Set against the coming of Christianity, this is the story of the last hero: in 507, a monstrous troll wreaks havoc in the mead hall of the Danish king, Hrothgar. He offers rewards for the death of Grendel, so Beowulf, a great and boastful Geat warrior, arrives with his thanes. Beowulf sets aside his armor and awaits the monster; a fierce battle ensues that leads to Beowolf's entering the watery lair of Grendel's mother, where a devil's bargain awaits. Beowulf returns to Herot, the castle, and becomes king. Jump ahead many years, and the sins of the father are visited upon Beowulf and his kingdom. The hero must face his weakness and be heroic once again. Is the age of demons over? Written by <[email protected]>
However, in the literature of the Norsemen, dragons are more akin to serpents than the modern vision seen in movies. Medieval Scandinavian "dragons" had serpentine bodies with legs which were tiny—comparable in ratio to those of a dachshund—and they alternated between having wings and not. Fafnir, the son of a dwarf who killed for the golden ring of Andvari, was transformed into a dragon capable of breathing poison, but not flying. Meanwhile, Nidhoggr, the dragon that gnawed on the roots of the Tree of Life Yggdrasil, has been described as able to fly. While these descriptions of Norse dragons do not necessarily indicate that Grendel is not a version of a Scandinavian dragon, the emphasis on his humanoid form, in conjunction with the inclusion of an actual dragon within Beowulf , makes it seem far less probably that Grendel is another dragon for Beowulf to fight.
Beowulf is an epic hero of the Anglo-Saxon time period because he showed friendship, loyalty, bravery, and shared a common belief about the afterlife. He showed friendship by coming to aid his kin and long time friend of his father's. Loyalty because he honored the friendship his father had with Horthgar. Bravery was shown through his actions of battling Grendel with his bare hands. The common belief about the afterlife is that there is none except in song or tale, and Beowulf shared that belief. Beowulf did battle monsters, but he also epitomised the beliefs of the Anglo-Saxon society and proved that you don't have to save a damsel in distress to be an epic hero.