Beowulf - a werewolf?

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Beowulf - a werewolf?

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Post by RedEye »

Staying in the Canid realm, the Irish hero ChuCullan (Koo-Hoolan) took the name because he killed the Mastersmith Cullan's guard dog. He agreed to guard the smith's house and forge until one of the dead dog's pups could be raised and trained to replace the giard dog he had killed.
The name "ChuCullan means" "Cullan's hound" and he wore it for the rest of his heroic life.
His real name was Setanta.

There is a lot of the Wolf in many of the old stories and sagas; either as shapeshifters or as the "Wolf" of a god (Divine hero). Back then the people may not have liked the wolf, but they respected them a lot.

And in the Irish, you don't have that damned "r" as the posessive form. Drove me nutz...
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by Konietzko »

"Unchained,
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The Gods have fangs."

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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by fenrisz »

when i read beowulf the translation i dont remember them even sayin that in the book the movie was very different from the book and alot of it was added and improvised by the creators beleive it or not angelina jolie wasnt in the story :P
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by Konietzko »

fenrisz wrote:when i read beowulf the translation i dont remember them even sayin that in the book the movie was very different from the book and alot of it was added and improvised by the creators beleive it or not angelina jolie wasnt in the story :P
....you don't say? :hsup
Konietzko wrote:This is an interesting observation for me. Interestingly, before that movie came out, a group of friends and I were writing an open RP story together...a lot to do with the end of the world, apocalyptic ends, melding a lot of religious references from all different pagan and monotheistic religions together. Being a fan of the story of Beowulf.
:roflmao: Doesn't mean that the story portrayed in the animated movie wasn't damn fun to watch.
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by fenrisz »

no doubt about it it was a great movie but when it came to the story it was completly different no where in the book was it suggested the dragon was his son nor that he did it with grendels mother the king didnt comit suicide and he fought the dragon for the treasure it guarded as well because a dumb servant stole a cup from its treasure that is similar to the movie but it was never said it was the same cup hrothgar gave him but all and all it was a great book a great movie i suggest to any one who enjoys the type of things to read it as well as reading grendel by gardner another good book not based off the translation but its all about grendel good book
also beowulf was a pretty common name back then in that area would be like being named mike or john or somethin here in usa in the book it starts off talkin about a previous king name beowulf but completly differeent guy
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

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fenrisz wrote: also beowulf was a pretty common name back then in that area would be like being named mike or john or somethin here in usa in the book it starts off talkin about a previous king name beowulf but completly differeent guy
Source? From what I understand, Beowulf was actually a fairly unique name and not common at all. Two Beowulfs are mentioned in the poem, yes; but I don't recall the name seen in other sagas when not in reference to either of these two.
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by fenrisz »

the source i got it from was my english teacher a very passionate man of literature who i would trust more than most of my other teachers not to mention how highly educated my teachers need to be to teach at my school so i usually use what i learn in class as i pretty reliable source so far i have never heard or read about anything that has contradicted any of my teachers except my theology teacher but that is a more contradictory subject than english history or science but if you can find somethin that proves me wrong id be more than willing to accept it im happy as long as im learning :D which i realize sounds completly nerdy but its a truth for me so cant deny that side of me that yearns for more knowledge
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by PariahPoet »

I thought I remembered from my English course that Beowulf meant "bear"?
I could very well be remembering wrong though.
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by fenrisz »

ya thats right he also said the same thing in like the first post i think :P but good addition to the thread
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by Berserker »

As I described in the original post, one of the earliest etymologies for the name Beowulf is "bear," but more modern research suggests that it may actually mean "wolf of Beowa," Beowa being a regional Scandinavian god similar to Thor.
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by Sunbane »

While it is against my principles to barge in as a newbie and contradict oldtimers, I have to pipe in here for a moment. Also; sorry for going somewhat off topic. I will try to keep it as short as possible:
Berserker wrote:(By the way, the word "berserker" has nothing to do with "bear.")
As far as I know, it is somewhat unclear as to what exactly "berserker" means, but the translation "bear sark" is popular - even among historians.

