|“||Before you die, I want to thank you. Both of you. You've done what even the Allfather himself could not. I've never felt more alive! Ironic, isn't it?||”|
–Baldur to Kratos and Atreus for freeing his curse
was the son of (the King of the Gods) and his wife . He was known to be beautiful and was the favorite of the Æsir gods.
Most legends about him concern his death. After he and Frigg had a dream in which they saw his death (with dreams being prophetic in Norse mythology), Frigg asked everything in creation to promise to not harm Baldr, only forgetting to ask mistletoe, as she thought it was "too young" to swear an oath. Icelandic stories tell how the gods amused themselves by throwing objects at him (knowing that he was immune from harm). The blind god, (Baldr’s twin brother) deceived by , killed Baldr by hurling mistletoe, the only thing that could hurt him.
After Baldr’s funeral, the messenger Hermod was sent to Hel, the goddess of the land of the dead also known as, to ask for Baldr's return. Hel asked that every being in creation weep for Baldr, and every being did, except the giantess (who was Loki in disguise), who refused to weep the tears that would release Baldr from death.
Baldr's death was the start of: The Death of the Norse Gods and end of the Nine Realms.
However, it is known that after Ragnarok, Baldr, along with Hod, would come back to life and become the new ruler of the peaceful land.
In the God of War Series
Baldur was an Aesir born to Odin and Freya and was the half-brother of Thor and Týr. At some point in his life, his mother learned from the runes that he would die a "needless death". Determined to prevent his death at any cost, Freya placed a spell on him that made him invulnerable to all threats, physical or magical. The spell had one weakness, however: mistletoe. To make sure no one figured out the spell's weakness, she also cursed Mimir to prevent him from speaking about it. However, the spell had a side-effect of removing Baldur's ability to physically feel anything. He could no longer feel anything from pain and pleasure to even the temperature of wherever he stood. Baldur’s pleas to Freya to lift the spell fell on deaf ears, and Freya insisted that Baldur would thank her for it. As a result, Baldur was driven mad, and he was consumed with hatred for his mother and vowed to never forgive her.
God of War (2018)
Baldur answers to Odin's call to hunt down the Jötunn Guardian, one of the two remaining Jötnar in Midgard who had been foiling the Aesir's plans for some time. With the sudden disappearance of the protection spell of the Wildwoods, Baldur decided to investigate, eventually finding the cabin where the Guardian lived.
Mistaking the Guardian's husband, the Greek God Kratos, for the actual Guardian, Baldur confronts the God, who in turn thought Baldur knew of his past as the "Ghost of Sparta". Unbeknownst to Baldur, the Guardian had died mere days before and had been cremated minutes prior to his arrival. Kratos is at first unwilling to fight, even though Baldur continuously taunts and punches him, but eventually gives in and punches Baldur to the ground. When Kratos tries to tell him to leave, Baldur punches Kratos clear over the house. Breaking a hole in the roof, Baldur spotted two beds inside and demanded to know who he was hiding. The two start to brutally fight and Kratos is able to overpower Baldur, but the latter seems unaffected by the punches or slashes from his axe. Baldur then reveals he doesn't feel pain. Kratos seemingly kills Baldur by snapping his neck, causing him to tumble off a cliff.
Due to Freya's spell, he was simply incapacitated by Kratos' attack. Gathering his nephews, Magni and Modi, they visited the imprisoned ambassador of the Aesir, Mimir, assuming he knows where "the tattooed man" and "the child" are. However, their interrogation is fruitless, as Mimir doesn't know who the two are and refuses to help the Aesir.
Later, when Kratos, Mimir, and Atreus prepare to go to Jötunheim, Baldur ambushes them, gaining the upper hand against Kratos and goading Atreus into attacking him. He dismisses Kratos as "just meat" and assumes Atreus was the mastermind behind the Guardian's attacks on the Aesir. Atreus tries to fight Baldur, feeling that he is ready for the confrontation. Kratos tries to stop him, only to be shot with an arrow by Atreus. Baldur grows amused upon seeing Atreus strike at his father when he attempted to keep him out of the fight. An overconfident Atreus attacks Baldur but fails to kill him, and he knocks the boy unconscious before departing on a dragon. Kratos jumps off the mountain, intercepts them and fights Baldur, who eventually makes it to the realm travel room and locks in Asgard as the destination, hoping to bring the full weight of the Aesir down upon Kratos. After another brutal fist fight, Kratos alters the destination to Helheim, sending them flying into the Realm of the Dead. Baldur comes across an illusion taking the form of his memories, specifically the time he confronted his mother, Freya, over the spell she placed on him. Baldur angrily lashes out at his mother, despite her reasons and motives. Kratos, Atreus, and Mimir, in hiding, witness Baldur act irrationally towards the illusion and learn of his connection to Freya.
