Beowulf & Grendel (2005) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • The blood-soaked tale of a Norse warrior's battle against the great and murderous troll, Grendel. Out of allegiance to the King Hrothgar, the much respected Lord of the Danes, Beowulf leads a troop of warriors across the sea to rid a village of the marauding monster. The monster, Grendel, is not a creature of mythic powers, but one of flesh and blood - immense flesh and raging blood, driven by a vengeance from being wronged, while Beowulf, a victorious soldier in his own right, has become increasingly troubled by the hero-myth rising up around his exploits. Beowulf's willingness to kill on behalf of Hrothgar wavers when it becomes clear that the King is more responsible for the troll's rampages than was first apparent. As a soldier, Beowulf is unaccustomed to hesitating. His relationship with the mesmerizing witch, Selma, creates deeper confusion. Swinging his sword at a great, stinking beast is no longer such a simple act. The story is set in barbarous Northern Europe where the reign of the many-gods is giving way to one - the southern invader, Christ. Beowulf is a man caught between sides in this great shift, his simple code transforming and falling apart before his eyes. Vengeance, loyalty and mercy powerfully entwine. A story of blood and beer and sweat, which strips away the mask of the hero-myth, leaving a raw and tangled tale.

  • In Denmark, during the 6th century, Danish king Hrothgar and his warriors kill a troll whose son, Grendel, vows revenge.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • [[Hrothgar]], king of Danelands, and a group of mounted and helmeted warriors chase a large and burly man, whom they consider a monstrous [[troll]], and his young son across a large open field until father and son find themselves on the edge of deep cliff overlooking a beach and a large sea. The father directs his young son, [[Grendel]], to climb down and hide from the attackers' view. The Danes shoot the father dead with their arrows and his dead body plunges down onto the beach far below. The Danish king walks towards the cliff edge and sees the young Grendel hanging but chooses to spare him.

    Later, Grendel is on the beach below and finds his father's body. After failing to move the large and heavy corpse, the boy takes a sword and cuts the head off to take it home.

    Many years later, the severed (and mummified) head is inside a cave where the boy Grendel has grown up to be as large and burly as his father. Grendel bloodies his own forehead with stones to express his vengeful anger towards the Danes and the beginning of his own murderous campaign of revenge.

    When Hrothgar finds twenty of his warriors killed inside his great hall, the Danish king falls into a depression. [[Beowulf (hero)|Beowulf]], with the permission of [[Hygelac]], king of [[Götaland|Geatland]], sails to Daneland with thirteen Geats on a mission to slay Grendel for Hrothgar.

    The arrival of Beowulf and his warriors is welcomed by Hrothgar, but the king's village has fallen into a deep despair and many of the pagan villagers convert to Christianity at the urging of an [[Irish monk]]. While Grendel does go into Hrothgar's village during the night, he flees rather than fight.

    Beowulf learns more about Grendel from Selma the witch and seer, who tells Beowulf that Grendel will not fight him because Beowulf has committed no wrong against him. A villager, recently baptized and thus now unafraid of death, leads Beowulf and his men to the cliff above Grendel's cave, but without a rope they are afraid to die descending to the cave itself, and turn back without even seeing the cave. When that villager is found broken and dead, Beowulf and his men return with a rope and gain entry to Grendel's secret cave. Grendel being absent, one of Beowulf's vengeful men mutilates the mummified head and shrine of Grendel's slain father.

    That night, Grendel attacks Beowulf and his men while they sleep in Hrothgar's great hall, killing the Geat who desecrated his father's head and then, revenge satisfied, leaps out from the second story, but is caught in a trap by Beowulf, leaving Grendel hanging by his right arm. Grendel, refusing capture, escapes by hacking off his own arm. Grendel, bleeding severely, manages to reach the same beach where he had once found his father's slain corpse and wades into the water, where he dies, his body claimed by a mysterious webbed hand. Hrothgar admits to Beowulf that he had killed Grendel's father for stealing a fish but had spared the child-troll Grendel out of pity.

    There is great celebration in the hall of Hrothgar, and the king's mood has been livened up by the defeat of Grendel, whose severed arm is kept by the Danes as a trophy.

    In revealing more about Grendel's nature, Selma recounts how Grendel had once visited her hut and clumsily raped her and has protected her since that day, troubling Beowulf all the more. Yet that does not stop him from moving forward to kiss Selma, who deftly slaps him for tying her up earlier in the film, which he did in an attempt to get her to lead him to Grendel. Nevertheless, she then pulls his head forward and kisses him, quickly initiating and taking the lead in their lovemaking as she straddles him down on her bed.

    The Danes are later attacked by [[Grendel's mother]], the Sea Hag. Beowulf finds her lair, where she placed Grendel's dead body along with a pile of treasure, and slays Grendel's mother with a sword from this pile. Beowulf realizes the battle has been watched by a strange young boy with red hair, who is Grendel and Selma's child.

    Beowulf, with Grendel's son watching from the shelter of the rocks, buries Grendel and builds him a marker, honouring him. Shortly thereafter, Beowulf and his band of Geats leave Daneland by ship but not before warning Selma that she must continue to hide her son, lest the Danes hunt him down as they did his father.

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