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Our Gryphons Are Different
aka: Our Griffins Are Different

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Fearsome, majestic, and... wait, what's #5 called again?
Image by TastesLikeAnya. Used with permission.

Pinkie Pie: What's a griffon?
Rainbow Dash: She's half eagle, half lion.
Gilda: And AAAAAALL awesome!
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Our Monsters Are Different, dealing with bird/mammal hybrids.

While not as popular as Dragons or Unicorns, Gryphons, also known as Griffins or Griffons, with Alces and Keythongs being archaic alternatives, are still prominent beasts in modern fantasy.

The oldest gryphon myths come from the Egyptian Mythology and ancient Sumer. Later, they were picked up by Classical Mythology, and afterward used in Heraldry. They became a symbol of Christianity thanks to being a mixture of two majestic creatures that Christians back then saw as the "kings" of animals, thus making them rulers of both the earth and the heavens. After that, they went into literature, but their popularity would be low until the 1990's.

Gryphons are fairly consistent in their portrayal in modern media; almost invariably they are portrayed as guardians of sorts, mostly of treasures, or as winged steeds of sorts. If you are really prone to do some research you can see that their love for gold, their negative reaction towards horses, and their old conflict with vaguely cyclopean races are in fact drawn from myth, but don't expect them to be very prominent. All in all, gryphons seem to have four main body plans:

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  • The Classical Gryphon, or Griffin, which is portrayed as a Mix and Match critter with the body, back limbs and tail of a lion (often with a feather fan at the tip), the wings, head, and front legs from a bird of prey and big ears that may or may not be based on the "ears" of eagle owls.
  • The Opinicus, a slight variation with has the front legs of a lion, rendering only the wings and head (and sometimes they even don't have the wings) as being bird like; don't expect ears to show up. It may or may not have a snake's tail.
  • The Wingless Gryphon, also called the Minoan Gryphon, Alces, Keythong and Demigryph, depicted as either a regular gryphon without wings or an eagle-headed lion. The exact name used tends to depend on context and the precise anatomy of the creature. "Minoan gryphon" tends to be restricted to gryphons in the artwork of the Minoan civilization of Crete. The alces and keythong originate in medieval heraldry, with the keythong being distinguished by spikes or thorns replacing the wings (in the original heraldry, those "spikes" are in fact sun rays). "Demigryph" is a more recent term and tends to be applied in fantasy fiction to all wingless gryphons, although those depicted with spikes or sun rays sprouting from their shoulders are still typically called keythongs.
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  • The Hippogriff, which resembles a gryphon with the body and back limbs of a horsenote  instead of a lion, was made newly popular by J. K. Rowling, but was otherwise already well established in Renaissance lore due to its use in Ludovico Ariosto's epic Orlando Furiosonote . It seems to have originally been an extravagant Cue the Flying Pigs-style joke: "breeding gryphons with horses" was a metaphor used by Virgil for an impossible task, since gryphons ate horses (compare "dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria"). Nowadays, though, it's become synonymous with certain teenage wizards. Other ungulates might be used instead of horses.

In addition to these, variety is sometimes introduced to griffons by means of varying what creatures their designs combine: while the traditional griffons are part eagle and part lion (or part horse, in the hippogriffs' case), fiction sometimes varies this by using different cats and birds of prey, resulting in griffons that are part hawk, part owl, part vulture, part tiger, part leopard and so on. This may be either a purely aesthetic distinction or may impact the griffons' habitat and abilities (such as a peregrine falcon-and-cheetah griffon being very fast, or a snowy owl-and-snow leopard griffon living in cold climates). Raptorial birds are the most common kinds used, but almost all sorts of bird, such as ravens or parrots, are used on occasion. It's very rare for the mammalian parts to be anything other than a feline or an equine, however.

Sometimes other mythological winged bird/mammal hybrids are referred as "gryphons"; the most Sadly Mythtaken case must be part bird and part stag Perytonnote .

May overlap with Giant Flyer should the gryphon have wings. The wingless kind never flies, being seemingly not as magical as eastern dragons. In contrast to their formerly benign religious symbolism, an example being the Gryphon in Dante's The Divine Comedy, which represents the mingling of the human and divine natures in Christ, modern gryphons often appear as dark if not demonic, although they might still be good; or they may be light-themed but evil. They are sometimes used as flying steeds. If gryphons are used as part of the Furry Fandom, one may then expect a Winged Humanoid to be present.

