Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Room of an HTTYD Fan!

Yay! Just finished cleaning my room! Apparently my younger brother thought it was his now that I am at college, so he sort of trashed it! Anyway, added tons of new sepia drawings to the wall and introduced some new Night Furies to my Toothless collection! I really do like my room a lot. Underneath that top blanket is actually an HTTYD one! Feeling pretty happy to be back where I can be surrounded by my HTTYD stuff and not be treated like a weirdo. Poor little Toothless. I left one of them at the dorm (yes, I brought that big eyed, cute, DoB, little Toothless toy with me to college!). Oh well. So nice to be back in my little spot. I like my art wall. Some of those pieces were actually given to me by a friend from Germany! I try to go for kind of a messy neatness with my drawings. Just put them up kind of spontaneously and then step back so as to get a full view of my HTTYD drawings. Before long I'm not gonna have any wall-space left XD Yep, this is probably my favorite place on the planet...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My final persuasive speech in high school!

What has dragons, vikings, epic battles, serious plot lines, comical humor, beautiful visuals, and a growing fan base? The answer, as some of you may have guessed, is DreamWorks How To Train Your Dragon, and today I will be giving you a speech on a very exciting, very important upcoming How To Train Your Dragon event. This is incredibly cool and significant, well at least in my and hundreds of other peoples opinions!  How to Train your Dragon 2 is coming out in 2014, and you really need to see it!

Need section: If you miss this event, you will be losing one of the greatest movie experiences of the year. The film is designed to be seen in 3D, so sitting around and waiting for the rental is pretty stupid. The scale of the movie is epic, and it is sure to send shockwaves through the fan culture. How to Train Your Dragon is an animated movie filmed like a live action one, and the second one will be exactly the same. It will offer all the action and adventure of even the greatest live movies while having the beauty, charm, and cleanness of an animated film. If you miss this, you are missing a movie franchise that will hopefully go down in history!

Alright I have four main points to explain why you really need to go and watch this movie.

1. As the Admin of the largest HTTYD site in the world, I have a pretty good grasp of the fan base. If you are a teen, child, or even adult who wants to see a great movie, this is it! The first How to Train Your Dragon was extremely critically acclaimed, and it actually won the “Teen Choice Award” for 2010. The first movie is considered by audiences and critics alike to be a masterpiece. It is a great movie for kids, but it has many ways of connecting to older individuals as well. 

2. Next, the original HTTYD’s success story was quite a surprise to the company. How to Train your Dragon made 500 million in the world wide box office, but it did poorly on open week. The reason was it had a shoestring advertising budget. Once the movie got out though, people started talking, and by the time of the films forth week in theaters it reached the top of the worldwide box office and stayed there! This is very unusual for a film, so there are high hopes that if DreamWorks could do so well on the first film with many factors playing against them, this second film should perform very well. Don’t miss out.

3. The next reason you should see the second one is because of the characters. Watch the first one. If you have not watched the first one, do it soon. I don’t care how, but do. I can lend it to you if you want! Rent it on iTunes, get it from Netflix, or borrow it from me. This is a movie worth sitting through. I feel pretty confident that most of you will fall in love with the plethora of personalities put into the picture. The main protagonist is very easy to connect with, and his dragon is extremely cool. The boy to dragon relationship is handled in an extremely good and extremely unique way in this film. If you watch the first one and learn to love the characters, you will see why watching the second one becomes a priority on next year’s calendar!

4. The final reason you really need to go and see this movie is because it looks simply amazing. I have gotten some leaked information and read interviews with the directors, and the second film promises to develop the story in an incredible way. The characters will age five years between the first and second film, so that is a pretty serious step in character development. If you have seen the first one, this second one will be a huge step in the development of Hiccup as a character. The second movies plot looks like it will be on an epic, once again, live movie scale. Not much has been revealed, but the antagonist of the film looks to be some kind of warlord who has united many tribal people into a huge dragon killing army. He and Hiccup will wind up duking it out by the end of the film, and that means there are going to be some really serious battles between the two of them. This is not a movie you can just miss!

Satisfaction: So if you watch this film you will understand why the franchise is so critically  acclaimed and loved, you will be watching a movie that will likely blast into the culture and box office, and you will get to see Hiccup take his second step in the journey that is before him. This movie will certainly be a must see.

Visualization step: When I saw the advertisements for the first film, I thought it looked decent at best. I thought the dragons looked odd, especially Toothless. Then I sat down in the theater, the movie started, and everything changed. All of the sudden I realized how amazing this movie was, how wrong I had been, and that Toothless was ridiculously unique and cool. I left that 3D experience in nothing less than awe, and now it has stuck with me ever since. I know many fans who missed it when it was in theaters, and they all regret it. Don’t make that mistake yourself! I went to see it three times in theaters and it was amazing. I trust that the second movie will be the same, and I for one, am not missing the 3D experience of a life time.

