God of War

A deep dive on the Valkyries and their role in the game’s narrative. (Long, also Spoilers.)

God of War 4 - A deep dive on the Valkyries and their role in the game's narrative. (Long, also Spoilers.)
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Hi there, I'm Farore I write an array of God of War theories and other miscellaneous things over on Tumblr and Twitter. I don't usually post my stuff to reddit but I figured I'd try it out with this latest think piece on Sigrun and the Valkyries. I recommend reading it on my Tumblr page (I have pretty pictures!) but I know not everyone is a fan of their site so I pasted the text below. Thanks! Link to the Original post.

Sigrun & the Valkyries.

(Make sure to read all the way through <3)

So here’s a fun fact, I don’t like the Valkyries. Like, I sorta hate them and their presence in the game. Not because they were hard to fight but because I think they represented a glaring hole in the overall narrative of the story.

So God of War is a father-son story, (we should all know that by now.) Encompassing that is the overall theme of ‘Family.’ One of the reasons the story is so good, despite the narrative having such a simple premise, is thanks in part to the uniform theme sewn throughout the game. It was as if everyone at SMS was on the same page when it came to the story. We see the writers sprinkle the ‘family’ theme into every character of the game. From Magni and Modi’s rivalry to Freya and Baldur’s tragic yet toxic mother/son relationship. Heck, Freya is in the predicament she’s in right now because of her family. It was her brother’s idea to marry her off to the enemy, and now Odin, her husband, has flown off the deep end. From the biggest starring characters to the smallest side quest missions, the theme of family is everywhere. Not just that they have a family, everyone does, but the conflict, complexities, dedication, and love that comes with family.

Let’s compare the Valkyries to, say, the Hammer Fall quest. If you don’t remember, that’s the one where you have to destroy the big Thor stature for a spirit.

In Hammer Fall, we meet an enraged – grieving spirit challenging the god of thunder himself to fight him. (Noble but stupid, hey, I like that in a man.) The spirit’s dad dedicated his life to worshiping Thor so much that when he died, his wife built a statue of Thor to watch over his grave. Thor visited the statue, got drunk, and proceeded to do what he does best, killing the spirit’s widowed mother.

Once the spirit cried all the grief out of him, he was left with only rage for the god that took his family from him. In his quest for vengeance, he comes across Kratos and Atreus, asking them to destroy the statue and giving them his blessing to loot his father’s grave. Once the quest is over and the statue is destroyed the spirit quickly disperses into the next life, determined to face and destroy the god of thunder.

Atreus seems happy enough, but Kratos knows better. The spirit is still lost in rage. Revenge blinded him and caused him to act a fool. Destroying the statue his mother worked so hard on to honor the man she loved, allowing strangers to defile and pillage his father’s grave, and charging headfirst into an unwinnable fight. All in the name of ‘love’ for his dead family.

“He is a fool.” – Kratos

In this quest, the writers have masterfully intertwined the themes of family along with echos of mistakes in Kratos’ past. All this for a “go here, do this, come back” quest. While far from the best side mission story, it is still beautifully handled.

Now let’s take a look at the story involving the only women physically represented in this game.

  • Uh, they were good, but now they’re bad?
  • “Punch women in the face to solve the mystery!”
  • I keep freeing them but they’re not really telling me anything, it’s all so vague!
  • I guess their leader did this to them?
  • Oh here’s the leader, wow she’s hard!
  • Odin did this to them, but why?
  • Oh, she’s not really the leader.
  • Wait I have more questions!
  • Oh, she’s gone.
Read:  It is done

And…. that’s it. That’s the Valkyries. 9 women we had to rescue from themselves by beating the shit out of them. Their leader did this to them because of Odin’s meddling and that’s it.

No seriously,** that’s it.**

Now, I realize not every side quest needs to accompanied with world building lore, they may just be setting up for the next game. But, something was missing from them.

Where is the theme of family when it comes to the Valkyries?

Sure they are ‘sisters,’ but I mean. That’s the only thing they touch upon… They say they’re sisters, they don’t explore the relationship sisterhood encompasses or really do anything at all with it. Look at the Huldra brother’s, look at how much time and dedication went into the story of brotherhood. Heck, we got two stories on brotherhood and what that sort of relationship can look like on both extremes.

