Fridge Brilliance: When Beowulf says he "killed" nine sea monsters (and Grendel's mother), he's using the old euphemistic meaning.
Care to explain further? I want to know what it means.
The euphemism being for "having had sex with". In the movie, which is supposedly the real-life events of which the poem is based on, the sea monsters he claims he killed are actually mermaids he had sex with, and instead of killing Grendel's mother he fathers the dragon with her.
Not at all. He just "killed" the mermaid, and the other sea monsters were truly killed, at least that's why I understood for it. He had sex with the mermaid, however, as he remarks he "killed" her with his "sword". And Grendel's momma too.
The ending is supposed to be ambiguous... perhaps Wiglaf will continue the cycle Beowulf tried to stop. However. The entire premise is based around the idea that this takes place in our reality, and we have been reading the incomplete/glorified story for hundreds of years. In the past there were great heroes and All Myths Are True (at least as far as Norse and Christianity is concerned) all manner of creatures: Demons, Nephilim, Sea Monsters, Mermaids, Dragons, super human heroes, etc. Now there are none... which is a big theme of the story. Therefore, either Wiglaf or some other hero down the line will slay Grendel's Mother (she being the last of Demon Kind) and by the Renaissance we have reached an age of enlightenment, free from these beasts. So in a way, it's a Fridge Hope ending.
Grendel (and by extension Grendel's mother) are said to have descended from Cain, the first murderer. HOWEVER, tradition states that Noah ISN'T descended from Cain, and his family is the only family to survive God's flood. The flood would've wiped out all traces of Cain's family line. Therefore, Grendel's mother being a water demon makes perfect sense. It actually solves a plot hole.
Grendel's mother got her revenge on Beowulf by arranging for him to share Grendel's own fate. They were both annoyed by the celebrations of the Danes, Grendel because of the noise and Beowulf because he knew their admiration of him was based on a lie. They both demonstrated an immunity to the blades of men, Grendel because of his supernatural heritage and Beowulf because Finn couldn't go through with attacking an unarmed, defiant Living Legend. They both tore enemies apart bare-handed, and they both had an arm taken off by Beowulf in their final battle: a knock-down, drag-out fight between Beowulf and one of the Water-Demoness's sons.