Wednesday, October 1, 2008


While watching the movie I realized something.
Grendel is not described very much in Beowulf. And even in Grendel, he is not described that much.

In Beowulf, it is known that Grendel is strong, magically deflective towards normal weapons, lives in a cave, is the son of an aquatic/amphibious mother, has claws. Anything else?
He could be like a crab, like a bear, like a troll, like a human. Nothing much is really know besides his actions.

In Grendel, he is assumed to be furry. His mother is furry. They live in a partially-submerged cave (one has to pass through the fire-snake water to get in). He is rather whiny. He still kills people. He gains the magic against weapons from the dragon and did not have it before.

In the movie, Grendel is a Gollum-like creature. He is almost(?) hairless. He is actually sexless. He is Hrothgar's son. He has sensitive ears that apparently only started to bother him when he is grown. He is huge. He is strong.

just wanted to point it out.
i'll have some pictures in a bit.
i really should finish my essay first.


Esbee D.B. said...

I think, due to the nature of Grendel's role in the film, the depiction is well chosen. It does make it easier to see how he's Hrothgar's son because he does look like a mutant child, the kind they warn you about when they talk about how incest and such is bad.

In regards to him not having description in the book or epic: can anything really beat what your imagination cooks up? I think that's largely the principle behind it. I know I could never think of Grendel as being humanoid, even though the epic briefly describes him as such. He's much more like a big dog in my head.

Me, Myself, and I said...

I think Beowulf gives me the impression of a trollish thing. One of those part rock & moss things. Grendel completely destroyed the notion by giving me a more dog-like notion. Complete with fur and rat-creature ears (anyone here ever read the Bone comics?). I don't disagree with the movie's depiction, mainly because I think very few people who have every read the epic have the exact same view. There's no way the movie could have incorporated everything.

eqprincess91 said...

okay buddies, One Hundred Years of Solitude reference! I really wish Grendel had a pigs tail and ants ate him. Ahhh the joys of incest. Although maybe instead of a pigs tail he should have a whale's tail. But that would make him a mermaid and then he couldn't come attack the castle without drinking an Ursula-potion and not being able to talk.

My essay is coming along SOOOO well, can you tell?

halfnickel said...

Here are a bunch of my random thoughts:
1) i think it's really interesting that grendel(in the movie) is hrothgar's mutant son. And in the book Grendel, grendel mentions that his mother "must have some human in her". And how can't he have some human in him whereas he has such a developed intellect and a very developed sense of emotion??
2) I prefer Beowulf (the movie's) portrayl of emotion because i think Grendel being a form of human and being Hrothgar's son is very exciting!!
3) On grendel's appearance, I understand that since there is no physical description of grendel (besides his strength and etc) that the creators of the movie or author of the book would just make up their own version of Grendel. But i find that Gardner's physical description of Grendel could be more accurate considering the time in which the book/epic takes place, but i think that Gardner's grendel shouldn't have as many mental/emotional human attributes that he does because in the epic, he appears to be a thoughtless, bloodthist monster, not some intellecutla misunderstood beast and i believe that Gardner should ahve remained a little closer to the epic's description of him... what im getting at is that Gardner might have gone a little too far with his version of grendel's emotional state and ability to think and create thoughts, and etc.

martitr said...

JW- I enjoyed your comment -- hee,hee! Halfnickel--I think the movie combines elements of both Grendel and Beowulf. Clearly Grendel in the movie is more developed than in the epic. Zemeckis is definitely aware of the novel (as any good, literate person should be!) I think Gardner's intention was not to illuminate the epic so much as our modern world. Or not even the modern world so much as human nature. I think he chose the British classic to demonstrate that human nature doesn't really change -- we like to believe in heroes, maybe need to believe, but they're inevitably tainted by reality.