Is Hiccup a Badass Pacifist because of the trauma that resulted from him and Toothless killing the Red Death? Or is it simply him trying to impose an unrealistic ideal on an imperfect world?
Alvin explains that he got banished from Berk for disobeying orders that led to casualties but earlier was quite willing to let Berkians like Hiccup get eaten by dragons. Did he become more hard-hearted over time, or did Stoick see the ugly side of him?
Averted with Hiccup. He still has some lingering self-esteem and image problems that he had in the movie. Seeing as he was ostracized by his entire community up until recently, this is very understandable. Played straight, however, with Hiccup seemingly having no issues whatsoever with his prosthetic foot. Any comment he makes about it is incredibly snarky, but with no trace of angst.
Considering that most of the adult men of Berk have at least one prosthetic, this isn't all that surprising. Losing a limb seems more like a mark of pride than anything else in their culture.
Averted with Heather. For good reason, she has a lot of baggage especially after Dagur kills her parents, then later finds out he's actually her brother.
After the second film was directed by someone who had no involvement with the series and openly stated he made no effort to keep it canon, Race to the Edge goes to some lengths to reconcile the differences so people aren't forced to choose which canon they prefer.
Ruffnut in the first season got less screentime and dialogue because her voice actress couldn't keep up with TJ Miller's improv, much to a lot of fans' ire. Come season four, she has about several episodes focusing on her relationships with the other riders.
Likewise, the viewers noticed that Hiccup had little to no leg problems given his amputation and it sometimes doubles as a Disability Superpower. In season four, one episode has a Running Gag of Hiccup getting his prosthetics damaged.
Awesome Animation: The animation is at times on par with the original movie, which is quite impressive for a weekly animated series.
Awesome Music: Most of the leitmotifs from the original film show up in series, with several new arrangements of each appearing.
Base Breaker: Dagur's new look as of "Race to the Edge". While most admit the shorter-hair-after-being-a-prisoner is pretty accurate, a lot of people do not like the beard. And even those who don't mind the idea of Dagur growing a beard don't like how patchy his is. And people apparently really miss his Loki-helmet.
Crazy Awesome: Dagur the Deranged. In his second appearance, he takes down Toothless in a sneak attack, and later on weaponizes a Skrill against the Outcasts.
Heather received hate before she even debuted. When it was said that she might "threaten Hiccup's love for Astrid", the shippers went nuts. This became Hilarious in Hindsight once she actually showed up, not only in that she treated Hiccup more or less like all the other boys, but in that "Heather Report 1&2" is more about Heather's relationship with Astrid than her relationship with Hiccup. Not to mention when Heather is leaving Berk she totally ignores that Hiccup clearly has his arms open for a hug, just saying goodbye to him while still hugging Toothless and Astrid. Really, she's more likely to interfere with Hiccup/Astrid due to Les Yay with Astrid than stealing Hiccup away! It happens again when she returns in season three, with a similar result: The girls having a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship that you half expect to get a Relationship Upgrade.
Some shippers are also like this with DagCup, the Dagur and Hiccup ship. Poor Astrid usually loses her Character Development so that the Berserker and Hooligan's relationship can exist.
Draco in Leather Pants: Dagur gets this treatment in fanfiction, usually to justify why he is psychotic and to make him appealing. The fact that he's the youngest villain, not to mention the most competent, wins the crowd quite a bit.
Heather proved to be pretty popular after her first two-parter, enough so to get another one in season three that also begins a character arc, promoting her from Girl of the Week to Honorary True Companion.
Fans quickly became attached to the chicken Tuffnut bonds with in Race to the Edge.
Foe Yay: Between Dagur and Hiccup every time they interact, starting in "The Night and the Fury"; lampshaded by the latter as being rather uncomfortable. Indeed, at the end of the episode, Dagur seems more upset by Hiccup personally betraying him than Berk's possession of domesticated dragons. Just look at Dagur's behavior as well! He wanted to spend time with Hiccup and gets annoyed when his friends keep showing up, is angry upon learning of the bond between Hiccup and his bond (implying clingy possessiveness), and mentioned he couldn't stop thinking about him ever since the Berk incident. He wants Hiccup to "kiss his boots" in one episode, and obsesses over it. Get's even more blatant in Race To The Edge, when Dagur sets up a Sadistic Choice he is actually disappointed Hiccup would choose to rescue his friends over fighting him.
