March 09, 2011


I've read and re-read Beowulf several times in recent months and still can't find the part where Grendel's mother looks like Angelina Jolie, as she did in the 2007 movie version. Say what you want about Ms. Jolie, but she is hardly the "monstrous hell-bride" described in the poem, although the original term is ambiguous in Anglo-Saxon.

In that poem, she doesn't show up until the night after Beowulf's fight with Grendel, in which he tears off the monster's arm and hangs it as a trophy in Heorot, the mead hall.

(I guess people had other ideas about interior decorating in those days.)

After the mortally wounded Grendel runs off to the haunted mere (lake or swamp) where he lives with Mom in an underwater chamber, there is much feasting, drinking, story-telling and gift giving among the humans. It never seems to occur to anyone that Grendel had any family members who might seek revenge. This is kind of ironic, since the feud-oriented raiding culture of the North Sea as depicted in the poem was all about avenging family members. I guess there is a double irony in that the family that seeks revenge here is that of Cain, which originated killing within the family.

Holy double parallelism, Batman!

His mother, unnamed in the poem, broods over this injury and the bad fate of the children of Cain

She had been forced down into fearful waters,
the cold depths, after Cain had killed
his father's son, felled his own
brother with a sword. Branded an outlaw,
marked by having murdered, he moved into the wilds,
shunned company and joy. And from Cain there sprang
misbegotten spirits, among them Grendel,
the banished and accursed....
...But now his smother
had sallied forth on a savage journey,
grief-racked and ravenous, desperate for revenge.

It's not uncommon for mothers in the animal kingdom to be fierce where their young is concerned and I guess that's also the case with monsters.

FEDERAL BUDGET CUTS won't create more jobs.

THIS GUY thinks so too.

SUIT UP. Massey Energy just got hit with more lawsuits in the wake of last year's Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

PASS IT. Here's an item about some worthwhile legislation in WV which would create an Office of Minority Affairs. If you live in WV, please consider contacting your senators in support of HB 2161.

ELEPHANTS can co-operate. We, however, seem to have some issues in that department.

NOTE: Due to having to hit the road at an ungodly hour again, this post was scheduled in advance. Well may the world go.


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