The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

Gryphon in Glory

5th Novel in the [Witch World: High Hallack Series] by Andre Norton

Spin-off: 2nd in a secondary series called Gryphon

gryphon in glory 

See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey] [Coulson's Index]

[Expanded Reading Order] [Bibliography Page] [Read it Here[Return to Contents]


Edition Used for Analysis:

(1983) Published by Ballantine Del Rey, PB, 0-345-30950-2, LCCN 80-24835, $2.50, 213pg - also released in Canada $3.25 ~ cover by Laurence Schwinger


What did the Hounds of Alizon, invaders from overseas who were threatening to overrun the Dales, seek? Could it be that they hunted for some of the old Power that still existed in the Waste beyond? When Joisan set out from her Dale refuge to seek her wedded lord Kerovan, unrest filled the Dales and, in the Waste where Kerovan journeyed on a secret mission, evil was stirring. Strange forms of the Dark, long quiet, were beginning to wake. Kerovan, whose cloven hoofs instead of feet set him apart from the human folk of the Dales and manifested his mixed heritage, had renounced Joisan, wholly against her will, to free her from her bond to a man who did not know the mystery of his birth or his final destiny.
Reunited in the Waste, though Kerovan still kept his heart closed against Joisan, they soon found themselves confronted by evil powers of the Dark on every hand. Kerovan must now follow his destiny wherever it led, Joisan knew, and to win her lord again she would stay with him, whatever their final fate might be. Helped occasionally by the strange power she did not understand that came from her lord’s gift of a small crystal globe, on a neck chain, encasing a miniature gryphon, Joisan remained steadfast. Kerovan, however, haunted by strange dreams that took possession of him, strove for answers to the riddles of the Dark.
Andre Norton, an outstanding and widely honored science fiction writer, creates a strange, memorable, wholly believable world filled with extraordinary characters in this compelling tale of courage, loyalty, and danger-to-the-death, companion to the earlier book, The Crystal Gryphon.

Timeline Points:

