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Fanfic / A Thing of Vikings

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Artwork created by This Is Not Berk on Tumblr, and used with credit.

Take History. Add Dragons. Stir until a Genius makes friends with them and things explode. Take the resulting stock of Hiccup and tamed dragons and set it to simmering in 1040 AD, in the Scottish Hebrides. Add more Kings, Emperors, Romans, Vikings, Conquerors, Spies, Warriors, Thieves, Knights, and Nobles, to taste. Take cover, and sit back to watch the fireworks.

In Real Life, 1040 was the tail end of the Viking Age; Europe was 50 years from the First Crusade; the Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches have not yet formally split, William the Conqueror is a frightened teenager in Normandy, the Byzantine Empire is collapsing after a revival under one of their great emperors, and the great Viking Harald Hardrada is a Varangian mercenary there, while the Caliphates are having a rough time from the new Seljuk Empire and their own internal tensions. The most corrupt Pope in history holds Rome, the Reconquista of Spain is underway after the collapse of the Caliphate of Cordoba, and the Norse religion is a pale shadow of what it once was, hanging on around the Baltic Sea, Iceland, Greenland... and the Hebrides.


And into that heady mix, there is now Hiccup and Berk.

Yeah, history won't know what hit it.

A Thing of Vikings is an Alternate History fanfic, placing the first entry of the How to Train Your Dragon franchise into real history and letting things unwind from there, with other characters and plot elements taken from as needed from the rest of the HTTYD franchise and occasionally other properties.

It can be read at Archive of Our Own here and FanFiction.Net here.

Character tropes (humans & dragons) go on to the respective Character Sheets. Like everything else here, it needs Wiki Magic.


This fanfic provides examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: The author acknowledges that the Holy Roman Empire wasn’t called the Holy Roman Empire until the mid 12th century, but calls it that to help prevent confusion with the Roman Empire centered around Constantinople.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • In the books Snotlout’s mother is named Freda, here her name is Serena.
    • "Camicazi" is now referred to by the more believable name of "Camilla", or "Cami" for short.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the show, Mildew was nothing if not a coward when facing off against the Scauldron, implying that (at least in his golden years) Mildew was not accustomed to confronting dragons himself. Here, it is mentioned that the only reason why he was not banished entirely was the fact that in his prime he was one of Berk's best dragon-killers (although it is implied that he cheated and used poison, a belief that is eventually confirmed in Chapter 76 when Fishlegs and Heather find his supplier).
  • Adaptational Heroism: In Dragons: Race To The Edge, Trader Johann turned out to be one of the main villains. In this series, he's an ally of Berk, and Word of God has confirmed that he will not turn out to be a villain later, as that character twist was considered to be both lazy and insulting (particularly as Johann displays a range of features and traits that are associated with antisemitic stereotypes, which are then compounded by the character twist into something that "makes the character into something straight out of literal Nazi propaganda").
  • Adaptational Sexuality: While in the series Astrid is shown to have a Single-Target Sexuality towards Hiccup, here it extends to Wulfhild when she joins them in their marital bed.
    • In Brave, the closest thing to attraction Merida shows in the film is an astonished look she gives when a large, battle-hard beef-cake is confused for the heir of the Clan Dingwall. Here, she becomes Cami's lover and fiancé.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Alvin the Treacherous is more in line with his book counterpart than his incarnation in Dragons: Riders of Berk. For example: He trained/tortured Heather into becoming one of his spies, killed and replaced the king of Vedrarfjord, and, once the Hooligans arrived to deal with him once and for all, he set his own fortress on fire to cover his escape, killing at least two underlings with his own hands while doing so.
  • Adorkable: When visiting the University of Dar al-Hikmah in Cairo, Hiccup and Fishlegs were amazed at the books they discovered, and when a librarian informed them that, for a nominal fee, their scribes would provide them with copies of any books they wanted, they were like kids in a candy store. Hiccup indicated that they would probably have half of the books in the academy copied and shipped back to Berk.
  • Alien Space Bats: The dragons, of course.
  • All-Loving Hero: Hiccup, as one of his core characterization points.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Ruffnut and King Magnus of Norway, and Hiccup and Magnus' half-sister, Wulfhild, although she's just a concubine... or at least... that's what most people think, as Magnus' court priest, Father Henriksson, may or may not have married her to Hiccup. This is later changed when Hiccup offers her the chance to be his and Astrid's wife when her concubinage is up as a political stunt to take away whatever leverage the church may have over Berk through their union.
    • After Elinor finds Cami and Merida in bed, having clearly just had sex, Cami proposes a marriage contract between them. Not only would this save face from whatever social scrutiny that may arise from the princess losing her virginity before marriage, but this would establish a partnership with Berk by-proxy through the Bog Burglars, who have had a long-standing alliance with the Hairy Hooligans. Since Berk allows for same-sex couples and are located between Wales, where the Bog-Burglar village is hidden, which in real life is a wetland south of the River Dyfi's estuary and Scotland, Stoick offers Berk as the site of the ceremony.
    • In Chapter 76, as a way of cementing the alliance between Berk and Denmark, Magnus suggests that Hiccup and Astrid's child should marry one of his and Ruffnut's twins once they come of age. Stoick agrees, on the condition that the children should not be forced to marry if they do not wish to.
  • Alternate History: The chapter epigraphs make it very clear that the timeline changes dramatically from Real Life history, with steam engines being invented centuries ahead of "schedule", and one of the epigraph sources being a Norse-flavored Wiki... with pull dates in the 1800s, and another epigraph source, titled "The Dragon Millennium" and implied to be published around AD 2040, casually mentions the "Industrial, Fission, Information, Space, Genetic, Nanotech, and Fusion Eras."
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: Hiccup invents many things centuries before they were invented in Real Life.
    • He invents the pantograph in 1042, five hundred and sixty-one years before it was invented in real life.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Astrid and Wulfhild claim that they do not have a sex-life outside of Hiccup, but it is implied that a majority of their sex-life after including Wulfhild involves him servicing them (and vice-versa) at the same time. It is later confirmed in Chapter 59 that Astrid sees Wulfhild as a romantic partner just as much as she does with Hiccup.
    Astrid: I've fallen in love with both him and with his… our princess-concubine. And while I knew that such a thing was possible… I wasn't expecting myself to enjoy a woman's touch, you know?
    • Chapter 76 hints that Sigurd/Snotlout is at least interested in men in a physical sense, but is relieved that he never actually did anything when he learns that a group of prisoners are going to be castrated and burned alive for just having sex with men. This becomes more explicit in chapter 80, which affirms that part of the reason he originally agreed to train dragons was to impress his commanding officer in the Vangarians, Harald.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: During Sigurd's trip south to the Roman Empire, the trade caravan he's part of gets attacked by raiders. Thanks to him and Hookfang, his people mostly get through unscathed, but one of the guards, Ondott, gets killed because he didn't see the horse-archers coming, due to Hookfang blocking the line of sight. His twin brother, Kormak, blames Sigurd for his loss.
  • Armor-Piercing Question/Response: A specialty of Astrid's, as demonstrated in the first movie, as her knack for asking the right question or making a salient point often helps Hiccup in solving problems, or knocks some sense into his head when he wrongly chastises himself. She likes to describe herself as Hiccup's "whetstone".
  • Asexuality:
  • As You Know: Carefully used, but still Lampshaded at least once where Snotlout gets told about the recent history of the Roman Empire twice, the second time in more detail several months after the first, getting admonished by the speaker (who had given the first lecture) to "pay attention this time."
  • Ascended Extra: In a sense; where Toothless' Whispering Death nemesis in "What Flies Beneath" only made one appearance in canon (possibly two if that 'What If?' sequence in "Darkest Night" featured the same dragon) here the Whispering Death is named Mold and becomes Mildew's personal dragon due to their shared distaste for Hiccup and Toothless.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Mildew's cruelty as jarl under King Mac Bethad isn't limited to keeping dragons chained up; people in his village routinely receive excessive punishments for minor misdeeds; one fisherman was whipped to death for telling other fishermen from other villages about the dragons that Mildew was training for Mac Bethad.
  • Bad Boss: Chapter 82 has Toothless muse that so many dragons chose to come back to Berk after the defeat of the Green Death (known to the dragons as 'Fire-Hunger') only because it was such a cruel Alpha that they felt virtually any kind of authority had to be better than it, and even then the new arrangement only worked because 'Fire-Hunger' was so bad and so many walkers were willing to try and be better 'masters' to the dragons.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Snotlout leaves Berk with the intention of making it out on his own and claiming glory and riches, and heads to the Roman Empire to join the Varangian Guard, a Norse mercenary group that is part of the Roman Army. His dreams of fame and glory, however, quickly turn into a fight for survival, as the old Emperor dies, and the new one immediately orders him to give up Hookfang. When he refuses, the Emperor (possibly) tried having Snotlout killed by a group of muggers lead by a rival Varangian. After that, it's practically a Trauma Conga Line for poor Snotlout, who, bound by his oath of service, ends up converting to Christianity under threat of death by torture, having to train dragons for the Empire (and realizing that he's the only one who has the welfare of the dragons personally in mind), training the Emperor to ride a dragon of his own, having his mentor in the Guard arrested on trumped-up charges, and facing an Uriah Gambit that will end with him getting killed in battle, along with having his inferiority with Hiccup and Fishlegs in literacy and intelligence rubbed in his face, and even having to live-fire test the new dragon-skin armor for the the Roman dragon-riders—and hope that the armorers did their job properly. Plus, he's also directly and personally responsible for giving dragon-riding to the freaking Roman Empire, whose military quickly comes to the conclusion that dragons are the new great weapon.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Downplayed with Wulfhild, she got a cut on her cheek and while the resulting scar isn’t disfiguring many nobles think that it has tarnished her beauty, with one flat out calling her “damaged goods” to her face.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Heather defects to the Hooligans because she'd fallen in love with Fishlegs due to his kindness.
  • Berserk Button: The Hooligan Tribe as a whole has two. The first one is theft of their dragons, as Captain Ragnell and his crew quickly realize. The second is slavery since most Berkians are either former thralls or have one somewhere in their immediate family tree.
    • While normally easygoing, Heather joking that Hiccup might be the Second Coming kills the mood for Wulfhild.
