Read Beowulf Online

Authors: Neil Gaiman

Beowulf (22 page)

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 44.

He yawns, ostentatiously.

HROTHGAR (CONT'D)

Well, this old man needs his sleep. Where's my bed-mate? Wealthow my dear?

Hrothgar holds out his hand to Wealthow.

WEALTHOW

In a moment.

HROTHGAR

Come my beauty. Shall we pound the pillow?

Hrothgar grabs Wealthow by the arm…she violently pulls it away. There's a sudden vehemence in her voice.

WEALTHOW

Don't touch me!

Everyone is stunned. Hrothgar freezes, anger rising in his face.

 

Wanting no part of a marital squabble, Beowulf steps forward in an attempt to mediate the situation…

BEOWULF

Perhaps her majesty could grace our ears with one more melody…before we all retire.

Wealthow walks past Hrothgar and picks up her harp.

WEALTHOW

It's the least I can do.

Hrothgar ignores her and instead, speaks to Beowulf.

HROTHGAR

I hope to see you in the morning, Beowulf…Odin willing. Be sure your thanes secure the door.

His four thanes lift his throne and carry him, out of the room. Unferth follows, but turns back to Beowulf…

UNFERTH

Good night, Beowulf. Watch out for sea monsters. I'm sure your imagination must be teeming with them.

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 45.

Beowulf brushes past him and sits beside Wealthow. She begins to PLAY. Again the song is sad. She SINGS directly to Beowulf, her eyes full of romance and longing.

CUT TO:

36 INT. THE GREAT CAVE - GRENDEL'S LAIR

36

We can SCARCELY HEAR Wealthow SINGING in the distance.

 

 

GRENDEL bolts upright!! And SCREAMS!!

CUT TO:

37 EXT. HEROT - OUTSIDE MEAD HALL NIGHT

37

 

HONDSHEW and YRSA are outside the mead hall, dallying in the shadows.

 

GRENDEL'S SCREAM breaks the night…

HONDSHEW

(thinks he's being cute)

Is that your demon?

YRSA

That was a wolf. You don't hear Grendel when he comes.

HONDSHEW

No? Well, you'll hear me, I promise.

Yrsa shoves him away. He pulls her back…

HONDSHEW (CONT'D)

Come on, my mighty lustleomb can transport you to paradise…to ecstasy and back…no other man will ever be able to satisfy you again.

YRSA

Sorry…

While the conversation is going on, DANES are SLIPPING OUT OF THE HALL, looking around nervously. Hondshew presses Yrsa closer.

HONDSHEW

Aw, come on…

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 46.

YRSA

I
said
no and I
meant
no.

HONDSHEW

Why not?

YRSA

Because it's
late
…and it's dark…and the monster could arrive at any moment.

HONDSHEW

Well, then…how about a quick gobble?

Yrsa SLAPS him hard across the face.

CUT TO:

38 INT. MEAD HALL -- NIGHT

38

Wealthow finishes her song. Beowulf smiles, there is a moment between them.

BEOWULF

That was beautiful. But you need to go now, your majesty.

WEALTHOW

Of course, Grendel.

Beowulf begins removing his breastplate and weapons belt.

 

Wealthow sets down her harp, then turns back to Beowulf.

WEALTHOW (CONT'D)

(she hesitates, and then…)

The demon is my husband's shame.

BEOWULF

Not a shame. A curse.

WEALTHOW

No, shame. My husband has no other…no sons. And he will have no more, for all his talk.

Beowulf frowns, not exactly understanding her enigmatic words. Then…

THANES (O.S.)

Oy, Hondshew. Did you get any? How was she?

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 47.

HONDSHEW enters the hall. Yrsa's handprint burned in on the side of his face. The thanes HOOT AND JEER him:

HONDSHEW

Nah. Not my type.

OLAF playfully tosses a half-eaten goose leg at him.

OLAF

Yeah? I n…n…know your type.
Baaa
!
Baaa! Baaaaa
…

Hondshew throws himself at Olaf, and they roll around on the floor, fighting -- or mock fighting, anyway.

 

The other thanes CHEER and LAUGH. We see that Beowulf's thanes are all that's left in the hall. Not a Dane in sight.

