g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Folklore and Mythology
Women's Fashion
Holiday/Seasonal Cooking
Hiking & Backpacking
New Age
Weight Loss

All times in EST

Full Schedule
g Drama Movies Site

BellaOnline's Drama Movies Editor


The Non-Movie Beowulf

Guest Author - Peggy Maddox

In my review of Beowulf (2007) I criticize Zemeckis and his writers Gaiman and Avary for altering their source material beyond what is acceptable in translating a literary work to film.

An unfortunate effect of this movie will be to misrepresent the original epic in the minds of people who have never read it or who read it so long ago that they have forgotten the details. Here a a few of the differences.

Hrothgar is a dignified old man and his wife Wealtheow would never dream of spitting on him in public or anywhere else. Nor would she have the option of declining sex with her husband.

When Beowulf comes to Heorot Hall, he and his men must observe a certain protocol and leave their weapons at the door before being admitted to the king's presence. The king would never simply amble out in front of the approaching warriors and shout an informal hello.

Although Grendel has been haunting the hall for many years, the hall is not a wreck. Hrothgar and his people use it during daytime hours and leave it at dusk. The hall is made of wood, not stone.

In the poem, there is no connection between the killing of Grendel and his dam and the later killing of the dragon. Beowulf is still a young man when he goes to the aid of Hrothgar. He takes fourteen men with him. Wiglaf is not one of them. He hasn't been born yet. The travelers would not become lost at sea. Beowulf is described as "a man cunning in the knowledge of the sea." Of the fourteen men who go with Beowulf, only one is slain. The others all get back home safely.

Hrothgar is a Dane. Beowulf is a Swede. In the poem his people are called Geats. (By the way, Geat is pronounced /yay aht/, not /geet/.) Beowulf does not succeed Hrothgar as king of the Danes. He goes back home after killing Grendel's mother. Yes, he really did kill her. And yes, she was a sea hag. And no, he did not carry a glowing drinking horn into her cave. The cave was lit from within with a strange, baleful light.

While we're at it, Grendel was an ogre (dined on people) and he was big, but not so much bigger than Beowulf that he couldn't be wrestled with. Beowulf tore his arm off by sheer muscle power, without the help of chains or doors. And when Momma came back the next night, she killed only one man, taking his body back with her to her lair.

The fight with the dragon occurs in Beowulf's old age, after he has reigned over his people for fifty years. A runaway slave stirs up the dragon by stealing a cup from its horde. Beowulf has a special fireproof shield made. He and eleven men, including Wiglaf, go to fight the dragon. It's the young Wiglaf's first battle. Everyone but Wiglaf runs away. Beowulf kills the dragon, but is bitten and dies of the poisonous saliva. His body is placed on a funeral pyre on a cliff overlooking the sea. Afterwards his people cover the pyre with earth, turning it into a barrow. The poet ends the poem with this eulogy of Beowulf: "among the kings of the world he was the mildest of men and most kindly, most gentle to his people and most eager for praise."

Add The+Non%2DMovie+Beowulf to Twitter Add The+Non%2DMovie+Beowulf to Facebook Add The+Non%2DMovie+Beowulf to MySpace Add The+Non%2DMovie+Beowulf to Del.icio.us Digg The+Non%2DMovie+Beowulf Add The+Non%2DMovie+Beowulf to Yahoo My Web Add The+Non%2DMovie+Beowulf to Google Bookmarks Add The+Non%2DMovie+Beowulf to Stumbleupon Add The+Non%2DMovie+Beowulf to Reddit

RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Drama Movies Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2015 by Peggy Maddox. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Peggy Maddox. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Angela K. Peterson for details.


g features
My First Time in Hollywood Book Review

Love Is All You Need Film Review

Leviathan Film Review

Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Less than Monthly

BellaOnline on Facebook

| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2015 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor