|G is for Grendel|
Grendel was a monster of the fen (marshland) featured in the epic Anglo Saxon poem Beowulf, which was written sometime between the 8th and 11th centuries A.D and set in Denmark and Sweden. Although Beowulf was a great hero from Danish mythology, Grendel appears to be an original character created within the poem only, rather than an adaptation of a creature from other Beowulf tales.
|Illustration by Mary French, from A Dictionary of Monsters and|
Mysterious Beasts by Carey Miller
Grendel lived with his mother in either a cave underneath the marsh or actually within the marsh, which was close to the settlement of Herot. The settlement was the stronghold of the Danish king, Hrothgar and Grendel was enraged by the noise and singing coming from its people.
One night, Grendel left his dwelling and ventured to Herot, in order to see for himself what was causing the disruption. He arrived and found a hall full of drunken guards, who had fallen asleep after a lavish banquet. The sight apparently enraged the monster further and he pounced on the guards, devouring thirty of them. The experience was a pleasant one for him and Grendel continued to return to feast on the people of Herot for the next twelve years; King Hrothgar could not find anyone strong enough to defeat him.
|Crispin Glover as Grendel in Robert Zemeckis' 2007 motion-capture film Beowulf|
However, after the years passed, Beowulf's ship arrived on the shores of King Hrothgar's land and the warrior and his men agreed to help the people of Herot. He formed a plan to ambush Grendel the next time he came to the town, consisting of he and his men pretending to be asleep in the banquet hall, when in fact they would be prepared for battle.
When the creature arrived the next night, he found the doors open and the guards seemingly asleep. Once again, the sight of them infuriated him and he ate one of them men by the door. Next he tried to consume Beowulf, but instead was engaged in a battle with the warrior, someone whose strength he had not encountered the like of before. After wounding Grendel fatally in the shoulder, Beowulf allowed him to return to his cave to die. Although this marks the end of Grendel in the poem, his mother and then the dragon that eventually kills Beowulf, also battle him later.
This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge, 2013.
And Monster Monday!