Action step: Now, if any of you plan to watch this, here is some info on it (hand out). You’ll also note that my email address is on this. I tell you, with all sincerity, that if you keep this handout until next year, I will pay half the cost of your tickets! Take this home and send me a conformation email, show this to me a year from now, prove that you want to see the movie, and I’ll pay for you and ensure that you don’t miss out on the sequel to my favorite movie of all time!

What if Book!Toothless and Movie!Toothless met?

This is a fun piece of artwork that I made for some friends. If you have read the HTTYD books, it is actually a little funny. Book Toothless is a small, green, whiny, little dragon, so I do sort of think that he and Movie Toothless might not really enjoy one another's company! Movie Toothless has a nice, snarky, deadpan side when it comes to annoying smaller dragons, so I tried to display that here! Hopefully I pulled it off.

This is a very large image, so feel free to click it if you want to see it larger! This is also the first major HTTYD project I have done in a looooooong time that is completely angst free, and that is good! As much as I enjoy tension and peril, sometimes it is nice to do something calmer! I was messing around with a newish art-style here. I tried to make it look sort of painted. Both dragon's eyes are fairly detailed, but beyond that it is just washes of color. I think it came out looking sort of pretty, and I was able to finish it in five hours, so that is very fast for me! I like it, and I am very thankful to say that the friends I made it for liked it very much as well. 

Oh, and on a completely different note, I am now in college. This will probably mean that I update this blog in spurts! Today I've uploaded two posts, and there could be more on the way, but chances are that it could be another week before I post anything! Sorry... it will be sporadic, but I will continue to do artwork and analysis on this blog when I get time.

So... my Writing class is fun!

Wow! I go into a college writing class, sit down, and the teacher tells us we have to write a five paragraph thesis during class. Everyone sighs, but I am remotely hopeful. Maybe this will not be that bad. Then the teacher gives us our topic:

Pick your favorite movie, book, or tv series, and then tell us why you like it...

HTTYD! Yes! How cool is it that I am writing papers on HTTYD in college!? The fifty minutes we were given to write were SO not enough! I was honestly sort of like, "Darn. Five paragraphs? Where to start?! Couldn't I just send he a link to my analysis blog?" Still, I was very happy with what I wrote, and I couldn't believe that my first college paper would be on this movie that I love so much!

Then when we got done, I thought it couldn't get any better. BUT I was wrong. She then went around the room and asked us what the last thing each of us wrote was (before this essay) and whether we thought we were good writers or not. When she got to me, I said, "Um... a 12 page fan fiction.."

She says, "WOW! You write fan fictions? Me too. What was it on?"

Me, "Eh.. (must confess I felt a little awkward) a big crossover roleplay that I designed."

Her, "Wow. That's great!"

So now I am pretty excited about my writing class! I am considering sending my teacher links to my blogs and short stories. WOW! That was fun! My writing teacher said that writing fan fictions was great! First person I've met in person to ever tell me that! The rest tell me I'm wasting time.

And my answer to her question of whether I thought I was a good writer: "I do it for fun, I really enjoy it, some other people have enjoyed it, but honestly when I see other people I would say that I am not yet a good writer. I have lots to learn, but I am asking advice, and I am having a great time doing it!"

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What Flies Beneath? What is in this dragon's past?

What Flies Beneath is one of, if not THE, best episode of RoB. The tension between Hiccup and Toothless is very well handled, and even though it is REALLY sad, I think it is all actually very in character. We see again that Toothless is a dragon, not some pet or steed. He can be dangerous, and he has a mind and past of his own. I might say that Toothless shooting the plasma blast at Hiccup is one of the most hurtful things done in the series. Both of them know it too. Hiccup is shocked, and Toothless is very, very grave. This was a serious moment, one of the tensest moments between Hiccup and Toothless. Honestly I think this episode generated tension between them than the notorious Terrible Twos. Toothless shot a blast at Hiccup. Let that sink in... It really hurts when it does.

Now, on a side note, WHAT on earth has this Whispering Death done to Toothless in the past? Whatever it was must have been very serious. I am not going to speculate what it was exactly, but look at the last two pics. Whatever the Whispering Death did is serious enough to make Toothless shoot a blast at Hiccup, serious enough to make Toothless possibly compromise his friendship with the boy, and serious enough to drive Toothless into a suicidal battle. That momentary downward glance seems to say something... That last image. Toothless is a thinking creature, but what is he thinking? He is certainly sad, but that look almost feels like an, "I'm sorry, but you do not understand."

