Book Review: Beowulf by Anonymous


Wow, what an annoying book!

First published in 975, Beowulf tells the story of a Danish king named Hrothgar who can’t be bothered to be a good neighbor.  The loud parties at his mead hall ends up annoying both Grendel and his mother so Grendel takes it open himself to start killing Hrothgar’s men.  Hrothgar and his men are forced to abandon their mead hall …. which, well, that would be the solution right there, wouldn’t it?  I mean, they could just go somewhere where there isn’t a monster living nearby and build a new mead hall.  And maybe they could establish some new mead hall rules, like “Keep it down after 10 pm” and “You Don’t Have To Go Home But You Can’t Stay Here.”  But instead, Hrothgar decides to cry about it.  Seriously, dude, it’s just a mead hall!

Anyway, this jerk named Beowulf sails over to help out Hrothgar.  But before Beowulf can help out Hrothgar, he has to spend a lot of time bragging on himself and telling everyone that he’s the greatest warrior that has ever lived.  I mean, he goes on for so long that I was wondering if maybe he was just planning on boring everyone to death.  Beowulf goes on to kill Grendel with his bare hands and then, when Grendel’s mother complains, Beowulf kills her too.  Uhmmm …. yay, I guess.

Many years later, Beowulf is the king and one of his slaves steals a gold cup from a dragon.  Needless to say, the dragon is not happy about this and really, who can blame it?  I imagine that dragons spend a lot of time collecting their gold and it’s always struck me as odd that humans seem to think that they have the right to just steal from the dragons whenever they feel like it.  With the dragon threatening his kingdom, Beowulf has to come out of retirement to fight one final beast….

The main problem with Beowulf is that the main character is kind of a jerk and he has a really bad habit of bragging on himself.  If I was one of his subjects, I would dread having to ask him for help because Beowulf is apparently incapable of just doing something without using it as an excuse to puff himself up.  Instead, he has to brag about how he’s the only person in the world who could possibly do it and, to top it all off, he has to make everyone else feel bad about the fact that they’re having to ask Beowulf for a favor.  Beowulf is such a long-winded jerk that he makes Grendel and the Dragon seem sympathetic by comparison.

I’m not surprised that the author of Beowulf is anonymous.  Who would want to take credit for this?  For a far better look at life in the 8th Century, check out John Gardner’s Grendel.  Or go watch the Robert Zemeckis-directed 2007 film adaptation, which has its flaws but also features Angelina Jolie, Crispin Glover, Anthony Hopkins, and John Malkovich!  How can you wrong with a cast like that?

One response to “Book Review: Beowulf by Anonymous

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 6/27/22 — 7/3/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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