  1. p1. Joisan:
  2. p1. 'Last night I [Joisan] had given her [Nalda] not my orders, but my confidence. She listened as I pointed out that those who were left of our people were now safe in Norsdale, that they would continue to be given shelter and work by the Dames…'
  3. p2. Nalda: "When my lord rode forth these five days past—I knew you would follow, my lady." Past-Abbess Malwinna is mentioned. (see: Year of the Unicorn)
  4. p6. Joisan: "I am not free, nor shall he [Kerovan] be! Let him ride south at Lord Imgry's bidding as he has done. They will try to use him—even as they make wardsigns for evil behind his back."
  5. p7. 'The land was now a roaming place for more than one kind of enemy. Before the war The Waste, which lay not too far distant, had been a haunt for outlaws and masterless men, raiders. I also had heard that there were small bands of the enemy quartering the land to the eastward—though those had grown fewer of late.' 'The abbey dales were notably good for trade and several sponsored yearly fairs.' 'Still I [Joisan] was not too delayed until the second day of travel when a thick mist became a threat.'
  6. p9. Elys: "Jervon!" 'I [Joisan] was fronting not another man but a woman going armed like myself.' Joisan meets Jervon & Elys.
  7. p12. Kerovan:
  8. p14. 'Only then we drew together under three of the southern lords who were far-seeing and strong enough to make a kingdom of sorts out of a loose confederation of holdings. Of these Imgry is the least liked. However, no man who has served with him can deny that he has the iron will to gather support.' (Further info on the state of the war follows.)
  9. pp16-17. 'He was neither man nor bird; still a part of both species seemed fused in him… His face was avian—provided with a bill-like extension, which was both nose and mouth; wide, if now closed, bird eyes. On his head rose a crest of feathers, which extended, growing smaller, down to his shoulders, then along the upper part of his arms. However, his feet were not birdlike—rather broad paws showing the tips of mighty talons, which must have been withdrawn into sheaths. On the contrary, however, his hands were a bird's claws…' Kerovan sees Landisl in a dream.
  10. p17. 'More and more it seemed to me that there was something about him that was of the gryphon… He lacked the beast body, the wings—yet his avian face—crested head—paw feet—claw hands—yes, there was a likeness.' Strange whispers: "Landisl, Landisl!"
  11. p18. 'That the war in the south was in stalemate I [Kerovan] gathered from the comments I heard.' (There is further comment on the progress of the war here.)
  12. pp18-19 'Those hardy merchant adventurers had brought news of a second war overseas, one that hampered the plans of Alizon. The Sulcar, always fighters, had taken with them an invitation to come coast raiding if they could, taking toll of the invaders' captured seaports.' (This would take place after the events in Web of the Witch World.)
  13. p20. 'I [Kerovan] had heard one story that a high-ranking prisoner, taken when one of their mighty earth-crawlers had broken down, reported that those who had lent them those alien weapons had said the secret of vast power was to be found here—enough to make them masters of the world. So their ruler lusted for that.'
  14. p22. Imgry: "In their own land they [the Hounds] face an ancient enemy—one they would devour as they have much of the Dales. This enemy—by their accounts—may be kin to our Old Ones." (The Old Race of Estcarp.)
  15. p23. Joisan:
  16. p23. "I am Elys," the woman said…
  17. p27. "Now," Elys spoke more briskly, "we [herself & Jervon] ride together as blank shield, lending our sword strength to those who need it most."
  18. p32. Jervon: "Let morning come and this mist rise—then we ride south and west."
  19. p33. 'The Dalesfolk believed that only one born with the Talent could be taught, though we had Wisewomen, healers, gatherers of herb lore, and the like. Yet there had been the Lady Math—my aunt. She had taken the lesser vows of the Dames, and to all such this kind of learning was a sin. Still, in the last hour of her life, she had brought forth a curiously carven wand—" (see: The Crystal Gryphon)
  20. p35. Kervan
  21. p36. 'Thus I [Kerovan] decided to strike straight west…' 'I rode out in the early morning saying no farewells. The night before I met with Imgry for the last time.'
  22. p37. 'We [Kerovan & his horses] were four days along, the last three well into a scrub wilderness…' 'Here was The Waste.'
  23. p38. Kerovan encounters black birds with red heads & the body of a dead Thas at an oasis.
  24. p41. Kerovan discovers a massive, ancient bird nest & finds a chunk of quan iron in it and a skull. He settles down for the night.
  25. p42. Dawn. 'Near midday I saw the first moving thing.' 'Though he was distant I could not mistake the glint of sun reflected from armor. his horse was unlike my three; there was no sign of the long neck.'
