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The novel by John Gardner

  • Faux Symbolism: Lots, fueling many an English Literature professor.
  • Ho Yay: There are times where it seems that Grendel is jealous of the King's wife.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Grendel is portrayed as this. Even after he starts behaving evil, it's very hard not to feel at least a little bad for him.
    • Hrothgar may also be seen as this when Grendel decides Then Let Me Be Evil and starts attacking the mead hall in earnest; sure, Hrothgar started the whole feud by attacking Grendel as a baby, when the latter was unable to escape, but he's earned a Fate Worse than Death with a monster eating up his men.
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  • Nightmare Fuel: You know how Beowulf is usually presented as a badass? Well, imagine being on the other side of that ass kicking. In this version, Beowulf is terrifying.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The dragon only appears in one chapter really, but his conversation with Grendel is probably the most important scene in the whole book and leaves one hell of an impact.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: On quite a few reading lists, as an introduction to Existentialism. Probably was written for this in mind, however.
  • Uncanny Valley: Lampshaded. Grendel notes repeatedly that there's just something... off about Beowulf.

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The comic book by Matt Wagner

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Hunter's distaste for child molesters can come off as hypocritical depending on whether the reader views Hunter's love for Stacy as parental, or as a reminder of Jocasta. Stacy, for her part, fantasizes about marrying Hunter.
  • Complete Monster: Tujiro XIV is a vampiric Kabuki dancer from the 21st century who specializes in young boys. First he drains them of their blood while taking one of their eyes as a trophy, then eating the other. Tujiro runs a human slaving operation where people are kidnapped for forced servitude and he has easy access to any child he wants. Escaping justice at the hands of the mother of a victim, Tujiro ends up as Pope Innocent XLII in the 26th century, where thousands are worked to death and enslaved to him. Tujiro gruesomely murders those who discover his true nature and uses his position to continue his disturbing feeding habits. His ultimate goal is to create a gun to blot out the sun and establish a reign of vampires where humans are nothing but cattle.
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  • Crosses the Line Twice: Hitchcock Blue massacring the inhabitants of a Bad-Guy Bar... and then urinating on them all. Through a solid-gold codpiece.
  • Fridge Horror: Eddie and Jocasta are only together a few months, and Hunter Rose's first novel is published shortly after Jocasta's death. With Hunter's Skunk Stripe and rise to fame, one would expect someone from his fencing tournaments, or even a schoolmate or parent, would recognize the missing Eddie. No one ever comes forward.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Tujiro XIV becoming Pope Innocent XLII. Written well before the Catholic priest pedophile sex scandals became huge international news, Tujiro's ascension nonetheless comes off like a planned Take That!.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Hunter Rose was born Eddie in New York. A natural genius with exceptional physical talent, Hunter reinvented himself and returned to New York as the mysterious Grendel. Dominating the criminal underworld, Hunter brought most criminal syndicates under his thumb while showing no mercy to traitors, child pornographers or pimps. Viewing everything as a game, Hunter manipulated the cops and criminals alike, as well as his archnemesis, Argent the Wolf. Constantly a step ahead of his enemies, Hunter even tricked Argent into being seen as a savage beast in front of Hunter's adopted daughter, Argent's beloved Stacy, to destroy her love for him. A ruthless, charming manipulator, Hunter reflects the darkness of New York and constantly shows himself a step ahead of all challengers.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • What Hunter Rose does to Lucas Ottoman in Behold The Devil, what Tujiro does to Christine Spar's son in Devil's Legacy
    • For other people, Hunter's event horizon comes from his murder of Stacy's beloved uncle and public humiliation of Argent in Devil by the Deed. Both actions mark Stacy, and when she finds out Hunter's responsible, it leads to his death.
    • Also in Behold The Devil, Hunter manages to see his entire legacy in the future through supernatural means. He then tears the pages describing this out of his journal, causing much heartbreak later on, simply because he can't fathom anyone else being Grendel.
    • According to Word of God, Christine Spar's murder of Detective Riley was intended to be this, although Riley was sufficiently unsympathetic that many readers didn't see it that way.
    • Grendel Prime using the Life Energy of slaves to power his time machine... and the younger the better.

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