Western Animation: Gargoyles
"One thousand years ago, superstition and the sword ruled. It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear. It was the age of gargoyles. Stone by day, warriors by night, We were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect, frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years. Now, here in Manhattan, the spell is broken, AND WE LIVE AGAIN! We are defenders of the night! We are GARGOYLES!"Gargoyles
was a rare breed: it was a dark, violent Western cartoon with a story that followed deliberate arcs
and did things very rarely seen in the average Western 'toon. Did we mention that it came from Disney
The main characters of the series are gargoyles, large winged humanoids
(their appearance was vaguely demonic, though saying so is insulting to them
) that are extremely (almost literally) nocturnal — they turn to stone, no matter what, when the sun rises. Once, there were many gargoyles, but interactions with humanity have led to their species becoming endangered. The main characters survived purging thanks to a magical spell that made them permanently statues — at least, unless the castle which they were protecting were to ever "rise above the clouds
One thousand years later, it did. Billionaire David Xanatos (yes, that Xanatos
) took the castle from Scotland
and transported it brick by brick to the top of his skyscraper in New York City
; this broke the curse for good, reviving the dormant gargoyles in a land and time far from their home. He didn't do it for altruistic motives, though; eventually, Xanatos and the clan of gargoyles became enemies. The clan manages to make an ally in New York detective Elisa Maza, however — and with her help, they work to protect their new home while simultaneously adapting to it.Gargoyles
spans fantasy and science-fiction genres, and its plot would eventually involve magic, robots, The Illuminati
, god-like fairies, numerous characters straight out of Shakespearean plays, and much more. In general, All Myths Are True
in this show.
The show is also famous for the intricacy of its villains and plots. Very few are Card Carrying Villains
; in particular, the charismatic and manipulative nature of Xanatos is why the Xanatos Gambit
was named after him. Even the heroes are individuals with their own wants and desires that don't always lead to peaceful relationships.
The initial incarnation of the show lasted two seasons and sixty-five episodes
. It was followed by a retooled third season — Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles
— but since Greg Weisman
was only around to write the first episode of this season, a new team of writers completely new to the series ended up heading the rest of the season. As a result, the series underwent a drastic shift of tone; from a serialized, dark action series, into a more lighthearted, and at times, comedic romp. According to Weisman, this happened due to the show effectively being taken out of his hands by Disney higher-ups
, in addition to tightening of schedules
The series was later resurrected in comic book
form in 2006, picking up with an alternate timeline after a comic-book retelling of the opening episode of The Goliath Chronicles
before going on to weave an entirely new story; it also resulted in a spin-off title, Bad Guys
. When the publisher, Slave Labor Graphics, was hit with higher licensing fees imposed by Disney, both books were cancelled. Greg Weisman
has vowed to find a way to continue the story.
The show and the universe it created still has an active online fanbase — including the creator
. (Who apparently has read this site
As a side note: in what became somewhat of an inside joke, many Star Trek: The Next Generation
actors had at least
cameo roles in the series. Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis played the primary villains Xanatos and Demona; Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, and Kate Mulgrew all played recurring roles; and the guest stars included Avery Brooks and Colm Meaney.In the grand tradition of the internet
, the show has its own Wiki
Disney has uploaded the entire show's run on YouTube
(in the US
), Season One
being collected in a playlist there. It is also available in its entirety in Disney.com's video archives
. DVDs of the complete first and second seasons are also for sale, with the episodes uncensored.
- As of June 2014, all online videos have been removed and the YouTube playlists set to private for reasons unknown.
- Low-Quality versions can be found in two playlists on Dailymotion here.
This trope-heavy animated series had examples of:
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- Aborted Arc:
- At the end of Deadly Force, Owen says that 37 of the stolen guns were missing, probably sold on the street. Originally, Greg meant to have Broadway seek out and destroy them all, but that idea never came to fruition. On the other hand, this does provide an explanation as to where the various criminals and villains get their Family-Friendly Firearms in future episodes.
- At the end of the episode Legion, Xanatos salvages the computer virus that nearly destroyed Coldstone, calling it the deadliest weapon he could ask for... and then never uses it or mentions it again.
- In the episode Kingdom, while Goliath and Elisa are on the Avalon World Tour, Xanatos tells the remaining Manhattan Clan that he'll utilize all his resources to track them down, whether or not they want his help. He never does this, though he does encounter them once during their tour.
- A two parter titled The Weird Macbeth was planned where the Weird Sisters would imprison the cast in the play of Macbeth. It was rejected on the grounds of being too strange.
- Reunion (A lost tale from the Avalon World Tour) from the SLG Comics was originally this. The story was intended for an issue of Gargoyles from when Marvel Comics had the license, but was unpublished due to the comic book's cancellation. The story itself lead into Coldstone's appearance at the beginning of Possession and why Angela seemed familiar with him (and not put off by his appearance).
- Nothing is done with Demona thinking Elisa is dead after "Long Way to Morning," and Demona simply sees her alive a few episodes later. Demona does mention in "City of Stone" that she thought she had gotten rid of Elisa long ago, though.
- The Abridged Series: Gargoyles Abridged.
- Absurdly Sharp Claws: The Gargoyles have claws that are strong and sharp enough leave deep scratches in solid concrete and even solid steel. This is actually how they climb buildings and cliffs.
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: Neither Goliath nor Demona look old enough to be Angela's parents. Justified by the fact that Demona was immortalized at 35 and Goliath was put into suspended animation before Angela's egg even hatched, and came out of it after she'd already reached adulthood.
- At one point Goliath states that gargoyles age roughly half as fast as humans, although Hudson both is and appears old enough to be Broadway's father anyway.
- Accidental Kiss: Word of God is that stroking your mate's hair is the gargoyle equivalent of kissing, and Elisa accidentally does this to Goliath just before they're about to explore Manhattan in "Awakening, Part Three". Goliath and Hudson find this about as awkward as you'd expect.
- Action Girl: Elisa, Angela... and possibly Titania, or at least her human form.
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Brooklyn run-in with a biker gang ended with his motorcycle destroyed.
- An Aesop: Executive Meddling inserted one in every episode of the third season, but the earlier episodes featured them as well. It was prominent in "Deadly Force", an episode about the dangers of guns, which handled the subject in a mature manner (i.e., making the Aesop not "Guns are super evil and should not even be looked at" but "Guns are dangerous and should be respected and handled properly.") This particular Aesop was actually learned within the show itself, for Elisa was shown to lock away her gun in future episodes, rather than leaving it loaded and lying around. The episode also lead to some Character Development for Broadway, who hated guns from that point forward. Sadly, this was lost on the Moral Guardians, as they still saw fit to first ban the episode from rotation, and then return it with all the gun violence edited, including the shot of Elisa getting shot (which was cropped to remove the blood at her side). Also of special note, Gargoyles won an award note and was mentioned in The New York Times and other papers as one of the greatest reasons to watch the show for an episode about illiteracy and the importance of reading.
- Also notably, even when early episodes were clearly centered around Aesops, they still often managed to work in lasting contributions to the series' overall story arc. For example, the above-mentioned "Deadly Force" was centered around a clear Aesop about gun safety, but it also marked the introduction of gangster Tony Dracon, who would go on to become a prominent supporting antagonist. Likewise, "The Thrill of the Hunt" did a pretty obvious Aesop about the dangers of being seduced by television, but it also introduced the Pack—all of whom would turn out to be major players in the continuing saga.
- Similarly, the episode "The Green" had a Green Aesop. However, this one was actually well-rounded, and showed that deforestation is more complicated than something the average Corrupt Corporate Executive does just because he's evil and has money.
- "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time" though had a Reading Is Cool Aesop played straight and was very heavy handed.
- Affably Evil: Xanatos, Macbeth (at first), and the Canmores.
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head: This is a standard gesture among gargoyles, the equivalent of kissing.
- Agent Mulder: Detective Matt Bluestone
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Cyberbiotics' air fortress.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Gargoyle beasts.
- All Are Equal in Death: Made explicit by Anubis:
On the contrary, death is the ultimate fairness. Rich and poor, young and old, all are equal in death
. You would not like to see the Jackal God play favorites. Think what you are doing: all over the world there is birth, but no death. Our planet cannot support so many lives at once.
- All Myths Are True: Explicitly stated in the series: "Most Legends contain a seed of truth", and "All things are true." However this is not always in the literal sense. A few of the mythical beings met during the Avalon World Tour are very different from the stories. (For example, some Tricksters tend to be outright evil rather than mischievous.) In another episode, it is revealed that most of the creatures from Greek legends are real, however the stories are notably different. The minotaur, for example, was trapped in the catacombs and used as a source of entertainment by his captors.
- In the comic book, King Arthur points out that "All things are true... few things are accurate."
- To which Macbeth, whose depiction in Gargoyles is far more historically accurate than his villainous portrayal in Shakespeare's play (even allowing for the immortality and such), replies, "Aye. No bloody kidding." And to emphasize the point, the comics show two flashbacks of Macbeth's coronation, in which his lines are slightly different from each other.
- All of the Other Reindeer
- All There in the Script: Out-of-universe names for the souls inhabiting Coldstone: Othello, Iago, and Desdemona. The latter two eventually got their own in-universe names, Coldsteel and Coldfire, while "Othello" stayed as Coldstone.
- The Aloner: Demona has suffered this for nearly a millennium, though admittedly it was her own fault. The end of "City of Stone" reveals how much she hates being alone, and how deeply in denial she is about her own culpability in her own fate.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: The gargoyles themselves have skin colors across the spectrum; Oberon and Titania also have blue and teal skin, respectively. Word of God is that the giving the King and Queen of the Third Race a realistic skin color, when the Third Race was comprised of gods from all over the world, would have had Unfortunate Implications no matter what skin color it was, which justifies this trope in Oberon's and Titania's case.
- Ambiguously Gay: Lexington, done intentionally by Word of God, who has stated that Lexington would eventually have realized that he was homosexual, but likewise acknowledged it would probably never get mentioned in the series because of its content.
- Ambiguously Jewish: In "Golem", which features an accurate retelling of the story of The Golem of Prague and both written and spoken Hebrew, nobody mentions the words "Jew," "Judaism," or "Jewish" even once. Instead, they refer to "our people" and "our community," never actually identifying their people by name.
- Also, no one wears a yarmulke or any sort of head covering at any point in the story, even when conducting Jewish rituals
- Amplifier Artifact: The Eye of Odin.
- Ancient Astronaut: Nokkar, whose appearance inspired the Easter Island moai.
- Amusement Park of Doom: Figures in the episode "The Reckoning".
- Anachronism Stew: Much of the technology, from stone castles in 10th-century Scotland to Laser Guns and Powered Armor in 20th-century New York, is several decades or even centuries ahead of its time.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Illuminati show up and, of course, Xanatos is a member. A lower echelon member, which should tell you something about the clout wielded by his superiors.
- And I Must Scream: Being mind-controlled is apparently like this, judging by Goliath's comments in "Temptation" and Brooklyn's comments in "Possession." They were both fully aware of what was going on and what Demona and Iago respectively forced them to do, even though they were powerless to stop it.
- And the Adventure Continues: The end of the SLG comic book series where the Clan just doubled in population, suggesting a bright future, and the whole gang takes off to do some villain butt kicking.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: When Gillecomgain reports to Duncan that Findlaech is dead in "City of Stone, Part One", Duncan is ecstatic at the news: "Bring food and drink! This is cause for celebration!"
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: A few examples:
- The members of the Pack are all canine-based supervillains. Some of which, gradually moved from Type II (Animal Alias) to type I (Animal Ability) through certain means.
- Elisa's brother was eventually turned into a panther-like creature, making him a Type II as well.
- Since Xanatos wore a suit of Power Armor to resemble the "mythological" gargoyle, he would be a Type III (Mythical Monster Motif).
- Also, the London clan all resemble animals (Una, Leo, and Griff), while some of the New Olympians (such as Taurus) do as well.
- Animation Bump: Periodically. Standouts include "Awakening", "The Mirror", "M.I.A.", "Future Tense", "The Price" and "Seeing Isn't Believing", the last of which was the only episode animated by Walt Disney Television Australia and as such looked and moved much better than the rest of the series in general.
- Animesque: In some parts.
- Anti-Villain: Much of the Rogues Gallery actually, with a handful of exceptions.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Said by one of the Japanese gargoyles, "Gargoyle must never fight gargoyle!"
- Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder: The Weird Sisters, who all take the same form at the same time, appearing as a trio of creepy little girls, old crones, aged female gargoyles, or voluptuous young 20-somethings, as befits who they are speaking to at the time, though they can still be told apart apart by hair color (blonde, black, white). The little girls are seen by the Manhattan clan, the old crones are seen by Macbeth and Duncan, and the old gargoyle hags are seen by Demona. Meanwhile the 20-somethings are their preferred form, seen by the audience and other Children of Oberon as well as any characters not implied to see them differently (although humans will see them in period/job appropriate attire). Word of God has stated that only the Third Race and the audience ever see them for what they truly are.
- The Apprentice: In the comics, Gillecomgain (the first Hunter) was this to Constantine.
- Arm Cannon: The Steel Clan, Xanatos' Power Armor, and Coldstone all have retractable particle-beam emitters built into their arms.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Done in Part 4 of City of Stone, which leads to Demona's defining Tear Jerker moment of the series.
- Also Hudson in The Price towards Xanatos; after being held captive by the villain for most of the episode in an attempt by Xanatos to become immortal, Hudson frees himself and has this parting comment for him (notably causing one of the few times in the series Xanatos actually seems genuinely affected by criticism):
"A friendly word of advice. True immortality isn't about living forever, man; it's about what you do with the time you have. When all your scheming's done, what will be your legacy, Xanatos?"
- In "Temptation", Demona questions Brooklyn for believing Goliath that humans will eventually accept them.
Demona: They were used to us centuries ago. Did that stop them from betraying us and destroying our clan?
[Brooklyn solemnly lowers his head]
- Artistic License: Most of the myths are altered for the plot.
- Artistic License – History: Castle Wyvern, a 14th century style concentric castle, and other such fortifications, in 10th century Scotland, where the motte and bailey was start of the art.
