A to Z Challenge Folklore

Gargoyles #folklore #AtoZChallenge

E is for Eavesdrop

Learn more about the challenge here.

I’m doing folklore and book review posts to reach and please a larger audience. Previous years have shown select interest in both and to minimise blogging throughout the year, I’m focusing my efforts on April.

If you’d rather check out my book review for today, go here.

Learn more about the A to Z Challenge here.

From where they perch, they can eavesdrop on any conversation.

The first sentient gargoyles I saw were in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Gargoyle spouting water. Image credit.

Folklore

Encyclopedia of Beasts and Monsters in Myth, Legend and Folklore by Theresa Bane

La Gargouille

Variations: Garguiem, Gargoyle, GUIVRE

A water DRAGON which once lived in the Seine River in Normandy, France, near Rouen, Gargouille (“gargler”) emerged from a cave and began to cause flooding by projecting jets of water from its mouth; it would swim through the river and capsize boats, greedily eating the occupants as they fell into the water. Gargouille was described as having eyes which gleamed like moonstones, four membranous flippers, a long neck, a scaly head, a serpentine body, and a slender snout.

*More can be read in the book.

Gargoyle. Image credit.

The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures by John & Caitlín Matthews

GARGOUILLE

In French folklore, Gargouille was the dragon of the river Seine. It was said to have ravaged the city of Rouen and was killed by St Romans sometime in the 7th century. Gargouille was given to spouting water and this is why his name has been given to the monstrous gargoyles through whose mouths the rain runs spouting away from the tops of buildings.

*More can be read in the book.

Gargoyle. Image credit.

A Wizard’s Bestiary by Oberon Zell Ravenheart and Ash “LeopardDancer” DeKirk

Gargoyle

Grotesque carvings of humanoid and animal monsters often found on the eaves of Gothic buildings and churches throughout Europe. Originally designed as ornamental water spouts to direct rainwater clear of a wall, in medieval times they acquired religious significance as protectors of humans and averters of evil.

Gargoyle: protection of home or property, astral companionship, wards against evil.

*More can be read in the book.

Gargoyle. Image credit.

The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells by Judika Illes

Gargoyles

Technically the gargouille was a seventh-century water-spouting (versus fire-breathing) dragon (think “gargle”) that lived in the Seine River and was slain upon orders of the local bishop. Although the use of animal shaped waterspouts dates back to ancient Egypt, Etruria and Greece, the term gargoyle re-emerged in eleventh-century Western Europe as the name given to functional but decorative rain spouts, carved in the form of grotesque creatures. Because they most frequently adorn churches and cathedrals, they, like the sheela na gig (see below), are mysterious, evocative, surviving vestiges of paganism. Gargoyles give the appearance of demons but offer spiritual protection rather than harm. It’s believed that they are guardian spirits, magically preserved in stone; in the face of evil, however, they will break free to do battle.

In the past few decades, gargoyles have been adapted to serve as door guardians. Free-standing reproductions of famed gargoyles are available. You may also craft your own. Gargoyles do not have to be placed at the front door; consider your most vulnerable points and place gargoyles appropriately. Gargoyles also apparently enjoy each other’s company; there cannot be too many. Place them as needed in combinations that evoke a sense of security. According to legend, winged gargoyles can fly; feel free to move them around as desired.

*More can be read in the book.

Gargoyle. Image credit.

Further Reading:

Living gargoyle. Image credit.

Folklore in a Nutshell by Ronel

There are no original written texts about the folklore of gargoyles that I could find, but the modern folklore books I were able to access had a lot to say on the matter. So the story of the gargoyle’s origin is the dragon Gargouille who lived in the River Seine and blasted water instead of fire from its mouth. The local bishop was sent to hunt it, which he did and stuck its head on the local church as a warning to other monsters who thought to prey on the people. Since then, decorative water spouts were put on cathedrals and other gothic structures in the form of grotesque creatures to not just protect the walls from water, but also because they are guardian spirits magically preserved in stone, ready to break free to battle evil. These days, you can even have a free-standing one protecting your front door.

Gargoyle watching below. Image credit.

Gargoyles in Modern Culture

Magical Midlife Dating by KF Breene (My Review)

The brawny, purplish Cedric flew close to the cliff, his giant wings beating lazily at the air as he sailed by. Thick slabs of muscle coated his large gargoyle form, his lower half clad in flowing pants. I sure wished he and Alek would fit Mr. Tom for some of those pants. He typically stayed nude when he shifted.