After finding a way to escape Helheim, Baldur learns of the trio's journey into The World Serpent's stomach and fights the giant serpent in order to make it expel the three next to the colossal corpse of the Frost Giant Thamur. Emerging from the icy waters of the lake, Baldur meets his mother for the first time in years. Despite his time away, Baldur is still consumed by hatred towards his mother. He tries to attack her but Kratos gets in his way, leading to another fight between them while Freya tries to intervene by entangling the two with roots, but her spells are ineffective as they continue to fight.
During a small lull in the fight, Kratos is ensnared by vines conjured by Freya, but Baldur, witnessing Kratos' plight, manages to avoid another conjuration of vines meant for him. Fixed on killing Kratos, Baldur approaches him, but Atreus places himself in Baldur's path. Irritated, Baldur strikes the boy square in the chest. Kratos is horrified, believing that Atreus is wounded, but he tells him that it isn't his blood; in fact, it's Baldur's blood. It is shown that Baldur's hand was pierced by the mistletoe arrow that Kratos had strung onto Atreus' quiver after the strap was broken during their journey. Baldur then revels at his newfound ability to feel as a horrified Freya watches on.
Being vulnerable once again, Baldur resumes his battle with Kratos. He thanks the pair for their assistance, claiming that not even Odin himself was able to remove his "curse". Enraged, Kratos overwhelms Baldur and he and Atreus brutally beat the Aesir god, but Freya intervenes again by manipulating Thamur's corpse, who attacks Kratos and Atreus with his icy breath. Freya's efforts end in failure as Atreus calls the World Serpent to attack the reanimated Giant. An utterly defeated Baldur goads Kratos to kill him, but after some convincing from Atreus and Freya, Kratos spares him and warns him not to come after them again nor lay a hand on Freya.
Baldur confronts his mother once more. Freya implores her son to find understanding in her actions in an attempt to make peace with him. Baldur refuses to forgive her, and Freya allows her son to strangle her as proof of her remorse, but Kratos intervenes again. Quoting his father, Kratos claims that the cycle must end and that they all should be better, as he snaps Baldur's neck a second time, killing him once and for all. Before his passing, Baldur feels a snowflake falling on his face, and utters a final word: "Snow..."
Freya is left devastated and enraged upon his death despite Baldur's attempt on her life. She swears revenge upon Kratos before taking her son's body with her and disappearing.
Despite her tragic fury, Mimir believes that given time, Freya will come to accept that Baldur's death was for the best and that the Nine Realms are better with her alive. However, Baldur's death triggers an occurrence over the realms. Mimir believes that the Fimbulwinter, the terrible winter that lasts three years, has been triggered. To make matters worse, the winter preludes the coming of Ragnarök, something that was believed not to happen for at least a hundred more years. Baldur's death, and perhaps the intervention of an outsider like Kratos, accelerated the end of the Nordic Gods.
When their journey ends, Atreus has a prophetic dream of many years later: He and his father are confronted outside of their home by a cloaked man with a mystic hammer; it's Baldur's half-brother, Thor, likely coming to avenge his half-brother and fallen sons.
Unlike most of the other Aesir to appear in the game, Baldur displays a rather civilized and refined demeanor, talking with a regal and eloquent nature. He tends to handle most situations with a methodical approach. He commonly utilizes dark humor, making tasteless mockery of his foes before killing them. Baldur appears to be fully aware of his and the other Aesir's reputations for brutality, and makes no effort to deny it, but rather appears to revel in it, though he considers his approach more refined than that of his half-brother Thor, known for exterminating nearly the entirety of the Jötnar. Baldur can be best summed up as an intelligent, sadistic and completely heartless psychopath.
