What are some similarities between the two mead halls, Herot and Camelot?
The two mead halls share similarities that help illuminate the desires and values of medieval life across the centuries. Grendel's great transgression is invading and smashing not just human lives in the mead hall, but Herot itself, drawing Beowulf to defend this famous center of civilized life. Herot and Camelot are both places of warmth and good food, where a cold, hungry knight can find a fire, light, meat and mead, all flowing generously throughout the hall. The emphasis on hospitable bounty shows what a medieval person desired: access to warmth, light and ample nourishment, refuge from a dark, chilly, hungry life in nature. Further, both places exemplify community and belonging. A visitor, ideally, finds acceptance, human warmth and conviviality here. Stories are exchanged, and people show curiosity about each other. Both halls are cultural centers that people long visit or return to. They show the extent to which medieval society valued community and story telling, and they show the life-giving quality that acceptance in a community bestowed. In both mead halls, there is a sense of a cold, harsh, uncertain world "out there," full of monsters to be kept at bay, versus the beauty and glory of being inside a protected world—and one that needed protection of strong knights to survive.
Both halls are built by warrior kings to honor their brave soldiers. Both halls are gathering places for the court, sort of like the kings' headquarters. Both halls become famous across Europe and are well-known by name. Inside both of the halls, challenges are issued that question the bravery of the knights inside; in Herot, Grendel rampages and sparks fear into the hearts of all of Hrothgar's men; in Camelot, the Green Knight rides in and issues a brazen challenge to King Arthur and all of his knights.