Today I watched the movie “How 2 Train Your Dragon” on a long trip. I have always enjoyed watching the movie. It is well written. Dynamic characters, multiple characters growing through the movie and circumstances that all of us can relate to.
But today I want to focus on one character: Hiccup.
Side note: This will carry spoilers and the assumption you have watched the movie.
Who is he?
Straight from the beginning we can see the kid has nothing going for him. He is clumsy, skinny and lacks the fighting spirit of the Vikings that he is living with.
Plus his dad is this amazing man who takes on dragons single-handed and no weapons. And he is huge, at least head and shoulders taller than everyone else in the village.
And poor Hiccup struggles to wield any sort of weapon save a dagger.
The villagers don’t think much of him. His peers don’t like him. His dad is disappointed in him.
And he doesn’t like himself. All he wants is to belong and be part of something bigger. More importantly, he wants his father’s approval.
Hiccup sums it up in one monologue: “Excuse me, barmaid! I’m afraid you brought me the wrong offspring! I ordered an extra-large boy with beefy arms, extra guts and glory on the side. This here, this is a talking fish-bone!”
Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a mother or any role models to help him gain confidence. The closes individual he has is Gobber and he basically voices his own doubts and the doubts of everyone around him.
He is a disappointment. His dad does not see the son he wanted in Hiccup. The villagers see him as a problem.
The moment when his life goes crazy is when he refuses to kill a dragon. A Night Fury by chance. The Vikings feared this dragon above all others.
At the same time, his father does something unexpected: he gives permission for Hiccup to train and get a chance to kill his first dragon as a reward for being the best recruit at the dragon killing school.
After this encounter, Hiccup begins to live a double life. During his mornings he spends time training to kill dragons while getting ribs and barbs from the other kids while in training.
During his afternoons and evenings, he spends his time learning about dragons and his new friend, Toothless.
By helping Toothless regain the ability to fly, he realizes that dragons are not the brainless killers the Vikings think that they are. With his new found knowledge about dragons, Hiccup is able to “take down” the captive dragons with ease.
He begins to win the approval of his village and the support of his peers except for Astrid, his love interest.
When it falls apart?
Then things began to spiral out of control when Astrid finally finds out what Hiccup has been up to. She runs off to tell the village but Toothless catches her. Then the dragon shows her the wonder of flying like dragons.
The two kids then find the dragon’s home island and the giant dragon on the island.
Hiccup is now faced with a choice. Will he kill a dragon and please the village or will he show them what he has learned.
At graduation, Hiccup tries to show the village that the dragons did not need to be killed but his father triggers the “attack” mode in the Monstrous Nightmare.
Toothless comes and saves Hiccup but at the cost of being captured.
Hiccup’s dad drags him into the village’s long hall.
There, Hiccup again tries to argue his case but his dad will not listen. In fact, his father tells Hiccup that he is not his son and not one of the villagers.
The two things that Hiccup wanted more than anything else.
Making things right
Hiccup’s dad goes off and he tangles with the biggest dragon that they have ever seen and are out matched.
Hiccup is left on Burke feeling rejected and demoralized. Astrid then challenges him and wants to know why he did not kill Toothless.
Hiccup says that he is the first Viking that wouldn’t kill a dragon in three hundred years.
Astrid answers him, “First to ride one”.
Hiccup regains his courage and leads his peers on a mission to save their parents.
After Hiccup and Toothless are reunited, both of them realize that they have to take on the big dragon. That they are the only ones that can challenge the giant dragon.
His dad reaches him and grabs him before they leave.
He tells his son three things: You do not have to do this. I’m sorry for everything. I’m proud to call you my son.”
This gives Hiccup the strength and focus to take on the big dragon while repairing the damage and pain between them.
What I learn
Hiccup is a relatable character.
We all struggle through life feeling as if we are the only ones who are getting buried by crap and getting the stuffing kicked out of us. We see those around us succeeding in life without any troubles.
We have that figure, be it a parent or not, that mean the world to us. That their opinion of us means more to us than life itself.
Yes, you must follow your morals but at some point. One must strike out on our own with all the teachings and lessons we have learn.
Stoick realized his mistake and made amends. This may not always happen but this is a choice that they must make. Not our own.
Yes we will fall and fail as Hiccup did in the dragon ring. We will always fall. But the choice is not to stay on the ground but rather stand and keep fighting on.
The last thing I learn was taking the time to admit that you are wrong. Stoick, in the middle of the battle, took the time to say that he was sorry and that he was proud of Hiccup as his son.
Hiccup, event though he was hurt, also apologized for the lying and the deception on his own part.
Next up: Astrid!