In my story there is a griffin who has a long time grudge with the lord of a castle. When the lord ends up in a very weak position, the griffin takes the opportunity to kill him and seizes his castle as a new home.

Since the griffin is bigger than humans, the smaller rooms of the castle are off-limits but large rooms such as the throne room and dining hall are accessible for him to make a den in, plus he has the battlements and towers to perch/nest from, appealing to both his lion and bird side. The lands and forests surrounding the castle are teeming with wildlife along with rivers and streams, providing food and water sources. Since the griffin is the only occupant there is no maintenance at the castle so I'm not sure how that would work affect the castle over. Also I'm not sure how the griffin would go about defending the castle from possible invaders.

How feasible do you think this is? What other factors should I take into account?

  • $\begingroup$ How big are griffins exactly? How much do they eat? How much activity do they need? Can they be trained to use a litter box or do you need to take them outside? $\endgroup$
    – user71781
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 23:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site! I think the answer to this question is "as feasible as the plot requires." If your griffin can get enough food and keep out invaders, it's feasible - if it can't, it isn't. $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ I think there was a story in the 1001 nights about some prince who ventured to a neighbouring country where giant eagles (I think? some sort of birds, at least) had taken over the castle there. IIRC, the population was gone, so it's not like they were the bird lords of the land. I can't remember much details but I don't think the story went into deep explanation of how the birds used the castle other than the highest points of it. I'll try to find it just in case. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 9:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @NixonCranium To answer your all questions; About 10-12 feet when on all fours standing next to a human. Roughly about 2 deers or 4 sheep/goats a day. Not much activity, they can do whatever they want. Again they will piss/poop wherever they want :) $\endgroup$
    – Syphoenix
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ @VLAZ Sounds interesting, I'll have to look it up, Thanks :) $\endgroup$
    – Syphoenix
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 10:24

1 Answer 1



Castles are fine defensive structures, that allow a relatively small number of defenders to hold off a much larger attacking force. The defenders need to be:

  1. sufficiently numerous that they can maintain constant watch on all approaches;
  2. armed with missile weapons and (at close range) heavy and/or heated objects that can be dropped on attackers; and
  3. provisioned sufficiently that a besieging force will get tired of sitting outside the gates before the garrison runs out of water, food and other essential supplies.

Castles are less effective as defensive structures once heavy anti-materiel weapons are available or air mobile forces are able to bypass the battlement defences.


A single griffin can exploit surprise and aggression to attack a castle and eliminate a disliked lord and some of its defenders by crashing through the roof of the hall and running amok. However, if the griffin is so large that there are doors that it cannot pass through (as specified by the OP) then any quick, intelligent occupants of the castle will flee through such doors and hide in areas the griffin cannot access. Such occupants will probably not remain in the castle indefinitely, but will flee at the first opportunity while the griffin is sleeping, hunting, or watching a different small-sized doorway. When they leave, they have no reason to close any door / portcullis etc behind them.

Sooner or later someone decides to take the castle away from its griffin lord. This someone talks to survivors, sends in some scouts to make observations and then attacks in force - probably archers protected by pikemen. The griffin is now in serious trouble:

  • The griffin cannot maintain a watch on all approaches - it can only watch one direction at once and it needs to sleep.
  • Even if it could watch in all directions (or gets lucky and spots the attack force approaching) the castle is of no use to it - it relies on teeth and claws and has no ranged weapons to employ against the attackers.

If the situation did somehow develop into a siege, as soon as the griffin was seen flying out to hunt or get water the attackers would move in and occupy the castle. The griffin's mobility allows it to flee a losing battle, but as the sole defender it cannot afford to resupply.

The inevitable conclusion is that the attackers will seize the castle, either over the griffin's dead body or when the griffin flees. What condition will the castle be in? A thatch roof will last one or two years maximum before it rots or blows away, some wooden shingles will last longer but will degrade over time without maintenance. Once the floors are unprotected from the rain and rot then all upper level floors will degrade, eventually leaving only the ground level stone floors intact. In short, if the attacking force takes more than a few years to arrive then they will probably be unopposed - the griffin will have left in favour of a snug cave rather than remain in a rotting castle.


The only ray of hope for the griffin to hold the castle is if it is a griffin-mage, as per various fantasy series. A powerful griffin mage can conjure wards to alert it to approaching enemy, set magical booby traps on some approaches and cast overwhelming, ranged combat magic at especially important enemies from the castle battlements. But... if the answer to all the problems is "really, really powerful magic" then the mage could be a human, elf, orc or awakened parrot - the question is no longer about a griffin.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your detailed answer :) $\endgroup$
    – Syphoenix
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 21:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .