Exeter Book

Exeter Book Character List


Deor, a bard, is the narrator of the poem with the same name. In this poem, he details the miseries of several legendary and historical figures and how each of them overcame their struggles. Deor was once a respected and beloved bard in a court, but his lord replaced him with another singer.


Theordic is one of the historical figures in "Deor." He was King of the Ostrogoths, and ruled over them for 30 years. He remains a prominent figure in German history.


Beadohild is one of the legendary figures in "Deor." Beadohild was raped by Weyland, after he escaped her father's imprisonment and killed her brothers. She mourned the pregnancy that resulted from the rape. She appears in several Germanic legends, but it is unclear if she was a real person or a mythical character.


Ermanaric is one of the historical figures in "Deor". He was a Gothic king who had a reputation for being cruel and fierce, causing many of his warriors to despair. He appears in Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Germanic legends.


Weyland is a character who appears in "Deor." A legendary master blacksmith, Weyland is a frequent character in Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and Norse mythology (most notably in Beowulf). "Deor" describes his captivity under King Nithhad. After escaping, Weyland killed Nithhad's two sons and raped the King's daughter, Beadohild, impregnating her.


A legendary figure who appears in in "Deor." Nithhad was a cruel king in Germanic legend who, amongst many other atrocities, imprisoned Weyland the Smith.


One of the characters (undocumented in history or legend) in "Deor." Geat's great love for Maethild caused him sleeplessness. Geats were a North Germanic tribe who occupied part of what is now Sweden.


One of the characters (undocumented in history or legend) in "Deor." Maethild was Geat's lover.


The highly skilled bard who replaced Deor in the court of the Heodenings. Deor's loss of his position is the core of the poem "Deor."

The Seafarer

The Seafarer is the titular protagonist of the Anglo-Saxon poem. The character has undertaken voluntary by choosing a life at sea. He starts off by presenting the difficulties of a sailor's life, namely the isolation, the unpredictable weather and the fierce ocean. Despite these challenges, he prepares himself for each new journey. By the end of the poem, he advises his readers to be aware of the transience of earthly life and the strength of the Lord's hand.

The Wanderer

The Wanderer is a bard who is cast off from his kingdom after the death of his Lord. After failing to find a new lord, the Wanderer wanders the earth, feeling lonely, and remembering the comforts of his former life. He, like the Seafarer, ruminates on the transience of earthly life and the power of fate.

The Wife

The titular figure in "The Wife's Lament," who is either imprisoned or hiding under an oak tree in a foreign land. The Wife writes about the pain of being exiled from her husband and subject to the hostilities of his kinsmen. She yearns for her former happy life and has fond memories of her marriage.