Importance of FamilyFollowing Martel’s death, Kratos was thrown into despair because he had no way of stopping Mithos’ rampage. He seemingly lost his will to follow the principals the band of heroes established while trying to make the world a better place for half-elves, and somewhere in his heart approved of what Mithos was doing. He followed his friend, even though he didn’t totally agree with his new ideals. That was, however, until he met a new ray of hope. Getting close to Anna made him realize (or rather, smacked him in the face with reality) what Mithos was doing was completely wrong, and should not be allowed under any circumstance. Kratos then believed he had to make Mithos’ mistakes right, instead of allowing him to do whatever he wanted because of his anger over his sister’s death.
Kratos was the kind of person who relied on others for support, even though he didn’t like to think so. Once his “light of hope” was gone from Mithos, he relied on Anna. She was his new pillar of support, and he cherished her for it. I’m sure that Kratos really did love Anna, don’t get me wrong, but my guess would probably be that he ended up falling in love with her because she supported him. Anna most likely listened to him, understood some of his feelings, but since she disagreed with Mithos’ new ideals like Kratos truly did, she gave him new hope that things would be okay. To him, as long as he had justification that what Mithos was doing was wrong, he probably felt better about thinking the same way (as he is again given new hope when he realizes Lloyd is still alive). Anna changed him and gave reason to his life once more.
Failing to protect Anna and Lloyd was a mortifying blow to Kratos’ heart and mind. Not only did he have to kill the woman that he loved, he was forced into the position because Mithos wanted to get revenge on him for betraying him. Anna was turned into a monster because Kratos supported Mithos’ new ideals for too long and then decided to betray him for her. So, it was ultimately his fault no matter how you look at it. Of course, he had no choice but to kill her. Not only did she beg him to when she temporarily regained consciousness, but she was also trying to kill their son. Kratos wouldn’t accept that reasoning, though, as he is well aware that it is completely his fault because he couldn’t protect her—couldn’t avoid the situation to begin with. The guilt piled on even more when he thought Lloyd was also dead. Any justification for killing Anna disappeared once the reason he had to was also gone. His ray of hope was gone. Needless to say, Kratos fell back into complete despair and returned to Mithos once again. If he had lost his purpose in life after Martel’s death and Mithos’ rampage, Kratos definitely lost all reason for living after he failed to protect his family. I can only imagine the guilt on Kratos’ shoulders was immense, and he hardened his heart in order to bear the pain.
Kratos begins to soften again after he is reunited with his son, Lloyd. The masquerade around his heart starts to peel away. In Tales of Fandom 2, after Kratos asks Lloyd whose grave is next to his house and realizes that Lloyd is indeed his son, he walks away thinking to himself, “Lloyd is…! My boy is alive…!” In all honesty, this kind of made me laugh. Kratos displaying such emotion was surprising to me, even if it was just in his head. He truly was ecstatic, but who would blame him? Lloyd is alive! Of course, Lloyd would never imagine Kratos having these kinds of feelings for him, because he believes Kratos is really tough on him. What Lloyd doesn’t see, is that the reason that Kratos is hard on him is because he wants Lloyd to become strong. He knows he can’t always be there to protect him, especially since he failed once, and he wants Lloyd to be able to protect himself in his place. After Kratos betrays them, Raine comments that she felt “gentleness in the words [Kratos] spoke to [Lloyd],” but Lloyd hardly agrees at that point in time. Still, her thoughts are the truth. Lloyd is able to bring out some of Kratos’ wounded heart. Between seeing his anxiety when Lloyd may be in trouble, the pain on his face when Kratos inquires about Lloyd’s father, and the new hope he feels when meeting Lloyd again, Kratos begins to be more like himself than a blind follower. He is being changed yet again by a member of his family.
Overall, the importance Kratos places on Anna and Lloyd is incredibly evident, even through his cold and serious masquerade. Though Kratos takes the blame for what happened to Mithos and the massacres that he caused, I believe majority of his guilt comes from the way he ultimately treated his family. He couldn’t protect Anna, he failed to save Lloyd, and even after reuniting with his son years later, he still was too much of a coward to pick between Mithos and Lloyd. Betraying the two people whom he loved most probably hurt him terribly. So much so, he wished that he could simply die. However, he ultimately decides to keep living and do something with his life because of a simple lesson that Lloyd teaches him, so Kratos is saved once again by someone important to him. Without the love, support and guidance from Anna and Lloyd, Kratos would have ended up being completely miserable in a world that he truly did not want.