Now that is speculation, I can't read Toothless's mind, but I do think that the Whispering Death has done some awful to Toothless in the past. The hatred between them actually drove Toothless to shooting at Hiccup, and for that reason I am forced to wonder... What has that boulder class monstrosity done to deserve such seething wrath?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Tragic. Can I just say that. Hiccup losing his foot is actually really, really sad. I know we’ve all gotten used to our one legged hero, but that doesn’t mean that this was not a powerfully sad thing to happen. It is beautiful to see Hiccup’s strength of character in pushing through this. He’s fifteen and he’s lost a leg! Toothless, dear, wonderful Toothless, is such a beautiful help to him during the leg scene. I must say that the event that caused him to lose his leg is also strikingly sad. They had just killed the Red Death, they had just saved the entire tribe and defeated the most terrifying creature on the planet, but right as they are making their escape, reality strikes. Happy endings do not always happen. Sad and terrible things can strike randomly. Hiccup did not lose his foot in a heroic sword fight or a battle with a hungry dragon. He lost his foot because he could not avoid the one final obstacle, the hurtle that proved to be just too much. It is very sad, very powerful, and strikingly deep and real. I admire Hiccup tremendously for having lost something in his quest. The way he pushes through the cloud of grief with Toothless by his side is incredible. He paid a real price, but he changed the world while doing so.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Admin-comrades on the wiki

Well... It was sort of unexpected, but what just happened on the HTTYD-wiki somehow caused me to end up being an admin.
While being at work, I received a notification via facebook on my smartphone. I just had lunch break, so I looked it up. It was a fellow wiki-user, who told me: "so is someone trying to mess up with tooth in his talk page". I hadn't much time to check the page, but later that day I was able to take a look. There was an argument going on about that someone got downgraded for some not further explained reasons on a different wiki, that someone from our wiki kicked off. Altogether, three pepole were mad at each other insulting and accusing themselves and so I started typing a long comment to sum up their problems and extract the facts. My words didn't miss. The main pepole arguing put aside their differences and agreed to work together again. Someone even laid down his admin status by his own decision. That was pretty impressing for me.
Next thing I did was to start typing an email to Toothless about my day, what happened on the wiki and so on. Just usual stuff. Suddenly, I received tons of mails in my inbox. Pepole were writing on my talk page, some rights were readjusted and so on... What happened?
Someone who is called "The eye that sees" registered only to write a comment on the talk page of our main wiki-admin. In his comment, he pointed out, that someone who is admin on our wiki misbehaves on a pretty big scale. He also added some links. When I followed those links, I was really shocked about the words that were used on that page. This comment also caused our main admin to take a look at the most recent events, especially the argument I arbitrated. He put a very nice comment under that and suddenly promoted me to be an admin! The other person was downgraded and suddenly everyone left congratulations on my talk page.
I'm pretty confident I can care for the wiki in a good way so that it remains a safe and informative place for everyone, especially younger children who just like the movie.
Now there is one more thing, I have in common with my great friend Toothless. Now we are admin-comrades on the wiki. What I included in my "Dear Friend"-video some months ago just came true. I created this video, when Toothless became admin. It sais: "It's really cool, that you're now one of the chiefs of the "Viki". Who would have thought that? As you know, if you need a hand, you can always count on me. Plus it would make me perfectly happy if you wouldn't mind to let me help you. Maybe one day we both might be running it together.".

I'm looking forward to guard the wiki with one of my closest friends.


Greetings from Dresden, Germany

Friday, August 9, 2013

Older Toothless!

From the trailer we can see that Toothless, just like his wonderful friend Hiccup, has actually aged. DreamWorks not only took the bold step of making their human hero older, they aged the dragon as well! The changes are subtle, realistic. He is still instantly recognizable and every bit the Toothless we have grown to love. I honestly can't get over the new design. I'll show you what has changed, and then describe why I think these subtle changes make Toothless even more incredible...if that is even possible!

Toothless's head frill of ear like appendages has grown three new pairs of "nubs"

Toothless's spikes at the back of his arms have grown significantly over the last five years.

His head spikes are also probably twice as long and there is a new one! 

Along with all that Toothless feel more toned, a little more muscular. I believe his face is very slightly thinner, and a friend of mine described it like he had lost some baby fat.

