|“||And here I thought your kind was supposed to be so enlightened. So much better than us. So much smarter. And yet you hide out here in the woods; like a coward.||”|
–-Baldur to Kratos
(Also known as Balder, and in Old Norse: Baldr) was the son of (the King of the Gods) and his wife . He was known to be beautiful and just and was the favorite of the Aesir 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 Baldur, only forgetting to ask mistletoe, as she thought it was harmless. Icelandic stories tell how the gods amused themselves by throwing objects at him (knowing that he was immune from harm). The blind god, deceived by , killed Baldur by hurling mistletoe, the only thing that could hurt him.
After Baldur’s funeral, the messenger Hermod was sent to Hel, the goddess of the land of the dead also known as, to ask for Baldur's return. Hel asked that every being in creation weep for Baldur, and every being did, except the giantess (who was Loki in disguise), who refused to weep the tears that would release Baldur from death.
Baldur'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, Baldur, 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 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. However, the spell had a side-effect of removing Baldur's ability to feel anything, pain or pleasure. 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 Kratos, and he makes his move at the latter's home. 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 exclaims "My turn!" before punching Kratos clear over the house. The two start to brutally fight and Kratos is able to overpower Baldur, but the latter seems unaffected by the punches and reveals he doesn't feel pain, exclaiming he will beat Kratos after the older Spartan tires out. Kratos seemingly kills Baldur by snapping his neck, causing him to tumble off the cliff.
Due to his blessing, he was just incapacitated from Kratos' attack. Gathering his nephews, Magni and Modi, they visit the imprisoned ambassador of the Norse gods, Mimir, hoping to gain the knowledge of Kratos' and his son. However, they get nowhere, as Mimir doesn't know who the two are and is unable to locate them due to a concealing rune placed by a witch. Baldur tells him that he would give his word to Odin if he helped them, but an unimpressed Mimir tells the three to leave.
Later, when Kratos, Mimir, and Atreus prepare to go to Jötunheim, Baldur ambushes them, gaining the upper-hand against Kratos and goads Atreus into attacking him. 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 of the mountain, intercepts them and fights Baldur, who eventually makes it to the realm travel room and puts 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 her spell she placed on him. Since the spell made him invulnerable, he could no longer feel anything, pain or pleasure. Unable to taste during feasts or feel pleasure from women, Baldur angrily lashes out at his mother, despite her reasons and motives. Kratos and Atreus, 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 Kratos's journey into The World Serpent's stomach and thus wounds the giant serpent to expel the two. Emerging from the icy waters of the lake, Baldur meets his mother for the first time in decades. Despite his time away, Baldur remains resentful towards her over the spell that made him invulnerable but while Freya remains remorseful, Baldur is consumed by his hatred of her. He tries to attack her but Kratos gets in his way, leading to another fight between them. Freya tries to intervene by entangling the two with roots, believing that she can reason with him, but her spells are ineffective as the two break free.
During a small lull in the fight, Baldur overpowers Kratos and tries to punch him, but Atreus gets in the way. 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 punched the mistletoe that Kratos had strung onto Atreus' bow after the string was temporarily broken during the journey. Baldur revels at his newfound pain as a horrified Freya watches on.
Being vulnerable once again, Kratos and Atreus resume their battle Baldur again, who revels in the pain he feels. He thanks the two for their assistance, claiming that not even Odin himself was able to remove his "curse". Freya tries to intervene again, reviving the Frost Giant Thamur to do so. Her efforts end in failure as Atreus calls the World Serpent to kill the reanimated Giant. Back where they started, Kratos beats Baldur into submission but spares his life at Atreus' request.
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 nearly strangles her to death, but Kratos intervenes again. Quoting his father, Kratos claims to end the cycle and snaps Baldur's neck a second time, well and truly killing him. His final words are: "Snow..."
Freya is left devastated and enraged upon his death, despite Baldur's attempt on her life. She swears revenge upon Kratos but takes her son's body with her and disappears.
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 were better with her alive. However, after finally reaching the Realm of the Giants and releasing Faye's ashes, thus completing their journey, Baldur's death triggers an occurrence over the realms. Mimir believes that Fimbulwinter, the terrible winter that lasts three years, is about to happen. To make matters worse, the winter preludes the coming of Ragnarök, something that was believed not to happen for a few hundred more years. Baldur's death, and perhaps the intervention of an outsider like Kratos, accelerated the end of the 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 brother, Thor, likely coming to avenge his brother and fallen sons.
Unlike the benevolent depiction of him in the myth, Baldur is extremely cruel, ruthless and sadistic as he seemed to take pleasure in hurting Kratos and Atreus. Since he can't feel pain, he laughs manically when his opponents try to harm him. According to Modi, Baldur hasn't "seen straight in years". Baldur's personality before his confrontations with Kratos are unknown, but he was likely much kinder and emotionally stable, as in his vision of the past, he was unable to kill his mother.
Much of Baldur's ruthlessness stems from his mother, Freya, who had placed a spell on him which took away his ability feel anything. Baldur laments that he can no longer taste food or drinks or experience bodily pleasures, and angrily admitted that he would rather die than never feel again. To his utter dismay, Freya refused to undo the spell, leaving Baldur to suffer for over a century while he vowed to make her pay for what she did to him.
