I’m a 27 year-old-adult who was emotionally traumatized when leaving the theater after seeing How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Let me warn you in advance this post is FILLED WITH SPOILERS. So if you have not seen the movie and don’t want the plot spoiled please stop reading now. Otherwise you are probably an actual adult who is not invested in this movie made for children (despite it dealing with adult themes), if this is the case then by all means keep going.
Essentially The Hidden World picks up where we left our friends Hiccup and Toothless. They have now established Hiccup’s homeland of Berk as a place where Vikings and Dragons can live in peace. Despite Hiccups valiant efforts, Berk is now overpopulated. His friendship with Toothless, the Dragon Alpha, is stronger than ever but responsibilities such as Berk’s struggling economy, marriage, and the looming threat of dragon hunters are all weighing heavy on Hiccups shoulders. The support system around Hiccup such as Astrid and Valka (Hiccup’s mother) see the impending list of problems. Hiccup leans on Toothless to make him strong and confident, but really Hiccup needs to find the leader within himself to save Berk from their latest enemy Grimmel.
Grimmel is a skilled dragon hunter who brags continuously about how he has killed every Night Fury except Toothless. When he’s tempted by a band of dragon war lords (who want to build their army of dragons) to capture Toothless Grimmel takes the bait. He uses a female Light Fury to distract our buddy Toothless along with some manipulation tactics to put the people of Berk on the run. They leave their homeland under Hiccup’s advice and the idea that Berk is it’s people, not just a place. Hiccup takes them on a quest to find The Hidden World. The Hidden World is magical dragon homeland where he initially believes both his people and the dragons will be able to live in peace.
Fast forward a bit and Toothless accepts the tail from Hiccup that will allow him to fly without Hiccup as his flight partner. He accepts the new tail in order to go out and follow the Light Fury that he’s smitten with. Previously, Toothless did not want to accept the tail. There is a big allusion here to Toothless being ready to accept his independence and also leave Hiccup to go after his lady friend. This portion of the film really bothered me. The whole point of the movies is the bond between Hiccup and Toothless. If Toothless is ready to bail for several days over a woman, after everything they have been through, was their bond really that strong in the first place?
Ultimately it is this choice that by the end of the movie leads Toothless and Hiccup to say goodbye. The fellow citizens of Berk also let their dragons go. All the dragons then move to live in The Hidden World. The new Berk returns to being a Viking city. Hiccup and Astrid get married and have children, and Hiccup realizes he can stand on his own two feet (no pun intended) without the support of Toothless. Toothless and the Light Fury do the same. At the very end we see the two families come together in secret and Hiccup, Astrid, and his children get to soar through the skies with their dragons while Hiccup’s monologue explains that the dragons must stay hidden and Berk will keep their secret until the day comes when humans and dragons can live in peace.
Essentially the lesson here is if you love your dragon you have to let him go. My mind agrees, but my heart disagrees.
Now, I know that you are thinking - I’m being absolutely ridiculous. I have been debating this for the last several days and obviously Toothless is an animal similar to a dog he needs to be with his own kind. Dragons are pack animals which is why they have an Alpha, and it is explained in the movie that a Night Fury mates for life. Toothless had to be with the Light Fury after they chose to mate.
At one point the Light Fury actually comes back to Berk with Toothless and even saves Hiccup’s life. Why couldn’t we also domesticate the Light Fury and go through with the original plan? Toothless and Hiccup came this far together and built an “unbreakable bond.” I believe they could have found a way to sustain Berk and continue to work towards a dragon Utopia. I’m sorry, but I am a selfish human being who would have told Toothless I didn’t want him to leave. As the Alpha Toothless could have released any dragons that did not want to stay with their Viking companions which would have solved a lot of the population issues and would have made room for the Vikings to continue to rescue dragons that were trapped out in the world. This would allow Toothless to stay with Hiccup and have a purpose. They could have both still had families and worked through the next phase of their lives together.
Instead, I left the theater feeling betrayed. I was sold the dream of the ultimate human and dragon friendship in a Utopia, and instead I was told if I love Toothless I as the viewer also have to let him go. The creators gave us a conclusive end, two friends going their separate ways yet still cherishing their friendship. Just like Hiccup I really felt like I was saying goodbye, and because I could see so many other alternatives I felt a little empty.
I hope you enjoy How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. The true staple of a good movie, even a movie meant for kids, is that it makes you feel something. I definitely felt something letting our friend Toothless go, and I hope you will too!
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DISCLAIMER: I was in no way compensated for this post. I am just a woman who really enjoys movies. All images are property of DreamWorks Animation.