During his early years, Baldur was a kind, happy, and innocent child. When he was younger, he gave Freya a beaded necklace and a bracelet that he presumably crafted himself as gifts. However, after being cursed by his mother to prevent his death, and having to endure the inability to feel anything for so long, Baldur's personality gradually changed into that of the insane Aesir he is now.
Unlike the benevolent depiction of him in the myth, Baldur is extremely cruel, ruthless and sadistic, showing pleasure in hurting Kratos and Atreus. Like most other Aesir, Baldur appeared to share their love for causing large amounts of death and destruction wherever he went. Aside from this, Baldur is rather talkative in a belligerent manner much like the Greek God Hermes during a fight, as he taunts, mocks and rages at Kratos throughout all their battles. The Spartan himself said in their first encounter that he talked too much.
Intelligent and pragmatic, his quiet demeanour belies a sadistic streak he keeps hidden away for special occasions. He often used his harmless looking appearance to lull his enemies into a false sense of security before demonstrating just how dangerous he truly was.
When his curse was broken after so many years of numbness, Baldur was thrilled by the feeling of pain, taking great pleasure in it as well as putting other people through the same pain.
Due to what his mother had done to him, his bond with her was completely severed and he would grow to hate her more and more as he suffered from her curse. A vision in Helheim reveals that Baldur's greatest regret was not killing Freya years ago. Even after being freed from his curse, Baldur refuses to forgive Freya and insists on strangling her as an act of revenge.
Aside from his noted animosity towards his mother, Baldur also seems to have a distaste for his other family members as well, stating that his family is "fucked up", and calling his nephews "idiots". Although they were on good enough terms for Thor to lend him his sons and Baldur accepting the help, Baldur seemed to disapprove of the God of Thunder, as he stated that he wasn't him when telling Kratos that there would not have been any conflict had Kratos just told him what he wanted to hear, showing a strong distaste for his brother's absolute bloodlust.
As shown during his fights, Baldur often exhibited a reckless fearlessness, almost to the point of being suicidal in nature. Years of being unable to feel pain or the risk of death led to him no longer fear physical damage to himself as a normal person would, and he would often knowingly and willingly walk into dangerous situations without any hesitation or consideration for the physical risks to his person. This, in turn, made him an even more fearsome enemy as he would tend to go all out against his opponents, usually dealing crippling damage to them while they, in turn, failed to harm him at all. This was best shown when he repeatedly taunted and struck Kratos when the latter refused to fight him the first time. He would continue to demonstrate this apparent inability to feel fear after the curse had been broken too.
Despite the great advantage his curse allowed him over other fighters, Baldur utterly despised his condition, viewing it as a fate worse than death and constantly desiring to be freed from it.
His eagerness to prove himself as a warrior, which was thwarted by the curse, is likely what led to him choosing to continue to fight Kratos even after his curse was broken, perhaps believing that the God of War was the only person worthy enough to possibly challenge him. This is confirmed when he states in one of his dialogues that "Killing [Kratos] is going to feel so rewarding now!" as opposed to before when he wouldn't have had to really work for it due to his invincibility.
Nonetheless, his respect for Kratos appeared to grow greatly over the course of the game. In the beginning, he didn't take Kratos as a threat seriously and was more interested in talking rather than fighting. After Kratos beat him for the first time, Baldur quickly realized that Kratos was no ordinary opponent and requested that Thor give him backup to help him beat him when they'd meet again. It's implied that over the course of the game Baldur's desire to find and defeat Kratos has become an obsession to the point where the other Aesir have begun to question whether he's truly fit enough for the job as he mentions that Kratos and Atreus had no idea what they had cost him. By the end of the game, Baldur's admiration for Kratos has become clear and has reached to the point where he views Kratos as his only true equal in battle.
After being freed from his curse, Baldur fought Kratos entirely for the feeling of it and, to an extent, was grateful to Kratos and Atreus for what they'd done that even his father, Odin could not. Baldur's final moments were not of anger or rage, but the joy that he could feel the falling snow on his face.
Baldur was shown to be tall with broad shoulders, but with a somewhat slender physique. Despite his height, he is still much shorter in comparison with Kratos. This actually makes Baldur rather small by Aesir standards, as his nephews, Magni and Modi are closer to Kratos in height and build.
