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If you've been in Equestria for any amount of time, you may have seen a gryphon, or griffon. What is it, and what are they like?
This article attempts to solidify the way that gryphons in Twitterponies are played. As with all things, this is more along the lines of generally accepted ways to play a gryphon than hard and fast rules.
Gryphons, also known as griffons or griffins, are magical creatures that are a combination of big cats and birds of prey. Their heads, forequarters, and wings are those of birds of prey, like eagles, while their hindquarters and tails are those of big cats like lions.
Gryphons are predators and eat meat, though modern-day gryphons are semi-omnivorous - they still have a diet that consists mostly of meat, but they supplement it with fruits, vegetables, and some grains. However, sugar makes them lethargic and too much will make them very sick. As such, sugary treats like cupcakes are eaten very rarely while foods with natural sugars like apples or bananas are considered delicacies. While it's okay to send your gryphon off to hunt or fish, narrating the act of eating prey is a bad idea. Many gryphons in Equestria take care to hunt in uninhabited or dangerous regions like the Everfree Forest, in order to avoid exposing ponies to the less-than-civilized nature of the main facet of their diet.
Gryphons come in many varieties. The most common is the classical eagle/lion griffon, but falcons, hawks, and owls work just fine alongside tigers, leopards, panthers, or cougars. Typically, the combination informs the physical characteristics of the gryphon - an eagle/lion gryphon will most likely be of (relatively) average speed, strength, and endurance while a peregrine/cheetah gryphon will probably be very fast, but not particularly strong or enduring. Larger real-world animals also inform the size of the gryphon - Gilda is physically smaller than Calyx as her real-world counterparts are smaller than Calyx's!
Gryphons also tend to be larger than ponies, are they are - historically - one of the natural predators of ponies. As such, female gryphons typically are close to the size of larger draft ponies like Big McIntosh while males can easily outmass the Princesses.
As a note, a rare subspecies known as Hippogriffs also exists! Not much is known about them, aside from the fast that instead of having a feline rear half, they have equine hindquarters. They also sometimes have small, vestigial horns.
In terms of temperament, gryphons vary as widely as ponies do. In general, a gryphon will tend more towards being exuberant and outgoing, as their society is built primarily on gaining the respect of others through feats of physical prowess. Gryphons are also very tactile - preening is a common bonding activity performed by anything from casual acquaintances to longtime nestmates, and seeing a group of sleeping gryphons curled up into a fluffy ball of feathers is commonplace.
Gryphon society as a whole is as varied as pony society is - there are insular areas of the Griffonlands that are very hostile to any "prey" species while other regions are nearly evenly split between ponies and gryphons. Similarly, while most areas of the Griffonlands function as semi-anarchic natural communes, other areas are like Griffonstone or are rigidly caste-based.
One facet of gryphon society that is unique is the eyrie.
Eyries are, effectively, small voluntary communes formed by gryphons for emotional and material support. Eyries range in size from 3 to 20 gryphons, and larger ones are typically 5-10 family units working together while smaller ones might be a complex web of friendships and mated pairs.
The impetus for forming an eyrie is, as noted, to provide members with emotional as well as material support. While no gryphon will admit it as readily as a pony, having friends is extremely important for their mental well-being. Material support, on the other hand, is simple pragmatism: It's far easier to ensure that you're able to eat during molt and able to provide for your cubs (if any) when the load is spread between more than one gryphon. There is still a clear division between private property and goods for the use of all eyrie members.
Eyrie housing varies from a single communal domicile to a collection of individual homes with a shared courtyard. These can be hollowed mountaintops, floating cloudhomes, or nests built in large trees.
More formally known as the Griffonlands Compact, this is a treaty made between Equestria and the Griffonlands many generations ago to end a bitter disagreement. It specifically codifies that ponies are not valid prey for gryphons, and that both species are to treat the other as their own. Of course, the latter clause still sometimes results in...misunderstandings. Not many ponies react well to the traditional "exuberant pouncehug" greeting.
Some of this page is derived from the Friendship is Magic Wiki.The original article is at Griffons.
- The first griffon featured in the show is Gilda, Rainbow Dash's former friend, who appears in Griffon the Brush Off. Gilda demonstrates that gryphons can fly and stand on clouds like pegasi.
- A male chef griffon named Gustave le Grand appears on board the train in MMMystery on the Friendship Express.
- A pair of griffon statues appear outside the entrance to the Crystal Empire library in The Crystal Empire - Part 1 and in Games Ponies Play.
- The Daring Do book series includes a book titled Daring Do and the Griffon's Goblet; a griffon appears on the cover of a copy of this book in Read It and Weep and on another Daring Do book cover in A Friend in Deed.
- In Rainbow Falls, an all-griffon team qualifies for the aerial relay event in the Equestria Games.