Gargoyle Way

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The "Gargoyle Way" refers to the culture of the gargoyle species. For information about gargoyle biology, see that page.

Clans and Family

Gargoyles live in clans, gatherings of fairly closely-related gargoyles. Each clan has a leader, and a second-in-command underneath. The leader's function is self-explanatory; the second-in-command's function is to lead the clan in the leader's absence, and to succeed to the leader position in case the leader is slain or has to step down due to unfitness. (Indeed, leaders of gargoyle clans have to appoint seconds-in-command to ensure a ready-made successor for such an occasion.) If the former leader is still capable of participation after stepping down, then he or she can act as an adviser to the successor.

Gargoyles are in many ways, a very communal race, and this is particularly the case with the hatchlings.

Gargoyle children are raised by the entire clan, and the concept of biological parentage does not exist. This custom may have arisen in part due to the high death rate in gargoyle society; since it is entirely possible that a hatchling's biological parents meet death even before his or her hatching, this policy ensures that orphans will not exist in the clan, and that all hatchlings will be cared for, protected, and raised. [1]

Gargoyle clans that practice communal parenting generally do not care about biological relations. All gargoyles in a single generation are brothers and sisters, all of the gargoyles who contributed eggs to that generation are the parents of those gargoyles and the entire clan is all family, sharing in the responsibility of raising the children. [2] While it would be "a bit odd" for a gargoyle to opt out of helping raise the hatchlings, it is still considered socially acceptable. [3] Members of hatchling and parent generations form bonds without regard to blood relation. The one notable case of a gargoyle caring about her biological parentage is Angela. After the sudden revelation that Goliath was her biological father courtesy of Sevarius, Angela began seeking a closer relationship with Goliath. A first time parent, Goliath began acting distant towards his daughter, fearing that giving her special treatment would mean he was favoring her over her rookery siblings because of their biological relationship and turning his back on the Gargoyle Way.

He was also understandably afraid that Angela would eventually start asking about her biological mother Demona, someone Goliath did not want his daughter developing a special relationship with. Eventually, Diane Maza - a mother of three herself - convinced Goliath that all children sometimes desire special treatment and that he and Angela would naturally be close because she was the only one of his children who chose to leave Avalon with him and he was the only gargoyle parent she knew. Once he understood that it didn't mean abandoning his clan's customs, Goliath began treating Angela like his daughter.

Angela continued to be interested in biological parentage, later identifying Coldstone as the father of her rookery brother Gabriel. Whether this will have any effect on the way she will raise her own children is yet unknown. [4] Brooklyn and Katana's son Nashville was hatched during their TimeDancer adventures and will probably be particularly close to his biological parents since they will have been the only parents he knew. [5] Regardless, communal parenting will remain the norm for gargoyles for centuries to come. By 2198, Samson's parentage will be unknown and he will regard himself as the son of his whole clan. [6]

Atypical to this is Demona, whose biological connection to her daughter, Angela, does matter to her. Although Demona would never admit this. [7]

Although hatchlings belong to the entire clan, gargoyles are a strictly monogamous race. They mate for life (regardless of orientation), and in nearly all cases, when one gargoyle in a pairing dies, the other remains single thereafter. [8] Affairs and separations are quite rare, due to not only biology but also strong ties of custom to discourage a split. [9] Goliath is a rare exception to this rule, in that he and Demona have "divorced," and Goliath has moved slowly towards a relationship with Elisa Maza.

Gargoyles gather their eggs in caves or underground chambers called rookeries, generally set in mountains or high cliffs, their preferred habitat. (Wyvern Hill is a good example of such a place.) Here they can be safely watched over during their ten-year incubation. (It is quite possible that the necessary defense of the rookery from enemies may have been one of the reasons for gargoyles developing their protective instinct.) [10]

In gargoyle society, the sexes are more or less equal. Female gargoyles are the ones who lay the eggs and nurse the young, of course, but other than that, male and female gargoyles alike fight as warriors to defend the clan, and female gargoyles are just as capable as male gargoyles of becoming seconds-in-command or leaders.