- Ascended Extra: Lots, which was a hallmark of the series. The series had a reliable stable of background characters who originally appeared as one-off extras, but kept coming back - the jogger, Brendon and Margot, Vinnie, etc. The Archmage was originally a one-shot villain, but David Warner's performance motivated Weisman into bringing him back as a greater threat. One of the more long-running examples is Officer Morgan. Keith David's performance gave depth to an otherwise generic character, leading to him being used often as the series progressed.
- Asshole Victim: Almost everyone at Castle Wyvern when the vikings finally overran them - most if not all of the people who lived there except for young farm boy Tom and the Captain of the Guard and the King absolutely hated the gargoyles despite the fact that they were the backbone of their entire defense strategy, Princess Katherine hated them from childhood and talked trash about them despite all they did for her and her people, the Magus encouraged her bigotry towards them, the castle soldiers tried to take credit for victories that technically belonged to the gargoyles, etc. You really can't feel THAT bad for Princess Katherine and her people when their Laser-Guided Karma catches up to them.
- Of course, Katherine and the Magus tried to atone for their bigotry later on.
- The Atoner: The Magus, Princess Katharine, the Captain's ghost, Yama, and Robyn Canmore.
- Audible Sharpness
- Author Appeal: Weisman is a self-described Shakespeare nut (emphasis on "nut"). Hence Puck, Macbeth, the Weird Sisters, Titania, Oberon...
- At no time, however, does he simply play these characters straight. Puck's nature is balanced by Owen, Macbeth has more in common with his historical than literary namesake, the Weird Sisters are utterly inscrutable rather than necessarily evil though Word of God implies they may be the series' true Big Bad, and Titania and Oberon have reversed their traditional roles, with Oberon being vastly more powerful between the two. Even the implied Othello/Coldstone connection is subverted.
- Also redheads since Everyone Wants Redheads.
- Avenging the Villain: The reason behind Duncan's attack on Demona (who helped Macbeth kill Gillecomgain) and Canmore's war against Macbeth and Demona (who "murdered" Duncan and cheated Canmore out of his inheritance).
- Ax-Crazy: Jackal and Hyena at the very least. Demona gets her own killing spree in "City of Stone".
- Badass Cape: As seen in the picture, Goliath's wings become one of these when furled.
- Most of the other Gargoyles as well, except for Lex (his wings are directly attached to his arms and legs) and Bronx (who has no wings at all). The mutates could also do this.
- Badass Crew: Most prominently the Manhattan Clan, though other gargoyle clans qualify as well.
- Badass Normal: Elisa, Bluestone, Xanatos, and the hunters
- Subverted with Tony Dracon, who talks tough but whimpers quickly whenever the gargoyles show.
- Bad Future: "Future Tense" which includes the obligatory Future Badass depictions.
- Implied with Timedancer and Gargoyles 2198, both of which imply a future so dark that Demona's one of the good guys, with relatively little change in character.
- Baleful Polymorph: Initially, the first batch of mutates, including Derek Maza/Talon but excluding Fang.
- Puck, after Oberon traps him in the form of Owen Burnett, except when he is training or protecting Alexander Xanatos.
- Barbarian Tribe: The Vikings.
- Barehanded Blade Block: An Establishing Character Moment for Goliath and gargoyles in general in very first episode: no, he's not truly invincible, he can bleed... but he's still really freaking tough.
- Bare Your Midriff: Lady Titania, Demona, Angela in the comic, and Hyena when she becomes an android. Elisa also sports the look in "The Mirror" and "Protection".
- Bastard Understudy: Thailog was one to Xanatos, but by the time of his first onscreen appearance, he's ready to go his own way.
- Batman Cold Open: In "City of Stone."
- Batman Gambit: Demona tries this twice against Elisa and the Manhattan Clan, first in "Long Way to Morning" and then in "High Noon." They both fail. Xanatos himself uses these on a regular basis, often as part of his gambits
- Macbeth tries to use one in Enter Macbeth against Demona. He captures the rest of the Gargoyles, expecting her to come to their rescue. Goliath pointed out that she basically hated her former clan right now and wouldn't be coming, enraging Macbeth.
- Duncan used one to play Macbeth and Gillecomgain against each other in "City of Stone," hoping that Gillecomgain would end up killing Macbeth. It didn't work.
- Angela pulls a combination of this and Stop, or I Shoot Myself! on Goliath during "Eye of the Storm" to convince him to take off the Eye of Odin.
- Battle Amongst the Flames: In "Enter Macbeth", "Leader of the Pack," "Double Jeopardy," and "The Reckoning."
- Battle Butler: Owen Burnett and Preston Vogel.
- BEARS Are Bad News: Raven sent a huge bear after Elisa. Also, Odin took the form of a bear and attacked Goliath.
- Beast and Beauty: Goliath and Elisa, which is lampshaded in "Eye of the Beholder" where Elisa is dressed up as Belle.
- Beautiful All Along: Goliath realizes this about Elisa after seeing her transformed into a gargoyle in "The Mirror":
Goliath: "I never realized just how beautiful you are."
Elisa: "*chuckle* Are you saying you thought I was ugly?"
Goliath: "Uh, well, that—Careful, updraft!"
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The Aesop of "The Mirror".
"Did you say that
human, or that human?
Oh, never mind, I'll figure it out..."
- Because Destiny Says So:
- "Avalon doesn't take you where you want to go! Avalon sends you where you need to be!"
- This trope also applies to anybody who uses the Phoenix Gate to go back in time, because of the resulting Stable Time Loop. (In other words, "Because History Says So".)
- Becoming the Mask: The reason Dingo does a full Heel-Face Turn after parting company with the rest of the Pack — he found he missed being regarded as a hero back when he'd only play-acted one, and wanted to try doing it for real.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: When describing Brooklyn and Katana's relationship in Timedancer, Greg Weisman mentioned Sam and Diane. No one got it. Then he mentioned Beatrice and Benedick. That one people got, which should tell you a lot about the kind of fans this show has.
- Berserk Button: They all have one, and you do not want to push it.
- Unlike most series, however, we see the origins of each.
- After losing so many of his clan members, Goliath becomes fiercely protective of all those whom he considers as part of his clan. And judging by the way he treated the guy who turned Elisa's brother into a mutant, you better not mess with his clan's clan, either, because he certainly minds.
- After Broadway shoots Elisa, he's angrily hateful of guns being used by criminals, noticeably destroying any he gets his hands on.
- Lexington was a fan of the Pack, and took their betrayal and subsequent Face-Heel Turn extremely personally.
- Never Touch Alex Xanatos if Lex is present, it's not good for your health.
- After Brooklyn falls for one of Demona's manipulations, he spends much of the remaining series holding back rage whenever she shows up. After he becomes Goliath's second, he learns to curb the hate, but Brooklyn's clearly almost homicidal in some scenes. Ironically this may be partially his own fault, as he later finds, having gotten one of Demona's clans massacred in his future and her past. If anything, it's surprising there's not more animosity between the two.
- Demona, for her part, exists solely in this state, as she's genocidal and bitterly given over to her own exile from the other gargoyles. Elisa does tend to drive her to blind fury, however. Thailog uses this to twist the knife in his betrayal of Demona late in the series, when he reveals that Delilah's a clone of both Demona and Elisa.
- Macbeth's hatred for Demona leads him to his only dark acts in the series, and is so great that not even the Weird Sisters' combined magic can hold it back for long. Ironically, Macbeth is also the sole exception to Demona's genocidal hate, as his death at her hands would kill her, too.
- Angela's button may have been Demona, too, but the series was canceled before she had much interaction with anyone other than the core Manhattan Clan.
- Notably, Hudson does not have a Berserk Button, though many people try to find one over the series.
- Not to say any of the Clan are super-loving of Xanatos, but Elisa in particular has trouble warming up to him after what he did to her brother. She seems to be quite protective and close with her family, which may be justified since it's implied she's the eldest sibling.
- Even Xanatos has one. He's perpetually suave and in control, so whenever someone manages to pierce his facade, he's visibly ticked. Hudson in The Price when he figures out that Xanatos is secretly terrified of aging, Goliath in The Eye of The Beholder discovering his love for Fox, and Petros in Vows when he hands his son a single penny, since money is all he cares about are all notable examples of someone breaking through Xanatos' shell and his subsequent reaction to it. Oberon, too, unleashes Xanatos' inner Papa Wolf.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Broadway is potentially one of the most intimidating of the Manhattan clan.
- Lexington also fits, the little guy gets pretty pissed when his trust is betrayed. There's also the Twist Ending of 'Future Tense'
- Jon Canmore was originally the nicest of the Canmore siblings, before he became Castaway.
- Bluestone's former partner in the FBI, who supports Bluestone unconditionally as a friend, while simultaneously trying to help him get over his obsession? He's an Illuminatus.
- Big Applesauce: Played with a bit during the Avalon World Tour, but even so, all the really weird stuff happens in Manhattan.
- Big Bad: Xanatos toward the start, but his partner Demona eventually overtook him in this role. She even planned to kill the entire human race with a magically amplified virus in the Hunter's Moon story arc.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Xanatos and Demona for about the first third of the series — they wind up going their separate ways when it becomes painfully obvious that their goals, methods, and personalities are simply not compatible.
- Big Damn Heroes: At least once every episode.
- Big Eater: Broadway
- Bigger Bad: The Illuminati Society as a whole; a group of chessmasters so skilled and influential that Xanatos is at the bottom of their hierarchy, but they're only directly involved in one episode and indirectly in a handful of others. The comic continuation indicates that they would have ended up in a more central role had the series continued.
- Big Guy Rodeo: Attempted on the mecha gargoyles. Doesn't work too well.
- Big "NO!": Demona upon being cursed to turn into a human during the day.
- Several others too, Goliath being the most prominent.
- Big "WHAT?!": This exchange after the Hunters blew up the clock tower:
Elisa: Goliath, please... Let the law handle this.
Goliath: The law?! What about justice?!
Elisa: Look I’m sorry, but you don’t want justice, you want vengeance.
Brooklyn: She’s right Goliath.
- Bilingual Bonus: The various spells are in Latin, and actually say what they accomplish, and one episode actually includes correct Hebrew, both written and spoken. The "spell" in Hebrew, allowing a human to possess a golem, translates as something like "My soul should enter the body of earth".
- Some of the Latin spells are grammatically incorrect. "Omnes conspecti, omnes auditi" is translated in the show itself as "all who see this, all who hear this," but in reality it means "all who have been seen, all who have been heard." In other words, the passive voice was used when the active voice should've been.
- The Japanese gargoyle town is called Ishimura. . .which means "Stone Village." Very appropriate!
- Anyone who knows the French word for fox guessed pretty quickly that a couple minor characters from season one were vastly more significant than they appeared, and were likely related.
- Blasting It out of Their Hands: In the "Bad Guys" spinoff, Robyn does it to Dingo, Dingo and Matrix do it to Sevarius, and Pistol does it to Robyn. Doll does something similar to Fang, throwing a knife to knock away his gun.
- Blind and the Beast: Hudson's friendship with Jeffrey Robbins is the non-romantic version of this.
- Blind Black Guy: Jeffrey Robbins.
- Bloodless Carnage: Played straight and averted, in the first episode Goliath bleeds after a Barehanded Blade Block just to establish the fact that the gargoyles are flesh and blood and not invulnerable. The gargoyles and other characters are shown bleeding other times throughout the series.
- Bloodstained Glass Windows: The final battle between Demona, the Hunters, and the Manhattan Clan in "Hunter's Moon" takes place in a cathedral, as does the battle between Demona and the Hunters' father in the flashback. The Cloisters where Brooklyn fights Demona in "Temptation" may count as well, since its architecture was inspired by that of medieval churches even though it isn't a church itself.
- Book Ends: The first and last episodes of the Avalon World Tour, "Shadows of the Past" and "Future Tense", both show Goliath returning to what he believes to be his home, and being subjected to nightmarish visions. And in both of them, the beings who subject him to those visions slip up, and Goliath realizes just in time that his visions aren't real.
- Boomerang Bigot: Played with a twist by Demona. She wants to Kill All Humans for nearly wiping out her species, but when she asks Literal Genie Puck to make her immune to daylight petrification (as gargoyles do), he grants her request by making her turn into a human from dawn to dusk every day. Notably, this doesn't stop her — instead, it just lets her find more ways of reaching her goals, since she can now blend in with her "enemies" undetected. Throughout the serids she easily takes to human society and tools, such as human sorcery and technology, even before she gained her human transformation curse. She even started her own freaking company (named Nightstone)! For all of her hatred towards humans, Demona fits in far more with human civilization than she does with her fellow gargoyles.
- Boring Return Journey: Averted. After their quest on Avalon, it took months of wacky adventuring before Goliath and co return to Manhattan. Goliath went as far as to refuse Renard's offer to fly straight to Manhattan.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the comic continuation, a time-travelling Brooklyn directly addresses the audience in regards to his ignorance about Scottish history:
- Breakout Character: Goliath and Demona and others shouldn't be shafted, but there's a reason David Xanatos has two tropes named after him.
- Broad Strokes: The backstory of the Stone of Destiny works because of a combination of this and Unreliable Narrator. ("The story is told, though who can say if it be true?")
- Brother-Sister Incest: Averted, despite whatever people on the internet keep whispering. Gargoyles regard all their rookery-mates as siblings, and they tend to mate among their rookery-mates, but rookery-siblings are exactly that: gargoyles from the same rookery (Locale where eggs are stored and hatched). They were, essentially, just birthed in the same hospital at the same time, not actually blood relations. Any literal applications of this trope have been Jossed, since gargoyle couples usually have only one egg in each generation. Scent markers prevent Kissing Cousins.
- However, for the human characters, Jackal and Hyena are a little too close for some fans. Others don't mind too much, and it's established that Hyena's specifically into roboticization kinks — as Coyote gets less and less human over the series, she gets more attracted to him — which would imply her brother may qualify, too. Word of God, however, is that Jackal isn't Hyena's type.
- Bullying a Dragon: When common thugs are not running away at the sight of gargoyles or other gifted beings, they try to fight them instead. This usually doesn't turn out too well for them.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Demona truly has no idea why that guy(s) with the striped mask want(s) her dead. Not that she would care much if she did know. In a deleted scene of the finale, it's revealed that even the modern day Hunters do not know how the feud began. They just know that it's their destiny to hunt and kill gargoyles.