Now all that to say this: I think the new design is beautiful! When I heard that they were aging Hiccup, I honestly hoped they would NOT age Toothless. They did not need to. He's a dragon, he could remain unchanged for dozens of years or he could have already been full grown. I was worried that they WOULD give him bigger ears, or long spikes, that they would lose his sleek, beautiful, streamlined design. Then when I saw this, my jaw dropped. The beauty of Toothless in the first film was that he was a truly powerful, terrifying animal, but when he opened up to Hiccup he revealed that he could truly be adorable and magical! So, all these new traits that have been given to older Toothless are stereotypical dragon traits. Longer frills, sharper spines, just an overall look of being more deadly.  BUT! Even with all this, Toothless keeps his remarkable charm. They have broadened Toothless, made him cover even more ground on the awesomeness spectrum! He is now even more dragonish, more like a creature of legend and myth that deserves fear and respect, yet even with these changes his charm and personality are still their! His dual nature remains not only intact, it has improved!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Valka. Is. Hiccup's. MOM!

WOW! It has just been leaked that Valka is Hiccup's mother! So...she's not dead, and she will be in the second film! I am ridiculously excited! The second film is throwing in so many deep elements. I am now really confident that the second film will be amazing, and that the third film will be even more so! HTTYD book fans are so happy right now! Valka has been revealed to be doing things that sounded a LOT like what Hiccup's mother has been doing in the latest HTTYD books, so we were sort of suspicious, I was suspicious, but I am so excited to discover that Hiccup's mom is not dead! What a major plot twist!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hard choices...Hopefully Hiccupish choices

I am really going to kind of try to back off some on the whole HTTYD business. I have reasons, and most of them are for the sake of my Christian walk. It is just that I am, quite frankly, unhealthily obsessed, and it is what people think about when they think of me. I don't want that. I love HTTYD, love it more than any other story and maybe more than anything besides my spiritual walk, but other people see that, and it obscures Christ. It is culturally odd, it jars with people, it consumes a whole lot of my thoughts and emotional energy, and so I want to take a step back and think about this. I fully plan to continue to love HTTYD, but I have to find a proper way to do it, I have to find a way to do it that will not damage my witness or distracted me from being a single minded follower of Christ. I will still keep an eye on the wiki, probably still post occasionally, still email my HTTYD friends, but honestly I think I have to step back and break my own heart here. I am going to, really and truly, have to love Hiccup and Toothless less if I am going to be used by God. I will need to think of them less, and to do that I will need to care for them less. This is quite frankly one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. I am completely blasted, emotionally distraught. I don't want to conform to other people, I hardly care what they think about me, but what do they think about Christ? That is the real question. I will pretty much, as of now, have to sort of hide the fact that I am an HTTYD fan ( HTTYD admin even) because I want to follow God at all costs, and that means not distracting other people from Him by looking odd because I care about a fictional character.

Good grief. I'm so sorry Hiccup and Toothless. Seriously, the thought of turning off this constant compassion and caring about them is destroying me. I would appreciate prayers, and as I have said, I will still be around in the fandom...I just probably will not be nearly as interesting or involved because, because, because thinking about them all day is what I do now and I can't afford to do that all my life. I covet prayer here, I really do. I hope you will all continue to follow me, but sadly I feel sure that I will be a little less active. Who knows? I will certainly not be speaking about it to the people I know personally, but perhaps I will still be able to really engage with all of you online while still living in a God honoring way. I cannot believe that I have reached this kind of a crossroad, and I honestly feel completely dashed. Well, see you all when I see you all. I do still enjoy hearing from you, I intend to still enjoy the film, but I also know that I have been obsessed, and I must not compromise the work that God is giving me for my own personal love for a fiction world and the most beautiful of fiction friendships. Hiccup and Toothless are worth so much to me, and only one thing could ever be worth more: Jesus Christ, my Savior and King. I am going try and make this hard decision for the sake of others and the sake of my Lord, and I feel that really this is the right thing, and even the Hiccupish thing, to do. If Hiccup is going to grow up in the next two films, it is about time I learn what God is going to grow me into.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Back to normal...

Well Adrain's gone home. We had a great, great time, and I will certainly be posting a couple more updates on what we did. I'm going to be sort of busy soon though, so I'm not sure when I'll get the chance to do such long things. I am really glad he got to come! What a crazy bunch of HTTYDish days we had!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Waaaah! :(

Adrian is leaving tomorrow! Man, time just flew by! I've got a couple more stories to tell about our HTTYD adventures together, but it is so sad to see him go! This was definitely one of the funnest summers I've ever had.

Descriptions of the HTTYD2 clips

Comic con Played two clips from HTTYD2 and thankfully some people kindly wrote out descriptions of what happened. I've found (or been given) two of these descriptions, and I want to thank the people for writing these things! These clips sound amazing, and in a later post I will certainly have to write out all my thoughts on them! For now, I'll just post the two descriptions. The second is probably a more accurate description than the first...but that is just a guess. Ooooooh this stuff is just so good! I can't believe how great HTTYD2 is looking. Seriously, later I'll definitely be writing a long post on what excites me in these clips.