      Wulfhild: It's not a joke, Heather! That's the sort of thing that gets people executed for heresy!
  • The Berserker: None seen, but mentioned in passing as being a thing during one early chapter when Astrid, injured, is manipulated into taking some foul-tasting medicine for her pain. It's mentioned that giving it to berserkers has interesting side-effects.
  • Best Out of Infinity: Snotlout's insistence on going through the third round of the holmgang challenges despite having lost the first two is what leads him to lose the third.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Hiccup Haddock. Kind, decent, friendly, and a pacifist who wants to help people and build things useful in society. Threaten his home with annihilation, though, and your war fleet will be running literally screaming in fear by morning, albeit significantly reduced in size.
  • Big Book of War: One of the fictional texts used to provide epigraphs for various chapters is "The Wing and the Axe", a book on the military applications of dragons, written by Astrid.
  • Big Eater: One of Gunnar's character traits; he's routinely noted as poaching snacks and other edibles when he has the chance.
  • Black Vikings: One of the Varangians in Snotlout's Cast Herd (Gudmund Hallvarsson) is an Afro-Norse warrior, the child of a retired Varangian who returned to Sweden with an African concubine.
  • Bread and Circuses: Mentioned and mused upon by Viggo when he sees Berk's system of welfare payments; he sees "populace pacification" as being a potential failure state for the system, which is intended for "population welfare".
  • Bring My Brown Pants: During the Battle of the Sound of Berk one of Earl Godwin's men, upon hearing Toothless' diving screech, has this reaction.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: The Varangian Guard of the Roman Emperor. Six to ten thousand Norsemen, who are "not so much directed as unleashed in the appropriate direction.”
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Cami and Merida get caught by Merida's mother after their very first time in bed together.
  • Cassandra Truth: Earl Siward claimed he had nothing to do with the assassination attempt on Hiccupnote , unsurprisingly no one believes the word of a known oathbreaker.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Stoick's personal attitude regarding conquest and the additional responsibility essentially amounts to this; unlike other monarchs of the era, he feels responsible for the people—all the people—in his demesne. So territorial expansion amounts to having to deal with more arguments.
    Hiccup, imitating his father: Two thousand Vikings and Eirishmen, and Viking-Eirishmen, which was just a bad idea to start with, all who want me to solve their problems for them now! What did I do to deserve this? Why did I agree to this? Half of them are trying to kiss my arse, and the other half are wanting to take a bite out of it!
  • Chekhov's Gun: Used all over the place, with one cocked in Chapter 2, and fired in Chapter 25.
  • Chess Motifs: In Chapter 15, Hiccup plays a few rounds of hnefatafl, a game similar to chess note , and loses both rounds. His opponent comments, "You try too hard to protect your pawns at the expense of your king." In Chapter 71, when Hiccup and Astrid confront Wulfhild regarding Father Henriksson's manipulations, Hiccup assures her that she was merely a pawn in Henriksson's scheme, adding, "And I do not throw away pawns."
  • Clarke's Third Law: Quite a few kings, bishops and other political figures from outside of Berk see the dragons as demons and regard Hiccup as a sorcerer who commands them. Harthacnut referred to him as a "sorcerer-smith" and was particularly unnerved by his artificial leg, which allowed him to walk normally.
    • Others are more positive, but the leg, Toothless' harness, Hiccup's flaming sword and Astrid's flaming ax are all believed to be the work of magic, not engineering.
      John the Norman Shipmaster: But the Hero is supposedly a smith without peer, practically a wizard in the forge, with skill over metal unmatched this side of Heaven itself. He crafted for himself a new leg, wrought of silver, steel, yew, oak, thorn and gold, and gave it the facsimile of life and the quickness of flesh, and upon it he can walk and run as well as a normal man.
    • It's mentioned that during the setting up of the dragon mail stations, one town tried to offer to build Hiccup a wizard's tower. Hiccup's response is stated to be along the lines of 'It's not magic, I'm just a really good smith'.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Heather's training at Alvin's and his wife Delilah's hands.
  • Combat by Champion: Stoick duels King Harthacnut for England and Denmark on behalf of Magnus, with the rationalization that Stoick doesn't want to kill more men than he has to.
    • Earlier in the fic, Astrid volunteers to duel Snotlout in a ''holmgang'' in Hiccup's stead, as Hiccup would get beaten by Snotlout easily due to still recovering from his amputation. Fortunately for Snotlout, it's only to first blood.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: The author, after being asked, made a tumblr post with faceclaims for some of the fic's OC’s.
  • Corrupt Church: The Christian Church, in spades, with the Catholic branch firmly under the control of a series of noble Italian families at this stage in history, with the current Pope, Benedict IX, being the singular most corrupt pope in all of history, and the Orthodox branch being effectively part of the Byzantine Government.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Lots of Hiccup's plans come off as this.
  • Crossover: Downplayed example; Chapter 55 features an appearance by Fergus of Dunbroch, with his wife Elinor, their three sons Harris, Hubert and Hamish, and their daughter Merida. The author has stated that this will not be a straight-up crossover, but the Dunbroch clan will play a role in future chapters.
    • Also used as a tongue-in-cheek summary of the fic. "HTTYD crossed-over with a history book."
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: Some chapters are grouped together by titles that, when joined together, make a longer sentence. Examples:
    • Chapters 16 and 17; "Bindings..." "And Partings"
    • Chapters 24 and 25; "Your Only Hope...", "...Hide, and Pray That It Does Not Find You" (a reference to the entry on Night Furies in the dragon training guides from How to Train Your Dragon, before Hiccup befriended Toothless.)
    • Chapters 35-38; "Understanding is a Three-Edged Sword", "Your Side...", "...Their Side...", "...And The Truth". (a reference to Babylon 5)
    • Chapters 42-44; "The Pen...", "...Is Mightier...", "...Than The Sword"
    • Chapters 54 and 55; "We Are Who We Are", "And Who We Make Ourselves To Be"
    • Chapters 60 and 61; "A Threat Perceived" "Is A Threat Achieved"
    • Chapters 74 and 75; "It's Planting Seeds In a Garden..." "...You Never Get To See" (a reference to Hamilton)
    • Chapters 70 and 78; "Red Sky At Morning..." "...Sailor Take Warning."
  • Culture Clash: The Hooligans have culturally evolved in a different direction than the mainstream Norse, much less the rest of Europe.
    • There are several aspects of Christianity that the Hooligans find strange and confusing. This includes the concept of the trinity, nobody but priests being allowed to read the Bible, women not being allowed inside monasteries, and just monotheism in general.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Curb Stomps are a recurring feature of what happens when unprepared medieval-era conventional forces go up against dragon-riders, and even those ones that are prepared tend to take heavy losses. This is also what tends to happens to anyone who goes up against Hiccup and backs him into a corner.
  • Cycle of Revenge: In Chapter 51, after King Donnchadh mac Brian gets curbstomped by Hiccup and his friends, Hiccup pointedly refuses to kill the king, citing this trope as one of his reasons. He didn't want King Donnchadh to become a martyr, or to have an army under his banner seeking revenge against Berk. In defending his decision, Hiccup points out that the Cycle of Revenge is at the heart of the story of Ragnarok; Odin banished or tortured Loki's children out of fear, which prompted Loki to kill Baldr, which drove Odin to punish Loki, which would lead to Loki joining the jotunn against Asgard.
  • Dead Drop: Alvin's spy network in Eire is extensive enough that he can leave letters at dead drops and be sure that they'll be delivered.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hiccup and Astrid regularly have pun wars, and Hiccup's snark is weapons-grade.
    • Fintan mac Ionatan shows shades of this.
      Tuathel: Hold still so I can kill you, you bastard!
      Fintan: My parents were married!
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The Roman Empire, to the point where they hire Vikings as imperial bodyguards, so they won't be invested in internal politics. At least... that's the idea.
  • Death by Adaptation: A few historical characters die sooner in this fic then they did in Real Life.
    • Einar Thambarskelfir will die in 1047, three years before his historical death date.
    • Sigvatr Tordarson will die in 1044, one year before his historical death date.
    • Mac Bethad will die in 1043 in a duel with Astrid, fourteen years before his historical death date.
    • Siward, Earl of Northumbria dies in 1042, thirteen years before his historical death date.
    • Echmarcach mac Ragnaill dies in 1042, either twenty two or twenty three years before his historical death date.note 
    • Zoe Porphyrogenita dies in 1042, eight years before her historical death date.
    • Count Eudon dies in 1042, thirty seven years before his historical death date.
    • Conan II dies in 1042, twenty four years before his historical death date.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: When Stoick beats Fergus at arm-wrestling during Thawfest, the two become fast friends, both declaring that they hadn't faced so formidable an opponent in years.
  • Defecting for Love: It is revealed that Heather was sent by Alvin as a means of spying for him with the threat of her adoptive parents being tortured to death if she does not comply. By the time Fishlegs discovers this, they had long since fallen in love with one another. After beating him nearly half-to-death in a panic, she promptly turns herself in after getting him medical attention.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: While many of the values in the story are more modern in scope, others—such as arranged marriages for the purposes of alliances, bride prices and dowries, or accepting concubines to help repopulate a massively reduced clan—are not.
  • Didn't See That Coming: When Magnus explains the plot Father Henriksson had with arranging Wulfhild and Hiccup in a Christian ceremony to Hiccup and Astrid, understandably they are upset. When Wulfhild wakes up and walks in on them afterwards, she can tell by the look on their faces that they now know and that she knew all along. What she was not expecting was that they would be understanding of her plight, recognizing that she had been wrestling with this secret and has been trying to find the right way to tell them. It is made especially clear that they are sincere when Hiccup comes up with the idea to have Wulfhild officially marry both of them to legitimize her relationship to them for both the Vikings and the Church, with all three of them completely on board with the idea.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Harthacnut the Dane, who sees no problem with ordering a city to be razed in retaliation for killing two of his tax collectors (which was done in real life to the city of Worcester in 1041), plotting an attack on Berk with the intent of killing the entire Hooligan tribe, and ordering a farm to be razed for daring to not give up a guest to him when he ordered it.
  • Doorstopper: At over 700,000 words posted (and counting as of October 2018 with the conclusion of Book 2), the fic is longer than Les Miserables and is closing in on the combined length of the Harry Potter series.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: While dragons in this setting are just really weird animals, quite a few characters (namely Christian ones) believe them to be this trope, with some outright calling them demons, devils, or hellbeasts.
