Spoilers are unmarked below. Proceed with caution!
The books, especially the second, are chock full of Nightmare Fuel. The civilized griffins fight smaller opponents by closing to melee range and then promptly reducing them to Ludicrous Gibs. The uncivilized ones...look for yourself.
The ultimate Nightmare Fuel, however, comes from Whitehead's captives, prisoners in a human lab.
- The griffins there are first artificially brought to heat and forced to gang rape one another. The eggs that come with those almost random pairings are not always compatible: A small forest griffin is forced to try to lay a white-headed griffin's egg - imagine a human woman trying to give birth to a bowling ball. It tears her apart inside and she dies an excruciating, slow death, with all the other captives having to listen to her final screams.
- The eggs are taken away.note
- Once Harrell joins the captives, Winter White-Tail - whose cheerful visage forms the page picture - happily chirps this to him when he asked how she got there:Winter: Oh, I've done bad, bad things! I had a territory on Volcano Island. The greenies brought some herders and sheep to graze in my territory. I killed the sheep. Then I killed the herders. When the greenies tried to stop me I killed them too. I killed a whole family of them! I swallowed the chicks whole! I could feel them still kicking in my crop heehhhh heeeeeehh!"Winter (continues cheerfully describing just how she butchered the adult greenies and ate them alive, one piece at a time).
- Even Harrell, one of the biggest badasses in the story and no stranger to shredding greenies, is revolted by that happy little soliloquy and the other captives make a point to tell him to never get her started again.
- Then the captives start to disappear, and it doesn't take long for the remaining ones to suspect they're being euthanized. The truth, however, is far worse - they're being used as test subjects for the bioengineered griffin plague. If they don't die of that version of the plague, it's tested again and again until they *do* die of it.
- Tamis' death. He may have been raised as a Tyke Bomb but his death is a horrifying, drawn out affair because the poor griffin selected for the task is himself only a young subadult from a small clan, and he's forced to drive his comparatively puny talons slowly into skull and throat until he finally inflicts a mortal wound...with the poor puppy screaming all the while.
- And it could have been even worse. Winter proposed dealing with him the same way she deals with any smaller opponent. The only thing that saved him that fate was that she couldn't reach him.
- After a few of the captives are rescued, the way they talk about their experiences...the shame, being convinced that no-one of the opposite sex would ever want them, the deep depression and the horror of it...is frighteningly similar to Real Life rape survivors. Having her Dark Secret revealed to her own father just about tears Aera apart, and by the end of the story she is still unable to admit to her mother Vaniss what happened.
- In-Universe, the greenies' ultimate Nightmare Fuel is the Newland griffins getting hold of the same Deflector Shield that the Northern Continent griffins possess. Why? Take a good look at the page picture. Winter White-Tail is a Newland griffin. Now imagine her immune to firearms...