- Subverted with Macbeth when Canmore waylays him. At first Macbeth doesn't recognize the full-grown prince (since he was only a boy when Macbeth banished him to England), but after he introduces himself as Canmore, Macbeth does remember him.
- Played straight with the identity of the Hunter in City of Stone, as Demona'd not seen one in decades, and had thought she ended the line. It was a trick by Macbeth, as he knew Demona'd never suspect it was him under the mask. While he's perfectly willing to kill Demona to end their curse, she normally wouldn't reciprocate.
- But Not Too Foreign: The protagonists in the Castle Wyvern clan all hail from Scotland, but only one of them (Hudson) actually speaks with a Scottish accent. The rest of them speak with American accents, even before they make the move to Manhattan.
- It might be noted that none of them would've even spoken English—in the tenth century, Scotland was a patchwork of languages, and they would spoken an archaic dialect of either Gaelic (most probable), Pictish or Cumbrian, depending on where they were, with Goliath probably knowing some Latin, since he reads. Even in England at the time, they spoke Old English, which is completely incomprehensible to a speaker of the modern tongue.
- By-the-Book Cop: Captain Chavez.
- Cain and Abel: Iago/Coldsteel and Othello/Coldstone.
- Call Back: "Hunter's Moon" is full of Call Backs, mostly to the first season.
"Would you prefer I lost on purpose?"
"I'd fire you if you did." Shari and Thailog, in the comic continuation.
- Canon Discontinuity: The entire third season except for the very first episode, "The Journey," never happened according to Word of God (Weisman). To enforce this, "The Journey" was included as the beginning of the recent Gargoyles comic books, solidifying its canon status, followed by the rest of the comic books contradicting the third season.
- They also imported one additional scene from TGC: Where Robbins reveals that he'd figured out Hudson was a gargoyle before he could tell him.
- In a sense; Word of God has specified multiple times that this was always the direction they were intending to bring Robbins' and Hudson's relationship. Greg Weisman did, however, borrow a (slightly altered) version of one fan-favorite line of dialogue from that scene, as "a nice tribute to all the hard work that the TGC crew put in, with little thanks or reward." Weisman may be a hard-liner on declaring Canon Discontinuity, but he's also a notoriously Nice Guy.
- Much of the events of Future Tense are implied to be just a story told by an Unreliable Narrator. Said Unreliable Narrator, however, is Dangerously Genre Savvy and easily has the ability to see the future, so it's difficult to say for certain.
- Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: Demona and Macbeth are a non-romantic twist on this trope, with Demona being the loner type who was forced against her will into a relationship of sorts with Macbeth; they utterly hate each other, but if one of them kills the other, they both will die permanently. Which, at one point, was exactly what Macbeth wanted before Goliath and the Weird Sisters persuaded him otherwise.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Rare, but there are a few. Thailog is more or less aware of the fact he's a monster and a scary bastard... and he revels in it. Proteus is also intent on wreaking havoc on the New Olympus Island simply for the amusement of doing so, and the Quarrymen in the third season pull traps on the Manhattan Clan, where either street thugs or themselves pretend to attack innocent women, acknowledging the Manhattan Clan's heroic and upstanding tendencies. Xanatos himself notably lampshades the trope, when he asks Goliath and Angela how well he's pulling off his first attempt at "clichéd villainy", in the episode "Cloud Fathers".
- In their one appearance in season 3, Jackal & Hyena explicitly refer to the side they're on as evil.
- Cast from Hit Points: Any spellcaster on the island of Avalon can draw upon its magical power, at the cost of their own health if they're not Children of Oberon. The Magus exhausts himself to death by attempting this. Word of God states that the Magus is dead, and his sacrifice would never be cheapened by bringing him back.
- Cast Herd
- Casting Gag: The Star Trek actors voicing most of the villains or trickster characters.
- Cat Fight: Between Elisa and Demona in "High Noon". Coldstone and Macbeth lampshade it:
Coldstone: "Well, this is diverting."
Macbeth: "You don't know the half of it."
- Cat Girl: Maggie, one of the mutates. Though in this case, she is outnumbered by catBOYs 3:1. Also counts as Cute Monster Girl or even Petting Zoo Person.
- Character Development: Characters repeatedly realize the consequences of their actions and grow from experiences:
- Broadway grows from being a gluttonous illiterate goof to a studious amateur detective. And don't forget the aforementioned episodes about firearms. Brooklyn grows from a simple hotshot kid to a capable, if romantically frustrated, leader with a flair for tactics. There is a lot of subtle character development with Goliath and Elisa as they slowly become closer. Hudson learns to age gracefully and appreciate his golden years. Xanatos and Fox learn to love and not be quite so evil, and that you probably shouldn't betray valuable allies for short-term gain. And Lexington becomes less naive (and more paranoid, unfortunately).
- Hey, not all development is for the good guys! At any rate, a lot of the development was also tied into various episodes and arcs rather than the usual route of being standalone episodes designed solely for development. Hudson and Xanatos have quite the conversation about getting old during one of his (relatively) smaller plots... which changes -both- of them. Several minor supporting characters also get notable changes, like Derek Maza and Tom and Mary.
- Goliath goes through some interesting character development from the Avalon World Tour as well. For example, back in "City of Stone" he said "Death is never the answer; life is!" But when the Emir took this statement to its logical conclusion in "Grief," and his imprisonment of Anubis meant that nobody could die (and if death really never is the answer, is that a bad thing?) Goliath realized that preventing anyone from dying is just as bad as killing them, and he fought to break the binding spell and free Anubis.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: The Grimorum Arcanorum, the Eye of Odin, and the Phoenix Gate. All three are important for an episode or two, all three are (separately) taken from Xanatos by Goliath, all three taken by the Weird Sisters and given to the Archmage, and two of them ( the Grimorum is destroyed) prove significant in later episodes before Goliath gets rid of them for one reason or another. Then the Phoenix Gate returns again in the comics.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Preston Vogel sure looks familiar, doesn't he? It's actually a subversion. Owen is based on Vogel, rather than any direct tie from Vogel to Owen.
- The Weird Sisters embody this better than anyone in the series, as their motives are never remotely clear. Word of God implies that the sisters manipulated Archmage, Demona, and Macbeth all far more extensively than any of them realize, and they may have been the series' ultimate Big Bad.
- The Chessmaster: Xanatos usually claims this role.
- Chess Motifs: In "Upgrade," the battle between the Manhattan Clan and the Pack is represented as a chess game between Fox and Xanatos. Granted, that battle does break the rules of chess...
- Chocolate of Romance: Broadway gives Angela a box of chocolates (or, to be more exact, what's left of them) shortly after introducing himself to her. They later become mates.
- The Clan
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Finella suspects Constantine has a thing for Princess Katherine simply after seeing him toast to her at dinner the day she arrived after a long journey. She turns out to be right, as Constantine is a scumbag who did later flirt with Katherine, but it was fairly shoddy evidence she used to stake him out.
- Clock Tower: Located atop the NYPD's 23rd District headquarters, and site of the gargoyles' second home.
- Cold Sleep, Cold Future: Not only do Goliath and the Manhattan Clan remain in stone sleep for a thousand years (i.e. Cold Sleep), but when they wake up, Goliath quickly comes to the conclusion that 1994 Manhattan is just as savage as 994 Scotland was (i.e. Cold Future).
- Color Me Black: Fantastic Racism variant- in one episode Demona summons and binds Puck and forces him to grant her various wishes, which he delights in twisting because he doesn't like her. One of her wishes is to be able to move about freely during the day, when gargoyles normally turn to stone- which Puck grants by causing her to turn human during the day instead. For those uninitiated with the series, Demona craves the extinction of all humanity.
- Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit: Xanatos' coin trick in Vows is in the spirit of the trope, if not the letter: Xanatos doesn't gain any interest on the coin, but its antique and historic value goes up over 1,000 years. "It's practically worthless now, in 975 A.D... but by 1975, it should be worth... oh about twenty grand?"
- Continuity Nod: Frequent, and well done. When particular villains return (The Pack, Demona, and Dracon) gargoyles who have been specifically slighted by them (Lexington, Brooklyn, and Broadway, respectively) are more incensed and determined than the others. When King Arthur (Yes, that King Arthur) is attacked by Macbeth (Yes, that Macbeth) he recognizes him and calls out his name, but Macbeth expresses confusion and asks if they me have met; when they had met, Macbeth was being manipulated and later had his memory erased. The show remembers who did what and when, and keeps it all straight.
- Convection Schmonvection: In the episode "Ill Met By Moonlight".
- Conveniently Cellmates: When the pack are in prison, Fox and Hyena are sharing a cell, as are Wolf and Jackal.
- Cool Big Sis: Elisa Maza, is the older sister of Derek Maza, Beth Maza, and acts like an older sister to the young trio of the Manhattan Clan.
- Cool Old Guy: Hudson, Jeffrey Robbins, Petros Xanatos, and Halcyon Renard.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Xanatos, though not anywhere nearly as large as expected given his primarily antagonistic role in the series; his biggest venture into this arena (Which he actually lampshades as his first attempt at "Clichéd Villainy") was when he planned to destroy a Native American carving that was on the land he had leased for corporate practices. A more classic example would be Preston Vogel, who was operating a clear-cutting logging site in the Guatemalan rain forest in the episode "The Green" without any consent from Halcyon Renard, who also had hired ex-members of the Pack as security to kill off the local gargoyles that were opposing the logging. Similarly, Demona/Dominique Destine uses her company, Nightstone Unlimited mostly to support and fund her genocidal efforts.
- CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): A bit more justified than usual, as Elisa just needed to resuscitate Angela long enough to get her to sunrise.
- Creepy Crows: Raven is one of Oberon's Children and a more malicious version of the Native American trickster hero, able to change into a human, raven, or raven-headed gargoyle.
- Crossover: A crossover with Atlantis The Lost Empire was fully recorded in audio but never actually animated or aired (It's still considered canonical in Broad Strokes).
- It seems to be referenced in the comic book with a scene featuring Demona returning St. Daminan's Cathedral and removing what looks a lot like an Atlantean energy crystal from the broken fragments of the Praying Gargoyle.
- Likewise, a Radioplay written by the head honcho himself for the final Gathering was a crossover with The Spectacular Spider-Man. While not canonical, the events fit in fine with both continuities. At the moment.
- Well...it fits fine in Gargoyles continuity if you pretend Clan Building took place in 2008.
- Crossover Cosmology: All the gods and many of the fantastical creatures of ancient myths exist in one form or another. The various pantheons are linked to each other in a huge feudal system with Shakespeare's Oberon, of all people, on top. Greg Weisman is a huge Shakespeare nut.note
- Curse Escape Clause: The gargoyle protagonists had been cursed to sleep as stone until their castle rose above the clouds. Xanatos broke the curse by relocating their castle on top of his skyscraper. In fact, several spells have similar riddle-like ways of breaking them, such as a spell that would turn people to stone "until the sky burns."
- Word of God said that it is an actual rule of magic in this universe; adding an escape clause is not required, but it makes the magic much easier to cast. Fair folk like Oberon and Puck are powerful enough they do not really need to worry about it, as is an incredibly powerful human sorcerer like the Archmage, but for someone like the Magus or Demona, being able to save on your energy is very important.
- It helps that the Curse Escape Clauses are worded rather vaguely, and thus open to loose interpretation. The Gargoyles' curse only said "the clouds" so Xanatos raising Castle Wyvern above the cumulus layer of clouds, but not the cirrus layer, is enough to do the job. Similarly, "until the sky burns" apparently does not necessarily mean the entire sky, so only burning the atmosphere above Manhattan is enough to cure even those hypothetical victims outside of the city from the "stone at night" curse.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: David Xanatos averts this. He probably rivals Scrooge McDuck as the wealthiest Disney character of all time, and he doesn't hesitate to make a buck off of his vast intellect. He only spends money on his plans when he can't get what he wants by buying it outright.
- Cute Ghost Girl: The Banshee.
- Cute Monster Girl: All female gargoyles shown in the TV series were sexy winged humanoids, except for Una, who resembled an anthropomorphic unicorn and so didn't exactly break the stereotype. Male gargoyles, however, included a much wider variety of body types; the comic continuation eventually introduced Constance (Coco), a heavyset female who resembles a wild sow, and Brooklyn's mate Katana (whom most of the fandom * thought* would be a CMG) was shown to have a beak.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Hyena and Jackal get more Ax-Crazy than they already were after they become cyborgs. Contrast Dingo, who refused to alter his body via implants and who eventually did a Heel-Face Turn.
- Though Hyena was willing to kill her long-time, er, friend equivalent and leader just because the latter stopped Hyena from killing a prison guard before the cybernetic upgrades, so at least in her case, the rising insanity may be entirely unrelated to the bodywork. It may simply have made it easier to inflict pain (probably the whole reason they got the upgrade) so they have even less restraint.
- Jackal seems to think they're unrelated. When Hyena shows an interest in mecha-Coyote, Jackal's comment is of mild disgust, but absolutely no surprise.
- Halcyon Renard had a similar experience with the Golem, though he wasn't really in a cybernetic body, and if anything, he was simply playing around and causing amusing destruction in the body of the Golem.
- Also, the more Coyote gets upgraded, the less humanlike his frame gets. Then again, he/it was never a human to begin with, and probably never had a soul to eat.
- Then again, Anubis had dominion over Coyote, too, implying Coyote was alive in some sense.
- "Grief" implies that Anubis' powers hold over the passage of time on subjects organic or otherwise; note how his energy reduced a city in the distance to ruin, complete with dilapidated buildings.
- And partially averted with Coldstone, as the insanity was due to an evil Third Wheel battling for control inside. Then the series turns right back around and plays it straight again with Future Lex.
- Cycle of Revenge: One of the major themes of the "City of Stone" arc, and to a lesser extent, of the entire series. Also, the main theme of the "Hunter's Moon" finale.
- Notably averted by Xanatos, who considers revenge "a sucker's game." Then again, he never really loses, so he never has to make things personal... or was it the other way around?
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster : Tony Dracon and his mob of men, his partner Glasses, and rival Tomas Brod.
- Dark Action Girl: Demona, Hyena, and (prior to their turn to good) Fox and Robyn Canmore.
