Ifan Morgan Jones
It was apparently C.S. Lewis who, on hearing about Tolkien’s plans for the Lord of the Rings, protested: ‘Not another f*****g elf!’
My first reaction is hearing of a petition to replace plans for Flint Castle’s now infamous Iron Ring with a giant dragon statue is ‘Not another bloody dragon!’
There are already well-developed plans to erect a humongous dragon just down the road at Chirk. If the Welsh Government wants to support the erection a massive dragon, then that’s the place to do it.
There are two main reasons why I think this is a bad idea:
First of all, giant dragons are just a little bit naff. The Red Dragon is a cool flag that we’re all proud of.
But the dragon is also omnipresent on logos and sculptures throughout Wales. We’re all dragon-ed out.
Another dragon is so unimaginative and inoffensive that the petition has a real chance of succeeding.
Secondly, it tells us very little about our history as a people. A dragon just reinforces the stereotype that we’re a semi-magical people with no history apart from the mythologies that we’ve invented for ourselves.
The objection to the Iron Ring statue was that it would present to the people of Wales a warped version of their own history, written from an outside POV.
Any replacement, therefore, needs to represent something about Welsh history from a Welsh point of view.
If the Iron Ring represented our conquest, then its replacement should represent our emancipation from that conquest.
Over the past few hundred years, Wales has been transformed from what threatened to become just another county of England into a country with many of the trappings of a modern nation state.
How about a sculpture to celebrate those that made our modern democracy possible – from the laws Hywel Dda to the industrial workers who collected pennies to set up our first national institutions, to those that campaigned for autonomy in the 70s and 90s?
Flint would be the perfect setting for such a sculpture as it would reinforce the point that every part of Wales has played a part in this journey – even the parts that sometimes feel ignored.