“How to Train Your Dragon,” one of the top box office draws of 2010, is not only going to get a sequel, but also a TV series on the Cartoon Network. This development could be very great fun indeed for fantasy fans.
To recap, the original “How to Train Your Dragon” concerned the Norse inhabitants of an isolated island that was beset by dragon attacks. Hiccup, a runty, worldly wise Viking, discovered that the dragons are not so much vicious as misunderstood. With the help of his feisty gal pal Astrid and after many adventures and cool flying sequences, Hiccup manages to arrange for an alliance between Vikings and dragons to defeat a common foe.
Which brings us to what the sequel could be about. I understand that there is a series of books in the “How to Train Your Dragon” universe, and perhaps the Cartoon Network series could follow them. I have an idea for the sequel that follows what Vikings were historically.
When a Norseman went “aviking,” he and a bunch of his friends took to a long ship and went to some foreign place, Ireland or England say, and looted it six ways from Sunday. The cry went out over Europe, “From the fury of the Norsemen, oh Lord deliver us!”
Mind, the Norse also traded and explored. A Norseman named Leif Erikson discovered America almost 500 years before Columbus. Norsemen traded as far afield as Russia, where they founded a commercial colony called Novgogrod. But they are most famous for landing on sea coasts and taking everything not nailed down.
Now, if a bunch of Vikings in long ships could be fearsome, what would a bunch of Vikings riding dragons be? It would be as if God himself had turned his face from the Christian world.
So, fade in to the Irish sea coast, circa 9th Century AD. Hiccup, Astrid, and his friends descend upon a village and a nearby monastery on dragon back. They loot the monastery for its gold, the village for its women and livestock. Then it’s back to the island for some drinking and merriment.
Mind, the typical PC Hollywood development executive would be appalled by this idea. Stealing things is wrong, after all. But not to a Viking. In fact, that is what “Viking” is, someone who goes forth and takes things that do not belong to him. This is not just because they found raiding their neighbors to be great fun, even though they did. Very often they had to raid in order to survive. And certainly that would be true of an isolated island like Hiccup’s with a bunch of dragons to feed.
The way one can drive a plot without being PC (i.e. Hiccup and his friends coming to the realization that looting and pillaging are wrong) is to suggest that looting is just a short-term solution to the shortages of food and other supplies. The long-term solution would be to find a new place to live where enough food can be grown to support a population of Vikings and dragons.
Here Hiccup and Astrid can do some exploring and, dare I say, find Vineland the Good. After a brief conflict with the Skaerlings (i.e. Native Americans), everyone learns how to get along and the Vikings and the dragons move west to the New World.
Fade to black. Cue music.
Source: ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ – a Review, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, March 27th, 2010
More How to Train Your Dragon Sequel Details, Coming Soon, October 11th, 2010
How to Train Your Dragon Series Coming to Cartoon Network, Coming Soon, October 12, 2010