- Darker and Edgier: Though the show itself generally didn't shy away from some dark elements, the comic continuation (and especially Bad Guys) gets away with quite a lot of graphic violence that would never have made it into the show, including Goliath getting stabbed in the stomach, a person committing suicide by hanging herself, Yama being impaled and Dingo's mother being strangled to death on-panel. (Also the occasional profanity.)
- Dating Catwoman: Goliath and Demona pretty much in the beginning of the first season.
- David Versus Goliath: In a literal sense (and inverted), with hero Goliath fighting David Xanatos.
- Played with to the extreme. Goliath really is the taller, stronger man, using brute strength to win fights. David is the shorter, smarter man, using his brains to conquer his foes. In the middle ages, brute strength and direct power ran supreme. However, in the modern age, in an age of computers, stocks, and science, the genius is the one with the power.
- Deadpan Snarker: Xanatos, Owen Burnett, and Preston Vogel have their moments of this.
- The Weird Sisters have a few moments of this too, such as at Gillecomgain's and Gruoch's wedding: "A happy beginning." "Not all would agree." "Certainly not our hero."
- Death Seeker: This is why Macbeth is after Demona in his early appearances (well, this plus revenge) — only by killing or being killed by Demona can he lose his immortality.
- Death Takes a Holiday: Albeit a forced one, in "Grief".
- An interesting case, because Greg Weisman later went on to say that he regretted not actually doing anything with the concept; the Pack never tried to kill the characters during Anubis' imprisonment, so audiences only had the Emir's word that death was null during that space of time.
- Executive Meddling would've almost certainly prevented it. How do you show this in Disney cartoon?
- Easy. Show somebody doing something that would normally cause their death but have them not die. The problem would be if the idea was to have someone die but here the idea is to not have anyone die, even in circumstances that would normally cause a death.
- Death Wail/The Scream: Goliath at the end of the first episode. The "City of Stone" flashbacks reveal that Demona did the same thing only a few minutes earlier.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Done in the episode "Pendragon" between Macbeth and King Arthur after Arthur defeats Macbeth to reclaim Excalibur.
Arthur: "No king can lead without his knights. You have fought a good fight, I would have you with me."
Macbeth: "I have been a King too long to serve any man. But if you ever need me to stand by your side, I will come."
- Depopulation Bomb: What Demona creates in "Hunter's Moon."
- Description Cut: "Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell." Cut to a demolition crewman walking through the courtyard of Castle Wyvern in huge robotic boots.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: More like "Did Xanatos Just Shoot The King of the Gods and Faeries?"
- Disability Superpower: About a quarter of the way through season 2 Owen Burnett's left forearm gets turn to stone (long story). This is a pretty crippling transformation but remember, Owen is a blackbelt, having a fist literally made of rock only makes him better in a fight, to the point he's able to take on Goliath with a quick jab to the ribs.
- This is also inherent in the rules of (human) magic: You need to be able to see and hear a spell being cast for it to affect you directly, so those who are unable to see and/or hear have greater resistance to magic than most. Jeffrey Robbins demonstrates this most clearly in "City of Stone." It is possible to override this resistance through an Amplifier Artifact or Avalonian magic, as the Roman Magus and Puck demonstrate in the Backstory and "The Mirror" respectively, though.
- Disney Villain Death
- Played straight the first time with the Archmage, but later averted by the same character, whose future self very visibly melted on-camera when he could no longer control the power of the Grimorum inside himself.
- Downplayed with Duncan. When Macbeth tosses Selene's Orb at Duncan, it blows out his eyes and mouth, and sets him on fire...and then he falls off a cliff.
- Was absolutely hilariously lampshaded by the crew during the commentary...with very nearly the same words!
- Also played straight in the pilot with Hakon and the traitorous captain, though the typical intention of keeping the hero from being responsible for the villain's death is subverted: Goliath immediately expresses his outrage that he did not get to kill them himself, bellowing, "I've been denied everything... EVEN MY REVENGE!"
- Sevarius just laughs at this trope.
- Does Not Like Shoes: The Gargoyles, due to their clawed feet. Even the few who use more clothes than a loincloth still go barefoot.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Broadway is not a fan of firearms. This actually grew out of an episode of the show, where his enthusiasm for TV Westerns went too far and he played with and accidentally shot Elisa with her service pistol. For many episodes thereafter he happily crushed or broke every firearm he could get his claws on.
- It's not so much that he hates guns per se, but that he doesn't like them to be mishandled and/or used to hurt people. He seems to recognize their usefulness but prefers them in the hands of responsible people (don't we all). It's guns in the hands of human scumbags like Tony Dracon's thugs that really ticks him off.
- Don't Fear the Reaper: Anubis seems like a decent enough guy just doing his job.
The Emir: Hear me, guardian of the gate, I demand a favor!
Anubis: I grant but one boon, mortal, and it will be given to you as it is given to everyone; when your time has come.
The Emir: You took from me my only son, Anubis. Two years ago, in a pointless car accident.
Anubis: Death is always pointless. That is the point.
The Emir: Don't toy with me, jackal god! I want my son back! I will make you give him back!
Anubis: What you ask is unthinkable. Your son has passed. Let him rest. Death comes to us all.
- Downer Beginning: The Wyvern Massacre in the pilot episode, "Awakening" (Part One). Since it takes place at the end of that particular episode, it may also qualify as a...
- Downer Ending: In addition to (possibly) the above example, we also have "Metamorphosis" and "Vows". "City of Stone" nudges close to this with Demona, and "Grief" can at best be said to end just narrowly shy of breaking even.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: (Spanish) Latin American dubbers didn't take into account that the gargoyles didn't have names in the past. It is mentioned in the first episodes, but afterwards you seem them using those names during the flashbacks of Scotland. Also, the first time the gang saw Demona in Manhattan, she is called by that name (Demona), even when five minutes later she receives the dialogue "Humans have given me a new name. It's Demona!".
- Dramatic Irony: Several examples...
- In "Awakening, Part Two," Goliath asks the Magus and Katharine to take care of the eggs, and they agree to do so. Later, in "City of Stone, Part One," it is revealed that Demona had seen the Magus and Katharine taking the eggs out of the rookery, and she couldn't possibly have overheard Goliath asking them to do so... but she doesn't even try to stop them from "stealing" the eggs anyway.
- The Canmore family's vendetta against Demona is particularly ironic considering that only Macbeth can kill her. Apparently they've never worked out the immortality angle.
- Pretty much the entire backstory of "City of Stone" is full of Dramatic Irony; Findlaech's pledge of loyalty to Duncan, Duncan's order to kill Findlaech to keep Macbeth from becoming king, Macbeth's willingness to save Duncan's life on the assumption that Duncan would have saved his, Demona eavesdropping on just enough of Macbeth's conversation to conclude that Macbeth will probably betray her (when he had no intention of betraying her)...
- Eating Optional: Dr. Sevarius surmised that Gargoyles must absorb solar energy in their stone forms during the day, or otherwise they would have to eat 3 cows a day to maintain the needed energy to function.
- Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: In "Sentinel". Did you know they were modeled on an alien soldier who is protecting our world from the ravages of an evil empire from beyond our solar system?
- Egg McGuffin: Goliath's rookery children.
- Eiffel Tower Effect: With the Avalon World Tour, this was bound to happen.
- Enhance Button: The security camera in castle Wyvern captured Jon Canmore secretly taking a piece of gargoyle stone skin. Giving that Xanatos is the richest man in the world and Owen is in charge of day to day operations, this not implausible as it may seem.
- Enigmatic Minion: Owen, big time. Also Brother Valmont, to Constantine, in the comic book's final arc, and Preston Vogel.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Anybody can join the Quarrymen, despite the fact the organization resembles the Ku Klux Klan in both its costume motif and its purpose.
- Well, anybody human can join.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- See Barehanded Blade Block above. In the first scene in the first episode, Goliath catches a sword, and there's a trickle of blood. This reveals important things about both gargoyles in general and Goliath in particular: they aren't quite invincible, which means that combat and leadership require carefulness and genuine bravery just like for humans, but they're still really tough.
- In addition, Lexington, Brooklyn, and Broadway each get an Establishing Character Episode immediately after "Awakening."
- Eternal English: The gargoyles have no trouble with the language after they are revived. Nor do Katherine, Tom, the Magus, or any of their gargoyle charges, although that one might be slightly justified as Tom had been taking trips to the real world every 100 real-world years and could have picked up the gradual changes from Old to Middle to Modern English.
- Say nothing of King Arthur, who was put to sleep sometime around 547AD according to the comic book, and yet speaks perfectly when woken up.
- No explanation is given on why New Olympians speak English instead of ancient Greek. Does Grandmother Willow live on that island?
- Trips made via Avalon, at least, included a nifty language module with free installation. That was how the 'World Tour' guys managed in Japan and Guatemala etc. As for why the gargoyles speak English? A wizard did it.
- For that matter, if Goliath's clan comes from Scotland, how come Hudson's the only one with a Scottish accent?
- Because Hudson had the most contact with humans
- Even the Dog Is Ashamed: Bronx in "Upgrade".
- Every Car Is a Pinto: In the third episode, a motorcycle crashes into a wall and promptly explodes.
- In "Temptation", Brooklyn's bike violently explodes from a single bullet.
- Every Man Has His Price: Mentioned in "Awakening" when Owen brings up the difficulty of finding crews to tear down Castle Wyvern.
Xanatos: Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Talon to Maggie and later in the comics Dingo to Robyn Canmore.
- Everyone Wants Redheads: Goliath to Demona, Xanatos to Fox, Macbeth to Gruoch, and even Macbeth's blond henchman Banquo was romantically involved with Macbeth's redheaded henchwoman Fleance.
- Macbeth to Demona's human form, too, though he gets over it when he realizes who she is.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Katharine saved and raised the next generation of gargoyles safely on Avalon, so she definitely deserves a mention here.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Or to be more precise, "the corrupt are the first to believe that others can be corrupted." Thus, despite Macbeth's loyalty and honesty, the corrupt King Duncan, and later Demona, were convinced that he was going to betray them.
- Evil Knockoff: After failing to get the Manhattan Clan's cooperation, Xanatos spends the first chunk of the series trying to make his own gargoyle minions; such as the mutates, the Steel Clan, and Coldstone. It's telling that he never ever tries again after he comes up with Thailog. Thailog himself later teams with Demona to make knockoffs of the rest of the clan. And for the record, most of these don't even stay evil for long.
- Evil Laugh: Thailog has a memorable one. In the SLG comic he even seems a bit disappointed that he doesn't get to use it more often.
- Evil Redhead: Take your pick. There's Demona, Fox before her Heel-Face Turn, Macbeth's henchwoman Fleance, and even Queen Titania during "The Gathering" parts one and two.
- Evil Sorcerer: The Archmage. Demona as well, though to her magical power and the acquisition thereof is not a primary motivation, as it is with the Archmage, but more the means to an end.
- Evil Twin: Thailog, who managed to outsmart all the other Big Bads of the show.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Sevarius.
- Evil Versus Evil: Xanatos, Demona, Macbeth, and the rest of the villains each have their own agenda, which results in this trope more often than not. Macbeth's goal, for example, is to kill Demona so that he can die.
- The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Usually one of the villains is clearly more evil than the other. (Macbeth, Xanatos, Demona, Thailog.)
- It's not unknown for the gargoyles to get involved of their own accord, rather than be manipulated or attacked by another faction.
- Exact Words: Almost all supernatural forces, whether mortal spells or "favors" from The Fair Folk (especially Puck), are subject to literal interpretation.
- Expy: Preston Vogel to Owen Burnett. However, it turns out the opposite is true, with Puck basing "Owen" on Vogel.
- You also wouldn't be entirely mistaken if you confused Xanatos for an evil Tony Stark.
- Extra-Strength Masquerade: Sometimes the Muggles seem determined to ignore all possible evidence of the supernatural. Most notable in City of Stone, in which every television-viewing citizen of New York is petrified for two nights running, but any evidence (such as security footage, shattered remains of those who died in that time, or eyewitness testimony from folks who weren't subjected to it) is apparently dismissed. Or, at least, any investigations that took place did so offscreen.
- Extreme Omnivore: The Archmage literally eats the Grimorum Arcanorum to bypass the restriction that human magic cannot enter Avalon while retaining its powers.
- Face-Heel Turn: Played with. The episodes "Revelations" and "Protection" make it seem that Matt and Elisa respectively have undergone one of these, as Matt is seen helping Mace trap Goliath, and Elisa is under suspicion of accepting protection money. Both are fake; Matt was in league with Goliath all along and ultimately traps Mace in the hotel instead; and Elisa's "blackmail" helps to bust an actual protection racket by Dracon.
- Failed a Spot Check: Demona used a Secret Path to enter the castle and said Xanatos doesn't know all of its secrets. Xanatos and Owen dismantled and rebuilt the castle and yet they both failed to notice it.
- Failing a Taxi: Some of the Manhattan Clan try to hail a cab, but they face a few obstacles (what with being gargoyles and all).
- The Fair Folk: The Third Race are a clear interpretation of the trope: though only a couple of them are "evil" by mortal standards, Goliath and company get into a fight with almost every named member of the group at one point or another.
- Fair for Its Day: In-universe: Oberon was very benevolent - for one of The Fair Folk - back in the tenth century. Due to the arrogance and cruelty of the others, Oberon had them banished from Avalon to teach them humility and benevolence. While most of the Children of Oberon did learn their lesson in their 1,001 years of exile, Oberon himself didn't.
- Fake Defector: Matt in "Revelations."
- False Flag Operation: Xanatos' scheme in "Awakening" involved the "impersonate the enemy and attack yourself" variation of this trope.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: Subverted; the origin of the family friendly lasers are actually explained, and only the bad guys get them; the cops have to make do with plain old firearms. They're also explained as pretty expensive and limited in number.
- Broadway and Goliath blowing up around fifty of them is probably a main reason for this.
- The police's guns are also generally stowed and used only when lethal force is justified. While Elisa does whip hers out fairly often in comparison to a real world cop, it's still vastly less often than most police dramas.
- Fan Convention: The Gathering of the Gargoyles, an annual event from 1997 to 2009. Common panels include read-throughs of unused scripts and discussions with Greg Weisman.
- Fantastic Fragility: How curses work.
