Kjell Braathen: War Sailor character explained

In War Sailor, Kjell Braathen is the only one who abandons his ship and his crewmates to avoid the massacre they will be walking into at Murmansk.

Kjell is one of the youngest sailors who were part of Alfred and Sigbjørn’s circle while they were out there in the Atlantic Ocean. He was also one of those who wanted to go back home after his stint on a ship in 1940.

Unfortunately, the sailors, including Kjell, had to stay because the Norwegian government had decided to aid the British by sending its ships to the Allies. Since they were already shorthanded, none of the sailors were allowed to go back home.

If they decided to abandon the ship, they were to be considered traitors. They won’t get any job in their homeland and will be blacklisted.

How does the war affect Kjell?

Kjell longs to go back home because he has someone waiting for him. He once shows Alfred the picture of Christine, the girl he is in love with.

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Around 1942, Alfred and his friends face what their friends who died faced. They get attacked brutally, but fortunately, most of Alfred’s friends survive, including Kjell.

Kjell Braathen: War Sailor character explained 1
Kjell shows up to meet Sigbjørn in Bergen

Kjell is one of those who is not the same after the attack. When Alfred’s crew arrives in Malta safe and sound, the people there applaud them and shower them with claps.

Kjell doesn’t take this warm welcome wholeheartedly, as he believes they don’t know what they have been through or who they have lost. If that’s not enough, Kjell started being afraid of water; he freaked out if he somehow got dropped in the ocean.

Kjell’s escape

As time goes by, returning home becomes more of a distant dream. The struggles of Alfred and his friends continue. Their next journey requires them to go to Murmansk, a place from where not many people have returned.

If Alfred’s crew goes there, they will be slaughtered to death. Alfred and Sigbjørn get Hanna and Aksel to safety first. Kjell thinks even they have done their share for the country. They have seen enough and have survived enough. Alfred agrees, and they all start preparing to escape.

Watching Hanna and Aksel return changes Alfred’s mind; he decides to stay for them. Followed by Alfred, everyone backs out of the plan, except for Kjell. He quietly and smartly escapes the place.

Where does Kjell end up?

As Kjell predicted, the ship does face destruction in Murmansk. Only Alfred and Sigbjørn survive and end up at a hospital in Canada. Alfred leaves Sigbjørn behind when he is told that his family died during the bombings in Bergen.

Sigbjørn recovers and looks for Alfred everywhere. After failing to find him, he returns to Bergen and learns that his family barely escaped the bombings.

Sigbjørn stays for a while at Alfred’s and joins William at work. One day, Kjell visits Sigbjørn. It seems like life hasn’t been that hard for him. Kjell, now sporting a mustache, has a family of his own, a child, and is looking forward to having another one.

Kjell is sorry that he fled that night, but Sigbjørn assures him that he did the right thing because everything descended into hell after that.

Also Read: War Sailor review: A gut-wrenching slow burn