God of War

The Gods of God of War

God of War 6 - The Gods of God of War
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Before anything, it's important to remember that ancient religions were not a monolith, likely having high degrees of variation depending on location and personal understanding of practitioners. Also, since they lacked an unified theology and not everything survives, many terms were created by people trying to make sense of incredible complex systems by imposing order into them.

Now lets start.

The original games (main trilogy plus PSP games) were based on the mythologies of the Greeks. The Greeks were notoriously decentralized, with each city having their own myths and gods and even when they shared gods they could have completely roles. But not only that, some sects of society held their own cults with drastically different interpretation of the same deities, so we end up with a confusing, contradictory mess of deities.

In general, and very summarized, gods in Greek Mythology can range from primordial entities that personify aspects of reality (as understood by the Greeks) like the Earth, the Night, etc; to entities personifying concepts like Death, Strife; to powerful archetypes ruling over certain domains, like the Olympians; to deposed deities who were once the rulers like the Titans; to minor deities from the innumerable children of the gods, gods of this river or that road, etc. There's also many liminal beings that aren't quite godly but aren't mortal either, like Satyrs.

It's not productive to think of those different types of gods as different "races" or "species" of gods. The distinction exists out of their affiliations and roles they performed, rather than a more modern idea of speciation. After all, they are usually given a line of descent from one another, making them closer to generation of gods than classes of gods.

In Greek myths, deities could also produce offspring with mortals. Generally the offspring would become heroes, performing superhuman deeds but are ultimately mortal unless they are given immortality by consuming the food of the gods. When it comes to a mortal without godly ancestry becoming a deity, those are far more rare but not unheard of.

The new games are based in the Norse mythology. Norse mythology is quite complicated too, but for different reasons. Unlike the Greek classics, which we have plenty, we have very few surviving texts from their myths, so instead of an overload of contradictory information we have many holes in our understanding of the Norse myths (not that the ones that survived lack contradictions). We can assume that the Norse had differences in beliefs like the Greek did, we just don't have the intricacies.

Deities in Norse myth seem to be divided in three main groups: Aesir, Vanir and Giants (Jötunn). There's scholarly discussion on what those distinctions mean, if there's even a real difference between Aesir and Vanir, but we are being general here. The Norse also had other beings like elves, but we are not sure what exactly they were, neither godly nor human.

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Like the Greek deities, Aesir, Vanir and Jötunn shouldn't be seen as different species or races of beings. Fundamentally, they are all the same thing, with frequent intermarriages and offspring. So you have Aesir gods that who have Jotunn or Vanir parents. Though debatable, the best way to describe it would be that those three groups are of different social classes, with Aesir on top, Vanir in the middle and Jötunn at the bottom.

This distinction is of course complicated because we only really have three gods named as vanir: Frey, Frejya and their father; meanwhile we have a whole hosts of deities named but are given no tribe.

There are many cases of Aesir and Giant gods producing children, who are usually counted as Aesir. Examples include Thor, who has an Aesir father and a Jötunn mother and Loki, who has a Jötunn father and an Aesir mother. Sometimes thing just go wild and an aesir and a jötunn (Loki and Angrboða) just start having animals for children.

Also there are cases that have gods just "change" their affiliation by marriage, like a jötunn marrying an aesir and presumably going to live in Asgard. In some cases it's very weird: Skaði, who is said to be a giantess (with a giant father) marries the vanir Njörðr, and is then counted as aesir.

It should also be noted that there's isn't a very clear distinction between "frost" and "fire" giants. Frost giant most likely is just a term used for poetic alliteration.

Now, in game, it seems there was an attempt to make things more standardized.

In the Greek saga, deities appear to be divided in Primordial gods, Titans and Olympians, with Olympians having demigod children with mortals. Other than generation, we don't know exactly what differs them. Gaia (a primordial), Cronos (a Titan) and Hephaestus (an Olympian) all have a non-human look to them, while Prometheus, Thanatos and most gods do look pretty human. Meanwhile, Demigods can be granted immortality fully becoming gods.

Meanwhile, minor deities were reduced to monsters like the nymphs.

In the Norse saga, some things changed. For example, Freya recognizes Kratos as a god, meaning there are commonalities between gods of different pantheons. However, one big difference from the source mythology is that it appears giants aren't gods, with one being described as having grown old and died.

However, like in the mythology, children of Aesir and giants are Aesir themselves, like Thor, so it might just be that Aesir are like Jötunn but they have access to Iðunn's apples.

There's also a retcon in the new games: demigods. Kratos claims to have been a god by birth, even though he was merely a demigod. Meanwhile, Magni and Moði are described as demigods, but also minor gods.

Another problem is Atreus and Laufey. In this game she was made into a jötunn, that makes Atreus' mother a giant. Kratos and Atreus even comment how Atreus is part god, part mortal and part giant, even though logic dictates he should be just a god.

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