- Fantastic Racism: Oh, so very much, and in so many ways. Racism is one of the plot points of the entire series. Most humans (but particularly the Hunter(s) and the Quarrymen) toward gargoyles; Demona toward all humans; members of the Third Race toward humans and gargoyles.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink
- Fate Worse Than Death: Mace Malone being trapped in the Hotel Cabal until he eventually died of dehydration.
- Also, Demona has had a thousand years to watch as everyone she loved died or turned against her. On some level, she realizes all the suffering she's seen is primarily her own fault, and she's bitterly aware of how alone she is. Her hatred's really all that's left of her.
- Ditto for Macbeth, who is just as alone as Demona is. His virtual immortality forced him to outlive his beloved family. (See Heroic Sacrifice for details.) For a good part of his appearances, he actually wants to die. "I'm just so tired."
- But then, Macbeth hasn't killed himself either. If they can only die at each other's hands, maybe they can't die at their own. The Weird Sisters certainly imply as much: nothing can kill Demona or Macbeth except lethal force inflicted by one upon the other.
- The three gargoyle souls trapped within Coldstone. No sense of touch, smell or taste, and the two good souls are trapped with an evil, jealous one. Worse yet, each soul has to fight to control the robotic body they're in. The fear of the evil one gaining control forced the two good ones to separate from the only family they know. This, of course, is finally resolved in "Possession" via extensive magic.
- Hakon might have gotten this worst of all. First he's trapped in a cave as a ghost with only his bitter enemy for company, then he's trapped in a rock in that cave, until he manages to bind himself to an axe some time later.
- Fiction 500: Xanatos awakened the gargoyles by moving an entire castle to the top of a skyscraper.
- Fiery Redhead: Demona so very much. Fox also.
- Field Power Effect: Avalon is teeming with magic, boosting the Magus' abilities.
- Finding Judas: The Captain wanted the Wyvern Clan to be accepted and appreciated by the humans they guarded, and he betrayed Princess Katharine only for that reason. Unfortunately, his plan blew up in his face when Hakon slaughtered most of the gargoyles anyway.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: The Weird Sisters do this.
- First Name Basis: Goliath calls Elisa "Detective" at first, but changes to her name as they get closer.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: They get fairly accustomed to the 20th century pretty quickly though, especially Broadway and Lexington
- Five-Episode Pilot
- Five-Bad Band: The Pack.
- Five-Man Band: The main gargoyles.
- The Hero: Goliath
- The Lancer: Brooklyn (originally Hudson)
- The Mentor: Hudson; he used to be clan leader, and before he got a name, Goliath called him "mentor."
- The Smart Guy: Lexington
- The Big Guy: Broadway
- The Chick: Elisa and later Angela
- Team Pet: Bronx
- Sixth Ranger: Angela during the series, and as of Clan-Building Volume 2, Coldstone and Coldfire, as well as Brooklyn's family, consisting of his mate Katana, his son Nashville, his beast Fu-Dog and his unhatched egg, Egwardo.
- Flashback: The show constantly jumps around in time, going back to 10th Century Scotland, 15th Century Italy, 1960 Arizona, World War II, and others. These skips fill in part of the backstory, but also serve as driving moments for the characters and plot points.
- Flight of Romance: Strictly speaking, it's gliding, but Goliath and Elisa make a cute airborne couple.
- For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Almost a standard for a supernatural show.
- Though the trio actually did dress up, leading to New Yorkers commenting on how awesome "costumes under [their] costumes" was.
- Dr. Sato went to the Xanatos' Halloween party dressed as a surgeon.
- Foreshadowing: Gargoyles having been planned out to a degree would foreshadow many upcoming stories. Some of which includes the "City of Stone" 4 parter and the following episode "High Noon" set up the 3 part episode "Avalon" as The Weird Sisters take control of Demona & Macbeth, as well as securing the three talismans (The Grimorum Arcanorum, The Phoenix Gate and The Eye of Odin).
- A noticeable example is "Future Tense". While the big picture of that Bad Future was merely an illusion, many of those 'future' events have occurred in later stories and were planned.
- When Demona first summons Puck in "The Mirror", she says "You serve the human", referring to the fact that Owen and Puck are the same being. Other episodes would hint at the same thing, but this one was the first and most noticeable.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: A variation; Vogel and Owen fit The Spock and Punch Clock Villain tropes.
- Freudian Excuse: De-constructed with Demona, averted with Xanatos.
- Played straight with Princess Katharine in regards to her initial treatment of the Gargoyles.
- Friendly Enemy: Xanatos has shades of this, although Goliath usually doesn't agree
- From Bad to Worse: The series premiere was a barrage of gut-punches for Goliath. His closest human ally, the Captain of the Guard, betrays him. Five-sixths of his clan are dishonorably murdered, (apparently) including his deeply beloved mate. The chief perpetrators fall to their deaths before his eyes, depriving him of any vengeance. Through a misunderstanding, the few survivors are cursed with eternal sleep - and no method remains to heal them. He opts to join their eternal sleep. Against all odds, the sleep is not so eternal... but that's just so the universe can keep messing with him. After one brief moment of joyful reunion he learns that his species is extinct and utterly forgotten: there's no news of the eggs he gave to human allies for safekeeping. Everything he knew is gone and the new world immediately proves to be full of bigotry and crime. His beloved, miraculously alive, turns out to have become a hateful, twisted mockery of her former self, and the human who now owns his ancestral home immediately exploits and betrays the little trust he has left. And it goes on like that!
- Furry Confusion: Bronx.
- Future Badass: "Future Tense" gives you the badass Lexington who will destroy the world!
- Future Me Scares Me: One episode dealt with Demona going back in time and confronting her younger self. Demona of the past, who's still young and reasonably idealistic, refuses to believe that she could ever turn into the bitter and emotionally scarred monster in front of her.
- Done more humorously with the Archmage and his future self in "Avalon, Part 2".
- Gambit Pileup: Thailog causes these sometimes.
- The Illuminati in the comics. Martin Hacker support Matt to limit damage control with the gargoyles. He also encourage Xanatos's actions to progressively introduce the gargoyles to the human race. All the while, he congratulates Castaway's goals to destroy the gargoyles. Thailog is also a member of the secret society, which complicates things further. Adding to this, Fiona Canmore, a retired Hunter, said that the hunt is merely a vignette of a large tapestry.
- Gambit Roulette: Occasionally and unfortunately.
- Genius Book Club: Pops up regularly. Fox reads Sartre and Nietzsche: Goliath reads Shakespeare and Dostoevsky. Hudson and Broadway, who start the series illiterate, want to learn to read so they can join the club.
- Genius Bruiser: Thailog has Goliath's innate power and intelligence, but has also been given a thorough grounding in modern education (with the notable exception of moral education.)
- Also Goliath himself considering his physical strength and his habit of regularly outwitting enemies.
- Genre-Busting: It's an epic Urban Fantasy, a cyberpunk thriller set Twenty Minutes into the Future, and a gritty crime-drama. And a tribute to William Shakespeare, where Puck, Oberon, Titania, and the Weird Sisters have prominent roles. And Macbeth firing tasers in a trenchcoat.
- Genre Savvy: How Broadway was able to figure out that Elisa's Face-Heel Turn in "Protection" wasn't genuine.
- Giant Spider: Anansi, a trickster and one of the Children of Oberon. He got that way from being able to eat every hunted animal his servant brought to him.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The gargoyles' eyes glow when they are undergoing intense emotion, mostly anger. They can also make their eyes glow, generally for intimidation. Generally males' eyes glow white; females' eyes glow red.
- It's actually inverted with the clones. While male gargoyles' eyes glow white and female gargoyles' glow red, the male clones' eyes glow red and the female clones' glow white.
- There's also Fox, right before she blasted Oberon with her limited magical abilities to save her baby Alex from being taken away.
- Puck's eyes glow before some of his more seriously magic moments.
- Golem: The subject of the episode "Golem". Features a moderately accurate retelling of the story of the Golem of Prague, as well as some of the actual Hebrew prayers used to animate and control the golem.
- Gone Horribly Right: When Xanatos made Thailog, he wanted someone with Goliath's physical abilities and his own worldview and intelligence. He did not think this through!
- Lampshaded in a Shout-Out/Ironic Echo. For much of the series, it's heavily implied that Xanatos' behavior is as much for his own amusement as anything else, with him gleefully quoting Frankenstein while resurrecting Coldstone. After realizing how badly he miscalculated Thailog's creation, he does so again, more straight:
Owen Burnett: You mean that creature is still out there? It has the money, it's as powerful as Goliath, and it's smarter than you?
David Xanatos: Owen, I think I've created a monster.
- Good Feels Good: In "High Noon," Hudson and Broadway read a newspaper article that discusses this Aesop, and it later influences Elisa's decision to confront Demona at high noon.
- Also comes up in "Walkabout". The Pack were former mercenaries who played heroes on a TV show. When they went back to being mercenaries, Dingo realized he actually liked being considered a hero, and after splitting off from the others, he decides to try being one for real.
- Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Macbeth in the backstory of "City of Stone" was a genuinely honest, loyal, and all-around good guy, but he misjudged Duncan's character as horribly as Duncan did his. This is most clearly seen when Macbeth saves Duncan's life and then expresses confidence that Duncan would have done the same for Macbeth.
- Good Is Not Dumb: The entire Manhattan Clan - in fact they tend to win quite often because their adversaries severely underestimate their intelligence.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Goliath frequently reminds the other gargoyles that they can recover from almost any injury after a day's worth of stone-sleep.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Averted from the start, and it clues the audience to just how badass Xanatos is.
- Graceful Loser: Xanatos is one of the few villains who is not personally insulted when the "good guys" choose not to sit back and let their world be re-arranged to his satisfaction. He respects the gargoyles even when he wants to kill them (which isn't very often, as he generally considers it 'wasteful') and has enough of a sense of humor to laugh at himself. He also has such a willingness to see the upside of his defeats that you really have to pound him with multiple losses before he gets irritated with you.
- Of course, since he is the Trope Namer for the Xanatos Gambit, actual losses are relatively rare. It does happen now and then, but more often it just looks like a loss to other characters and in the denouement we find out that he got enough out of 'second place' to be content with that.
- This is only really averted in "Double Jeopardy," where his Thailog project resulted in the loss of $20,000,000, an oil rig, and his pet project - in return for which he gained a new and highly dangerous enemy: and "Cloud Fathers," where Xanatos not only loses, but (however calmly all things considered) expresses displeasure with "these minor upsets."
- Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have: Macbeth's wife Gruoch at the end of his flashback during "City Of Stone" has aged pretty gracefully throughout the years, becoming a White Hair Pretty Girl.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: The gargoyles can not actually fly, they glide. Nevertheless, they do things that hurt the laws of physics.
- Grey Goo: Named and almost occurs as a result of Xanatos' "Matrix" project.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The Children of Oberon are able to produce offspring with humans by virtue of their shapeshifting ability. Fox is an example, and his character design suggests that the Magus may be another. Otherwise averted; only genetic engineering could produce a human/gargoyle hybrid like Delilah. Humans give birth, gargoyles lay eggs, and it's an issue for Goliath and Elisa.
- Halloween Episode:
- "Eye of the Beholder", complete with werewolf.
- "Enter Macbeth" takes place on October 31st, but otherwise has nothing to do with Halloween.
- Harmful to Minors: Many acts of violence were committed within the sight and earshot of children. Katharine saw the Archmage poison her father Prince Malcolm; Tom saw Constantine murder Kenneth; Macbeth saw the Hunter kill his father Findlaech; Malcolm Canmore saw Macbeth kill his father Duncan; and Robyn and Jon Canmore saw Demona kill their father Charles. The trauma of witnessing these events generally led to the predictable results.
- Have We Met Yet?: In "M.I.A.".
- Heartbroken Badass: Brooklyn, twice. Goliath too, when Demona turns against him. Also Macbeth, although his relationship with Demona hadn't been going on as long Goliath's. Demona herself almost immediately after, causing her to rage to the heavens as she pounded on the betrayer.
- Heel-Face Turn: Way too many examples to cite.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Word of God states that gargoyle skin, when not in its stone sleep, feels like suede.
- Hell Hotel: The Hotel Cabal. Made to either horribly mutilate or render it's visitors insane.
- Heroes Unlimited: The "World Tour" arc introduced a plethora of new gargoyles and other heroes, some of whom appeared in only their introductory episodes, but others who reappeared later on.
- Heroic Albino: The Magus.
- Heroic Build: Goliath (and Thailog by extension). Averted with Broadway and Hudson, who both sport some paunch. Must run in the family.
- Brooklyn also counts, though he's not nearly as bulky as Goliath - more of a gymnast than a power lifter.
- And Dingo and Wolf from The Pack. Wolf is probably one of the strongest humans alive even before being bio-engineered into a Petting Zoo Person.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the comics, there was a nameless female gargoyle who was listed as "Sacrifice" in the script because she took a barrage of arrows to save her mate's life.
- The Magus exhausts himself to death in order to protect the Avalon Clan from the Weird Sisters.
- In the flashback during the episode "City Of Stone" Macbeth is "killed" by Canmore, and after he comes back to life due to his magical link with Demona, his wife Gruoch tells him that his son Luach has been crowned king in his place and that his supporters in the current war would be shocked to see their supposed dead king back among the living. Gruoch then tells Macbeth that he must disappear and leave Scotland forever in order for his son to win the war. Macbeth sadly agrees, and right before he does he says to her "I will always love you." If leaving your family and country for the greater good doesn't count for this trope, I don't know what does.
- The Tear Jerker is even worse if you know what happens to Gruoch after Macbeth leaves. According to Greg Weisman, after Canmore had defeated Luach, Gruoch returns home to see that her son and father had both died in battle. Out of grief for losing her entire family, like many Shakespearean characters, she tragically commits suicide and dies a broken woman.
- He's Back: Coldstone officially rejoined the Manhattan Clan at the conclusion of "Clan-Building", with Coldfire in tow.
- Though it's doubtful that he was ever really gone, Xanatos proved that prison hadn't dulled his skills in "The Edge". Donating the Eye of Odin to the museum, framing Goliath for its theft, then goading him into unknowingly fighting him in his new Power Armor. Just to prove to himself that he hadn't lost his edge.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: For only being in one episode together, Arthur and Sir Griff develop and foreshadow a most spectacular bromance.
