Chapter 7 to Chapter 9

Chapter 7: Summary

Now two years into Grendel’s attacks on Hrothgar’s village, the king’s power is weakening, and surrounding lords are gaining influence. A young king to the east is becoming stronger, attacking nearby villages and making them swear their allegiance to him. To fight back, Hrothgar brings together men from all the towns he controls and forms an army. The thought of a massacre delights Grendel, who watches the forces make camp.

When the army heads east, to young King Hygmod’s village, Grendel tracks them. Hrothgar, Unferth, and the rest of the huge army come together outside of Hygmod’s hall at night and call him to greet his “guests.” Hygmod comes out, armed, with six retainers and a chained bear. Knowing his forces are greater, Hrothgar makes a speech, while Hygmod waits calmly.

Hygmod consults with an old man who comes out of the hall, then his retainers. He then takes his sword with his left hand, drops it in front of Hrothgar’s horse, and offers him treasures to avoid fighting. Hrothgar turns the gifts down, saying Hygmod’s men could just take them back by force. The young king says he has another treasure will change his mind.

Hygmod returns inside and comes out with his sister, a beautiful woman with “long hair as red as fire and soft as the ruddy sheen on dragon’s gold.” The young king offers Hrothgar his sister, saying her name will now be Wealtheow, “holy servant of common good.”

Seeing Wealtheow impacts Grendel as much as the Shaper’s stories and songs used to, bringing him close to tears. Crying children come out of the hall and grab her hands and dress, and Grendel pictures himself doing the same. Hrothgar accepts her, along with her servants and some physical items. After several days of speeches, Hrothgar returns to his village with his new gifts.

All winter, Grendel can’t bring himself to raid Hrothgar’s meadhall because of Wealtheow. He still realizes that she is the same...

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Essays About Grendel