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Rated: ASR · Draft · Fanfiction · #2195071
Hiccup’s thinking, motivation, personality traits
Observations from Becoming


In the film:

Astrid: “ He’s never where he should be.”

Becoming, prologue 1:

Astrid: “ Slowly, but surely, Hiccup had stopped being the useless toothpick who
always got chased around and wasted the training session asking pointless questions, and began overtaking her in skill and dexterity against the dragons. Even worse, when she decided to confront him directly, he was never there; he came to training, left them all behind and gaping, diverted their talk and questions with mild manners and kind words and then disappeared for good.”



In the film:

Stoick: “What is he doing out here? Get inside!”

Becoming, prologue 2: “When he’d come home to find the fire out cold and the house quiet, he’d thought it odd but not overly so—his son had always been up at all hours. But when they’d spoken at the forge earlier, he’d seemed tired. So Stoick went up to the tiny room his son used to see whether he’d fallen asleep at his desk—another frequent occurence—and had found the room pristine:and empty. There was not a shred of Hiccup left in it; the bed was stripped, the cupboards bare, the usual clutter completely vanished. It was as if his son, his Hiccup, had never really been there at all.”


If Hiccup was never where he should be—hiding behind something in the ring, stopping to question Gobber with a Nadder in the loose, absent from the village for hours at a time, asleep at his desk instead of in bed, or outside during a dragon raid—was he really wrong in that, or was it part of Hiccup being “all this?” I can imagine Hiccup as a child, leaving the house at night while Stoick was sleeping to look at the stars and watch the nocturnal animals at their lives. I can see Hiccup enjoying it all, too. Perhaps that’s something he can be patient at. It could also be something that fires his imagination and leads to his desire to draw. The still hours of the night belong to Hiccup in a way daylight does not, because there are no expectations except that he be in bed, asleep.


In the film:

Hiccup:”This fixes everything!”

Hiccup: “Just give me until tomorrow; I’ll figure something out.”

Becoming, prologue 3:

Hiccup: “Because after all, what kept Hiccup Haddock going during the years of his young adulthood was one of his best guarded secrets.”

“It was the belief—actually the knowledge and certainty beyond doubt—that his father loved him.”

...“And even when he got discouraged, and when his father’s disappointed scowl got so bad that he had to whinge about it with Gobber, he strove to do better, to get over it quickly, because he had something to get back to, something important, and that was to make his dad proud.”

...”He had a goal, he would strive to achieve it, and he would prove himself to be worthy of his father’s love and name, or die trying. Because damnit, he loved his dad and his village just as much; he just needed to show them he was worthwhile, and since he hadn’t managed it yet, there was no blaming them for getting ticked off. Which was why he wouldn’t stop until he managed. He was a Viking, after all. He had...stubbornness issues.”

...”All those years of the worst Viking Berk has ever seen! Odin, it was rough! I nearly gave up on you!”

...”It was also so very sad, he realized in a corner of his mind that wasn’t busy making his face neutral, because he really did love his dad very much. And Berk. But it was stupid now not to accept that the feeling wasn’t mutual—clearly never had been.”

...” The silent understanding Hiccup thought they’d had, where he worked harder and harder and finally managed to prove himself, while his dad kept loving him until he managed, had all been in his head.”

...”For a few moments, he wept bitterly. It wasn’t every day someone realized they were so very unwanted, and it wasn’t every day that a boy found out the dad he adored didn’t really love him.”

...”Because it was for the best. Berk didn’t care for him—no blame to them, he did mess up pretty bad often enough. And his dad...deserved so much better than a burden for a son, instead of the valid aid and support he should have had.”

...”So Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the third nodded resolutely and urged Toothless upward, because there was still one thing he could do right by his dad and his beloved home—he could remove from Berk the worst Viking it had ever seen.”

