Dragons: Riders of Berk (renamed to Dragons: Defenders of Berk for the second season) is an animated series that picks up where How to Train Your Dragon left off.For centuries, the inhabitants of Berk were locked in a violent struggle with the dragons, until Hiccup learned how to tame them. Once he managed to finally reconcile their differences, the two species lived Happily Ever After. Ha! Yeah, right. The many problems of having a massive horde of untrained but otherwise friendly dragons quickly becomes apparent, and anti-dragon sentiment begins to stir up once more. Determined not to let the whole cycle start up yet again, Hiccup resolves to teach the dragons to work with the Vikings in everyday life. Despite a rough start, he learns to channel their instincts into productive tasks, so Stoick puts Hiccup in charge of a new dragon academy to encourage this behavior. Of course along with the daily troubles of keeping the dragons in check, outside forces such as a rival viking clan likewise present challenges for the young dragon trainer.This series shares a Character Sheet with its parent film.There is a Recap Page here.Not to be confused withDragonriders of Pern.
Abusive Parents: Snotlout's father. Made worse by Snotlout's adamant denial of it.
A Day in the Limelight: "Viking for Hire" was about Gobber and how the village making peace with the dragons had rendered his dragon hunting equipment useless.
Adults Are Useless: Played with. Stoick and the other adults are clearly capable, but they are often out of their element when it comes to dragon-related matters which make up much of the plots that occur (see their ambush in "Alvin the Traitor" and Gobber in "Viking for Hire")
However, when there's a situation that's more mundane such as Dagur and his Berserkers invading, they prove to be quite capable, routing Dagur's forces and forcing him to retreat while the dragons were unavailable.
Aerith and Bob: In a village populated with folk such as Stoick, Gobber, Hiccup, Snotlout, and Astrid, an exotic foreign beauty who crashes on their shores is named Heather. Even stranger, the leader of the Outcasts, who used to live on Berk, is named Alvin.
All Animals Are Dogs: Meatlug invokes this. In "When Lightning Strikes", she pants and wags her tail.
All-CGI Cartoon: The animation is close to film quality, though slightly more limited, and everything is noticeably smoother and brighter compared to in-series flashbacks to the film. From the third episode onward, the animation progressively improves.
All There in the Manual: Stoick's dragon was confirmed to be named Thornado on the wiki prior to it actually being named in "Dragon Flower".
Always Lawful Good: "Animal House" establishes that all dragons have 'protective instincts' for humans and especially their riders. Every 'evil' action committed by a dragon in the series thus far is either: a mother looking for its child, brought on by a toothache, or ignorance that their action was causing trouble.
One exception: in "What Flies Beneath," a Whispering Death had a longstanding, seemingly murderous grudge against Toothless. Later on, at season's end it's the same dragon species (the same beast?) that Alvin picks as his own dragon.
The second season introduces a few more exceptions. There's the Screaming Death, which is extremely powerful and seems to have it in for the vikings of Berk; and the Skrill, which is as dangerous as Toothless and completely Ax-Crazy.
Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving/Chew Out Fake Out: In "How to Start a Dragon Academy," Stoick Invokes this when he talks to the kids about the "consequences" of disobeying him and releasing the dragons to do chores, but Gobber excitedly interrupts and blurts out the plan to give the teenagers a dragon training academy, ruining the intended effect.
Artistic License - Physics: In "When Lightning Strikes," the lightning bolts seem to be following Toothless around in the sky, eventually hitting him. Lightning is caused by an imbalance of charge between the clouds and the ground, and therefore is highly unlikely to strike anything that's in flight and not grounded. The episode actually pays lip service to proper lightning physics (lightning strikes more easily at metal objects with high elevation) but misses out on the whole "grounding" requirement. However, lightning strikes aircraft frequently —- and small aircraft have always been the most vulnerable.
Twice in "Heather Report, Part Two". Heather swoops in with Stormfly when the riders are being overwhelmed, then later the Monstrous Nightmare Astrid tamed comes to her rescue. Alvin was seriously impressed with the latter.
Fishlegs in "Fright of Passage" where he shows up with Stormfly to give Astrid, Toothless, and Hiccup help.
Astrid: How do we stop the Flightmare before it reaches the village?
Astrid: How's he gonna help?
Fishlegs: By bringing you some reinforcements"''
Once again, Fishlegs, in "Appetite of Destruction". This time, be brought the entire Gronckle population on Dragon Island, and was followed shortly with Deadly Nadders in similar numbers.
In "Frozen" when the teens are surrounded by Speed Stingers Stoick and Thornado come in to blast away the small dragons, allowing the teens to take away the leader.
"How to Start a Dragon Academy" Twice. Once with Hiccup walking backwards toward the camera going through it, while trying to avoid the dragon's poop coming down. Again with some viking chasing after a dragon who took his cart. The viking runs through the camera.
"Animal House", at the very beginning with some viking wearing purple and a black beard pushing a wheelbarrow walking straight through the camera.
The Vikings believe all lightning is this, particularly when a freak lightning storm hits after they install metal dragon perches.
Fishlegs theorizes that this may have been the cause of the disappearing islands in "Appetite For Destruction".
A Boy and His X: This still applies to Hiccup and his Night Fury Toothless, but the other Viking teens have also bonded very strongly with their dragons.
Brain Bleach: For all the things Gobber has seen and had happen to him, none were so horrible as being forced to extract dragon venom from Mildew's behind. He decides to cope by going into the forest to scream.
Toothless does his upside-down, toothless smile to a sheep in "Animal House".
In "How to Pick Your Dragon", Hiccup takes Stoick on a ride through the clouds in the same manner as he took Astrid on her first ride. It even uses the same music.
In the same episode, Astrid tries to dissuade Stoick from walking right up to Stormfly and touching her on the nose. This is because, as stated in the film, that's the breed's blind spot and therefore Stormfly has a minor freak-out.
In "Heather Report, Part One", an angry Astrid throws her axe at some trees, like she did in the film when Hiccup was beating her at Dragon Training.
In "Heather Report, Part Two", Tuffnut says "wait for it..." right before the Zippleback lights some gas, just like when Hiccup was waiting for the red death to start charging its shot.