  • Dramatis Personae: There's an Appendix on Archive Of Our Own with a character list. Which can be found here.
  • The Dreaded: The Hooligan Tribe is slowly becoming this to the rest of Europe, especially the Christian part of it.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After the funerals for the Hooligans casualties from the Battle of the Sound of Berk, Astrid finds Hiccup drinking alone in his house, heavily drunk over guilt from the enemy death toll.
    • Similarly, although somewhat less sympathetically; when Dogsbreath arrives in Constantinople with news of Hiccup having a wife, a royal concubine, and two kids on the way Snoutlout/Sigurd promptly goes on a disastrous bender.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Stoick may not be stupid, but it's still unexpected when he's the one who realises that dragons shed their scales a week or so before their eggs hatch so that they can use the scales as material for fireproof nests.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Fritjof clan Jorgenson. His last words are that he has a date with a Valkyrie... but with a hundred or so Anglo horsemen going with him, he has company.
  • Easily Forgiven: After they're told how Wulfhild was coerced into making wedding vows to Hiccup after he married Astrid, Hiccup and Astrid forgive Wulfhild, although it's implied that it was a good thing Wulfhild was out of the room when they were told, as Astrid apparently nearly attacked Magnus.
  • Easy Communication: Averted. Messages take days, weeks or months to travel by horseback or ship. At one point, a courier is dispatched from England to the Vatican; it takes him over a month of hard travel to make the trip.
    • A key plot point in the series involves this trope, as Hiccup and Stoick are working with Trader Johann to establish a mail service throughout Europe using dragons to carry mail.
  • Eating Contest: Mentioned as one of the popular highlights of the Thawfest; Fishlegs comes in second at the 1042 AD sausage-eating contest.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: One of the fan-favorite aspects of the fic, each chapter opens with an Epigraph sourced from a fictional work from the future of the alternate history, talking about some element of foreshadowing, worldbuilding, or exposition, with the framing for each being as varied as textbooks, to a Norse-flavored Wiki, to military dossiers on the dragon breeds.
  • Engagement Challenge: Annoyingly self-imposed by Hiccup; he feels that he needs to have a bride price that is not only sufficiently proportionate for what he feels Astrid's value is to him, but what the tribe's (and the rest of the European world's) expectations are going to be for "The Hero Of Berk."
    "I don't even want to imagine what they'd say if the 'Hero of Berk'," his tone was mocking, "paid a 'normal' bride price? How they'd make her out to be some kind of, of, of—"
    Gobber held up his hand. "I got it. Yeh needn't say it."
  • Everyone Is Bi: Downplayed. Concubinage is accepted in Viking society, and there are several instances of polygamous marriages featuring same-sex partners. Astrid's great-grandfather, the Hofferson clan-head, has one wife and two concubines (although everyone refers to them as his three wives), and it is explicitly stated at one point that all three of the women have been intimate with each other over the course of their very long marriage, with the two concubines sleeping together most nights.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: May be a slight exaggeration on both sides, but many of the kings and other groups opposed to Berk are primarily taking action because they can't believe that Berk won't try to use the dragons as tools of conquest, incapable of acknowledging the repeated evidence that Stoick and Hiccup aren't like that.
  • Evil Regent: Einar Thambarskelfir, Magnus the Good’s puppeteer (although he does save Ruffnut’s life when a deranged priest tried to baptize and then kill her).
  • Exact Words: When talking with a priest during a visit to Rome, Wulfhild is careful to discuss her relationship with Hiccup in a manner that answers all questions honestly without admitting that she plans to marry him and Astrid to limit the 'risk' of the Vatican trying to step in.
  • The Exile: Mentioned as one of the possible punishments for Hooligans who commit crimes that don't merit execution. Steinn and Vigdis clan Hofferson are sent into exile for Vigdis' crimes against Heather.
    • In Chapter 80, Hiccup declared Snotlout to be exiled in response to Snotlout providing Rome with a fleet of dragon-riders.
  • Extended Disarming: Played reasonably realistically with trained spy and Knife Nut Heather nic Oswald. Upon being asked to come on a diplomatic mission—officially as a maid, unofficially as a spy and backup—she demonstrates that she not only carries at least half-a-dozen knives on her person (with the last one concealed someplace that only her boyfriend normally sees it), she can throw them with enough strength and skill that they all stick out of one of the roof pillars in a space smaller across than the palm of her hand.
  • Eye Scream: One of the favorite tactics used by the Byzantine Romans to disqualify people from being Emperor, for both theological (the Emperor had to be physically intact) and practical reasons (hard to command armies if you're blind). This is done to the deposed Emperor Michael V at the end of Book II.
  • Fallen Princess: Wulfhild had to flee in exile when she was nine-years old, she and her brother living off of the begrudging hospitality of their distant relatives before the both of them were used as pawns for their uncle, her life reduced to a political game-piece with no agency of her own before coming to Berk.
    • Heather was originally the daughter of an infamously bloodthirsty Viking Chief before she was given to an ally as their ward at only six-years-old. When she was ten her birth father died and then she was eventually sold into slavery when her village was raided. And that was before Aldalwin had her trained to be a Sex Slave and spy.
  • False Flag Operation: Mac Bethod manages to pull one of these off between Berk and England, framing the latter for luring Hiccup and co. into a trap, prompting the former to declare war on Harathcnut.
  • Famed In-Story: Hiccup has a saga, The Hero Of Berk. He finds it humiliating.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Hooligans face both this and more mundane racism.
    • On the mundane side, they (and Nordic people in general) are viewed as savages and barbarians just because they are Norse.
    • On the fantastic side, many view them as evil because they ride dragons, which is viewed as a sign of witchcraft or devil worship to their Christian neighbors.
  • Fantasy Contraception: The venom of Deadly Nadder quills, in the right—and apparently narrow—dosage will induce a miscarriage in a pregnant woman. This bit of worldbuilding is used to explain the skewed population ratios between the adults and children of the Hooligan tribe—during the Dragon War and the conflict with the dragon nest, it was very hard for Hooligan women to bring babies to term; this is why Hiccup was seen as so precious by Stoick, why Hiccup's cadre has only six teenagers in a tribe of hundreds of people, and why the tribe is so accepting of outsiders: because they need immigration to keep their numbers up. The information about the quills is a closely held secret by the Hooligan healers out of fear of people misusing them and getting the dosage wrong, which would be lethal.
    • As much as the healers try to keep it secret, it's implied that both Fishwings Ingerman (Fishlegs' older sister) and Basir al-Lixbuna know.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: The original six dragon riders already had a more distant relationship than in canon, given Snotlout's frustration with following Hiccup's orders, but they permanently 'break up' after the trip to Norway to meet with Magnus, with the twins remaining in Norway after Ruffnut marries Magnus while Snotlout relocates to the Roman Empire to find a new place for himself, leaving just Hiccup, Astrid and Fishlegs in Berk.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: Delilah is definitely one, and she and her husband Alvin the Treacherous specialize in training more to do their bidding.
    • Technically Heather and others have the potential to be this after their training, but they are 'hindered' by their own morality even before they find a way out from Alvin's control.
  • Fictional Document: Each chapter opens with epigraphs that are presented extracts from various books that will be published in the future of the new history where trained dragons become a common part of human civilistion, ranging from historical books providing brief hints about the human characters' future histories to some details about dragon biology.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Stoick and Fergus, due to the latter coming the closest to beating the former in an arm-wrestling match.
  • Food Porn: Some of the descriptions of the banquets (especially the wedding banquets) have apparently set some of the readers to drooling.
  • For Want of a Nail: In Chapter 80, Stoick ponders the fact that it is almost two years to the day since Hiccup claimed to have shot down a Night Fury, and wonders at how much has changed since then and what would not have taken place if he had believed his son and simply killed the Night Fury on that day.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The epigraphs reveal a few things ahead of time.
  • Foreshadowing: With a vengeance. Some plot developments foreshadowed in the first ten chapters don't pay off until dozens of chapters later, and offhanded mentions in one chapter can come back later as major developments.
  • Foreign Queasine: Ruffnut finds Roman-style garum (fermented fish-sauce) to be... less than palatable.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Ruffnut and Magnus the Good.
    • As of Chapter 60, Cami and Merida.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Yngvarr, he isn’t called the Merry for nothing. In fact he is so friendly he was able to bond with six dragons (a Timberjack named Hatchet, two Terrible Terrors named Huginn & Muninn, an unamed Hobblegrunt, a Scauldron named Wavecrest, and a Deadly Nadder named Windleaf).
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From the public perspective, this trope basically applies to Berk, as they have gone from being an insignificant isolated tribe to a major political power ever since they started training dragons, with close ties to the King of Norway and an ever-expanding territory only limited by their leaders' unwillingness to actually conquer others.
    • A more explicitly positive example of this is revealed in the form of Posthumous Character Dror ben Ezra. A Jewish man who had been kidnapped into slavery for his literacy a century before and ended up rescued by Berk. He's held in high esteem by modern Hooligans, especially the clan he married into, with his daughter now being the clanhead, as he was held responsible for teaching them how to read and write which allowed the Hooligans to save their culture and way of life. It's telling that the Hooligans remember Jewish dietary practices when they never spoken to another Jewish person besides him.
    • Snotlout also fits this trope since he was nothing more than a Berkian youth. But when he moves south and joins the Varangian Guard, he suddenly becomes a much bigger player on the world stage and becomes the founder of the Roman Empire's Dragon Rider Corps. Needless to say (especially given the corruption of the Byzantine Empire), this has a huge impact.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Hiccup. A sample of the things he invents: war machines on par with those of the Romans, air-dropped bombs, a flaming sword, and the wheelbarrow.
  • Gambit Pileup: Hiccup, the dragons, and Berk mostly just want to be left alone and live in peace, except seemingly all of Europe schemes against/fears them hoping to kill them or exploit the dragons for their own gains.
    • To wit: Mac Bethad, king of Scotland, spies on Berk and then later recruits Mildew to steal dragon eggs and train his forces. Harthacnut, King of England and Denmark, fearing a Berkian-Norwegian alliance and in retaliation for a viking raid led by Snotlout against Hiccup's wishes leads an invasion on Berk in the hopes of wiping it out entirely. Adalwin, Irish petty king of Vedrafjord, is in fact Alvin the Treacherous, having killed and replaced a member of the Ui Imar, tries to kidnap Meatlug, and then sends Heather to spy on and steal Berk's secrets. And all of that is only within the British Isles to say nothing of the rest of the continent.