Plus, here's an interesting bit:

Those that argue the meaning "bear sark", deem it likely that these norse warriors wore bear skins in battle. Yet another faction of researchers think that they did so in order to "become the bear" in both body and mind. But the berserkers were not the only warriors dressing in animal skins; apparently there were also "ulfhednir" ("wolf pelts"). Some sources state that these were warriors of Odin, armed with spears and dressed in wolf skins.

The above theory may be a purely theoretical construction, but it sure tickles the imagination. :)

Well, I'm done. Sorry for the intrusion, and no disrespect meant. ;)

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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by RedEye »

Hmmm...

A Sark is a garment, sort of like a shift (the kind you wear, not the kind you do). The "Cutty Sark" was the gown of a Scots witch, as example.

Now, perhaps Bear Sark isn't right...it might be Bare Sark; or sans culottes, or starkers, or just plain Nekkid! The Celts were known to fight this way; starkers. They were also crazy deadly fighters. :hsup

So...Bare Sark (Berserk) may mean you're barefoot up to your chin, and are going to put some serious hurt on somebody, and you don't care if you live or not; so long as you take enough people with you... :evil:
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by Midnight »

From my dictionary of phrase and fable (which is, basically, a revised and updated version of Brewer's):
The Wordsworth Dictionary of Phrase and Fable wrote:Berserker. In Scandinavian mythology, the son of Berserk, grandson of the eight-handed Starkadder and Alfhilde. The name probably means bear-sark, or bear-coat. Berserk always fought ferociously and recklessly, without armour. Hence berserk for a savage and reckless fighter, one with the fighting fever in him.
Note the comment about fighting without armour: whether or not a berserker was named for being metaphorically naked would depend on whether the Scandinavians had a word meaning "naked" which sounded similar to the English "bear".

For a recent (well, within the last century, at least) literary example of the berserker as a man-bear shape-shifter cf. the character Beorn in The Hobbit.

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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by Sunbane »

Midnight wrote:Note the comment about fighting without armour: whether or not a berserker was named for being metaphorically naked would depend on whether the Scandinavians had a word meaning "naked" which sounded similar to the English "bear".
Well, the norse language was heavily influenced by old English during the viking era, and even though they are very different, English and Nordic languages share many words. "Bare" is one of them; the modern Swedish word for bare is "bar" (not to be confused with places serving alcoholic beverages). ;)

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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by fenrisz »

i was lookin through oneo f my norse myths books glossary thing in the back i saw berserker and right next to it was the translation which came out to be "bear shirt" and as you said they wear animal skins it makes sense where the name came from
also lil fun fact they were blessed with special protection from odin in battles
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by Rosiewolf »

Beowulf, was not a werewolf, as I recall.
Actually, if anyone was possible to be a werewolf in Beowulf, it would be Grendel. I mean, think about it, in the story, it says that he was immune to metal (basically swords and other weapons couldn't kill or hurt him) and he would always attack at night, and people back then always thought that werewolves were from the devil. And in the story, it was said that Grendel came from Cain's clan (Cain being the son of Adam and Eve), who, killed his brother Able and was banished from Eden by God and was marked (no one knows that this mark supposedly looks like or is, it's never explained in the Bible). So it could be a possiblity that Grendel was a werewolf, but I doubt it. It is interesting though.
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by Berserker »

Rosiewolf wrote:Beowulf, was not a werewolf, as I recall.
Beowulf was not explicitly a werewolf in the poem. My theory is that he might have been implicitly, in earlier versions of the tale, as many warriors in the sagas were at least suggested to be werewolves. (As I mentioned, Kveld-ulf was.)
people back then always thought that werewolves were from the devil.
Some people, but not all. Beowulf was a pre-Christian poem transcribed later with Christian elements.
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by fenrisz »

gotta agree with rosie on the part about grendel bein the colsest thing to werewolf in the story
and berserk is also right after the epic poem was first written down on sheep skin it was. latertranscribed by some catholic monks onto paper with small parts missing due to fire damage done to the sheep skin so we will never really know the true first story.
there is also the complication of before it being written it was told by memory of people whose jobs were that which are bards they had another name in the story but i forget it now.
in any case my point is that when stories are passed down by telling and not written the story changes a lil with each new person telling it.
their is a similar issue with the illiad homer was not the first to tell it only the first to write it down so we only know his version but it may have been different from anothers.
grendel was also immune to metal attacks as rosie said which is why beowulf fought him hand to hand but im not sure how that relates to werewolves cause supposedly arnt they vulnerable to silver a type of metal?
i like john gardners view of grendel which does resemble a werewolf very much completly opposite to that of the one in the movie which i had never pictured grendel to look like personally but thats not my choice any way.
end of point i still dont think beowulf was a werewolf in any way just a great warrior who obtained great wepons later on
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by Rosiewolf »

people back then always thought that werewolves were from the devil.
Some people, but not all. Beowulf was a pre-Christian poem transcribed later with Christian elements.[/quote]