 

The two wrestling thanes knock over a table.

WEALTHOW

Why don't you stop them?

BEOWULF

It's just high spirits.

Without taking his eyes off Wealthow, Beowulf lifts his tunic over his head.

BEOWULF (CONT'D)

You really need to go now, your majesty.

Then, very slow, like a strip-tease, he begins unhooking his chain mail.

WEALTHOW

My lord Beowulf…What are you doing?

BEOWULF

(continuing to undress)

When Grendel comes, we will fight as equals. The creature has no sword, no armor. And I have no weapon capable of slaying a monster. But I have teeth, and sinews of my own. Armor forged of man will only slow me. We will fight as equals. Fate shall decide.

CA-CHINK!! Beowulf's chain-mail drops to the floor…now naked, except for his loincloth, Beowulf's perfectly chiseled pecs glisten in the fire-light.

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 48.

WEALTHOW blushes. Then, flees through the anteroom door. WE HEAR it being triple-bolted from the other side.

 

BEOWULF, lost in his thoughts, stares at the door.

 

CLOSE ON THE MAIN DOOR:

 

FOUR THANES are securing the main door. A thick chain lowers the massive wooden bar into the door's iron brackets.

 

PULL BACK TO FIND WIGLAF supervising this procedure.

WIGLAF

That's good…tie it off with more chain.

Now Wiglaf grabs a bucket of water and throws it on Hondshew and Olaf who are still rolling around on the floor.

WIGLAF (CONT'D)

All right girls…enough frican' about!!

BEOWULF strips off his loincloth and lies down on the floor, his head pillowed by his rolled-up cape.

 

WIGLAF approaches and LAUGHS…

WIGLAF (CONT'D)

You're mad, you know that?

BEOWULF

(his eyes closed, to himself)

Yes.

Wiglaf continues to stand there…wanting to say more.

BEOWULF (CONT'D)

(his eyes still closed)

Something vexes you, my Wiglaf?

WIGLAF

Aye, I don't like the smell of this one, my lord. The men are not prepared. They're distracted. There's too many untended women here. Abstinence prior to battle is essential. A warrior's mind must be unblurred…focused.

BEOWULF

You worry too much, Wiglaf.

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 49.

WIGLAF

Of course. That's my job!

Beowulf opens his eyes and gives Wiglaf a “you worry way too much” look.

BEOWULF

Good night, Wiglaf.

WIGLAF

And while you're sleeping, what are we meant to do?

BEOWULF

Sing. Loudly.

Wiglaf turns to the gaping thanes.

WIGLAF

You heard him. He wants us to sing…

Nobody does anything.

WIGLAF (CONT'D)

So…SING!

(kicks Olaf)

Olaf…SING!!

 

Olaf takes his cue, the tune is upbeat, rowdy, rough-and-ready:

OLAF

(singing in verse)

There were a dozen virgins, Friesians, Danes and Franks! We took 'em for some swifan' And all we got were wanks! OOoohh…

THANES

(chorus)

OOohh, We are Beowulf's army, Each a mighty thane, We'll pummel your asses, and ravage your lasses, Then do it all over again!

HONDSHEW

The prettiest of the virgins, She was the fairest Swede! I told her I'd an urgin', For where to spend my seed!

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 50.

OLAFY.. you g…g…go, Wiglaf.

WIGLAF

The oldest of the virgins, She was a Vandal lass! I showed my mighty weapon, And she showed me her ass!

CUT TO:

39 INT. THE GREAT CAVE - NIGHT

39

SLOW PUSH INTO the great cave. The SINGING, now LOUDER than ever, REVERBERATING inside the murky burrow…reaching a fever pitch.

THANES (O.S.)

(chorus)

OOoohh, We are Beowulf's army, Each a mighty thane, We'll pummel your asses and ravage your lasses, Then do it all over again!

GRENDEL writhes in pain…the SONG SMASHING inside his head. His hands are clutched tightly over his skull. His golden eyes pinched tightly shut, tears drip from them.

 

The dank walls, seem to close in on Grendel. Is the cave growing smaller, or is Grendel GROWING BIGGER?!?

