Beowulf, as translated for the Internet by J.R. Blackwell from the translation by Seamus Heaney
Introduction: J.R.R. Tolkien was a big Nerd about Beowulf and totally revolutionized the way everyone thought about it, taking it from being “boring history you must memorize or be a pleeb” to “awesome story about monster slaying written by a goddamned poet.”
We open with the Shield people. They have great fiery funerals and a line of noble Kings. They are honorable as can be and their King, Halfdane, has four kids, three sons and a daughter who apparently was very good in the sack.
After Halfdane dies, his son, Hrothgar, takes the throne. At this point, everything is going great with the Sheildings. They build a huge hall which is totally sweet and decked out with everything you could ever want in the category of “Hall”.
Then this big asshole Grendle shows up and starts murdering everybody. He starts off by murdering thirty dudes. Then he comes back for more murder. Murder. Murder. Murder.
Can anyone negotiate with this guy? No, he won’t listen, he’s just all about the murder. Can anyone defeat him? No, and he murders on. Grendle is just a bucket of murder topped with murder sauce. This goes on for years. They try to stop him from committing all this murder, but no one can do it.
One day, our man Beowulf shows up with a troop of guys on board a ship.
The coastguard of the Sheilding is like “Whoa there, who the fuck are you, giant dude with a boat full of armed guys?”
And Beowulf is all like “Chill out, I just rolled up here with my buddies because I heard you’ve got a monster problem and I wanted to see what I could do. Also: my grandpa was pretty famous, maybe you’ve heard of him?”
And the coastguard is like “Oh cool, that’s fine then, go right ahead, I’ll watch your boat.”
And Beowulf is like “Damn straight.”
And the coastguard is like, “I think you’ll find everyone up at the FUCKING AMAZING HALL WE’VE GOT AW YEAH!”
When Beowulf sees the hall, he’s like: “Listen, I’ve got to admit, that hall is THE SHIT.” A lot of attention is given to how great this hall is. Boiling this all down, just understand that it’s The Best Hall Ever.
Then Beowulf has to do this whole song and dance again with the Kings assistant, who is impressed with them because even though Beowulf and Friends are tired from sailing, they still look awesome in their armor.
Then Beowulf and his troop of armed guys meet Hrothgar, the King of the Sheildings, who is like “Hey! Beowulf! LOL! I totally know your dad!”
And Beowulf says: “Hey, when I heard you have a monster problem, everyone I know was like: Beowulf, you have GOT to get over there and use your awesome strength to kill Grendle. And I was like: I’m on it. And, even if Grendle like, eats my face off, I don’t give a fuck, I’m fighting him.”
And the King is like “Dude, it’s so obnoxious that we have to bother other people about our problems, but if you could kill Grendle that would be so great.”
Then, just as everyone is about to get drunk and have a good time, Unferth, the resident party pooper, is like “Hey Beowulf, I know this guy Breca who told me you are weak.”
And Beowulf says “Yeah, I grew up with Breca, and he’s a drunk, so, whatever. I’ve killed like, nine sea monsters, how many have you killed? Yeah, I thought so. Zero. Fuck off.”
Then the ladies showed up and everyone ate and got drunk until the King was like “Whelp, I’ve had it, time to go fuck my wife.”
And Beowulf was like “Cool. I’ll watch over things.”
And everyone was like “Great. Good. You do that.”
Then they all went to bed.
Of course, that’s when Grendle shows up!