God of War is all about Kratos and Atreus. No longer the one-man demolition machine, the pantheon-wrecking demigod is a caring father now, playing protector and teacher. But there’s a big piece of this family missing. When the game starts, Atreus’ mother has just passed away and her body is yet to be burned.
We’ve seen a fair bit about Atreus now, after recent previews. But who could have played such a large, meaningful part in Kratos’ life to make him settle down and start a new family? Who is Atreus’ mother?
We know the truth now, and we’ll keep the majority of this article spoiler-free. If you want to skip straight to the biggest reveals, scroll down to the bottom. We’ll clearly label that as spoiler territory, but be warned, the body of this article contains minor spoilers as well.
What We Know About Atreus’ Mother
Within the first few hours of the game, Kratos says his second wife’s name. Atreus’ mother’s name is Faye.
As God of War starts, we see that Kratos’ second wife has passed away. It appears to be a peaceful death (because we know what kind of rampage a murder would have caused), but it catalyses a journey that’s anything but peaceful.
We know she intended for them to go on this journey, and not only because she requested her ashes “be spread from the highest peak in all the realms.” But because she had placed a protective ward around the forest during Atreus’ upbringing. When she told Kratos to cut the trees she marked with her handprint for her funeral pyre, the ward was broken and the forest was no longer safe — forcing the journey to happen.
Perhaps she wanted this journey so the two could bond, after Kratos had been away for so long. Perhaps she intended them to cross paths with the Aesir gods. Or perhaps she just knew of Kratos’ desire to live out his days in this quiet forest, and wanted Atreus to not be bound to one small woodland circle.
We now know one important thing for sure. Atreus’ mother intended them to learn the truth of where she came from, which was found at the end of their journey.
Why We Think She Was Mortal
Kratos hates gods. Hates ’em. And nobody hates like Kratos.
There’s a fundamental distrust there. He doesn’t believe any god is capable of being good, including himself. Any relationship with a god that was remotely positive — such as Athena — was eventually corrupted to the point of haunting him.
Let’s remember, this is someone who slaughtered his way through the entire Greek pantheon, being betrayed and played and backstabbed the whole time. When he finally settled down in Scandinavia, he would have wanted nothing to do with a god for a wife.
Halfway through the game, Kratos comes out and says it. Faye was mortal. Kratos isn’t ready to reveal the full truth of his past to Atreus yet, but he needed to tell him about his godly nature. That prompts Atreus to ask if his mother was a god as well. The answer is no.
It’s fun to speculate who his wife could have been if she were a god, of course. There’s a conspicuous gap of time between his Greek tragedies and Norseland fatherhood. We happen to think after the series has spent enough time in Scandinavia, there’s enough room for a flashback to travels in-between.
The most obvious location for that is Egypt. Perhaps the beautiful Isis, also a protector who was knowledgeable about nature? Or her sister Nephthys? Or Anuket?
But even before we knew for certain Faye was mortal, it wouldn’t make sense for her to be a god. How would we explain her utterly unremarkable death?
Atreus’ Mother Was Likely Norse
Faye was an expert in Norse mythology and history, and taught what she knew to Atreus, ever the eager sponge of information. She was familiar with all the realms, their histories, and most languages. Atreus is able to spot and translate runes from different languages to Kratos, and even knows enough of surrounding languages to piece together clues about runes he isn’t yet familiar with.
On top of that, Faye also seemed to know that the family would need protecting (due to Kratos and Atreus’ god status), and how to execute that protection. That suggests her knowledge of Norse gods and their tendencies may be more than academic.
Kratos was away for much of Atreus’ childhood, leaving Faye to teach Atreus to hunt. As Kratos takes Atreus out for their first father/son hunt, Atreus clearly knows the animals of the land, their tracks, and how to stalk them. All of this local expertise came from Faye. She’s either Norse herself or a scholar of foreign cultures, at a time when you can’t Google “what is a Draugr.”
Now, of course, we know the full truth. Atreus’ mother Faye was indeed Norse — though not the kind of Norse we were all expecting. Scroll down for the full spoiler on that tidbit.
She Was Magical
We mentioned the wards Faye placed around the forest, but another big point is her son may have inherited superhuman abilities from more than one source.
In our preview session, Atreus was displaying an uncontrollable anger that was clearly passed down from his father. But he also referred to a “sickness.” When Atreus would get very angry and Kratos doubted his ability to embark on the journey ahead, Atreus would say “I am ready! I haven’t been sick in a long time!”
It’s clear the boy is smart, what with his scholarly success with runes and mythology, but it goes beyond that. A few things are signalled early in the game that go beyond an intelligent child. Atreus seems to know things others don’t.
