Review Blog

Feb 08 2008

Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo

cover image

Walker Books, 2007
Morpurgo brings the story of Beowulf excitingly alive in this richly illustrated version of the old Anglo-Celtic legend. Michael Foreman has given Grendel, the dragon and the sea hag life and style in this version for younger readers. Called to Denmark to help the king, Hrothgar, who in building a huge hall for his people, invoked the wrath of the monster Grendel. Each night it came to the hall, bringing death and destruction in its wake. The appearance of Beowulf meant that there would be a huge fight to the death. After dispatching Grendel, Beowulf settled in for the night, but Grendel's mother, the awful sea hag, came looking for him.

Winning this battle, Beowulf and his followers take a well deserved rest, but many years later, the dreaded dragon, asleep under the sea for hundreds of years, comes looking. The fight to the death between the much older Beowulf and the dragon ends with Beowulf's death, and the end of the story shows Beowulf's funeral pyre. The story is many hundreds of years old, and has been recently filmed in a graphic version. The film is very gory and sexually explicit (different from this book version) deserving its M rating.
Fran Knight

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