“Land of the Geats” : Sweden
The opening story King Hygelac of Geatsland is describing exactly what I envision surrounding Vikings, but I do see one part that has been questioned by historians. The part of wearing horns on a helmet. I mean maybe for ceremonial affairs but I doubt your average battle helmet had horns as this seems a huge sacrifice in terms of weight/functionality. In this tale I’m just seeing a bunch of drunk Hafþór Björnssons slamming wooden cups and listening to friends “recount some particular deed of valor which he had performed in the past” lol. The passage describes Vikings and their physicality, personalities, land of Geatsland, and sets the stage for the rest of the tale.
The Young Beowulf: Hearing about Beowulf’s unique strength as a boy makes me wonder if he has Myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy. I’m still just getting really stereotypical Viking vibes from this entire passage. Drinking halls decorated with green boughs of fir trees and flaming torches (careful), singing, and games and feats of strength. Is this the city of Whiterun? Beowulf is envied by his peers and elders for he has a seat at the table of the king’s earls! Bwah! The older Vikings/Lords who didn’t get to sit near King Hygelac are upset that the sluggard Beowulf sits directly below the King! Beowulf longs to stretch his muscles to the limit of their power, as there is no wars currently and he’s only slain a measly few small dragons and boars.
The Words of Beowulf: I can see how the Danes might perceive Beowulf and his company as boastful, and what quicker way to piss off the Danes than by walking into their grievous world as if nothing is wrong and they can fix all ills. King Hrothgar and many of the Danes likely have thought from the perspective of the outspoken Unferth, but see the opportunity that Beowulf and his men are presenting to them. If all it costs the king is a feast and accomodations, why not greet Beowulf and his errand with open arms? Hrothgar apologizes for Unferth’s upset words and they resume their feast dedicated to the destruction of Grendel.
image source , Beowulf responding to Unferth’s accusations