Grendel – Thug Notes Summary and Analysis


Yo yo yo, what’s good? this week we fiendin for meaning with Grendel by John Gardner. It’s been nearly 12 years since a
nappy-lookin beast named Grendel first started beefin with King Hrothgar and his peeps. After
wreckin their meadhall like he always do- he starts thinkin back bout when he was a
lil’ rug-rat. Tired of hearing his mama say “dool-
dool” all the time, this lonely-ass thug decide to see what’s good in the upperworld.
After gettin stuck in a tree, Grendel try to conversate with some humans rollin by,
but they don’t understand a damn word he say. So Grendel’s mama gotta step up, get
CRUNK on dem humans, and save his ass. Later, G-diddy watch some blind
fool called “The Shaper” lay down some next level rhymes talkin up the Danes of old
like they all righteous. Even though he know The Shaper spittin lies, he wanna believe
it’s the truth. Grendel runs up on dat meadhall
beggin for peace and hugz. But all them Danes see is a big fugly monster screamin nonsense,
so they whip out their chrome and chase him away. One day, Grendel finds himself
chillin with a dragon sittin on a PHAT stack o’ bling. The dragon say the world’s a
meaningless, mechanical void, and human beings- specially The Shaper- just tryin to fill dat
void with pretty bullsh**. Since we all gonna die, the only thing worth doin is stackin
change like old folks, and plantin our fat asses on it. Later 14 Geats led by Beowulf drop
in on the land of the Danes. When Grendel peeps game Wulfy, it seems like his words
don’t fit his mouth. Dafuq?? There’s somethin shady bout this thug. That night, Grendel decide: it’s
time to wreck shop. So he busts in to dat meadhall and starts bangin with Beowulf. Wulfy smacks his up, throw him dome
against the wall and say:” You my bitch now. Sing walls sucka!” Then straight RIPS
his arm off. Grendel stumbles outside and right
before he dies, he say “Poor Grendel had an accident… so may you all.” Now if you ain’t already in the
know, Grendel the same gnarly beastie from the epic poem Beowulf. Cept in Gardner’s
work, we hearin the story from Grendel’s perspective. And he one wicked smart G. Gren-deezy so slick that none of the animals
in his hood can keep up. Even his own mama don’ understand
him. And since them punk-ass humans ain’t nothin but a bunch of violent haters, Grendel
feel like he all alone. Matter of fact, when Grendel gets
stuck in that tree, he decide there ain’t nothin
in this world cept him. As lil’ Grendel gets older, he
meets some G-ed up hustlas who make him marinate on all kinds of philosphies. The shaper always bustin sick flows
bout Danish myths that give them dopey-ass Danes a sense of meaning to their lives. He
gives em hope by telling them that life is straight up righteous. Whereas dat hood-rich dragon don’t
play dat game. He say all those values ain’t nothin but lies told to keep stupid fools
happy. How’s a brotha gonna argue with a
dragon? After talkin wit dat scaley scrub, Grendel takes a big ol hit o dat nihilistic
blunt and finally has a mission in life- if he can’t be accepted as man’s homie, then
might as well be the mindless thug they see him as. Not only did Grendel’s mind get
fu**ed by a literal dragon, but a symbolic one too. When Grendel first peeps game at
Beowulf, he knows SOMETHING’S UP. Later, he thinks he sees fire in his eyes and wings
poppin out of his shoulders. And like any good dragon, Beowulf don’t just wreck Grendel’s
arm, he also wrecks
his philosophy. Beowulf basically sayin: “Look,
son. Whether you sneer at life like dat dragon or try to dream up a better world and hustle
to make it a reality all Shaper-style, it don’t mean a damn thing. There’s a hell
of a lot more going on here than just you. So spit whatever verses you want. Life goes
on playboy. And nothing goes on as fine as Thug
Notes gear. Sing Swag, B! See you next week.

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100 thoughts on “Grendel – Thug Notes Summary and Analysis”

  1. TheBlarggle says:

    "So spit whatever verses you want. Life goes on, playboy."


  2. Rob Lena says:

    Holy shit my life is almost complete, a thug explaining the classics.  All thats left is to hear one do a lecture on physics then I will be happy. 

  3. pikespendragon67 says:

    Oh man, I'd love to see you do Count of Monte Cristo

  4. JesseRatner says:

    me too! hoping you do rabbit run…..

  5. Jessi Lepine says:

    Hey could you do any Margaret Atwood books or specifically the handmaid's tale or oryx and cake please?

  6. Jessi Lepine says:

    Or any chuck palaniuk book?

