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There are many differences in the movie, Beowulf, and the original poem. For one, Hrothgar was not the father of Grendel. There is never any mention of either Hrothgar or Beowulf ever being romantically involved or enticed to become the fathers of Grendel or the dragon which appear as the major threats in the poem. Also, Grendel's mother is never described as covered in gold and looking like Angelina Jolie, either. She and her son live in a horrid place, and they are both descended of Cain--the first murderer on earth. This is an Anglo-Saxon piece of literature, so it is imperative that you understand that loyalty and valor are huge ideals of the society which are expected to be kept. Murdering someone is bad enough, but to murder a member of your own family-- a brother-- is considered one of the greatest sins you could commit. This is one reason given for the misery that Grendel and his mother suffer-- their ancestor Cain murdered his brother Abel. For this crime, all the family is punished. Hrothgar is not portrayed as a man who has many lovers aside from his wife. For that matter, neither is Beowulf when he becomes King. Both men are respected and considered honorable men who are faithful to their wives. Perhaps this was not true for real-life Kings, but in the poem both men are portrayed as faithful and loyal--not only to their wives, but also to the men who have pledged their lives to these Kings. Beowulf also does not stay in Hrothgar's town and marry his queen. Once Beowulf has fulfilled his duty to Hrothgar (because the King had helped Beowulf's father in his time of need and Beowulf feels a sense of duty to come to Hrothgar's aide as a form of repayment) by killing both Grendel and Grendel's mother, Beowulf returns home where he lives to a ripe old age and becomes King himself. It is here, rather than at Hrothgar's castle, that he fights the dragon creature.
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Some parts of the movie were different from the book. The book has a longer story than the movie.
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