Territory and Protection

The primary purpose in gargoyle life is to protect. The inclination to act as protectors probably comes from a fiercely territorial ancestry. Their clan structure and natural inclination toward an authoritarian style of leadership gives us strong clues as to how early gargate groups interacted. Clearly, early sentient gargates didn't experience nearly as much from species in-fighting as early humans did (given the seemingly unlimited territory to expand into and virtually no predators truly able to threaten the species), as even to the modern age, Gargoyles with no previous relationship openly welcome same-species strangers. [11] Inter-clan warfare would have been extremely rare by medieval times given that the clans were so spread out. [12] It could be that their habitual communal adoption of young gargoyles naturally extends to a generally more accepting environment than the strong ties humans and many other large predators place on blood relation. It's also possible that early gargates were as territorial and violent as a pride of lions or pack of wolves, and as gargate sentience developed over time, they phased these traits out in favor of increasing their odds for survival. When a clan gets too large for it's location, it splits and colonizes. [13]

Modern Gargoyle clans are as territorially concerned as their ancestors, in so much as they have a focus on the defense of what they consider their territory. At first, this consisted of merely protecting the clan and its normal roost, particularly the rookery, but as time went on, many gargoyle clans have since expanded upon the definition of this role. Under the influence of Elisa, Goliath came to undertake such an expansion in modern-day Manhattan, declaring that henceforth, he and his clan would protect the inhabitants of that island, both human and gargoyle, against criminals and lawless men, which led to their patrolling the borough at night and foiling crimes. By the 1990s, the Mayan gargoyles had similarly taken upon themselves the mission of protecting the rain forest around their pyramid, rather than just the pyramid itself, and Goliath and Griff together introduced to the other gargoyles of London (or at least Leo and Una) the notion of London itself being a protectorate, rather than just their shop, Into the Mystic and their home, Knight's Spur.

Goliath and Hudson alike feel that protection is an important task of gargoyles; Hudson has many times repeated the adage, "A gargoyle can no more stop protecting the castle than breathing the air," and Goliath himself presented this credo to Coldstone in these words: "Gargoyles protect. It is our nature, our purpose. To lose that is to be corrupt, empty, lifeless."

And protection remains important for gargoyles, indeed. Only a handful of the surviving clans have demonstrated a more skewed interpretation of protection. The London clan chose isolationism and self-preservation for many years. In comparison, the New Olympian clan has become extremely isolated and it is unclear if they protect anything in particular or just their own territory on New Olympus. [14] It is also unknown if the future Wyvern Clan will protect anyone or anything beyond their own territory. [15][16] Only the most corrupt of them, such as Coldsteel, Demona and Thailog, have rejected this duty. And there can be few anguishes greater for a gargoyle than failing to protect someone from harm. When gargoyles choose to protect an area, they will do so steadfastly, even when the humans whom they protect respond to them with fear and hatred. (Thus, Goliath found nothing strange about Raven and his "clan" supposedly protecting the very humans who had allegedly destroyed so many of them.) While all of this suggests that the way of protection might have more to do with nurture than genetics, Hudson could well be correct about it being as important to gargoyles as breathing.


Traditionally, gargoyles did not have names. They considered the concept a peculiar human custom; as Hudson once put it, "Must you humans name everything? Nothing's real to you until you've named it, given it limits... Does the sky need a name? Does the river?". However, by 1996 gargoyles have begun to accept the concept of names, at different times and ways for each clan. In the case of the Wyvern Clan, all of its members were nameless in the 10th century, except for Goliath. However, Demona received her name from Macbeth in 1040, following Duncan's overthrow, and the Trio, Bronx, and Hudson took up their names after awakening in New York in 1994. Future members of the Manhattan Clan, such as Tachi, Artus, Gwenyvere, Lancelot and Samson, will have names, but it unknown how they will acquire them. [17][18][19] Demona has given the members of the Labyrinth Clan names as well, though more to mock the Trio and Hudson's New York-based names (which she considered stupid). [20]

The Avalon Clan gargoyles were all named by Princess Katharine, the Magus and Tom. The London Clan and Ishimura Clan have adopted the practice of naming as well (with the Ishimura Clan practicing a Naming Ceremony during Japan's feudal period). Among the Mayan Clan, only the four Pendant Wearers have names, which they are given when they receive the magic stones. [21] There are still a few gargoyle clans that do not use names, though. We do not as yet know which of the unseen clans use them or not. [22]


While gargoyles are not perfect, there seems to be less serious crime among them than among humans.

