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Grendel is a vicious monster who appears in Beowulf who has been rampaging through the kingdom of Hrothgar, slaughtering and eating the king's subjects.
He lives in the mountains in a cave with his mother.
Eventually, King Hroogar is tired of this so he sends for a champion to him. Beowulf and his men are eventually called upon and sent to the kingdom.
Later that night, Grendel sneaks into the palace and eats some of Beowulf's men; Beowulf had been waiting for him and they fight, and Beowulf manages to rip his arm off and beat him with it. He retreats to his cave where he bleeds to death in his mother's arms. She later confronts Beowulf for revenge.
His most famous media portrayal was in the Rendered 3D motion capture film directed by Robert Zemeckis, where he was played by Crispin Glover. He is protrayed as King Hrothgar's illegitimate son after an affair with his mother. Essentially in this version, he is a only villain because he's an outcast and portrayed more sympathetically.
In the Australian animated film Grendel, Grendel, Grendel, the story is told from his point of view and how the events weren't his fault. He is voiced by Peter Ustinov.
In The Wolf Among Us, Grendel is a fable that lives in Fabletown located in New York City. He is very ill tempered and tired of being treated like a second rate citizen. He sees the establishment of Fabletown as corrupt and only interested in the rich, and he aims these frustrations mostly at the sherriff of Fabletown, Bigby Wolf, otherwise known as the Big Bad Wolf. Grendel serves as an antagonist in the first episode of the Wolf Among Us.
Grendel's personality varies in each interpretation. in the original song, he was simply a one-dimensionally evil and greedy creature, apparently shaped like a human, but also possessing thick, almost indestructible skin and having thick claws. In the animated short, grendel grendel grendel, he was a highly intelligent being, possibly smarter than the humans living in his time period. He questioned the purpose of his existence, and was philosophical, reflecting on the humans and hating them, but secretly wishing he was one of them. In the 2007 movie, he was portrayed as being hideously disfigured, and suffering from a severe skin infection. In place of his right ear, he had an enlarged and totally exposed eardrum, which may have enabled him to stalk his victims quietly, it also meant loud, and especially echo-based sounds where over stimulating and possibly agonizing to him. This, and the fact he has a messy genetic conformation made him into an insane and bloodthirsty psycopath, with an intense hatred of humans, although he tolerated his father, Hrothgar, and did love his mother. In the 2007 movie,He spoke in olde English and was an immature, simple creature, doting towards his mother, although he was also short-tempered, vengeful and never showed compassion to anyone smaller or weaker than himself.