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Film / Beowulf And Grendel

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Unferth: It don't brag of wrestling with it. Nor of being able to kill it. The troll broke down these doors with 20 danish warriors sleeping inside. What gives 13 geats better hope?
Beowulf: We won't be sleeping.

Beowulf and Grendel is a 2005 of Icelandic-Canadian Viking film directed by Sturla Gunnarsson that retells the story of Beowulf in a somewhat revisionist manner. Despite this, the film is one of the more faithful film adaptations and attempts to be somewhat accurate in costuming to the 6th century.

In the film, Grendel (Ingvar Sigurdsson) is on a campaign of vengence against king Hrothgar (Stellan Skarsgård) who killed his father. Word get's to the geatish warrior Beowulf (Gerard Butler) who decides to come to the aid to the danes.


The Raven Trilogy provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Grendel wants vengence for his father's death in this film, as opposed to murdering some noisy neighbours.
  • Ambiguously Human: Grendel seems somewhat human especially compared to the sea-hag but is consistently called a troll. He seems more like a hybrid between homo sapiens and neanderthal, which is possible considering he fathered a child with Selma.
  • An Arm and a Leg: It's a Foregone Conclusion, but Grendel get's his arm torn off by Beowulf.
  • Artistic Licence - Geography: The film takes place in Denmark and even puts out a map to show the location, but the film is shot clearly in Iceland.
  • Artistic Licence – History / Anachronism Stew: Through broadly accurate to the period, there are some glaring errors like the completely made up leather armor worn over the accurately realised chainmail. We also have Hrothgar who is meant to be a mighty danish king, but lives in ragged hall in a wasteland as opposed to a 50 meter wide hall in the lushest parts of Denmark like the danish kings that inspired the legend.
    • There is also an Irish priest converting Danes in the 6th century. While not impossible it's unlikely. Any Irish priest would probably be busy trying to convert the scores of Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians that had invaded recently.
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  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Grendel does not kill Hrothgar because he spared him as a child, but goes out of his way to make Hrothgar's life a living hell.
  • Child by Rape: Selma's son with Grendel.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The film only adapts the Grendel episode, but leaves it open for Beowulf to have his other adventures.
  • Decapitation Presentation: As a child Grendel is to weak to move his father's massive body so he resorts to cut off his head and hide it in a cave.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Beowulf, as exemplified by the page qoute.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Beowulf has a fling the ginger witch Selma.
  • Fantastic Racism: The humans towards trolls.
  • The High Queen: Wealtheow maintains her queenly aura when Hrothgar sinks into depression.
  • Hot Witch: Selma, played by Sarah Polley.
  • Irish Priest: Father Brendan.
  • Like a Son to Me: Beowulf to Hrothgar.
  • Mama Bear: Grendel's mother, as usual. However, here, she's also a Grandma Bear, as she fights Beowulf to protect her grandson, Grendel's offspring with Selma.
  • Magic Realism: Most of the events in the film are quite grounded and there is not really anything supernatural about Grendel. But the sea-hag is 100% real.
  • Not Even Bothering Withthe Accent: With the exception of Eddie Marsan, all the actor's speak with their natural accents be they Scottish, Canadian or Icelandic. Skarsgård speaks in a broad american accent, but that's just the way he speaks english.
  • Super Strength: Averted. Grendel is stronger than all the other characters, but not inhumanly.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The entire dialogue is like this.
  • You Can Talk?: When he meets Grendel, Beowulf is surprised to hear the troll speak words.

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