01 October 2010

beowulf

So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.

I have really enjoyed Beowulf, the translation by Seamus Heaney. I had seen the 3D movie a few years ago completely cold; i knew nothing except Beowulf was a good guy and Grendel was some sort of demon, though i had thought the name was Gretel. Like Hansel's sister. I liked the movie. I really liked the book though.

Beowulf is a great warrior who comes across the sea with a dozen kinsman to help a kingdom being harassed by a demon/spirit/monster. That's Grendel. Beowulf, because he's so badass, fights Grendel hand-to-hand and defeats the monster. Then Grendel's mother, who i don't think gets her own name, attacks and Beowulf follows her back to her lair and defeats her too. Heaped with gifts, Beowulf and his buddies return to their own land. Beowulf ends up becoming king and ruling many years. Then, because a thief steals a golden cup, a nearby dragon goes on a rampage. Beowulf himself fights the dragon and with the help of a compatriot kills the dragon but ends up dying himself afterward.

B suggested it somehow. The poetry is lovely but easily understandable. I loved all the little asides the poet takes, going off on his own to tell a different story before coming back to Beowulf's. It is quite different from the movie. While the movie has the 3 big baddies right (Grendel, Grendel's mom, Dragon) it plays with the relationships between the humans. And yeah, the book is better. Way better. I definitely saw bits of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, King Arthur and Star Wars. Reading this has made me want to go and read some Homer, or Virgil. a 7.

They said that of all the kings upon the earth
he was the man most gracious and fair-minded,
kindest to his people and keenest to win fame.

2 comments:

  1. Glad there's another Beowulf convert in the world. My partner and I read this a few years ago and both loved it. I think it's a shame the movie makers had to change so much of it. It's stood the test of time for a reason. They should have respected that.

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  2. I agree. I liked that Beowulf and the people he helped were not responsible for the problems that beset them. Made the story more heroic.

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