Not to be confused with Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff", where one type of mythical creature is given the name of another mythical creature, and Hold Your Hippogriffs, where commonplace sayings are modified to include references to fantastic fiction worlds.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon has Gryphomon, a truly awesome-looking Mega-level Phantom Beast Digimon with tiger stripes, batlike wings and a face covered by a metallic helmet, who has sadly only made brief appearances thus far. He's the version that has a snake for its tail. However, it's the front end of the snake, meaning his tail should be just as capable of killing you (assuming it's poisonous) as his front end. There's also Hippogriffomon, a hippogryph Digimon. All There in the Manual says he's Gryphomon's previous form, but in the actual show, he was a disguise for a bad guy.
  • In Tweeny Witches, gryphon fairies look like owls and their feathers are used by the witches to fly on brooms.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has griffins as a creature type. They're usually white flying creatures, stronger than pegasi and some spirits but weaker than angels.
    • Scars of Mirrodin has Razor Hippogriff, currently the only true hippogriff in The Multiverse. Hippogriffs also appear in Innistrad, usually as allies to the Church of Avacyn, but they're typed and referred to as griffins alongside the regular kind. In sets set on Innistrad, the hippogriff creature type is instead used for gryffs, which are like hippogriffs, but with four horse legs and the tail, wings and head of a heron.
    • Griffins are also common in the plane of Theros, based off of Greek mythology. Athreos, the ferryman who brings the dead to the underworld, uses skeletal griffins to fetch the souls who try to avoid the crossing.
    • While most griffins use the traditional eagle and lion anatomy, exceptions include Teremko Griffin, which has the hindquarters of a leopard; Spotted Griffin, which is part cheetah and part kestrel; Peregrine Griffin, with the forequarters of a peregrine falcon; and Resplendent Griffin, from the Mayincatec plane of Ixalan, with the forequarters of a brightly colored parrot.
    • While Majestic Myriarch, from Hour of Devastation, is technically typed as a chimera rather than a griffin, its appearance — a lion with the head of a raptorial bird and a pair of translucent energy wings — still gives across the impression of a griffon. With a cobra for a tail.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: While not actually a gryphon, the Winged Dragon of Ra looks more like a griffin with teeth than a typical dragon. He's also light themed.

    Fanfiction 
  • As they were one of the earliest intelligent species besides ponies to be introduced in the show, griffons tend to feature quite often in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction.
    • Equestria Divided: House Stormwing uses both regular gryphons and keythongs, horned and wingless griffons with shoulders and upper backs bristling with long spikes and with a taste for pony meat, as mercenary soldiers.
    • Heart of Gold, Feathers of Steel: The griffons are a Dying Race whose glory days are long behind them; they're well aware of both their glorious past and dismal future, and it shows. Culturally speaking, they're patterned after the Germanic tribes. They're traditionally a warrior people and on poor terms with ponies; Gilda believes that their insistence on holding onto their old traditions is a large part of why they're declining now.
    • The Palaververse:
    • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Wind Breaker is a classic griffon with the front of a bird of prey (although he's colored more like a falcon than an eagle) and the back of a lion. Griffons are also described as having two different subspecies, mountain griffons and the smaller valley griffons, Wind Breaker being the latter type.
    • Ponyfinder, a fandmade adaptation of Pathfinder based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, includes griffons and hippogriffs as playable races:
      • Griffons are divided between several aspects, which affect their avian traits, feline traits, or both. These are the Predator aspect (basic griffons), Cheetah aspect (more ground focused, faster running speed), Cursed aspect (crystaline growths across the body that cause great pain and weakness, but enhance endurance and psionic ability), Prey aspect (less adept in melee, but better spellcasters and more charismatic), Pride aspect (lion feline traits, more socially focused and diplomatic), Scavenger aspect (vulture and raven avian halves, more focused on cunning), Sea aspect (otter back half, sea eagle front half, adept in water as well as land and air) and Snow aspect (usually resembling snow owls and snow leopards, adapted for cold environments).
      • Hippogriffs are the hybrid children of griffons and ponies. They can belong to any of the griffon aspects and have the associated avian traits, and can have the hindquarters and nature of any kind of pony (regular pony, zebra, crystal pony, etcetera).
  • The Steep Path Ahead: Considered Brimir's sacred animal, Saito claims that they look like wolves with wings, and both their feathers and feces are valuable reagents. They don't primarily attack humans unless provoked, but they can easily clear out a countryside.

