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For the political faction in Valyria named after these mythological creatures, see "Sphinxes".
A sphinx is a mythological creature with a human's face, a lion's body, and eagle's wings. The entrance to the Citadel is flanked by two stone sphinxes.

In the books

Complete Guide to Westeros Maesters Citadel

The entrance to the Citadel, flanked by two giant stone sphinxes.

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, sphinxes are legendary creatures that are said to speak in riddles. Valyrians also had their own version of sphinxes, though these had a dragon's body instead of lion's. Statues in the shape of Valyrian sphinxes are still found on Essos, a relic of times previous to the Doom of Valyria. The entrance to the chambers of the small council in the Red Keep is also flanked by two Valyrian sphinxes.

Among the treasures that Euron Greyjoy has plundered and gathered during his journeys there are ancient Valyrian sphinxes. 

In real life, the term "sphinx" refers to a creature from ancient Greek mythology with the body of a lion, the wings of a raptor, and the head and breasts of a woman. The term was applied to similar creatures from older ancient Egyptian art with the body of a lion and the head of a human, ram, or raptor (but usually no wings).

See also

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