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OPINION: Your problem with God of War’s Thor is because of fatphobia

This article was originally published in on our sister site, Gayming Magazine, by Aimee Hart.

God of War: Ragnarok showed off a gameplay trailer last night during the PlayStation Showcase, revealing that Kratos and Atreus are looking to save the world from being destroyed. It also showed off some pretty interesting characters, such as a fat, but definitely still able to mess your sh*t up, Thor.

For some reason, the appearance of Thor really made some people feel…I’m not even sure what the word is. Threatened? Yeah, we’ll go with that.

God of War: Ragnarok is a game that I have no interest in. I find everything about it pretty uninspiring, and I’m just not all into Norse mythology. Sorry, I’m just not. Think it looks boring as f*ck. But be that as it may, even I’m unable to remain quiet about people whining because… let me check my notes… Thor, the God of Thunder, is fat?

It’s 2021 and I’d like to sincerely believe that we’ve all developed to the point that we’re not actively going to lose our minds when we see a fat character in video games. However, it seems I was wrong about this and, to be honest, I’m a little flabbergasted. While nobody seems to be as near as mad that Thor is fat that there’s a black woman in the game – because that’s apparently enough to rankle some foolish people into a state of pure rage – it does seem as though some are wondering why Thor isn’t as chiselled as Marvel’s God of Thunder.

Again, I don’t know jack about Norse mythology outside of a few things that I read on Wikipedia when I was 12 or something. And I just read a bit over on TheGamer to refresh my memory. But I do know that this is probably the most accurate-looking Thor that we’ve seen in media, so I’m not sure what people screaming ‘HISTORICAL ACCURACY’ are going on about. Especially since… It’s mythology, you wet blankets.

Well actually, I do know some things and one thing that I’m adamant about is that your problem with God of War: Raganarok’s portrayal of Thor is steeped in fatphobia. That might be off-putting to you, the reader that does have a slight feeling of discomfort about this version of Thor. After all, it’s just a design issue you just don’t think fits. But why don’t you feel this fits outside of Thor’s body being bigger? Would genuinely love to know the answer.

As I sit here and scroll through some of the comments I’ve found about this chunky boy, I can’t help but wonder the difference between the reaction to Thor and to Resident Evil 8’s The Duke. The Duke is a laughing, fat man that gorges himself on food and is useful to Ethan, the player character. He can barely walk, and his only use is to benefit the character and help him on his quest. To be frank: he is a stereotype that is charming and beneficial and, as many lists online will tell you, is a well-loved character because of how helpful and nice he is.

Thor on the other hand is the complete opposite. It’s already been confirmed he’ll be one of Kratos and Atreus’ antagonists in-game. More than that, he looks like someone who doesn’t mess around and is strong enough that he doesn’t need the player’s pity. He isn’t a pitiful-looking figure at all, actually. He looks like someone who could rip you in two and not feel even a little sorry about it.

The difference between the two is stark: one is beneficial and dependent on the skinnier protagonist for food and conversation, whereas the other directly opposes the player and doesn’t look like they’ll be relying on the player at all. One is what we’d call a ‘good’ fat person, and the other is a ‘bad’ fat person. The latter is seen this way because they don’t push the fit character up, and are antagonistic to what a ‘good’ fat person should be – submissive, demure, and incomprehensively kind.

In my mind, the ‘good’ fat person comes from a section in the book The Witches by Roald Dahl. In it, he writes how a good person can never be ugly, even if they have a double chin or stick-out teeth. It’s supposed to be a very comforting statement, but to me it’s always felt a little restrictive of what fat people have to do in order to be seen as ‘beautiful’. In media and in real life, there are many villains that we thirst after and let’s be real with one another: the majority – if not 99% of them – are all skinny or well-built. But for fat people, desire comes from the ‘goodness’ in the ways we are meek, or submissive to the point of looking guilty about who we are.

God of War’s depiction of Thor says a big, heary f*ck you to that and I for one, who doesn’t give a single damn about the game, am pretty stoked to see that there’s a hot, fat guy as the antagonist.

Make more fat video game characters, developers so this absolute BS line of thinking can die already.

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