*CheckV* What if Hiccup spent much of his time trying to “figure something out,” to solve the problems he faced? What if Hiccup believed he could finally come up with a solution, even the solution, to all his struggles? His problems with his peers, his size, his scrawny build, and the disapproval so many had for him, all over because Hiccup had found and created the thing that “fixes everything?” What if Hiccup’s view of himself was undergirded with the certainty that he could fix or build or create himself out of others’ disdain, even distaste, for him? How shaken he must have been, cutting Toothless free, realizing his dream and not wanting the solution any longer. Imagine him realizing he can never be the dragon killer he dreamed to be, and realizing the bola cannon was actually a problem, not an answer. Hiccup went from bringing down a mighty beast to seeing a frightened, pleading creature, trapped by his invention, his creation. Imagine the anguish he must have felt. Hiccup was so afraid his arms trembled. He pitted his scrawny frame and pocketknife against the most feared dragon in the archipelago, and that dragon, the terrifying Night Fury, was terrified of him. Hiccup’s heart wrenched in his chest, and he couldn’t hurt it. He could only free it and accept he’d never be a dragon killer.

Hiccup was marginalized for so long by the people around him, he couldn’t hurt a dragon, even a hugely dangerous one. He knew what it was to be powerless and whatever other faults he possessed, he wouldn’t see another suffer if he could avoid it. When Hiccup sliced through the net, he destroyed his chance of being taken seriously by everyone around him. He consigned his status and social acceptance to the land of broken dreams, because it was the right thing to do.

Young Hiccup


Hiccup’s childhood is unexplored territory. So, to write Hiccup, I need to know him first.

First, Stoick loves him with everything he has. Hiccup is the only family he has. Stoick loves and cherishes his boy, and will do anything to keep him safe. Stoick is Hiccup’s dad, his hero, the one who fits with him. Hiccup’s world revolves around Stoick, and he wants to be the best son he can to make Stoick happy. The tenderness Stoick had for Hiccup and Valka is all Hiccup’s now. The flashbacks of Hiccup and Stoick in The Hidden World reveal a lot of father and son time, full of love and tenderness. I think there must have been a lot of opportunities for them to spend time together, and Stoick tried to be with Hiccup.

Hiccup has no guile in him anywhere. He’s easy to read and is a terrible liar. Lying to Stoick just gets him in trouble. Stoick expects truth and Hiccup generally tells the truth. He might get punished once Stock knows the truth, but at least he won’t get punished for lying first. But if he’s scared and uncertain, he might try lying, just in case it works.

Stoick doesn’t want to be too hard on Hiccup. Stoick wants Hiccup to be happy and doesn’t like having to punish him, no matter why. He rarely shows any emotion stronger than disappointment when Hiccup misbehaves or does something wrong. Sometimes he doesn’t want that, wants to be annoyed or frustrated. Stoick resists showing stronger emotions to Hiccup. Hiccup believes he can never do anything so bad that his dad will be more than disappointed. Even then, he tells Hiccup he knows Hiccup will do better.

Hiccup needs structure and routines and solid ground under his feet. Hiccup needs his life to be predictable, and anything out of place bothers him. He’s sensitive and takes things to heart. Unfortunately, he also can imagine whole disasters that have no bearing on reality. He’s able to upset himself if he decides something small is much bigger. He might get in trouble for lying, then think his dad won’t trust him again, and neither will Gobber if nothing prevents it from happening.

Hiccup feels emotions strongly. The turbulence of bad days upset him, and he hasn’t discovered that sometimes he needs to suck it up.

Even when disciplining the boy, Stoick acts as gently as he can. I think Stoick’s father was too invested in being Chief to see his children as people who needed him some of the time, who wanted to be with their dad, please him, and make him proud. I think Halvar Haddock was a good Chief, but a rotten father. He saw Stoick as the Heir to Berk, and his daughters as a resource, to be married off to allied tribes. Stoick doesn’t want to be his father, all high expectations but no love or care or notice. Stoick wants to spare Hiccup pain. That’s why Hiccup receives his first spanking at age six. Most get it at age five, like Gobber, and Stoick had his first at age three. Again, Halvar’s high expectations at work. Stoick does not want to go there. But Hiccup probably merited his first one earlier in his life, possibly by repeated bad behavior or repeated disobedience. It wasn’t until Hiccup actively disobeyed and endangered his life multiple times that Stoick took that step. All Hiccup’s previous spankings were to hurt his pride, not him. Because Hiccup is so sensitive and takes things to heart, having his pride hurt seemed like an awful thing. He had no idea how easy his dad had been on him. He had no idea just how bad it could have been if he’d fallen. He could have died.That’s why Stoick finally did it. And Stoick hated it, hated hurting Hiccup, hated that it was necessary. Hiccup could have died. He knew he wasn’t supposed to get up those trees, and did it anyway.