In "When Lightning Strikes", Hiccup awakes from a near-death experience with Toothless at his side. He takes a moment to confirm that he still has his good leg.
"The Iron Gronckle" features Meatlug dragging Hiccup off to parts unknown yet again. Just like when it happened in "Gift of the Night Fury," someone asks him where they're going and Hiccup shouts out "I have no idea!" as they fly uncontrollably into the sunset.
In "Tunnel Vision", Hiccup leads a giant dragon on a merry chase into a rock formation. They even used similar camera angles as the movie!
In-universe example in "Fright of Passage" where Astrid quotes her dead uncle word for word when confronting the Flightmare.
In "Dragon Flower", Hiccup bartered for some extra ink from Trader Johann but Toothless accidently breaks it when Johann punched a Terrible Terror. Johann promises to get Hiccup some extra ink at another time since he was out. In "Frozen", once back on his ship Johann provides the ink as a token of appreciation for the rescue and even claims it was from the same source he said he got the ink from back in "Dragon Flower".
Cardboard Prison: Heather's repeated escapes from the cells of Berk show they could do with some improvements.
Cargo Ship: In an In-Universe example, Tuffnut falls in love with his new mace (affectionately dubbed "Macey") in "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes".
Cassandra Truth: Astrid can't convince Hiccup that Heather is trying to steal the Book of Dragons despite mounting evidence to that effect.
Cat Scare: In "What Flies Beneath", Hiccup and Fishlegs experience a sheep scare while creeping through the Whispering Death's tunnels.
In "How To Start A Dragon Academy", the dragon dung, which was once used as a constant source of Toilet Humor, makes a comeback at the end of the episode to, ahem, fertilize Mildew's garden, saving him "three month's extra work".
Hiccup's Opening Narration generally turns out to be the key to saving the day, directly or otherwise.
Astrid recalls a brief tidbit given by Snotlout on Monstrous Nightmares to deal with one on Outcast Island.
Hiccup and later Fishlegs lecture Astrid on Terrible Terrors being territorial and thus perfect to act as messenger hawks. Astrid quotes it, leading to a Eureka Moment for Fishlegs at the climax of "Appetite for Destruction".
Chekhov's Skill: In the opening to "Twinsanity" Fishlegs demonstrates that he's taught Meatlug how to obey hand signals, Hiccup notes that this might be useful in the future and gets the other teens to start using them as well. This is later used to fake a full-scale dragon attack without the kids needing to give verbal commands. Even Meatlug's "hug" trick was effective as an attack, as Hiccup predicted earlier.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: By "In Dragons We Trust", all of the "background" dragons are completely gone, and it is implied that the five main dragons are the only ones living in Berk. "Alvin and the Outcasts" shows that numerous dragons are attacking the titular Outcasts, which suggests they simply went there to wreak havoc. However the dragons are back in "Twinsanity", where the gang are rounding them into temporary hiding.
Circling Birdies: Ruff and Tuff always seem to try to make each other "see stars" when they are hitting each other.
The plot of the "In Dragons We Trust"/"Alvin and the Outcasts" two-parter, where Hiccup has to prove Mildew is framing the dragons. He ultimately fails, but events conspire to allow the dragons to earn their way back in, regardless.
Happens again in "When Lightning Strikes", forcing Hiccup to extreme measures to protect Toothless.
One effect of the training the team does during Heather Report - most notably with Astrid and Snotlout working together to attack with flaming quills.
There's also been at least one instance of the twins working with Fishlegs—Barf and Belch will fill a wide area with flammable gas, and then Meatlug uses her more condensed fireball to light it all on a fly-by. This proved rather effective at burning Outcast vessels, as seen in Alvin and the Outcasts.
Thornado and Toothless combine their attacks when strafing Avlin's ships, turning Toothless' small plasma blast into a wide area-of-effect scattershot which completely covered ships with a spray of shrapnel from the split plasma blast.
Sheep carrying (used significantly in "Animal House") and hatchet throwing appear as skills judged in the Thawfest games.
This happens again in "When Lightning Strikes" when Hiccup is struck by lighting and gets knocked out. Upon waking he see Toothless in the same position he was in when he woke up at the end of the film and makes sure he hasn't lost his other foot.
Convenience Store Gift Shopping: Stoick does this at Trader Johann's vessel before leaving for a meeting with the chief of another island and purchases a very nice sword to bring as a gift.
Crippling Overspecialization: Gobber's issue in "Viking for Hire" is that he specializes in designing weapons for use against dragons. Unfortunately, getting him to accept that anything dragon-related does not require weapons is an exercise in futility. Then it turns out his talents make him a great dragon dentist.
In order for Alvin to be a threat to Berk, the dragons had to be exiled on top of the armory being destroyed. As soon as they get their dragons back, the battle is quickly won in favor of Berk.
One wonders why, when Astrid is the most capable of the young vikings, she has never won at Thawfest, especially when one of the main events involves axe-throwing, which is pretty much her thing. Cue Fishlegs constantly screwing her up for two of the first three events, knocking her off the log roll and throwing his axe early, right into hers, so Snotlout can win them all and tie with Hiccup, who took all the dragon events.
Didn't See That Coming: In the season two finale, Hiccup says this word for word about his escape plan. When he and Stoick are tied up by Dagur and the Outcasts and Toothless is in a cage and muzzle, Stoick asks for his plan includes the other riders flying in or the Berk fleet. Hiccup said no to both. The plan was for Alvin and Mildew to release the horde of Whispering Deaths from their cages below the Outcast arena and the two traitors of Berk help the three captured heroes out of their bounds. Stoick was a bit angry and truly didn't expect this.
Disability Immunity: In "Frozen", Hiccup avoids being paralyzed by the Speed Stingers because they hit his artificial leg.
Disability Superpower: Surprisingly enough, when they were infected with eel pox in The Eel Effect, the twins displayed extreme intelligence by (correctly) deducing that air resistance has a greater effect on a falling feather than a falling rock, proposing the concept for ice cream, and for some reason, get rather refined accents. Gobber and Stoick just believe them to have gone crazy for wanting to freeze "perfectly good milk".