Today I was excitedly in attendance at the Dreamworks Animation Panel this morning at San Diego Comic Con. After discussions and clips for Turbo and Mr. Peabody and Sherman, the attention turned to the much anticipated How to Train Your Dragon 2. The characters are aged up five years and the focus is world exploration and pushing further out into the world. A threat is discovered where a deranged villain, Drago Bloodfist, is capturing dragons with the help of Eret, a cocky 25 year old who is a self proclaimed world’s best dragon trapper, in order to form an army of dragons. There is a lone dragon rider that Hiccup will run into at some point and the character of Valka is saving dragons and hiding them in the Arctic. One of the main issues that Hiccup will be dealing with is that of his self identity. Since he is becoming a young man and is at that 19-20 age, he is trying to figure out who he really is as a person. 
Dean stated that he agreed to do the sequel only if he could do three films in order to tell the story he wanted to tell. He also stated that one of the biggest inspirations for the sequel was Empire Strikes Back. Considering how dark that movie is, I’m pretty worried that we’re in for a roller coaster of emotions. In a good way though of course. 
John Powell will be doing the score again and is collaborating with Jonsi, the artist who did the end credits song, on three pieces for the film. The piece they used for temporary music for the first clip was a Jonsi song and I’m confident that the soundtrack will be wonderful once again. Very glad that they are bringing Jonsi back in addition to Powell.
Now for the clips! I’ll try to describe them as best as I can. The first clip was essentially the scene that they primarily used to generate the teaser trailer we saw last week. We see Hiccup and Toothless flying through the skies and having a great time, with Hiccup later falling off and testing his flight suit. Toothless even spits out some fire spurts for Hiccup to practice maneuvering around. Everything seems to be going well until they get into some thick clouds and suddenly see a large stone piling. Hiccup’s suit malfunctions and it looks like he’s going to crash into the stone. Toothless swoops in and catches him, crashing into the stone and landing on a cliff side. This part was an incredible call back to when Toothless caught Hiccup at the end of HTTYD, especially since Hiccup emerges in a similar fashion and the camera cuts to his prosthetic limb as he checks himself to make sure he didn’t lose something else. Once he’s regained himself and witnessed the stone piling collapse thanks to the force of Toothless’s blow, he notices that they’ve stumbled on undiscovered land. Hiccup is excited about this, but notices that Toothless is peeved that Hiccup hasn’t thanked him for saving his life yet again. Hiccup notices this and starts teasing Toothless about it, then wraps his arms around the dragons neck in a hug. Toothless lifts him up and with Hiccup dangling from his neck, traipses over on his hind legs to the cliff edge and pretends that he’s going to put Hiccup over the edge. Toothless then turns him back around and the two fall to the ground, playing and laughing with each other with Toothless later licking Hiccup all over his face. It’s a great display of their friendship and incredible bond. They then go back to the outlook over the new land and Hiccup pulls out a map. He holds up a piece of blank paper to Toothless who licks it, then Hiccup adheres it to the ever-growing map and begins illustrating what he sees, asking Toothless what the should call it. When he notices Toothless itching his arm pit, he laughs and goes, “Itchy Arm Pit it is." There is then a sound behind them from the brush and the clip ends. The clear thing in this clip was that even though Hiccup has grown, he is still the Hiccup we know and love. 
We also got a second clip, this one with a darker tone. This clip took place after Hiccup has a huge fight with his father, Stoick. He’s flying on Toothless just above the clouds and is simpering. He then flails and shouts about on Toothless in frustration before flopping backwards on the dragon’s back musing to himself about the argument. A mysterious figure dressed in blue ceremonial clothing appears from the clouds, standing on a new dragon’s back. Before seeing them, Hiccup thinks it’s his father and starts to say something along the lines of, “Not now, dad." He then sees the figure and becomes alert, telling Toothless, “No sudden movements." The figure and dragon disappear beneath the cloud cover before abruptly reappearing in front of Toothless and Hiccup, causing them to reel back in surprise. There’s a bit of a scuffle before the new dragon grabs Hiccup and takes off with him, leaving Toothless falling helplessly to the icy waters below with both frantically trying to reach the other. Toothless crashes through the ice and into the water, then comes back to the surface only to see Hiccup disappear in the clutches of the dragon and mysterious rider. As Toothless continues to attempt to reach him fruitlessly, these eel-like creatures approach eerily from behind and as they pass Toothless, sweep him beneath the water. The clip ended there and I swear my heart was in my stomach. Hence why I’m pretty sure that this movie will be much darker than the first and the stakes much higher. 
There were announcements regarding voice acting made at the end. Cate Blanchett is voicing Valka, Kit Harrington is voicing Eret, and Djamon Honsou is voicing Drago Bloodfist. Much to our surprise, Kit Harrington showed up for the last fourth of the panel and we got to see a character test of Eret with his voice acting. I can say that he does the role justice and is a fantastic addition to the cast. Eret was further described as always having to introduce himself as Eret, son of Eret, and that he will align himself with the side he thinks will win. Therefore leaving the possibility open that he is not truly evil. He is cocky and doesn’t really have many good come backs to Hiccup until later in the film. 
I asked about the current television series and how that would tie in to the film and was told by Dean that the first two seasons are more in tune with the first film while the third season (a third season is not confirmed, but in my opinion due to the success of the show and franchise, entirely likely) would set up things for the second film. 
Overall, this movie looks very promising and I can say that my anticipation and excitement has only grown. I think we’re going to get everything we expect and more.