Hiccup is bright. He learns his letters early, age three, and starts reading shortly after that. He loves reading, loves doing sums, and loves learning. He learns to write and figure by age four. He practices his runes and numbers in the dirt with a stick. He reads avidly and well above his age level, at a nine-year-old level when he’s six. He begins reading materials that cover various aspects of being Chief. He and Stoick have a deal. Hiccup has to learn everything, and some of it will be dull. But Hiccup doesn’t have to learn the boring bits all at once. He can take breaks and study something more exciting for a little while, before going back to the tedious reading. That’s why he knows things about being a chief that seem above his learning level. He soaks up information and has a good memory.

He daydreams. He imagines himself a a bold, brave Viking, not a small boy.
He thinks. He asks questions all the time. He tries to sort things out for himself. He experiments. He doesn’t always succeed. He’s daring and wants to explore. That’s part of why he loves the forest. He and his dad walk in the forest sometimes, and that makes it special, too.

People look at him but don’t see him. Because he’s smaller, many adults talk to him as if he’s younger. He’s tired of it. He’s tired of being teased and harassed by other children, but not able to play with them because of his size.

He has strength of spirit. He wants to protect and defend what’s his. He’s ferocious when it comes to anyone hurting his dad. He uses his size, age, education, and love to protect Stoick. Stoick has no idea how fiercely his son battles for him. For Stoick, he races into a room and blurts something out that seems innocent but underscores a point Hiccup wants to make. He hears someone talk to Stoick and sound disbelieving, and Hiccup will get in there and make some comment about how hard he’s working to tell the truth, because he wants to be honest all the time “like you, dad. You never lie. The Chief has to be
honest, right, Daddy?” Hiccup plays the ‘Daddy’ card, and sometimes they just shut down. Sometimes they don’t want to criticize the Chief in front of Hiccup. Often Stoick can use Hiccup’s trust in him to make a point. Sometimes Stoick can redirect the conversation after the interruption. Hiccup might play nearby, too, being very obviously there. It’s amazing how that kind of thing shuts people up. Stoick never sees it, because he can’t believe his son would fight for him.

But while Stoick and Hiccup love one another with tenderness, they also are fiercely protective of each other. The only people who might recognize this are Gobber and Gothi, and even that’s uncertain. In Hope and Heir, both Stoick and Hiccup realize that they may face painful things, but they need to remain constant. Hiccup needs the spanking, even though he hates getting it and Stoick hates delivering it. Hiccup needs things to be over and they’re not. Stoick is confronted with his responsibility to Hiccup, and how he must punish Hiccup more severely, because Hiccup demanded it. And in the end, it’s fine because it’s over and they can get back to loving each other and being true to one another with nothing in the way.

Hiccup and Stoick enjoy one another, and Stoick loves having Hiccup around. Hiccup is bright and active, always running instead of walking, always charging in instead of waiting, always wanting to touch and hold things. His judgment often lags behind his action, and he gets little injuries. A minor burn from trying to figure out how hot the fire is. Scrapes from falling when he leaned too far over to look at something. He’s better at dealing with big problems than little ones. Big ones mean adults can help him, but little ones he tries to solve on his own. Hiccup is developing a reputation for clumsiness, but it’s just that his body acts before his mind thinks about it. He is a little clumsy, but not overly so.

Hiccup reminds Stoick that he is all Stoick has left of Valka. Stoick doesn’t realize how much of his personality comes from her and comes from him. Stoick often sees Hiccup as a separate entity from his parents, though it’s not always there.