A vision in Helheim reveals Baldur's regret of not killing Freya years ago. He blames himself for being a coward for running away instead.
Underneath his sadistic behavior, Baldur is an extremely miserable Aesir god. However, he does retain some sense of honor, as he was supposedly willing to leave Kratos alone without a fight had the Spartan given him the information he wanted. He also implies that unlike his brother, he is willing to show mercy. Despite this, Baldur did not have any reservations in taking hostages, using surprise attacks and threatening innocents during his battles with Kratos.
Baldur is rather talkative in a belligerent manner 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.
Baldur's rage and maniac behavior did not vanish along with the spell and Baldur chose to continue fighting Kratos despite being relentlessly assaulted with punches and arrows from Atreus. He actually enjoyed experiencing pain to his fullest and hated every time his mother tried to protect him. Free of the spell and given a warning by Kratos, Baldur still wanted to punish his mother and chose to strangle her even as she professed her love for him.
Baldur's final moments were not of anger or rage, but joy that he could feel the snow on his face.
Powers and Abilities
As a son of Odin, Baldur was an extremely powerful Norse God, certainly among the most powerful. Two of the only known Gods to surpass him are Odin and Thor. As a testament to Baldur's power, he was able to challenge and even at times dominate Kratos, who had killed beings as powerful as Zeus, Poseidon, Hades and the Furies, although Kratos ultimately defeated him.
Superhuman Strength: Baldur's strength far surpassed that of any mortal or monster. He has enough strength to harm Jörmungandr (the World Serpent) and is able to almost match Kratos in strength.
Superhuman Speed and Agility: Baldur, possibly due to his power over light, can move at extremely high speeds, much faster than Kratos. He uses this effect in combat, darting around enemies before striking them.
Durability: As a god, Baldur was extremely durable, even without his invulnerability, allowing him to take extreme punishment, however, his natural durability is not enough to stop Kratos from killing him or dealing what would normally be death blows over their many battles.
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, to send a shock wave through the ground, cause an explosion of energy, or to power his punches even more.
Invulnerability: Baldur's greatest power, given to him from his mother Freya, who cast a spell when he was born as an attempt to stop him from dying a needless death as was prophesied. He was invulnerable to anything, even Kratos' Blades of Chaos. He can be harmed, but no serious injury can be inflicted, nor will his injuries last, as his body will naturally heal at an extremely fast rate. He also cannot feel any injuries, nor anything at all, enabling him to continue to fight without being slowed by his wounds, even allowing him to easily attack the World Serpent and walk out of the cold depths of the lake he resided in. Despite his invulnerability, Baldur can be dazed and incapacitated for a brief moment, evidently when Baldur's neck was snapped when he first faced Kratos. His only 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 could not only feel again but could be harmed, much to his joy.
Additional Elemental Affinities: In addition to his light elemental abilities, Baldur was able to gain access to use of both fire and ice elements. The first was ice when Kratos had struck him on the shoulder using the Leviathan Axe and the second was fire when Atreus had detonated the undead Giant's ring on top of Baldur during the final battle with him.
Master Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Most likely because of his physical abilities and invulnerability, Baldur does not use or need weapons in combat. He favors his own physical fighting capabilities above all else and is extremely skilled. He can quickly strike, utilizing punches and kicks. He also uses elbows, knees and even some grappling, including suplexing Kratos in their first fight. His skill in pure hand-to-hand combat is unmatched, being more skilled than even Kratos (a trained spartan warrior with many victories under his belt) only losing 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.
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", which is "Ek er dauði" and 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".
- His Greek equivalent (in terms of attributes) is Apollo. 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.
- Some Norse text describes him as the god of love and beauty which would make him equivalent to Eros, however, he didn't show any type of amokinesis abilities in the game.
- In Helheim, his past self 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 pre-Christian Norse.
- Baldur's invulnerability was somewhat similar to the Greek curse of Achilles.
- Baldur's name never introduced himself to Kratos and he immediately attacks in Kratos' home as he stated the Codex "The Stranger". When Kratos and Atreus discuss about Norse Gods during navigate across the Lake of Nine, Kratos indirectly mentions Baldur, asking Atreus "one who could feel no pain", he replies "that sounds like Baldur". Later during travel the Mountains where they eavesdropping The Stranger asking to Mimir revealing Kratos' whereabouts, The Stranger revealed to be Baldur and 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.
- According to Mimir, Baldur is Odin's finest tracker.
- At the conclusion of the game, Kratos states that Baldur may not have initially been tracking down him, but rather the giantess Faye, whom he was carrying the ashes of 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 was "matricide".
- Baldur has 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 are considered prophetic, this caused distress to him. His mother, Frigg, made every single things, 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 casts a spell on him to make him invulnerable.
- Baldur possessed many similarities to Kratos, i.e., both are children of the Ruling god of their mythologies, both have complex family relationships, both are skilled warriors, both are extremely powerful, and both desired revenge against one of their parents.
- Many fans mistook Baldur for Loki, the god of mischief.