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As for the industry itself, film producers mark performers' increasing maturity by confining their range of roles to a set of restrictive archetypes.

My hero’s cream - Ouate

Actors may find that, upon reaching a certain age, the only parts being offered are for protagonists who are either packing a pipe and a pair of slippers or who are declining into decrepitude. Putting myself in the position of a much older actor, I can imagine seeing nothing but mellow dotage fluff screenplays in the vein of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Last Vegas if they receive any screenplays at all. It's a nightmarish vision, and you can easily come to appreciate why stars would start going through cosmetic surgery procedures, jumping on ridiculous fad diets or bathing in the blood of youthful virgins.

You know that things are really bad and that the dread is really taking hold when a maturing actor starts murmuring about their wish to move into directing. It's a pretty depressing picture I've painted here, but it isn't necessarily the reality of all thesps who find themselves on the other side of In fact, if you look at the film industry from a different vantage point you realise that it may be that the movies are the best place for humans who are getting older.

Think about it and you come to see that actors can potentially keep on working until the day they die unlike their 'regular' peers who reach pension age and are promptly put out to pasture or sentenced to the allotment, or the old folks' home with Bubba Ho-Tep, or told that coming out of retirement for 'one last job' is only an available option for movie cops. Shunning what's considered to be 'the way old fogies are', they can have high times travelling the globe, enjoying new experiences and learning new skills like swordfighting or martial arts on the play-pretend trail if the parts demand it.

As for cosmetic considerations, film crews will proactively de-age them with the world's best hair and make-up, and digital effects if necessary. Though, of course, this is very superficial thinking and in line with the anti-image-obsessed culture rant I've already had in this column, I'd like to celebrate being happy just the way you are.

Heroes of Old - Quest

Age discrimination is present in Hollywood but I'd also say that there are powers challenging it - defying stereotypes and prejudices - and doing good work for those who aren't quite spring chickens anymore. Though I've never understood why anyone would want to be a spring chicken because spring chickens usually end up in sinister petting zoos or in a carton of McNuggets. The Expendables franchise is a pertinent specimen to study, especially now that the third instalment of the series has just dropped into theatres with big weapons, big explosions and an even bigger main cast.

The majority of that cast are action movie veterans and most are over fifty so the cumulative age tally is also very big. Harrison Ford Max Drummer is Regardless of the years and the mileage, though, all these golden oldies are still looking fresh, still in incredible shape, still having a blast literally and still making action movies just like back in the day. Whether their recent work rates as highly, earns as much and resonates as strongly as the classics isn't really relevant - the key thing is that these guys are still working hard and exerting a presence instead of fading into old age obscurity or dreary dotage as would probably be expected.

What's more, when it comes to exalting seasoned screen figures, The Expendables series isn't an isolated phenomenon. Glance over other franchises and you'll find more grandfather-vintage gentlemen getting glory as elderly action heroes, like Patrick Stewart in the X-Men multiverse and his best mate Ian McKellen who has become the living manifestation of Magneto and Gandalf in Peter Jackson's cinematic Middle Earth.

For further examples look to, say, Geoffrey Rush and Bill Nighy in the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies and the majority of an entire generation of ancient British acting nobility in the Harry Potter series. Sir Christopher Lee - years-young and still making heavy metal records - is both Count Dooku of the Star Wars universe and Saruman of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. By securing themselves a place in major multimedia franchises, these actors engrain themselves in contemporary pop cultural consciousness, thus ensuring that they both remain relevant and endear themselves to a whole new generation of young cinemagoers who may even buy their action figure or Lego duplicate.

The lucrative late-career path first followed by Sir Alec Guinness as Ben Kenobi in Star Wars is even more of a typical trajectory in this age dominated by super-franchises. At this present moment, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the hottest party in town, and you can see how many 'old' heads are enjoying themselves by becoming a part of the mythos - Samuel L Jackson, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sir Ben Kingsley and Robert Redford just a select few. The Force is strong with these ones, in spite of the numbers on their birth certificate.

Well, the author, maybe, wants to remind us of the futility of battle or that you should not rely too much on artificial tools coming from others but just on your own strength. The failure of Hrunting thus might symbolize the failure of the warrior class and the ultimate futility of warfare. Hrunting fails because it was given to Beowulf by Unferth, a heathen. Only the more powerful replacement blade that obviously! God gives Beowulf in his moment of desperate need is capable of destroying evil. Advanced Module Swords and symbols. Then of course, subscribing to the view that swords are phallic symbols , the huge sword he uses to kill Grendel's mother is a symbol of his manhood.