So, yeah. That’s why I don’t really like the Valkyries. Fun as hell to fight, but really disappointed in their lore.

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Aw man, maybe the blogs are right, maybe this game really is shitty on how they handled female characters. I mean, Freya is supposed to the female lead and they hid something so extremely major about her character behind an optional mini-boss.

Ugh, I’m sad now. 🙁

No.

I don’t believe that.

In fact, I refuse to believe that!

There has to be more to this, I know it.

Snap out of it Farore.

Your getting rusty, old lady.

Let’s try this again.

Sigrun & the Valkyries.

The story of Sigun is a deep, layered, and tragic tale of one woman’s attempt to hold the weight of family, duty, and failure on her back.

The Valkyries are an elite group of the world’s most talented and fiercest women. Together they uphold the balance of life and death. Odin may have befriended them, but even he is fearful of their inevitable jurisdiction on him and his legacy. Odin poisoned the Valkyries with his magic in his attempt to control them and thus, Ragnarok itself. In her desperate attempt to staunch the bleeding of Odin’s meddling, Sigrun did the unthinkable: she imprisoned her beloved sisters and abandoned the sworn duty she cherished so much. Tragically, as Odin’s poisoned slithered its way into her mind she locked herself away in the Valkyries throne room before her rage caused her to hurt anyone or fall into a corner where Odin could slip a leash and muzzle on her. Defying the All-Father from controlling her or her sisters for his own wicked deeds.

As her mind began to leave her, she stumbled her way to Mimir. Hoping that seeing the man that brought her love and compassion would help regain her senses. But Odin’s Magic was too powerful, she was too far gone. Realizing this she quickly says her farewells to the man she loves. Making 8 more quick stops. Tyr’s braziers.

Sigrun lost herself in a spiral of rage in her corporeal form. She failed her sisters, she failed her duty, but above all else, she failed her queen.

See, Sigrun never truly believed herself to be the queen. In her eyes, Freya always was. Odin striped Sigrun of serving underneath her beloved queen when he cut her wings off.

In her eyes, she didn’t deserve the title of the queen, it was unworthy how she attained it. But her sisters were lost without Freya, the Valkyrie needed a queen. She had to set aside her grief for the woman she loved in order to keep her family safe. Desperately trying to carry the burden of everything on her shoulders all by herself. Odin made sure that weight was too much to bear as she was soon crushed underneath it thanks to his meddling. Only when the son of Kratos & Laufey came along could she be saved. Kratos wanted nothing to do with these women, but his son showed them kindness and compassion. The world was out of order, but along came Atreus, a ‘god that grew up good.’ Because of his goodness, the imbalance could finally begin to heal.

“When gods grow good.”

The story of the Valkyries may not be the backbone of the game, but they make up for the core prophecy surrounding the game’s lore. It also shows the depths sisters will go in order to protect one another. Sigrun tried doing everything on her own, but she failed. Only now that she is reunited with her family can they begin to fix this.

Read:  Almost done!

So that being said let’s look even deeper into the details of Sigrun, mostly her armor. SMS recent releases these beautiful pictures of all the Valkyries armors and one of them really stood out to me. Sigrun’s helmet.

In Norse mythology, Loki is tied to a rock by the guts of his dead son as a snake drips poison onto him. The poison is so painful, every time it hits his face his body trembles so violently earthquakes plague the land.

Ragnarok can begin when this cycle stops. When Loki is free of the snake’s painful torture.

Kratos has found himself tied up in helping the Valkyries thanks to his son’s compassion for them. The fight with Sigrun proving to be one of the most challenging and painful encounters the god of war has ever faced. Some players trapped in a cycle of death after death. It took me forever to defeat her. But with the defeat of her physical form, it cures her from Odin’s spell. Now Sigrun and her sisters are free to return to their duty, preparation of the Einherjar and eventually Ragnarok.

While Atreus may be Loki in this world. Kratos is playing the role of the god tied to this never ending painful experience. Atreus is the rope that holds him there. So what’s Sigrun in this story?

Let’s take a closer look at the animal on her helmet. A dragon, but a very different type of dragon from what we see in game. Hraezlyr and the dwarfs are typical 4 leged dragons, the dragon on her helmet looks more like a Chinese dragon.

Almost snake-like.

God, I love this game, and you know what? I changed my mind, I love the Valkyries too. <3

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