  26. pp43-44. 'The rider I had trailed had finally swung about and was heading towards me, the gait of his mount a smooth flowing gallop. Indeed that horse was different. As large as a lowland-bred stallion, it possessed a strangely dappled hide such as I had never seen before; shades of gray-brown merged into one another so there was no clearly spotted pattern, only a suggestion of such. His horsecloth was not woven, but rather formed by the skin of some beast—silver gray and also spotted. As he drew nearer I recognized it for the tanned hide of a snow cat, one of the rarest yet most deadly and cunning beasts to roam the heights within the Dales. He, himself, wore armor of the same silver-gray as the skin. The helm, which overshadowed his face until he seemed half masked, was surmounted by a beautifully carven crouching cat of that species. There were yellow jewels of eyes in the cat head, and, by some trick of the sun, they appeared to blink as if the thing were alive and merely resting on a perch, watching me curiously.' 'His sword still rested in sheath, its heavy pommel forming the head of a cat, while the belt he wore was again of fur and its buckle a snarling feline head.' (Kerovan meets Herrel.)
  27. p46. Joisan:
  28. p46. Joisan awakes. It's dawn.
  29. p47. Jervon mentions the Road of Exile. (see: The Crystal Gryphon) 'During the next four days…' 'On the fifth evening…' Jervon: "The Waste."
  30. p48. Elys begins to teach Joisan some 'disciplines of mind' for calling the Power.
  31. p49. 'On the second day' Joisan, Elys & Jervon reach the oasis & discover where Kerovan buried the Thas body.
  32. p51. 'No skull—no! Air curdled about the yellowish bone, took on a visible substance, building up a thin and unsubstantial vision of a face, a head. The eyes, the sharply jutting nose—so pointed that it might be likened to a bird's beak—overhanging a small chin, obliquely set eyes… No human face!' The crystal gryphon gives Joisan a vision of what the skull looked like when the being was alive. Most likely of the same race as Landisl & Sylvia.
  33. p54. The events at the end of The Crystal Gryphon 'all those months ago'. 'Jervon returned just before sundown, excited and eager.' He discovers Kerovan's horses & camp.
  34. p56. Joisan encounters barrier around the woods.
  35. p57. Kerovan:
  36. p58. Kerovan: "I am out of the Dales where there has been war for two years and more…"
  37. p60. "I am Herrel." (The Were-Riders gives his name.) 'I [Kerovan] did not have to wait long. Herrel returned and with him another like him, save that his helm crest was an eagle with half unfurled wings, his saddle cloth a netting into which feathers had been woven.' (This would be Harl, see: Year of the Unicorn.)
  38. p62. Herrel: "The lodge" The banners are of 'A boar, a rearing stallion, an eagle, a mountain cat, a snouted and armored lurker of the river—there were a full twenty banners and not two alike.'
  39. p63 'I [Kerovan] thought though they were not of any species of animal or reptile I knew—and they were not birds. They left an impression of a long, sharply pointed snout, ringed by fangs, exposed as if the creature possessed no concealing lips. Above that were the eyes, bright, inquisitive, knowing… Yes knowing.' These might be Scaled Ones?
  40. p64. The high table has 20 chairs, no second table. Kerovan meets Herrel's pack leader.
  41. p66. "I am Hyron," the man announced in a flat voice… "We are the Wereriders." (Were-Riders)
  42. p68. Kerovan: "We have no maps of The Waste, Lord. I took the Westward hills for my guide—that brought me here. Now I shall ride north."
  43. p69. Kerovan describes the body by the oasis to them. Herrel: "Thas!"
  44. p70. Joisan:
  45. p73. Twilight. Elys senses something wrong beneath them.
  46. p74. 'I [Joisan] saw the earth rise like a wave…' 'Between me and my companions the soil spun around and around like batter stirred by a giant spoon.'
  47. p75. Joisan is pulled underground.
  48. p80. 'They stood hardly higher than my [Joisan's] shoulder as they shuffled backward in haste. However, they retreated still facing me, hands or paws outstretched and sweeping through the air in my direction, as if their desire to cut me down was so great they must continue to wave those handlike extremities from which sprouted huge, sickle-shaped claws. Their bodies were completely covered by a bristly growth, which looked coarser than any fur or hair, more like fine roots, while there were pits in their rounded skulls though they did not appear to hold any eyes. Their faces became muzzles not unlike that of a foreshortened hound's, showing great fangs of teeth—hinting ominously at what their diets might be.' Description of the Thas.
  49. p83. Kerovan:
  50. p84. 'The sun was well west when I [Kerovan] came forth…' 'Once more we [Kerovan & Herrel] threaded that path through the wood. This time the gloom had deepened until now and then I stumbled, half-blinded by the dusk…'
  51. p86. Kerovan & Herrel meet Elys & Jervon.