Hiccup’s Flaws


So I don’t want to write Hiccup as a Mary Sue, so I’ve been looking into character flaws. I didn’t think he had many, besides the outcast/insecurity/awkward thing. I thought that was too limited; flaws in how he treats other people was more of what I was after. It seems Hiccup already possesses multiple flaws. Some of them are:

Insecurity
Sarcasm
Loneliness
Defiance
Distraction
Impulsiveness/thoughtlessness
Doesn’t listen
Stubborn

But what I’m looking for is something that relates to his treatment of other people. Many of the traits I’ve listed can relate to interactions with people, such as sarcasm, defiance, and stubbornness issues. But I was looking for something more direct, like manipulative speech and behavior. Manipulation seems promising, though I’m not sure how to write that in regards to Hiccup. I can’t see him successfully manipulating Stoick beyond age twelve. Manipulating Gobber is a mixed bag. Gobber knows Hiccup better than Stoick does. Gobber can read Hiccup better and knows when he’s being had by Hiccup. On the other hand, if Gobber wants to provide it anyway, he probably will. Was the back room in the forge Hiccup’s idea, or was it Gobber’s notion? Some of the things I have written already show Gobber’s hand at work. Gobber having a stool made for Hiccup as a deal to allow Hiccup into the smithy. He allows Hiccup charcoal and paper to keep busy with. Gobber taking Hiccup on as an apprentice, but making sure Hiccup grasps that he must do the tedious, difficult, dirty tasks because they’re necessary, not as a stopgap until real work begins. He gradually teaches Hiccup and when he’s ready, Gobber gives him an apron of his own. Actually, Gobber manipulates the boy, and Stoick, to help them when possible. Even done for the best reasons, it’s manipulation.

To some extent, Hiccup is manipulating people already. The success he has in training is taken from his time with Toothless. There’s no skill involved. Once the lessons are done, he vanishes to work on the tail and harness. He’s deceiving everyone, and they believe he’s someone he’s not. He’s keeping secrets from everyone. Even Stoick is amazed and impressed. That’s how “All those years of the worst Viking Berk has ever seen” came to be said. Hiccup’s trickery has rebounded on him in the most hurtful way. You can argue he tricks Toothless by bringing him all that fish to occupy the dragon while he attaches the tailfin. The intent behind these acts might be good, but it’s still manipulative. So I guess that makes Hiccup’s ability to manipulate others a mixed bag. He did provide a tailfin for Toothless(good), but also made the entire village believe he was actually skilled at Dragon killing(bad).

So this is a flaw of sorts and can be seen in multiple ways. He protected the dragons from harm in the ring, but when Stoick found out...

“Everything in the ring? A trick? A lie.” Well, yes.

But truthfully, I can’t see this being a huge part of what makes Hiccup...well, Hiccup. He’s scrawny and distracted and sarcastic, if not downright snarky.
He’s a perfectionist about things that he cares about, but less interested in work or effort outside of his passion. That’s why he draws so much. He can create what he actually cares about, build a prototype, and test the theory. Creating a sword is one thing; repairing a sword is another. Hiccup, I think, gets bored with old tasks. He’ll do the work well, but there’s nothing new for him there. Hiccup has so many ideas and wants to make them happen. He’s hampered by constraints on time, materials, and Gobber’s patience. It makes me wonder if Gobber allowed Hiccup to experiment with building and designing things to keep him contained. If Gobber stopped Hiccup from doing that, it could be catastrophic. Hiccup would sneak into the forge, build things with no supervision, neglect his other work, and be quicker to meet with disaster than he was at the start of the first movie.

Hiccup was —and is— a knucklehead.

Questions about Hiccup


In the books, films, and television programs, Hiccup wants to please his father, Stoick. That’s obvious. But what is less obvious it what drives Hiccup. It can’t all be about impressing Stoick and the tribe. It can’t just be about getting something right, or the need to be welcomed into the tribe when he’s still “all this.”

While it’s easy to see what Hiccup wants, what does Hiccup not want? What hidden desires are there, hopes not articulated, that push Hiccup to act, think, and feel as he does?