  7. awesometonio1 says:

    It's a fanfiction! There's no way of getting around this, this story is a fanfiction!

  8. Sabrina Amaya says:

    Believe it or not, this video helped me write a Grendel synthesis paper!

  9. Steampunkette says:

    That was probably the single most concise, precise, and well written review of Grendel, including a deeper view of the philosophical underpinnings of the piece, and through it Beowulf, that I've ever seen. Now if you'll excuse me I need to watch him talk about At the Mountains of Madness.

  10. niiyon says:

    im using this for a test im having tomarow so thank you xD

  11. jada sales says:

    this and sparknotes just saved my future.

  12. Liam Eady says:

    JM Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians!

  13. Andrew Rohn says:

    The most cogent explication on the internet of Grendel. Thank you.

  14. Deep Six says:

    you skipped over the last half of the book besides the ending, but besides that great video

  15. Hingle McCringleberry says:

    At 4:20 its says "rain" twice

  16. Liv says:

    Plz do " the Girl who owned a city"

  17. Samuel Schaffer says:

    The Epic of Gilgamesh maybe?

  18. Hiphop101ize says:

    is this the life story of the thing Beowulf killed

  19. Dexter Morgan says:

    Why haven't I found these videos sooner?

  20. Mark Anthony says:

    Frankenstein basically?

  21. The Slick Android says:

    I find the human condition being explored through a mythical fantasy setting really appealing.

  22. AlexOVarietyHour says:

    Marinate on all sorts of philosophies.

  23. Whitetiger770 says:

    I love your show and if you could I would love to see you do "The Good Earth"

  24. Timmy Reed says:

    Do either Amos Tutuola's The Palm Wine Drinkard or My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts

  25. Bill Oates says:

    Watership down please

  26. johnny v says:

    Battle Royale by Koushun Takami!  That would be harsh mang.

  27. kentuckywaves says:

    I thought Grendel was a much better read than Beowulf.

  28. Fate Mandouh says:

    gently clap

  29. Flagon Innovation says:

    Please do White Fang!

  30. Z'Mariah Thomas says:

    Hopefully I pass this test tmw, using these notes I just took off Grendel & Beowulf video

  31. Lacey Neyland says:

    This video is so great

  32. avory nemorin says:

    I enjoyed Grendel more than beowulf actually

  33. Robyn Baylor says:

    Awww… poor Grendal. 🙁

  34. Christopher Chen says:

    This is better then sparknotes

  35. Barett Cune says:

    You should do "She: A History of Adventure" by H Rider Haggard. I think there's something to be said about the culture of Kor and the philosophy of Ayesha.

    Also, just wondering if you've read "On Moral Fiction" by John Gardner? I've been wanting to for about 6years, just got and started it last week! As a musician, he's making me very butthurt. Didn't Paul McCartney say "some people just wanna write the world silly love songs" … but seriously, he's made me a better writer already. :

  36. Mr. Handel-Bar says:

    Before I read this book, I already loved Grendel. He was easily the best thing in the Epic Poem from which he was born. But after reading this, he earned a place in my top 10 greatest fictional monsters.

  37. Utibs Akpabio says:

    I lost it at "Wolfy smacks him up."

  38. Sanderus says:

    I love both the Anglo Saxon "Beowulf" heroic poem and John Gardner's philosophical spin on it. And by the way, you sir did an awesome video! 🙂

  39. Troy Mason says:

    Epic of Gilgamesh

  40. mackdmara says:

    The truth will set you free. Half the truth will cage your mind and torment your soul. Work to find the other half before you get wrecked. God speed man!

  41. Angel M says:

    my mind is blown right now

  42. JoyfullJuneBug says:

    Okay last vid I'm going to put this on Please do Interview with the Vampire!

  43. EyeLean5280 says:

    LOVE this book! Thanks so much!

  44. Aynge Mackay says:

    "Life goes on, playboy!"

  45. Alberto Rodriguez says:

    This was awesome

  46. Snuggles McSquishbottom says:

    I haven't read the book, but a lot of that seems straight out of Frankenstein.

  47. D. Hunter says:

    I was intrigued, so I decided to read this one. Worth the time! Seriously enjoyed it!

  48. Mister Bracey says:

    Read this book, jeez maybe 2 decades ago. So glad to see it make it to your show. Its a rare gem. I always recommend it.

  49. TheGoldenDunsparce says:

    So THAT'S why you can rip Grendel's arm off in that The Wolf Among Us game…

  50. Terrell Moore says:

    You should do flowers for algernon

  51. Max Cochran says:

    do Inherit the Wind PLEASE!!!!!!!

