Quotes from Chapter IX: Into the Fen of Robert Nye’s Beowulf: A New Telling. Be sure to catch the rest of the book’s highlights if you haven’t already.
I’ve also got a pexels collection where you can check out all the photos (and more) that I’ve gathered for this chapter’s moodboard.
Page numbers listed herein may not match the page numbers in yours.
CN: blood and death.
- 62: The fen was wild and waste. It stretched as far as the eye could see. The sky over it was gray. The sun was bleak and sere. It was a dead land.
- 62: [Beowulf] picked his way slowly, following the spoor.
- 62: [Beowulf] had never before been in so desolate a place. The wind was thin and moaning in the reeds. Birds did not sing. Even the light had a brief look about it, as though it were a trespasser.
- 62-63: [Beowulf] knew that for Grendel’s Mother, as for Grendel, more subtle and essential weapons were necessary. [His] best weapon was himself. He put all his faith in that.
Wealhtheow had not begged him not to go. She knew he must. Hrothgar had wanted to come too, he was so incensed by the wanton slaying of Aeschere. But Beowulf told him to stay in Heorot. “A king’s place is with his people. Besides, if I fail―as I might against such a she-devil―who would there be to protect this land of Danes?”
- 63: It was the smell of the fen, once he was out in it, that surprised Beowulf most. There were dry bones everywhere amongst the marsh grasses, and the pools stank of centuries of decay. Yet this was not sufficient to account for the stench hanging over the miles and miles of desolation. It seemed to break from scummy bubbles lanced by the sun, and drift downward, getting thicker. It made Beowulf cough. His horse shook its head. The golden bridle jingled.
- 64: [Beowulf] stood beside a black rock that overhung the waters of a pool. The pool had dark veins of blood in it. There was a twisted tree on the rock. Dangling from the only branch that grew on the tree was a gory head. It was Unferth’s. The eyes did not look sideways as they often had in life.
- 64: Beowulf stared at the water. The blood was boiling in it, hissing like snakes. He guessed this must be Grendel’s blood―the monster had plunged bleeding into the pool and drowning. And Unferth’s head, as well as the spoor, told him that Grendel’s Mother was down there too.
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