Heorot is a mead-hall and a critical location in Beowulf. The hall is situated in Denmark. It serves as a seat of rule for Hrothgar, a legendary Danish king. He built the hall to celebrate victories and protect his people from any invaders. So, the attack on Heorot was the worst thing that could happen to the Danes.
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Much of the action in Beowulf takes place in Heorot. Hrothgar, the Danish king, built “a great mead-hall meant to be a wonder of the world forever.” It was a hub of the heroic value system. The king rewarded and condemned his warriors there. It was a court of justice, dining room, celebration hall, and a place to give presents at the same time. “Heorot was the name he had settled on it, whose utterance was law.”
In those days, people did not have a clear map-sense of the world. Instead, they saw their land as a number of boundaries menaced by enemies or protected by friends. The same picture we see in Beowulf. The center of each person’s world is the place where the lord or the king sits. For this reason, Hrothgar and Hygelac had their mead-halls.
These buildings played the role of a symbolic and actual refuge within these unclear boundaries. The poet spends much time describing Heorot and the role it played in the warrior’s lives. “It would be his throne-room and there he would dispense his God-given goods to young and old.” Heorot was Hrothgar’s calling card and his highest achievement as a king. That was why he was so ashamed of Grendel’s invasion. But the loyal warrior, Beowulf, restored the king’s pride. He mortally wounded Grendel inside the hall.
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