Gryphons (aka griffons or griffins) are powerful and highly intelligent winged beasts with the forequarters of an eagle and the hindquarters of a lion. Native to the Aerie Peak and the Hinterlands, they have long shared an inseparable bond with the dwarves of the Wildhammer clan, who later introduced them to the rest of the Alliance.
Domesticated gryphons are bred and raised at special aviaries, but wild gryphons are also numerous.
- "They love lions in Stormwind, and the gryphon is half lion. Of course they might not like which half."
Gryphons are majestic creatures of the skies, and are, much like hippogryphs and wyverns, more than just beasts; they're both intelligent and cunning. They share a common ancestry with both wyverns and dragons, and were first befriended by the Wildhammer dwarves when the Wildhammers settled in the Hinterlands in the years following the War of the Three Hammers, roughly 230 years before the First War. The creatures became eblematic of the clan and an inseparable part of their culture.
Ever since, the Wildhammers have revered the gryphon as a sacred animal. While some say that the dwarves keep them, it's more of a friendship, and to befriend the Wildhammers one must first befriend their gryphons. During the Second War, gryphon riders from Northeron came to the aid of the Alliance to fight back against the marauding Horde, and during the Third War the wild dwarves responded to the call once more by bringing their proud, implacable beasts — noble symbols of the Alliance's fortitude — to keep the skies of Lordaeron free from enemy forces.
The dwarves have since introduced their noble steeds to the rest of the Alliance, with some hatchlings even being descendants from the same gryphons ridden by and his entourage into Grim Batol after the Second War.
Gryphons' keen eyesight allows them to see over vast distances and warn their riders of any dangers that lie ahead. The breed known as the armored snowy gryphon has proven capable of weathering the harsh winds of Northrend, and according to , when they attack, blood almost never stains their feathers.
The gryphons of Aerie Peak are trained by the Wildhammers to kill forest trolls, their ancient enemy. The dwarves also train young gryphons by sending them out to hunt rattlesnakes in the Twilight Highlands. According to , the elder gryphons known as razorbeak skylords are a much rarer breed than the rest of their kin, and are responsible for mating and "creating murderous offspring".
As a mount
- Main article: Gryphon mounts
Gryphon mounts are the flying mounts for Alliance players. They come in a variety of colors and are capable of running on all fours like a cat for land travel, rendering it useful as a ground mount.
As a companion pet
- The can be captured in pet battles in the Twilight Highlands.
- The is available from the Blizzard Gear store for $25 US.
As a hunter pet
- Main article: Feathermane
Notes and trivia
- Gryphon eggs are noted to be cream-colored and dotted with blue.
- They have dorsal guiding feathers.
- The average weight of gryphons is about 500 pounds.
- Gilnean gryphons are stronger than the native gryphons of the Broken Isles, and may be able to carry a 2,000 pound cannon.
- Spectral gryphons transport non-night elf players in certain zones while dead, because of impassable terrain.
- Undead skeletal gryphons are found in a small amount of locations around the world. Armored skeletal gryphons are used as flying mounts by the Knights of the Ebon Blade.
- A few gryphons could be seen inside the gryphon aviary in Warcraft Adventures. Stealing one of their eggs was a plot point, and they were depicted as having long, serpentine-like tongues.
The origin of the Griffin is unknown. Greek sources from the Hellenistic (300s BC) period tell of where the creatures might be found, but the imagery is far older. The Mycenaean civilization, which dates to around the 1000s BC, feature Griffins and lions on what little artwork survive from the period. The even older Minoan civilization, who were contemporaries to Ancient Egypt, used Griffin imagery in their palaces and temples. Creatures that could be called Griffins are common motifs in Persian and Assyrian art, although these beasts are technically Cherubim, not griffins. A beast that has been loosely translated to "Griffin" is referenced in Egyptian papyri, although the term "hieracosphinx" is becoming more popular. It has been suggested that Gryphon imagery originated with early discoveries of Protoceratops fossils. Ancient observers would have seen an aquiline head on a leonine body.
Film universeThis section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft film universe.
Gryphons are able to understand humanoid speech, or at least a few words - a person can verbally command a gryphon to fly to a certain location and it will do so, without further instruction, or need of a rider. Gryphons often express affection to familiar riders, and respond to subtler instructions such as the position of their rider on their back. Command of a gryphon does not require great experience, at least as long as the gryphon knows its destination.
In the RPGThis section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.
The gryphon is the symbol of resolve and fortitude among the wild dwarves of Aerie Peak. From the tip of its powerful beak to the back of its swishing tail, a gryphon can reach lengths of 9 feet. Its wings can span up to 30 feet, and are powerful enough to launch the beast into flight from a standing position.
Gryphons are intelligent and loyal, suppressing their natural aggression and territorial behavior to assist the wild dwarves who share their mountain homes. They are, however, partial to horse flesh and unless closely watched indulge their taste to the detriment of nearby cavalry. In recent times, the trolls of the Witherbark tribe in the southern Hinterlands have been capturing gryphons to attempt to train their own windwarriors. They have thus far been unsuccessful, but it is conceivable that the trolls will eventually find a way to duplicate the success of the Wildhammer clan and produce gryphon riders of their own. In combat, a gryphon attempts to swoop down on its prey, attacking from above. Gryphons are intelligent enough to avoid fighting in situations in which they cannot make their attack at an advantage. The sale of gryphon eggs is considered a crime in most human and dwarf holdings, but black market eggs can be had for prices at around 2 to 3 times less than the amount of a fully trained gryphon.
- ^ Mount Journal entry for Swift Blue, Swift Red, Swift Green and Swift Purple Gryphons
- ^ Mount Journal entry for , and
- ^ a b
- ^ a b Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual
- ^ Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 156
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Alliance Air Units, Gryphon Rider
- ^ a b
- ^ Mount Journal entry for
- ^ World of Warcraft Trading Card Game: Wrathgate. Blizzard Entertainment. 106.
- ^ Mount Journal entry for
- ^ a b
- ^ Gryth Thurden#Quote
- ^ Fire and Iron
- ^ a b c
- ^ a b Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 57
- ^ a b Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 184
- ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 265
- ^ White Wolf. Alliance Player's Guide, 208. ISBN 9781588467737.