Like his nephews, he has icy blue eyes. He has handsome (if haggard) features, with a beaded brownish beard and mullet-like hairstyle. He wore dark pants with a brown sash and a red belt leaving his top half completely exposed to the elements, and no shoes. On his body, he had several blue distinct tattoos of runes in ancient Norse. These tattoos, along with his eyes, would light up with a white light whenever he used his powers.
Powers and Abilities
As a son of Odin, Baldur was an extremely powerful god, with Odin and Thor as the only known Aesir to surpass him, making him perhaps the third most powerful Aesir. Baldur's power was great enough to pose a difficult challenge to Kratos, although Kratos eventually defeated him.
- Superhuman Strength: As a son of Odin, Baldur possessed immense superhuman strength, far surpassing that of any mortal or monster. He had enough physical aptitude to harm Jörmungandr, easily throw and smash a giant boulder, and, despite his skinny and shorter body, proved quite a challenge for Kratos. In their first battle, when Baldur and Kratos have a test of raw strength, the ground begins to collapse, leaving a progressively larger and deeper fissure beneath them. Even after losing his invulnerability, Baldur still proved to be a difficult challenge and once managed to pin down Kratos and choke Atreus with one arm each until the former escaped using his Spartan rage, showing his strength remained just as great as after the curse was broken. However he wasn't as strong as Kratos, and this ultimately proved to be his undoing.
- Immortality: As an Aesir god, Baldur was immortal, and could only be killed by other Immortals or special weapons.
- Superhuman Speed & Agility: Baldur, perhaps due to his power over light, can move at extremely high speeds much faster than Kratos. He uses this to effect in combat, darting around enemies before striking them.
- Superhuman Durability: As among the strongest of the Norse Gods, Baldur was extremely durable, even without his invulnerability. Hence, after his mother's spell was broken, Baldur was still able to take extreme punishment, even what would be mortal blows, such as being chopped in the shoulder by the Leviathan Axe, being stabbed in the stomach by the Blades of Chaos and getting shot multiple times by Atreus's arrows, even so continuing to fight seemingly unhindered. It was only upon Kratos breaking his neck that he finally succumbed.
- Light Manipulation: As the God of Light, Baldur was capable of using light in combat. The runes on his body, as well as his eyes, will light up when he uses his power. He could use light to move at extreme speeds, send a shockwave through the ground, cause an explosion of energy, throw balls of deadly, shining energy; or increase the force of his punches.
- Invulnerability: Baldur's greatest and most infamous attribute was his invulnerability to anything, even Kratos' Blades of Chaos. While he can be harmed, his injuries are only temporary, as his body will naturally heal at an extremely fast rate. He also cannot physically feel any injuries, nor anything at all, enabling him to continue to fight without being slowed by his wounds. For instance, he was able to easily attack the World Serpent, a creature that gave his brother Thor a challenge and walk out of the cold depths of the lake within which it resided without any noticeable injuries. He could also survive in Hel unharmed despite the immense coldness of the realm.
- However, his invulnerability caused him to be unable to physically feel anything, driving him insane. Also, despite his invulnerability, Baldur can be dazed and incapacitated for brief periods, such as when his neck was snapped when he first faced Kratos. His only true weakness was mistletoe, the one plant his mother did not foresee harming him. Upon striking Atreus and stabbing his hand with a mistletoe arrow, the spell was broken, and Baldur was not only vulnerable but able to feel everything, much to his joy.
- Additional Elemental Affinities: In addition to his light-elemental abilities, Baldur could gain the power to control any element he was exposed to by absorbing them, as shown when Kratos had struck him on the shoulder using the Leviathan Axe and Baldur, by grabbing it, was able to gain the power to control ice, allowing him to infuse ice into his fist to increase his strength, send out blasts of ice, and also cause icicles to erupt from the ground. Later, after Atreus had detonated the undead Giant's ring on top of Baldur during the final battle with him, Baldur acquired power over fire by absorbing the explosion, allowing him to cause eruptions of fire around the ground and perform a fire-enhanced kick as well as summon a wave of flame.
- Master Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Most likely because of his physical abilities and invulnerability, Baldur does not use or need weapons in combat. He favours his own physical fighting capabilities above all else and is extremely skilled. He can quickly strike, utilizing punches and kicks. He also uses his elbows, knees and even some grappling techniques, including suplexing Kratos in their first fight. His skill in pure hand-to-hand combat is almost unmatched, capable of easily fighting against and even at times overwhelming Kratos in martial arts despite the latter's immense training, experience, and prowess, losing only due to Kratos' superior strength and weapons and still being able to fight him almost evenly. He can couple his moves with his superior speed, strength, and control over light to decimate enemies, even Jörmungandr.