The Ditz: Hookfang, Snotlout's Monstrous Nightmare. Highlights include not noticing Snotlout jumping off him for a trust-fall and not noticing Snotlout yelling for help for a few seconds due to watching a falling leaf.
Downer Ending: So Hiccup and Toothless have escaped Outcast Island safe and sound. Everything is okay, right? Wrong! Turns out Mildew was just pretending to be on Hiccup's side and is now teaching the Outcasts how to train their own dragons.
Dragon Rider: The most impressive and combat-oriented part of dragon training, pioneered by Hiccup and Toothless and practiced by the Five-Man Band of teenage vikings. Adult vikings have also begun to take an interest, with Alvin the Treacherous and his Outcasts quite taken with the idea of learning the art from Hiccup (whether he's willing to teach them or not), and chief Stoick also willing to learn.
Dramatic Irony: "When Lightning Strikes" has the island stirred up over what they believe to be Thor bringing destruction upon them for harboring a Night Fury ("the unholy offspring of lightning and death itself"). Any viewer even marginally familiar with the behavior of lightning will realize that the giant metal dragon perches they built at the start of the episode are the cause of the strikes. Hiccup eventually makes the connection. Amusingly, at the end of the episode Hiccup and the village know that the metal causes the lightning, but assume that Thor was angry at the metal rather than understanding electricity.
Everybody Hates Mathematics: Ruffnut and Tuffnut suck at counting. It's unfortunate for them the Academy involves doing quite a bit of measuring and data collecting.
Mildew will stop at nothing to banish the dragons from Berk. He thinks they're Always Chaotic Evil because he spent his life fighting them. In truth, every episode further proves they're actually Always Lawful Good.
"Alvin and the Outcasts" establishes Alvin The Treacherous with a different goal; he wants to conscript 'the Dragon Conquerer' (i.e. Hiccup) so he have his own Dragon Riders.
Dagur wants to bring Berk to its knees and capture both Hiccup and Toothless.
Exactly What I Aimed At: In "The Night and the Fury", Hiccup fires his grapple into a branch above Dagur the Deranged's head. When Dagur gloats that Hiccup missed, Hiccup replies "Did I?" and yanks the branch down on top of Dagur.
Extranormal Institute: The Dragon Academy, where Hiccup and his friends develop and self-teach Dragonology and dragon training. Lately, they have had to do more militarized training via Dragon Flight Club in order to defend Berk against Alvin and his dragons.
Face Palm: Ruffnut does this after Snotlout gives Alvin his bludgeon.
Failed a Spot Check: In "Frozen" Hiccup and Trader Johann somehow missed a paralyzed Meatlug on the roof while searching all of Berk for its inhabitants and are themselves stunned by their ignorance once Fishlegs points her out.
False Dichotomy: Arguably present in the "Thawfest" episode. Letting Snotlout win is presented as the only option Hiccup has to be a good friend and not a bad winner, even though this solution ignores the real problem. Namely, that the approval of Snotlout's father seems to be dependent on Snotlout succeeding in what is essentially a game with no real consequence beyond some prestige.
Fantastic Science: The dragonology and dragon behaviorism Hiccup and his friends study (and discover) at Berk Dragon Academy. Recently expanded and started to focus on combat oriented elements due to Alvin learning how to train dragons and other threats rising up against Berk.
Faux Affably Evil: Alvin the Treacherous, who treats all his evil actions with a casual disposition, despite clearly relishing it.
Fire-Forged Friends: Stoick and his dragon finally see eye to eye after fending off a herd of angry boars in "How to Pick Your Dragon".
Flat World: The residents of Earth believe the Earth is flat, as shown in "When Lightning Strikes." Astrid spins a yarn about how a relative of hers set sail to find the edge of the world - when she came back from the other direction they assumed she got lost.
The plot for the final act of the third episode "Animal House" was hinted at rather subtly throughout the first two, with the dragon's protective instincts kicking in at random intervals to save their trainers, and Stoick, Bucket, Mulch, and Mildew all griping about the hard work they have to do before the Freeze hits Berk.
In "The Iron Gronckle", one of the Whispering Death eggs is a lot bigger than the others, and whatever hatched made a much larger hole than the young ones. This is clearly meant to be the Screaming Death that will feature later in the season.
Frame-Up: In "In Dragons We Trust" Hiccup begins to suspect foul play when the dragons seem responsible for a new outbreak of property damage. He's proven correct when he discovers dragon limbs hidden at Mildew's house.
Free-Range Children: Hiccup and the others move with quite a bit of freedom, though being the island's main dragon riders and all the Mundane Utility that comes with it certainly has something to do with it.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted. Hiccup is quite clearly seen getting his dad a drink from a tankard in the second episode.
Full Boar Action: Stoick has to fend off a herd of these in "How to Pick Your Dragon".
Fun with Acronyms: The Dragon United Monitoring Brigade, DUMB, in "In Dragons We Trust." Astrid even notes they need a new name when Gobber says the teens are wearing sashes with "Dumb" written on it.
G-Rated Drug: Eels to dragons, based on Toothless-vision in The Eel Effect.
Generation Xerox: A non-blood version. Near the end of Season two, Hiccup was getting tired of Snotlout's reckless behavior, especially when it led to Astrid being injured. Later, Hiccup learns Stoick and Alvin had a similar falling out with Alvin's recklessness causing someone to get hurt. Seeing what happened in the past, Hiccup and Snotlout are able to come to a middle ground of sorts and reaffirm their friendship.
Genius Ditz: Gobber is definitely out there, but he knows things about dragons even the Book of Dragons (and Hiccup) doesn't know.
Genre Blindness: Hiccup never seems to understand that when Toothless is acting hostile, there is usually a very good reason for him to do so. Hiccup will more often than not just think Toothless is moody. Likewise he will casually dismiss other's suspicions as overreacting, such as when Astrid tried to warn him of Heather working for Alvin.
In "In Dragons We Trust" while looking through Mildew's house, Hiccup sees a wall with portraits. They're ordered wife, wife, wife, then sheep.
