Scott Baldwin, a welsh rugby hooker, has been bitten by a lion at a South African game park after petting it through bars. Thankfully the injury wasn’t severe, though the player’s wound did require stitching. Scott was ridiculed for his actions, but perhaps there is more to this story than meets the eye?

The incident took place in Bloemfontein zoo, known poetically as the City of Roses and the birthplace of the epic fantasy writer J.R.R Tolkien.

It’s a curious combination. In The Earth Emperor’s Eye, Sir Peter Scott, founder of the World Wide Fund for Nature, plays a cameo role, commenting on the majestic lion head statue commissioned at the bequest of the Emperor to enable travel across time. Whilst the enduring rose is used symbolically to illustrate the beauty and fragility of the natural world. And then Tolkien is known as the father of modern fantasy literature. Perhaps Scott Baldwin’s actions were far from foolish, but rather it was his destiny to unite with the lion in a temporary hook to draw attention to the plight of the natural world?

As a final world, let us recall Lucy Ebbs’ protective spell in the tale,

“I circle this world against the sore stitch, against the sore bite, against the Grim Dread and all evil that enters this world.”