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'How To Train Your Dragon' (2010): An Endearing Story of Fortitude, Forgiveness, and Friendship

An unlikely friendship changes the hearts of men, and helps a young boy come into his own.

How to Train Your Dragon

4 / 5
4 / 5

News of Gerard Butler’s return as Stoick the Vast in the forthcoming live-action adaptation of How To Train Your Dragon is sure to pique interest and delight fans of the beloved original. Based upon Cressida Cowell’s book, the story’s first cinematic incarnation, released in 2010, boasts memorable characters, A-list vocal talent, and a heartwarming message that ultimately garnered critical and financial success.

The unlikely friendship between Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and Toothless certainly lends itself to the central tenets of diversity and inclusion. Right from the start, Hiccup, the scrawny son of Stoick the Vast (voiced by Gerard Butler), warrior leader of the Viking clan, is seen as incapable and not of the same caliber as his compatriots. The epitome of brain over brawn, Hiccup’s unique attributes stand in stark contrast to those prized by his peers. Such incongruity renders Hiccup susceptible to the mockery and ridicule of others, even his own father, who try as he might, struggles to connect with his son.

A similar misunderstanding threatens Toothless. The misguided Viking belief that dragons are dangerous and should be feared precludes thoughts of peaceful coexistence and cooperation. This prospect only reveals itself once Hiccup and Toothless begin to build a rapport. In what is perhaps one of the film’s most moving sequences, Hiccup’s remorse upon finding a wounded Toothless unable to fly signals a charming montage. It is here, the animation and John Powell’s musical accompaniment work in tandem to emphasize the shared physical and emotional peculiarities cementing the duo’s bond.

The parallel(s) between Hiccup and Toothless become even more profound. Sight of the pair aloft during the climatic battle forces Stoick to reconsider his position, prompting a change-of-heart that results in Toothless being able to save Hiccup’s life.

In the end, the loss of Hiccup’s foot mirrors the previous loss of Toothless’s own appendage, thereby supplying both characters with a shared trait. The final shot, wherein Hiccup, now an amputee, fixes his prosthetic limb to Toothless’s saddle apparatus, demonstrates how differences and disabilities, initially misunderstood as weaknesses or limitations, are actually prized qualities bestowed on the unlikeliest of candidates, if only given the chance to prove themselves.

The live-action adaptation of How To Train Your Dragon is slated for release June 13, 2025. How To Train Your Dragon is available on Vudu, Peacock, Netflix, Prime Video, and Apple TV.