  52. p88. Elys & Jervon tell Kerovan that Joisan was taken by the Thas.
  53. p90. 'Twilight was now upon us…'
  54. p92. 'Twilight was fast upon us now and I [Kerovan] saw nothing.'
  55. p93. 'Though the dusk became thicker… so we rode abreast into the night.' 'We made a camp there [next to a waterway] as the full dark closed in.'
  56. p95. Joisan:
  57. p95. Joisan uses her will on the crystal gryphon to show her a way out of the Thas tunnels.
  58. p97. 'For I was sure the dark expanse I sighted, with those points of light, could be no other than the night sky and distant stars.' Joisan enters a cavern with a hole in the ceiling and sleeps.
  59. p98. 'Glancing up I could no longer see those pinpoints of stars. Rather, there came a paling of the sky. In that outer world I could not reach, a new day must be at dawn.'
  60. p101. Joisan is magically transported from a cavern with a winged circle pattern on the floor to somewhere outside.
  61. p103. Joisan awakes and sees abandoned gardens and a ruined keep. 'By the sun's westering position, the time must not be too far from late afternoon. Of the same day? Another? Or a still longer period?'
  62. p104. 'By the rotted door sat a cat—not such an animal as was esteemed in the Dales because of the slaughter it caused among rats and mice that feasted on stored grain. No this was half again as large as one of those sleek-sided, striped tabbies. Also its fur was uniformly a yellow-brown and, between its eyes, boldly marked by a much darker growth of fur, was a V. Another such brand grew on the upper part of its lighter breast fur. About an arm's distance from the first was a second of the same breed, slightly smaller, a little more lithe of body, but of the like uniform color of coat and markings.' 'Before a second door squatted a small bear… catching sight of that red brown form I [Joisan] stiffened.' 'This was a very small specimen of bear to be sure.' All three mindspeak her.
  63. p107. Kerovan:
  64. p107. 'A rising night wind blew against me.' Kerovan, Jervon & Elys make camp at night.
  65. p109. 'By the Warmth of the Flame and the Flash of Gonder's Spell Sword.' Kerovan has a moment of revelation. This is probably a common Dales exclamation.
  66. p113. 'On the second day the country began to change…' 'In mid afternoon of the second day we came near a third such tower…' An evil tower.
  67. p114. 'Coiling up from the tower, in the form of a giant serpent rearing to strike, came a spiral of birds.' 'Their raw, red heads, armed with those murderous curved beaks, were stretched forward like spears, aimed at us.'
  68. p116. An ancient road. 'The highway came up from the south but at the very point where we emerged from among the trees, it took a sharp, curving turn to the west.' Similar to the Road of Exile further north. (Further detailed description on this page.)
  69. p119. Joisan:
  70. p122 Male cat: "Since when have they [the Thas] stirred at all—this side of the Barrier—after the Spell of the Hour was set? Their earth-moving has not spread hither for a long time. Nor have they dared leave the Range of Shifting Shadows."
  71. p128 '…when I [Joisan], a child of eight, was axe-wedded to a boy [Kerovan] I had never seen?' (see: The Crystal Gryphon)
  72. p131. Kerovan:
  73. p132. Kerovan, Elys & Jervon travelling on the road. 'A little before sunset we came upon a place where the pavement curved out at one side, forming an oval section that was still attached to the highway, as a piece of fruit might lie next to a bough.' 'For with the coming of night that star in which our camp was set began to glow faintly.'
  74. p135. 'Nor did I [Kerovan] dream that night. However, I awoke later in the morning than my companions.' "Kerovan," she [Elys] said abruptly. "Here we must part company."
  75. p136. 'Back down the road they went, leaving in me a vast loneliness, a sharply growing need.'
  76. pp139-140. 'I [Kerovan] drew into one [of the ovals] at nooning…' 'The sun, however, was well westward, when I came close enough to see those tumbled wall clearly.'
  77. p140. 'At that moment there sounded an ear-splitting squall. Out of the brush that rimmed the flat land between the road and the rise on which stood the keep, a tawny, brown-yellow body flashed in great ground-covering bounds, heading for me. Behind it came a second.' (The cats stop Kerovan.)
  78. p142. "Joisan!" Kerovan is reunited with her at last.
  79. p143. Joisan:
  80. p146. The male cat tells Joisan: "Old as are the protection spells laid on Carfallin, they still hold, and shall for many seasons yet." (The name of the ruined keep.)
  81. p147. Male cat: "Forces are on the move, we do not know why—as yet. It is only that all that move are of the Dark. Long ago boundaries were set, locks were made, spells were cast. Within stated ways Light and Dark could come and go, always apart. Now there is a straining of those containing spells, a touch here, a thrust there—a testing to see if they still hold. The reason for this…who can tell?" Joisan: "The Dales have been invaded."
