Well for the last few months my work has been taking me to the wonderful Norwich, which contains this beauty.
Isn't it beautiful! It's a mural at the top of a building and it would be easy to miss if you're not paying attention.
|I've since learned that the best view is from the third storey window of Debenhams!|
So what do we know about this dragon, and the quote on the side - "Should twenty thousand dragons rise, I'd fight them all before your eyes."?
1) It's allowed to be there.
This isn't just someone graffitiing a wall (well obviously, it's too spectacular). This work of art was commissioned by Norwich BID and was created by Malca Schotten, a local artist (do check out her website for more beautiful things).
2) Its name is Snap
Here's where things get really interesting... a quote on the Norwich Bid website from the artist states:
3) Norwich used to be dragon obsessed
Why did they have a dragon puppet? Well that's a whole other story. So let's dig even deeper and find out!
4) Norwich used to have a "Guild of St George"
The guild of St George was founded in 1385 and was basically a Christian charity offering help to the poor and needy. Every St George's day they would have a procession around the city, and we know at some point in its history this procession developed to include some kind of battle between St George and a dragon. The guild wasn't that important and the procession not particularly notable, until King Henry V gave them a royal charter. After that they were really important and the processions, complete with dragon, became huge.
5) But then it all got a bit political
With great power comes great responsibility (I'm sure I've read that somewhere) and a lot of people weren't happy with the guild's influence on the city. Eventually the guild managed to make a deal with the local council. They became partners, and the big procession was no longer just about St George's day, but also became part of the town's mayor making ceremony.
6) And then the dragon defeats St George!
My grumpiness about the story of St George has already been documented here, so it will come as no surprise that this is my favourite part of the story. In 1558, during the reformation, there was this big thing against feast days and celebrating saints. It was therefore ordered that:
Hoorah! Bye bye George (and Margaret whoever you are!) The dragon wins.
7) And then the dragon becomes the people's champion!
Time passes and by 1835 there's no longer a mayor and no longer a guild. Norwich is poor and there's no need for a ceremony or a snapdragon. This could be the end of the story, but no! The local poor people make up their own fake guilds, with their own fake mayor, their own ceremonies and even (yep you've guessed it), their own snapdragons! Snap the dragon lives on!
8) And that quote?
Well as the artist said, it was also found in the castle grounds.