  • The Good Kingdom: With their steadily-rising political standing in the eyes of the rest of the world, good relations with Norway and other smaller kingdoms, the ingenuity - both for domestic purposes and for security against invasion - that Hiccup's innovations and their domesticated dragon population provide, their semi-democratic system of decision making, their complete abhorrence to slavery of any kind and Martial Pacifist philosophy, Berk is well on their way to becoming this.
  • Gossip Evolution: Bound to happen in a world where most information is relayed by word of mouth. By the time Viggo arrives to Normandy the story goes that Hiccup killed not one, but two giant dragons, and that his prosthetic leg is magical, having been crafted from mystical woods and metals.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Not only does Hiccup turn down multiple politically advantageous marriage offers in order to marry Astrid, the girl he loves, he also gives a literal king's ransom and a captured city as the bride price to her parents. Just so that the world can know how much she means to him. This backfires slightly, though; Viggo quickly uses that piece of information to realize that Hiccup isn't a hardbitten raider—he's a romantic.
  • Handicapped Badass: Hiccup. Toothless.
    • Drago Bludvist has only one arm, that doesn’t stop him from out fighting able-bodied people and dragons.
  • Happily Adopted: Heather and Mhairi.
  • He Didn't Make It: After the Roman dragon-riders escaped from the trap at Bari, Sigurd finds that command of the unit has devolved to him—starting with the casualty totals. One of the Roman dragon-riders is said to have "bought us time" after he saw his dragon's body.
  • Heel Realisation: Sigurd/Snotlout suffers this in Chapter 79, when learning about Hiccup's progress since he left Berk forces him to recognise that everyone there who called him a fool was right to have such a low opinion of him.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Toothless' diving screech during the Battle of the Sound of Berk terrifies the soldiers and sailors of the Anglo-Dane fleet, as they hear it either as "screaming of the damned", or, for those who have encountered Night Furies before, a warning that their only hope is to "hide, and pray."
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Hiccup in spades. He still hasn't gotten used to the transition from being an awkward skinny viking who wouldn't kill a dragon to being the Hero of Berk. He is embarrassed when, in chapter 2, he is called upon to hear and approve a saga written about him.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: The Byzantines are really homophobic, to the point that men having sex with other men is a crime punishable by castration or death by burning at the stake.
  • Hidden Depths: Ruffnut is an aspiring skald and, after relocating to Norway with her husband King Magnus, establishes St. Olaf's Hospital.
    • Tuffnut proves to be surprisingly adept at learning languages, rescues Marte from an abusive husband, and refuses to take advantage of her when she offers herself to him in gratitude.
  • Historical-Domain Character: A massive chunk of the cast, for obvious reasons.
  • Historical Fantasy: It's Real Life history with dragons... up until 1040 AD. Whereupon Hiccup hits the timeline like a proverbial cannonball (with either the "water bellyflop" or "gunpowder-propelled ball of iron" being acceptable interpretations).
  • Honest Advisor: Lawspeaker Bladewit Drorsdoittor clanhead Ingerman. Constant pain in Stoick's ass, senior jurist, head of the Ingerman clan... and with enough honesty and integrity that she will deliver a legal decision that she hates on a deeply personal level, because that is the law.
  • Horny Vikings: Berk in all its horned helm glory. Except they no longer raid, no longer practice the jarl, carl, thrall system, and there's quite a bit of Scots/Irish/Anglo blood in the mix as well. Most other Scandinavians have dropped Thor's hammer for Christ's cross but not the Berkians. They're dragon horns, by the way.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Hiccup and Astrid tend to exchange these whenever they are flirting.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Due to naming conventions in the era, this is fairly typical. Formal Hooligan names have a personal name, patronymic, and clan (and position), with Hiccup's full formal name being Hiccup 'Horrendous' Stoicksson clanheir Haddock of the Hooligans.
    • In one chapter, Fishlegs tells Heather about his great-grandfather, a Jewish scribe named Dror ben Ezra.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: At one point, Snotlout accidentally outs himself as literate in front of someone outside of Berk and promptly gets confused by the man's shocked reaction. Coming from a place with universal literacy, he has a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that being able to read and write is somehow unusual. He can also sew and nearly gets attacked for it, someone thinking it's witchcraft.
  • I Want Grandkids: When Hiccup tells Stoick that he is going to be a grandfather (twice), his celebratory reaction is predictable, to say the least.
  • Idealized Sex: Subverted, when Hiccup and Astrid have sex for the first time it started out being clumsy, awkward, and confusing. They did eventually find a rhythm that worked for them but even then it wasn’t perfect, not that either of them minded.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Basically applies to Toothless in Chapter 82, when he appears to not understand that humans (or 'walkers' as he calls them) give birth to live young rather than laying eggs, to the point of being concerned that Astrid and Wulfhild haven't laid their 'eggs' yet.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: To the point of being a Running Gag. Evidently Hiccup and Astrid are quite vocal during their lovemaking sessions after they get engaged, with Stoick reflecting that some nights the only hope he has of getting any rest is if he falls asleep before Hiccup and Astrid go at it. Once Wulfhild joins them in bed, she turns out to be as loud as they are.
    Astrid: We're taking you home.
    Wulfhild: And we're going to make you make us sing your praises.
    Astrid: Are we done, chief?
    Stoick: (laughing) Far be it for me to suggest otherwise! Take him away, ladies!
    Hiccup: But I have a terrible singing voice!
    Astrid: That's all right. We have other uses for your mouth.
  • Improperly Paranoid: Mac Bethad, King of Scotland, he of Scottish Play fame. He's the weakest of the four main players in the British Isles, knows it, and takes drastic actions because of it. It costs him his life in 1043, fourteen years before his historical death date.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Fishwings has clearly taken a fancy to Viggo. This has not gone unnoticed by him and he uses it as a means of fishing out information, but the attraction otherwise one-sided since he is asexual (bordering on demisexual veering towards other men).
    • Sigurd/Snotlout is implied to have a crush on Harald, who not only is straight but very homophobic.
  • Info Dump: Sparingly used, with perhaps the most egregious examples being a high-level overview of the current rulers and kingdoms of Europe (which was still missing significant regions, such as Spain, Venice and Hungary) in Chapter 15, and a similar overview of Ireland's society and politics in Chapter 42, with both of these framed as one character (a herald in the first, a spy trained in local politics for the second) explaining things.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Tuathel mac Uaithne, the king of an Irish petty kingdom, and his men try attacking a former thrall in Berk under the rationale that the freedman owes Tuathel compensation for lost goods. How exactly? The freedman escaped from thralldom and thus owes his former owner for the theft of himself. The worst part is, by a technical reading of the law at the time, Tuathel had a case—or, at least, the law outside of Berk.
  • Insistent Terminology: No matter how large his new North Sea Empire gets, Stoick insists he is a chief, not a king.
  • Internal Reveal: After spending months planning how he will show Hiccup up when he returns to Berk, Snotlout/Sigurd is shocked to learn from Dogsbreath that not only is Hiccup now married to Astrid, but he has taken Wulfhild as a concubine and both women are expecting Hiccup's children, while Sigurd hasn't even been with a woman yet.
  • Intrepid Merchant: The fic opens from the perspective of Trader Johann, who is one of the few of these brave enough to travel to Berk and its dragon-infested waters, only for him and his crew to find that things have changed since their last visit, and he's quick to adapt to the new circumstances of claiming the shed scales and claws of live dragons rather than the salvaged body parts of dead ones.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Dragons aside, world history proceeds near identically to real-life up until 1040 AD, the year Hiccup defeats the Red/Green Death.
  • Insufferable Genius: It is mentioned in one of the Epigraphs that the reason Mildew was not outright banished from the tribe was that he'd been one of Berk's most prolific and skilled dragonslayers in his prime. Even then, however, he'd been banished from his original clan (Hoffersons) sixty-five years earlier, and was a pariah instead of an elite due to his appalling personality.
  • It Can Think: It is gradually established that dragons have the mental capacity and potential of young children, with epigraphs noting that bonding with a dragon in the future is legally comparable to adoption as the dragon’s “owner” must take full responsibility for its well-being.
    • The first example of this is shown during a brief scene in Constantinople told from Hookfang’s POV, with Hookfang pondering how his 'walker' has probably changed nests seeking a mate.
    • Toothless, Stormfly and Mistletoe all form a 'nest' in chapter 53 when they realise that Astrid and Wulfhild are pregnant; chapters 79 and 80 reaffirms Toothless's intelligence in particular, as he 'acts out' a scene to assure Hiccup that Snotlout would have left on his own anyway and later 'talks' with Hookfang and local dragons to confirm that the Romans are treating them well.
    • Chapters 81 and 82 feature Toothless, Stormtly, Mistletoe and Meatlug in particular talking about how 'walkers' give birth before they discover and talk with the dragons of another nest whose Alpha was killed by humans long ago.
    • It is essentially confirmed that dragons as a whole (rather than a few key species) are capable of coordination and tactical planning in Chapter 73, which depicts the dragons conversing among themselves, even in the absence of their likely 'Alphas' of Toothless and Thornado, as they decide to help their 'walkers' defend Berk from an attempted invasion on their own merits, to the point of bringing Spitelout a horn that Hiccup has trained them to respond to as a means of mounting a coordinated defense.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As the author notes, while Clodgall and Bladewit might be going about it in the most ass way possible, but their desire to keep dragon ownership limited to the Berkian tribes does stem from reasonable concerns; chief among them being that said dragons would be abused, or turned against Berk.
  • Jews Love to Argue: In chapter 78, when Esther arrives in Vedrarfjord, she is shocked to find a rabbi arguing with a Christian priest, and even more shocked to learn that the two men are actually on friendly terms and they have regular theological arguments together on a daily basis, except for Shabbos and Sunday, with the loser buying dinner.
