After reading Beowulf, my opinions about Grendel were stuck in stone. In my eyes he was a horrible, non-god-fearing monster.From what I have read so far in "Grendel", John Gardner does a superb job of humanizing the character. The focus on Grendel's childhood was important, and laid the foundation for almost all of the events that were to occur. Gardner goes as far to imply that it was Hrothgar and his followers that manifested the evil boiled inside of Grendel's soul.
On page 13, a women says "The people of Scyld and Herogar and Hrothgar are mired in sin!". So they are aware of their sins and what it supposedly brings, Grendel's Wrath, but do not work towards fixing their faults. I found that to be interesting. Also, the introduction of the new shaper (harper) was another instance in the reading that I thought was significant. The name shaper alone was important and alludes to his ability to shape the futures of all listening to his song. After all, wasn't he the one that put the idea of a great golden hall into Hrothgar's mind?