Astrid's zeal in being a dragon slayer in the movie. Just her being a typical Berk Viking and actually being competent at it, right? Now consider how her uncle died and the effect it had on her family's honor and suddenly it takes on a chilling tone. She is unlikely to be the only case like that.
The villagers' excited chanting of "Viking Funeral" since Stoick's in the sequel.
The writing system used in both the movies and series is a real alphabet known as the FUTHARK, commonly referred to as "Runes". The ancient Vikings used it both as a written language and considered each letter to be a powerful magic, which is still used in many occult practices.
In season three, we see what look like strange triangles all over ''The Reaper" and in the projections of the Dragon Eye, this is a writing system known as Cuneiform, considered by many historians to be the oldest form of written language in the world, predating even ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs
Growing the Beard: While most people agree that season 1 and 2 are far better than any recent series based on an animated movie, Race to the Edge has blown all expectations out of the water with just its first thirteen episodes, with much better writing, CGI effects, and character designs. All in all it seems Netflix has managed to make a decent show into a great show.
Every episode that features Stoick after HTTYD 2, "Crushing It" deserves special mention, when he starts suffering Empty Nest Syndrome.
Everything about Heather when she returns in season three. The biggest probably has to be what she told the Berkians initially about pirates attacking her village and leaving her an orphan, which was a lie. Three years later, her words come back to haunt her when Dagur destroys her village and kills her foster parents.
Race To The Edge gives more than a little Homoerotic Subtext between Snotlout and Thor Bonecrusher, AKA hypnotized Fishlegs, Astrid even says Snotlout is in love with him, and when Fishlegs returns to normal Snotlout kisses him on the cheek and says Bonecrusher broke his heart.
Astrid and Heather had some Les Yay in season one, but season three turns it Up to Eleven. The two become so close you would think they had been best friends since birth.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in season three, Ruffnut blatantly starts coming on to Heather. She leans against the wall in the possessive bad-boy flirtation pose and everything.
Snotlout and Tuffnut have a bromance after going into battle riding Barf and Belch. They even have a secret man-cave together to get alone time from the others.
Idiot Plot: Tuffnut spend an entire episode trapped in a net with Barf and Belch nearby all because nobody could think of the most obvious solution to get him out: have one head simply bite or burn the net while the other head is placed under him for him to sit on.
Just Here for Godzilla: Face it, at least a fourth of this show's audience is just watching to see the new dragons.
As of "We Are A Family", Alvin has attained this status after performing a plan that would involve Mildew being betrayed and forced to work with Hiccup, knowing full well Hiccup's overly trusting nature would end up teaching Mildew the training techniques while trying to escape. They think Mildew preformed a Heel-Face Turn and Heroic Sacrifice without realizing that he was acting so Alvin can learn the art of dragon taming.
Season 3 also has Viggo, whose first appearance was a two parter that ended in The Bad Guy Wins, pulling a Xanatos Gambit against Hiccup, even when Hiccup began to outwit him.
Mildew crossed it in "Alvin and the Outcasts". Getting the dragons exiled was bad enough, but then he intends to sell Hiccup out to the outcasts. And just to make sure the viewer knows this isn't a "needs of the many" kind of choice, he gloats about it to Astrid.
Alvin himself crosses it by threatening to kill Heather's parents to force her to be The Mole.
It's heavily implied Dagur crossed this a while back by killing his own father. With an axe, no less. And if that doesn't do it for you, the reveal that he killed Heather's foster parents and most of her village certainly will.
Heather herself nearly crosses it by attempting to murder Dagur after saying that they would only capture, but Hiccup revealing that Dagur is her brother stops her. Though it's implied that during the time skip she is willing to use lethal force on Innocent Bystander Vikings while raiding their ships.
Hiccup delivering a line foreshadowing the second film's wing suit directly to the camera in "Gone Gustav Gone," like something out the pre-Growing the Beard Dreamworks films.
"This changes everything." Besides being uttered every time in the opening, when Hiccup first uses the line he had just discovered the dragon eye's projections and couldn't even read the symbols it displayed, making the line feel somewhat nonsensical.
