With so many shows on winter hiatus now, it’s given me a chance to 1) breathe, and 2) take a look at past and recent Dragons: Riders of Berk episodes. Contrary to what I’d previously stated, the show aired 2 new episodes in the past couple weeks. And while I’d been just a tad disappointed in “The Heather Report,” the show immediately bounced back to what makes it so endearing and delightful.
Much like Thor’s Day Thursday (from the books), the Vikings of Berk hold their annual Thaw Festival Games with contests such as sheep lugging. The Thawfest winner has always been Snotlout and his family. However, with dragon flying being part of the games this year, Hiccup has a chance to win.
And he almost does. The contest comes down to an obstacle course race as the tie-breaker. Along the way, we get a couple of life’s lessons. Hiccup has always been a gracious loser, but when he starts gloating, Astrid tells him he’s a lousy winner.
Stoic tells Hiccup “No pressure, son,” and I think he means it. After all, Hiccup has proven that, while he’s not the typical Viking, he is brave and smart. However, Snotlout’s father, Spitelout, is not so kind. He pressures Snotlout not to disgrace the clan. And although Snotlout is an arrogant winner, he is also frightened of losing.
In the end, Hiccup sees Snotlout’s frailty and let’s him win. Astrid knows Hiccup threw the race. She rewards him with her patented arm punch, followed by a lingering kiss. Hiccup sums up the event saying, “Certain things are more important than winning. Like being a good friend. Even if the friend is… that guy.”
Do you remember Spitelout from the movie? He was never identified by name until the credits, but it was obvious the character was Snotlout’s father, given the physical similarities. If you’re one of those people who read the credits, you learned not only Spitelout’s name, but that he was voiced by David Tennant. Yes, Doctor Who David Tennant. (He has also narrated many of the How to Train Your Dragon books.) In yet another coup for the series (and to my delighted surprise), he voiced Spitelout in this episode. Kudos, creators!
When Lightning Strikes
Night Fury—the unholy offspring of lightning and death itself. Who knew that Toothless is afraid of thunder?
The houses on Berk are succumbing to the (literal) stress of dragons roosting on them. Hiccup, the budding engineer, designs metal perches, which support the dragons beautifully. However, the isle becomes besieged with lightning strikes.
We know what the problem is, but Vikings haven’t figured it out yet. Since they think Thor is angry with them, they build a metal statue to him. Which, of course, just worsens the problem. Resident baddie Mildew says the problem is the Night Fury and wants Toothless banished. While Stoic doesn’t believe it to be the case, he tells Hiccup and Toothless to leave until things settle down. But as they leave, lightning strikes Toothless’s tail, he looses control, and falls to the ground.
Mildew has the townsfolk in a frenzy. They capture Toothless and chain him up to be taken off the island.
Hiccup figures out the lightning was drawn to the metal rods in Toothless’s tail, and realizes the true problem. Trying to prove lightning is attracted to metal, Hiccup attempts to attach a metal spear to the top of a mast. But lightning strikes before he can let go of it. Hiccup is electrocuted and falls into the water. In his fury (yes, I went there), Toothless breaks free of his restraints and saves Hiccup.
Per Stoic’s orders, the teens move the statue to a high part of the island, away from the village. Although Hiccup doesn’t think it’s what his dad had in mind, they place Thor’s statue in front of Mildew’s house.
The Vikings apologize by providing the Horrendous Haddocks (and Gobber, who apparently lives with Stoic and Hiccup) with copious amounts of pie and smoked fish. The episode ends with a young Viking girl giving Toothless a fish and then caressing his nose. And I die from the cuteness of it all.
[Thanks to Berk’s Grapevine for all the Dragons photos. I’m not sure where the David Tennant photo came from.]