    Films — Animated 
  • DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp: At the end of the movie, the villain Merlock transforms into a gryphon as part of his One-Winged Angel act.
  • In Fantasia 2000, a gryphon can be seen among the various mythical creatures (the others being a dragon and a unicorn) that were mocking the animals as they were boarding Noah's Ark , and presumably drowned in the flood.
  • Quest for Camelot has a particularly weird gryphon (voiced by Bronson Pinchot of Perfect Strangers fame). While following the classical griffin design, said body design is pretty much distorted: the bird front quarters are proportionally much larger than the lion hindquarters, while the head is not particularly eagle-like, except for the beak, which resembles more that of a vulture. Overall, his pathetic appearance reflects his status on the story as a Butt-Monkey, being continually beaten by a falcon ten times smaller than him and by his boss, to whom he is loyal though sadly very incompetent at doing his job. Finally he is burned, presumably to death, by Siamese twin dragons, and on top of that he is considered The Scrappy by the fans. Alas, Poor Scrappy indeed.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Alice in Wonderland has a classical gryphon, which is about as much of a help as the mock turtle. He only appears rarely in the movie versions, being no help to Alice opposite Cary Grant in 1933. In the 2010 movie it's implied he once fought against the Jabberwock, as a picture of him fighting the monster appears in a mural.
  • Dark Lord of Derkholm and its sequel, Year of the Griffin, feature a mixed human and griffin family, the result of a wizard who created intelligent griffins by mixing lion and eagle (and, later, cat) germ plasm with his own and his wife's and raising the hybrid kids alongside his more traditionally-conceived (human) children. There are also naturally occurring griffins in the world, which gave the wizard the idea in the first place.
  • The Ursula K. Le Guin short story "Darkness Box" features gryphons used as war animals, which are apparently immortal (or near to it) and which bond closely to their owners.
  • David And The Phoenix, by Edward Ormondroyd, features three different species, each with a slightly different spelling. The reader encounters the lazy, thick-headed griffens and vicious, territorial griffons; the amiable, red-feathered griffins remain off-screen.
  • The Divide: Brazzles are what griffons are known as in the magical world, but have a number of unusual properties: their claws turn red when dipped in poison, their feathers have mystical properties related to the treatment of heart conditions, and they have a culture where male brazzles typically become mathematicians while females are generally historians.
  • In The Divine Comedy, a gold and white griffin appears at the top of Purgatory as an allegory for Christ, who is both God and man like the griffin is both eagle and lion. In order to make this work with the doctrine that Christ is 100% divine and 100% human with no compromise, Dante perceives the griffin as both a complete eagle and a complete lion simultaneously, creating a very bizarre image that he struggles to convey.
  • Dragon Rider: In the second book, The Griffin's Feather, griffins have the traditional love of gold and hatred of horses — but, surprisingly, they have a poisonous snake for a tail (suggesting that they have interbred with chimeras at some point). Surprisingly, they have live births while the Pegasus in this universe lays eggs. The majority of griffins, as they come from the Babylonian desert, have tawny plumage and fur, but one younger griffin who had been born in the Indonesian jungle has bright green feathers, a blue-green snake-tail, and the fur of a marbled cat. Some speculate that he is the son of a "Pelangi bird" — and, as the book is unclear on what these are, they might be an Indonesian species of griffin which have bred with the Babylonian migrants.
  • The Dragon Wars Saga: Like all Speakers, gryphons come in various types depending on affinity. Kimi has an ice affinity and is half arctic eagle, half snow leopard.
  • Fancy Apartments has its own resident gryphon, Gordie; who was raised, more or less, by the building's manager.
  • A Fantasy Attraction includes Bob and Sally, two recently married griffins, as well as a murderous hippogriff.
  • The Firebringer Trilogy has gryphons that prey on unicorn colts, probably a reference to the mythical horse-eating gryphons.
  • Great Ship: Griffons are used as artificial soldiers by the Gaian entity in the short story Aeon's Child. They have claws adapted to be compatible with high-powered laser rifles, and have beaks made of a nearly indestructible compound known as hyperfiber. They are sapient, (sort of).
  • In The Griffin and the Minor Canon — a short story by Frank Stockton, the author of the well-known story The Lady or the Tiger — the Griffin is, from its description, quite obviously meant to be a dragon. While the front half matches the usual type, the wings have spikes on their joints and it has no hindquarters, having a snakelike tail that ends in a barbed tip that glows red hot when it's angry. It eats only at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes and feeds only on the brave and the good.
  • The Griffin Mage Trilogy, by Rachel Neumeier, features griffins who are magical and fully intelligent — even if they mix with humans only very problematically. They are also strongly associated with fire, and live in deserts.
  • Harry Potter: Buckbeak/Witherwings, of course. Perhaps currently the most famous example of an hippogriff-style gryphon. More "traditional" griffins also exist in the Potterverse, but as part of the background lore.