Hiccup: At least we know he has a type.
In "Animal House", as Mulch walk in to the Great Hall with just two yak, Mulch says that they (the yak) were the only two they could find and then pipes up that they can start breeding a new herd with the two they have. Then, Gobber casually strolls in and says that Mulch may want to check again.
In "The Defiant One", Snotlout tells Hiccup to "go suck rocks."
In "Race to Fireworm Island", the twins... milk a Fireworm dragon off screen. And just in case the joke wasn't obvious, Hiccup confirms that Fireworm dragons do not lactate.
There are two Curse Cut Short in "Worst in Show": the first being where Snotlout asks Fishlegs if he wouldn't mind getting his nose out of Hiccup's... and Ruffnut stating "Looks like he grew some...".
Hiccup asks Snotlout what the first thing he does in the morning is. Snotlout begins to address one morning problem, so Hiccup quickly jumps ahead to "eat".
Gilligan Cut: In "Breakneck Bog", Hiccup tries to go alone to find Trader Johann, only to get caught in the act by Astrid and Snotlout. He agrees to take them along so long as they keep the others out of it. Cut to the entire group riding their dragons.
In "The Heather Report, Part Two", Bucket proves himself to be befitting this role as he walked into Heather's apparently empty cell without calling for backup. He ends up locked inside when Heather sneaks out.
Two Outcasts in "We Are Family Part Two" fall for Toothless playing dead and remove the muzzle on his mouth to feed him by hand. Toothless promptly breaks out. They also thought the changewing had escaped when they couldn't see it inside the cell.
Gobber asleep on the job in "Fright of Passage", where he's asleep while the Flightmare is supposedly incoming. He accidentally activates a loaded catapult and fires it into some sheep off-screen.
Hoist by His Own Petard: In "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", Hiccup turns the Smoldering Smokebreath pack Dagur snuck onto Berk by dragging several loads of metal to his armada. The Smokebreaths followed the bait and stripped all the metal from his ships, destroying them.
Hyperspace Arsenal: In "Breakneck Bog", the group has to sacrifice their weapons to a pack of metal-hoarding dragons. Between them, they manage to unload an arsenal that could have armed half their village.
I Have Your Dragon: In "We Are Family, Part Two" Alvin tells Hiccup he can either help him train dragons or Toothless will suffer.
I Call It Vera: Gobber seems to have named many of the weapons he's crafted. After the armory fire he mourns the loss of "Prudence" and "Sadie".
Impairment Shot: In "The Eel Effect", Toothless eats an eel, which makes him ill. POV shots show that everything looks distorted to him, which is why he attacks Hiccup when he tries to calm him down.
Impossible Task: During the fireweather of "Zippleback Down", Stoick tells Hiccup to "make sure the twins don't do anything stupid". The hopeless look on Hiccup's face says it all.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Alvin's crossbowmen miss from virtually point-blank. Largely thanks to this being a children's show on Cartoon Network. Inverted with most of the Deadly Nadders we've seen up to this point, who are frightfully accurate with their tail spines.
Improbably Female Cast: Not the main cast but if you pay attention to the children, so far most of them are girls.
Informed Ability: In their first appearance the Berserkers are said to be powerful warriors. In "A View To A Skrill", a group of them attack Bucket and Mulch and are almost immediately defeated and forced to retreat.
Informed Attribute: When Hiccup usually describes the horrible weather of Berk during his narration as "snowing 9 months and hailing the other three", most of the time it is usually sunny and clear (though it could still be cold).
In "Alvin and the Outcasts", Hiccup gives himself up to Alvin the Treacherous to save the villagers, promising to prove his reputation as the "dragon conqueror". They take him to Dragon Island, where he is able to get Toothless and turn the tables on them.
In "We Are Family, Part Two" Hiccup tried this on an outcast guard, but didn't have the strength to knock the guy out.
It Will Never Catch On: In "The Eel Effect", Gobber takes the twins' idea of freezing yak milk and flavoring it as proof of their illness-induced delirium. "Who would freeze perfectly good cream?"
Jerk Ass: While his behavior varies from episode to episode Snotlout is often prone to making rude, out-of-line comments towards Hiccup and Fishlegs and even mocks Astrid's late uncle in "Fright of Passage".
Kill It with Water: The Scaldron, first mentioned in the film, shoots boiling water instead of fire.
Kill It with Fire: Most dragons, naturally, with fire ranging from traditional fire out of Nadders and Nightmares, to magma bursts out of a Gronckle, to the Night Fury's plasma blast.
Knight of Cerebus: Alvin the Treacherous. Not only is he actually pretty terrifying, he's completely ruthless. To make matters worse, season one ends with him managing to tame the Whispering Death that has a grudge against Toothless.
The Vikings of Berk have brokered a fragile peace with the dragons they once fought, with the once-ostracized chief's son Hiccup (a Handicapped Badass) leading the younger Vikings' efforts at studying, domesticating and riding the dragons.
Hiccup's handicap itself is this; losing his leg is one of the more emotional moments at the end of the film.
Late to the Punchline: Tuffnut has this problem in "Heather Report, Part One", not getting Ruffnut's analogy about Astrid being jealous of Heather.
Let's Get Dangerous: At the climax of "Gem of a Different Color," Fishlegs finally decides to give Snotlout what he's had coming for a long time.
The Load: "The Iron Gronckle" centers around Fishlegs feeling like he is this after being left behind (albeit willingly) on a speed-based mission. By the end of the episode he managed to prove to both himself and others that he can be useful and this carries on to future episodes.
Alvin: ...and let me be clear, that name was earned.
Tuffnut: Pfft, Alvin? How'd he earn a name like that?
Make Me Wanna Shout: The Thunderdrum, first mentioned in the film, makes its appearance in "How to Pick Your Dragon". It has a sonic scream, though its ability to scream someone's head clean off was exaggerated by the Book of Dragons.
