Griffons, sometimes known as "aerials,"[1] were giant flying creatures with the bodies of lions and the heads, wings, and talons of eagles. They became extinct during the Exalted Age.

Background[edit | edit source]

They were never servants, never slaves. A griffon was a partner and equal, or else it was a foe.[2]

The griffons were native to the Wandering Hills and the northern reaches of the Hunterhorn Mountains,[3] although other sources claim the griffons were native to Seheron instead.[4] They were fierce predators, but certain groups among the Orth managed to forge alliances with the creatures. Some of these folk later joined the Grey Wardens and taught their new brothers how to ride griffons in battle. The griffon trainers had a bond with their griffons and both knew what they wanted from their relationship. For the griffon that meant grooming.[5]

Griffons chose their riders rather than being chosen by a Warden and they refused to carry riders they did not want.[2] As a result, the training of griffon riders was difficult and griffons were viewed with caution and respect. The bond between rider and griffon was strong and when a griffon's rider died the griffon often mourned.[6]

The Wardens experimented with relocating griffons' eyries, but no chicks ever survived.[7] The Blights devastated the eyries and the griffons slowly died off, finally becoming extinct during the Storm Age. Rumors occasionally surface of them surviving in some remote area, but have always come to naught.

The Warden in charge of the care of the griffons was known as the roostmaster.[6] The High Constable, the second-in-command to the First Warden, was the aerial commander during the time of the griffons.[8]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Last Flight.

The true cause of the Griffons' dying out was a modified version of the Joining ritual created by the Grey Warden Mage Isseya through Blood magic. The ritual was originally created as an attempt to render a Griffon immune to the Darkspawn taint as the Wardens were. However in the Griffons, the taint was processed too quickly and any Griffon put through the ritual would die not long after. After being put through the ritual however, the Griffons were capable of greater strength and speed. Their endurance greatly increased also rendering them capable of fighting on even after sustaining major wounds. It also greatly increased their aggression. Tainted Griffons would attack darkspawn on sight unless controlled using blood magic. In their more desperate moments during the Fourth Blight, the Wardens subjected dying or aging Griffons to the ritual to make them useful during one last endeavour. The tainted Griffons were particularly useful during the battle of Ayesleigh where the Archdemon Andoral was finally struck dead by Garahel. Unfortunately the modified taint became contagious and communicated to unjoined Griffons eventually causing the whole species to become uncontrollably aggressive, even towards their handlers. The First Warden was eventually forced to give the order that any Griffon showing signs of such aggression was to be killed.

Unbeknownst to the rest of the Order, Isseya retrieved a clutch of thirteen griffon eggs, fathered by Garahel's griffon, Crookytail and managed to purify them of the taint. Feeling that the Wardens had failed the Griffons, she chose to place them in a form of arcane suspended animation until the tainted griffons died out and the Wardens had a chance to appreciate the depth of their loss. In 9:42 Dragon a Grey Warden-Recruit named Valya finally located the clutch of eggs and retrieved thirteen healthy Griffon hatch-lings.

Physiology[edit | edit source]

An adult griffon could grow to be more than twelve feet from beak to tail, with a wingspan even larger.[2] Male griffons could weigh more than one thousand pounds and females slightly less. With beaks powerful enough to break bone and claws capable of shredding armor, griffons were valued and ferocious companions to the Grey Wardens.

Griffons were expressive in their emotions. The eyes of griffons were bright gold and they would close them halfway when pleased. They also purred when content.[2]

Grey Wardens typically selected smaller and lighter Wardens to ride griffons, allowing the griffons to serve longer as steeds under harsh conditions.[2] Even so, a healthy griffon could easily fight while carrying two armored riders.

BioWare canon.png
The following characters, lore and events in this section are non-canon in Dragon Age and exist only within the Dragon Age tabletop RPG.

The griffons' fur and plumage varied from charcoal black to brilliant white, with most bearing grey hues. Many Grey Wardens believe that it was this coloration that inspired their order's name. The Griffon Rampant remains the symbol of the Grey Wardens to this day, and griffon iconography appears on many Grey Warden artifacts.[7]

Known griffons[edit | edit source]

Revas and Isseya

  • Blacktalon, griffon of Huble
  • Crookytail, griffon of Garahel
  • Hunter, griffon of Lisme
  • Revas, griffon of Isseya
  • Shrike, griffon of Danaro
  • Skriax, griffon of Dendi
  • Smoke, griffon of Amadis
  • Traveler, griffon of Felisse
  • Wren, griffon of Edelys

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Some of the armor that was used by the Grey Warden griffon riders can be found in the Grey Warden Vault in Denerim.
  • Weisshaupt Fortress contains aeries the griffons of old used to breed.[9] Aeries appear to be referred to as weyrs in Dragon Age: Inquisition.[10] Coincidentally there is a location in Antiva known as The Weyrs.
  • Corff the Bartender is apparently working on a novel involving something called "Speed Griffons".

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Last Flight.

  • The survival of the Thirteen Griffons into the Dragon Age was partially inspired by the Norwegian Lundehund which at one point was reduced to only six dogs in the world, five of whom were from the same mother. Through careful breeding decisions the breed was saved and now has a population in the thousands.[11]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Griffon's Beak Griffon's Beak

Griffon's Crest Griffon's Crest

Griffon's Helm Griffon's Helm

Griffon-Feather Belt Griffon-Feather Belt

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Based on the Griffon's Helm description.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Dragon Age: Last Flight, p. 31.
  3. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Core Rulebook, p. 257
  4. Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 86
  5. Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 154
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dragon Age: Last Flight, p. 49.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, set 2, p. 7
  8. Based on the High Constable's Mace description.
  9. Per conversation with Mistress Woolsey in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening.
  10. The Fortress of Adamant. Dragon Age.
  11. BSN.png Liane Merciel (September 16, 2014). "Dragon Age: Last Flight" . The BioWare Forum.
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