Mixing items, i.e. dragon + pox, to make newer concepts
|John suggested dragonpox as a problem for Multichaper Fic, and I realized that combining two separate items can increase the chances for a more attention-getting problem or concern.
In Gear Shift, the author combines a wild dragon with an old injury to create a problem for Hiccup to focus on instead of coping with his personal struggle. Dragons provide security for Hiccup; they are a subject he knows well and his ability to help them and others gives him a tangible sense of worth. He considers his knowledge of them his strength.
So how does this work for my Hiccup trains Snotlout story? Well, strengths are one aspect of the relationship. Future events—Hiccup becoming Chief, Snotlout assuming Spitelout’s duties—factor into events. The past also drives events forward. Alvin abducting Hiccup, Dagur kidnapping Stoick and threatening his life, past problems with their fathers and high expectations are already part of the story. The here and now forms within these parameters. Hiccup/Stoick at risk in the past and Hiccup’s concerns about being prepared for the future are the reasons for training his cousin and studying under Spitelout.
Hiccup doesn’t see his assets and abilities beyond smithing, inventing, and dragon training. He knows he’s stubborn, but doesn’t grasp he’s determined. He knows he can create items, such as axes and spyglasses, but has little awareness he creates solutions. His goals are fixed: Train his cousin in specific duties before he’s forced to become Chief. His vision of Stoick’s job is cast in terms of responsibility.
Hiccup is blind to the knowledge that he is better than Stoick in some areas, such as his abilities with animals, his restraint in getting angry, his capacity for thinking outside of the box. He equates being just like Stoick as being the only way to be a good Chief. Hiccup can’t see that he can be an equally good Chief by using his own strengths and not pursuing Stoick’s methods. Hiccup’s going to become more of himself through this process.
Snotlout is often portrayed as arrogant and clueless, but what if he's the one to recognize Hiccup’s abilities? They are family and live on the same island; Spitelout and Stoick grew up together and the6 work together now. It’s possible the Jorgenson’s and Haddocks have discussed the other family privately. Snotlout and Spitelout have enough distance to observe the Haddocks. Just as Gobber had a better idea of what was going on with Hiccup than Stoick did, Hiccup cannot see his own strengths. H3 lives inside his head a lot. He has his view of how things are, and how life works, and that gives him a limited view of his capabilities.