  • In the Hell's Gate series by Dave Weber and Linda Evans, griffins are barely controllable killing machines created by magical genetic engineering.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey, gryphons are highly intelligent beings who were created by a powerful mage thousands of years before the main timeline; their origins are explored in the Mage Wars prequel trilogy. They are universally noble and brave but also vain and hedonistic. Unlike some of the intelligent races, which lacking human mouths communicate solely through Mindspeech, gryphons can speak aloud but are prone to Sssssnaketalk and Trrrilling Rrrs. They are not capable of carrying a rider, but if you magic up a basket to be weightless you might find a gryphon to tow it for you.
  • In Imagine Someday, griffins are Proud Warrior Race Guys but have no magic powers to speak of.
  • The Lotus War gryphons are known as Thunder Tigers and are half-tiger rather than half-lion. They are descended from the thunder god Raiden and have lightning powers as a result. Certain individuals with supernatural bloodlines known as Stormdancers can bond telepathically with them.
  • Mistress Of Mistresses features hippogriffs as part of an Impossible Task. The author illustrated the book himself, and gave the hippogriffs horse heads, raptor wings and front legs, and lion rear halves. Not quite your classical hippogriff!
  • In The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, Celia uses them as figures on the carousel. Once Widget and Poppet both wanted to ride one, and Celia had to tell of the Kitsune to get Poppet to ride the nine-tailed fox instead.
  • Ology Series: Monsterology, a companion book for the Dragonology series, includes griffins and hippogriffs in its chapter about flying creatures. The former are carnivores with a taste for horses, and are especially fond of winged horses. The latter are grain-eaters instead. People seeking to hatch griffins or hippogriffs should keep both horsemeat and grain handy, as their eggs are largely indistinguishable, but keep them out of sight until the chick hatches, as a hippogriff chick will find the sight of hors flesh distressing.
  • In The Orphan's Tales griffins are he size of elephants, often vivid in coloration — picture cobalt blue and marbled white. Their preferred diet is horses, their preferred material for their nests is gold, and their enemies are the Arimaspians — gigantic cyclopses.
  • Protector of the Small: Keladry raises a baby Opinicus-type griffin until his parents are found, getting savaged often in a subversion of Pet Baby Wild Animal. Griffins there are intelligent, if hard to communicate with and not quite on the level of humans and some other immortals. They're also Living Lie Detectors — it's physically impossible to lie when they are near — whose feathers have related properties such as seeing through illusions and making arrows fly truer. Griffins can sense if someone has handled their young, and will kill whoever that is unless, as with Kel, there's a translator there to explain. And there are also hurroks (horse-hawks), which like griffins are magical immortals, but decidedly nastier and more animal.
  • In The Spiderwick Chronicles there is a gryphon called Byron. In the original books his design is actually quite original, as while following the classical griffin design his beak has teeth/tooth-like serrations, and his ears are actually similar to those of a lion.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, the Kinshaya race are essentially griffins, being mammals with four legs and a pair of wings sprouting from their back. They are too heavy to fly, though — in modern Kinshaya, the wings are used for display purposes instead.
  • The Summer King Chronicles is a Xenofiction High Fantasy series about "gryfons". Physically, they range from wolf-sized to lion-sized and give birth to a single "kit" at a time. Most live in "prides" ruled by kings. Males fight while females hunt. There are two races of gryfon: the Aesir and the Vanir. Aesir are larger, powerful, predisposed to battle, eat red meat, and are often impossibly brightly colored. This turns out to only apply to the population who conquered the Silver Isles, due to a dragon curse. When Shard travels to the Aesir homeland, the gryfons there are much more naturalistically colored. Vanir are smaller, more agile, eat fish, and have more subdued coloring. Both are sapient and can interbreed.
  • Thursday Next: The griffin from ''Alice in Wonderland' appears on a number of occasions.
  • The Traitor Son Cycle: Griffons grow rapidly and not only generate love, but feed off it. They will bond with the first person to demonstrate immense love in front of them and can talk with their bondsmate telepathically, though their intelligence is rather childlike. Appearance-wise, they're your traditional Mix-and-Match Critters, to the point where Gabriel wonders if they weren't artifically created.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kamen Rider:
    • In Kamen Rider Wizard, Kamen Rider Beast has a Griffin familiar that seems to be the Classical style.
    • In Kamen Rider Zi-O, the title character's potential future self Ohma Zi-O wears black-and-gold armour with both lion and eagle motifsnote , representing his nature as an absolute, invincible Evil Overlord.
  • Merlin (1998): Merlin and Arthur are attacked by creatures that Merlin calls "griffins". They look a little like monkeys with the patagia of a flying squirrel and the heads of hawks, and they act an awful, awful lot like the "raptors" in Jurassic Park.
  • Merlin (2008): One episode has an opinicus, which acts pretty much as a one-time terror, eventually meeting its demise.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Goldar is something of an odd example, as his leonine features include a muzzle. This, along with his fur colour and the shape of his forward fangs have lead some to assume he's a gorilla or wolf-man, but he is in fact an anthropomorphic griffin. This is backed up by his Zyuranger self being named Grifforzer. In season two, the Yellow Ranger had a Griffin Zord (as a Western version of its Dairanger counterpart, a Kirin).