For example, when we first see Brok, the dwarven blacksmith, trying to push his animal across a bridge, Atreus somehow knows the animal is afraid of something in the nearby woods. He asks Kratos to throw his axe in that direction. Sure enough, whatever was there scampers away. Atreus then whispers something in another tongue to the beast, which promptly gets up and starts walking.
That sort of ability clearly didn’t come from Atreus’ father. Whether it was passed down genetically or verbally, it came from Faye. Later on, we see a more dramatic version of this power, as Atreus is able to call to the World Serpent — in a language no one else knows — for help.
Lastly and very importantly, there are moments towards the end of the game when Atreus starts to hear voices. He’s somehow mentally connected to those around him, but can’t yet control it. Atreus’ powers have yet to manifest themselves fully, but there’s clearly some kind of telepathy involved.
Originally, the TV commercial showed Atreus firing electric arrows, which led some to believe he had inherited power over lightning from being the grandson of Zeus. But the shock arrow is a magical item, not inherited from Atreus’ mother or father.
Atreus’ Mother Was a Warrior
The Leviathan Axe was made by the dwarves Brok and Sindri, but they didn’t make it for Kratos. They made it for Faye.
This is made clear the first time you encounter Sindri, when he thinks Kratos may have stolen the axe. Such is Sindri’s admiration for Faye, he was willing to confront Kratos over the axe’s ownership.
In a prophecy revealed at the end, we also see that it was Faye who first held the axe. She then gave it to Kratos.
This was hinted at early on. In the E3 2017 God of War presentation featuring sand art, Faye is shown holding and axe and then later, Kratos’ hand on it. This happens before the baby appears in the picture.
Later in the game, Faye is referred to as a “a great warrior, and a great woman.” She’s also a skilled hunter, and teaches these skills to Atreus. The axe wasn’t given to her as a ceremonious trinket — it was given to her to use.
This makes sense, as it would certainly take a woman with thick skin and martial prowess to not only put up with Kratos’ endless belligerence, but also earn his respect. Ultimately, Faye brought out Kratos’ softer side in a way no other post-Lysandra woman could.
The Etymology of ‘Faye’
Needless to say, “Faye” is phonetically identical to “fae” (or “fay,” or “fata”) which has significance in Norse mythology.
The Fae folk refers to any supernatural non-human folk, such as elves, dwarves, giants, and so on. Magical, mythological people who could be faeries or some kind of spirit. The fact that Kratos’ wife has this name, in this setting, and is also displaying magical mastery could be telling.
We aren’t even sure the proper spelling of Kratos’ partner is “Faye,” as we’ve only heard him utter the name verbally in the early part of the game. Perhaps we’ll see a proper spelling in-game, or in an official correspondence from Sony.
Spoiler Territory — Atreus’ Mother’s True Identity
A little bit of time has passed now, and we know more about Atreus’ mother, Faye. If you don’t want to know the super-spoilery truth, now is the time to look away.
Atreus’ mother was of the race of giants. Not all giants are actually giant, and she was normal-sized. But she did come from the realm of Jotunheim, as we find out at the end of God of War.
This is the realm that the giants fled to, escaping Odin’s wrath. Tyr made it very hard for anyone to find their way there, eluding even the Aesir gods. When Kratos and Atreus finally get there, they see that the giants had prophesied their entire journey.
We discover that her full name is Laufey — also known as “Laufey the Just.” She is a hero of the giants for opposing Odin and the other Aesir gods.
It all started with Atreus’ mother Faye leaving the giants. In death, she gave Kratos and Atreus this quest so they would discover the truth. But it’s unclear if her motive was for them to bond, or discover the fate of the giants, or simply throwing the giant monkey wrench that is Kratos into the machinery of Norse deities out of vengeance.
For those keeping score, that means Atreus is both a god and a giant. Kratos won the marital squabble over what to name the child, choosing “Atreus” to honour a former Spartan warrior. But Faye, and the giants, had always planned for this son to be named Loki.
Atreus was never portrayed as mischievous or as a trickster, as we’ve traditionally come to know Loki from Norse mythology. But Loki is meant to be part giant. And his mother’s true name, Laufey, is consistent with Norse mythology.
The Fate of Faye and Kratos
The giants were skilled at prophecy, yet Kratos is just as skilled at defying prophecy. Only time will tell what Faye’s true goals were.
Was she playing the long game? Was marrying Kratos and birthing Atreus all part of a plan? There are still many realms we haven’t explored, and we’ll probably find out more in DLCs or a sequel.
There’s also a secret ending that hints at the fight to come…
That’s as much spoilery goodness as we know, for now. If any new details come to light, we’ll update this post.