- Hidden Elf Village:
- Rather literally for New Olympus. Avalon is a deserted Hidden Elf Village until the Magus leads his exiles there.
- The World Tour arc reveals that there are a few clans outside Manhattan, living in secret - these include London and the Amazon. The Ishimura colony is a variation in that local humans are in on The Masquerade.
- The High Queen: Lady Titania.
- Hired Guns: Macbeth first appears as one of these, but he's Only in It for the Money because if he captured the gargoyles for free then Xanatos would become suspicious.
- His Own Worst Enemy: Greg Weisman has repeatedly stated that Demona is her own worst enemy. In fact her password is alone
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Subverted with Macbeth. Duncan is the obvious villain, not Macbeth. While this inverts the story as William Shakespeare did it, he himself played with history to make it more appealing to King James — the historical Macbeth wasn't, and Duncan overthrew the previous leader to win the crown in the first place.
- This is, however, played straight with Gillecomgain and Constantine. Gillecomgain's case is more minor since his murder of Findlaech really happened in real life, but Constantine is made a manipulative bastard, especially in his appearance in the comics.
- Hold the Line: An example in the very first episode. "Stand fast! We can hold them back! ... In a few more minutes the sun will be down, and then we'll see some fun..."
- Holier Than Thou: Demona's mad, genocidal schemes to rid the world of evil (meaning humans), her failure to see any evil in herself, and the name that she chose for her human alias (Dominique Destine, being French for "divine destiny") reinforce the idea that Demona is "holier than thou."
- The extremity of her attitude becomes apparent in "The Mirror". She orders a captured Puck to get rid of all the humans in Manhattan. In typical Puck fashion he does so... by changing them into Gargoyles. She completely overlooks the significance that this ability could have to her stated goal of 'saving' gargoyle-kind: she's merely infuriated that Puck is "giving them the gift of being a gargoyle."
- Hollywood Cyborg: Jackal and Hyena.
- Honor Before Reason: In his introductory episode, Macbeth chooses to wait patiently for the gargoyles to wake up rather than just stealing their statues while they're asleep, despite knowing this will lead to a difficult fight. He similarly refuses to smash them in "High Noon."
- The title is even a Call Back; in his intro in "Enter Macbeth" Elisa warns of just that: "What if the next freak-job Xanatos hires comes here with a sledge-hammer at High Noon?"
- Hot Witch: The Weird Sisters Phoebe, Selene, and Luna fall under this trope so very much. Demona also falls under this category considering her magical abilities.
- The Weird Sisters aren't such Hot Witches to Duncan and Macbeth (who see them as old hags) or to the Manhattan Clan (who see them as Creepy Children).
- Humans Are Flawed: This is how the show portrays the human race. Yeah, there are a lot of humans who are bastards to each other and other races, and some of them are actually prominent villains, but a lot of them turn to the good side, and there are plenty of human characters like Tom, Elisa Maza, and Jeffrey Robbins, who are heroic characters that make quick friends to the gargoyles. Demona believes all Humans Are Bastards, and she is determined to convince the Manhattan Clan to join her in her goals to wipe out the race, but the fact she's an insane megalomaniac who basically started the humans versus gargoyles conflict in the first place only proves to once again discredit the belief that humanity is evil. To put it shortly, humans aren't inherently any better or any worse than the world's other sentient species, they're just the most common.
- Humans Need Aliens: Without Goliath's clan intervention humanity would have been long gone extinct, specially from Demona's genocide tendencies.
- Humiliation Conga: Taro gets one at the end of "Bushido". He created a gargoyle theme with the Ishimura clan as the main attraction. Elisa foiled his plan and the gargoyles left the park without being noticed. Guest reporters came in and find Taro humiliated hung in a robot gargoyle's hand only to clumsily fall down. Elisa and Hiroshi then make up wild stories of gargoyles, effectively destroying Taro's credibility. Not to mention this will result in a huge loss of investment.
- The Hunter: Gillecomgain, Duncan, Canmore, and most of Duncan's and Canmore's descendants, against gargoyles (or "demons").
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: In "The Thrill of the Hunt," although the game in question is gargoyles rather than humans.
- Made of Iron: The first time we see Goliath transform he stops a sword with his bare hand, and gets only a minor scratch to show for it.
- Bolstered by the gargoyle's healing sleep, this means that only severe injuries last more than a few days.
- Magic Floppy Disk: All over the place.
- Magical Land: Avalon and the New Olympian Island.
- Magic Mirror: Titania's Mirror (used in "The Mirror") and its twin, Oberon's Mirror (used in "The Gathering").
- Magic Pants: Any item that a gargoyle considers theirs turns to stone with them. Items they are holding but do not own remain intact (which happens occasionally and seems odd if you do not know there is a rule). Lexington's wings would not normally allow for a loincloth and belt, but according to Word of God his wings are pierced. The official explanation? A Wizard Did It (Specifically, a wizard acting on behalf of the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus, who had strong moral values and was offended by the fact that the gargoyles always lost their clothes when they turned to stone and back).
- Furthermore, Said wizard is confirmed by Word of God to have been the first person to combine the powers of The Grimorum, The Eye of Odin and The Phoenix Gate.
- Averted when Fox briefly became a werewolf. Elisa had to rip off her skirt to use as a blanket for her when she turned back to human.
- Mama Bear: Fox in "The Gathering" and Demona in "The Reckoning".
- Not to mention Princess Katherine in later episodes.
- Then in the comics, Brooklyn's mate Katana becomes one of these.
- Manipulative Bastard: Xanatos and Thailog are the obvious examples. Demona has a manipulative streak as well, but tends to shoot herself in the foot (metaphorically speaking) at inconvenient moments.
- Lexington in "Future Tense." Basically engineering the destruction of nearly his entire clan and all major allies and enslaving New York using a digital doppelganger of Xanatos eliminated all sympathy he'd have naturally engendered in his current state. BTW, "Was it a dream or a prophecy?" How big a mindjob is that!?
- The Masochism Tango
- Masquerade: The Manhattan Clan manages to keep from being recognized as real for most of the series — until it is abruptly broken in the penultimate canon episode when the Hunters expose their existence to the world. And there is no going back while the human population goes into a panic.
- Massive Multiplayer Scam
- May-December Romance: Tom and Katharine; she is about ten years older than he. But him going out to walk the earth every now and then probably helped him catch up to her.
- The Magus was also in love with Katharine, and he was an adult when she was still a child. But unfortunately for him she never knew how he felt, apparently seeing him at most as a surrogate brother figure.
- Meaningful Name: Goliath, a proud warrior who fights his foes honorably, has a nemesis named "David" who manipulates his enemies through careful strategy. One can see the irony there...
- Though supposedly chosen at random, a few of the Gargoyles' New York-themed names reflect their personalities.
- Broadway, named after New York's theater district, is big, brash, and obsessed with entertainment. And, well, the guy is wide.
- Brooklyn, named after a working-class borough with a reputation for grittiness, is the cool, tough-talking member of the team.
- Lexington, named after one of the busiest streets in downtown Manhattan, is the smart, savvy one—and he eventually becomes a businessman.
- Angela and Demona, the former is angelic in nature and the latter demonic to the core. Hard to believe they're related.
- More than that: Goliath originally called Demona his "Angel of the Night." Demona's name literally reflects the fact that she's fallen from grace, into her own personal Hell (although the real reason she was named Demona is because "You fight like a demon!" and the humans who gave her that name didn't know about her history or her fall from grace).
- Dracon's second-in-command is called Glasses and he wears..., well, glasses.
- Mecha-Mooks: The Steel Clan and the various incarnations of the robot Coyote.
- Mega Corp.: David Xanatos and Halcyon Renard both run them, which gives them access to plenty of cool technology. In keeping with the show's Twenty Minutes into the Future setting, their companies wouldn't seem out of place in a William Gibson novel.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: In the comics, Constantine, who was a mentor to Gillecomgain, and who wore facepaint inspired by the latter's scars, was killed in battle
- Merchandise-Driven: A few instances. Weisman was particularly critical of the Gargoyle-Copter that he was required to include at least once (it was promptly never shown, used, or mentioned again.)
- Merlin and Nimue: Certain flashbacks establish the Archmage and Demona as having this relationship in the backstory.
- Meta Origin: Most gods and figures from mythology and legends either originated or descended from Avalon.
- Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Xanatos for a good chunk of Season 1.
- And Tony Dracon in "Turf".
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: It's easy to forget in light of all the weirdness that goes on in this show, but it all began with Elisa investigating a fairly mundane case of destruction of public property.
- Mix-and-Match Critters:
- The people turned into "mutates" (combined with various animal genes), including Elisa's brother.
- Delilah (a mostly gargoyle GMO, with a pinch of human DNA).
- Mix-and-Match Man: Delilah in Season 2, and "Little Anton," in Season 3. Also, see above.
- Mob War: The basis for the episode "Turf".
- Mock Guffin: Mace Malone's stolen diamonds in "The Silver Falcon."
- The Mole: Matt's old partner Martin Hacker for the Illuminati.
- Monster Modesty: Most gargoyles don't feel the need to wear much more than small strips of fabric.
- Mother Nature, Father Science: Fox's parents. Oh, boy, are they.
- Motivational Lie: Xanatos used a whole series of these to get Derek Maza to work for him, to believe that it was Goliath's fault that Derek was mutated into the pseudo-gargoyle Talon, and then get Talon to remain loyal to him as a bodyguard who can potentially defeat Goliath. When Talon finally finds out the truth, he's pissed.
- Ms. Fanservice: Many female characters, but Demona, The Weird Sisters, Hyena as a cyborg, and Angela in the comics are the most prominent examples.
- Let's not forget Delilah, a sexy Mix-and-Match Critter of Demona and Elisa that calls Thailog "Master." It's implied she was created entirely for Thailog's gratification, and we all know what that means.
- Mundane Utility: "In The Green," it's seen that out of all the robotics Hyena could possibly incorporate into his body, it's seen he also has a hair drier installed.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Purposely invoked several times (Goliath has one after donning the Eye of Odin). Oddly Xanatos himself has one after his first failure that wasn't a Xanatos Gambit or even a Gambit Roulette in Thailog:
Xanatos: Owen, I think I created a monster.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: David Xanatos, Demona, and especially Fox Renard.
- Never My Fault: Demona and John Canmore may be on opposite sides, but they both have a real problem taking responsibility. Xanatos and Thailog avert this, willing to admit their mistakes in the unlikely event that they actually make one.
- Never Recycle a Building: Averted, the 23rd Precinct is in the same building as a public library. They are apparently connected at the base of the clocktower the gargoyles live in for most of the series.
- Never Say "Die": Averted to hell (Hey, Xanatos said it) and back. "Die," "Kill," "Murder" and all appropriate permutations are used as required, and the characters do not shy away from doing what they are talking about, either.
- "Grief", in particular, is one giant showcase of the word.
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: Averted; both Demona and the Archmage interact with their past selves with no ill effects (hell, the Archmage rescued himself from death). But then, all time travel is a Stable Time Loop in this series.
- N.G.O. Superpower: Xanatos Enterprises is "a multinational corporation which is bigger than many countries you could name." Xanatos thus considers an attack on his property which he himself had arranged an "invasion."
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Y'know, Jon Canmore's turn to evil might have been avoided if Goliath had kept his vengeful, murderous rage in check and not acted in a way that basically confirmed what Jon was thinking of his kind.
- Nineties Anti-Hero: The Pack were apparantly this in a live action TV show, before turning into (in-universe) real life villains.
- No Doubt The Years Have Changed Me: Between Goliath and Demona in "Awakening" (Part 4 and 5).
Demona: The centuries have made you weak, Goliath.
Goliath: You said the centuries have changed me. They've changed you, too. You've become hard, unforgiving. You're not as I remember you.
- No Man of Woman Born: The only one who can kill Macbeth permanently is Demona, a female gargoyle. Gargoyles are hatched, not born.
- No One Could Survive That: Played straight in "The Price" when the gargoyles see Macbeth explode. Subverted in "Shadows of the Past" when the reincarnated ghosts of Hakon and the Captain are trapped in a collapsing magical structure, Elisa says "No one could survive that," and in fact, they didn't. (They became ghosts again, and the Captain "passed on.")
- No Swastikas: Averted in "M.I.A." Swastikas can be seen on the Nazi bomber planes, however, the Iron Cross and the Skull and Crossbones are easier to spot.
- Noir Episode: "The Silver Falcon" and "Revelations."
- Non-Indicative Name: The Children of Oberon aren't actually Oberon's children, they're his royal subjects and fellow species-members. Oberon just calls them that 'cause he's paternalistic.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Addressed; gargoyles are an egg-laying species, but have also been specifically defined as nursing their young. (Word of God calls them "Gargates", which conceivably could be a Sub-Order or a Family of monotremes, the larger Order of egg-producing mammals.) Children of Oberon can look like whatever they want.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Hudson at least says "lass" and "laddie," but Goliath sounds about as Scottish as I do.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: As much as "Hunter's Moon" is intended to serve as a Grand Finale if necessary, the producers were hoping the series could continue, but with the proviso that the Clan can never hide their existence in New York again.
- Not Me This Time: David Xanatos was behind so much of the Gargoyles' troubles, that Brooklyn and especially Talon assumed he was responsible for Goliath and Elisa's disappearance.
- And Elisa assumed that he was responsible for Demona's theft of DI-7 from his own warehouses in "Hunter's Moon."
- And when the Scrolls of Merlin are stolen, the gargoyles immediately assume Xanatos was behind it, when Macbeth was really responsible.
- Not Quite Flight: Gargoyles don't fly, they glide. Still, they do a lot of aerobatic stunts that would make you think otherwise.
- Not So Different: Demona and Jon Castaway after the latter's Face-Heel Turn. Jason and Robyn Canmore were not so different from Demona either, until their Heel-Face Turn.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Xanatos' assistant Owen Burnett seems like an uptight dweeb — but he's an immortal magical creature who lives to Punk humans. However, he is bound by his word and must remain in his present form and job for the duration. Eventually he becomes nearly as harmless as he appears due to Oberon's decree, which prevents him from using his magic offensively. It's also shown that he's a master martial artist in his own right, quite capable of asskicking and even holding his own against gargoyles on occasion.