- Expert Tracker: Mimir stated that Baldur was Odin's best tracker. As such, his ability and persistence in finding a given target exceeded that of the other Aesir. Baldur managed to find Kratos's home and attack him, then again find Kratos when he opened the gate to Jötunheim. Despite being stuck in Helheim, across the bridge, from which there was "no way back", Baldur still found a way out and managed to track down Kratos and his son when they in were in the World Serpent's stomach.
Note: Translations are done by fans and are subject to error, as well as the developers' use of the runes.
- The red runes on his back and across his shoulders, "ᚲᚢᚱᛊᛖᛞ", are in English and translate directly into Cursed, referring to Freya's spell and his inevitable death.
- On his left pectoral, "ᛖᚲ ᛖᚱ ᛞᚨᚢᛞᛁ", written in Latin script as Ek er dauði, means "I am death", possibly a reference to the fact that his death marks the beginning of Ragnarök, the death of the Gods.
- On the circle on his lower abdomen, "ᚾᛟᚱᚾᛁᚱ·ᚠᛚᛖᛏᛏᚨ·ᚢᛏᚦᛖᛏᚨ·ᛒᚢᚾᛞᛁᚾᚾ" Nornir fletta utþeta bundinn; literally, "The Norns weaved out this bound".
- The two triangles on his back may stand for the alchemical symbol for neutrality/balance, called aether or, in Greek, αἰθήρ (aithḗr), the personification of the "upper sky" in Greek mythology. Additionally, in earlier physics, the aether was the hypothesized medium above the terrestrial sphere through which light could propagate.
- While he is unable to feel anything physically, he is still capable of emotions.
- His comments before reuniting with Freya, as well as Mimir's comment after the fight, suggest that Odin promised him that he'd remove the spell. After Baldur failed twice at this point and after the sequential deaths of Magni and Modi, Odin revoked his promise or revealed that he couldn't actually remove the spell.
- His Greek counterparts (in terms of attributes) are Apollo and (in terms of his speed) Hermes as well. Some guesses at its etymology suggest a link with "Dagr", the personified day, so he can be seen as a counterpart to the primordial day goddess Hemera.
- Baldur is also similar to Hermes in the following ways:
- Both possess superhuman speed, though in Hermes' case it was his natural and main attribute.
- Both seem loyal to their fathers, as Hermes aided Zeus in protecting Olympus, whereas Baldur followed Odin's orders to track down Faye.
- Both tend to talk when they fight Kratos, and both were also given chances to step aside by Kratos, though, in Hermes' case, he was killed willingly, whereas Kratos was forced to kill Baldur in order to protect Freya.
- Both taunt Kratos over his failures.
- It's likely that Kratos sees a lot of his younger self in Baldur as a completely psychotic and unreasonable mass murderer that won't be swayed from his path no matter what. Kratos attempts to talk him out of killing his own mother, mentioning that vengeance feels empty since he didn't find peace after killing Zeus - especially since unlike his own father, Freya is a legitimately loving parent that only wanted what was best for Baldur. When forced to put him out of his misery, Kratos repeats the same words Zeus told him before killing him, "the cycle ends here" and says that the gods must become better than this.
- He's also not too different from Atreus and is what Atreus could have potentially became if Kratos didn't mature or tell him of his godhood. Both Atreus and Baldur have blue eyes and have issues with a parent who did more harm than good in an effort to protect them.
- Some Norse texts describe him as the god of love and beauty, which would make him equivalent to Eros; however, he didn't show any type of amokinetic abilities in the game.
- In Helheim, his illusion mentioned that he is unable to gain pleasure from women thanks to the invulnerability spell his mother placed on him.
- In Gesta Danorum, Baldur is depicted as a jealous, arrogant braggart and highly malevolent, possibly setting precedent for the game's characterization. However, the entire text is extremely polemic against Germanic paganism, so it might not accurately reflect the beliefs of the pre-Christian Nordic peoples.
