A gargoyle is a statue that is common in the city of London. Gargoyles are typically stone or metal statues of animal-like creatures, often winged, that are built as decorative water spouts; their First Purpose is to direct rainwater off of a building.
Although traditional gargoyles are tied to medieval architecture, civilizations have used similar water spouts since the days of the ancient Egyptians. Called by many names, including chimeras and grotesques, they have both a practical and an aesthetic use. Adorned with animalistic features, stone gargoyles in the Middle Ages were used to signify evil and send a message to churchgoers. In addition, they were thought to scare away evil when placed atop buildings.
The etymology of the gargoyle is thought to have originated from the French legend of the Gargouille. This was a dragon-like creature that was subdued by St. Romanus and subsequently used to protect the church from evil spirits. The term comes from Latin words for "gullet" or "throat."
Although the city of Paris is perhaps best known for its gargoyles, London has its own share of grotesques. This is evident on the outside of many historic buildings, including the Natural History Museum, St. Pancras station, and Westminster Abbey.
Gargoyles are usually animal-like; they have a combination of features from a number of animals, including bats, birds of prey, lions, goats, and dragons. Some might even have some human-like qualities to them. Gargoyles are grotesque in appearance, and are often ugly and menacing.
All gargoyles are taints, which means they lack the emotions that are attributed to human-like statues, or spits. They are among the most common taints in London, as they are present on many historic buildings.
Most gargoyles seem to be winged, and possess the ability to fly clumsily through the air. When in combat, they use their clawed hands and feet, as well as their wings, to fight. While they may be menacing, especially in groups, they have a weakness: they must return to their stand during rain, so as to carry out their First Purpose and direct water off of a roof.