Badpoet’s SDCC reports: HTTYD 2 Panel and Footage
Ok, so first of all my apologies for not updating more regularly throughout the weekend! I went to the Con at about 6 am on Friday intending to go back to the hotel that evening before heading out to camp in line for Hall H, but when I was about to leave after the Flashpoint film it was approximately 9 at night and the line was already dangerously long so I ended up having to just camp out without leaving the Con and so I couldn’t get my wifi. And basically the same thing happened Saturday night, so I was literally at the Con non-stop from 6:30am Friday through 5pm Sunday. I found pockets of wifi here and there but wasn’t able to really do much.


Here’s a run-down on the How To Train Your Dragon panel, and I realize this is late news now because other people who were there probably have already spoilered you guys rotten, but I said I would tell you about it and I’m a person of my word.
The new character played by Kit whatshisname looks really promising. For those of you who read a lot of fantasy as kids, his relationship with Hiccup looks like it’ll be reminiscent of Taran and Ellidyr in “The Black Cauldron"—not exactly of course, but there’s a similar age gap and he apparently has a giant ego and likes bragging. His name is Erret, Erett, something like that … [EDIT: I just checked and it’s apparently spelled Eret. Okay then.) He’s a dragon trapper working for the next two movies’ big bad, and he’s apparently extremely good at his job (and knows it). He’s an antagonist for Hiccup but I have the feeling he’s going to eventually become an ally. The filmmakers said he has an ‘interesting arc’ and indicated that his dragon-trapping skills as well as his loyalty are both admirable traits, it’s just that he’s given his loyalty to the wrong man. He figures the villain’s going to win the fight, so he might as well get on the winning side. I assume that his views on this will change. In the character animation test he looked more Celtic-influenced than Viking-influenced (which I LOVE). His character design looks a bit influenced by the character designs for The Croods; he’s dark-haired and he has a prominent chin and from what I recall I’d say he’s a little bit like that stuck-up chieftain’s son who competes for Merida’s hand in “Brave", you know, the dark one. So a cross between that guy and Grug from The Croods. If you can imagine that sort of thing. He’s got tattoos of some kind on his chin, three lines (red or blue, I can’t remember which) running down his chin vertically. I think he’ll be a great character.

Not much news on the big bad. We do know that he’s building an army of dragons who he traps and then forces to serve him somehow … in this way I guess he’s a dark version of Hiccup, someone who can in fact train dragons and is using this ability in an attempt to rule the world and go on a rampaging conquest across the map. We saw no character animation for him or designs or anything. His name’s Drago Bludvist, which got a bit of a chuckle from both panel and audience because if there was ever a name that screamed “I’M AN EVIL DRAGON TRAINER" it would be this one.

The third new character they talked about, and who I think is the most intriguing, is Valka the sort of dragon training resistance fighter. Something of a vigilante, she rescues dragons from Drago. Now, I’m speculating a bit here, but I believe this character is a she and that it’s in fact Cate Blanchett’s character. This is based upon the footage we saw at the panel and descriptions I’ve heard from other footage shown elsewhere. I’m getting the impression that she’s dangerous and not necessarily an ally to Hiccup to begin with at least. If I AM right that Valka is the character we saw in the footage, then her look is FANTASTIC. It’s got a sort of tribal feel to it, African or South American I don’t know exactly … she’s got a wooden stave with a crooked top that’s as tall as herself (and she’s tall), and a really intimidating and impressive mask/headdress. This is why I’m just guessing it’s a her—the design is obviously supposed to be androgynous, with body shape swathed in fabric and some kind of armor I think, and a mask completely covering the face and her being very tall. The headdress is like tall spikes radiating sunbeam-like from her head.