  • Just the First Citizen: Played for Laughs and inverted. Once Berk's territory starts expanding, Stoick insists that he's a chief, thankyouverymuch, not a king. To him, a chief is approachable and part of the tribe, while a king is distant and separate. He even starts going on a tour of the lands now under his control, just so he can know the people, and they can meet him, to the point of helping out with farm-work. This doesn't help convince people he's not a king, with people regularly using the royal title out of his earshot.
  • Kaiju: Most dragons are on the same scale as more mundane animals, but there are a few that are large enough to fit this trope.
    • The Green Death as per canon, described as having been 60 cubitsnote  tall, 200 cubitsnote  long, and with a 300 cubitnote  long wingspan.
    • The old nest lord of the Cretan nest, described as having been almost half as large as the Green Death.
  • Knife Nut: Heather, having been taught by Alvin, who seems to always have a knife or three on him. At one point, she performs an Extended Disarming as proof of her martial skills and for comedy, showing that she's carrying at least half a dozen knives on her person (excluding the last one, strapped someplace where only her lover usually sees it).
  • Lady Land: Much like in the source material, the Bog-Burglar tribe is an all-female tribe. Because of this, they have been stereotyped by foreign people as being either a tribe of women sex-starved for men or are exclusively populated with lesbians. Given that same-sex relations are not considered weird to them and Cami is a bisexual who freely admits to having slept with both men and women, it seems that both rumors have a grain of truth to them.
  • Legend Fades to Myth: In Chapter 82, the Berkians discover a dragon nest whose Alpha was a nine-headed dragon that Fishlegs speculates was the origin of the myth of the Hydra that was fought by Heracles in Classical Mythology, particularly since eight of its heads were cut off while the ninth was crushed.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: A common reaction to people being told about the extravagant bride price Hiccup gives for Astrid.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Between canon characters from HTTYD, historical characters and Original Characters, there are a lot of names to keep track of.
  • Locked in the Dungeon: Sigurd gets tossed into a Byzantine dungeon by the Catapan of Italia, George Maniakes, when he refuses to turn traitor and help make Maniakes the new Emperor. The small cell he's given has a full view of the torture chamber, and the begging for mercy from the neighboring cell terrifies Sigurd.
  • Loophole Abuse: Hooligan concubinage law was reformed generations earlier to keep the concubines from being abused, adding in an assurance that they could leave unhappy relationships, being legally adopted into the clan of their partner, and by being given a dowry (or bride price, as appropriate to their gender) when they leave their partner, instead of being set aside with nothing to show for it. The Hooligans promptly started using this law to bring in freedmen and freedwomen into their clans as wives and husbands for their clan members. The former thrall, without the financial means to marry, would spend a year as the "concubine" of the clanhead, allowing the clanhead to get to know the prospective new member of the clan as a person, and, at the end of that year, would separate from the clanhead, be given their dowry/bride-price and promptly be proposed to by their intended partner, shaving off years from what it would otherwise take to save up the legally-required funds (especially in the face of the dragon raids).
    • The loophole was accepted practice for generations... but now that Hiccup has upended Berk's economy, there's also no rule that the concubines have to be accepted by the clanhead—that was just accepted practice, a loophole that Fishlegs exploits so that he and Heather can be legally accepted partners, despite the disapproval of his clanhead.
    • Sigurd/Snotlout tries using this with regards to Hiccup's accusations of oathbreaking; as he puts it, the oath was that he couldn't use dragons to raid. As far as he's concerned, he's merely been defending the Roman Empire from rebellion.
  • Love Triangle: Zig-Zagged. Wulfhild starts out as being a close friend to both Hiccup and Astrid. When Einar and the other members of Norway's court threaten civil war if their Altar Diplomacy is not made a second way (Ruffnut and Magnus's marriage not considered secure enough) through Wulfhild, she offers to make herself Hiccup's official concubine as a compromise, vowing for their relationship to remain chaste if it means not to get in the way of him and Astrid. While Astrid believes her and still acknowledges her as their friend, she can not help but feel threatened by Wulfhild's new position in the clan until her great-grandparents (who are also involved in a polygamous relationship) convince her that not only is it in their best interest politically to consummate the arrangement, but that she does not have to worry about Hiccup's faithfulness to her. After Wulfhild joins their marital bed, Hiccup and Astrid quickly come to love her like they do with one another and become a One True Threesome.
  • The Magnificent: Stoick the Vast, of course. Also in a few of the fictional references used as epigraphs, Hiccup is referred to as "Hiccup the Wise."
    • An epigraph shows that Astrid will gain quite a few epithets including "The Skydancer," "Freyja's Chosen," and "Sif's Blade."
    • An epigraph reveals that Stoick gains "Odin's Spear-carrier," "the Wise," and "the Law-Giver."
    • Other recurring characters include Alvin the Treacherous and Magnus the Good.
  • Marry for Love: Hiccup turns down all politically advantageous marriage proposals in order to marry Astrid, the girl he loves. He literally pays the king's ransom on top of that just to show the world just how much she means to him.
  • Martial Pacifist: Berk in general and Hiccup in particular. He will always seek a peaceful resolution when dealing with other kingdoms, but if left with no other choice he can and will decimate opposing armies with efficiency, and will take no pleasure in the victory.
    Hiccup(to King Donnchadh mac Brian): If you change your mind, send a herald to Vedrarfjord. They will be treated with all courtesy and hospitality. I want peace. If you come with an army, I will smash it. If you come with an open hand, I will shake it. Am I clear?
  • Meaningful Rename: Snotlout attempts to use his new name of Sigurd Trondsson to move beyond his past mistakes, but feels as though he has failed in this when he learns of Hiccup's progress in Chapter 78.
  • Mook Horror Show: The Battle of the Sound of Berk at the end of Book I is told mostly from the perspective of the combined Anglo-Danish fleet trying to reach Berk in order to attack it. Unfortunately, since they backed Hiccup into a corner, he doesn't hold back in defending his home and his people, and the shattered (and much reduced) fleet ends up running for its life, thoroughly traumatized.
  • Morality Chain: Heather basically asks Fishlegs to be this for her when she realises that she needs more than just herself in her role as Berk's spymaster, wanting to ensure that she doesn't end up like Alvin.
  • Mundane Utility: Dragons with super-sharp wood-cutting wings? They make great sawmills. Dragons that can tunnel through rock? Miners and underground infrastructure. Dragons that spit boiling-hot water? Dish-cleaning.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Stoick and Bladewit each all but explicitly state (Stoick in his own private musings and Bladewit in a talk with Fishlegs) that they had this moment after they learned the truth about the dragon’s reasons for attacking them, disgusted and horrified that they have spent their lives taking pleasure in killing dragon’s who were little more than enthralled children, and take efforts to correct their mistake.
    • Hiccup basically feels this way when he sees what has happened in Rome because of dragons, feeling that all of this only took place because he indirectly drove Snotlout out of Berk.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • After Magnus woos Ruffnut with an original love song, she counters it with "For the Dancing and the Dreaming" from How to Train Your Dragon 2.
    • Here, Astrid and Cami are second cousins, no-doubt a reference to Astrid being the closest equivalent to Camicazi the film-franchise possesses.
    • Dragon eggs do explode, as they did in Gift of the Night Fury, complete with Astrid shouting "THE EGGS EXPLODE!", but with the twist that this is not due to them hatching; instead, eggs with developmental disorders of their hydrocarbon organ system (the organs that let them breath fire) explode about three months into their seven month gestational cycle.
    • In Chapter 46, Astrid asks Hiccup why he's hesitant to let Wulfhild into his heart and into their bed. The following exchange calls back a pivotal moment from the first movie:
      Hiccup: I don't know! I don't! Astrid, there's no fleet sailing to doom right now, why do you have to know now!?
      Astrid: Because it needs to be done. And done properly. And with every day that we ignore it, it gets worse. [points to Wulfhild] And because she's our friend, and she deserves an answer! She'll remember what you say right now, and so will I!
    • Astrid's unsuccessful attempt at making a steamed milk beverage during Yule is mentioned in Chapter 54, alluding to her Yak Nog recipe in Gift of the Night Fury.
    • People in-universe are iffy as to whether the hive queen was red or green (with at least one family of rumors using this as the basis for there being two hive lords that Hiccup fought, with him killing one by blowing it up from the inside and killing the second by destroying its wings mid-flight).
    • In Chapter 71, when faced with Father Henriksson's machinations, Wulfhild asks, "Now what will you do about this?" Astrid comments, "That's usually my line."
    • At the end of Chapter 73, after Hiccup and his allies defeat the Eirish army attacking Vedrarfjord, Hiccup looks at the devastated army and sadly mutters, "I did this."
    • In one chapter, when asked by Einar what he wants out of life, Tuffnut responds with "a finely crafted mace and a chicken".
    • Drago's attack on the tribal chief's meeting is similar to the one in the second movie.
    • Chapter 83's epigraph reveals that Hiccup will have a descendant named Kamikaze—who is also Fishlegs' descendant, to boot, going by the clan name.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Hiccup, Snotlout and many of the other Hooligans are this to their contemporary geo-politics (as before a few years earlier, they'd been a small Norse tribe with local problems), so they (and by extension the audience) get brought up to speed on rulers, kingdoms, wars, feuds and other things of diplomatic interest across Europe.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • In canon Heather’s adopted parents were unnamed, here they are named Murray and Griselda.
    • In canon Toothless' nemesis the Whispering Death isn’t given a name, here it is named Mold and essentially becomes Mildew's dragon due to their shared distaste for Hiccup and Toothless.
  • Neck Lift: Stoick does this when he finally reaches the limits of his patience with Eochaid. Hiccup is impressed that his dad's arm doesn't even quiver, despite the desperately twitching man at the end.
  • Nice to the Waiter: In Berk's first visit to Magnus, Magnus notes to Hiccup that he ruled out the possibility of a marriage between Snotlout and Wulfhild as a means of formalising their alliance because of Snotlout's poor treatment of Magnus's servants.