  82. p148. "There is another of your blood coming." The male [cat] broke through the silence that had fallen upon us. "He may even be the one you have sought. This one, at least, dares to ride the white road. No rune or spell set there has turned him back, though these forbade the way to others in his company."
  83. p152. Joisan finds a chamber with a barred door which crumbles when Joisan draws the bar.
  84. p154. 'The stone (if stone it was) was near the size of my thumb, though the hoop which held it was small, clearly meant for a woman's wearing. This gem or stone had not been cut, nor did it need to be polished. For it had been fashioned by some freakish twist of nature herself into the semblance of a cat's head and the surface was neither pink, nor yellow, but a fusing of the two with an iridescent cast to the surface, over which rainbow lights slipped as I turned it this way and that.' 'Beyond… there was a rider on the road!' Kerovan arrives.
  85. p156. Kerovan:
  86. p159. Kerovan: "Only this morning she [Elys] said they would travel no farther…"
  87. p163-165. Kerovan dreams of Galkur & Neevor having a conversation about his conception.
  88. p166. Kerovan dreams that the Sleeper [Landisl] begins to awaken.
  89. p168. Joisan:
  90. p168. Kerovan tells Joisan of the Were-Riders. 'The idea of shape-shifting was not new. We of the Dales knew from childhood strange legends and scraps of lore.' (For an example of such a tale see: One Spell Wizard)
  91. p170. 'We settled for the night…' at Carfallin.
  92. p172. 'I [Joisan] slept lightly so that, as the morning light found a thin way inward, I sat up…'
  93. p176. Kerovan: "No, they do not know what they would rouse—those fools from overseas. Their attack on the Dales—but a ruse. He [Galkur] has summoned them."
  94. pp177-178. An illusion of Kerovan's mother, the Lady Temphera, appears and threatens them.
  95. p180. Kerovan:
  96. p184. 'We prepared to spend the night at that campsite in spite of the evil thing that had materialized there.'
  97. pp184-187 The Thas attempt to block the white road with earth. Joisan uses the crystal gryphon to blind them again.
  98. p189. 'So intent was I [Kerovan] on keeping her [Joisan] moving that I had not realized we had worn out the night until I saw the gray gleams of predawn lighting the mounds of earth on either side, the paling of the road.' 'The road came to an end!' at the foot of a rock face.
  99. p191. Joisan:
  100. p193. The gryphon leaves the crystal, grows huge and changes the wall into a Gate.
  101. p196. The white gryphon awakens Landisl.
  102. p199. "Telpher is in no danger." (The name of the white gryphon from the crystal.) Landisl: "Matr, Yoer, Rllone! Has it been so long, and you gone so far?" (The names of his friends & fellow adepts.) Neevor arrives.
  103. p200. 'Neevor interrupted him [Landisl]. "Just now it may depend upon Galkur. And you stand alone of the Sky Ones. It took four of you to defeat him once."'
  104. p201. Neevor: "Through their [the Kolder's] own ways of detection-and some reaching out on Galkur's part—they have learned of Arvon and what may be tapped here. Though their conception of Power is distorted, and they do not understand our usage, they come seeking. They sent war into the Dales, endeavoring so to clear a path to us. And they are of a kind who can always provide a rallying point for many who have nourished the Dark here. Galkur ponders now on giving them more aid. So many of our Great Ones have gone, seeking gates of their own—new worlds beyond. Of those who remain, very few are full adepts—only a handful as learned as Galkur."
  105. p202. Kerovan:
  106. p204. Galkur arrives. 'He was tall and, like Landisl, bare of body. To the waist he was well proportioned, fully human-seeming. His head was crested with a thick growth of curling dark hair and his face sternly handsome. Those features might have formed the countenance of some ancient hero-king. Only—that half-heroic body with its noble head, was belied by what lay below. From the waist down he was clothed by a wiry pelt much coarser than any hair or fur, and his thick legs ended in— Hooves!'
  107. p211. Joisan:
  108. p211. Galkur defeated.
  109. p213. Kerovan & Joisan kiss. The end.


Sorcerer's Notes:
In Year of the Unicorn it mentions that the Were-Riders joined the war in the Year of the Gryphon. This cannot happen shortly before Jervon & Elys first meet, as mentioned in Dragon Scale Silver, because they appear here after they save Elyn and begin to travel. For further discussion on this paradox, (see: Sword of Unbelief)

Year Since the Betrayal

Year Name


Year of the Fire Troll

Invasion of the Dales of High Hallack began

Year of the Leopard

Year of the Gryphon

Meetings with Jervon & Elys, Herrel and the Were-Riders

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Were-Wrath

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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