Friday, 17 June 2016

Beowulf In Hrolf Kraki's Saga

Staying with the theme of the previous post, advertisements for the film Gods Of Egypt proclaim that "The Battle for Eternity begins!" A Battle for Eternity! What can possibly follow that?

I have reread Poul Anderson's Hrolf Kraki's Saga to the point where it suddenly hits us that the Hroar whom I have been praising is that king whose splendid hall was terrorized by the monster Grendel who was then killed by the hero Beowulf. However, I find that I have posted on this "Unexpected Crossover" before.

Beowulf is Hroar's brother-in-law, the son of that father-in-law, Aegthjof, whom Hroar had helped. See here. Thus, when Aegthjof says:

"'I hope I or child of mine may someday do the like for you.'" (Hrolf Kraki's Saga, p. 59) -

- this hope prefigures the story of Beowulf. Helgi is away, therefore cannot deal with Grendel, but "...Bjovulf of Gotaland, the man that in England they call Beowulf..." (p. 65) comes instead. Beowulf is summarized on pp. 65-66.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And I have repeatedly read, in translation of course, BEOWULF with great pleasure. I even have a copy of JRR Tolkien's translation of that poem. High time I got around to reading it!

In fact, I think it was Tolkien's love for BEOWULF and his enthusiastic lectures and commentaries about that poem at Oxford University which led to the modern revival of interest in that work. One example being Tolkien's famous essay "The Monsters and the Critics."