The Æsir or Āsir (singular Óss, Áss or Ás, Old Norse for "God") were the primary group of Gods venerated by the ancient Nordic pagans (the secondary group were the Vanir).
The Æsir most likely symbolized the violent aspects of nature, in contrast with the Vanir who symbolized the peaceful aspects of nature.
In the God of War Series Edit
The tribe of the Aesir are descendants of the Primordial Jötunn, Ymir, the first sentient being of the World Tree. First amongst them was Búri, who was followed by his son Borr and after that his grandsons, Odin, Vili and Vé. Despite their creation, it was not long before the Aesir believed themselves so superior that they should hold dominion over all of creation. Their king, Odin, raised arms with his brothers against their progenitor and slew Ymir, eventually leaving the Realms at the mercy of Asgard.
Because of Odin's ancient actions, the Jötnar (or Giant) race of Jötunheim and the Aesir have always held bitter resentment towards one another, with the Raven God always looking for ways to eliminate their race completely. Both envious and paranoid of their innate affinity with foresight, as well as their strange connection to his own death, Odin eventually made the decision to genocide the Jötnar using his now extended Aesir tribe. Following a botched attempt at peace organised by the diplomatic God of War, (who was unwittingly used by Odin as he tried to steal secrets from Jötunheim); the Allfather utilized the strength of Thor to carry out Giant slaughter across Midgard, though several Jötnar Shrines depict that Thor was not the only God involving themselves in this brutality.
At some point after the expulsion of the Aesir from Jötunheim, Týr was slain by Odin.
Besides the Giants, the Aesir had simmering tensions between their rival tribe, the Vanir. It was when the Aesir attempted to murder one of their leaders, Freyr, after the Vanir's attempts at diplomacy that the two fractions of gods finally broke out in war. Though contests of raw power were easily won, the Vanir proved to be their equal and delivered devastating damage to the Aesir. Their battles raged on for centuries until both sides finally put an end to the senseless conflict, having no choice but to compromise in order to achieve peace.
Mimir served as the ambassador of the two tribes, proposing that Odin should marry one of the leaders of the Vanir, Freya. The proposal finally brought peace to both the Aesir and Vanir. Odin was, at the time, distraught over the death of his beloved, though Freya's presence brought him comfort. However, Odin's increasing paranoia forced Freya to leave him, thus causing Odin to curse Freya and block any and all travel to Vanaheim.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
The Aesir have always been a powerful tribe that values strength above all else, always remaining unchallenged until they met their match against the Vanir.
However, Mimir notices that while they were an unstoppable force, they lacked strategy, coordination and planning. Also, most of the Aesir look down on the practice of magic, relying solely on their skills in brute combat.
All Aesir seen so far can use elemental power to enhance their physical abilities and weaponry; Baldur can imbue his attacks with light and later with ice and fire, and likewise, Thor and his sons can imbue their weapons with lightning.
- Búri: Son of Ymir and Auðumbla, The first Aesir God to ever exist.
- Borr: Son of Búri and the father of Odin, Vili, and Vé.
- Odin: King of the Aesir, the Raven God.
- Thor: Son of Odin, the God of Thunder.
- Baldur: Son of Odin, the God of Light.
- Týr: Son of Odin, the God of War.
- Magni and Modi: The Sons of Thor.
- Thrúd: The daughter of Thor.
- Mimir: Former counselor of Odin, the God of Knowledge.
- Heimdall: Gatekeeper and Guardian of Asgard.
- Sif: The golden-haired wife of Thor.
- Vili and Vé: The younger brothers of Odin.
- Despite the fact that their King, Odin, is a master of several mystic arts, including ancient magicks and Seiðr, the Aesir still look down on the practice of magic, calling it unmanly and some even mocked the Allfather for learning them.
- Another mentioned Aesir is the Goddess Nanna, wife of Baldur in Norse mythology. However, she is referenced so briefly (in one of Brok's many sayings, no less) that it's unclear whether this would even be her role in God of War (2018).
- In the mythology, the pair has a son, the God of justice and reconciliation, Forseti. However, since Baldur's invulnerability enchantments prevent him from siring a child as stated in the novel, Forseti never existed in God of War universe.
- It is implied through several Lore Markers and Scrolls, as well as the odd bit of dialogue that the "traditional" role of the Aesir (or at least, the one they might have sloppily built for themselves) is that of Midgard's dependable defenders when times require action, not unlike their role in mythology. Unfortunately, at least by God of War (2018); mortal reliance upon Asgard for said duty seems to have entirely vanished.
- According to Mimir, while the Aesir are a powerful force, he considers them lacking in the strategy and thought department. This is where he functioned as Odin's adviser.
- Mimir also considers them not very perceptive, seeing as how they somehow can't tell the difference between Dwarves and Dark Elves, despite neither race looking even remotely alike.
- Apparently, the Aesir fear and despise anything they consider to be unpredictable and uncontrollable. This is among the reasons why most of them dislike magic and seek to establish total control over the Nine Realms.
- Cory Barlog compared the Aesir to the Hunter S. Thompson's depiction of the Hells Angels in his book "Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs": he described them as "hard drinking, proud-to-be-the-dirtiest-and-nastiest, down-to-fight and living every second of life".