Authors: Neil Gaiman
who is cowering behind a rock, as the SOUNDS OF THE SEARCH begins to fade.
Cain is shivering and scared. The SOUNDS OF THE PURSUERS are fading away into the distance. And then, close to us, we hear the HOWL of a wolf-packâ¦
Cain bolts for it, running through the moors, when suddenly the ground gives way beneath him and he is seemingly swallowed into the Earth.
125 INT. THE BARROW - NIGHT
Cain is under the ground. It's darkâ¦but Cain realizes that we are somewhere that glimmersâ¦. that glimmers golden.
Cain SWEARS to himself as he bumps into somethingâ¦and then slowly his eyes begin to get used to the darkness and he seesâ¦
It's a treasure horde, unimaginable to these times: rings and bracelets, necklaces torques and plates, coins and statues and goblets, piled all around. Helmets and mail-shirts, swords, daggers and spears, shields and harps, statues of hawks and horsesâ¦the
world glows in gold
Cain moves through the gold like a dark shadowâ¦.
CLOSE ON: Cain's feet as he walks pastâ¦
126 A SLEEPING DRAGON
THE DRAGON is the color of the hoard, a glittering gold. In fact at first we think it
a statue. It's half-human, half dragon, winged and tailed (the wings are folded, the tail is curled) but its face is part human, part reptilian. It is played by the same actor who played young Beowulf, but this should not be immediately obvious.
To repeat, this seems like a statue, and might indeed, for the first few shots, be a statue. Eyes closedâ¦
And, as he says that, the Dragon's eyes slowly begin to open, and a smile spreads across its face.
CAIN reaches out, tentatively, for a golden goblet, similar to the one Wealthow gave young Beowulf earlier.
127 EXT. GUTHRIC'S HALL - DAY
Guthric is standing at the door to his hall. Then, almost to his surprise, in comes Cain, edging towards him in a servile,
scared sort of way. He is cradling the goblet, so it cannot be seen.
I'm sorry I runned away, master. I brought you something -- what I found. Please don't hurt me no more.
CLOSE ON: Guthric's face -- he says nothing, and then he viciously hits Cain.
I thought you'd come back when you got hungry.
Cain goes tumbling to the ground, WHIMPERING and MOANING and pleading.
Sorry master, sorry, please no master, please noâ¦
Guthric kicks at the fallen Cain, and the Golden cup falls from his grasp, and rolls onto the snow.
Brought it for you. Good master. Nice master. Sorry. Sorry.
Guthric looks at Cain, and then reaches down and picks up the goblet.
The weal across Cain's face has started to heal and scab. He looks scared.
Please don't kill me.
(taking the goblet)
This is quite exquisite. Where did you find it?
(too scared, initially to speak, he says nothing but points to the moors, then, nervously)
Up there. On the moors--
You didn't steal it?
I swear I didn't master!
Guthric holds the Goblet up to the lightâ¦
128 EXT. KING BEOWULF'S CASTLE - DAY
The sea spray lashes the rocks in front of Beowulf's castle. We are looking in at from the sea.
129 INT. KING BEOWULF'S CASTLE - ANTEROOM - DAY
There are A COUPLE OF GUARDS guarding the way. Old Wiglaf is standing beside Guthric, who is holding something wrapped in cloth at his side.
Well, I really do not know, Guthric.
It is vitally important that I see the King, Lord Wiglaf. I am certain that Beowulf wants to see what I have brought to him.
Hmmâ¦I, um, I'll tell you what, Guthric, you leave it with me and I'll make sure his majesty gets to see it. Yes?
(keeping his temper but the effort is showing)
No! Look, I have brought something for King Beowulf's eyes. I'm not going to give it to just anyone and watch it vanish into thin air.
I am not just anyone. I am the King's chamberlain and I am certainly not going to
For the last time, you doddering old coot! I have a gift for the King, and--
But he is interrupted in his turn by King Beowulf. Who entered unnoticed.
And you may at least show it to the king, Guthric.
Thank you, your majesty. It was found on the moors, a gift fit for a King.
He offers the goblet, still wrapped in oilcloth, to the King. King Beowulf unwraps the cloth.
A fine piece, Guthric. Long it is since I have seen something as fine, and old. You found it, you say?
One of my slaves found it. It is a gift for you, my lord.
It reminds me of somethingâ¦
I thought perhaps we could talk again about my sister's bride-price.
130 EXT. GUTHRIC'S HALL - SUNSET
Guthric draws his horse up outside his hall. He's in a good mood, and is singing happily to himselfâ¦breaks off as he realizes there's no-one there to meet him.
Cain! You good-for-nothing! Help me off my horse!
If he's run away againâ¦
There's a pause. No-one comes. The place is in silence. Smokeâ¦or mistâ¦hangs on the air.
Hello? Anybody here? Gretchen? Children? Wilferth?
But there is silence.
Guthric slides off his horse, and walks into his
There, in the courtyard, stand, in expressions of UTTER TERROR, as if caught trying to flee, standing and lying, CHARCOAL-BLACKENED, CARBONIZED CORPSES of Lady Guthric, children, slavesâ¦but no Cain.
Guthric stares at them in horror. He reaches out and touches his wife's carbonized armâ¦
It drops off and CRUMBLES to charcoal.
Guthric looks around in terror and then he grits his teeth, summons what courage he has, draws his sword, and goes into his Hall.
