The Royal Mile in Edinburgh runs atop a volcanic ridge, stretching up from the old monk’s breweries besides Holyrood Palace, to a volcanic vent upon which Edinburgh Castle sits. Closes, or narrow alleyways betwixt the tall tenements run off the Royal Mile down into the valleys either side, like the ribs of a fish.

If you’ve got a mind for tireless exploration, many delightful sights can be discovered down these closes. JK Rowling would push baby Jessica around the old town, discovering her new home, sorting through her ideas and drinking in the scenes.

Decorative Dragons guarding Wardrop's Court off Edinburgh's Lawnmarket
I Spy Dragons

These dragons guard Wardrop’s close. They are here because before 1790 there used to be the incorporation of ‘Baxters’ or Bakers, on the corner, where the Tavern now is. The flames of the wood fired ovens would lick the loaves.

Dragon’s blood is extremely powerful. Albus Dumbledore was acclaimed with his own chocolate frog card for two accomplishments, defeating wizard supremacist Grindelwald and discovering the twelve uses of Dragon blood. Such as:

As an oven cleaner
A spot remover
And a cure for verruca.

Hagrid and his pet Dragon Norbert
Hagrid's beard is unlimited

Hagrid might think Dragons are adorable but Dragon pox is a serious malady. Eldritch Diggory, the minister of magic who establish the Auror office during his term died of Dragon Pox in 1747. Harry’s grandparents both died of it too, 1978.

Like bird flu Dragon pox first arose from humans living in close contact with Dragons, the wizarding world prizes Dragon’s milk cheese, which is possibly how Hogwarts got its motto.

Shield of Hogwarts and motto
“Never tickle a sleeping Dragon”
The symptoms of dragon pox

It’s like chicken pox. You get bumps on your skin and your skin turns a permanent greenish tinge. And when you sneeze sparks shoot from your nostrils. It is treated at St Mungos in the department for magical bugs. One hopes they have fire proof iron shutters.

What else can be discovered down Edinburgh’s closes? Visit and find out.

The Dragons can be found down the close to the left of Brodie's
Art Credits
Becky Dreistadt's HagridHogwart's shield