Fatness, Maternity, and Hybrid Female Monstrosity: God of War II's Euryale

Curator's Note

In the God of War video game series, Gorgons, ruled by the three sisters Medusa, Stheno, and Euryale, are an all-female race of half-women, half-serpent monsters with venomous snakes for hair and a gaze that can turn their enemies to stone. In the series’ first installment, the playable protagonist Kratos is tasked by the goddess Aphrodite to slay Medusa by decapitating her. Like Perseus in Greek mythology, after slaying Medusa Kratos wields her head as a weapon, using it to freeze his enemies in place. In God of War II, Kratos must face Medusa’s sister Euryale after battling his way through her temple. Kratos murders her by slicing her head off, and then proceeds to use it as weapon to freeze his own enemies, just as he did with Medusa’s head in the first game.

Although Euryale is one of many monsters Kratos fights throughout the series, she is noteworthy for several reasons. She calls Kratos a “murderer of children” who has brought misery upon her brood and ruthlessly cut down her line. Euryale is therefore revealed to be the mother of the Gorgons that Kratos has slaughtered throughout the game. In addition, most of the Gorgons Kratos encounters are slender and even skeletal, yet Euryale is portrayed as large and fat. As naked, hybrid, snake-women with exposed breasts, the Gorgons’ bodies are always on display to Kratos, and, by extension, the player. Euryale’s body, however, is given particular focus by both the game’s developers and its fans. The background song that plays during the boss battle against Euryale repeats a Greek phrase that translates to “fat bitch.” According to the game’s Wiki, “the developers and composers apparently found it amusing and laughed each time it was played.” In addition, the in-game files for Euryale’s character model refer to her as “Fat Medusa.” The game’s Wiki, which is written by fans of the series and can be edited by anyone, has a section dedicated to Euryale’s appearance, in which she is described as “very fat” and “morbidly obese.” The fact that Euryale’s entry has a subsection dedicated to describing her appearance is noteworthy because most of the other characters do not have this—for example, Medusa’s appearance is not described. This is likely because she is thin, and so the fans writing these entries did not feel the need to remark on her appearance, thereby demonstrating the cultural assumption that thin bodies are the default norm while fat bodies are cause for comment. The Wiki also notes that it is “ironic” that the actor who voices her, Jennifer Martin, is known for having a “deep sexy voice” and providing the voice of attractive and/or sexualized characters in animated television series. Presumably this is “ironic” because a “Fat Medusa” would be considered by these fans as the antithesis of sexy. In this sense, fans of the series, like the developers themselves, have highlighted Euryale’s positioning at the intersection of misogyny and fatphobia.

As a large, fat woman, a powerful queen, a vengeful mother and sister, and a venomous hybrid monster, Euryale presents a deadly threat to patriarchal society and is of particular interest to feminist scholars interested in portrayals of female monstrosity. She is transgressive, unruly, and abject, defying category and normativity. She deserves so much more than just being called a “fat bitch,” laughed at, ridiculed, and ultimately murdered by a violent male agent of the aggressively patriarchal and misogynistic ancient Greece presented in the God of War series.

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