having stabbed the Blade of Olympus to in Gaia’s back to hold onto, Kratos was unable to hang on as Gaia fought to survive. Gaia shouted in pain, as she told him he was but a pawn, and was deemed expendable now that the Titans had reached Zeus. Embittered, Kratos tumbled into the underworld. Contemplating his life as he lurched through the River Styx and its caverns, he resolved to escape Hades yet again, and destroy Zeus once and for all. On his way to Hades’ chamber, after being sucked of nearly all of his power by the dead souls of Styx, he met the ghost of Athena, who claimed to have reached a “higher existence”, and was once again willing to help Kratos exact his revenge. With Kratos suspicious of this turn of events, Athena explained how she saw truths were she did not before. As a sign of faith, she transformed Kratos’ ruined blades into the Blades of Exile, to help him survive the Underworld and the foes that awaited him. She then continued to define his quest, as she ordered him to find and extinguish the Flame of Olympus, in order to truly defeat Zeus.
Kratos, demanding that Zeus let go of Pandora, saw Zeus retort he should not confuse Pandora with his own flesh and blood, but mused that he already had. He cited the destruction of Olympus as proof of Kratos’ need for atonement for the murder of his family. Kratos snarled that he only saw what he had come to destroy. He then engaged in battle with his father, while Olympus crumbled around them. Pandora tried to run into the Flame, intent on pacifying it, as Kratos attempted to stop her. However, due to inadvertently prodding Zeus’ pleads how Kratos should not “fail her like he did his family”, Kratos released Pandora, attacking Zeus in a fit of rage, only to be stunned by the Flame’s dissipation. Kratos then opened the Box once again, only to discover it was empty. Zeus mocked him for “another stunning failure”, and went outside to recover, while Kratos’ fury boiled even further. Outside, father and son met again on the pavilion. But before either could claim victory, the platform suddenly shook rapidly, as a reawakened Gaia attempted to crush the pavilion between her hands. Seeing no other exit, Zeus and Kratos fled inside her chest, dueled near her heart, and sucked the life out of Gaia’s heart. A rejuvenated Kratos finally bested Zeus, impaling him with the Blade of Olympus against Gaia’s heart, killing both of them.
Arriving to congratulate Kratos, Athena requested Kratos to turn over the power he claimed from Pandora’s Box. Kratos replied to Athena that there was nothing inside. Believing Pandora had died in vain, only to serve his need for vengeance, Kratos was suddenly struck with remorse over her death. Athena did not believe him however, as when the evils of the Titanomachy were first sealed into the box, she placed ‘the most powerful weapon in the world’ with them, to counteract the evils. She demanded Kratos to return the power he had obtained, as it rightfully belonged to her. For now that the world was cleansed by chaos, she would rebuild it under her rule, using the power of hope. Athena quickly came to realize however, that when Kratos first opened the box to kill Ares, the evils infected the gods of Olympus, taking hold of them. As the evils took hold of the gods, the power of hope instead infused itself into Kratos. Buried beneath all the layers of guilt, anger, and the need for revenge, Hope was finally released when Kratos finally learned to forgive his past deeds, thus releasing its power. Asking Kratos again, he refused, instead impaling himself onto the Blade, thereby releasing Hope into the mortal world, for humanity to embrace. An action that Athena would clearly despise, as she removed the Blade from his chest, uttering the world was not ready to harness this vast power, and how Kratos had disappointed her. Athena then left, leaving a laughing Kratos to die, his vengeance finally complete.
In a post-credits scene, the phoenix-engraved mural where Kratos’ body lay was now empty, as a trail of blood lead back to the sea that now consumed the world … In any case, I doubt we’ve seen the last of Kratos.