CUT TO:

40 INT. HEROT - MEAD HALL - NIGHT

40

THE THANES SING all the verses together now…picking up the tempo…POUNDING their fists and cups on the table in rhythm.

THANES

The fattest of the Virgins, I knew her for a whore! I gave her all my codpiece, And still she wanted more!

BEOWULF, naked and laying on the floor, is asleep…anyway, his eyes are shut.

 

THE THANES SING FASTER…

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 51.

THANES (CONT'D)

Her sister was from Norway, She cost me twenty groats! She showed me there was more ways, Than one to sow my oats!

AND FASTER…

 

BEOWULF opens his eyes…something is coming.

THANES (O.S.) (CONT'D)

(singing in verse)

Their mother was from Iceland, And she was mighty hot! She'd need a whole damn iceberg, To cool her burning tw--

TWAAACKKK!!!

 

The SINGING abruptly STOPS. All eyes turn toward the great door.

 

TWACK! TWACK! TWACK…three very LOUD KNOCKS on the door.

 

No one in the room moves, then…

OLAFG

…G…Grendel! He n…n…knocks.

The Thanes LAUGH raucously at Olaf's witticism.

 

Hondshew jumps from the table and backs toward the door…

HONDSHEW

That must be my sweet plum, Yrsa! She's ready for me to taste her juicy fruit!

The Thanes LAUGH LOUDLY. Hondshew, drunk as a skunk, stumbles up to the double doors.

HONDSHEW (CONT'D)

Patience, my lovely! Give a thane a chance to open…

WIGLAF

HONDSHEW! NO!!

But it's too late…

 

BLAAAMMM!!!!

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 52.

The great timber bar EXPLODES into matchsticks. Instantly, the two massive doors violently fly open on their hinges…sending Hondshew sailing across the room. The chain that held the timber bar dangles uselessly from the pully.

 

GRENDEL leaps into the room…snarling and drooling.

 

Its SNARL is a horrific gaping grin of yellow canines. Its sick skin glistens a wet, greenish gold. Its talons, hard as marble. Simply put, Grendel is one scary motherficker.

FREAKED-OUT THANE

SWIFF ME! It's the frican' monster!!!

THE FREAKED-OUT THANE draws his sword, but Grendel is on him…It STOMPS on the thane, instantly crushing him.

 

BEOWULF climbs up on a table and walks across the table tops toward Grendel, very slowly and deliberately. He has an easy smile on his face, like a man walking to a party.

 

GRENDEL LAUGHS as he picks up a thane with both hands and punts him across the room…into the fire-pit. The fire begins to rise and spit, taking its violent, WHITE PHOSPHOROUS FORM.

 

ANOTHER THANE charges, but Grendel simply punches him, sending him crashing into the mead vat and spilling it into the fire-pit…a huge plume of STEAM AND SMOKE RISES from the pit.

 

HONDSHEW, cut and bloody, and SCREAMING like a madman, runs across the room toward Grendel…

HONDSHEW

Aaaaarrrrrrhhhhhhheeeeee!!!!!!!…

With his gigantic broadsword raised high above his head, Hondshew leaps from a table, dives toward Grendel, and with a LOUD CRACK, cleaves the sword blade into the demon's skull!! But, of coarse, nothing happens…

 

GRENDEL grins at Hondshew. Who dangles helplessly from the sword hilt. And before he can react…

 

GRENDEL grabs the thane with one claw, and with its other, SNAPS the broadsword in two…leaving a chunk of the blade still imbedded in its skull.

 

Then, in one swift motion, Grendel opens his rotting jaws, sticks Hondshew's head in its mouth…and CRUNCH!!

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 53.

(Mercifully, the billowing smoke from the fire-pit obscures our vision.)

 

THE SURVIVING THANES GASP in horror.

 

GRENDEL CHOMPS and GNAWS…then, as THE SMOKE CLEARS, the demon stops in mid-chew. Its eyes narrow at what it sees…

 

BEOWULF, naked as the day he was born, standing on a table. His hands on his hips in the classic Superman pose. He smiles at the creature.

