EP Review: Beowulf, Grendel, and Beowulf

Translation by Seamus Heaney .

A Novel by John Gardner .

A Film by Robert Zemeckis .

Reviewed by Jonathon Sullivan.

Comments (6)

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  1. Sullydog,

    Enjoyed the craft and content of your review! Thanks!

    Have you played Reiner Knizia’s boardgame adaptation? “Beowulf: The Legend” (2005) recreates the actions of Beowulf’s companions while following the plot of the novel. Yeah, my first thought was “boring” – what fun is there in recreating a series of linear events?

    Knizia’s auction mechanic presents players with subtle and delicious choices, ensuring unpredictable individual outcomes. Weighing the artwork, design, and gameplay, I rate the game a 7 out of 10 (slightly higher than middle-of-the-road enjoyment, but not astounding).

    It is an interesting model of how one can faithfully represent a linear story while offering players something to do – tense somethings. If you haven’t seen it or played it, look it up on http://www.boardgamegeek.com for reviews, discussion, and dozens of photos.


  2. Dan the Man says:

    You mentioned that Beowulf was composed for the entertainment of anglo-saxon Christians. There is some controversy here. It was written down by anglo-saxon Christians, but many believe the original story was pre-Christian and that the Christian elements were introduced by the monks who first wrote it down and/or translated it.

  3. Jacob says:

    Thanks, this review inspired me to read/listen to the classic ”Beowulf”, thanks it was a awesome listen, and does it make anyone else wonder if this was one of Tolkien’s sources of inspiration? Just curious…

  4. zed says:

    I loved the Christopher Lambert version, it’s a great post-apocalyptic version of the story. it’s not a direct telling of the story, and that’s a good thing, the story is good, but it doesn’t quite translate to the modern day. Just my 2cents of course.

  5. Kwisin says:

    And what of Michael Crichton’s adaptation of the Beowulf saga in “Eaters of the Dead’? I see this as the antithesis of great science fiction. Instead of presenting plausible predictions of things that may occur, Crichton presented a very plausible scenario that could explain the real nature and basis of a very old legend. Well, okay most of the legend, the dragon is a little tough to explain away. Could a last couple of Neanderthal proto-men account for Grendel and his “mother”? This idea works for me. Most legends have some roots in real events. Why not the oldest recorded epic saga…?

  6. Siderite says:

    I was gonna say “Don’t forget The 13Th Warrior, also a Beowulf adaptation, which was very nice as a movie, although it went pretty far from the original story.”

    Then I noticed that the movie was called Eater of the Dead in the USA. Anyway, you made me very curious about the Grendel book.

    Keep up the great work, guys!