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Recognisable gryphons first appear in Scythian gold artworks, usually as guardians or as eating other animals. Unfortunately we know little of Scythian Mythology, but it is likely the inspiration for Herodotos' claims.
  • It has been suggested that the myths of the gryphons are connected to the sphinx and the mesopotanian shedu and lammassu (which also influenced the origins of cherubs, other lion bodied creatures generally depicted with wings).
  • According to the Greek historian Herodotus, there were griffins living among the Riphean Mountains (generally thought to mean the Urals or Carpathians) in Hyperborea (meaning "beyond the North Wind", a general term used by the Greeks to refer to the wild north beyond Thrace/modern Bulgaria and Rumania). There, they were supposed to jealously hoard gold, something that brought them in constant conflict with the Arimaspi, a race of one-eyed barbarians who lived in the same area.
  • The heraldic Keythong is a wingless griffin with large spines on its body that is occasionally depicted as having horns on its head.

    Pinball 
  • Magic Girl has a brown-furred gryphon with taloned hands perched in the upper-right corner of the playfield.
  • Paragon prominently features a lion/eagle/lizard hybrid griffon on both its backglass and playfield.

    Podcasts 
  • Cool Kids Table: In the Harry Potter-themed game Hogwarts: The New Class, Jake gets a pygmy gryphon (whom he names Jomps), which has the body of a house cat and the head and wings of a red-tailed falcon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The game has long included the griffon and the hippogriff as part of its many, many monsters. Generally, griffons are intelligent creatures capable of either speaking human languages or at least understanding them, while hippogriffs are animals. Both are used as mounts, although obviously riders have very different relationships with a sapient griffon steed than with a hippogriff mount. Griffons prey on horses, and in some settings this includes a sense of animosity towards hippogriffs as well. Some further variants exist, such as Rimefire griffins with elemental affinity for both ice and fire.
    • The Hieracosphinx, mentioned in the page image, has been a semi-regular monster which is here depicted as an Always Chaotic Evil variant of the sphinx that can be mistaken for a griffon quite easily, due to having an eagle's head and wings on a lion's body. It's an Always Male race that reproduces by raping the Always Female gynosphinxes.
    • The Opinicus also appears by that name in older editions, but instead it is a Chaotic Good creature resembling a winged camel with a lion's tail and mane, a monkey's head and hands, and a love for jokes and playing pranks.
  • GURPS Fantasy Bestiary includes gryphons and hippogriffs, both of which fly through the use of Mana stored in their feathers.
    • Gryphons are fierce predators, and fond of horse meat. They can be tamed if captured young, but will only obey the commands of their original trainer.
    • Hippogriffs have the hindquarters of horses and the forequarters of gryphons — essentially, a hippogriff has the legs, rump and tail of a horse, the head, talons and wings of an eagle, and the chest of a lion. They're easier to tame than gryphons are, which is thought to be due to their partly equine nature, and their horse legs make them faster runners on the ground.
  • Palladium Fantasy: Griffons fit the standard fantasy mold in terms of physical appearance, live in high mountains in northern climes and will generally leave humans alone unless threatened or hungry.
  • Pathfinder includes the griffon, hippogriff (speculated in-universe to have come about as a wizard's weird joke on the griffons' taste for horse meat) and hieracospinx, ultimately based on their D&D incarnations.
    • Griffons were originally created by Curchanus, a god of beasts and the wilderness, to act as guardians to his faithful. When Curchanus was slain by the demon lord Lamashtu, the formerly intelligent and organized griffons descended into their current bestial state.
      • While eagle-and-lion griffons are the most common kind, certain environments are home to specific variants: desert-dwelling griffons typically have the heads and wings of hawks and the hindquarters of mountain lions, while jungle-dwellers may blend the bodies of panthers with those of colorful parrots or black-feathered eagles and arctic griffons may resemble lynxes and snowy owls. Griffons whose bird and feline parts are of different kinds from those common in their region (such as a tiger-striped griffon born among lion-based ones) are shunned by their parents and forced to live on their own.
      • Alces are a rare variant of swift-running griffon born without wings. In 1st Edition they're hatched from eggs brooded by their father, rather than their mother, while in 2nd Edition they're the result of a rare mutation and often treated as the runts of their litters.
    • Pathfinder's hippogriffs have the added peculiarity of having birdlike talons at the end of all four limbs, and do not coexist very well with true griffons — griffons are sapient, hippogriffs aren't, and the former have a habit of hunting and eating the latter. However, while the two are normally separate species, it's possible for a mythic griffon to produce hippogriffs or mythic hippogriffs by mating with awakened horses, Unicorns, or mythic horses or unicorns.
  • Shadowrun: Classic griffins, resembling the usual mix of lion and eagle with feathered ears, exist as Awakened animals of somewhat unclear origin, although they're somewhat tentatively classified as birds. They're solitary mountain-dwellers and prey chiefly on large hoofed mammals. A few additional variants are known to exist, generally created by additional magical mutation of the main griffin species.
    • An Asian species exists that is distinguished by a scaly head and neck and a spiny fin running down its neck and back.
    • False griffins are largely identical to the normal kind, but lack wings and external ears.
    • The hieracosphinx resembles a griffin with a falcon-like head and vestigial wings, while the criosphinx resembles a hieracosphinx with lion ears and ram horns. They live only in the Serdarbulak Plateau in the Middle East and are believed to have diverged from regular griffins in the surge of magical transformations that came with the passing of Halley's Comet.
    • Heliodromus are mutant griffins with fully feline bodies and the wings and heads of vultures. They're opportunistic scavengers, waiting near freeways to glean roadkill, raiding graveyards, lurking around battlefields and sometimes picking through garbage dumps. They are also known to try to scare other creatures into dangerous situations by using their ability to induce supernatural fear, and will attack targets directly if they're especially hungry.
  • Warhammer: Griffons and hippogryphs are highly sought-after steeds among the nobles and generals of the Empire and Bretonnia, respectively, due to their ferocity in battle, their ability to fly and the prestige of having one as a mount. Griffons also live in Ulthuan, the elven homeland, and High Elf generals also ride them. Such steeds are very rare, as neither griffons nor hippogryphs will breed in captivity — all tame ones have to be taken as eggs or very young chicks from the high mountains where they nest, something rather complicated by their highly protective parents, and nobles will pay exorbitant prices for an egg or chick of their own. Griffons in particular are considered sacred animals in the Empire, and the leader of Sigmar's church wears a jade emblem carved to resemble a griffon. Griffons in Warhammer are also a lot more varied than the traditional depiction — they've been portrayed with markings like leopards and tigers as well as lions.
    • Karl Franz, the current Emperor of the Empire can ride one of the Empire's fiercest gryphons into battle (or a regular horse, or a dragon, depending on what you're willing to put together) that he himself raised from an egg. King Luen Leoncoeur of Bretonnia rides a hippogryph named Beaquis, and in the End Times the imperial wizard Gregor Martak rode a two-headed griffon named Twinshriek.
    • One Imperial hero, Theodore Bruckner, rides to battle on a wingless breed, called a demigryph. Demigryph-riding knights are an Imperial unit choice as well. All four of a demigryph's legs are feline, making them resemble giant tigers with eagle heads.
    • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar brings back griffons (which here can be tiger-striped or leopard-spotted in addition to leonine, and are sometimes born with two heads) and demigryphs as creatures associated with the forces of the Realm of Azyr, in addition to introducing two additional breeds of wingless gryphs:
      • Gryph-hounds are essentially demigryphs the size of a large dog and have very keen senses; they're typically used as attack animals, watchdogs and companions.
      • Gryph-chargers resemble wingless hippogriffs with lion tails, as they have horselike hind legs and avian forelegs instead of a demigryph's four feline legs; some also have two tails.
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Griffin spirit is the tribal totem of the Red Talons.

