“Legend says that when the ground quakes or lava spews from the earth, it’s the dragons. Letting us know they’re still here. Waiting for us to figure out how to get along. Yes, the world believes the dragons are gone, if they ever existed at all. But we Berkians, we know otherwise. And we’ll guard this secret until the time comes when dragons can return in peace.”
-Hiccup, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
The How to Train Your Dragon movies are hands down the best animated movie series of the 21st century. Toy Story, Cars, and most individual Pixar features are a distant second. Based on the bestselling series by Cressida Cowell, they aren’t without flaw — Astrid doesn’t get enough respect, the only people of color are villains, and there’s the presence of TJ Miller. But they are some of the few modern children’s movies to involve actual, permanent consequences for the characters. They each feature a powerful, thrilling score by John Powell. And they are some of the most visually stunning movies I’ve ever seen. The dragons move flawlessly, an organic mixture of reptile and cat that somehow works. They are fully integrated into a world awash with blues and greens, a stunning and near-arctic seascape panorama that makes my breath catch in my throat. Particularly in the third movie, released in 2019, the beauty of the natural world and the way Hiccup’s clan integrate dragons into their daily lives promotes awe and envy. The family dynamics, the friendships, all of it is worth watching again and again.
The HtTYD animated adventures aren’t limited to the movies. There were three animated series, two of which — Race to the Edge and Rescue Riders, intended for younger viewers — are available on Netflix. Now, available on Hulu and Peacock this winter comes Dragons: The Nine Realms. Set 1300 years into the future, the dragons have long since faded into myth. But when a massive fissure suddenly opens in the ground, a group of kids must protect the dragons from the perils of the modern world.
Words cannot express how excited my son is about this series. To be honest, I’m right there with him. We get to see a Nightlight, crossbred between a Night Fury and Light Fury, but other details are sparse. The six-episode series premieres on December 23rd, making it the perfect thing to pair with Gift of the Night Fury and keep your children occupied over Christmas break. Here’s hoping the series remains true to its roots.
Header Image Source: Youtube trailer screenshots