  • Noodle Incident: During Thawfest, Hiccup recalls one of Cami's more elaborate pranks from his childhood. No details are given except the line, "He still was not sure where Cami had found that much butter…"
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Astrid and the other female characters have to deal with them regularly. Realizing that they've missed two while having a chat in the bathhouse makes Astrid and Wulfhild realize that they're both pregnant.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: A unique inversion. Among his peers, Snotlout is not the best fighter (Astrid), the best dragon racer (Hiccup), or the wisest (the guy giving the wisdom test is Ruff and Tuff's uncle who taught them everything they know), as seen during the Holmgang held when he challenges Hiccup. At his best, he's Dumb Muscle, and at worst he's a Boisterous Weakling who can only get by because of his dragon. Even Hookfang fits this trope, as he is only one of the many thousands of dragons on Berk. Once Snotlout leaves and takes the name Sigurd Trondsson, however, he soon proves to be a fierce warrior, and subsequently becomes the founder of his own dragon corps in Constantinople. He can read and write, he can sew, he can tame dragons, and being in a place where actions have consequences forces him to try and think things through.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Basically applies to Toiréasa's developing dynamic with Heather; when Heather asks Toiréasa to act as part of her new developing spy network for Berk, Toiréasa immediately starts thinking that Heather will start her out with 'easy' assignments before she begins to threaten Mhairi to make Toiréasa commit more brutal acts, assuming that Heather is like Alvin rather than recognising that there are lines Heather won't cross.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: At the conclusion of Book I, Berk is expanding its territory to include an Irish city, Hiccup and Astrid are married, they have a two-way marriage alliance with Norway with Princess Wulfhild as Hiccup's political concubine, and Berk just proved its military might in front of the entire world in a way that is impossible to ignore.
  • Not So Stoic: In Chapter 75, the normally acerbic and no-nonsense 70-something Bladewit is reduced to openly sobbing when she meets Rabbi Dovid, and in the process finds out something about the origins of her father, who has been dead since her late teens.
  • The Oathbreaker: One of Magnus's thanes breaks his oath of service and tries to assassinate Hiccup and Astrid with the aid of his brother. This is seen as such a vile act that Magnus immediately swears an oath of friendship and protection for Hiccup in the hope that he'll forgive the act of his household.
    • Hiccup regards Snotlout as an oathbreaker for providing Rome with dragon-riders and using them to attack alleged enemies of Rome.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: Fritjof clan Jorgenson's last moments. He turns back to slow down the approaching Anglo army, smiling, with his last words being that he and his dragon have a date with a Valkyrie.
  • Oh, Crap!: Generally the reaction of anyone outside of Berk when they find out just how many dragons Hooligans have.
  • One-Man Industrial Revolution: While Hiccup canonically doesn't invent steam power, he does create industrial tech that is literally centuries ahead of its time (sheet metal roller, drop press, etc).
    • Lampshaded by one of the epigraphs, where it's stated that many modern students of history lament the fact that Hiccup "just missed" inventing the steam engine, seeing as how he had all the necessary components at hand. However, as the epigraph counters, he lacked the need for such inventions, since many of the things steam power could accomplish, dragon power could do just as well for the needs at the time.
  • Onion Tears: Before she revealed herself as a spy, Heather regularly hid her tears of angst behind the excuse of chopping onions.
  • Overnight Conquest: Dragons make conquering a city a piece of cake, since walls are no barrier and defenders tend to be ill-prepared to handle dragon riders.
  • Patricide: Dagur the Deranged has admitted to killing his and Heather's father, Oswald the Agreeable, not even bothering to hide it as a Hunting "Accident".
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Type 1.Elinor arrives to collect Merida from the Bog Burglar guest house at the end of Thawfest, assuming that Merida has been spending more time with her new best friend, Cami. Upon hearing her call for Merida, upstairs, Cami and Merida bolt from the bed and start sorting out clothing—unsuccessfully.
  • Peaceful in Death: Fritjof clan Jorgenson; when Hiccup and his party find Fritjof's body, he's smiling.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Ruffnut and Magnus. Also Hiccup, Astrid and Wulfhild, although they took a while to work out the details.
    • Hinted at for the future; in Chapter 76, Magnus proposes that he and Stoick make plans to arrange a marriage between Astrid's firstborn child and the relevant child of Magnus and Ruffnut when the children are older, as a means of further securing Berk's alliance with Norway, but both agree that they will not force such a relationship on the children if they aren't interested.
  • Person of Mass Construction: Hiccup, using dragon-aided labor, goes on a construction spree through Berk's territory, and even beyond.
  • Politically Correct History: Berk's culture is considered progressive even by modern-day standards, and this was before they made peace with dragons. This includes (but not limited to) their laws against slavery, laws against rape and other forms of sexual misconduct (which is accurate for Norse-based cultures), their approval of same-sex marriage and relations (which is not, but comes from being allies with the Bog Burglars), Polyamory, (relative) gender-equality, religious-tolerance, laws that protect the rights of concubines, just to name a few.
    • This is lampshaded and deconstructed whenever someone from outside of Berk, be they thralls or envoys, experiences Berk and their people for themselves and react with confusion and astonishment, the rest of the world being as politically incorrect as you would expect.
    • They do have laws against sex before betrothal (and before marriage, but no one really enforces those). But neither set of laws are enforced, at all, where Hiccup and his inner circle are concerned, the village having been aware that Hiccup and Astrid were physically intimate long before they married—being the Hero has its perks. But others aren't as lucky—one Jorgenson girl, Lopsides, is a social pariah for getting pregnant (twice!) out of wedlock, and only being the daughter of the clanhead has kept her from being completely ostracized. And Fishlegs and Heather being intimate in violation of the law against premarital intercourse is explicitly mentioned as one of the motivations of Heather's harassers.
  • Polyamory: Berk is a society accepting of polygamous relationships, ranging from the more typical-for-the-Norse of "one man and two or more women" to at least one triad of a married male-and-female couple with a male concubine.
  • Practical Currency: Dragonscale currency. Can be used for decoration, industry or even insulation, and, per Gresham's Law, gold and silver coins are rapidly disappearing from circulation—not that there was that much of it beforehand. Some of the epigraphs note that dragonscale currency helps destroy European feudalism, by allowing for more money in circulation.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Basically applies to Viggo; he is initially hired by the Church to spy on Berk based on reports that they intend to use their dragons to mount new campaigns of pillage and plunder, but while he soon recognises that Stoick and Hiccup aren’t that kind of ruler, he still subtly edits his reports to the church to ensure that he plays up their potential threat even as he enters into a partnership to help set up Hiccup's planned dragon mail stations around Rome and the Vatican.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Dagur the Deranged has shades of this, showing boyish glee during his stay at Berk and becoming enraged once he finds out the games aren't blood-sports and are actually relatively bloodless, nevermind his very short temper and laughing inappropriately at jokes that only he finds funny. Oh, and let's not forget he killed his father and gloated about it.
  • Puppet King: Magnus the Good of Norway, under the effective control of his regent, Einar Thambarskelfir... until the examples set by Stoick and the encouragement of his new wife Ruffnut help him gain the confidence to stand up for himself.
    • Defied by Michael V, Emperor of the Roman Empire; as soon as he's coronated, his first order is the banishment of his biological uncle, John the Eunuch, who has been effectively ruling the Empire as a sort of prime minister/puppetmaster for a decade. John had first assumed power by introducing one of his brothers to the Empress Zoe, who took him as a lover and had her husband assassinated in order to marry him, making the brother into the Emperor Michael IV, and John into his puppetmaster. And when Micheal IV got sick and died, John suggested to the Empress that she adopt his nephew as her son in order to maintain his control. That promptly backfired, as Michael V was determined to rule on his own... but has no idea what he's doing.
  • Rain of Arrows: Noted as being one of the few defenses that will work against dragon-riders when one doesn't have dragons of their own. And if the dragon-riders have Hiccup's firebombs... well, good luck shooting them when they're hundreds of feet overhead.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Standard operating procedure for all armies at the time. Averted however by Berk despite being proud unabashed Vikings who still worship Odin and Thor. Most everyone else, however, knows nothing about Berk other than they're Vikings on dragon-back and thus fear the results.
  • Reading the Enemy's Mail: Macbeth and his court are convinced that the Dragon Mail is a ploy to do exactly this.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • When Snotlout and his friends go a-viking, they succeed in capturing several yaks and sheep... which are dead by the time they reach Berk. Turns out, when livestock is carried through the air in a cold winter night by a flying apex predator, it'll be a race to see what kills it faster-fright or hypothermia.
    • During the diplomatic trip to Norway Toothless becomes interested in a horse (an animal he's never seen before) and of course the horse runs away in terror.
    • Weeks aboard a ship during viking times does not necessarily leave room for bathing.
    • A small Norse tribe has tamed dragons!... and now everyone either wants dragons for themselves... or is scared of being conquered by dragon-riders!
    • In a pre-gunpowder world a ground based army is no match for one reinforced with dragon riders.
    • When Hiccup creates a new tail-fin that allows Toothless to fly on his own, it robs Toothless of most of his agility because it can only copy what the other fin does- thus limiting the manoeuvres he can pull off- and Toothless is required to adjust his flight method to accommodate the absence of Hiccup's weight on his back.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Astrid gives one to Snotlout when he reveals his plans to leave are based primarily on his belief that Hiccup “stole” Astrid and part of his goal is to come back and reject her. Astrid informs Snotlout that he's so full of himself he doesn't realise that others don't think that highly of him, that she's disgusted at him treating her like some prize to be won and he's incapable of taking responsibility for his own failures.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: Fintan mac Ionatan is the POV character for many of the Eirish freedmen, and his internal narration makes it clear that he's deeply loyal to the Haddock clan. The fear that Stoick and Hiccup will mass-recruit from the gutter to stock an army of fanatically loyal dragon-riders and foot soldiers is explicitly a fear of Macbeth and his court—and to be fair, if it was anyone other than Hiccup and Stoick in charge, their fears would almost certainly have come true, but Stoick and Hiccup take the concept of "A Chief Protects His Own" to the logical conclusion and view the idea of territorial expansion as a headache waiting to happen from the additional responsibility.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The reality that Hiccup gave a literal king's ransom and a conquered city to Astrid's parents as a bride price to marry Astrid is considered so absurd that people compare it to a fantastically embellished saga, usually needing the teller to repeat themselves, and consider Hiccup a foolish romantic for doing such a thing.
    • Everyone in Constantinople considers Berk this whenever Snotlout tells them about the customs of his homeland; he's outright accused of lying when he tells them that they have universal literacy and thousands of dragons.
  • Regent for Life: Einar Thambarskelfir's plan, to the point of finding Magnus as a exile in Kyiv and installing him on the Norwegian throne... and getting rid of his rivals.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • Gothi has no known family in canon, here she is Stoick’s aunt and Hiccup’s great aunt.