Some punishments for gargoyles who behave poorly are known, however. For minor offenses, a gargoyle can be sent to the rookery (a humiliating punishment, and one not that uncommon). Treason is dealt with by the traitorous gargoyle being banished from the clan. This practice might have contributed to poor relations between gargoyles and humans, since most clans live in remote locations, a human would be more likely to have a random encounter with a rogue gargoyle, who would likely be a poor example of their race (Demona's first encounter with Gillecomgain being a prime example). The clan leader makes the final decision in respect to a gargoyle being banished. [23] This was the fate of Yama, after the Ishimura gargoyles' clash with Taro during the Avalon World Tour. "Iago" was also banished from the Wyvern Clan from 993 to 994 for his troublemaking. [24] After the Wyvern Massacre, Demona (unable to "face" the eggs themselves) sent herself into exile. [25] Due to the impracticality of keeping a single gargoyle out of an entire city, the Manhattan clan adopted the human practice of imprisoning criminals when they captured Demona.

Religion and Magic

Gargoyles have a vague religious belief, if one different from that of recognized human religions, both monotheistic and pantheistic. Their god is nameless, of course, undefined, and unlimited. Gargoyles see all things as part of the whole. Some gargoyles have an interest in the spiritual, but they merely follow this interest without seeing themselves as priests or priestesses. (The only known gargoyle at present with such interests is Coldfire.) They have no creation myths, for the simple reason that they are not interested in their origins, just accepting themselves as existing. [26][27] Their religion requires no monuments as they understand their deities/diety to be "everywhere in everything." [28] It is unlikely that gargoyles ever worshipped any Child of Oberon as a god. [29]

When a gargoyle dies, the rest of the clan holds a Wind Ceremony for him or her, a farewell to stone and flesh, the equivalent to a human funeral. Their own beliefs about death can be expressed in these two sayings, "Death and life is all part of a whole," and "One passes through stages, but nothing ever dies." [30]

Gargoyles are not magical beings in and of themselves, but some (such as Demona and Una) can learn magic. Gargoyles appear to have an ambivalent attitude towards such arts. Goliath distrusts it for the most part, often uttering when bewildered the cry of "What sorcery is this?", but has accepted the fact that sometimes magical help is required to keep his clan safe; he willingly sought aid from the Magus, for example, in repelling the Archmage's invasion of Avalon.

(Much of his suspicion towards magic, in fact, may be based on his problems with various magic-workers over his life, including the Archmage, the Magus, Demona, and several members of Oberon's Children.) The Wyvern gargoyles may have had some overall antipathy towards magic, in view of Demona's having had to take magic lessons from the Archmage only in secret, but the London gargoyles seem less suspicious towards it, in view of the fact that their shop sells magical goods and Una is a sorceress of some skill. The Guatemalan gargoyles, likewise, made a willing alliance with the wizard who crafted the Mayan Sun Amulet, and Zafiro, Obsidiana, Jade and Turquesa have (so far as we know) seen nothing wrong with making use of them. (For that matter, Goliath never condemned Leo and Una, or the Mayan gargoyles, for their connections to magic.)

Territory and Protection

Gargoyle Phrases, Credos, and Mantras

  • "A gargoyle can no more stop protecting the castle than breathing the air." -
  • "Human problems become gargoyle problems." -
  • "Daughters and sons belong to the whole clan." -
  • "Gargoyles protect. It is our nature, our purpose. To lose that is to become empty, corrupt. lifeless." "It is our heritage". -
  • "Gargoyle must not fight gargoyle!" -
  • "Gargoyles stand together. That is our way." -
  • "By the dragon!" -

Gargoyle Ceremonies

Regional Customs

Other social customs

Gargoyles think of themselves primarily as gargoyles. Individual gargoyles may pursue particular interests, such as Lexington's fascination with science and technology, but they never think of themselves as scientists, poets, artists, or what-have-you. They merely pursue it, without letting this interest define them. The Wyvern Clan preserved their history orally, with less emphasis on any particular member of the clan. [31] Unwritten traditions, poems, and stories are also believed to be passed down to younger generations in the oral tradition. [32] In modern times, some clans (like the Ishumura and London Clans) may have adopted writing. [33]

Usually, gargoyles don't make use of money, considering it unnecessary to their life-style. Under natural circumstances, gargoyles presumably obtained their food by hunting and gathering, which would certainly make a monetary system unnecessary. However, there are always exceptions, especially in the modern world. Demona and Thailog have both gathered great wealth, although for different reasons (Demona to use in financing her schemes to destroy humanity, Thailog to make himself a force to be reckoned with in the modern world). And the London gargoyles help support themselves economically through Leo and Una's shop, using the proceeds for such matters as paying taxes upon the land on which they dwell. [34]

Hatchdays take place within two-to-three days of the Spring Equinox and is typically a large communal celebration. [35][36][37] During the winter months, it is likely that gargoyles would celebrate the Solstice. [38]