I think Hiccup wants freedom. He wants to lose the weight he’s carrying: of other people’s disdain, of his father’s frustration at every mistake, at the isolation from his peers. He struggles to get by, burdened by the knowledge that people view him as a screwup. Hiccup can’t escape from his life, except by drawing and inventing. Hiccup wants to make his creations perfect. He’s a little obsessed with getting it right, with creating the best work he can. He needs a realm to accomplish and achieve in, and in a tribe that values strength and physical prowess, he fights to show people what he can accomplish purely through intellect. That’s why everything must be not just good, but great. In the scene where Hiccup fashions Toothless a prosthetic tail, you can see the sense of purpose he has. Design the tail, melt a sword for metal to fashion rods, break apart a shield to make connectors. He destroys tools to be employed against dragons. Hiccup makes this tail. Every part of it is his work. And he’s doing something no one has ever done: craft something to help a Dragon. The look as he observed his finished creation is of fierce joy. He knows this is quality craftsmanship. He knows this is who he is. This is what he’s good at. He never felt this powerful in his life. Hiccup is about to accept that being “all this” allows him to save Toothless.

But first he must make people listen. And the whole village sees him as a walking disaster, so no one listens to Hiccup except for Gobber. Stoick certainly doesn’t listen, because he already knows what to do. He’s the chief and has all the self assurance Hiccup lacks. Stoick doesn’t recognize how he crushes Hiccup’s spirit every time he fails to listen. All Stoick sees is how inept and unable to protect himself Hiccup is. Stoick is afraid for Hiccup, and exasperated by his son. Never does Stoick realize how much he’s hurting Hiccup by stating what seems obvious—Hiccup’s ineptitude makes him a failure.

“What is he doing out here?”

“Every time you step outside, disaster happens.”

“He’d be dead before you let the first dragon out of its cage.”

“I have his mess to clean up.”


And then:

“All those years of the worst Viking Berk has ever seen. Odin, it was rough. I almost gave up on you.”

Contrasted with:

“With you doing so well in the ring, we finally have something we can talk about.”


Before, they had nothing to talk about, I think, because Stoick didn’t listen to Hiccup. He didn’t talk to his son. He talked at Hiccup and over him, but didn’t talk to him or listen to him. But now that Hiccup is (seemingly) doing something Stoick understands and cares about, now Stoick says they have something to talk about. Stoick, after years of worry, fear, and frustration, believes Hiccup has turned a corner. Hiccup is now a real Viking. Hiccup had trouble talking to his dad before; with Stoick’s joy at Hiccup doing so well, Hiccup knows that he’s farther away from his dad than ever. They’ve never been good at talking to each other and Hiccup hopes one day Stoick will listen, will pay attention, will care about his son who is “all this.”


Hiccup isn’t able to tell his father the truth and they’re more isolated from one another than ever. And Stoick will never see it, because Hiccup loves his dad too much to say anything.


When Hiccup enters the kill ring to train the Monstrous Nightmare, he’s risking everything. His life is the least of his worries. Stoick’s hard-won regard for Hiccup is at risk. The tribe’s good opinion is going to go away, but Hiccup doesn’t care about that. He’s lived with them thinking he’s a screwup before. No, it’s hurting his dad that worries him.

Hiccup has steel inside. He couldn’t survive fourteen years on Berk without it. But being the outsider strengthened him in his spirit. Even continued exposure to ridicule and Stoick’s disappointed scowl haven’t erased it. Now that he’s about to do what he thinks is best for everyone, he steels himself to continue, knowing the risks he’s taking. Hiccup is, in that moment, braver than any in the tribe who fight and kill dragons. Hiccup is taking a larger risk than anyone heading for Helheim’s gate to find the nest ever did. He’s alone, but remains firm in his conviction, even if he’s ostracized. He’s willing to accept the possibility of pain and misery for himself, even as he hates to bring his father the same pain.

So, what does Hiccup want?

At the start of the film, Hiccup wants:


To become a dragon killer.

To kill, not just any dragon, but a Night Fury.

To prove himself to 1) his tribe

2) his father

3) himself

To have Astrid notice him.

To prove his way of doing things works.

What Hiccup gets:

Further disapproval from the village

Disbelief he brought down a Night Fury

His father not listening to him.


After the dragon raid, Hiccup wants:

To be elsewhere.

To search for the Night Fury.

To be believed.

To have Stoick listen to him.

To be “one of you guys.”

To locate the Night Fury.

To kill the Night Fury. “I’m going to cut out your heart and take it to my father.”