    Toys 
  • Transformers:
    • There has been some speculation surrounding the Beast Machines toy of Silverbolt, which ostensibly turns into a condor... a condor with plainly visible, not-hidden-in-the-least legs in front of its wings. The toy can be reconfigured into a griffin mode by turning these legs downward, and for all world, this makes it actually look like something. However, beyond the fact that this configuration looks a hundred times better than its "condor" mode, and that it's also something of a callback to Silverbolt's original form (a wolf-eagle hybrid), there is nothing official to suggest that this was the original intent of the designers, and the character appears as a condor in the animated series as well — although the cartoon was notorious for often disregarding what the toys looked like, so perhaps releasing the toy as a condor was a (failed) attempt to make it resemble its on-show counterpart.
    • 2013 brought Grimwing, a Predacon in the Transformers: Prime toyline, who is an ursagryph, which is basically a classical gyphon with the lion swapped out for a bear. He never appeared on the show, but a Palette Swap named Darksteel was in the Predacons Rising finale movie (with his own limited toy release), and Budora is their counterpart in Transformers: Go!.

    Video Games 
  • American McGee's Alice has the Gryphon, who is initially held captive by the Mad Hatter. Alice frees him, and he helps lead her force against the Red Queen's army. He is killed in an aerial duel with the Jabberwock, and his corpse is pretty much one of the only things that Alice can take cover behind in the ensuing boss fight.
  • Ark Survival Evolved: Griffins are added from the Ragnarok Update onwards, which is a fantasy-themed update. They are difficult to tame and they attack by slashing their claws or dropping from a tall height.
  • Brigandine has griffins as a base monster with the holy attribute. If you upgrade it, then it becomes a holy griffin and can shoot its feathers at enemies.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night introduces these as a boss, before Degraded Boss settles in... 50% into the game.
  • Darksiders: The Angels ride angelic creatures called Ortho that look like white, armored griffins.
  • Dragon Age: In the lore, the Grey Wardens of old rode on Griffins. They all eventually died out by the present, though. Warden armor still carries a griffin crest in their honor. Thanks to the events of Last Flight, griffons are revealed to have never been extinct, with about 13 griffon eggs recovered from a magical stasis spell. Griffons are back, son!
  • Dragon's Dogma: The griffons are of a rather classical design, except for having the coloration of bald eagles and for generating electricity while flying.
  • Dwarf Fortress: Griffons are one of a small number of creatures that exist as in-game myths: they have a bare minimum of game data and show up in engravings, but they do not exist as actual creatures you can encounter. Despite this, dwarves can still express a liking for their strength.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening: The Griffin Rider, a Jack-of-All-Stats armed with an Axe, is an alternate branch class of the Wyvern Rider sub-group.
  • Gigantic: Leiran, one of the Guardians, is a five-story tall gryphon that can shoot lasers from its eyes.
  • God of War II: There's a sequence where you fight people riding griffins. This being God of War, you hop on the griffin's back, cut off its wings, and let it plummet to its death while you hop back on Pegasus. Closer inspection of artwork and scenes suggests the creatures have a hooked blade at the end of their tail similar to a manticore. There are also the dark griffin riders, who ride black griffins wearing bronze masks.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic: In the first three games, the griffins stood on their hind legs, while in IV and V, they go on all fours. At least in the old setting (I-IV, and all the Might and Magic RPGs except for the upcoming X), while the recruitable creature is consistently called griffin across the games, variant spellings do appear when it comes to people actually in the setting referring to them — mainly gryphon (the Gryphonheart family was named that because they got to power by managing to tame Erathia's native griffins).
  • The Last Guardian: Tricos resemble nothing so much as truly gigantic griffins with all four legs being those of birds, the face being more lion-like than eagle-like, a pair of small blue horns and a reputation for eating children.
  • Miitopia: Griffins are modeled after the Opinicus but have ears like the Classical Gryphon. They also have multiple Mii eyes on their wings.
  • Phantasy Star Online has the Gal Gryphon, a hippogriff-styled gryphon with hooved feet, a bulky body reminiscent of a bull, and two large tusks protruding from the sides of its head that it uses to fire lightning beams.
  • Pokémon: It took surprisingly long for the franchise to have a griffon among its creatures. When it finally did, in Pokémon Sun and Moon, it was a pretty weird one. Type:Null and Silvally are essentially cyborg Pokemon made out of parts of other Pokemon, but their basic shape (talons on their front feet, paws on their hind feet, and a beaked head) resembles a Keythong or Minoan Gryphon.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within features an enormous griffin, as a boss. Interestingly, it serves as a protector of the castle.
  • Riviera: The Promised Land: Griffons appear as demons, and in Yggdra Union and Blaze Union as mounts alongside horses and dragons. The latter two games have griffon-riding units as female-only, seeing as all the characters riding anything else happen to be male. In Yggdra Unison, the superior mobility of griffon riders during the daytime makes the only two of them in the game, Kylier and Emilia, Lightning Bruiser-style Game Breakers for as long as the sun is up and Mighty Glaciers at night; the other two Ancardia games give the class the Weaksauce Weakness of lacking terrain bonuses, making them far easier to pummel.
  • Shovel Knight has two fire-breathing and armored gryphons as minibosses in King Knight's stage. Talking to the castle's previous owner in the village after finishing the stage reveals that they were the king's pets. Good thing they respawn. Palette swapped versions also appear in the final stages.
  • Skylanders: One of the Skylanders is Sonic Boom, a mother Opinicus.
  • Total War: Warhammer:
    • As in the parent tabletop game, Emperor Karl Franz can ride an enormous griffon named Deathclaw that he raised from an egg. Imperial Griffons are also a high-level steed for Imperial generals, and Imperial Amber Wizards, who specialize in the Lore of Beasts, can ride green-feathered jade griffons. Griffons can have the back half of multiple kinds of large cat, with lion, tiger and clouded leopard hindquarters showing up in the game.
    • A couple or regular Imperial units ride demigryphs, essentially wingless griffons with catlike front limbs. Like the regular kind, they have to be individually tamed by prospective riders, but the reward is the Undying Loyalty of one of the fiercest creatures in the Empire. The main version has white heads and tiger-striped bodies, but their unique Regiment of Renown, the Royal Altdorf Gryphites, ride demigryphs with blue-gray feathers and snow leopard bodies.
    • Hippogriffs appear in the Bretonnian army roster both as mounts for lords, hero units and a unit of elite air cavalry, the Hippogriff Knights.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Griffons are among the many creatures Geralt can hunt. Unlike most examples, it seems more like a rough cross between a vulture, a lion, and a bat. It has only four limbs as well, and uses its wings as forelimbs while it's on the ground.
  • World of Warcraft has both classic style gryphons and hippogriffs, the latter with antlers due to being raven/stag hybrids. The former are associated with dwarves, in particular the Wildhammer Clan, while the latter are associated with night elves (whether these are meant as a reference to perytons or just a function of the Rule of Cool is unknown). "Standard" (dwarven) gryphons function as the default flying mount for the Alliance.

