The Beowulf poet tells us (194–201) that when his hero heard about Grendel's doings he had a good ship made ready for himself, saying he was minded to seek overseas the war-king (i.e. join Hrothgar), who stood in need of men. We learn further (202–4) that the wise men made no objection, though he was dear to them; they urged him on, saw (good) omens. These compatriots, presumably elders or councillors, come up again a little later, when the hero tells the Danish king:
Þa me þæ gelærdon leode mine,
þa selestan, snotere ceorlas,
þeoden Hroðgar, þæt ic þe sohte,
forþan hie mægenes cræft mine cuþon.
King Hygelac himself was of another mind if we go by his words of welcome when Beowulf came home from Denmark:
Hu lomp eow on lade, leofa Biowulf,
þa ðu færinga feorr gehogodest
sæcce secean ofer sealt wæter,
hilde, to Hiorote? Ac ðu Hroðgare
widcuðne wean wihte gebettest,
mærum ðeodne? Ic ðæs modceare
sorhwylmum seað, siðe ne truwode
leofes mannes. Ic ðe lange bæd
þæt ðu þone wælgæst wihte ne grette,
lete Suðdene sylfe geweorðan
guðe wið Grendel. Gode ic þanc secge
þæsðe ic ðe gesundne geseon moste.
On the face of it, then, king and council were at odds in the counsel they gave Beowulf, who chose to follow the bold rather than the safe course, despite his lord's pleas. A headstrong hero he.