To be a Viking.


But then Hiccup wants:

To free the Night Fury.

To escape its wrath.

To give up the idea of killing dragons.

Except Stoick enrolls him in dragon training. Then Hiccup wants:

To get out of dragon training.

To have Stoick listen to him.

To make his father proud.



Near the end of the movie, Hiccup wants:

To save the people of Berk, esp. Stoick and Gobber.

To kill the Red Death.

To rescue Toothless.


In the final scene, Hiccup wants:

To protect Toothless

To get used to his missing leg

To go outside

To survive his latest screwup


What Hiccup gets:

Pride and love from Stoick

The village’s approval

Acceptance of dragons

A new saddle



At the start of the film, Stoick tries to keep Hiccup safe, as he has been for years. The villagers all tell him to get inside. Hiccup is not only at risk, he is a risk to himself and others. He’s considered useless. He is adept at screwing up. His claim to have struck a Night Fury is understandably disbelieved. He’s claimed to have hit things before. Stoick has a history of sending him home and cleaning up his messes. Stoick also doesn’t listen to him.

At the end of the film, He saves Stoick and the tribe. He protects and keeps them safe. Hiccup risks himself, his life, for the others. His arrival and presence there is all that saves them. He leads the others into battle, confident and determined; he commands them, and they follow him. He demonstrates he did hit a Night Fury. Stoick refused to listen to Hiccup, headed for Helheim’s gate, and now his son is cleaning up Stoick’s mess.

Hiccup and his place in the tribe has been reversed. Stoick said he sided with the dragons. Hiccup had his father tell him, “You’re not a Viking. You’re not my son.” After Hiccup reclaims Toothless, Stoick says he’s sorry for everything and proud to call Hiccup his son. Hiccup is a hero. A true Viking, Hiccup is finally “all this” in a way that that makes the tribe proud, and Stoick especially.

Hiccup runs off a lot in the films. Why does Hiccup run so much? There are several possibilities. Hiccup wants his life to improve in the first film. He’s been motherless since infancy and lacks the support and security she would have provided for him. There might be a part of him that’s running away. He’s running from his fears, from his pain, from the disappointment of the village. He’s running from the place where his house and apprenticeship are. Those are tangible locations. They provide some of what he needs, but also things he wants to escape from: fruitless talks with his dad, the disappointed scowl he seems to receive more and more frequently from the man, and the sense of growing turmoil brought about by being the Chief’s screw up son. If he escapes the village, he can leave it all behind. So maybe his running away is rooted in wanting to be away from where he doesn’t fit. Maybe he sees running off into the forest as a reset button. If he leaves for long enough, maybe when he comes back everything will be forgiven. Maybe he’ll be accepted by the tribe. Maybe he won’t be called useless any longer. Maybe his dad will like him again. Maybe, deep inside, his father will even love Hiccup again. All he needs to do is start over.

Hiccup might be running to something as well. Running to a place where nothing is required of him. Running to somewhere devoid of people. Running to make discoveries about the life of the forest itself. Running to examine trees, fish, squirrels, and nuts. Learning is one thing Hiccup is proficient at, and Hiccup pursues the joy and delight of new discoveries. Maybe Hiccup is more adventuresome than anyone believes. He’s scrawny, clumsy, and accident prone, but in his spirit Hiccup is a true Viking. Hiccup is courageous, climbing the tallest trees in the forest to perch in the top branches and study birds. He is less afraid of injury than he is of missing something. Hiccup is daring, setting traps for animals, then coming close to observe them, finally releasing them into the wild. Hiccup is determined, attempting to teach himself the skills for survival no one else will. He designs and constructs devices to help him achieve this. Hiccup forges himself a better shovel to dig with, builds more efficient traps, and finds the best places to set up shelter. No one will keep him from surviving whatever comes his way.

Hiccup is also shrewd. He helps Gothi, collecting herbs, leaves, sap, and other things needed for healing. He observes her making medicines and salves and memorizes all she does. Some of the injuries he sustains are deliberate; Hiccup wants to test how well he knows the process for slowing bleeding, wrapping bandages, removing the itch from rashes, and easing soreness and pain. No one would suspect self inflicted injuries from anyone, and Hiccup has a reputation for clumsiness.