The Screaming Death is a mutated Whispering Death, second only to the Red Death in terms of size, and one of the most dangerous dragons seen. It's even in-universe Nightmare Fuel for the dragon riders and they can be seen clearly terrified every time it shows up.
Dagur casually recounting what are probably his father's last words, begging Dagur to put down an axe. And then offering to help Hiccup off Stoick. Hell, Dagur in general, a violence-prone teenager who commands an armada and is hellbent on hurting the heroes, even taking command of the previous villain's men by seemingly dispatching him. Teens Are Monsters indeed.
Race to the Edge gives us the Death Song, a dragon that lures other dragons in with its siren song and then imprisons them in hardening amber so it can easily devour them. If the pile of bones from its past victims isn't bad enough, we see it carry various dragons off to their doom on screen. What's more, the Deathsong is STILL OUT THERE. Last we see of it, the gang sealed it in a cave, but Hiccup himself states that it might not hold. To add salt to the wound, it's likely that there's an entire SPECIES of it.
In Race to the Edge, the Dragon Eye that Hiccup finds initially releases gas that causes Tuffnut to go into a seizure. No one bats an eye, but anyone who has witnessed seizures would find it troubling to see.
Race to the Edges two-parter, Maces & Talons, has an outgambitted Hiccup screaming out of frustration of losing the Dragon Eye to Viggo. What makes this more unnerving besides hearing the normally happy-go-lucky guy scream like a berserker? The fact that his scream sounded eeriely similar to Drago's scream.
One True Threesome: Hiccup and Astrid are the canon Official Couple as well as easily the biggest Fan-Preferred Couple, so its easy to see that no one is getting in the way of that. So when Heather formed a deep bond with both of them, fans were quick to just ship all three together rather than split Hiccstrid.
Mildew wasn't exactly well-liked considering his desire to get rid of Toothless and the dragons, but the events of "In Dragons We Trust" where he frames and succeeds in exiling them has driven the last nail in. Then the hate for the guy skyrockets with each attempt to restore the status quo at the expense of the dragons, such as trying to poison, which could kill, the dragons. Heck, he's even The Scrappy In-Universe!
Bucket: It took us three days to dig Mildew out!
Mulch: And the rest of our lives to wonder why we bothered...
Snotlout's dad may have joined him. Outright threatening your kid for the possibility of not winning a game (one that the kid has won plenty of times before, to boot), and the sheer panic Snotlout displays when he thinks he'll lose (indicating that his dad was totally serious), has made him pretty divisive. He got a Karma Houdini too, since Hiccup just let Snotlout win instead of addressing the real problem with someone. Then he has a Kick the Dog moment in "Race to Fireworm Island" when he advises Snoutlout to abandon an ill and dying Hookfang and find another dragon.
Though the animation is pretty good, the series tends to stumble in action sequences, particularly dragon breath. By watching episodes like "The Terrible Twos", it's obvious they put extra effort into the fight scene near the end of "Alvin and the Outcasts".
The physics of the show are quite schizophrenic; some episodes use full-on motion capture for the human characters, while others use stiff-looking manual rigging for all motion. Watch an episode such as "Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Man" with this in mind, and it becomes difficult to take your mind off the blocky and robotic motions of the characters.
An especially jarring thing about the animation is the hair. Hiccup's hair almost always gets a lot of detail, while the other's don't. So you go from a closeup of Hiccup riding Toothless and his hair is moving just like it would in real life, and then you go to a close up of the twins and their hair (which is much longer than Hiccup's) is separated into three chunky blocks that move very unrealistically.
There's a definite upgrade once the show moves onto Netflix, with realistically moving hair, and more accurate CGI.
Stoick, especially when he chooses to let Thornado go to rescue baby Thunderdrums and take care of them. It takes him another season to admit that he misses Thornado.
Gothi is revealed to be this, given she survived an attack from a Snow Wraith that killed her companions while on a quest to find healing glacial water.
Ugly Cute: Dragons, as usual. Particular mention goes to Meatlug the Gronckle, Fishlegs's placid and spectacularly ugly Gentle Giant of a mount.
Viewer Gender Confusion: Many viewers keep confusing who is named Ruffnut and who is Tuffnut. For the record, Ruffnut is the female (higher pitched voice and thinner helmet horns), and Tuffnut is the male (deeper voice and thicker helmet horns).