- Not Worth Killing: Gillecomgain seemed to have this attitude towards Macbeth in 1020, as he seemed pretty nonchalant in informing Duncan that Macbeth still lived. (In 1032, Gillecomgain had more serious reasons for not killing Macbeth.) Canmore definitely had this attitude towards Gruoch. And when Xanatos had the Manhattan Clan cornered in "The Edge" and could have had them all wiped out, he instead let them flee.
- Odd Name Out: Talon! Fang! Claw! ... Maggie!
- Official Couple: Elisa and Goliath, Broadway and Angela, Talon and Maggie and, if you follow the comics, Katana and Brooklyn.
- Off Model: Several episodes, with Wang's "Enter Macbeth" and Hong Ying's "Monsters"note being by far the worst offenders.
- "Monsters" was probably much worse in terms of graphics. For one, it had Angela awaken, but instead of the stone breaking off her, it simply fades, with stone shards appearing around her out of nowhere.
- "Awakening Part 3" has a slightly different look than the other four parts.
- This is in play largely because of outsourcing to various animation houses (like with many fellow Disney shows), including some they hadn't worked with before (Hahn Shin Corporation & Hong Ying) and some they haven't worked with since (AKOM).note .
- Also the third season episode "Seeing Isn't Believing", though it makes up for it with incredibly fluid animation.
- Oh, Crap: "The Gathering Part 1" has Owen display shock and fear upon learning that Anastasia Reynard has remarried her first husband, warning Puck that Oberon has returned to Titania and started the Gathering.
- Also Xanatos at the end of "Double Jeopardy" when he realizes that Thailog is probably still alive.
- Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Hudson vs David. And, if you want to get technical, all the gargoyles are over 1000 years old, while Xanatos is in his late 30s-early 40s.
- Older Than They Look: All gargoyles age half as quickly as humans, by virtue of the fact that they do not age when they are in stone sleep, and that is 12 hours a day on average. The Manhattan Clan and Demona are much, much Older Than They Look, the former because they were cursed to sleep for a thousand years, the latter because of Synchronization with Macbeth. Oh, and Macbeth is also older than he looks.
- Their slower aging also has less of an effect on their physiology compared to humans. In one episode, both Angela and Goliath are magically aged extremely rapidly but surprise the episode's bad guys by demonstrating that even decrepit gargoyles are capable of impressive physical feats relative to what a human in the same condition would be capable of (a gargoyle seems to FEEL maybe half their already slowed age, so it's almost like 1/4 aging really).
- One Myth to Explain Them All: All of the Pagan gods of yore (yes, all of them) were various Children of Oberon, as perceived by primitive humans. That includes the gods of Ancient Egypt and Scandinavia, and the fairies of English folklore. The New Olympians were the origin of a lot of Greek mythology, although Word of God says that they were created by Children of Oberon breeding with humans.
- One Steve Limit: Duncan's son, first introduced in "City of Stone," was supposed to be called Malcolm (just like in the play by Shakespeare), but because there was a different Prince Malcolm in the previous episode ("Vows"), they instead used his nickname, Canmore, to avoid confusion. The same goes for Maol Chalvim - there's a lot of Malcolms in the Scottish royal family.
- Averted with "Coyote" - "Cloud Fathers" has Xanatos pit Coyote the robot against Coyote the trickster.
- One-Winged Angel: Banshee of the Third Race deserves mention. Sure she looks like a gaunt woman in a tattered green dress with long purple hair and pale bluish-purple skin, but piss her off, and she will turn into the Cromm-Cruach, a large cross between a dragon and a larva with squeletical face.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The Pack, although some of their real names have been revealed. Fox's real name (before she had it legally changed) was Janine Reynard and Dingo's real name is Harry Monmouth.
- Fang's real name is also revealed, that being Fred Sykes. Claw's real name, though, continues to remain a mystery.
- Canmore, largely because of the One Malcolm Limit.
- Tony Dracon's right hand man was referred to simply as Glasses, and his real name was never mentioned.
- Opening Narration: In season 2.
- Opposites Attract Revenge: Demona's fling with Thailog is one of these.
- Or Was It a Dream?: "Future Tense." "Was it a dream? Or a prophecy?" (See foreshadowing above for some details) While some events have actually occured in some fashion, some that occured in passing would be unlikely or were made up by Puck to deliver further explanations to Goliath.
- While Puck knew of Thailog through working with Xanatos as Owen, he was unaware that Thailog and Demona hooked up, thus Brooklyn's sudden comment about him dying in the Clone Wars.
- Demona can only be killed by Macbeth and should be unable to be killed by Xanatos.
- Our Gargoyles Rock
- Out-Gambitted: Ironically applied to David Xanatos with Thailog's betrayal in his first appearance.
- Hudson manages one in "The Price" by hiding a shard of his stone skin in his clothes to use as a knife, then stabbing the robot, kicking Xanatos into a column, and warding off Owen with his reclaimed sword. Xanatos is so impressed, he lets him go.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Macbeth's first introduction and his origin story make his goals clear: He seeks Demona's death, both for vengeance and also to give himself peace after millennia of wandering the Earth. However, in two episodes, for no given reason, he is instead seeking ultimate power through connections to Arthurian legend. First he tries to steal scrolls rumored to contained Merlin's spells, which instead contain Merlin's personal diary (Whose story have a magic all their own...), and then he tries to steal Excalibur itself from an awakened Arthur. In both episodes he has two henchmen who are not seen in any other episodes, and in no other episodes does he make reference to questing for ultimate power, nor in these episodes does he make any reference to his vendetta against Demona. Word of God says that Macbeth wanted to use Merlin's spells against Demona (which also explains why he wanted to test them against another gargoyle). Given that Demona had magic of her own, this is understandable. It doesn't explain his desire to claim Excalibur, though; Macbeth had given up his vendetta against Demona by then. However, becoming the new "One True King" could have given his life, and immortality, some meaning again.
- Demona has a few Out of Character Moments in the backstory of "City of Stone," such as when she chose to save Macbeth and Gruoch rather than pursue vengeance against Gillecomgain in 1020, and when she honored Macbeth's wish to spare Canmore's life in 1040. On the other hand, this is only out of character for after she crossed the Moral Event Horizon, which she may not have done until 1057.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: "Sentinel". Though the show does have sci-fi elements, this episode crossed into full-on Space Opera territory, complete with alien warriors and references to a massive intergalactic war...which was never mentioned again. Word of God says that this was meant to be a setup for a far-future spinoff, Gargoyles 2198, that never came to fruition in the end.
- Our Banshees Are Louder: The titular Banshee.
- Pair the Smart Ones: Invoked with Xanatos and Fox. Xanatos tells Fox he loves because she's one of the few people in the world as smart as him.
- Papa Wolf: Goliath, plain and simple. In the episode "Hunter's Moon" Angela is nearly killed by the hunters who confuse her for Demona, and Goliath says that he vows to find and KILL the ones who hurt her.
- David Xanatos deserves mention also. He's willing to fight Oberon himself just to keep Oberon from taking his kid. That feat alone even caused Goliath to respect him.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Gillecomgain's mask was a case of this, according to the DVD commentary: The red stripes on the mask perfectly matched the scars on Gillecomgain's face. On the other hand, Constantine had already worn the Hunter's Facepaint (Mask) by that point. Macbeth's mask inverted the trope: Demona recognized him as soon as the first shot was fired, though the audience might not have known enough about Macbeth and Demona to make the connection as quickly as Demona did.
- The shadowy gargoyle with glowing red eyes in "Temptation." Is there anyone who didn't immediately realize that it was Demona?
- Parental Abandonment: Demona does this to the eggs of the Wyvern Rookery (one of which she herself had laid) after she sees the Magus and Katharine "stealing" them, and Mary leaves Tom to protect the Grimorum while Tom accompanies the Magus and Katharine to Avalon.
- Parental Bonus: There are a few jokes that most kids wouldn't get.
- In the opening to "Leader of the Pack", Fox and Hyena are sitting in a prison cell, with Hyena flicking rubber bands at cockroaches and Fox reading a book by Sartre. Hyena asks her why she bothers with that, and Fox says, "Because Nietzsche's too butch, and Kafka reminds me of your little friends over there." Kafka's best-known work, of course, involves a man who one day wakes up as a giant cockroach.
- There are numerous Shakespearean references, although this wound up being Accidentally Educational - Weisman says numerous kids who watched the show turned to Shakespeare so they could learn more about Macbeth, Puck, etc.
- Pet the Dog: Xanatos pets entire kennels in the last half of Season 2.
- Photo Op With The Dog
- The Plague: Demona creates one using a combination of Science and Sorcery during the Hunter's Moon arc
- The Plan: Xanatos Gambits aren't the only move in Xanatos' playbook.
- Xanatos' tendency to use these backfires on him at one point. Thailog tricks Dr. Sevarius (one of Xanatos' accomplices) to kidnap him from Castle Wyvern. Sevarius doesn't question it for a second, even when Xanatos (thinking he's been betrayed) confronts him, because he "assumed it was another one of [his] Machiavellian schemes against one of [his] enemies."
- Playing with Fire: Helios.
- Pocket Protector: Elisa's badge in "Long Way to Morning," and it actually makes sense. A badge can in no way stop a modern bullet, but since this was actually a poison dart, not a lethal projectile, it might have even been stopped by just her thick leather jacket.
- Police Are Useless: Averted for the most part, seeing how a few major characters are part of the police force and they're shown to do their job well enough, but on New Olympus this is in full effect, with the police chief, Taurus, being a bigoted Jerkass who arrests Elisa after a mob starts attacking her unprovoked. Despite the fact that the only thing she even did in that fight was dodge a single punch.
Taurus: You are under arrest. Again.
Goliath: She did not start this!
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: Deconstructed. Prince Malcolm tells his daughter, Princess Katherine, stories that demonize the gargoyles to frighten her into good behavior even though he personally views them positively. When Hudson expresses concern about these stories, Malcolm brushes him off by saying he's being "too sensitive." Fast forward a few years and Katherine's prejudice gets most of the gargoyles massacred and the rest turned to stone for a thousand years.
- Poor Communication Kills: The main reason for the Wyvern Massacre, Macbeth's falling out with Demona, and the "City of Stone" debacle.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: according to series co-creator Greg Weisman, King Arthur, the New Olympians, and several other characters introduced in the "World Tour" arc were meant to be used in spinoff series.
- There was also "Sentinel", which was meant to be a lead-in to the proposed Gargoyles: 2198 spin-off. It introduced the interstellar war between Nokkar's people and the Space Spawn, which Word of God says that series would have been about. Since the spin-off never came to fruition, the war was never mentioned again, creating a rather jarring Out-of-Genre Experience.
- Powered Armour: Various kinds worn by Xanatos, Dingo, and the modern Hunters.
- Precision F-Strike: Xanatos' infamous "Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell."
- Previously On: Every season 2 episode has one of these.
- The Problem with Fighting Death: Discussed in "Grief."
- Promotion to Parent: The Magus, Katharine, and Tom get this, when they agree to take care of the eggs in Castle Wyvern's rookery as if they were their own children.
- Psycho Electric Eel: Sevarius uses these to augment his mutates' energy regenerating properties as well as afford them electrical attacks... or so he claimed in front of Derek Maza. Given that he faked his own death with them and Xanatos was in on the whole operation, he had to be at least Genre Savvy enough to know that their actual electrical output is fairly minimal and was just counting on Derek and Goliath to be holding the Idiot Ball at the time.
- Psycho for Hire: Hyena is a good fit for the female version, especially given her Femme Fatalons, and her brother Jackal and teammate Wolf are not exactly sane either.
- The Psycho Rangers: Even thought they are more misguided than evil, the gargoyle clones tend to fill this trope during their appearances.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Let. Me. Drive."
- Pure Magic Being: The Fair Folk.
- Purple Is The New Black: Elisa and Duncan are both supposed to have black hair, but it appears to be dark blue.
- Put on a Bus: Vinnie. (Although he does briefly appear later in the comics, suggesting that he could be seen again if they continue.)
If it gets any more Saccharine in there, I'm gonna put a finger down my throat.
- Taught by Experience / Powers via Possession: Puck's prime method of training young Alexander Xanatos in the use of magic. Only it's he and Alex that do the possessing.
- Tears from a Stone: Happens twice in one of Demona's flashbacks, and again with Goliath when Elisa is thought to be dead in "Hunter's Moon".
- In "City of Stone" when Demona reveals the password ... Alone.
- Tempting Fate: Gabriel says that things are quiet on Avalon and an adventure would be nice. Minutes later Oberon show up and kicks everone's tails.
- Brooklyn wonder when he'll go in his own world tour. A few months later, he's forced to travel around the world and through time for 40 years, before returning to the present.
- Theme Naming: Some of the gargoyle clans employ it: the Manhattan Clan uses local place names, several Avalon Clan names have to do with angels, the four pendant wearers of the Guatemalan Clan the stones of their pendants, and so on.
- Demona hung a lampshade on the theme by having a set of clones based on the Manhattan Clan and naming them after place names in Los Angeles.
- Also, Goliath's main rival is named David.
- Evil Demona's daughter is the much kinder Angela. Purely a coincidence in-story, as (a) Macbeth named Demona for her fighting prowess, not because she was evil, and (b) the Magus, Katharine, and Tom (who named the gargoyles of the Avalon Clan) didn't know anything about Macbeth and Demona, nor vice versa.
- The Pack, a group of American Gladiators/Power Rangers knockoffs who moonlight as bounty hunters, are all named after wild canines. Wolf, Hyena, Fox, Dingo, Jackal and Coyote. Or at least that's the idea; Hyenas are not actually canines, they're actually more closely related to cats.
- Of Brooklyn's family from TimeDancer, his mate and daughter are Katana and Tachi, after Japanese swords. His son Nashville extends the existing "American location" theme.
- Theme Tune Cameo: The unfortunate Gump Vinnie who trails Goliath and Hudson throughout the "Vendettas" episode wanders off afterwards, humming the Gargoyles theme.
- They Have the Scent: Bronx is frequently required to sniff out the bad guys. Boudicca does the same for Oberon in "The Gathering."
- Those Wacky Nazis: In "M.I.A.", the main antagonists are the Nazi bomber planes who attack London during World War II. The pilots even grin evilly!
