|Classification||Medium Monstrous Humanoid|
|Character classes||Mage, Sorcerer, Shaman (RPG); Rogue, Storm-hag, Scout, Queen (WC3); Hunter, Warrior (WoW) (presumed)|
|Racial leader(s)||Various matriarchs|
|Environment||Temperate and warm hills and mountains|
|Area(s)||Kalimdor, particularly Durotar, Mulgore, Ashenvale, Teldrassil|
|Primary language(s)||Darnassian Low Common|
|Average height||5 - 6 feet (presumed)|
|Organization(s)||Solitary, pair, or flight|
|Alignment||Usually chaotic evil|
|Sources: Monster Guide, 87-88|
Harpies resemble a cross between a night elf female and a hunting bird, with long talons for feet and large graceful wings for arms. Harpies originally hail from the Stonetalon Mountains, but have since spread out across Kalimdor and Northrend. Legends about harpies claim that they descend from a group of female night elves who betrayed Queen Azshara, and were cursed as punishment. No males have been reported, so (rumor has it) harpies breed with captive males of many species, though they prefer elves, orcs, and humans to either smaller or larger species. The males of another species fills the role for a time, after which they become food for the nest. In lean times, harpies can lay unfertilized eggs that become female copies of the mother.
Vicious and predatory by nature, harpies are the bane of all other life in the areas were they take root. They have been raiding tauren settlements since time out of mind, and it can only be assumed that they are as much a plague on the quilboars and others. The only race rumored to have any peaceful relationship with the harpies are kobolds, who trade them scavenged tools and weapons for information and protection. Harpies are an extremely unclean race. Their nests are obvious by the stench on the wind. They are immune to infection and other diseases that stem from rot or contamination. This immunity does not extend to the toxins of plants, animals, or any magical effects.
Once content to confine themselves to their ancestral home in the peaks of the Stonetalon Mountains, the feral and vicious harpies of Kalimdor have spread their influence across the length and breadth of the continent. The vicious winged women have taken to raiding unsuspecting caravans and savaging any who cross into their territories. Their nests, littered with the gruesome remains of their victims, are now a common sight from the arid mesas of Durotar to the lush forests of Teldrassil to the icy reaches of the Dragonblight and the Storm Peaks.
If not driven out, they quickly range out attacking anything and everything they can get. Harpies are clearly very intelligent, since they are able to communicate with other races when they wish to. The common echelons of harpy society attack with crude weapons or simply with their razor sharp talons. They are well used to the ways of divine magic and treachery. The more elite harpies tend to be masters of elemental storm magic and are much more dangerous.
These vile, unscrupulous winged women live only to cause mischief and sorrow. Hailing from the windy Stonetalon Mountains, the harpies are masterful at ambushing hapless caravans and foolish travelers alike.
In Teldrassil, the harpies have sought to nest on the night elves' own homeland. Recently grown, the great tree is a perfect location for the Bloodfeather matriarchy who have already started laying eggs to increase the size of their tribe. The night elves are struggling to keep the number of harpies down, and give out bounties for Bloodfeather belts collected from dead harpies. They may be led by Fury Shelda.
In the Stonetalon Mountains, the tauren are having their own problems with the harpies. The Bloodfuries are the source of the increasing number of harpies in Kalimdor; they encroach upon all likes of life preventing the innocent from leaving their boundaries. Their leader, Bloodfury Ripper, is all but a queen to the Bloodfuries. She makes her home in the Charred Vale, close to Desolace where she is busy keeping out the tauren and night elves who are trying to regrow the forests. Their plumage is red and white.
Dustwind harpies have settled down in the dry gulches and ravines of Durotar, much to the annoyance of the recently settled orcs. The harpies assault caravans on the road south of Orgrimmar, and have laid claim to a relatively large pocket of passages in the jagged rises just north of Razor Hill. They have blue and red plumage.
More harpies nest in the lush tropical forest of Feralas. The Northspring harpies are among the most dangerous of the matriarchies, and can quickly slaughter the unwary traveler lost in the wilds. As with most of their habitats, the harpies in Feralas clash with the local tauren tribe, base in Camp Mojache. They have greenish skin and dark pink plumage. They are led by Edana Hatetalon.
The most powerful harpies in the world reside in the Icewing Pass and the cave at the end of it. Their close proximity to Dun Baldar has rendered them dangerous enemies, and the Stormpike Guard employs those who are not on the battlefront to attack them. Though they are fierce and formidable enemies when you invade their territory, any traveler should be safe if he stays on the path while passing near the unfrozen lake south of Dun Baldar.
The harpies of the Windfury matriarchy inhabit the new home of their ancestral enemies, the tauren, and some can even be found in Thunder Bluff. They have nests both in the southern and the northern parts of the great grasslands, and constantly harass travelers journeying to and from Thunder Bluff, situated on the nearby mesa. Their plumage is blue and white. They may be led by Sister Hatelash.
Residing in the northern area of the Barrens in an area called Dry Hills, this group of harpies have been ravaging the Horde's caravan supplies. The lower sections of their group are led by so called lieutenants called Witchwing Slayers. They stand out from the rest by wearing rings. They, in turn, answer to the leader of the matriarchy, Serena Bloodfeather. She is the sister of a harpy named Bloodfeather, who was slain by Rexxar, and her attacks on the Horde are inspired by a sense of revenge. It seems she is assisted in her leadership by Sister Rathtalon. Their plumage is black.
Night elf relatives?
During the time before the War of the Ancients, certain night elves changed when they gave themselves over to Cenarius. This is a possible explanation given for the dryads and keepers of the grove.
It is possible that the harpies are night elves who gave themselves over to Aviana. The death of Aviana during the war would have left them without their matriarch, and could explain their now brutal nature (although Aviana herself was also hinted to having these streaks).
Although it fits that the harpies would be connected to an ancient, much like the quilboar to Agamaggan and the furbolgs to Ursoc and Ursol, this is unconfirmed.
Worshipped by quilboars?
It is possible that quilboars worship harpies as there are rocks with pictures of winged humanoids in quilboar areas. Possibly, there could be some other connection between quilboars and harpies. It is possible that these are just normal pictures. This doodad is found in ogre lands as well.
Though no males of the species have been confirmed, their existence would seem to be implied by the needs of reproduction. The main belief is, like some species of birds, the sex ratio is highly tipped in the females favor, and more then likely, male harpies do exist but simply have not made an appearance so far. It is also possible that the rumors of raping males of other races is true.
Manual of Monsters blatantly says that there are no male harpies and that harpies breed though rape, while Monster Guide says that there are no reported males and that the raping is rumor.
Appearance in Northrend
Prior to the events in Wrath of the Lich King, it was thought that the harpies lived only in Kalimdor; their appearance in Northrend proved otherwise, however. Their presence there is something of a mystery, though if the legend regarding Queen Azshara mentioned above is correct, then they existed before the Great Sundering and so some of them could have been trapped on the land mass that would become Northrend when it occurred.
The harpies (Greek: αρπυια/harpuia, "snatcher") are described as vile birds with the chest and head of women in many sources. They are not prominent figures in Greek mythology; they are a minor part of the high-profile tale of Jason and the Argonauts. They were bird-women who worked for the Olympians, and were assigned to punish the seer-King Phineas for revealing too much of the future. Every day, as Phineas would sit down to a great feast, the harpies would fly down and gobble up all the food. When Jason finally arrived, the sons of the North Wind (as a favor to Iris, a goddess who supported Jason) drove the harpies away to Crete, never to bother Phineas again. The physical appearance of Warcraft harpies is quite consistent with the original descriptions put forward by Ovid and Virgil.