Highlighting Robert Nye’s Beowulf: A New Telling Chapter X

Quotes from Chapter X: Beowulf Against Grendel’s Mother 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.

moodboard. background is a blue to blue-green gradient.

photo 1 (to the right edge of the moodboard). an underwater landscape with light filtering in from above.

photo 2 (left of center). a tentacled creature with a mouth that resembles a venus fly trap. photo is redder and warmer than the rest of the moodboard.

quote 1: The current loomed behind him, a liquid wall of black and green.

quote 2: Perhaps there was no bottom, and he was falling into hell? Perhaps there was no way back?

both attributed to Robert Nye; Beowulf: A New Telling.
  • 66: Down, down, down went Beowulf, deeper and deeper, and the water getting darker and darker. He thought he would never come to the bottom. Perhaps there was no bottom, and he was falling into hell? Perhaps there was no way back?
  • 67: She was waiting. She made no noise. Her tentacle arms were a part of the sucking, obsequious water.

    Beowulf fell into them, as into a seaweed trap.

    They closed about him tenderly. For a moment he succumbed, seduced by the gentleness. Then, struggling to free himself, he found he could not.
  • 67: There was no escaping, none, from these spongy intangible fingers that pulled him on, on, on, irresistibly insistent, coaxing, maternal.
  • 68: The current loomed behind him, a liquid wall of black and green.
  • 68: Her arms stretched along [the cave], alive, like lichen.
  • 68: Beowulf snatched at his sword. Its jewels were sticky from Her vile embrace.
  • 68: The hilt slipped in his hand.
  • 68: The blade bounced off. Her skin was too tough and scaly. He threw the sword away. It clattered against the wall. He could hear Her laughter, soft, malevolent, bloodthirsty.

    He tried to get a grip on the rock floor, drag his heels, dig in with his toes, anything, but it was no good, no use; She kept on drawing him down into the dark, sucking at his skin, making kissing and swallowing noises, Her arms winding and unwinding about him like sinewy, swollen snakes.

    Beowulf screamed with fright.

    And the scream saved him. It brought him to his senses. It reminded him what he must do if he was not to be destroyed.
  • 69, Beowulf speaking: “…Listen, She-evil, and I will tell You why this heart does not blush or blanch at the wicked worst You can do. It is because I, Beowulf, know myself. It is because I hold a Cain in me, but do not let him out. That man is truly brave who, feeling fear, yet puts his fear to use and plucks new courage from the fear itself. That man is truly good who knows his own dark places.”
  • 70, Beowulf speaking: “…You see it shining in the golden collar about my neck. You feel it creeping through Your flesh, leaving You numb and cold. You think You hold me, She-evil, but in truth I hold You!”
  • 71: “Sleep,” said Beowulf softly. “Sleep deep and never wake again.”

    She slept.

    Gently, carefully, with a stroking softness that was nearly pity, Beowulf put his hands about Her neck, and strangled Her.

    She did not fight. The tentacles went loose. They fell to the floor like useless ropes. Her body was melting. She was dead.

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