    • In canon Valka had no known blood relatives beside her son, here she was Gobber‘s grand-niece.
    • Dogsbreath and Snotlout/Sigurd are cousins here.
  • Rerouted from Heaven: In the aftermath of her involuntary Christian baptism, Ruffnut is afraid that her soul won't go to Valhalla when she dies.
  • Rescue Romance: Averted; while Tuffnut rescues Marte from her abusive husband, he feels that sleeping with Marte when she offers would be taking advantage.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: Downplayed; the pragmatic adoption of dragonscale currency—before a rare material only harvested from dead dragons, and now an annual injection of funds into the economy when the dragons shed their scales en masse in the spring—causes rampant inflation in the story's economy, where a pennyweight's worth of dragonscales is seen as a lot by some, but is used as an entrance fee for the Thawfest games (each) in chapter 56... and then less than six months later in the story, a meal and a bed at a roadside inn cost a "quarter-pennyweight" of scales and is earned in an afternoon's labor. Interestingly, though, the inflation is presented as a good thing, as it's allowing for a shift from a feudal barter economy (where taxes might be paid to the lord in buckets of butter and cuts of meat) to a market economy, where even the peasantry have access to currency.
  • Rising Empire: Berk eventually forms one called the North Sea Empire, apparently still going strong in 1822.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Hiccup and Stoick. Magnus wants to follow their example, but Einar tried to keep him as a Puppet King.
  • Sacred Hospitality: A major source of drama and conflict, as most people take their duties as host and guest very seriously.
    • An assassination attempt on Hiccup and Astrid in Norway is revealed to have been committed by Magnus's own household thanes. Magnus is furious to the point where he makes an impromptu oath of alliance and protection in the hope that Hiccup and Astrid will forgive him for the stain on his honor.
    • Later on, an Eirish noble arrives just before winter really sets in for negotiations; he's offered hospitality and accepts... and then the Hooligans realize that he brought his personal thralls with him. A riot nearly erupts, held back only by the fact that they were under hospitality's protection.
  • Sand Necktie: Mentioned by Heather as one possible method which Alvin used to dispose of the hostages of washouts from his Spy Training.
  • Second Coming: Heather brings up the idea that - while not believing it herself as she is not a Christian - Hiccup follows many of the same criteria that Jesus did and thus could be considered by some people to be the Second Coming. Wulfhild is not amused.
    Leaning forward, Astrid asked, "So… clue a girl in? What's the Second Coming, and why might people think that my husband is it?"
    Wulfhild shook her head in a clearing motion. "It's the return of our Lord Jesus Christ to Earth. He comes again to finish the job of bringing peace that he started the first time."
    Astrid considered that for a moment. "Oh." Considered it some more. "I see." She looked at Wulfhild. "Is… is that going to be a problem?"
    "I hope that it won't, and that Heather is just being crass," Wulfhild said tartly.
    Heather just gave her a sunny smile.
    "It's not a joke, Heather! That's the sort of thing that gets people executed for heresy!"
    "All right, all right, sorry!" Heather held up her hands.
  • Secret Test of Character: Snotlout and Hiccup (plus Astrid) are having a three-part contest of strength, speed, and wisdom in that order, best two out three wins. When Astrid and Hiccup win the first two Snotlout still insists on doing the wisdom test. The test giver explains that in attempting to do so he has already failed. A wiser man would have known when he was beat and just walked away, particularly when he was facing being tested in his weakest area. Snotlout in his arrogance and stubbornness manages to lose all three tests humiliating himself even further.
  • Sexless Marriage: Hiccup nominally takes Wulfhild as his concubine to appease the Norwegian court without having to set Astrid aside and to protect Wulfhild from a nasty Arranged Marriage that may otherwise be waiting for her back home. Nobody is particularly happy with this arrangement and despite everyone's best efforts tension continues to raise. Finally, all parties involved conclude the situation as it stands causes only misery and decide to talk things out. At the end subverted; Hiccup ends up bedding Wulfhild with Astrid's approval and all three slowly settle into a stable polygamous relationship.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Kerr, a thrall from the town Mildew controls, spends several chapters on the lamb, before finally making it to a town that gets regular dragon visits... only for Dagur to find him, kill him, and slaughter and enslave the entire town to leave no witnesses.
  • Shipper on Deck: In Chapter 2, Trader Johann tells Hiccup and Astrid in no uncertain terms that they're an ideal match:
    "Oh, and Hiccup, my boy?...Keep her close. You won't find someone who can fence that well with you twice in a single lifetime without Frigga's and Odin's blessings. And, you, Miss, that goes for you as well. You've got him, don't let him get away. He'll be going down in the histories next to the natural philosophers of old, at the very least, and that's not even counting how well you're matched with him personally."
  • Shout-Out: To The Far Side, oddly enough; in the first chapter, Hiccup refers to the spikes at the end of one dragon's tail as a Thagomizer.
    • The titles of Chapters 74 and 75, "It's Planting Seeds In A Garden..." and "...You Never Get To See" are taken from the lyrics of "The World Was Wide Enough" from Hamilton.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The Byzantines all refer to themselves as "Roman". The term Byzantine was created after the Empire fell to distinguish it the other more ancient Western Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire.
    • The backstory of Einar Thambarskelfir's rise to power as Magnus' regent, despite having been one of the noblemen who betrayed King Olaf (Magnus' father) to King Cnut, is based entirely on historical events involving the two.
    • In the era in question, the formal split between the Catholic and Greek Orthodox has not yet occurred, but it is on the horizon, with the Great Schism having occurred in 1054.
    • When visiting Rome in chapter 77, Fishlegs notes that the Colosseum and Titus's Arch were built by Jewish slave labor in the aftermath of the Jewish Revolts a thousand years earlier.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Cammi's offer to lie through her teeth in order to protect Merida's reputation as a marriageable young noblewoman is cut off by this, in front of Elinor no less.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Einar tells Hiccup that no matter what they may claim, people only desire money, power, revenge and sex, and the faster he realizes this the better a leader he'll be.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: It is pointed out in the Epigraph for Chapter 10 that the cultural expectation of the time was for Norse chieftains to be polygamous, and that Stoick was considered unusual that he only had one wife, Valka, and that he never took a concubine or remarried after her loss.
  • The Singularity: By training dragons, Berk had inadvertently changed how politics, warfare, even economy and technology operate in most of Europe, with the textbook entries implying that the following Enlightenment caused by dragons, the Mundane Utility they possess and Hiccup's technological marvels had advanced technology and general public opinion by centuries in the long run.
  • Sinister Minister: Father Henriksson is devout in his beliefs, if not a little too-devout. For the entirety of the Berkian's stay in Norway, he makes the demand that they must all convert to Christianity to solidify their treaty. When this does not work, he manipulates Wulfhild into a Christian wedding with Hiccup, using it in a long-term plan to convert Berk and bring it under the control of the church, intentionally omitting various details and technicalities (like how polygamy has been banned from Christian practices centuries ago). After Ruffnut becomes queen, Henriksson does everything he can to undermine her, including trying to take control of her hospital under the assumption that women are too fragile to care for the sick and injured. When she refuses to have her children baptized - believing that they have the right to choose their gods when they are old enough to decide - Henriksson baptizes Ruffnut while she is sleeping before trying to smother her with a pillow, trying to make it look like a Death by Childbirth. When Einar caught him in the act he changes his plan to making it look like they killed each other.
  • Sketchy Successor: Snotlout/Sigurd Trondsson arrives in Constantinople just in time for the death of the current Emperor, Michael IV, and quickly ends up getting in over his head in imperial politics due to the new Emperor, Michael V, being The Caligula. Some history lessons from Sigurd's mentors make it clear that Michael V is just the latest and worst of several such successors over the last decade and a half, since the reign of Emperor Basil II. In that time, the Empire had gone through three other Emperors (Constantine VIII, Romanos III and Michael IV), with each one being arguably worse than their predecessor.
  • Slave Liberation: The general law whenever thralls step foot on Berk and Berk-regent territories like Vedrarfjord.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: The Hooligans, due to having outlawed thralldom over a century earlier, and with everyone in the tribe being either a freed slave or descended from freed slaves, have a particular dislike of the institution of chattel slavery, to the point that 'Sigurd' immediately orders that all slaves in his new territories be freed once he learns of their existence despite the potential challenges this will present to running his territories. Implied to be a major part of why the Berkians were willing to take in the dragons at the end of HTTYD 1, as being freed slaves of the Green Death.
  • Sliding Scale of Alternate History Plausibility: Type X (How To Train Your Dragon is dropped into real history!), followed by Type II.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Fishleg's great-grandfather, Dror ben Ezra. A Jewish ex-thrall who taught the Hooligans how to read and write. Thanks to his efforts, Hooligan culture adapted to literacy, with books being part of Hooligan culture (as shown by the Book of Dragons in the first film). This makes him responsible for saving the Hooligans from being wiped out from dragon raids and creating the educational background that resulted in Hiccup!
  • Solid Gold Poop: Dragon-scale currency. To the dragons, who shed their scales every spring en masse, the scales are mostly useful as fireproof nest lining for their soon-to-be-born hatchlings. For humans, they're effectively a replacement for gold and silver coins (and causing a financial revolution in the process, as there wasn't that much gold and silver in circulation in medieval Europe).
    • A more downplayed (and literal) example is the fact that boulder-class dragons poop sand as a side-effect of eating rocks, which Fishlegs and Hiccup end up exploiting for glassmaking.
  • Spanner in the Works: Berk suddenly gaining control over dragons upsets the balance of power in Europe and derails many plans already in motion. Wulfhild notes that Hiccup pretty much changed rules of the game overnight and forced everyone else to play catchup.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: A few historical characters live longer in this fic then they did in Real Life.
    • Theodora Porphyrogenita will die in 1068, twelve years after her historical death date.
    • Downplayed with Harthacnut who in Real Life died on 8 June, 1042, here he survives for an additional 3 days.
  • Speculative Biology: Many of the epigraphs go into the mechanics of dragon biology, with the major defining trait of the species being a specialized organ that allows for their various BreathWeapons.
  • Spit Take: Tuffnut times his telling of Hiccup's bride price for Astrid to the Rus' men specifically to provoke one of these.
