Santa Monica Studio already had my axe even before it revealed the new trailer for God of War Ragnarok during the PlayStation Showcase. But now it also has my curiosity after showing a character named Angrboda at the end of its first gameplay trailer.
“You’ll get your answer soon enough,” she says, with a smile. “Well, some of them.” That’s all the new trailer gave me, alongside a brief glimpse of her stunning locs. Then, the screen faded to black.
Angrboda, my beloved, I’m impatient and I need answers now. So, I’ve started a lore dive.
First, I looked up what her name means. Angrboda is “the one who announces misfortune.” The name Angrboda is derived from the old Norse version of her name, Angrbotha. “Angr” means misfortune and “both” means to announce, according to Dictionary. This might serve as a mystery mouseketool for her role in God of War Ragnarok.
The second thing I discovered is that Angrboda is a frost giant, or a jötunn. This lore could tie into the larger story of God of War. Perhaps she managed to flee the Middle Realm and survived Odin wiping out the Jötnar race in fear of Ragnarok before the events of the first game? Alongside Kratos, Dad of War, Angrboda might play a vital role in educating Atreus about his frost giant heritage. Remember, he and the World Serpent are the last frost giants in Midgard.
The last thing I discovered during my lore dive about Angrboda is that she is one of Loki’s wives, or more appropriately, he is one of her consorts, according to Northern Paganism. Aside from being an all-around badass warrior of Iron Wood, apparently in her culture multiple marriages are not unorthodox.
We love a polyamourous queen.
She is called the “mother of monsters’’ because in Norse myth, she gave birth to Fenrir the wolf, Jörmungand the Midgard serpent, and Hel the ruler of the dead. God of War Ragnarok will no doubt take some liberties in portraying Angrboda, just like they have with its other cast of characters. If my lore dive is anything to go off of, Angrboda is going to be a much-welcomed addition to the already stacked characters in the God of War series. It’s not just her intriguing lore, but because she is Black.
I don’t think I’m breaking any new ground in saying that gaming is very white. Even when we do get Black characters, studios don’t always get it right on the first try. Insomniac is in their bag right now with the announcement of Wolverine and Spider-Man 2, but even they didn’t get Miles Morales completely right on the first try. Luckily they eventually realized they gave my man a yee yee ass haircut in the first Spider-Man. I headcanon Miles decided he should stop playing with whatever Great Clips was in Peter Parker’s neighborhood and got a lining and a nice fade at a barbershop offscreen in Miles Morales.
Whenever a game decides to add some seasoning to their cast of characters by adding some Black folks, I eat that shit up. It’s no different with the now norse-infused God of War series. The Gamer’s Stacy Henley beat me to the punch in saying this but it bears repeating that Black people didn’t just start existing in the last decade. We have been here. And when games like Hades acknowledge that reality by making mythological figures like Athena Black, we see that and it matters. These characters help affirm that it should never be an option for Black people to not exist in the world.
It’s not like she exists in a vacuum, either. There’s already plenty of fan discourse that reads protagonist Kratos himself as Black, too. Christopher Judge, a Black man, voices Kratos. The late wrestler Shad Gaspar (also Black), did Kratos’ motion capture. Kratos is Black too...just in some major need of some Burt Bees lotion. I don’t make the rules. All of this to say, there’s room for Angrboda in God of War and the cookout. I claim Atreus too, don’t test me.
I haven’t checked online to see if there’s discourse over her inclusion in God of War Ragnarok and honestly, I can’t be bothered. All I know is Laya DeLeon Hayes, the actor who will be bringing Angrboda to life, is a cinnamon roll who will get her flowers from the Black gaming community. We’ll have her back if any caucasity comes her way.
Angrboda, if by my life or death I can protect you, I will. You have my heart.