The Masquerade: Introduced in "Twinsanity", where Stoick doesn't want another tribe to find out about the dragons and get the wrong idea. The tribe having an insane new chief eventually drives the kids to faking a dragon attack using their own dragons in order to just get him off the island and save Barf and Belch. In said attack, you can see Toothless isn't wearing his artificial tail fin, in order to preserve appearances. And the kids solely use hand signals to control the dragons.
Broken in The Night and the Fury where Hiccup drops it to save Toothless. The Berserkers were not happy about that.
In "Viking for Hire," when confronted with Gobber's proposal of adding Training from Hell to the curriculum, (involving a cart full of wicked-looking "killing things") the dragons visibly recoil, then flee in terror.
In "Tunnel Vison", when they meet the Screaming Death.
Berk has a general one when the Flightmare comes by, particularly given its habit of making Berk's finest freeze in fear or more accurately, paralyze them with a mist.
Meaningful Rename: The second season will change "Riders of Berk" to "Defenders of Berk" because now they will have to defend against the Outcasts riding dragons.
Misplaced Wildlife: Although we don't know where Berk is, it's probably nowhere close to the Himalayas, where yaks are from. Unless they are Scotland Hairy Cows; however, they are referred to as yaks.
The series unexpectedly jumps from Slice of Life episodes to the dragons getting exiled and an imminent invasion by Berk's enemies.
"Twinsanity" introduced teen chief Dagur the Deranged. While his villainy is mostly played for laughs, it's also very creepy. Stoick, of all people, very nearly attacks the teen with a sword three times in the episode.
"Fright of Passage" flips from the seriousness of Hiccup, Astrid, and Fishlegs pursuing the Flightmare to stop it from destroying Berk to Snotlout trying to get into the twins' "secret bunker" by following a list of increasingly hilarious demands.
Monster Is a Mommy: "The Terrible Twos" introduces a new species of dragon in the form of a baby Typhoomerang. Its mother, naturally, isn't happy that her baby has been taken.
Moving the Goalposts: : In "Fright of Passage," Tuffnut and Ruffnut do this to Snotlout, repeatedly adding to a list of ridiculous demands that he has to meet in order to get into their shelter. Each time he brings back what they want, they just add something else, until finally the Frightmare threat is driven away and then Snotlout is able to get in, only to find that everyone is gone and the party he was hoping to attend is over.
Hiccup appears to have a minor version of this during the Thawfest games just as he was about to beat Snotlout. Realizing what the desire to win was doing to him, he decides to throw the race.
Mildew has one in the season one finale when Alvin decides that he's outlived his usefulness and throws him in prison with Hiccup. This is actually a subversion as it was part of Mildew's plan to buddy up with Hiccup and obtain his dragon taming knowledge.
My Horse Is a Motorbike: Inverted with Snotlout, as he uses his dragon like a motorcycle, right up to holding his horns like ape hangers when riding him.
As of "Dragon Flower", it has been mentioned once, in passing, by Tuffnutt as a joke.
Alvin clearly states he will kill Heather's parents if he doesn't get the book.
While nothing is explicitly stated, Stoick rather clearly is about to kill or at least maim Dagur three times in Twinsanity. It was explicitly stated that Dagur wanted to kill dragons, and that Berk used to do so during the war with the dragons.
In "We Are a Family", the twins blow up a fake Night Fury near Astrid and Fishlegs. Astrid chews them out because if it was Toothless they could have killed him.
At the start of "Live and Let Fly", Hiccup states that Alvin had him ready to be executed.
Although nothing explicit is ever stated, it is pretty clear that Fearless Fin Hofferson (Astrid's uncle) was killed by the Flightmare.
Hiccup and Astrid make it explicit that the latter nearly died after Snotlout's Leeroy Jenkins stunt at the beginning of "Cast Out, Part I".
In "Viking for Hire", Mildew takes pleasure in pointing out to Hiccup that by making peace with the dragons, he put Gobber out of a job, which sets Hiccup on a quest to find Gobber a new line of work. Thankfully, Gobber's skills translate well to dragon dentistry.
While trying to get Fishlegs attention in order to apologize, Hiccup accidentally starts an angry mob and causes Fishlegs to panic, filling Meatlug up with a variety of rocks to try and make the metal and causing her to run through town attracting everything she passes.
Mildew's attempts to highlight Hiccup's failures usually provide him with the inspiration to correct them.
Hiccup was powerless against Alvin until Alvin agreed to take Hiccup back to the Isle of Dragons, to show how he can defeat dragons, and ends up reuniting Hiccup with Toothless.
No, Except Yes: In "Live and Let Fly" when Hiccup and Stoick are arguing, Stoick asks if Hiccup is arguing with his father's orders. Hiccup replied he wasn't arguing with his father's orders, but his chief's poor idea.
No Flow in CGI: Averted rather beautifully. The characters' hair and clothing detail are almost on par with the film itself, the only major difference being that the fur on the character's clothing has been either drastically shortened or removed completely.
Snotlout has apparently been struck by lightning twelve times. Enough for Tuffnut to learn how to understand his garbled post-strike speech.
When Astrid makes a strange suggestion in "The Heather Report, Part Two," Fishlegs wonders out loud if she's "been eating dragon nip again." This earns him an elbow to the gut.
Whatever happened between Alvin and Stoick was bad enough that Stoick refuses to speak of it.
No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Gronckle Iron in "The Iron Gronckle" becomes this as soon as Fishlegs realizes that he can't remember which rocks Meatlug ate to make it. However, he and Gobber do attempt to rediscover it instead of just calling it quits.
Number Two: Astrid is this to Hiccup. She states that if Hiccup is unable to be the leader of the Dragon Academy she takes over. Not that they would like that.
OOC Is Serious Business: You can tell how bad Dagur really is by the fact that Stoick almost attacks him three times, despite needing him for a peace treaty.
Oddly Small Organization: The Dragon Academy consists of only six teenagers and their dragons. Weirder still in that while we have seen other children, those six appear to be the only teenagers on Berk.
Odd Name Out: In "Bing! Bang! Boom!", the twins want to name the three baby Thunderdrums 'Bing', 'Bang' and 'Lloyd'.