132 INT. GUTHRIC'S HALL - NIGHT
The hall is in darkness. The only source of illumination is low firelight, and the dim dusk light coming through the open door. Guthric's sword glitters gold in the firelight. He walks in nervously, looking around, whirling around to stop someone attacking him from behindâ¦and then the large door to the hall swings closed with a loud SLAM.
And the room is dark.
And then, from one corner of the room, there is a glimmer of fire and smoke, illuminating something gold that we can barely see.
Come out and face me like a man!
(a low, inhuman, laughing, then)
I was asleep when he came to my barrow. The thief. He took something that didn't belong to him.
The dragon's voice is sly, insinuating, gentle. Guthric cannot see himâ¦perhaps just two golden lights glitter in the darkness -- the dragon's eyes.
Oh god. He was a slave, I'm sorry, they're all thieves. If it's not nailed down, they're off with it.
(trying to fake it)
Umâ¦whatâ¦what kind of thing was it that he took? Maybe it's still aroundâ¦I could look for it--
I think you know exactly what it was. I can smell it on you, man-thing. I want it back.
I don't exactly have it on me at the present moment right now. If you could give me a dayâ¦
Who has it? Who has my precious prize?
What are you? What did you do to my household?
There is a GROWL -- the dragon is not pleased at all, and a thin stream of flame hisses out from the darkness where the dragon is, burning half of Guthric's face and hair. Guthric SCREAMS in pain and fright.
You are trying my patience. Who has it?
Guthric cowers on the floor, his attitude the same as that of Cain, when Guthric was whipping him.
I gave it to the King. To Beowulf! Please, don't hurt me! Please!
There is a moment of silence.
The dragon LAUGHS.
Then the door opens, letting in a little moonlight, but not showing us the Dragon, and it closes again. There is silence in the hall. Guthric begins to sob--
(sobbing and babbling in his relief at still being alive)
Oh god. Oh god. Oh thank you, thank you thank you god. Thank you Odin. Thank you Christ Jesus. Thank you Thor of the thunder. Thank you. Oh god oh godâ¦
Then from outside we hear A ROARING so loud that the walls begin to SHAKE.
And the walls of the hall begin to glow with a bright orange, golden light. The dragon is bathing the hall in fire, but Guthric does not realize that, as he gets to his feet trying to work out what's going onâ¦and then heâ¦and we understandâ¦as the entire hall becomes, in the twinkling of an eyeâ¦
an exploding fireball
133 EXT. KING BEOWULF'S CASTLE - WALKWAY - NIGHT
The night sky shines brightly.
King Beowulf stands on the castle roof, staring up at the constellations. He is alone. He SIGHS, and goes insideâ¦
134 INT. KING BEOWULF'S CASTLE - SPIRAL STAIRWAY - NIGHT
He walks along, down the narrow winding stairs of his castle, descending slowly.
135 INT. KING BEOWULF'S CASTLE - MEAD HALL - DAY
About TWENTY THANES are standing around in the hall, partying. There is something insipid about their partying though -- the Thanes of 50 years ago had more fun. These guys are -- well, some of them are watching and betting on a gambling game being played with ivory cubes, rune-dice, others are talking by the fire.
A couple of them -- BONSTAN and FRODA -- are looking at the souvenirs hanging on the wall:
The hilt of the giant sword
that “killed Grendel's Mother”;
a huge shield
that Beowulf wore when he was youngerâ¦
The Dragon Cup
is on display in the hall, taking pride of place, beside the throne.
Old Wiglaf wanders over to Bonstan and Froda, who are staring at the things on the wall.
That sword hilt, that's the hilt of the sword that the King used to destroy Grendel's mother. He cut Grendel's head off with it, and Grendel's blood burnt the brave blade, leaving nothing but the hilt, and a thumb's span of blade. They say it was made by the gods themselves.
And the bow? Was that from the fight against Grendel too?
That comes from later, in the war against the Franks. No other man alive there is but Beowulf who can bend that bow.
You are jesting with us.
No, not at all.
Well, I am a pretty strong fellow--
And over Wiglaf's protests, he reaches the bow down from the wall. Then he tries to bend it, and fails, hurting his finger on the string of the bow.
LAUGHING, Bonstan takes it from him and tries to bend it, and perhaps others of them try and fail -- through all this Old Wiglaf is saying things like--
Please, just put it back, men, boys, please--
King Beowulf likes to enter unannounced it seems, as he has done so yet again, and he says:
My old bow, eh? Put it back, Froda. It belongs on the wall.
Your majesty -- can you
bend it? The war with the Franks was thirty years back.
He passes the bow to King Beowulf, who looks at it, for a moment -- will he try to bend it? We wonder -- and then King Beowulf puts it back on the wall.
Thirty years is a long time, Froda. And a warrior does not bend his bow unless he plans to kill something -- or someoneâ¦but we are at peace, nowâ¦the days of heroes are done.
Golden Mead pours into the dragon's golden cupâ¦and he sees, golden and distorted, his own reflection.
136 THE DREAM OF GRENDEL'S MOTHER
In Beowulf's dream, the Jan Svankmajer-esque doll of young Beowulf is facing a monster -- a huge, golden, monster woman, being animated by stop motion. The monster picks up the Beowulf doll when suddenly the DREAM SHIFTS TOâ¦
Grendel's Mother and Young Beowulf, in real life, kissing each other desperately, passionately, underwater.
They break the surface and Grendel's mother begins LAUGHING, in slow motion, water drops glistening around her and SUDDENLY IT'Sâ¦
King Beowulf, who has replaced Young Beowulfâ¦his old fingers touch her cheeks and the swell of her breast.