Defense Against the Dark Arts 101 Textbook by taekwondofizz

written by Taekwondofizz

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Chapter 6
The first entity that we will cover today is the gargoyle (please note that gargoyles are not creatures, as they are not actually alive, but only resemble life). Many of you, especially those who have lived in the Muggle world, may be familiar with these creatures if you have ever seen a Gothic style building and looked up. Many Gothic buildings include gargoyles at the top. There are many reasons for this inclusion, not least because Muggles frequently borrow ideas from the Magical world. But I’m getting ahead of myself. For the purpose of today’s class, I will talk briefly about the Muggle connotations and then cover how these creatures work in our world.
In the Muggle world, gargoyles are nothing more than fancy statues. However, they are fancy statues with a purpose. They originated in the era of Gothic architecture and became extremely popular because their appearance and their practicality. They were very similar to another statue style named a “grotesque.” These two types of statues can look very similar as seen below:
A gargoyle at Parsley Abbey

A grotesque statue.
Now, as you can see, these two statues look similar. How can we tell the difference, then? In modern times, there is very little difference, in all honesty. Muggles have come to accept that any statue crafted in the grotesque style is a gargoyle; however, this is slightly inaccurate. By design, gargoyles were initially crafted as a method of protecting buildings. When it rained, water would leak down into the foundation of the building, ruining the foundation and causing the building to collapse. Gargoyles were designed specifically to be built on structures, usually at different heights and at different locations, to help channel the water and push it away from the building, causing the water to land on ground a safe distance away from the foundation and protecting the building. Grotesques, on the other hand, are purely decorative and serve no other purpose than to add to the decor.
The myths about gargoyles protecting buildings from evil spirits originates from their purpose of protecting the foundation from water damage. It was believed that, due to the way the statues looked, the evil spirits would be scared away, protecting the building from the malice they brought. This is why you will often see these types of statues on older churches. Though they have become more decorative in nature due to the creation of gutters (for any questions about these, ask Professor Castillo), gargoyles still have the protective sense to them and generally bring an appeal due to their look and the appearance they bring to the style of a building.
Now how does this translate to the Magical world? Well, in our world, gargoyles serve a very similar purpose to the myths. While they will not keep evil spirits away from a place, they do serve as guardians. Many people will set one gargoyle on either side of their important doorways, which creates a barrier than only approved people can pass through. This is usually recognized through special enchantments or, more commonly, a password.
It is not uncommon for people to use a single gargoyle, though. Since gargoyles in our world can be charmed to resemble life, it is possible to place one in front of a door that you do not want people to go through. Since you are the one who charmed it, the gargoyle will immediately move away from the door for you, but will only move out of the way for others if they know the password.
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