Even though she comes across as a helpful ally to Kratos and his son Atreus initially, Freya is the real villain of 2018’s God of War.
Freya is an important character in 2018’s God of War, and even though she comes across as a friend, not a foe, to Kratos and his son Atreus, she’s revealed to be the real villain at the end. However, why Freya is so monstrous may not be so obvious to players if they don’t fully understand what she did to her own son. Having a better understanding of Freya’s backstory in God of War is paramount to understanding why she’s the game’s real villain.
The Freya in God of War is different from her Norse myth counterpart in a number of ways, but the two also share several similarities. Players first meet Freya, wife of Odin and mother to Baldur, after Atreus shoots a boar she was protecting (referencing the boar Freya rides in Norse mythology). This leads the former Greek God Kratos and his son to agree to help her heal the creature. The pair don’t realize who Freya is in the beginning. Through their initial encounter, God of War’s Freya becomes an ally to Kratos and Atreus, helping them on several occasions throughout the game’s narrative.
However, when it’s eventually revealed who Freya truly is – and what she’s done – it becomes clear that she’s the actual villain of the game. At the very least, Freya in God of War is the character in the game who is clearly responsible for the most pain and sorrow. This mostly stems from what she did to her son, Baldur, which greatly affects most aspects of God of War’s main storyline.
What God of War’s Freya Did To Her Son Baldur
From the opening scene of the game, it appears that Freya’s son Baldur is the big bad in God of War, as he’s on the hunt for the Jotunn Guardian. He ruthlessly tries to track down Kratos and Atreus, and though he’s portrayed as maniacal and relentless, players change their opinion of Baldur when they learn what his mother did to him. A prophecy foretold that Baldur would one day die an unnecessary death, leading Freya to become determined to stop it. To do so, she put a spell on her son that gave him invincibility. But it’s not only that he feels no physical or emotional pain. Freya’s curse made this Norse God unable to feel anything – he’s not able to enjoy any of life’s pleasures, from taste to lust.
In God of War, Freya’s spell drove Baldur to madness and filled him with dangerous rage, as evidenced by his encounters with Kratos, and made him dedicated to loathing his mother in order to cause her pain. But the spell wasn’t the only mistake Freya made in God of War. She also lied about knowing there was a cure for the curse, despite seeing how much her son was suffering, which perhaps proves just how villainous she really was.
It’s revealed in Baldur’s final fight with Kratos in God of War that mistletoe was the cure. This explains why Freya tried so hard to destroy the plant for so many years. Freya acted in her own interest in order to calm her anxieties about her son’s death. In doing so, however, she only made things worse. Had God of War’s Freya not cast the spell, Baldur likely would have not gone after Kratos and Atreus, and therefore, wouldn’t have been killed at the hands of Kratos.
At the end of God of War, Freya was the one responsible for her son’s unnecessary death, and her own selfishness is the reason she couldn’t predict it. Likewise, she also caused unnecessary turmoil and strife for Atreus and Kratos, despite being in the process of grieving the loss of their mother and wife. For these reasons, Freya is undeniably the true villain of God of War.
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