The footage shown consisted of two pretty lengthly clips. I tried to sketch out some of it, as did my brother, so I can make an image post later to try to give you guys as good an idea of what we saw as I can. I’ll try to describe it here first, however.

The first clip started out as basically the teaser trailer we’ve all seen online. It was, however, better than that trailer for a few reasons (and I really liked the trailer, so by this I mean it was near ‘Test Drive’ quality): firstly, the director said that the music in the trailer is not the music that will be played over the scene in the film. Neither, apparently, is the music they played over the scene when they showed it at the panel, but the music they did play—a Jonsi song, apparently!—fit so much better. Also, the flying sequence was more exhilarating and fun because I think they cut out bits for the teaser trailer. Seeing it in full, it flows much better, like Test Drive did. Also, Hiccup is much quieter in the actual scene. In the teaser trailer he kind of whoops, yells things, and so on, and it was a bit jarring. In the actual scene, he only whoops maybe once, and at an appropriate point, so that worked a LOT better.

Anyway, so they fly around, it’s fantastic, and then Hiccup tries out his glider-suit contraption. So cool. This is basically where the teaser trailer ends, but the scene continues. Hiccup begins losing altitude, so Toothless drops behind and below him and shoots a fireball beneath him. The resultant burst of hot air pushes him up. This is evidently a system the two of them have been practicing, as Hiccup dips again, Toothless blows fire to raise him up again, and this happens about five times. Then, looming out of the clouds ahead of them, is a giant rock formation. Since Hiccup’s just gliding, he can’t really avoid smashing into it, and Toothless—his tail locked in one position since Hiccup’s not on his back—can’t avoid it either. Toothless panics, surges forward, and shoots a fireball at the rocks right before grabbing Hiccup and curling his body around him. They smash through the fire-weakened stone and crash-land on a grassy cliff some distance behind it. Shakily the two get to their feet—they’re uninjured. As Hiccup brushes himself off, the rock formation they smashed through is visible behind him and it slowly breaks apart and falls into the sea, making both Hiccup and Toothless wince guiltily—but not TOO guiltily. This is the part at the end of the teaser, where Hiccup takes off his helmet to reveal his 19-year-old face as well as his stubbly chin (YES HE HAS STUBBLE AND WISPY LITTLE HAIRS ALONG HIS JAWLINE I CHECKED YOU’RE WELCOME). A note from the filmmakers here: they said they have yet to finish the animation and so if his face looked a little too smooth and unblemished in the teaser, that’s why. They made specific mention of still needing to add his freckles, for example. So rest assured he will look awesome. Even if the details still need work, I can vouch for the fact that his body language and expressions are 100% Hiccup and it’s fantastic.
Hiccup sees their little crash-landing as more amusing than anything else, but Toothless is sulky about it. What follows is a glorious slapsticky scene where Hiccup tries to distract Toothless out of his sulk by wrestling with him. He’s bigger now, but so is Toothless, so the dragon just sits there unmoved while Hiccup shoves at him. Hiccup then tries to get Toothless in a headlock, wrapping his arms around Toothless’ neck. With a very deadpan expression, Toothless simply stands up on his hind legs, the result being Hiccup now dangles from Toothless’ neck with his feet well off the ground. He refuses to let go, so Toothless waddles on his hind legs towards the edge of the cliff, the end result being that Hiccup is dangling off the edge over a very long drop. He wheedles with Toothless, something about how it’s not right to treat a cripple that way, and so Toothless relents … there’s more tussling that happens, but I forget exactly how it goes (though I remember I and everyone else in the room was delighted by it) until Hiccup ends up pinned and a now cheerful Toothless licks him enthusiastically on the face, with Hiccup complaining about how dragon saliva stains.

Apparently Hiccup and Toothless have been taking time away from Berk to go exploring since the end of the first film. Hiccup’s natural curiosity is now manifested in trying to expand the borders of Berk’s maps. After the cute boy-and-his-dragon play fight the two get up and from the cliff he is standing on he can see a totally new landscape stretched out below him—I remember it being a little jungley, certainly trees everywhere and lots of mist, and lots of rolling hills. He soaks in the delight of finding a new place for a couple seconds, and then gets straight to business. He closes the wings on his glider-suit, and then starts pulling out all sorts of new gadgets. He has a flip-out compass, for example, on one arm’s bracer. On his right arm he has a gauntlet that he can unlatch and it opens up to reveal a book, which he tears a page from so he can draw out his new map. I REALLY WANT A BOOK GAUNTLET NOW. There were other cool things on his outfit but I forget what now … Basically everything seems multipurpose, so again it makes sense that this is something Hiccup would design—and it looks cool! Though the filmmakers said that their goal was to make him an outfit that you could imagine Hiccup crafted for himself and wears proudly, like dragon-riding bike leather, but which Astrid also mocks him mercilessly for.
Oh, he also changes his prosthetic foot; it’s rotatable so he flips it from dragon-flying foot that locks into Toothless’ stirrups to a flatter-bottomed foot for walking on. Looked cool.

