Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Option 1---Journal of a Warrior

Day 14652

Times are good. Just came back to my bedchamber from another mead filled celebration where yet another bard spoke of our king Beowulf’s triumph over the beast known by the Danes as Grendel. My father was also mentioned as he fought bravely next to our great king in defeating that monster and his mother. When they returned, Beowulf was rewarded greatly by the king at that time and as a great leader would do, he bestowed much of his wealth to his soldiers, my father included. My father was forever in his shadow, watching out for him and prepared to give his life for that of his lord. He was always so faithful to him, and yet to my mother and our family, not so much so. I always vowed to get my glory differently so that I would not be a stranger to my son as he was to me. When I came of age, my father brought me to Beowulf and vowed that his son would take arms for him and I would do what bidding was asked of me. With that, Beowulf took me under his wing, and I too became a loved member of his inner circle.

Day 15023

There is whisper of a dragon that is attacking some of our villages because a thief stole part of its treasure. The king looks tired after meeting with advisors on a proper response. He seems troubled, and yet he does not share his worries. The stories are nightmares: People on fire, houses on fire, the burnt smell of horse’s flesh as they run madly away, helpless to stop the flames that lick their manes. It is pure hell that is brought to our land because of one man’s greed.

Day 15024

We received orders that we are to leave our lands and fight the dragon that curses our country. I will miss my family greatly, but I know that if we do not take action, the dragon will eventually take stronghold over the pastures and then move towards our city. The report that solidified the need for action was the word that the king’s revered throne room had been destroyed. Beowulf foresees the end for him by going after the dragon. No one can ever say that he is without courage.

Day 15025

The king has seen fit to take me and 10 other warriors to tame the beast. The thief, against his better judgment and at our sword’s guiding, leads the way. The others talk in softened tones about the outcome of this fight. Beowulf’s predictions are rarely contradicted. If he were to perish, what is to become of us? Thoughts for another day. My son has turned 5 today. He is a great man in the making. I do this for him. There is no greater glory, despite my father’s views, then family. And it is they, who with my dying breath, will I defend. I will make it home to him.

Day 15027

While traveling today, the thief regaled the other men with stories from his travels. He talks of rumors of men with the devil’s horns and appetite overthrowing surrounding areas. He talked of their barbaric manners and lack of honor and glory in their fight. They fight not just men, but women and children. They take babies by their feet and slam their heads into trees while making their mothers watch in horror as they are powerless to stop the pain that their children feel. They do this so that they can relish in the pain of the mother as she realizes that the last thing that their child felt was not their mother’s kiss, or caress, or words, but of unimaginable pain. If left to live, that kind of sorrow for a woman is so unbearable that she will be begging for death to take her as well. But these invaders don’t keep her alive long enough to consider her pleas. After plundering, pillaging, and raping the women, those with the devil’s horns set fire to all—alive or dead. This fate has rattled my companions, but I will be damned if I allow my family to suffer such a fate.

Day 15030

We’ve finally made it to where the wretched thief said he stole the chalice. The king is in worse spirits as he said his goodbyes to us. He remains resolved to continue on this, his final quest. Then he left us to fight the dragon, not wanting us to follow or fight alongside him. It saddens me to think that if his predictions are true, I will never again see my king in this world.

Day 15031

There is much noise coming from the dragon’s den. Is this the end? Is this the end of our reign? Does this foreshadow what fate has in store for my fellow soldiers, for my kin? He is always right in his foreseeing. Even if the dragon is slayed, the horned devils from the North will rage and take over our lands for sure. Life is a constant struggle. Only you, Wyrd, can I appease through fame of battle? Is there not another way? My family is at risk. The only way to save my family is to travel to another land that is more stable. But every sacrifice my father made to get me to where I am will be forever gone. Oh Wyrd, why hath thou brought me to this impasse? Do not see me so bad, for I do wish to be of strong valor, but I also need to survive in the new world that will be brought down upon us after Beowulf will be brought back to his Almighty. Two have already broken ranks in search for safety in the trees; the thief wasn’t far behind them. I’m afraid with each passing minute, the other’s arguments grow favorable to me. Family, not glory, will sustain me. We all foresee, not just the end of our king, but of our way of life, our country, our countrymen. I foresee many sorrows. We must go and try to salvage what we can from home and protect it from the coming invaders which are sure to come. This is the last entry that I write for these are uncertain times. I take my leave.


  1. I think these are really good entries that anlyze Beowulf's character! At first, when I was reading this, I was keep trying to figure out whose journal this was and I really couldn't think of any minor character. But, I'm guessing the speaker is one of the soldiers of the Geats, right? (one of Beowulf's follower?)
    It is very interesting to see Beowulf with a perspective of one of his followers, especially one of the soldier's son, who is with his father to serve Beowulf and the nation in general.
    Unlike Beowulf, he shows many humanistic characters, especially when he talks about the dragon , which was very refreshing.
    The only comment that I have is that you didn't use any quotes from the book, and i think it is important to incorporate some of them, especially when we were specifically told, and also becuase it strengthens the image or portrayal of Beowulf's character even more when it is supported from the text.

  2. This is a funny, interesting, and smart first draft. Wiglaf was a great choice, and your unfolding of his motivations, while a little rushed in places (his relationship with *his* father certainly needed work - I found it unclear), is great. Wiglaf as family man makes sense especially because (you should be using and citing this fact) he is Beowulf last surviving kinsman - so there is obvious continuity between your Wiglaf and the Wiglaf of the poem, greatly strengthening everything you're doing.

    That being said, if you were to revise this, what I'd like to see developed, possibly in a more narrative form, is Wiglaf's actualy relationship with Beowulf. If Wiglaf is driven by family above all, he'd be drawn to Beowulf because they are kin, but there'd also be room for criticism (at least internally) of what might well be seen as Beowulf's recklessness.


    1) I'd like to see concrete citations
    2) More importantantly, I'd like to see some elaboration of, or at least use of, Wiglaf's relationship with Beowulf, and what he actually says about Beowulf (see #1!) in the poem.

  3. I didn't mean it's funny - I meant it's fun. Just to clarify.