Hiccup learns to titrate doses and experiments with inducing slightly deeper sleep, first on himself, and occasionally on Stoick or Gobber if they need a good night’s rest.

Hiccup will learn from anyone and sometimes asks leading questions to elicit information. Asking Snotlout what he’s been learning from Spitelout gets Hiccup a flood of information. Snotlout loves to brag and Hiccup encourages him to spill everything he can, subtly stroking his ego. Fishlegs loves to teach people and Hiccup taps into that, too. He eavesdrops on conversations and learns to blend into the background. His small size helps with that.

Up until the end of the Forbidden Friendship scene, Hiccup has taken action with the Night Fury. Hiccup shot it down, tracked it down, and freed it. He studied and sketched it. The Forbidden Friendship scene shows the first two way interaction with Toothless. Hiccup gets rid of his knife to grow closer to the dragon, realizing he needs to discard that to draw closer. This action is less about what Toothless wants as it is driven by Hiccup’s desire to get closer. After offering the fish, Hiccup tries to touch Toothless. Toothless runs off, wanting nothing to do with that. Hiccup follows him and attempts to touch him again. Toothless becomes disgusted and leaves. Later on, Hiccup is sketching Toothless in the ground, and Toothless grows curious. Before, Toothless wanted to be left alone by this pushy kid. Toothless initiates the action this time, coming over to investigate what Hiccup is doing. Before, Toothless was reacting to what Hiccup did; now Toothless is the instigator. Hiccup finally allows Toothless to look him and his actions over. Then, Toothless decides to copy Hiccup, using a tree to draw in the dirt, too. Hiccup sits and watches, amazed, but does nothing. When Toothless is done, Hiccup rises and examines the pattern Toothless drew. He slowly moves, stepping on a line and earning a growl from the dragon. After several attempts, Hiccup steps on unbroken ground and earns the approval of Toothless. Hiccup weaves through the maze until he reaches the end, directly under Toothless’ chin. He and Toothless look at each other, and Hiccup is awed. Gone is the boy who only thinks about what he wants from the Night Fury; instead, Hiccup makes a question of touching him. Hiccup tries, and Toothless snorts his displeasure. So, finally, Hiccup gives over what he wants and replaces it with letting the Night Fury decide. He closes his eyes, hangs his head, and turns it away. Just as Toothless closed his eyes when expecting to die at Hiccup’s hands, and just like Hiccup did when he believed Toothless was about to kill him, Hiccup closes his eyes. He turns his head away. He raises his hand partway. Hiccup waits. He has surrendered his life to the dragon, I completely vulnerable to what Toothless chooses. Then Toothless pushes his nose into Hiccup’s palm. Slowly, and with astonishment, Hiccup looks at him. They see, really see, each other for the first time. Then Toothless runs off and Hiccup is overcome. In that moment, Hiccup didn’t train Toothless; Toothless trained Hiccup.

Hiccup’s Facial Expressions


Gobber: “If you ever want to get out there to fight dragons, you need to stop all...this.”




Hiccup: “But you just pointed to all of me.”
Facial expression: All of me? How am I supposed to do that?

Gobber: “Yes. That’s it. Stop being all of you.”


Stoick: “This is serious, son. When you carry this axe, you carry all of us with you. That means you walk like us, you talk like us, you think like us. No more...this.”

Hiccup: “You just gestured to all of me.”
Facial expression: Not again. First Gobber, now Dad.This is irritating and frustrating.

Stoick: “Deal?”

Hiccup: “This conversation is feeling very one-sided.”
Facial expression: He’s not listening, again.

Stoick:Deal?”

Hiccup:”Deal.”
Facial expression: Browbeaten again. Discouraged.


Stoick: “Turns Out all we needed was a little more of this.”
Facial expression: Pleased, proud, and grateful for Hiccup.

Hiccup: “You just gestured to all of me.”
Facial expression: surprised, with a slow smile spreading across his face as he answers.

Stoick: Slowly nods.
Facial expression: Proud of Hiccup. Proud to call him his son. Full of love.



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