That is true, since Beowulf was passed down orally, and things were added.

Oh, and Fenrisz, most of the swords back then would probably be made out of steel (please correct me if that is wrong), so if a sword was made out of pure silver... which would be odd, that could have affected Grendel if he was a werewolf.

This topic got me in the mood to read Beowulf again. It's a great story, I must say.
Oh, and I haven't seen the movie, but did it relate to the actual story at all? My guess is no. Though I could see Beowulf shouting "I am Beowulf" all the time, since it seems like he's in love with himself (that's just my opinion though). (He does have a lot of pride, you have to admit).
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by Berserker »

The overall skeleton of the Beowulf poem is intact in the new movie. However, many details and characterizations have been altered to make the story more "modern drama" (e.g. Beowulf gets saddled with a ton of character flaws that simply aren't explicit in the original story.)

I enjoyed it thoroughly but only after a few beers.
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by fenrisz »

ya they got the basic points done i suppose but they added so many things and many of beowulfs flaws were implied

he was actually seen as a nobody as a loser before his fight with grendel as was shown by the insults he recieved from the guy who gave him hrunting i forget his name at the moment but he was the one who was making fun of him for the losing of the swiming race

the only reason hrothgar even gave beowulf a chance to fight against grendel was because beowulfs father had saved him in battle and wanted to give him chance to show his power in respect to beowulfs father it was also said he met beowulf once before when he was a child

either way i have seen both beowulf movies and have been dissapointed by them both by the utter inaccuracy from the story and the portrayls of grendel outa them all i still like john gardners version of grendel the most

as to rosie when i said the silver thing i was kinda jokin and taking your words to the literal meaning :P when you said no metals that would include silver as well as tungsten hehe my fave metal :D but your right in the story no blades could touch him

their was a similar effect with his mother only not making her invincible to wepons but to the extent where hrunting was broken over her head after he attacked her with it beowulf only able to kill her with a nearby sword from her treasure pile a sword made by"giants" (which are thought to be the romans who at the time were likly conquering the world under caesar and had better wepon smithing abilities then the people of the north who they thought to be savages and not attempt to conquer) which he killed grendels mother with after piercing her the blade metled like ice leavin only the handle

but now im gettin off subject i just love this stuff so much :D i hope this thread keeps goin so i can keep talkin about it
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Re: Beowulf - a werewolf?

Post by Kveldulf »

Awesomely unlikely. The name "bee-wolf" is a kenning for "bear" (the one who destroys bees, as when searching for honey), and Beowulf is a typical Bear's Son hero...descent into the cave to fight the monster, abandoned by friends above; in one version or part of the tale, he kills the monster - in the other, it's a mutual kill.

Beowulf actually does not even fit the model of a bear-hided berserk. A very good argument was raised for "Beowulf's Confession" at the end of the poem as being specifically an anti-Odhinnic, anti-Volsung statement (and the Volsungs most certainly did practice at least recreational lycanthropy at one point): he focuses on having been a good leader, a kind king, never breaking oaths or doing anything untowards, and so forth.

In (ahem, plug coming here!) my own novelization of *Beowulf* (Stephan Grundy is my authorial name), I present Beowulf as a guy who has a bear-fetch and maybe even, if he tried, the potential to shift into a bear...but is *very much* not with the relevant predatory-warrior aspect of the worship of Odhinn. Beowulf, by all reasonable standards of the period, is an awesomely nice guy; he mainly fights unfriendly Otherworldly beings or in the defense of his own king/best buddy and people, but - while it doesn't make for much in the telling - it is made clear in the poem that he is chiefly a peace-king.

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