Giratina is one of the four principle gods, usually identified as the god of death, the dead, and the afterlife. Historic texts usually depict Giratina as a winged, many-limbed serpent adorned with a crown of glistening gold, with a cruel and vainglorious demeanor. He is by his own admission the first and eldest of Arceus' children, though other sources claim Mew to have been the first, and is the brother of the twin gods Palkia and Dialga. He also shares a nebulously-defined relationship with the minor deity Ho-Oh and the demon Yveltal. The Distortion Realm, land of the afterlife, is where Giratina makes his home.
According to the historic texts, Giratina is considered to be cruel and vainglorious, and acts maliciously towards both the living, and the souls of the dead in his charge. Many ancient records cite Giratina's wrath as to blame for the failures of crops to grow, wildfires, earthquakes, and storms, in addition to his (reputedly) horrific mistreatment of all but the most virtuous of souls in the afterlife. Despite this reputation, Giratina has garnered a cult following, who believe his savagery and cruelty towards the unworthy are regarded as positive qualities befitting of the (in their opinion) true ruler of creation.
Giratina is unique among deities in that, aside from his father Arceus, he is the only deity to whom a major day of celebration is dedicated in every country and culture, regardless of language, geographical location, or primary religion. Theologians speculate that this is due to the universality of death and strife, to which Giratina is closely linked.
Giratina is often referred to as a shapeshifter, though his principle form always remains the same- That of an immense serpent with pallid grey scales, adorned with black and red scales and armored and crowned with gold. In truth, Giratina possesses only the capacity to alter the number of limbs he possesses, and can only change between a many-legged or a many-winged form. He also possesses the Griseous Orb, a jagged amber gem reported to be the source of his limb-changing abilities. More rarely, Giratina is depicted as assuming a human guise, that of a man dressed in black with ever-changing facial features.
Giratina, along with his brothers Palkia and Dialga, were born in the Before Time, where they were each given their purpose- Palkia was given control of the nebulous seas of space, so that the universe might be given greater shape and purpose. Dialga was given control of time, to give to the new universe a steel-solid sense of guidance and direction. And Giratina was given control over the Distortion Realm, the afterlife where all the souls in the new universe would be fated to come. Palkia and Dialga were content with their gifts, and set about to do their father's works. But Giratina, firm in his belief that as the eldest he should be given the greatest reward, was not content. As far back as recorded history goes, Giratina's influence can be found, making and encouraging ill deeds of greater and greater severity until, as is recorded in the First Book, his rebellion against his father's works reached such a climax that Arceus banished Giratina from the mortal realm, and confined him to dwell in the afterlife with his subjects.
Though traditionally depicted as the god of death and the afterlife, Giratina is occasionally depicted as the god of war, famine, sickness, natural disasters, and severe misfortune, as these are often causes of death to many. Imagery of Giratina, though common among early peoples in all forms, shows itself always in times of intense strife, as those afflicted seek to placate Giratina in the hopes that he will ease their suffering.
Though historically depicted as cruel and vainglorious, Giratina, in the few times he has appeared in the mortal world in recent years, has shown himself to be remarkably well-mannered and generally mild-tempered, albeit with an occasional fondness for striking Faustian bargains. Historians and religious figures have often argued over why the historic texts present this discrepancy with reality, and so far only one presiding opinion has been accepted in the mainstream; that some time during the course of his imprisonment in the Distortion Realm, Giratina underwent a personality change. This explanation is accepted because it is the only explanation thus far that explains both the discrepancy between historic text and reality, but also explains why Giratina is no longer imprisoned in the Distortion Realm. Others have often put forth the opinion that perhaps the historic texts are biased or flawed, but this opinion so far has failed to gain mainstream support.