 

GRENDEL charges, raising its fist to crush Beowulf. But Beowulf is too fast…he leaps to the other side of the table as Grendel's fist SLAMS down on the planks, causing the table to seesaw…sending Beowulf flying into the rafters…then, from behind Grendel…

WIGLAF

Die Demon!

WIGLAF slides under Grendel and strikes at its groin with his sword, breaking the blade on the creature's tough skin.

WIGLAF (CONT'D)

(flabbergasted)

The swifan bastard has no pintel!!!

Indeed, Grendel has been neutered long ago. The gelded GRENDEL spins and strikes at Wiglaf, who manages to hold up his small shield just before the massive arm swats him aside like a defenseless kitten.

 

Wiglaf slides backwards across the floor stopping inches from the piss-pit

 

BEOWULF swings from an iron chandelier like a trapeze artist, does a aerial somersault, and lands on Grendel's back. He locks his arm around Grendel's neck in a fierce chokehold.

 

GRENDEL SNARLS and jerks forward, causing Beowulf to topple over Grendel's head and into its claw.

 

Grendel lifts Beowulf by the torso, about to bite his head off, but in a maneuver made famous by Scottish soccer hooligans, but originally invented by Swedish heroes, Beowulf HEADBUTTS Grendel!

 

GRENDEL is slightly dazed. Seeing Beowulf has the advantage, the surviving thanes stand down. This is Beowulf's fight.

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 54.

Beowulf leaps on Grendel's back. His hands around Grendel's neck, squeezing: it's as if he's trying to choke a tree…Straining, pulling himself up near Grendel's ear, Beowulf groans out loud…

BEOWULF

(groans)

Yyyoouu fffilty ffu…

GRENDEL SCREAMS!!

 

BEOWULF is startled, but then quickly realizes Grendel's weak spot. He pulls himself close to Grendel's deformed ear…and YELLS right into it!

BEOWULF (CONT'D)

YYyyaaaaaaaaahhh!!!!!

GRENDEL

(screaming in pain)

EEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiii!!!!

With one arm still around Grendel's neck, Beowulf uses his free hand to box Grendel's ear…punching and pounding it mercilessly!! Almost imperceptibly, Grendel begins to SHRINK.

 

GRENDEL HOWLS in pain. It convulses and shakes, desperately trying to dislodge Beowulf…smashing its body into the timber columns.

 

BEOWULF holds on, continuing to pummel the creature.

 

GRENDEL, desperate, hurls backwards…into the fire-pit!

 

BEOWULF sees it coming, and springs up onto the rafters!

 

GRENDEL SHRIEKS as it lands on the hot embers…putrid green and yellow smoke pours off its seared flesh.

 

Now contracted down to a mere 8 feet, Grendel leaps out of the fire-pit and runs toward the door.

 

In another magnificent aerial move…

 

BEOWULF dives for the chain that lifts the door bar. (The chain still holds a large chunk of timber). He swings on the chain…flying right at Grendel's head!!!

 

GRENDEL lifts his claw to block the blow…SHATTERING the timber into splinters. However, that caused Grendel's wrist to slip through the loop in the chain!

 

BEOWULF dives for the other end of the chain, then swoops down, cinching the chain tightly around Grendel's wrist.

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 54A.

GRENDEL lets out a HORRIFIC SHRIEK and lashes the chain like a whip, RIPPING the pulley out of the ceiling.

BLUE Rev. 2005-09-11 55.

Having had enough, it runs for the door, dragging the chain behind…

 

BEOWULF, fearing that Grendel might escape, dives for the chain and grabs it, he's dragged along the stone floor like he was bare-foot water-skiing…

 

GRENDEL is at the great doors…

 

BEOWULF manages to hook the chain onto a large nail-spike…

 

GRENDEL jolts to a stop just in the threshold of the door…

 

BEOWULF pulls the chain with all his strength…

 

POP!! GRENDEL's shoulder is violently dislocated…

 

BEOWULF quickly lashes the chain around a support beam…

 

GRENDEL ROARS in agony. It tugs so savagely at the chain, it jars the beam loose, causing stones, planks, and mud-fill to shower down from the ceiling.

 

BEOWULF slides like he was coming in to home plate and kicks the door closed with his foot, SLAMMING the heavy wooden portal onto Grendel's arm…

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