Offscreen Teleportation: In "The Terrible Twos", Toothless hurls Torch, the baby dragon Hiccup finds, out of his bedding area due to not being too fond of him. He turns around and shrieks in shock when he finds Torch right behind him no more than a second after he had tossed him. Later on, as they're trying to return Torch to the mother, Hiccup leaves Torch while escaping only to find Torch has already caught him again moments later.
Hiccup in "The Terrible Twos", when the rather ticked off mama Typhoomerang spots him holding her missing baby.
Happens again in "Heather Report, Part One", where Hiccup fails to keep the Book Of Dragons out of Alvin's hands.
Savage gets a moment of this when enough metal falls through his ship, putting a hole right into it.
Snotlout gets a taste of this in "Fright of Passage" when he's making rude remarks about Astrid's dead uncle.
Open Heart Dentistry: Gobber, a blacksmith by trade, is entrusted with the care of a dragon with a very significant hole in its wing and Fishlegs goes to him to tend to Meatlug after ingesting too many rocks. Well, the series is supposed to be set in Dark Age Europe.
Opening Narration: Done by Hiccup, as was so in the film and shorts. No longer done in the Defenders, however.
Many of the villagers are pretty much just a copy of another. This clearly shown when Heather's parents look exactly like the couple that Stoick helps in "How To Pick Your Dragon" in herding their boars.
Also all of the little girls look exactly the same except with different hair colors. Even when Astrid was shown as a child she looks just like one of the little girls.
There are quite a few identical Outcast mooks, also.
Palette Swap: To make the main cast's dragons stand out, all others of the same species are recolored in various patterns.
Plot Hole: The series takes a few cues from the special Gift of the Night Fury. The show is meant to take place directly after the film (see Immediate Sequel above), while the special is implied to take place well after that. Among the details used are the fact that Meatlug is female and that dragon eggs explode, both of which were surprises in the special.
Poor Communication Kills: The plot of "The Terrible Twos" could have been avoided if Toothless had a reliable way of communicating "You took the baby and the mother is pissed."
Portmanteau Dragon-Rider Name: While gloating in "Thawfest", Snotlout claims that he and Hookfang have become so close that they should be called "Snotfang". Hiccup retorts that Snotfang will lose to "Hictooth".
Properly Paranoid: Hiccup automatically assumes Alvin has learned to train dragons in the season 2 premiere, reasoning that Mildew will likely cave under torture (Hiccup doesn't know he's a traitor).
Proud Warrior Race Guy: The show's portrayal of the Vikings native to these islands with a helping of Blood Knight. However, this is often Played for Laughs, for example: Stoick gives Hiccup advice in how to deal with Astrid and Snotlout having personal issues with each other by suggesting that he A) give them both axes and let them kill each other, B) give then maces and let them kill each other, or C), trick them into working together, which either works or gets them to kill each other, 50/50 odds to the outcome.
Pyrrhic Villainy: Mildew's efforts to frame the dragons leave the village open to attack by its enemies (because his final act was to destroy the armory, leaving the village without any weapons), and he still has the nerve to blame the dragons for it. Of course, he can't very well admit responsibility without admitting to treason.
Stoick. He's more lenient with the dragons' antics than he could be, given the trouble they cause, and treats exile as a very last resort. When Hiccup comes to him claiming that Mildew framed the dragons and disposed of the evidence, he seems inclined to believe his son, but can't just accuse someone of treason without proof, either. Much to the annoyance of everyone (and the audience), Mildew tends to abuse this trait of Stoick's when doing things concerning the dragons.
Much of Stoick's conversations with Hiccup in Defenders is shaping Hiccup into this, such as dealing with two squabbling vikings, or when Snotlout's recklessness nearly killed Astrid. Hiccup asks his father about how one can be a friend and leader at the same time. Stoick notes that as chief, one doesn't just have to balance between being a leader and friends but also what is good for all of Berk. Given the release of How to Train Your Dragon 2 is after the season, it's no doubt meant to tie in to that.
Relationship Ceiling: The show doesn't seem to make up its mind about whether Hiccup and Astrid are a couple after the events of the film or not. During most of the show they never seem to go beyond Platonic Life Partners, and in "Animal House" they even have a recoil reaction when they realize they were instinctively hugging each other to keep themselves warm in the snow. However, there is plenty of Ship Tease to go around, peaking in "Thawfest", where Astrid kisses Hiccup on the lips. This is probably due to the writers trying to maintain the Status Quo until the sequel film.
Remember That You Trust Me: Despite the lessons of the first film, Stoick remains wary of the dragons, and whenever a problem arises that Hiccup struggles to solve, is quick to suggest they may have to get rid of them. Justified as part of the Reality Ensues setup; like it or not, Stoick has to keep what's best for Berk in mind.
Remember the New Guy: Alvin the Treacherous is an old rival of Stoick and foe of Berk village, yet "Alvin and the Outcasts" is the first time the viewer has heard of him. This is lampshaded in his premiere episode when Alvin can't believe Stoick never spoke of him to Hiccup.
Reverse Psychology: In "Free Scauldy", Astrid finally gets fed up with Snotlout's constant advances and starts mimicking his behavior, which creeps him out to no end.
Rule Number One: The first rule of Dragon Flight Club is that it doesn't exist, which confuses the twins to no end.
The Runner Up Takes It All: In "Thawfest", Hiccup intentionally loses to Snotlout in the Thawfest games. Snotlout gets to keep his family's winning streak, while Hiccup gets a secret approving beam from his father and a kiss from Astrid; definitely good consolation prizes.
Runt Of The Litter: Any person or animal named "Hiccup" is considered one. It's a viking tradition.
Sacred Hospitality: Though not seen, it is implied when a chief visits the others at the meeting of the viking chiefs they receive it, provided one brings a gift to the host as thanks for the shelter and protection. The last chief who failed to provide a gift left without his head. Overall, gift giving seems to be a big part of Viking culture with one episode implying that this is the primary way of apologizing.
Saved by the Awesome: In "How to Start a Dragon Academy", when Hiccup and friends make amends for the dragons' extensive property damage by demonstrating their utility (disobeying orders to keep them caged), Stoick rewards them with a So Proud of You and a gift of the old arena, re-purposed into a Dragon Academy.
