Friendship and Courage: A Journey with “How to Train Your Dragon”

Friendship and Courage: A Journey with “How to Train Your Dragon”

When my wife purchased tickets for our three daughters to see the latest Dreamworks film, “How to Train Your Dragon,” I was in for quite a surprise. Having spent more time streaming movies at home than venturing to the movie theater in recent years, I was taken aback by the online ticket prices. The sticker shock served as a reminder of how the cost of a family outing had evolved over the past decade. Despite this initial jolt, the excitement brewing in our household was palpable as we prepared for an unforgettable Sunday afternoon at the cinema.

Our family’s anticipation was well rewarded, as we found ourselves on a rollercoaster of emotions while immersing ourselves in the world of “How to Train Your Dragon.” Laughter, heartwarming moments, and a newfound appreciation for friendship and courage were all part of this cinematic adventure.

One of the film’s immediate charms was its rich cast of characters, each brought to life by impeccable voice acting. From the young and endearing Hiccup to the vibrant and mischievous fraternal twins Ruffnut and Tuffnut, and the daring Astrid, the names were a perfect fit for the brave Vikings inhabiting this captivating realm. Of course, we cannot overlook the dragons, which were masterfully portrayed with a striking duality. These majestic creatures could unleash their fiery fury one moment and huddle together for comfort the next.

The heart of the story unfolded as Hiccup, a young Viking from a family with a long history of battling dragons, stumbled upon a profound realization. Contrary to everything he had been taught, his encounter with a trapped and helpless dragon after a fierce battle revealed that there was more to these creatures than met the eye. This momentous discovery set him on a unique path, one that diverged from his peers who aspired to become fearsome Dragon Slayers.

Hiccup’s choice was compassion, and he freed the Night Fury dragon he affectionately named Toothless, despite the ironic fact that Toothless had an abundance of teeth. A twist of fate grounded Toothless, setting in motion Hiccup’s journey to becoming a Dragon Trainer. What followed was a remarkable transformation in the way he perceived these magnificent creatures. He learned that beneath their intimidating exteriors lay hearts yearning for care and understanding, much like loyal pets.

Hiccup’s unconventional methods, which included using a striped eel, a handful of grasses, and a soothing neck rub, allowed him to connect with the dragons on a profound level. Simultaneously, he continued attending Dragon Slayer classes, all the while secretly wielding his “magic” as a Dragon Trainer.

As Hiccup grappled with the challenge of proving himself to his father and his Viking community, his true prowess as a Dragon Trainer was put to the test in the film’s climactic showdown. It was a breathtaking battle that ultimately vanquished the formidable “queen bee” and paved the way for the dragons and Vikings to coexist harmoniously.

Reflecting on my own life experiences, having completed both my undergraduate and graduate degrees at SUNY Cortland, I found myself appreciating “How to Train Your Dragon” on a whole new level. The film offered a timeless lesson that transcended its animated world. It reminded us that sometimes, the most unexpected friendships and alliances can emerge when we choose compassion over aggression, and when we dare to challenge the status quo.

In the end, our family movie day turned out to be a profound journey of self-discovery and understanding. “How to Train Your Dragon” wasn’t just an animated film; it was a heartfelt exploration of the power of empathy, the strength of unconventional bonds, and the courage to stand up for what’s right. It was a reminder that, in our own lives, we too can choose to befriend our dragons and, in doing so, uncover the extraordinary magic of friendship and compassion.

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