www.cbr.com

God of War's Ending Reveals Atreus is More Important Than You Think

The following contains MASSIVE spoilers for Sony Santa Monica's God of War.

One of the big mysteries surrounding the new God of War game has been that of Kratos' son, Atreus. The young and timid boy is such a stark contrast from his more gruff father that there just had to be some shoe in relation to him that the game was waiting to drop. In the final moments of the game, the truth is revealed, and it opens the possibilities of the franchise up in a big way.

The main thread of the game concerns Kratos and Atreus taking the ashes of the former's dead wife Faye to the "highest peak in all the Realms" to watch them scatter in the sky, per her last wish. Though it's been a lengthy and adventurous process, the duo manage to reach their destination after killing Freya's son, Baldur, who's been tracking the pair since the beginning of the game.

During their trip to the peak, the two come across an ornate cave filled with statues of Giants, who haven’t been seen in a long time after they presumably disappeared back to their home realm of Jotunheim. (In the world of God of War, they are not all, despite their names, actually giant sized.) The walls of the cave peel themselves back to reveal an artful tapestry showing Faye talking with the Giants of days past. To Atreus' shock, the tapestry doesn't just show his mother wielding the Leviathan Axe his father would come to own, it shows him and Kratos meeting the World Serpent and the fight with Baldur that happened before their arrival there. Faye recorded it all on the walls, along with an ominous (and unfinished) cave drawing of Atreus cradling his father's apparently dead body.

RELATED: What Would Happen if God of War's Kratos Had Thor's Mighty Mjolnir?

"This is our story," Atreus says in awe. "No," Kratos replies, "this is your story." He isn't expressing it outwardly, but Kratos was never told about any of this by Faye, and Atreus quickly pieces it all together. His mother was a Giantess, making him part Giant. The former Ghost of Sparta is convinced there was a reason for the secrecy, that she sent the two there knowing they'd find the truth for themselves. It explains not only why Baldur was constantly after them throughout the game, but also why Odin deployed Magni and Modi to go after the pair as well.

Atreus and Kratos reach the top of the mountain and scatter Faye's ashes together as son and father. As the two make the trek down the mountain, Atreus muses about his status as part Giant, God, and mortal. There's just one thing that stumps him, and it goes back to what he read on the walls. Instead of "Atreus," the name he's referred to is the one Faye originally wanted for him and the one she called him when talking to her fellow Giants...Loki.

Yes, you read that right. Atreus will grow up to be Loki, the God of Mischief.

The reveal is done quite well; it's stated matter of factly, and Kratos later explains how Atreus came to be the name he and Faye settled on. Save for a moment where Kratos asks "What would Loki do?" when his son asks him what their next course of action, it's not played with any real gravitas. But there's also very clearly a sense of danger looming on the horizon as the young boy makes sense of all these revelations piling on top of one another. In a weird way, the game hints at this during the final fight with Baldur; in Norse mythology, Loki is responsible for Baldur's death, and Atreus definitely gets in his fair share of hits in during the titanic boss fight.

Despite the powerful connection to Norse mythology, though, there are no hints that he'll come to be the trickster that we know him to be -- at least, not yet. Following the killing of Baldur and revealing his true godhood to Atreus, Kratos tells his son -- and the audience as well, as it turns out -- "We will be the gods we choose to be."

It's all a lot to take in, but the game has one final thing to close the story on. After Kratos and Atreus return home, they immediately set about getting some much needed sleep. Then we're propelled to an undetermined amount of years later; thunder and lightning boom above their home, and the two grab their weapons, ready for a fight. Standing at their door is a hooded figure wearing a fur coat, unharmed from the chaotic weather. "WHO ARE YOU?!" Kratos shouts. Wind billows around the man as we see the lightning fly towards something on his hip... a massive hammer.

It's Thor, no doubt with a bone to pick with Kratos for not just killing his brother Baldur, but his thunderous sons as well.  Before we can see how that battle plays out, though, Atreus wakes up. He tells his father of the dream he just had, pleading how it felt real and could be a sign of things to come, but Kratos simply says the pair will "worry about it tomorrow. Today, there are still things we can do."

Oh, Kratos. If only you took your son's dreams more seriously.

Theory: Man-Thing Is James Gunn's Final Guardians of the Galaxy Easter Egg

More in CBR Exclusives