- Baldur's invulnerability was somewhat similar to the Greek curse of . However, Baldur's curse is far worse than Achilles, as he is unable to feel but at the same time is more effective, as his curse makes his entire body invulnerable, unlike Achilles's weakness in his heels.
- Baldur's wife, Nanna, is briefly referenced by Brok as he proclaimed surprise at Kratos's foreign weapons, though it is unknown at this time if she will fulfill this role in the series.
- In the mythology, the pair has a son, the god of justice and reconciliation, Forseti. However, since his invulnerability enchantments prevent him from siring a child as stated in the novel, Forseti never existed in God of War universe.
- Baldur never introduced himself to Kratos, and he immediately attacks him in Kratos's home as the moniker stated in the Codex: "The Stranger". When Kratos and Atreus discuss Norse Gods while navigating across the Lake of Nine, Kratos indirectly mentions Baldur: When asking Atreus about "one who could feel no pain", he replies "that sounds like Baldur". Later, during their journey atop the Mountain where they were eavesdropping on the Stranger asking Mimir to reveal Kratos's whereabouts, the Stranger was revealed to be Baldur, and the name was added the Codex.
- In all of Baldur's battles with Kratos, he had a distinct advantage against the latter god: In the first two battles, he had the element of surprise, while in the final battle, he had, though unwanted, the interventions of his mother.
- Baldur's final battle with Kratos ended the same way their first battle did, with Kratos snapping his neck.
- In Norse mythology, Baldur's death was the beginning of Ragnarök, the end of many gods like Odin, Thor and Loki.
- At the conclusion of the game, Kratos states that Baldur may not have initially been tracking down him, but rather the giantess Faye, whose ashes he was carrying throughout their journey.
- In an ironic twist of fate, Freya's attempt to prevent Baldur's needless death could be argued to be the very reason for it, as this led to Baldur's desire for revenge. Kratos only killed him to protect Freya herself.
- During their third and final battle, before Kratos snaps Baldur's neck, Kratos says "the cycle ends here", the same phrase Zeus said when killing Kratos in God of War II. The cycle refers to the Cycle of Patricide, although, in this case, it would be matricide.
- Baldur had a pet dragon named Dagsetr, which he used to travel to Kratos‘s home in their first encounter and was seen when Baldur kidnapped Atreus.
- A notable difference between mythology and the game is that, in the original mythology, Baldur was made invulnerable after he dreamt of his death. Since dreams were considered prophetic, this caused distress to him. His mother, Frigg, made every single thing, living and lifeless, swear an oath never to harm him, except for mistletoe, because she believed it was too young to swear an oath. In the game, his mother uses Vanir magic to cast invulnerability on Baldur, which, as any Vanir spell, has a weakness; in this case, that weakness would be mistletoe.
- Revisiting Freya's cottage post-game will have Mimir reveal that, although she is capable of it, Freya is not likely to revive Baldur, as being reanimated is a torturous experience. However, in Norse mythology, it is said that Baldur's mother does indeed attempt to retrieve him from Hel, and, due to failing this, Baldur is one of the few gods to return regardless following Ragnarök.
- Strangely, in Norse mythology, despite his violent death, Baldur was stated to have ended up in Helheim instead of Valhalla. Whether or not this holds true in the game is currently unknown.
- This not only contradicts the very real world beliefs stating that the Vikings had that all warriors go to Valhalla, but also Mimir's own that states that the Aesir have their own ways of getting to Valhalla.
- It also states that after Ragnarök, Baldur would rise up from Helheim and become the new ruler of the Nine Realms. Again, whether or not this will happen in the games is currently unknown.
- It should be noted however, that to die and go to Valhalla one have to die fighting. It can be argued that Baldur didn't die in battle, he died after the battle had been concluded.
- He is the second main antagonist of the series that Kratos kills not out of a personal vendetta but because he was forced to do so. The first was Persephone.
- Similar to Magni and Modi, the death of Baldur didn’t cause a massive explosion or cause a plague like the Greek Gods, despite being a full god and not Demi-gods like the former and latter. However it could be argued that Fimbulwinter is a result of his death which is suppose to cause wide spread death and famine as well as setting the events for Ragnarök, the twilight of the gods.
- Throughout the entire course of the game Baldur apparently never discovered Kratos' true identity as a Greek God. He believed that Kratos was a Jötunn.