    Webcomics 
  • El Goonish Shive: A griffin appears for a one-panel gag, which becomes far more serious when another shows up, looking for the first. Tara the gryphon is a Magic Knight from an Alternate Dimension, and she and her wife were investigating the unusual magic situation when her wife disappeared; she seems to be Trapped in Another World (ours).
  • Erfworld has Gwiffons and the larger Megalogwiffs, which are giant marshmallow peeps that fulfill the role of griffons as mounts for the good-aligned forces.
    • Their resemblance to a certain type of candy is important early on. Stanley requests that the perfect warlord be summoned "who eats Marbits and Gwiffons for breakfast". Cue Parson, who literally eats Peeps and Marshmallow Bits for breakfast.
    • They're also apparently actually quite fearsome, which is understandable when you realize that their entire front opens into a gigantic gummy maw. They eat horn, hooves, and marrow, and get soggy in the rain.
  • In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, there are three types of gryphons.
  • Dragon Mango has the cutest hippogryff.
  • In Rusty and Co., one of the tower's beastly guardians.
  • Skin Deep: Both classical griffons and opinici are present as named characters, in addition to some weirder species in the bonus content. As with most of the mythical creatures with multiple subspecies, it's not uncommon for a single family to have multiple variants among its members. They're also known to be among the creatures native to Wonderland.
    • Classical gryphons are the most common variety, and have tufts of feathers resembling pointed ears that grow in when they hit adulthood.
    • Some gryphons resemble cats and raptors other than the standard lions and eagles, but they're not common. As an example, Leah Tanno is part red-tailed hawk and part bobcat, and as a result is much smaller than other gryphons.
    • Opinici, or maned gryphons as they're usually known, have lion forepaws, lion ears and — in the case of males — leonine manes; they are also the only type of griffon to give live birth instead of laying eggs. Most of the central gryphon characters in the comic are opinci.
    • In contrast to the lion-heavy opinci, feathered gryphons favor their avian side and largely resemble four-legged eagles. The Jubjub Birds of Wonderland are also thought to descend from Wonderlander feathered gryphons, and themselves resemble all-bird griffons with checkered wings and black-and-white banded antennae-like structures on their heads.
    • Alce, or keythongs, resemble classical gryphons in most respects but do not have any wings; instead, they have pointed horns sprouting from their heads and shoulders.
    • Inverted gryphons, as their name suggests, have their bird and lion bits in the inverse of the usual order, with leonine heads and forepaws and avian wings, hind legs and tails.
    • "Pigmy" gryphons are any extremely rare variant that may combine any type of bird and mammal.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic brings us the cutest gryphon ever.

    Web Original 
  • Neopets:
    • The Eyrie originally a dragon-like creature, became an opinicus sort of gryphon, albeit with ears.
    • Add the rare Maraquan Paintbrush item, and you've got yourself a Marigryph.
  • noahgoldfox's fursona is a bright pink latex gryphon that squeaks when he moves. He's also watermelon flavored.
  • Windsonde is a community-based role-playing game at DeviantArt, and nearly all of the player characters are gryphons. The rules for character design are pretty strict... except for Tookie Island, where any bird/mammal combination goes. There, the gryphons are really different.

