Friday, September 5, 2014

Grendel

So to take a flying leap out of my area of expertise which is X-Men comics I hate and killing Claude's characters +Jeff Rients (After him in all things) mentioned a student who described Grendel as a werewolf without the wolf and that is such a Yogi Berra thing to say and ohhhh students and exfuckinACTly. It crystalized all of this basically fully formed, I just needed a second to get it to pad.

The wolf is powerful and he is Night and Death and Them and Coming and Many and Hunger and Will. The wolf is also Geography, Distance and Obstruction, and doesn't get enough credit for that. Nobody avoids the moors because of traffic. They don't avoid the natural forest trails or the weak little man roads within at night because it's gauche. It's because the forest is Wolfhaus.

Werewolves, too, have other things associated with them. Curse. Tragedy. Pain. Transformation. Grendel doesn't have any of this, really. He's older and worse, and he has what Enkidu and John the Baptist and all the other great wild men lacked. He has Rage, and all apologies to White Wolf werewolves don't have much claim to that. Righteous indignation, betrayal, blasphemy, ferocity, ANGER certainly, but not so much Rage.

Nature had always been brutal and vicious and sticky but until a creature was sapient enough to experience Rage is was not dangerous, it was not aware, it was not the threat. This was the first rung up the ladder to monsters existing as opposed to just funky critters. Grendel has rage and yes hate and maybe a little loneliness, too, but Grendel is the step out of the Wolfhaus and the stream and rock thought tamed by foolish or overly optimistic men to remind them that the land is older than them. That the world is not theirs. That there is a prior claim. Because of this he is expressed in strength and rage because that's what you bet between animal and civilization. Remember now that Lovecraft's favorite word wasn't tentacle, it was Atavism. Grendel can always return. Grendel can always find us. Grendel can always GET IN, even to a boarded up mead hall. We are all of us Grendel Ikea.

Hyde is Grendel. Jason is Grendel. Hulk is Grendel whenever he's not being Baby Huey. The cyclops from 7th Voyage of Sinbad is Grendel.

Lon Chaney Jr. is not Grendel. Lon Chaney Jr. is Hamlet. Grendel is the prototypical monster of the western world, which means he's looking back at the trail of broken and scorched things we left behind us. He's both that and he's what did that. And he's Grendel because he doesn't even care. Ivan Drago is Grendel.