Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Most known for Hobbit and mysterious rings, author JRR Tolkien gives over a translation of an ancient Norse tale while his son Christopher gives some rather informative and interesting tidbits of information. Along with the usual translation and background information JRR gives over his own rendering of the tale.
As the story goes a monster named Grendel is terrorizing King Wrothgars famous hall Heorot. THe Ogre devours people whole. Hearing of this from the land of the Geats is Beowulf who comes over with a company of men. The king of the Geats is Hygelac. Beowulf's father is Ectheow. The gernealogy was built in to a realistic time period but as the author informs us the story had been retold numerous times and was probably a fairy tale in origin. Beowulf is not really a historical character as his name appears nowhere else in literature or history books. While the the Pagan past was close by and there are references to it by the time the famous poem was redacted the Danes had already been christianized. Still things were there to remind us and the tale is littered with old and new testament references.
Upon arriving there Hrothgar tends a feast to welcome the geat while an instigator named Unferth mock Beowulf about an old swimming match inj which Beowulf was delayed due to Nixes or Sea Demons that he had to fight off. which made it seem like his opponent won the match . It must be noted that Beowulf did not enjoy super high status. He had to prove himself. Beowulf had lots of strength but was rather young. As a youth he was used to swimming in the sea.
The night the beast comes Beowulf wrestles with him and tears his arm off. THe monster flees to his underwater lair. But the problem for Hrothgar are far from over. the beast has a mother. Beowulf goes in pursuant of the beast. Going to the underwater layer Beowulf kills the mother and finishes off Grendel. Brining back the head Beowulf earn great reward. He goes back to hygelac's kingdom with new status. He eventually marries the kings daughter and reigns for fifty years. Peace is finally ended when someone steals a dragon's treasure and the dragon ends up ravishing the cuntryside. Beowulf must go to battle one more time.
JRR Tolkiens own version is called t"THe Sellic Spell" names are altered as are Beowulf's origins.I will let you read it to find out.
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