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Baldur, also called "The Stranger", is the main antagonist of the 2018 video game God of War. He is a Norse god and the son of Odin and the godess Freya. He is Odin's best tracker and is a viscious fighter as he is unable to feel pain or be harmed. He is sent, by Odin, to hunt down Kratos and his son Atreus as Odin believes them to be the bringers of Ragnarok.

He was voiced by Jeremy Davies, who also portrayed Malcolm Dreyfuss.

History

Early Life

Baldur was born to Odin and Freya in Asgard, the half brother of Thor and Tyr. He was described by Freya as a happy child and was to be known as the god of light due to his loving nature. A prophecy foretold Baldur would die a needless death which would in turn begin the events of Ragnarok. Due to this and her love for him, Freya cast a spell on Bladur which made him invulnerable to any type of harm. This spell, however, had a horrific, and unintended, side effect on Baldur as it took all sense of feeling from him such as pain, feelings of pleasure and even joy. Years of not being able to feel turned Baldur cruel and uncaring. He grew to hate his mother for what she had done as well as his place in life as he could no longer feel the world around him.

God of War (2018)

On Odin's orders, Baldur, tracked Kratos to his home in Midgard. Baldur immediately was hostile towards the Spartan, taunting him and goading him into a fight, stating he knew who he truly was. Baldur finally received the response he was looking for from Kratos and was punched in the face, sending him flying back. Baldur was disappointed; despite Kratos's great power, he still was not able to make him feel pain. As the Ghost of Sparta was about to strike again Baldur took him by surprise and delivered a strike which sent him flying through the air and over his house. The two continued on with a brutal and exhausting battle which literally cracked open the ground beneath them. The fight culminated with Kratos snapping Baldur's neck and tossing him into the open gorge, seemingly killing him.

Due to his invulnerabilty Baldur survived and was next seen with his nephews, Magni and Modi (Thor's sons) attempting to interrogate Mimir, a God that Odin had trapped in a tree at the top of the Mountain. Mimir refused to answer Baldur's questions regarding Kratos and Atreus, pointing out that Baldur had both nothing to threaten him with, nor the authority to free him from his suffering. Baldur, Magni and Modi subsequently left to try and find Kratos and Atreus elsewhere.

Later, after Kratos, Atreus and Mimir (now a decapitated, reanimated head thanks to Kratos freeing him) return to the top of the Mountain and attempt to enter Jotunheim through the gate there, Baldur attacks them. Beating Kratos, he is shot through the chest and head by Atreus, which he simply shrugs off. Atreus - having become more egotistical and impatient since learning of his Godhood - is easily goaded into stunning Kratos with a lighting arrow and attacking Baldur head-on. Baldur easily disarms Atreus, holding him up by the neck and mocking him for thinking he was ready to take him on. Stabbing Atreus in the shoulder with his own knife, Baldur bid Kratos goodbye before running off the edge of the mountain and landing on his pet dragon. Kratos swiftly followed, catching the dragon's tail and climbing on before the two Gods engaged in another brutal fight. Eventually, Kratos was tossed off, but not before slicing the dragon's wing and sending it crashing into a clifface next to the Lake of Nine. However, Baldur, carrying Atreus, was able to jump off the dragon and land in the Realm Travel Room on Tyr's Bridge. While attempting to use the Travel Room to enter Asgard, Baldur was interrupted by Kratos, who was able to redirect the Room to cast himself, Baldur, Atreus and Mimir into Helheim, with all of them landing on the Bridge of the Damned.

During the landing, Baldur was separated from the three protagonists. As they travelled throug Hel, they came across Baldur being tortured by a vision. Through this, it is revealed that a century ago, Baldur's mother, Freya, blessed Baldur with invulnerability to all harm. However, a side effect of the blessing was that Baldur could no longer feel anything - be it taste, sexual pleasure or even pain. Baldur confronted Freya about this, admitting he would rather die than never feel again. However, she refused to lift her blessing, fearing her son would suffer a pointless death as she had foreseen. The present Baldur watched this, pacing about and eagerly telling his vision counterpart to "do it." The vision-Baldur appeared as if he would kill Freya - however, it played out as history did, with vision-Baldur stating that he never wants to see Freya again. The vision ended, and Baldur screamed in fury, calling his vision-self a coward. Eventually, he collapsed into a sobbing wreck, calling himself a coward.

Much later, Kratos, Atreus and Mimir ventured inside the World Serpent, Jormngandr, in order to find Mimir's missing eye and open a secret gate to Jotunheim. On their way back out of the Serpent, they felt him being violently thrown about, and were spat up on the shore next to the frozen corpse of the Frost Giant, Thamur. Freya then joined them, telling them that she had started searching for her son. After some hesitation from Kratos and Atreus thanks to their knowledge of Baldur and Freya's relationship, the Invulnerable God waded out of the water, stating that he felt that hurting "the big snake" would get the pairs' attention, and chiding them for costing him something (implied to be a promise from Odin to lift his curse if he delivered the two to Asgard). He paused, however, upon noticing his mother. Though Freya tried to make peace with her son, Baldur simply stated that he did not need her before approaching. Kratos, however, stopped him, telling the Norse God that he knew from experience that Baldur would find no peace in vengeance. Baldur ignored this, and attacked Kratos. Eventually, Freya attempted to ensnare the two in vines to keep them from killing each other. Baldur dodged, and went to attack Kratos. Atreus then stepped in, attempting to protect his father, to which Baldur responded by punching him in the chest. What Baldur did not know was that earlier, the dwarf Sindri had gifted Atreus with Mistletoe Arrows for saving him from a dragon. The head of one of these arrows was used to tie together Atreus' quiver after the string broke - right over his chest. As such, Baldur inadvertently stabbed his hand with the mistletoe arrow, which - to his amazement and Freya's horror - broke the blessing that rendered him invulnerable, allowing him to feel again - but also to be killed. 

The fight continued, with Freya using her Seior magic to summon vines, Brood, and even reanimate Thamur's corpse in an attempt to stop the fight. Throughout it all, Baldur relishes in the agony it causes him, whether it be through Kratos' attacks, or his own freezing or burning himself. Eventually, Kratos and Atreus, with the help of Jormungandr, disabled Thamur's Corpse and beat Baldur, and Kratos attempted to strangle him to death. Atreus, however, held his father back, echoing Kratos' words about Modi earlier that Baldur is "beaten. Not worth killing." Letting go, Kratos warned Baldur to leave Freya alone, causing her to chide him for attempting to protect her. Baldur, in turn, chided Freya for her inability to remain uninvolved in his life, stating that he will never forgive her for her actions, and that she needs to suffer for the century of feeling she stole from him. Freya responded that she has suffered for it, but says that if killing her will make Baldur whole, then she will let him. Baldur then began strangling Freya to death, only to be pulled back by Kratos. Incensed and uncomprehending of why Kratos continued to get involved when there was no reason for Baldur to keep chasing them, Kratos echoed the words of his father, Zeus, telling Baldur that "The cycle ends here. We must be better than this." Kratos then snapped Baldur's neck. As Baldur lay dying on the ground, he blissfully felt, for the last time, the touch of snow on his cheek - the first snowflake of Fimbulwinter, the prelude to Ragnarok. 

Personality

Baldur was once a kind and emotionally stable Aesir god, but he ended up became extremely cruel, ruthless, and sadistic monster after his mother Freya, out of misguided love, cursed him with invulnerability spell to ensure nothing can kill him at the cost of his ability to feel anything. To make matter worse, Freya refused to lift the spell out of fear of his death, which sadly, severing the bond between mother and son.

The invulnerability curse soon took its toll on his sanity and turned him into an emotionally unstable monster he is now. According to Modi, Baldur hasn't "seen straight in years".

Underneath his sadistic behaviour, Baldur is an extremely miserable Aesir god. 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. A vision in Helheim reveals Baldur's regret of not killing Freya years ago for what she had done to him, blaming himself for being a coward for running away instead. Even after become a madded monster, his sense of honour still remains, 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 about 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 behaviour 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 obsession for revenge to the point of patricide alarmed Kratos that the Spartan tried to reason with the maddened Aesir God, having understanding what he felt too well from his past conflicts with Gods of Olympus which culminates of him murdering Zeus and realizing vengeance will bring nothing to its perpetrator. Sadly, Baldur refused to hear Kratos, and as result, Kratos reluctantly put Baldur out of his misery by snapping his neck.

Baldur's final moments were not of anger or rage, but the joy that he could feel the snow on his face.

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