    Western Animation 
  • Aladdin: The Series: A few episodes involve griffins. One episode has Aladdin and his friends try to return an egg stolen by Abis Mal to a rampaging mother griffin, another has the group encounter one of a bunch of mechanical monsters piloted by a grumpy insect, among them a mechanical griffin, and another has a clumsy thief transform himself into a griffin from the Stone of Transformation given to him by Mozenrath. This was an appalling move on his part, since the claw of a griffin was needed to transform Jasmin's father back to normal after magic powder turned him into a golden statue, but somewhat mitigated by the fact that the transformed griffin had Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: According to Fu-Dog, gryphons lay an egg only once every thousand years. Once the baby hatches, the mother actually SWALLOWS the baby, which lives in her digestive tract for a week or two before it's healthy enough for the mother to throw back up and live on its own. Of course, this all grosses out Jake.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In keeping with the plethora of Mix-and-Match Critters in the franchise, one episode briefly featured a griffin (with what appears to be a griffon vulture's forequarters) that was used as one of the trained animals in a traveling circus.
    • The Lizard Crow from The Legend of Korra is a scavenger that can be seen scouring the city for scraps, especially around industrial and coastal areas. It has the head and wings of a crow on the body of a lizard, giving it a strong resemblance to a more reptilian take on the classic griffon.
  • Disenchantment: A single griffon has been seen, nesting on a cliff at the edge of the world. In addition to being hybrid of lion and eagle, they're also part human — they have the hindquarters of lions, the chests, heads and arms of humans (they walk on their knuckles) and the wings of eagles, in addition to very beak-like noses. Further, griffons have no sexual dimorphism; even the females look and sound masculine, despite laying eggs.
  • Garfield and Friends: One episode has Orson and his friends Separate Scene Storytelling themselves in their own version of Camelot called "Hamelot" where they must bypass a hungry talk show host griffin who's obviously a spoof on Merv Griffin.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002): Beast Man's control over wild creatures allows him to use whale-sized, twin tailed gryphons as his mounts.
  • Hercules The Animated Series has two griffins. One is elderly and has the job of guarding the first diamond. The other is a talk show host and is voiced by... Merv Griffin.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Griffons were one of the first non-pony species introduced; they come from another continent and consequently aren't all that common in Equestria itself. Biologically, they're Classical Griffons without the "ears" and with more variety than the traditional half-eagle half-lion build, with some resembling tigers or owls instead, and while most stick to natural color schemes several instead have fur and feathers as brightly colored as the ponies'. All their names also start with "G".
      • "Griffon the Brush-off" has Rainbow Dash's friend from flight school, Gilda the Griffon. It turns out she's a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who has an aversion to all of the ponies except Rainbow Dash for being "uncool". Remember what was said in the introduction, about how griffins were said to be hostile toward horses?
      • "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" includes Gustave le Grand. He's a baker with a thick French accent who comes off initially as a jerk, but then again so do his baking contest opponents. Strangely, he has a mustache on his beak.
      • Given how Equestria seems to be set up, the griffons appear to have a city state within Equestria's borders. The episodes "Rainbow Falls" and "Equestria Games" have griffon participants, the latter showing that the griffons are also prone to having a technicolor population — one of them is pink and maroon, another solid purple and third cyan with teal head and wing feathers.
      • "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone" exposits rather abundantly on griffons. Gilda hails from Griffonstone, a Griffon kingdom located in a mountainous continent across the sea from Equestria. Said kingdom used to be proud and strong, but the loss of a precious idol they based their national pride around broke the griffons' spirit. Griffonstone is little more than a decrepit slum nowadays, and all of its inhabitants are greedy, selfish jerks who won't do anything for free even if lives are at stake. The episode's portrayal of griffons is fairly faithful to mythology — the love of gold, less than friendly relations with horses, and rivalries with cyclopean beings are all shown to some extent in this episode.
      • From Season 8 onwards, a male griffon, Gallus, appears as a supporting character, as he becomes one of five foreign students who study at Twilight Sparkle's School of Friendship.
    • The movie also includes hippogriffs, which appear to be a totally separate species. They're referred to as half pony and half eagle and tend towards light body colors and crests of colorful feathers. Their nature as chimeric creatures is less visibly obvious than the griffons' is, as their bird and mammal parts are the same color and don't stand out much against each other. They used to live on the island of Mt. Aris in the far south, but when the Storm King rose to power their queen used the power of an enchanted pearl to transform them into seaponies, so that they could hide under the sea where they would be safe. Hippogriffs make proper appearances in the TV series starting in Season 8, with one of them (Silverstream) later becoming a prominent character.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • The Daughter, the embodiment of the Light Side of the Force, can turn into a gryphon with white and golden feathers and a light green mane and tail tuft. This is in contrast to the Son, the embodiment of The Dark Side, who can turn into a monstrous creature resembling a mix between a bat and a particularly ugly dragon.
    • The same series also introduces a creature called mastiff phalone, a quadrupedal predator native to the world of Maridun notable for its muscular, feline body, vulture-like head and a mane of feathers around its neck. It's a pack-hunter and overall ressembles a typical griffin without wings.
  • World of Quest: Graer the gryphon is by and large a typical griffon, but his front-heavy build and cartoony proportions make this a bit less than obvious.

    Real Life 
  • The dinosaur Hagryphus. The group that it belongs too, Oviraptorosauria, is in itself quite gryphon like, having bird of prey-like beaks and powerful claws on both front and hind-limbs, and have long tails.
  • Historian Adrienne Mayor theorizes that the legend of griffons was based on a misinterpretation of Protoceratops fossils (four legged animal, birdlike beak, crest on its head that could be interpreted as a set of wings if broken off at the base, etc.). However, there are arguments against this theory, as articulated here by paleontologist Mark Witton.
  • The logo for Sprecher Brewery of Wisconsin is a fairly standard gryphon, but the more cartoonish version (named Rooty) on their root beer has a huge beak and a vaguely monkey-like body.
  • Merv Griffin is naturally a very different griffin, being a person with that family name. The emblem for his company, Merv Griffin Enterprises, was a stained glass window of an Opinicus griffin with lion ears (and strangely, a single horse hoof). This emblem appeared after the closing credits for each Enterprises television show in the 1980s and 1990s, including Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!.
  • The Swedish jetfighter SAAB 39 Gripen ("Gryphon"), designed to be able to carry out both interceptor, ground attack and reconnaissance duties.

Alternative Title(s): Our Griffins Are Different, Our Griffons Are Different, Hippogriff

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