- Tin-Can Robot: The cybots created by Cyberbiotcs in contrast to Xanato's robots made by Scarab Robotics.
- Time for Plan B
- Timm Style: An early example.
- Tranquillizer Dart: When Brooklyn is hit with one, he goes down almost instantly, but is still blinking groggily when he's dragged away — so it may not have put him out completely at all. Goliath gets hit with one in "Awakening" as well, which only slows him down for a while. Subverted in "Metamorphosis" when Derek gets shot.
- Trap Is the Only Option: In the episode "Long Way to Morning", Demona poisons Elisa and taunts her with the antidote, but Elisa's badge blocked the poison dart so she's actually fine. Goliath and Hudson chase after the antidote anyway, knowing full well it's a trap, because if they don't it will tip Demona off that her plan failed, and she'll come after Elisa again.
- True Companions:
- After the deep-cutting betrayal of Demona and the Captain, Elisa was able to work her way up to this quickly in the Manhattan Clan's eyes. By "Deadly Force," the eighth episode of season 1 and only third after the pilot, Goliath was willing to kill the man he thought shot her.
- All of the gargoyle clans, to the extent that most gargoyles from different countries and sometimes even different times instantly treat each other as such.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: It's primarily Urban Fantasy, but it uses this to add some sci-fi elements to the plot. Though the world mostly resembles America in the late 1990s, there are a few William Gibson-esque MegaCorps with everything from Powered Armor to Cool Airships to nanobots at their disposal.
- Two-Faced: Coyote the robot after Bronx bites off half his face
- Twofer Token Minority: Elisa Maza is half-black and half-Native American.
- TV Never Lies: The plot of the first Pack episode.
- Unfazed Everyman: It's easy to miss because of everything that happens in 'Vows', but Petros Xanatos qualifies. Inhuman species secretly dwelling among humanity, power armor, medieval swordfights, temporal paradox, secret societies... A lesser man might Go Mad from the Revelation.
- Universe Bible: Season 1 here.
- Unholy Matrimony: Xanatos and Fox.
- Unknown Rival: Gillcomgain, Vinnie.
- The Unmasqued World: Occurs after the existence of gargoyles is revealed to the world at large in season 2's finale.
- Untrusting Community: New Olympus towards humans, and humans towards gargoyles. Probably Oberon and his court to humans, although they get on with Katherine and the rest fairly well/neutrally.
- Unusual Euphemism: The gargoyles and Elisa tend to use "jalapeña" as a general euphemism for more modern curse words and exclamations.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Bodhe makes the suggestion that Macbeth should break their alliance with Demona so the English will stop their invasion. Because Demona overheard (and instantly leapt to conclusions), this leads to doom for Demona's clan and Macbeth's family (including Bodhe himself).
- Unwitting Pawn: While Goliath and Derek are the most obvious examples, and Mr. Renard lampshades a few more in "Outfoxed," Xanatos himself gets special mention for making a clone of Goliath, teaching that clone his trademark trickery, and then getting duped by that same clone in "Double Jeopardy."
- Urban Fantasy
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Elisa and Jason, until they end up kissing.
- The Vamp: Demona, Hyena, the Weird Sisters, and Queen Titania.
- The Verse: Weisman originally intended (and still hopes) to include a number of distinct storylines in the same setting, including:
- Dark Ages: a prequel about the Wyvern Clan in Scotland, with teenage Goliath and Demona as main characters.
- Timedancer: A Brooklyn-centric spinoff, sending him on adventures through time. Touched on in the comics.
- Pendragon: Focusing on the revived Arthur in the present day.
- Bad Guys: A spinoff regarding a team of minor villains, lead by the Robyn Canmore incarnation of the Hunter, working to redeem themselves while squaring off against the Illuminati. The only one to really get off the ground, as a short-lived comic series.
- New Olympians: Focusing on the New Olympians revealing their existence to the world, and involving a romance between a human named Terry Chung and a New Olympian named Sphinx. Originally intended as a separate property, apparently- Weisman came up with it independently, then tied the series together with the "New Olympians" episode of Gargoyles.
- Gargoyles 2199: A Sequel Series starring descendents of the main cast fighting off an Alien Invasion.
- Unfortunately, as of right now, none of these look likely to be made in any form (though Greg Weisman would still like to do them someday).
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The flashback sequences are based on Real Life history (mostly Scottish), and they get the years and the gist of the events right, especially in "City of Stone." The "loosely", of course, comes in along with the gargoyles and the magic. Artistic License trumps historical fact.
- Very Special Episode: "Deadly Force", a gun safety episode in which Broadway accidentally shoots Elisa while playing with her gun, and then has to deal with the consequences.
- Also "A Lighthouse In The Sea Of Time", which teaches the importance of reading and literacy, and "The Green", which teaches the importance of the rainforest and the limited resources that are on the planet.
- Victimized Bystander: In "City of Stone", New York City's inhabitants are turned to stone, and Demona smashes many people, then breaks off one woman's arms. She is never mentioned again.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: Not in the sense that you have to be one to appreciate the plots, but that the plots tend to attract the smarter crowd.
- Villain Ball: Played with in different ways with different villains. Xanatos averts it completely — one gets the sense that he goes over his plans with a fine-toothed comb to make certain he does not fall into it, and then has Owen double-check just to be sure. Demona has several moments where she shoots herself in the foot (metaphorically speaking), but this is somewhat implied to be unconscious self-sabotage on her part. The Archmage plays this completely straight, but it is justified because his massive ego and need to make his enemies squirm before killing them are pretty much his only weaknesses (especially after getting his hands on the Eye of Odin).
- Villain Exit Stage Left: Happend with the Pack, Demona and Macbeth during their Villain Team-Up.
- Villainous Rescue: Played with. In Season 2 finale, Xanatos comes in a helicopter and rescue the Gargoyles from the NYPD. While Xanatos is still a villain, he's on more friendly terms with the gargoyles (at least in his eyes). The gargoyles on the other hand still don't fully trust him.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Oberon, Titania, most if not all of their subjects, and Proteus.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: All of the male gargoyles except Hudson.
- Demona is as close to a female counterpart to this as you could get in a kids' show.
- Walking Swimsuit Scene: Demona, and also Angela in the comics.
- Walking the Earth: Goliath, Elisa, Angela and Bronx during the Avalon world tour.
- Watching the Sunset: To know that they are about to wake up.
- Weaksauce Weakness: For the gargoyles, it's the irresistible paralysis brought on by sunlight; for the Children of Oberon it's iron.
- Weapon of Mass Destruction: Demona gets her hands on one more than once, albeit sorcery-based ones. However, these magical WMDs are often combined with science.
- Weird Moon: For dramatic purposes, the moon is usually depicted as very large - and almost always full, unless it's being used to show the passage of time.
- Weirdness Magnet: Elisa Maza has actually been compared to Alice (of Alice in Wonderland) by the show's creator. After she 'fell down the rabbit hole' and befriended the time-lost remnants of a forgotten race, she was suddenly drawn into a world of immortals, genetic experiments, feuding multi-millionaires, robots, sorcerers, secret societies, and schizoid cyborg gargoyles - with a smattering of aliens, magical lands, ancient curses and a few mythological odds and ends. On top of the usual NYPD stuff like organized crime and petty thugs.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Xanatos's relationship with his father Petros seems to be like this. Although, this is more of a subversion, considering what Xanatos is like. Petros gives him his due when Xanatos risks everything to save Alex from Oberon.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Some of the Quarrymen's rank and file are simply frightened that secretive super-strong beings have been lurking unseen, watching them.
- Also the Captain, whose loyalty lay with the gargoyles in Castle Wyvern rather than with the Scots, but his betrayal of the Scots led to the destruction of the gargoyle clan, changing him from this into The Atoner as a ghost
- Demona started out this way, before descending to Knight Templar and finally to revenge-obsessed whacko who only thinks she is in the right because it is what she has been telling herself every night for the last millennium.
- Yama, in the episode "Bushido."
- Wham Episode: There were several that re-shaped the world (or the viewers' perception of it). "Metamorphosis" not only created the mutates but rubbed the viewer's face in Xanatos' prideful and manipulative villainy. "Vows" and "City of Stone" explained much that had only been hinted at and set up an Alas, Poor Villain or two. "The Mirror" established the Fair Folk as part of the setting and started the transformation of Goliath and Elisa's relationship. "Avalon" started out by revealing that Goliath's clan were not quite the last of their kind, and finished by turning the seeming 'stand-alone' adventure into a strange journey that revealed many secrets. And, of course, "The Gathering" forced the gargoyles' emergence into wider public view.
- Whamshot: The series had several.
- Molly turning into the Banshee.
- Owen revealing himself as Puck.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Pretty much underlined in red crayon right from the start.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The whole idea behind the fear of gargoyles by humans.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: 'Naturally' immortal villains don't seem to be troubled by it. Demona and Macbeth have various issues coping with their forced, shared immortality. It's discussed by Hudson and Xanatos when the latter is attempting to create an immortality elixir.
- Why Did It Have to Be Spiders?: Anansi.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Elisa's alias in "Turf".
- Winged Humanoid: Obviously, though some gargoyles have wings attached to their arms instead of the usual on-the-back variety.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Demona. Come on, who hasn't watched all of "City of Stone" and not felt sorry for what she's been through by the end?
- Worthy Opponent: Xanatos considers Fox to be this. A bit of a subversion in that they aren't really opponents.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: Generally averted, but there is one example of this trope in "City of Stone." Demona claimed that the spell would steal one minute of life from everyone who saw and heard the spell, and that was how she had lived for more than a thousand years. But to gain even one year by stealing one minute each from people's lives, you would have to cast the spell on roughly 525,000 people; the population of Manhattan in 1995 would not have been enough to extend Xanatos' and Demona's lives by more than 20 years each. Of course Demona was a liar, but a few simple mathematical equations make her lie particularly transparent. And it seems out of character for Xanatos not to see through it.
- Wronski Feint: Used many many many times throughout the course of the series.
Brooklyn: (immediately after he and Angela cause two pursuing Steel Clan to crash into each other) "You'd be surprised just how often that works."
- Xanatos Gambit: Obviously. This may be one of the reasons Gargoyles is so well-remembered and became a watershed moment in Western Animation. It was never as simple as "Good Guys Win." More often than not, even if the good guys won, the bad guy (usually Xanatos, natch) still benefitted.
- Note that Xanatos Gambits are not exclusive to Xanatos; the Weird Sisters, for example, pull one off in "High Noon." They brainwashed Macbeth and Demona into fighting the New York clan. Their real goal was distraction so they could steal magical items. If Macbeth and Demona won, however, that would be an additional bonus.
- Demona takes a note from Xanatos's playbook in "Mirror": She stages a robbery which of course is foiled by Goliath...just as she knew it would be. While he's pursuing her, her accomplices sneak in and steal the artifact she wanted.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Most obvious in "Eye of the Beholder." Yet again, Trope Namer. By the episode's end, Xanatos goes down to plan E.
- Year Outside, Hour Inside: In "Future Tense", and in the case of Avalon in general, where time runs slower inside of it, at a rate of one Avalon Hour = one Real World Day. 1,000 years in the real world equal just over 41 years in Avalon, which is accurately reflected by how old the humans were portrayed to be.
- Additionally, it is stated in another episode that gargoyles age at half the rate of humans; every single gargoyle on Avalon appears to be in their late teens or early twenties. Well played, writers!
- You Already Changed The Past: The Phoenix Gate lets you go back in time, but every use turns out to be part of a Stable Time Loop - it is utterly impossible to actually change anything. It sends you back in time to do things you were meant to do all along, and since it has already happened, you are not changing anything.
- You Are Number Six: Illuminati must identify themselves to each other by rank, with each rank's number also indicating its number of members (one One, two Twos, etc.); the lowest rank is Thirty-Six. Xanatos, Thailog, Matt Bluestone, and John Castaway are all Thirty-Sixes. Peredur fab Ragnal, the Fisher King, is One.
- That gives them 666 members altogether. Just saying...
- You Can Talk?: Elisa's first words to Goliath after falling off Castle Wyvern & the Eyrie Building.
- You Can't Go Home Again: In "Enter Macbeth," the gargoyles are forced to flee Castle Wyvern because Xanatos' jail time is up. So they find a new home in the Clock Tower in the N.Y.P.D.'s 23rd District headquarters.
- Averted eventually in that they ARE allowed to return after the destruction of the clock tower.
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: The first few episodes of the second season were unqualified successes for Xanatos: He succeeded in getting Fox an early parole in "Leader of the Pack," he mutated Derek and turned him against the Manhattan Clan in "Metamorphosis," and he acquired the code for the deadliest computer virus in the world in "Legion." Only "Metamorphosis" counts as a Downer Ending, though, because the Manhattan Clan did score a few points against the Pack and the ghost of Iago, though none against Xanatos himself.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Xanatos is always full of surprises:
Xanatos: Fox and I are getting married tomorrow night. I would like you to be the best man.
Goliath: You can't be serious.
- You Keep Using That Word: Traditionally, a gargoyle is a waterspout carved to have a face. Freestanding statues placed on castles and other large stone buildings are called "Grotesques". Then again, a fictional supernatural race can probably call itself whatever it wants.
- You Killed My Father: (Part of) Gillecomgain's motive for killing Findlaech, Macbeth's motive for killing Gillecomgain (and Duncan), Canmore's motive for killing Macbeth, and many of Canmore's descendants' motives for trying to kill Demona.
- You Monster!: "City of Stone", part 3, contains this.
- Younger Than They Look: The clones, due to an accelerated aging technology.
- Macbeth in 1040 after he traded his youth to (the gargoyle whom he would soon name) Demona, even though he has continued to look that age in the thousand years or so since then.
- Yuppie Couple: Several: Brendan and Margot, who are the trope-naming Yuppie Couple; the jogger who appears in most Central Park scenes; the trio of petty crooks. Vinnie Grigori is retconned into this in "Vendettas". Eventually, Vinnie and Margot are given bigger roles, Vinnie as a proper recurring character; and Margot, who is revealed to be an Assistant District Attorney, becoming a member of the N.Y.P.D.'s Gargoyle Task Force and the face of the general population's anti-gargoyle sentiment.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Elisa, disguised as "Salli" for an undercover operation, briefly sports this look.