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The Grimorum Arcanorum

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Appendix B: A Guide to the Gargoyles Universe

By Todd Jensen

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m
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A few words of explanation are in order here. This is a sort of rough dictionary for the "Gargoyles Universe", the fictional world created in the late and lamented Disney animated series "Gargoyles" (1994-97). Greg Weisman and his fellow members of the production team for this series crafted one of the most carefully developed fantasy universes ever to serve as the setting for an animated television series, with a good attention to detail and consistency. As a result, to the many fans who watched this program, the universe of "Gargoyles" felt almost real. It certainly carried a considerable amount of depth and conviction, with a care that at times almost rivaled that given to the foremost literary fantasy world of our century, J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth.

The "Gargoyles Universe" is basically the same as our world, but with a few "additions". Humans unwittingly share the planet with at least two other races: gargoyles (an ancient race physically resembling the traditional sculptures on medieval buildings also known as "gargoyles") and Oberon's Children (the faerie-folk of traditional legend, including many of the gods of ancient myth). There are also other elements of fantasy in this world: the New Olympians (the descendants of the beings of Greek mythology), the Loch Ness Monster, magical objects of various sorts, and even a member of an alien race, Nokkar, who lives in hiding on Easter Island in the Pacific, and protects our planet from a hostile race of invaders from another galaxy. Even the heroes of legend and romance in this world, such as King Arthur and Cuchulain, were actual historical figures in the "Gargoyles Universe", who lived much the same way that the legends said they did. However, these beings know how to make themselves hidden, and, for the most part, the ordinary human citizens of this world go about their business every day and night, little dreaming that they are not alone.

The main source for this Guide is the animated series "Gargoyles" itself, which lasted three seasons. However, the third season, "The Goliath Chronicles", was made, for the most part, by a new production team that had not taken part in the making of the first two seasons, and apparently did not have quite as strong a grasp on the "Gargoyles Universe" as the original production team had done. Only one episode in the third season was made by Greg Weisman, the executive producter and creator of "Gargoyles", namely, "The Journey". The other twelve lagged so far behind the original 66 episodes of "Gargoyles" that most "Gargoyles" fans have preferred to forget them; they are certainly lacking in the careful world-building that the first two seasons showed. If "Gargoyles" were to be revived in the future, they would have to be treated as canon, of course, but for now, I have chosen to ignore them, except for an occasional footnote discussing their developments.

However, Greg Weisman has occasionally discussed the background of his universe, and the direction in which he was planning to take it and would have done so if he had not chosen to leave the production team when the plans for Season Three began. He has not gone into great detail, largely because he has some hopes of reviving "Gargoyles" at some later date and, naturally, does not wish to spoil any of the surprises. Many of his revelations have been included in this Guide, though distinguished from information gleaned directly from the television series by being set apart by brackets of this nature: [ ].

Alongside this, I have also discussed the "real-world" myths and legends about the various figures from them who made their way into "Gargoyles", such as Oberon, Titania, Puck, the Weird Sisters, King Arthur, Odin, Cuchulain, the Banshee, and so on. These sections have been set apart from the main text, likewise, by brackets of this nature: < >. Also in such brackets, I have placed some occasional speculations on my part, both on the possible direction that the series might have gone in, based on Greg's hints combined with the logical results of past events, and on some of the possible mysteries contained in the hidden past. I have always taken care, however, to label these as speculations.

The "real-world" background of "Gargoyles" mentioned above, for both legend and history, is my third and final source, and I have even made occasional use of it for the main text of this guide. Thus, I have included the actual "reign-dates" (usually unmentioned in the series) of the various Scottish kings who appeared in the flashback sequences in "City of Stone" and "Avalon". Likewise, I have included "real-world" information on the actual landmarks of New York and other such places encountered in the series: Cleopatra's Needle, Westminster Abbey, the Sphinx, the heads of Easter Island, and so on.

It is to be hoped that this guide will serve as a handy reference tool for anybody who wishes to learn more about the background of this excellent animated series, and its actual roots in legend and history.

To conclude, a brief bibliography for those who would like to learn more about some of the "real" legends and myths contained in "Gargoyles":

Ashe, Geoffrey, "Mythology of the British Isles".
Covers many elements of "British mythology" dealt with in "Gargoyles", including King Arthur, Merlin, the Stone of Destiny, the faerie-folk, and even the original Boudicca. Geoffrey Ashe is one of the leading Arthurian scholars of the 20th century, and any book by him is highly recommended.
Briggs, Katharine, "An Encyclopedia of Fairies".
A very useful reference work on the faerie-folk, containing entries on Oberon, Titania, Puck, Queen Mab, the Banshee, iron, bells, and even King Arthur, Cuchulain, and Odin. It is more than likely that, had the series continued, many of the other beings contained in its pages might have found their way into "Gargoyles".
Bulfinch, Thomas, "The Age of Fable".
The first volume of Bulfinch's "Mythology", concentrating on the beings of Greek myth. Any good book on Greek mythology, in fact, is useful for those who want to know more about the legendary background for the New Olympians.
Geoffrey of Monmouth, "The History of the Kings of Britain".
This 12th century work was a medieval best-seller, and has served as the basis for the Arthurian legend as we know it ever since, with modifications from Sir Thomas Malory. Geoffrey chronicled an imaginative and colorful, if not particularly accurate, "history" of Britain from its first settlement by Brutus the Trojan, great-grandson of Aeneas, somewhere around 1100 B.C., and concluded in the late 7th century A.D. with the Saxon conquest of Britain. In between, Geoffrey gave particular attention to the stories of King Arthur and Merlin, and may very well have been the first person to actually give them "official biographies". Geoffrey's work has been cited by Mr. Weisman as one of his sources for the Arthurian legend.
Malory, Sir Thomas, "Le Morte d'Arthur".
This 15th century work has generally been considered the definitive account of King Arthur's reign, if there is such a thing, and tells the story of his life from his birth to his departure for Avalon and possible death. It is the most readily available "primary source" for the Arthurian legend; Mr. Weisman has cited it as one of his sources for the Matter of Britain as well.
O hOgain, Dr. Daithi, "Myth, Legend & Romance: An Encyclopaedia of the Irish Folk Tradition".
A good reference source for Irish myth, legend, and folklore (cf. "The Hound of Ulster").
Reader's Digest, "The World's Last Mysteries".
Contains information on both mysterious places that did make it into "Gargoyles" (the heads of Easter Island, Mayan step-pyramids), and places that would have made it into "Gargoyles" had it lasted longer (such as Atlantis and Stonehenge).
Shakespeare, William.
Shakespeare's plays can be found in many editions, and were a leading source for "Gargoyles", making direct use of "Macbeth" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and a subtler use of "Othello". Plans were also made to adapt elements from "Henry IV Part One", "Romeo and Juliet", and "The Tempest" to "Gargoyles", and both "Hamlet" and "Romeo and Juliet" were actually quoted from in the course of the series.
Sturluson, Snorri, "The Prose Edda".
A compilation by a 13th century Icelandic scholar of the Norse myths, including the story of Odin and how he sacrificed his eye for greater wisdom.


We wish to thank the following people for making this "Guide" possible: Greg Weisman for creating "Gargoyles", and for answering some questions about its background not covered in the series itself, the Gargoyles Fan Site for hosting the Guide, and Kathy Pogge for supplying the author with some valuable information about the real-world background of the Kachina Dancers.

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