God of War Ragnarök portrays Kratos as a somewhat more level-headed god-killing powerhouse than in some of his past adventures which, to be honest, showed Sony's protagonist in a less, erm, morally sound light. Ok, ok, let's face it, Kratos was a bit of a knob in the past.
One NPC that would whole-heartily agree with me on this is the boat captain from the original God of War. Remember him? It is hard not to, as he was certainly put through it by Kratos.
Please note, some of the below could be considered spoilers. If you're still reading and want to go into the God of War series blind, this is your cue to head elsewhere now.
The boat captain was swallowed whole by a Hydra during the first God of War game. However, this did not kill the poor man. Instead, when Kratos ventured inside the captain-eating Hydra, he found this chap clinging on desperately to some overhang in the beast's throat, hoping for salvation.
At this point, Kratos - with his biceps that can crush all manner of things between them - could have very easily lifted the flailing sea captain to safety, and they both could have continued on with their lives in whatever way they saw fit.
That would have been lovely, but it clearly wasn't even a small part of Kratos' plans. Rather, the god-killer removed what he needed from the captain's neck (hence his trip inside the beast), and then dropped the still very-much-alive captain down into the Hydra's gullet.
This may seem bad enough, but oh, dear reader, it gets worse. That was not the only time Kratos had the chance to help the boat captain, only to ultimately decide he would really rather not.
The two met again in the Underworld. Here, as Kratos was tumbling down towards the River Styx, he managed to break his fall by grabbing onto the legs of another desperately trying to avoid plunging to their fate below.
And whose legs do you think those were? Why yes, those of the boat captain's. And did Kratos help him? No. Rather, he impaled the boat captain brutally in the back to help hoist himself up to relative safety. When the captain remarked "not you again!" Kratos then kicked the captain into the river below, because, you know, reasons...
We then see the captain again in God of War 2, where he shows up as an enemy during a boss fight with the Barbarian King. Once more the captain proclaims, quite fairly, "not you again", before Kratos, well, kills him again. You can see all these deaths in the video below.
So, how does this all fit in with Ragnarök? Well, during one side quest early on in the game, Kratos can help a creature called the Lyngbakr, which Mimir tricked into putting on chains. Once Kratos helps free the creature of these chains, a new entry will then be added to Kratos' codex.
In this entry, Kratos will reflect on Mimir's actions towards the Lyngbakr, saying it reminds him of a boat captain he "wronged long ago" (as spotted by Kotaku).
"He too was robbed of his freedom and suffered because of who I was and the choices I made. Perhaps there is a measure of monster inside us all," Kratos muses. You think, Kratos?!
Here's the codex in question, snapped from Eurogamer's playthrough:
It is a fairly small admission of guilt, but I suppose at least it is a step in the right direction. Not that this will likely mean much to the boat captain.
After all, when we heard from him all the way back in God of War 3, the captain had left a note saying he hopes Kratos will "suffer in Hades" as he has. Here, he laments Kratos' actions, saying he was treated like he was "nothing" by the Spartan warrior (which, let's face it, he was).
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