  52. Rex Longfellow says:

    Is this related to Beowulf?

  53. Aristotle Full Throttle says:


  54. Anise7en ne7esinA says:

    I named our cat after Grendel. 🐈

  55. Abigail says:

    im using this to help me write an essay lol

  56. Tony Nola says:

    Damn I feel sorry for Grendel

  57. XYZRobZombie says:

    WOW! this video was very useful! thank you!

  58. Keith Araneo-Yowell says:

    The Old Gringo

  59. Cullen Cochran says:

    what music do you use?

  60. Shiki Tohno says:

    I don't quite understand the purpose of the "Grendel book" the purpose of Grendal as a character is suppose to represent all the evll of the world.

  61. rsxbulma says:

    why didn't my teacher tell me about this book

  62. KolyFrog says:

    This video is much better is watched after the Beowulf video.

  63. mackdmara says:

    That dragon is atheism, and Grendal is so smart he thinks he created it all. The problem of being too bright is that you can out smart yourself.

  64. Nyar Lathotep says:

    This is the best channel ever.

  65. MLG Oatmeal says:

    probably one of the best books ive ever read

  66. filip marijanovic says:

    isnt the thing the dragon says in the video a sartre quote?

  67. Raving Mad Man says:

    best one!

  68. Triple Tower Studios says:

    "Life goes on, Playboy"

    And then Grendel died.

  69. Ray Woods says:

    Nihilism < Absurdism

  70. Jessica hymow says:

    I want you to be my teacher

  71. getemall69 says:

    how did I not appreciate Beowulf in school lmao those were some pretty deep lines.

  72. JFrog says:

    When I read Beowulf, the only thing I found compelling was Grendel. Two years later I read this book, and loved it. It's a short read, but quite memorable and enjoyable too. Makes you question who the real monster is.

  73. Sambo Rambo says:

    I see you with the. checkered vans! oh damn!

  74. moldvox says:

    please do the Laithe of Heaven!

  75. TheDoll Vlog says:

    Bruh, wish you were my English teacher.

  76. HetaStar 123 says:

    I like reading Grendel a lot more than Beowulf

  77. Trenee B. says:

    I flopping love this

  78. Elliott Obrien says:

    Have you done "the once and future king?"

  79. Phaedrus says:

    Love this show. Would have wished a little more from this episode though. This novel is fraught with misogyny and Gardner even leaves women out of the continual process of creation, "…sperm build again." Yet another creation ethos where Creator is father and Creation is son. Yeah, that's how it works.

  80. Spaghetti Sultan says:

    Shakespeare help me. I've been on a Thug Notes binge! I must have watched at least 20 episodes in a short amount of time!

  81. Joseph Thaete says:

    Watership down

  82. Roderick Molasar says:

    Am I the only Thug Notes fanatic who bothers watching these things 3 years and 336 days after they're published? Sheesh.

  83. Playlists- -Watch my says:

    so frankenstein..?

  84. Visickle says:

    This was awesome. And I think I finally need to get a shirt.

  85. Tamara E says:

    This is really cool, I never knew this existed, very cool to see the story from Grendel's perspective

  86. Stev 2k says:

    I read Grendel a few weeks ago, now I’m fucking obsessed with him

  87. JoeBro1211 Savage says:

    Dang…. I feel pretty sorry for Grendel

  88. Jacob DeCoursey says:

    One of the best postmodern novels. Experimental enough to give you lots to chew on, but approachable enough to move you throughout the ride.

  89. Corrupted Cyborg says:

    so its an allegory for narcissism ???

  90. Blue says:

    this mans needs some Js, not vans lol

  91. mattster h says:

    i remember reading beowulf. it was dumb as shit.

  92. Atharva S says:

    "Subscribe Ya Heard?"

  93. Richard Collier says:

    Grendel is the measure of all things.  I'll buy into that.

  94. rebekah fuller says:

    This video is the only reason I'm gonna pass English this semester

  95. Bread 2 The Awakening says:

    Beowulf still kicked that niggas ass tho

  96. Barberik_ Erik says:

    Thxs for getting my homework done

  97. Sherlock Katrito says:

    I feel like Grendal is the emo alternate viewpoint of beowulf

  98. Weston Raynak says:

    that was fire

  99. The Silver Hedgehog says:

    I probably shouldn't have read this book when I was 10, huh?

  100. Gillian Daemon says:

    Hearing the dragon talk about the shaper was the biggest mood ever

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