God of War Ragnarok’s main villain is the king of the Aesir gods, Odin, and he has quickly become one of the greatest video game antagonists of all time. It’s a formidable list to break into, especially with villains like Red Dead Redemption‘s Dutch and Mass Effect’s Illusive Man. Yet, Odin may just have topped them all with his role in God of War Ragnarok. Odin’s nefarious plans are so clever and well-thought-out that it keeps him two steps ahead of Kratos for most of the game.
[Warning: This article contains story spoilers for God of War Ragnarok.]
Odin’s scheming begins as soon as the game starts. In his first scene, Odin demands that Atreus stop his search for Tyr. Despite her complex relationship with Kratos in Ragnarok, Freya helps fight against Odin. She aptly notes later in a meeting at Sindri’s dinner table that Odin may tell the truth, but his purpose is always false or misleading. This is precisely the case with Odin’s demand about searching for Tyr. He honestly doesn’t want Tyr to be found, as he knows the Norse god of war is one of his most fearsome enemies and could bring about Ragnarok. At the same time, he knows Kratos and Atreus will go looking for Tyr anyway, which is precisely what Odin wants because he plans to magically disguise himself as Tyr. This way, Ragnarok‘s Odin can hide in plain sight to infiltrate the home of his enemy and see all their plans.
Odin Was Right Next To Kratos The Entire Time
There are plenty of subtle hints that point to Tyr being Odin. The first thing Odin tells Kratos he wants is peace, and Tyr persistently demonstrates how he has left behind his ways of war and now wants peace more than anything. The most cunning part of this is that it’s believable. Odin’s Tyr speaks so logically and convincingly that it’s hard not to want the same thing. Odin clothes his intentions in truth. Each time he speaks to anyone, Odin is gaslighting or manipulating them to get what he really wants. Odin does want peace, but the truth is that he wants to achieve peace by stealing all the answers of the universe’s creation for himself and using them to destroy all who threaten him to prevent Ragnarok, which is a point where God of War differs from actual Norse mythology.
Another hint that Tyr is Odin in disguise comes in his reunion with Freya, where he calls her by her Aesir name, Frig. It’s a seemingly innocuous gaffe on Tyr’s part, or so Freya thinks. In reality, it is one of Odin’s subtle ways to get under his ex-wife’s skin. The action is unnecessary, but Odin does it anyway because he enjoys having the upper hand and can’t help reveling at least a little in his victory. This manifests in other ways, like when “Tyr” consistently refers to Atreus as Loki and even gently encourages the “Champion of the Jotnar” role onto him, despite Kratos’ continued requests to hear no more of it. By pushing these things onto Atreus, Odin angers Kratos, who pulls further away from the fight each time he is reminded that his son’s life is in danger. Kratos is older in God of War Ragnarok, and Odin expertly exploits his new mature, parental perspective.
Odin’s villainous nature outs itself most when he loses his calm. This hits its height after losing the mysterious mask when Odin reveals he was Tyr the entire time. In doing so, he kills Brok, the most wholesomely profane character in the game, no less, which sends everyone’s rage toward Odin past the point of no return. Odin is cunning and wise. These are the weapons he wields to keep his enemies at bay. His appearance in God of War Ragnarok ensures he will go down as one of the best villains in video games.