This is definitely not the best photo of a raven I’ve ever taken nor the best photo of the Great Wall of China. But when I saw this raven land in the tree next to the wall I immediately thought of Game of Thrones and the oath of the Night’s Watch:
The view from one quite ruined watchtower to another one that was more intact. The section of the wall that we hiked was by design (i.e., we planned it that way) one of the least restored sections in that area. I wanted to see it with all the ravages of time fully evident.
A slightly, but only slightly, exaggerated view of the smog at the Great Wall of China the day we were there. (It’s effect on the view was accentuated due to the long distance view through a telephoto lens and then I darkened the edges of the image for more drama.) Note the wall crawling up the spine of the front line of mountains to the watchtower at the top. Apparently the wall was great protection from invasion back before the days of gunpowder anyway, but it’s certainly offers zero protection from smog. A smog wall (as opposed to a wall of smog); now that’s something I could stand behind!
The dragon as a symbol has a long history in China. Traditionally it was a symbol representing imperial power. So seeing one sketched in chalk in a guardhouse on the Great Wall of China, seems appropriate. But, being the consumer of modern media culture that I am, it of course mostly reminded me of the Game of Thrones–which of course also ties it to power. Given the graffiti surrounding it, I had to wonder if the dragon was drawn by a resident of China or a visiting westerner.