The shaper is fascinating to Grendel. The first reason the shaper is fascinating to Grendel is because he is skilled. "The old Shaper, a man I cannot help but admire, goes out the back window with his harp at a single bound, though blind as a bat." (12) In this quote, Grendel describes seeing the shaper as he makes his way through Hrothgar's meadhall. Although the shaper is blind he is able to make a quick getaway from Grendel, even though Grendel would cause no harm to him. The skill of being able to shape people ideas is what fascinates Grendel as his ideas have been shaped by the shaper.
"Whenever he stopped, thinking up formulas for what to say next, the people would all shout and thump each other and drink to the Shaper's long life." (34) All the people who knew the shaper, were fascinated by him as well as Grendel. He has a skill in keeping people glued into listening to every word he says or note he sings. Grendel is also the same way. It is fascinating to Grendel that an old blind man could be in such demand and of high popularity to the people. "Inspired by winds (or whatever you please), the old man sang of a glorious meadhall whose light would shine to the ends of the ragged world." (47) By using the skill of singing, a magnificent meadhall was built soon. The fact that just being able to sing about a meadhall influenced Hrothgar to build one, fascinates Grendel.
He is amazed that the shaper can use his skill of singing to influence people to do great things, even Hrothgar. The second reason the shaper is fascinating to Grendel is because he is knowledgeable. When the shaper first arrives to Hrothgar's castle, Grendel is there witnessing. He hears the shaper tell and sing about the past. "He told how Scyld by the cunning of arms had rebuilt the old Danish kingdom from ashes...
." (42) "He sang of battles and marriages, of funerals and hangings, the whimpering's of beaten enemies, of splendid hunts and harvests." (42-43) "He sang of Hrothgar... ." (43) These quotes all come from when Grendel is talking about the first time he saw the shaper. He heard the shaper talking about Scyld and who he was as well as his son. Grendel heard the shaper singing about battles, marriages, funerals, etc.
He also heard the shaper sing about Hrothgar. Hearing the shaper sing and talk about all of this fascinates Grendel. "Even to me, incredibly, he had made it all seem true and very fine." (43) In that quote Grendel is talking about the fact that everything the shaper said or sang seemed all very true. Later on at the end of chapter three Grendel says, "The was a Scyld, once, who ruled the Danes; and other men ruled after him, that much was true. And the rest?" (44) By reading this quote one gets a sense of Grendel doubting what the shaper proclaimed in the hall. However, previously Grendel said about how everything the shaper said or sang seemed so true.
This is why the shaper being knowledgeable fascinates Grendel. Even though Grendel does doubt what the shaper says, just the way he says it or sings it makes it all seem so true. The name "the shaper" derives from the fact that he "shapes" peoples ideas about history. This is exactly what he does to Grendel. The third reason the shaper is fascinating to Grendel is because he influences Grendel. At the beginning of chapter three Grendel tells us that he is set on destroying Hrothgar because of his ruthless nature.
"He sang of Hrothgar, hoarfrost white, magnificent of mind." (43) This is a direct quote from Grendel. Even though Grendel is out to destroy Hrothgar, by hearing the shaper sing those words, he influences Grendel. He influences Grendel to sort of change his opinion of Hrothgar. All of the fighting that Hrothgar did seemed cruel to Grendel, yet by hearing the shaper's song Grendel thinks of his doings to be righteous. "I clamped my palms to my ears and stretched up my lips and shrieked again...
." (45) Grendel does this just before he flees to the smoky mere. Basically the shaper has influenced Grendel so much that he has almost driven him crazy. Grendel is so confused that he once thought of things one way, but this shaper describes them in another way by song. The way the shaper describes them are wrong to Grendel, yet the shaper makes them sound so right. Since the shaper can take something wrong and make it sound right to Grendel, he is fascinated by this. Again the shaper lives up to his name by influencing Grendel's thoughts or rather, shaping them..