Friday Night Dragon Taming

Okay, I have a perfectly good reason for not posting last night: a spontaneous decision to watch How to Train Your Dragon Pt 2.

I remember really liking the original movie, because it was honest to god different. Dragons weren’t automatically the villains, Tolkien-style, and they weren’t perfect either. It was an interesting depiction of a human-dragon war that’d been going on for decades without anyone remembering how or why it started.

The prospect of actually having a biological and possibly cultural backstory for dragons – who, let’s face it, win the fantasy animal pantheon’s Most Cliched Creature title – was also interesting because it doesn’t quite humanize them. Yes, it makes them out to be intelligent, sentient creatures who are walking, thinking chemical factories, but they don’t speak or behave in human terms.

Side note: Possibly the most interesting version of dragon culture I’ve seen is through Gunnerkrigg Court, where their dragon world is borrowed from the Slovenian mythological canon of the Rogat Orjak. So, flesh- rending, bloodthirsty animal this is not, although their speech is human.

(My history of reading fantasy fiction in the school library with my best friend during recess break is showing itself now.)

Anyway, the the first movie makes it clear that the two clans can coexist peacefully on a mutually beneficial basis. The kid who goes around collecting information on dragons is sort of your Charlie Weasley equivalent. But this time, though we discover another dragon-whisperer, questions are asked and assumptions made that just don’t get explained, ever. And as you can probably tell by now, I couldn’t give less of a damn about the human storyline if I tried.

Spoiler alert!

What the hell is an alpha? Did they address that in the last movie and I just forgot? Why does an alpha blow ice instead of fire? How does an alpha mind-control every other dragon? Does size and the ability to breathe ice have anything to do with it? In which case, Toothless should’ve been totally out of the running.

You know what I would’ve really liked? A Terry Pratchett style sarcastic fantasy takedown of the fur and poaching industry or something, with dragons as analog here.

(Really, really don’t care about the human plot. Plot, what plot?)

Anyway, bottom line: cute movie with really great art and a thankfully non-heroic hero, but there are a ton of cliches. Also, I would have liked this to be a movie about dragons.


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