|“||Because of fear, Kratos! A fear felt by his father, Cronos. A fear that brought the Great War, a fear that drove Zeus to kill you, his own son! Just as Zeus was compelled to destroy his father, Cronos, you are compelled to do the same! No son should destroy his own father.||”|
The Cycle of Patricide is a vicious, repeating pattern of events that ultimately lead to the son of a deity killing his father and so on and so forth.
It can also be called the Son-Killing-Father-Cycle, or simply The Cycle.
Although not being acknowledged in mythology, the cycle is present and began with the wiliest of the Titans, Cronos, castrating his father, Uranus with a flint sickle after being sent by Gaia, whom Uranos tortured by preventing her offspring from exiting her body. Cronos then married his sister, Rhea, and, in fear of being overthrown by his own children, ate them immediately after birth.
Rhea detested her brother's selfish and abhorrent acts upon his own children, and, so, she sent a large eagle to hide her last child, Zeus, wrapping a stone in cloth as a substitute. Cronos, believing the stone was Zeus, swallowed it whole. Upon reaching adulthood, Zeus released his brothers and sisters from Cronos' stomach, and then battled him and his kind, resulting in the Titanomachy. Zeus and his siblings defeated the Titans, and ruled the Earth as the Gods of Olympus. Zeus, however, feared that his children would overthrow him as well. One of these moments of fear was when he feared his and Metis' child would be the son that would overthrow him. He tricked Metis into taking the form of a fly and swallowed her, and she resided in his brain where she guided him mentally. By the time the child was about to be born, Zeus suffered intense headaches to the point it became agonizing. After several months, the pain became unbearable and Hephaestus was forced to cut open his father's skull, and a full-grown Athena burst free.
In the God of War Series
In God of War: Ascension, it's revealed that Ares had plans to overthrow his father and Olympus with the aid of the Furies. He conceived Orkos with Alecto in the hope to create a warrior, strong enough to help him on this quest. This plan failed when Orkos was deemed a failure and a disappointment and Ares decided to search for a mortal who he could mould the perfect warrior. That warrior later became Kratos, whom Ares saved from near death.
God of War
At the end of God of War, Ares threatened Zeus with the Pandora's Box before being challenged by Kratos to a duel. Ares lost the duel and ended up killed by the warrior he wanted to use to overthrow Olympus.
Ghost of Sparta
The cycle is mentioned in God of War: Ghost of Sparta, although not directly, when Zeus sent both Athena and Ares to kidnap Deimos, Kratos' younger brother, for they believed Deimos was The Marked Warrior, destined to overthrow Zeus and Olympus.
God of War II
|“||Everything that you have ever known, Kratos, will now suffer because of your sacrilege. You will never be the ruler of Olympus. The cycle ends here.||”|
–Zeus upon executing Kratos
In fear that Kratos, his son, would overthrow him, Zeus decided to betray and murder him. While Kratos was destroying Rhodes, Zeus drained his godly power and gave life to a nearby statue, which was sent to kill Kratos.
Kratos, however, released all remaining power he had into the Blade of Olympus, which he used to destroy the renegade statue. Unfortunately, the statue's falling hand crushed Kratos, who had been rendered mortal from the departure of his powers.
As he made his way to the Blade in order to regain his godliness, Zeus appeared before him and slew him in a quick bout. Kratos then fell into the Underworld, but was saved by the Titan Gaia, who healed his wounds and allowed him to escape. After which, Kratos then journeyed towards Zeus in order to exact his revenge, with Gaia aiding him throughout his journey.
Once he reached Zeus, the two fought in a catastrophic battle, but, just as Kratos dealt a devastating blow to the king of the gods, Athena intervened, causing a chain of events which eventually led the Spartan warrior accidentally impaling her with the Blade of Olympus.
As Zeus fled the scene, Athena, before perishing, told Kratos of his familial ties to Zeus and stated that the gods would not allow him to kill Zeus, for if he were to fall, so would Olympus. Kratos, visibly moved by this revelation yet unwavering in his desire for vengeance, declared that all who would dare stand in his path, whether god or man, would die by his hand.
In an alliance with the Titans, Kratos made his way up Mount Olympus on Gaia's back, ready to exact his vengeance upon the king of the gods. Thus the Second Titanomachy begins.
God of War III
During the Battle of the Second Titanomachy, the Titan Epimetheus was slain by Poseidon, who was, in turn, slain by Kratos. The vengeance-driven Spartan finally reached Zeus, but, after being struck by one of the latter's lightning bolts, was flung off Mount Olympus and landed upon Gaia, who was also wounded by Zeus' powers.
Kratos began to slip off Gaia's back and demanded that she rescue him, but the Titan allowed him to fall, revealing that he was nothing but a pawn in her plans. Kratos fell once again into the Underworld but escaped after killing Hades.
Upon escaping, Kratos found Gaia hanging off the mountain for dear life. Taking this opportunity to exact revenge on her, he used the Blade of Olympus to sever her hand, causing her to plummet down to Earth, supposedly killing her.
After which, Kratos began his own manhunt on Olympus, slaughtering nearly every deity that stood in his way, whether they be Gods or Titans. After a long journey, Kratos finally battled Zeus but was interrupted by an alive, yet, enraged Gaia, who attempted to crush the two to death, only for Kratos to kill her as well.
After Gaia's death, Kratos and Zeus battled yet again, with the ash-covered warrior finally emerging victorious over his father, beating him to death with his bare fists. With Zeus' death, the cycle had repeated itself, but, after Kratos committed suicide by impaling himself in the stomach with the Blade of Olympus. But soon after killing Zeus, and leaving Athena disappointed, the rule of the Gods of Olympus was no more.
God of War (2018)
|“||The cycle ends here. We must be better than this.||”|
–Kratos upon executing Baldur
In the background of the setting, it is mentioned that Odin murdered his own son, Týr, out of fear that the latter would overthrow him and out of suspicion that Tyr was secretly aiding the Aesir's enemies, the Jotnar. During Kratos and Atreus' time in Helheim, Kratos is haunted by visions of his murder of Zeus with Atreus being a witness. With Kratos horrified of the prospect of Atreus witnessing his past and with Atreus in denial of witnessing the hallucinations, both father and son uncomfortably tried to bury the visions behind them as they sought a way back to Midgard. Along the way, they also witnessed visions of Baldur's fallout with his mother Freya over her spell removing his vulnerability at the cost of his senses and his first attempt to kill her before banishing her from his presence.
In Mimir's story of the fire giant, Surtr the brave, the cycle of death and rebirth continues for Surtr to destroy Asgard when Ragnarök appears but only to fall by Thor and Odin. Mimir state that Surtr and the other fire giants will appear when Ragnarök appears.
Later, after defeating Baldur, now rendered vulnerable by Atreus' mistletoe arrow, Kratos spares Baldur before warning him to not lay a hand on him, his son, or Freya. When Baldur began choking Freya to death, Kratos was forced to kill him while quoting his father's words. When Freya swore vengeance at Kratos for killing her son while taunting him for hiding his past from Atreus, Kratos reluctantly told Atreus about his past while reassuring Atreus that they could avoid the cycle by learning from their experiences while avoiding a repeat of their predecessors' mistakes. Mimir later says that the Cycle of Revenge is not so easily broken.
- According to God of War: Ascension, Ares was the first son of Zeus who wanted to overthrow him, just like Zeus did to Cronos.