Opinion: A Mistake God of War (PS4) Should Avoid
By Jonathan Balofsky On 30 Apr, 2017 At 04:42 AM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, Opinion, PlayStation, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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God of War for PlayStation 4  is coming soon and will be set not in Greek mythology but instead in Norse mythology. This is a great way to shake things up but I do have some concerns about this.  The previous trilogy was about Kratos’ vengeance against the gods, sparked by his vendetta against Ares, the Greek god of war. Given the way media often likes to make many mythological figures similar to ones in other cultures, it makes me concerned that the developers will try and give Kratos an enmity with the Norse god of war, Tyr.

In fact, many modern fictional portrayals of Tyr use him as a villain,, and this includes story arcs in the Marvel Comics Thor series. However, this is completely wrong, and usually is the result of writers using him as an Ares stand in. To be fair, the Romans did identify Tyr with Mars when they discussed the Germanic peoples and their beliefs, but there is another issue there. Ares and the Roman god Mars were not the same figure, and in many ways Mars is incompatible with Ares. Mars was the second most important god to many Romans and was a noble god of war, a protector god and a patron of farmers. Tyr is also incompatible with the myths of Ares, since among other things, in the original Germanic myths, he was king of the gods, and it was only centuries later that the cult of Odin got more prominent and Odin became the top god. The writings of the Romans about the Germanics clearly record Tyr, referred to as Mars, as King of the god, but did acknowledge, Mercury (Odin) as an extremely popular one, albeit  only among certain warriors.

Another key point is that Tyr wasn’t the only god of war among the Norse people actually. In fact, most of the Norse gods were war gods in some form, and Odin and Freyja were two of the other important war gods. Tyr had A domain in war, and that was as the patron of soldiers, the common warriors, and of personal combat. Tyr was god of a number of things besides this however, and these include wisdom, justice, law, honor, bravery, compassion. When it came to war, he was the incarnation of the noble and protective aspects of it, and in many ways was the Norse counterpart to the goddess Athena, the Greek goddess of war and wisdom.

An actual evil god of war for the Norse would actually be Odin surprisingly enough. Odin is thought of as the king of the god, but in truth was only really important to the nobility of the Norse people and  this was only centuries after the Germanic people met the Romans. bear in mind, most of the surviving Norse myths are from Iceland, and were written for the nobility. Odin being the top god was a result of the Nobles preferring him and having stories written accordingly. these stories were later Christianized by later writers, and many surviving stories only come from Christian sources.

The common soldiers did not generally prefer Odin and actually preferred Tyr and would dedicate their weapons to him. The farmers in turn worshipped Freyr and Thor,  who were the fertility gods of the crops. Of course Thor was also the protector god for many. Another thing that isn’t widely known about Odin was that he had many names and one of them was Oathbreaker. The breaking of oaths was big taboo is Norse culture and many sagas involved this and the damage it brought. Furthermore, as mentioned Tyr’s domain in war was of the common soldier, and the protective aspects of war, but Odin’s domain was the berserkers and the destructive aspects of war . The goddess Freyja was also associated with destructive aspects of war and was noted for her blood thirst, similar to the Morgana.

Odin just makes far more sense to be the overall villain right from the beginning of the new series.. He did many bad things in the myths that he later suffered for and can be easily argued as outright villainous.  His actions, many of which were to prevent Ragnarok, actually caused it, and he often made life worse for many. It should be noted, that he was originally a death god, but his domain there was not of honorable death. Tyr was noted for being the bravest of the gods and did the things no one else was willing to.

As a history buff, and a mythology nerd, I hope the writers have properly researched the myths and don’t just take the easy route. Norse myth is very interesting and full of grey and grey morality. It had a very different value system than the Greeks, but at the same time, a lot of it is misunderstood. I hope I have cleared up some of it here.

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