Speaking of Alek, he flew by a little further out, circling in the opposite direction. Though his human form was shorter than Cedric’s, their gargoyle forms were of comparable size. His body was deep brown, covered in chunky muscles, and his thick arms hung at his sides as his wings beat the air.

Magical Midlife Love by KF Breene

Harry Potter book series by JK Rowling

Gargoyle. Image credit.

People ask me what it’s like being a gargoyle… well, to be honest, most of the time you have a very cold bottom.“— Lonely Male Gargoyle[src]

Gargoyle refers to a carved stone or statue with an ugly monstrous design.[1] Since medieval times, gargoyle statues had been commonly seen in many structures and buildings, including the Hogwarts Castle, and like many other statues in the wizarding world, most wizarding gargoyles were enchanted to be animate and, oftentimes, even sentient.[2]

Learn more here.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Gargoyles Victor, Hugo and Laverne. Image credit

Victor, Hugo, and Laverne are major characters in Disney‘s 1996 animated feature film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. They are a trio of sentient gargoyles belonging to Notre Dame. Since Quasimodo‘s arrival in the bell tower as an infant, the gargoyles have acted as his best friends and guardians.

The anthropomorphic gargoyles are part of Notre Dame‘s architecture. When not interacting with Quasimodo, they take the appearance of lifeless, ordinary statues (they refer to this as their “sleeping” states). They are conscious during this time but are strict about maintaining the appearance of normality to most.

Learn more here.

Disney’s Gargoyles

And there’s a 90s TV series and video games all about gargoyles. Learn more here.

BBC’s Merlin

Living gargoyle. Image credit.

In architecture, a Gargoyle is a carved stone grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building. Several gargoyles can be seen on the Castle of Camelot, these gargoyles were formed in Cornelius Sigan‘s process of building the city of Camelot.

When Cornelius Sigan returned, he used magic to bring the gargoyles to life. The living gargoyles started to attack Camelot and its citizens. Arthur Pendragon and Sir Geraint led the Knights of Camelot in an attack against them. Arthur was nearly killed by a gargoyle twice, but was saved by Merlin one time, and by Guinevere the other. Merlin then confronted and defeated Sigan. After Merlin defeated Sigan, it seemed that all the other gargoyles were returned to their inanimate state (The Curse of Cornelius Sigan).

Learn more here.

Magic of the Gargoyles (Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles #1) by Rebecca Chastain

I’ve had this one on my TBR for a while… I should probably get around to reading it!

Mika Stillwater is a mid-level earth elemental with ambitions of becoming a quartz artisan, and her hard work is starting to get noticed. But when a panicked baby gargoyle bursts into her studio, insisting Mika is the only person she’ll trust with her desperate mission, Mika’s carefully constructed five-year plan is shattered.

Swept into the gritty criminal underworld of Terra Haven, Mika must jeopardize everything she’s worked so hard for to save the baby gargoyle from the machinations of a monster—and to stay alive…

Check it out on Goodreads.

Gargoyles in My Writing

Origin of the Fae: Gargoyles

Gargoyles are protectors, set on the roofs of buildings to keep guard from airborne attacks. They swallow intruders whole. They are nearly invincible with their tough stone skin. They can camouflage themselves to fit their surroundings. They can crawl and climb any wall. Their teeth and claws are sharp and deadly. They can fly if they need to, as they all have wings that can burst forth from their backs even if they don’t appear to have any. They come in various shapes and sizes. If not set a specific task – a specific building to guard – they roam until they find a building they like and then infest it. There’s not much one can do to get rid of gargoyles as they are immune to iron and salt. They do obey the Dark King without pause.

Gargoyle translated to Afrikaans: Drakekopspuier.

See this fae in action in my writing:

Dark Fae (Origin of the Fae #7)

Remember that you can request all of my books from your local library!

Where did you first encounter gargoyles? What do you think of this gothic faery? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to the subject.

You can now support my time in producing folklore posts (researching, writing and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion.

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image credit https://pixabay.com/illustrations/ai-generated-fairy-wings-magic-8121013/

No-one writes about the fae like Ronel Janse van Vuuren.

9 thoughts on “Gargoyles #folklore #AtoZChallenge”

  1. I first came across Gargoyles in the Harry Potter series. Amazing to see so many references of these creatures across authors and worlds!

  2. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE gargoyles. Thank you for this in-depth post on them!

    So…I’ve tried to get help with this for a few days…I’m not sure whom to contact about correcting something on the list. I’m at work and couldn’t find email addresses for Arlee or J. Lenni. Under my entry #120 (now), it somehow says “yes” for adult content when it should say “no.” Is someone able to fix this for me? I’d appreciate it!

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