Naegling, breaking when fighting the dragon, then symbolizes loss of virility with old age. But perhaps Naegling's failure just signifies the end of Beowulf's era, and the beginning of an new era for a new hero such as Wyglaf , the only friend who doesn't flee when the dragon comes forth. One might also consider Nevertheless, he is also a figure of legend and he owned a magical miracle performing sword.

There is a huge difference between a magical sword and a miracle working one: Magic is done and invested in something like a sword by pagan sorcerers like druids, witches or warlocks. Magicians are evil and burning them at the stake after a bit of torturing as a kind of foreplay is the prescribed antidote of peace-loving religions. Magical swords are thus evil things.

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Miracles , in contrast, are performed by Christian saints and they are thus a good thing. Charlemagne's sword " Joyeuse " contains christian relics and thus is not magic but miracle performing. Source: Photographed in the Fulda cathedrale, Germany. Charlemagne on a contemporary silver denar - the only know portrait of him. After Charlemagne died, a number of sagas and legends developed. Legends are stories about saints, and Charlemagne is indeed a kind of saint.

He was accorded sainthood inside the Holy Roman Empire after the twelfth century. Nevertheless, his beatification has been acknowledged as "cultus confirmed" and is celebrated on January The major cluster of sagas is the Roland story below.

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There is also the "Historia Karoli Magni et Rotholandi", the Latin version written between and , with authorship claimed wrongly to archbishop Turpin , one of the heroes of the Roland saga. Further legends report his imaginary travel to the "Holy Land" where he casts out the heathen from Jerusalem and secured precious relics one of the many nails from the cross, for example. Giving wrong authorship just continues the tradition of nearly all the early Christian works including the ones in the bible.

The evolution of sagas around the "real" Charlemagne could also serve as model for saga development, just as the evolution of gospels and other stories about the " Jesus event " years earlier. Ditrich von Bern Theoderic. Dietrich figures in a considerable number of surviving sagas, which are assumed to be based on long-standing oral tradition.

Contemporary Romances With Younger Heroes

There are two kinds of sagas about Dietrich: history-based ones and adventure stuff, sort of fairy tale like. The latter tell stories about his battles with dwarves, dragons, giants, and other mythical beings, as well as other heroes such as Siegfried. In addition to these two categories of poems, he appears as a supporting character in some poems such as the " Nibelungenlied " and "Biterolf und Dietleib" 13th century saga.

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  • In other words: he was extremely prominent in medieval literature. One school of thought sees a connection to the historical Theodoric but this is contested by others. Personally I do believe that a guy as prominent as Ditrich must have had some roots in reality. He collects 12 or 11 buddies as close allies like King Arthur and becomes King. His "master of arms" is Hildebrand , famous from his own saga. Ditrich does great deeds. But he doesn't always win his battles and sometimes needs help.

    He only wins a sword fight against Odoaker or Sigurd because he uses Wayland the Smith's supreme sword " Mimung ". His uncle Ermanarich eventually ousts him and he goes into exile to Etzel or Attila , the king of the Huns.

    Older Hero vs. Younger Villain

    There he helps to overcome the murderers of Siegfried and in particular mad Kriemhild. In his old age he regains power again and lords over his kingdom once more. In one poem he fights against the giant Ecke, wins, and takes his sword - Ecke's sachs a sachs or sax is a single edged sword. This is one explanation of the sword name " Eckesachs " but there are others too. Once more, like in Beowulf, we have a famous sword that originates from the giants.

    Nagelring is later given given to his Buddy Heime.

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    Shortly after he kills Ecke, Ditrich encounters Eckes's brother Fasold who is described as having two long braided locks that hang down to his waist and which are woven in with iron. The two fight, and Dietrich overcomes Fasold by cutting off his braided locks greetings from Samson and Delila! Ditrich also associated with Wudga or Widia; Witege Witige or Wittiche, the son of Wayland the Smith who is in possession of Mimung , his fathers super-sword.

    For the fight with Odoaker he lends it to Ditrich. El Cid is a real historical figure but comes with his own saga. He is reported as invincible fighter who could cleave an opponent in half with Tizona helmet, head, and body. He fought against the Moors for his king, with the Moors against his king, and just for himself; the real story is rather complicated. The interesting thing is that El Cid's famous sword, the Tizona , is still with us. Some noble houses kept it for all these centuries.

    Tizona, while not doing any direct magic, was reported to put terror in the hearts of opponents. El Cid also had a sword called Colada. Hildebrand is a tragic hero because in his saga he is forced to kill his own son, Hadubrand, who "works" for the other side and doesn't recognize or acknowledge his father. Hildbrand is also a major figure in the Ditrich von Bern saga collections.