Saying Too Much: In "In Dragons We Trust", Hiccup begins to suspect Mildew of framing the dragons when he mentions that Toothless was left outside the Great Hall. Since he lives on the other side of the island and it's the middle of the night, it's highly unlikely that he would be around to notice.
Schizo Tech: Parasols made of metal and stone and, of all things, flamethrowers, exist in a show that is supposed to be set between Dark Age Europe to the High Middle Ages. These might be a throwback to the book, since one of the villains made a steamship using dragons.
Shamu Fu: Deprived of their metal weapons in "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", Bucket and Mulch settle for using sturgeon to bludgeon each other. Stoick quips that this is actually better for all parties.
Shooting Gallery: In "Thawfest", one of the events is a contest where the dragons have to shoot enemy targets while avoiding friendly ones.
Shoot The Dragon: When Hookfang goes wild in "Viking For Hire", Stoick is ready to get back to dragon-slaying with Gobber by his side.
"How to Pick Your Dragon" has Hiccup briefly giving Toothless prompts for breathing fire, (i.e. "Toothless, plasma blast") in a manner very reminiscent of Pokémon.
In the season premiere of Defenders of Berk, Hiccup and the other riders form the "Dragon Flight Club".
In "Worst in Show", Fishlegs considers naming his Terrible Terror 'Deathwing'.
In "Frozen", Fishleg's telling Hiccup what happened, from his mannerisms to the description of the attack begin to sound a lot like a 'Collector raid.' Priority:Berk anyone?
The insult exchange between Tuffnut and Ruffnut in "Free Scauldy" (see under Ambiguous Gender) is the same as a similar exchange of insults between Hudson and Vasquez in Aliens.
Sick Episode: "The Eel Effect", where most of Berk comes down with eel pox and the Riders have to gather the ingredients for the cure. In the course of getting the most vital ingredient - a blood eel - Hiccup is attacked by eels and Toothless, in trying to save him, accidentally ingests one, which makes him ill as well.
Apparently, Gobber's father, if his comments are anything to go by... and he passed those on to Gobber himself. We don't get to see it, but that's partially because the dragons fled before he could start "training" them using real weapons...
Skewed Priorities: Snotlout, who was the only one still interested in the treasure after they found Hiccup alive after a cave in.
Likewise, in "Cast Out, Part I", he's more concerned of how awesome his Leeroy Jenkins moment at the start was instead of the fact that it nearly got Astrid killed.
Smooch of Victory: Hiccup gets one from Astrid at the end of "Thawfest", though it's for doing the right thing instead of winning (he could have, but threw the match for Snotlout's sake).
Snap Back: "Free Scauldy" ends with Ruffnut cutting her braids off to save Scauldy. Then "Frozen" comes along and her hair is back to normal.
So Proud of You: In "How to Start a Dragon Academy", Stoick attempts this with the Viking teens via Chew Out Fake Out, but Gobber excitedly steps on his big speech for a bit before Stoick finally manages to deliver his praise properly.
In "Alvin and the Outcasts", Astrid gets grabbed here by Alvin as a hostage (so the dragons won't fire at him). Justified because there's a massive weight difference between them, and he also pins her against himself for a better hold. In addition, the second he's surprised Astrid hits him with an oar and bolts.
Also happens to Hiccup in "When Lightning Strikes", although in his case it's "Standard Skinny Teenager Grab Area".
To Hiccup again in "The Defiant Ones"
Start X to Stop X: In "Zippleback Down", Hiccup and the twins use a back burn to stop a forest fire threatening Berk.
Strange Minds Think Alike: In "Viking For Hire", when conducting a tribal induction ritual, Gobber decides an unnamed female baby looks more like a "Magnus" than a "Hildegarde", and renames her accordingly. While lamenting his tactless action, Stoick agrees in spirit.
Stoick: I'm not sayin' she didn't look like a "Magnus," but try telling that to her parents!
Super Speed: The Typhoomerang can get a speed boost by igniting itself like a Catherine Wheel firework.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: When asked where he's going at one point, Tuffnut replies that he is going somewhere to be alone and not to cry.
Swiss-Army Weapon: Hiccup has a shield which transforms into a crossbow and has a bolo/grappling hook built in.
Take My Hand: Happens in "What Flies Beneath" when Astrid tries to pull Hiccup out of the Whispering Death's pit. She manages to hold on to him for a few seconds before his hand slips from her grasp and he falls back into the pit.
Team Rocket Wins: Season one ends with Alvin having Out-Gambitted Hiccup and learned how to tame dragons himself, thus turning the Outcasts into a much more dangerous enemy for Berk.
Teens Are Monsters: Young Berserker chief Dagur the Deranged. Before becoming a chief he'd torture the other viking kids on his dad's visits to Berk (including purposefully starving Fishlegs and trying to drown Hiccup); all he wants to do on Berk is go the the arena and kill dragons, he mocks his own dead father (whom he's implied to have killed), threatens war at every turn and almost kills Ruff and Tuff's Zippleback by cutting off Belch's head. And then, after learning Hiccup tricked him, takes over the Outcasts.
In "Worst in Show", Hiccup is quick to notice that Fishlegs is taking the competition too seriously and something will inevitably go wrong, even going so far as trying to nip it in the bud later on. But naturally, things have to go wrong for the lesson to be learned.
Happens again in "Appetite for Destruction" when the Screaming Death returns.
In "We Are Family, Part Two" Stoick knows Alvin will be expecting an air assault to take back Hiccup and Toothless, so they hide on Trader Johann's ship.
In "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", Dagur has one of his Berserkers sell Trader Johann a Smoldering Smokebreath nest, knowing the hatchlings within will steal all of Berk's metal to build their nest. This naturally includes the armory.
True Companions: Slowly over the course of the season, the bond between the Viking teens and their dragons are building. By the end of the first season, they are fully this and the dragons show it by moving to defend a bound Hiccup and Toothless in "We Are Family, Part Two" without any prompt from their riders.
