Gryphon

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Gryphon
"The Horde had dragons, we had the gryphons. We won that war."[1]
Ilsa Blusterbrew

Gryphons (aka griffons[2] or griffins[3]) 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.

Background

A dwarven gryphon rider.
"They love lions in Stormwind, and the gryphon is half lion. Of course they might not like which half."[4]
Gryphon Master Talonaxe

Gryphons are majestic creatures of the skies, and are, much like hippogryphs and wyverns, more than just beasts; they're both intelligent and cunning.[5] They share a common ancestry with both wyverns and dragons,[6] 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.[7]

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.[5] During the Second War, gryphon riders from Northeron came to the aid of the Alliance to fight back against the marauding Horde,[8] 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.[6]

The dwarves have since introduced their noble steeds to the rest of the Alliance,[9][10] with some hatchlings even being descendants from the same gryphons ridden by Falstad Wildhammer and his entourage into Grim Batol after the Second War.[9]

Gryphons' keen eyesight allows them to see over vast distances and warn their riders of any dangers that lie ahead.[11] The breed known as the armored snowy gryphon has proven capable of weathering the harsh winds of Northrend,[12] and according to Mei Francis, when they attack, blood almost never stains their feathers.[13]

The gryphons of Aerie Peak are trained by the Wildhammers to kill forest trolls, their ancient enemy.[14] The dwarves also train young gryphons by sending them out to hunt rattlesnakes in the Twilight Highlands.[15] According to Huntsman Markhor, 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".[14]

According to the Ironforge gryphon master Gryth Thurden, the steeds of the Wildhammer dwarves may be fast, but they cannot stand the heat of Ironforge's Great Forge, unlike Ironforge's own gryphons.[16]

The Dragonmaw orcs of the Twilight Highlands use gryphon carcasses as bait when wrangling black drakes, but only carcasses from wild animals; drakes hate the stink of dwarf on their food.[17]

Notable

Types

As a mount

Main article: Gryphon mounts
A white riding gryphon

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

Main articles: Wildhammer Gryphon Hatchling, Gryphon Hatchling

As a hunter pet

Main article: Feathermane

Gryphons are tamable by hunters as part of the Feathermane family, added in patch 7.2.0. In order to tame Feathermanes, hunters must purchase the  [Tome of the Hybrid Beast] from Pan the Kind Hand at Trueshot Lodge at a cost of 1000Order Resources.

Notes and trivia

  • Gryphon eggs are noted to be cream-colored and dotted with blue.[18]
  • They have dorsal guiding feathers.[19]
  • The average weight of gryphons is about 500 pounds.[19]
  • Gilnean gryphons are stronger than the native gryphons of the Broken Isles, and may be able to carry a 2,000 pound cannon.[19]
  • 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.

Myth

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 universe

Warcraft film logo small.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft film universe.

Gryphons seem to be fairly rare; at the time of the arrival of orcs in Azeroth, King Llane Wrynn possessed only a handful, and these were seldom ridden except for official business.[20]

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.[21][22] Gryphons often express affection to familiar riders, and respond to subtler instructions such as the position of their rider on their back.[20] Command of a gryphon does not require great experience, at least as long as the gryphon knows its destination.[21]

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.
A gryphon as depicted in the Alliance Player's Guide.

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.[23]

Gallery

References