Saturday, January 29, 2011

Beowulf; Somebody Else Knew There Was More Story.

I've FINALLY figured out what bugs me about "Beowulf."  It's an Excuse Tale, like an American western:  what the invading society tells itself as it wipes out the locals.  I KNEW it was true because there is a "Mother," and "son;" those are signs of a news report.  

I'm not a very good reporter myself, or at least not in the modern AP style.  But struggling to be a freelancer has taught me where the seed in a story is hidden. 

There is such hate for these obviously nonexistent characters -- there are, after all, no demons from hell or dragons or sea-hags or sea-serpents -- such ego-pumping, long-told and long-developed, that it's probably representing repeated ancestral behavior.

If anything, it's the conquest-tale of the Indo-Europeans as they take out the European locals, especially any that refused to accept defeat or hid or resisted.  You Finns and Hungarians may be proud you've still got your language after the ancestral Beowulf gang got done with you.

The dragon?  We've all got a little file in our basic mammal brain that pops up an image of the 3-foot dinosaur that used to gobble us up by the millions over the millenia.  Scare a heron and you will see it, yellow with green stripes.  Some of our tiny mouse-sized ancestors escaped the long toothy jaws, and felt the hot breath.

Proof that dinosaurs were hot-blooded?  That Grendel really was the last of a tribe?  I'm just asking, and wondering.

Oh, the comment on this post reminded me:  I just saw a really fun movie based on a rethink of the old story:  Beowulf and GrendelDon't miss the special features and the commentary.

And OF COURSE a there's a lot of pissing in it -- there's a lot of GUYS in it.  That's the most reasonable way of getting a torch down a cliff I've ever seen.  And the funniest.  There's a law in movies: if it comes in from out or moves out of the sides, it reads as funny.  How ELSE would you get a torch down a cliff if all you had to descend was a knot rope?  I bet they found that out by accident.

1 comment:

Glenn said...

"Thirteenth Warrior" makes your hypothesis even more explicit. BTW, a good deal of it seems to have been shot in a clearcut in BC.