Trust Building Blunder: In "In Dragons We Trust", Hiccup successfully convinces Snotlout to jump off Hookfang's back so his dragon can catch him as a trust-building exercise. Unfortunately, Hookfang doesn't realize his rider is missing until Astrid points it out to him.
Tunnel King: Whispering Death dragons, especially the mutant Screaming Death.
Understatement: Hiccup, upon seeing Trader Johann's ship stuck up in a big, tall tree in the middle of an island, declares that he got "a little off-course".
Unflinching Walk: In "Alvin and the Outcasts", Alvin does this as a pair of dragons swoop down on his stronghold, breathing fire all the way.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Astrid and Hiccup; close proximity or a more-than-friendly situation makes them blush and stutter and Astrid punch his shoulder. However, Astrid is over it as of "Thawfest Games", where she kisses him after he decides to throw the competition for Snotlout's sake.
Wacky Racing: In "Animal House", Astrid and Hiccup use their dragons as flying snowboards to go "Dragonboarding" down the snowy hills.
We Can Rule Together: Alvin briefly attempts this in "The Heather Report." Hiccup calls the very idea "insane, demented, delusional and stupid."
Hiccup still has shades of this due to his lingering self-esteem issues, even though Stoick is proud of him as he is.
"Thawfest" reveals that this is a large reason behind some of Snotlout's more Jerkass tendencies, as his overbearing and emotionally abusive father puts a lot of pressure on him to perform well. When Hiccup points out that his father looks angry Snotlout replies, "So? He always looks like that."
This is the sole reason Mildew isn't punished for his crimes as Hiccup lacked solid evidence.
In "In Dragons We Trust", Hiccup realized Mildew knew too much by an off hand comment regarding what was happening and sought to get proof, knowing he would need it to convince Stoick. He does find proof but Mildew destroyed it. Later, when telling Stoick this, Stoick points out they now need new proof that Mildew was behind it.
In "Dragon Flower" Hiccup lacked concrete proof of intent from Mildew and the foreknowledge the flowers he bought would be harmful to dragons. Fortunately, they force him to participate in a search for a cure, which eventually comes down to subjecting him to an agonizing extraction procedure out of his behind.
In the first of the two-part Heather debut episode, Alvin reappears and obtains the Book of Dragons.
"We Are a Family, Part One": Hiccup finds a map to an island full of Night Furies. Unfortunately, it's bait for a trap set by Alvin and Mildew, and he and Toothless are kidnapped but the trope is fulfilled in the second part. Alvin can tame his own dragons and his first one is a Whispering Death, the natural enemy of the Night Fury.
"A View to a Skrill" has Dagur taking over the Outcasts and did something to Alvin, meaning that both of Berk's human enemies are now under one banner.
"Cast Out, Part I" has Alvin revealing that he survived the events of "A View to A Skrill", Dagur launching a full strike on the Berk Dragon Academy, and Stoick being captured by Dagur. Oh, and the Screaming Death is moving towards Berk again.
What Happened to the Mouse?: At the end of "The Heather Report, Part Two", we don't know what became of the Monstrous Nightmare Astrid befriended in the Outcast camp.
What The Hell Towns People: The plot of "When Lightning Strikes" is most of the town getting convinced by Mildew that Toothless is the cause of Thor's anger in response to the lightning strikes. Their irrational behavior causes them to turn on Stoick and the kids as well as nearly getting some of the cast members killed just to prove to them it was something else. To be fair though, it's understandable that they'd do pretty much anything to avert the wrath of an angry thunder god, and they're still reasonable enough to watch Hiccup's demonstration.
Alvin the Treacherous came from Berk and did something to be kicked out. He now wants to destroy Berk.
Hiccups fear this trope occuring since Whispering Death hatchlings are territorial of their birthplace, and because the Screaming Death is variant of the Whispering Death who can also control his fellow dragons, he is right to worry.
Women Prefer Strong Men: While Hiccup wasn't pleased to see himself depicted as a overly-buff man on the chieftain/son shield painting, Ruffnut and Astrid showed a heightened sense of appreciation towards it.
Tuffnut: Whoa, what happened to Hiccup? Astrid: (still looking at the picture with Ruffnut) Who cares?
The World Is Just Awesome: Like in the original movie Hiccup takes a person to see Berk in a new light. This time it is Stoick to show him some of the wonders of riding a dragon. Stoick completely agrees as he realized that he knew every tree on Berk, climbed every cliff, and every other facet but never in his wildest dreams did he think he'd see it from air.
Wreathed in Flames: The series seems to have taken a liking to things that light themselves on fire, instead of just breathing it.
The Monstrous Nightmare, as in the film. It's a plot point in "Viking for Hire", as Hiccup noted that something must be wrong with Hookfang, since he never lights up when Snotlout's on him.
The Typhoomerang in "The Terrible Twos" also does this, lighting itself like a Catherine Wheel spinning firework. Not only does this make it fly faster, it also turns it into an airborne, spinning saw blade.
Then there's the fireworm dragons in "Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Young Man", which are mouse-sized dragons with flaming skin.
Yes-Man: Alvin's right hand man Savage is a very dedicated example of this, though he does chide Alvin occasionally. Alvin uses his submissiveness to prove the point that most people will say anything to keep themselves alive.
Savage continues this role while under Dagur's rule.
You All Look Familiar: All the Outcasts save Alvin and Savage clearly all use the exact same model and textures.
You Are Not Alone: In "We Are Family, Part Two" Hiccup and Toothless realize that though they haven't found anymore Night Furies, they do have a family with the other dragon riders.
You Do NOT Want To Know: Tuffnut says this to Heather when she asks why she isn't supposed to breathe in the gas of a Hideous Zippleback.
In "The Terrible Twos," Hiccup thinks this when Toothless tries to warn the village that the baby dragon's bereaved mother is a threat.
In "Heather Report," the gang thinks this of Astrid when she shows her distrust of Heather, who has been hanging out with Hiccup a lot.
"This is Berk. We've got ice, we've got snow, and we've got more ice. But we've also got dragons. We train them, learn from them, protect them... And they protect us; sometimes form ourselves. One thing's for sure: We wouldn't trade this for anything. Would you?"