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Where Have The Heros Gone?

It's not a new subject, but Lileks muses on what's happened to Hollywood (and popular culture in general):

...imagine a story conference for the Beowulf movie: you know, I see modern parallels here - not surprising, given the timelessness of the epic. But the Mead Hall is civilization itself, an outpost constructed against the elements, and Grendel is the raging force that hates the song they sing-

"They hate us for our singing!" Knowing chuckles around the table.

No seriously, he does hate them for their singing. That's the point.

He hates what they've built, what they've done, how they live their lives.

"Maybe he has reason. That's the interesting angle. What drives Grendel?"

Yes, you're right. You're absolutely right. No one's ever taken the side of the demon in the entire history of literature, especially the last 40 years. By all means, let us craft an elaborate backstory for the guy who breaks down the door and chews the heads of the townsfolk, that we may better understand how we came to this point.


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Ilya wrote:

Your link goes to a different Lileks page. I can not find "Grendel musings".

BTW, I do not understand whether the line "No one's ever taken the side of the demon in the entire history of literature, especially the last 40 years" is supposed to be sarcastic or not. If not, then it is patently false -- it was done many times, and occasionally to greater extent than in the movie. And if it is sarcastic, then to me at least, it falls completely flat.

Anonymous wrote:

Sorry, Lileks screwed up the permalink for the page, and pointed to yesterday's entry. It's today's Bleat. I fixed the link. And yes, it is sarcastic. Read the whole thing for context.

Ilya wrote:

I see Lileks' point, but I liked the movie A LOT. I think its story is BETTER than the original. Traditional "Beowulf" is rather boring -- it can be summarized as "guy goes around killing things." The movie's plot is very much in tradition of Greek tragedy -- it is what "Beowulf" would have been if written by Sophocles.

Paul Spudis wrote:

Actually, taking the "side of the demon" is the old concept -- been around for years.

The best effort along these lines is John Gardner's Grendel. which re-tells the Beowulf epic from the monster's point of view.

Aleta wrote:

For another angle, read "Hrolf Khraki's Saga" by Poul Anderson.

Not boring. Not in the least. Nope.

Jeff wrote:


Obviously it was sarcasm. Come on, this isn't hard. It's a commentary on snotty moviemakers pretending they're being brave and innovative by rehashing concepts that have existed for centuries.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on March 4, 2008 5:00 AM.

A Glimpse Of The Singularity was the previous entry in this blog.

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