Monster Ballad – Grendel

This is Grendel.

Monster Ballad - Grendel

Grendel appears in the great and early English poem, Beowulf.  Scholars debate Grendel’s appearance, but because of his unnatural life and the company he (seldom) kept – his mother and the dragon – I have often imagined this hell-spawn as scaly monster covered in horns.

Grendel Detail 2

In some translations, after Grendel’s arm has been severed by Beowulf, it is described as hoary, covered with protrusions, and as hard as steel.  I like to picture Grendel this way – he should be a monster, like the dragon and the sea-monsters that Beowulf boasts of defeating.

Grendel Ship Detail

Regardless of Grendel’s appearance, many will note that I took a true liberty with the monster.  I had him topple Hrothgar’s Throne, which in the actual poem is a subject of note.  Grendel, whether cursed by some dread magic or his own misaligned thought, is unable to approach the throne.  Here however, I thought showing the monstrosity of his form looming over the great thane’s chair was more appropriate than over a heap of the dead (these are intended for child readers after all).

Grendel Poem

I also want to give a mention to the Quimper Hittys, whose hitty-keeper suggested Grendel for the ballad.  Their site, filled with the misadventures of wooden dolls, is a delight.

Grendel Throne Detail

Grendel is the twentieth monster of the Monster Ballad series.
It is Acrylic on paper, (18 x 24).

Grendel Detail

Goblin PonyMedusaLeviathanBansheeCyclopsShadowYetiBaba YagaChupacabraSiren MummyOgreSewer CrocodileTrollsThunderbirdRakshasaAliensKikituk, and Dragon can be found here.

6 thoughts on “Monster Ballad – Grendel

  1. Þóra and the Miðgarður Snakelet are gratified at the attention given to their late friend Grendel. I love the depiction of the toppled throne, and the viking ship in the background.

  2. I am just reading Patrick Harpur’s ‘Daemonic Reality’, a field guide to the Otherworld. Lots of C. Jung, shamanism, alchemy, monsters, myth and magic…Highly recommend if you have not already read it…

    1. I’ll keep that in mind. i haven’t read it, but it sounds like something I would enjoy. I grew up in a house filled with Jung and myth and story – those are my go to things.

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