Editor’s Note: In “The Verdict,” two writers with opposing viewpoints on a topic will face off, each defending his or her side of the argument. A third writer will moderate the argument and make a final Verdict on the winning argument. The opinions of each writer are distinguished by text font, with a key at the bottom of the page.
Here ye, here ye! Gather round to hear two men debate a battle of epic proportions, one between the not-living but certainly not dead stone-terror of the night and the king-of-the-jungle meets king-of-the-skys. In one corner, we have the gargoyle, which springs to life after dark, leaps off its perch and soars through the air, combining swift flying with pure brute force. In the other, the deadly combination between a lion and an eagle offered by the mythical gryphon, which combines speed, strength and intelligence like few creatures. But in a battle to the death, which would be victorious?
We base our conception of “gargoyle” on the childhood cartoon of the same name, a show in which gargoyles came to life at night before returning to their Gothic perches ahead of daybreak. As their bodies are literally rock solid, these nocturnal beasts of various sizes and shapes use their impenetrable frames to claw, crack, and crush foes at high speeds. They are at once both animated and nonliving – a combination of robotic strength and animal instinct. Like the gryphon, gargoyles wreak immeasurable havoc; but unlike the gryphon, the gargoyle can’t be stopped. Two arguments on the supremacy of gargoyles:
1) Unrivaled strength
The fantastic monsters of concrete, marble, and iron that adorn our most prominent buildings are unbreakable. No living creature (mythological or real) could match the unnatural prowess of a gargoyle, let alone one moving at full speed. In battle, the gargoyle has a physical advantage over anything with living flesh and physical resistance to most forms of attack. What effect can an eagle’s beak, lion’s claws, or snake’s bite have on the elemental structure of a gargoyle?
2) Unmatched stamina
Quick and powerful, gargoyles not only exhibit superior defense mechanisms, they also outlast opponents who must suppress pain and exhaustion during prolonged conflict. All living creatures, even bastard hybrids of Greek myth, face such inevitabilities – a fate not shared by creatures that do not breath, do not eat, and do not feel. Impervious to all evolutionary deficiencies or weaknesses inherent to life, the gargoyle demonstrates unsurpassed resilience in times of great conflict.
In a battle of two ferocious beasts of commensurate skill and combat style, it’s important to consider their differences. A gryphon is alive, a gargoyle is not. A gryphon sustains injuries, a gargoyle knows no injuries. A gryphon must be killed, a gargoyle must be destroyed. At the end of the day (rather, in the middle of the night), a gryphon cannot inflict harm on a gargoyle like the gargoyle can on a gryphon.
A gargoyle beating a gryphon? A Gargoyle beating a gryphon?! A GARGOYLE beating A GRYPHON?! Can we get a stretcher over here?! A cool glass of water? Someone get me something to put under his legs stat! And FIND ME THAT NECKBRACE! Get that rubbernecking crowd out of here! Bunch of lemmings. Mr. Rich, how many fingers am I holding up? Nope, I had two more behind my back. Sir, you’ve suffered a serious brain injury, you must have blacked out. You said a stone gargoyle would beat a living gryphonn. That wasn’t a mistake? You didn’t dine on lead paint? Hmmm, you must not be aware of the facts.
A gryphon is the king of mythological creatures. With the head and wings of an eagle and body of a lion, it combines two of the top teir predators into one. You don’t even have to go to Africa to get your face swatted off – it’ll find you. This is worse than the bear-shark scare of ’94, or the tracker jacker epidemic of undetermined year Panem. Not only does the gryphon come equipped with a diamond-hard beak, incredibly powerful claws and a whole lotta angry, it also has the intelligence to use them. This is the key. Gryphons were said to be among the most intelligent mythological creatures, regularly making the sphynx feel like Don Knotts.
They have the smarts to use their surroundings to defeat their dense, demonic foe. I challenge you to find a lump of rock, reinforced with rebar or not, that can stand up to a full-grown lion slamming its face into the side of a building again and again. The gryphon would know to wait until the gargoyle had landed, then dive out of the sun and use its greater size and power to overwhelm the rocklike creature. I admit, it is no mean feat to damage a gargoyle, taking patience and dedication, but slowly and surely the gryphon will leave nothing behind but cement dust to be scatted with one beat of his monstrous eagle wings.
Well played, good sirs. You each make a compelling argument, and short of pitting these two majestic creatures against each other on the field of battle, you have given us as good a picture of the melee as could be expected.
Matt makes an excellent argument about the intelligence of the gryphon, which gives it a leg (or wing) up on its hard-nosed but less brainy opponent. The gryphon could play to its surroundings and make use of terrain and weapons better than could a gargoyle.
But in open combat, the gryphon lacks the size needed to take down such a sturdy foe. The so-called “bastard hybrid of Greek myth” could potentially lift a gargoyle statue if it was inanimate and offering no resistance besides its density. But when the gargoyle springs to “life,” it should have no trouble breaking through even the sturdy grip of the gryphon, and just slamming itself into the gryphon would cause harm to the great bird/beast. The gryphon puts up a strong fight, but it’s no match for the natural abilities given to a gargoyle by its molecular makeup.
The Verdict: Gargoyle over Gryphon
Eric Prister, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Colin Rich, Managing Editor
Matt Brown, Columnist
This isn’t the first time the staff at The Basement has caught itself in a hot debate on myth and fantasy. Check out musings on the appropriateness of the title “Wise Beyond His Years” for Gandalf.
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