Anyway, he takes out a map and using Toothless’ saliva as glue adds his new bit of paper to one edge, then asks Toothless what they should call the new land they’ve discovered. Toothless sniffs at Hiccup, who nods and says “All right, Stinky Armpit it is" or something like that. Turning a little more serious, he tells Toothless something along the lines of maybe they’ll actually find another Night Fury here, so beyond just wanting to travel and explore it seems another motivation for this exploration is finding Toothless a Night Fury friend. The scene ends with a strange noise causing both Hiccup and Toothless to whip around to look behind themselves with looks of alarm on their faces.

SCENE THE SECOND apparently takes place after Hiccup has an argument with Stoick. He’s soaring above thick clouds with Toothless—like how he and Astrid flew over clouds so thick it looked like a solid floor in the first film—and after a bit of fuming he yells in rage and flops back to lie on Toothless’ back. Toothless looks concerned. Hiccup murmurs something to him about how he won’t let anything happen to him. Then a figure rises out of the clouds they are skimming over; Hiccup assumes it’s his father following him on dragonback and so starts saying something angrily, but then he looks up and realizes with a jolt—it’s not Stoick. It’s the tribal-looking Dragon rider I’m assuming is Valka.
The visuals here are fantastic and really spooky—she’s utterly silent, and you cannot see her dragon, as it’s beneath the clouds cover. She just looks like she’s standing with her feet drowned in golden cloud, gliding along ahead of Toothless, her staff in one hand. She motions to Hiccup, then slowly sinks into the cloud. Hiccup of course is flabbergasted, and then a giant dragon erupts from the clouds—I’d say it was probably about seven times Toothless’ size, with a massive wingspan. It has an almost turtle-y head, with big tusk-like things curving around its mouth from its jaws. On its back is Valka. Hiccup tells Toothless to hold, and so they just hover there, beating up great smoky plumes of cloud with Toothless’ beating wings, and the other dragon does the same thing, which seems to unnerve Hiccup though he still tries to play things cool for Toothless, telling Toothless repeatedly to wait and not make any move. But then Valka’s dragon darts forward and grabs Hiccup in its talons, which is something totally unexpected. It drags him from the saddle so the harness snaps and Toothless, artificial tail-fin thus rendered useless, plummets while frantically trying to pursue Valka. Hiccup is screaming for Toothless but gets carried higher into the air and then away; Toothless falls and hits the ocean, sinking into icy water. There’s frightening-looking creatures in the water that attack him, kind of mantis-ray looking dragony things. He’s fighting them off and trying to stay afloat and obviously desperate to get to Hiccup, but his efforts don’t work and he sinks under the water. There’s a shot from Toothless’ underwater POV looking up at the light filtering through the water and a shot from above showing he’s totally under, and then Hiccup’s empty helmet bobs desolately to the surface of the water, and the clip ends. It was all pretty intense. Also I was heartily distracted because over the Toothless falling/drowning bits they were playing the Bridge of Khazad-dum music from Fellowship of the Ring, you know, the sad music after Gandalf falls? It was pretty funny. But the footage itself was superb. The whole room gasped in horror when it ended XD
"Empire Strikes Back" was mentioned a lot as an influence, or at least as a model they took for what a good second-parter in a trilogy should do. A LOT. This is both wonderful and worrisome. The director also said that he only agreed to make sequels to the first film if he was allowed to make two films (to make the whole set a trilogy), because he felt if he could make the entire first film a part one of a thematic whole then he could make it work, and he also stipulated that films two and three had to go together—the ending of film two has to make audiences frantic for film three, has to make them want to see what’s going to happen. So basically I’m now terrified that film two will see Hiccup and Toothless getting separated in some awful way. No matter what, I’m betting there’s a lot of emotional pain coming for Dragons fans!

And this was a lot of typing, but hopefully it was a worthwhile read! I could not have been happier with the footage shown, nor with what was said about the film’s creative directions and where things are going plotwise. This could be animation’s Lord of the Rings, and how fantastic would that be? I’m looking forward to this movie a lot. Tonally it looks excellent, visuals look superb, new characters seem great and old characters seem to have evolved sensibly but still are clearly the ones we fell in love with in film one, and since Empire’s an influence this film will probably hurt a lot. Huzzah! XD