  • The Spymaster: Stoick asks Heather to be this for the tribe, even with her apprehension to use her spy skills and how she was trained into it against her will. Despite having been initially been used against Berk, Stock trusts her because, she could have gotten away with it, but chose to surrender instead, and he thinks that her being the spymaster makes for the best Take That! to both Alvin and the people in Berk who still give her a hard time over it. She eventually takes the job... on the condition that she can deal with her father-slaying brother.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Downplayed; like in the show, Alvin wants to steal Berk's dragon-riding secrets, and sends Heather as a spy to do that, but the means, method and outcome of that parallel are completely redone.
    • The avalanche from Animal House is also given a nod, but instead of being a few seconds of Ship Tease like it was in the show, it instead is treated as a life-threatening incident that eats up most of a chapter with search and rescue efforts.
    • The discovery of Gronckle Iron (here retconed as being steel, as opposed to some sort of super metal) being the result of Fishlegs and Meatlug indulging in some stress-induced binge-eating.
    • Mildew's use of Blue Oleander and his later betrayal of Berk (albeit to Mac Bethad instead of Alvin).
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Given the time period this fic takes place in is it really surprising that this trope is present? Berk is treated as exceptional because they allowed so many women to become warriors because they recognized that they needed all hands to defend against the dragons.
    • Father Henriksson believes that it’s “unnatural” for women to be priests and healers.
    • Wulfhild mentions that Einar didn’t allow her to practice archery because he thought it was “unnatural” for women to carry weapons.
    • The freedman Murchadh feels that it’s “unnatural” for women to be trained as fighters.
  • Stock Ness Monster: While visiting Britain, Hiccup has tried to investigate rumours of a Tidal-class dragon living in a loch, but so far he hasn't found anything to prove or disprove its existence.
  • Straight for the Commander: Hiccup and later the Roman dragon-riders under Snotlout find that dragons make this really easy.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: In the dragon POV scenes, Dragonese is shown in <bracketed italics> with Object-Subject-Verb order (i.e. Yoda-speech) to illustrate its alienness to human speech.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Meet the Afro-Norse warrior Gudmund Hallvarsson working as a mercenary for the Byzantine Empire, a.k.a. Heidrun Hallvarsdoittor, sister of Gabriel Hallvarsson.
  • Take a Third Option: One of Hiccup's signature themes, although it doesn't always work as hoped. Stoick, however, was also faced with two unpalatable options and picked a third; either be responsible for mass starvation or leave the thralls of Vedrarfjord behind. Instead, he vassalized the city and declared it to be part of the tribe.
  • Taking You with Me: Fritjof's last stand; he wiped out over ninety percent of the pursing English horsemen, and fulfilled his oath to protect and guard Hiccup and his family to the last breath.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The assassin at the 1042 Thawfest doses cups of Eirish ale with refined Oleander, trying to poison Hiccup, Astrid and Wulfhild, and does succeed at poisoning a visiting Norse princess.
    • Some of the pranks against Heather include spiking her food with spoiled meat, and (in the case of Thicknut's daughter) putting sand in one of Fishleg's drinks.
  • Technical Virgin: It is brought up on whether or not Merida is still technically a virgin on account of her having lesbian sex with Cami.
    Cami: At least I'm not a man, so you don't have to worry about her gettin' with child. Isn't that the real reason for that rule?
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: When asked by Phlegma to help invent something to reduce work time with sewing and tailoring, Hiccup is left clueless for the first time, having never been taught anything having to do with sewing other than leatherwork. When Astrid explains to him, having been taught feminine work in-spite of her shield-maiden identity, how much work goes into making clothes, Hiccup is left aghast with the amount of effort it takes.
  • Thanatos Gambit: A subplot in Book II involves the proposal of laws regarding dragon adoption—who can and who can't. Two of the clanheads submit and push an incredibly restrictive version, where the only people allowed to adopt dragons from Berk's flock are those of recognized "allied clans" of Berk, instead of anyone from the newly conquered/integrated portions of Eire. And that version is what passes in the end. When Fishlegs goes to confront his aunt, who wrote the proposal, she reveals the actual motivation for writing the law as she did: She did the math and realized that humans in Berk's potential area of control far outnumber their dragon flock. That means if dragon-riding became a possible right for everyone under Berk's control, it would lead to the dragons being effectively enslaved, because they'd have no choice about being used for riding. So she wrote the law to keep them from being abused—and set things up so that the clans, including her own, would bloat with new members being adopted or married in to make them riders, also giving them a chance to assimilate into the tribe's ways of doing things. And then, when she and the other elderly clanheads die... the bloated clans, unable to choose successors, would fragment, but that would buy time for the dragons to build their numbers, but still keep them from being forced to adopt humans due to the population ratios. In short, in order to protect the welfare of the dragons, she set up her own clan to self-destruct on her death. Fishlegs is stunned to the point of going on an eating binge.
  • That Man Is Dead: By chapter 80, Snotlout insists that he is Sigurd now. After being exiled from Berk by Hiccup and offered Roman citizenship by Empress Theodora, he has embraced his new life as a Roman soldier.
  • Theseus' Ship Paradox: In Chapter 72, when Hiccup told Fishlegs about how the various warriors of Vedrarfjord asked for him to transmute their family swords from iron into gronkle iron as if he was a wizard, Fishlegs sarcastically mentions this trope as a comparison.
  • They Do: After a great deal of miscommunication, and an epic bride price, Hiccup and Astrid are married at the end of Book 1.
  • Thicker Than Water: Justified, discussed, subverted, exploited and defied, all at different times throughout the fic and with different situations. It's justified in that blood ties are seen as incredibly important, and there's an intricate web of them tying the various clans of Berk together to allow them to bypass debt claims and get on with the task of surviving, Cami is allowed to keep a dragon she accidentally bonds with because she has a blood tie to Berk through her father, and Hiccup gives Snotlout support when he leaves for the Roman Empire because they're cousins. It's also discussed by Bladewit to Fishlegs as an important bond that keeps the clans at least somewhat united—but that bond is under strain. And blood ties via marriage are seen as more of a guarantee against attack than any form of treaty, resulting in Wulfhild becoming Hiccup's concubine, as a surety for Norway's chiefs against dragon-rider attack. It's also subverted, because the Jorgensons were trying to use Snotlout's blood tie with Stoick as his nephew to supplant Hiccup as heir, Dogsbreath steals from his father and shaves his beard because of a dare from a girl and they end up running for it, Mildew wants revenge on his estranged brother, and John the Orphantrophus counts on this trope to keep power, only to lose control when his newly Imperial nephew turns on him on his first day as Emperor. Alvin exploits it to guarantee his spies' loyalty, by keeping their family members as insurance. And finally, it's outright defied—Heather wants to kill Dagur, her brother, for killing their father.
    • Tellingly, Chapters 30 and 31, the chapters that show Hiccup and Astrid's wedding, are called "The Blood of the Covenant Is Thicker..." and "...Than the Water of the Womb."
  • The Thirty-Six Stratagems: Stratagems #3 (Kill With A Borrowed Knife) and #10 (Hide A Knife Behind A Smile) form the titles for chapters 67 and 68.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Dagur and his clan are vassals of King Mac Bethad of Alba, and are specifically noted to work as the King's shock troops. Dagur continues this theme when he shows up; he is prone to violence and disrespect, and no doubt would have violated Sacred Hospitality multiple times within minutes of his ship making port if not for the tight leash Elinor kept him under. On top of that, it is public knowledge that he murdered his own father in cold-blood to take over as chief. The only reasons why nobody has retaliated for that crime being that he is loyal to Mac Bethad, and his tribe is loyal to him for his ruthlessness and violence.
  • Triang Relations: Hiccup, Astrid and Wulfhild, after some drama, form a fully loving type 8.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Alvin the Treacherous and his wife, Delilah, seem to have this dynamic (along with Vitriolic Best Buds).
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: Ruffnut finds that twins run in the family.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Byzantine Roman Empire; as it was in Real Life, it's the eastern remnant of the Roman Empire, and in the fic (as in Real Life), is currently collapsing from a revival under Emperor Basil II.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Astrid, in spades. Wulfhild has her moments too.
  • Voluntary Vassal: Hiccup tries to pay a diplomatic visit to the petty king of Veisafjord (modern day Wexford); the residents promptly overthrow the king and offer the city to Hiccup, who is flabbergasted. Astrid's parents find the whole thing hilarious.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Father Hendricksson attempts to smother Ruffnut with a pillow after baptizing her in her sleep in order to get rid of her pagan influence and make it look it she died from the aftereffects of childbirth. However Einar catches him and intervenes on the attempted assassination.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: After literal months of insufficiently grand ideas for Astrid's bride price, Hiccup eventually comes up with quite a doozy: Upon being rewarded the ransom for King Harthacnut (100,000 pounds silver—in an era where one pound silver is the yearly wage for a day-laborer), Hiccup promptly takes Astrid aside and asks her to marry him. When she accepts, stunned, the announcement of the bride price to her parents is not only the entirety of a literal King's Ransom, it is also regency of Berk's new vassal city, Vedrarfjord. It is seen as so outlandish that it has become famous across the known world as a Refuge in Audacity moment.
  • Wacky Cravings: Nothing too outlandish, but Stoick finds it hilarious when both Wulfhild and Astrid have mutually incompatible pregnancy cravings.
  • Weird Currency: Dragons shed their scales, and humans find them to be a pretty useful form of currency, especially when there's not a lot of gold or silver around in medieval Europe. Some of the epigraphs note that the scale shedding has a massive economic impact.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 25: Hide, And Pray That It Does Not Find You. Not only does Berk fight off an army that outnumbers their people ten to one—and that count includes the tribe's children—Hiccup creates air-dropped bombs to bombard the Anglo-Dane fleet, permanently upsetting the political and strategic status quo.
    • Arguably Chapter 55, which introduces the Dunbroch clan to the story as well as Heather's brother Dagur the Deranged.
    • Chapter 83 ends with Mildew discovering another Night Fury exists.
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: During her and Fishleg's private discussion, Bladewit mentions this as being why she's against just giving out dragons; as it stands, there's no way of ensuring that the dragons aren't being abused that isn't flat out tyrannical.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: After Astrid defeats Snotlout in combat and Hiccup defeats him in the race, Snotlout demands that they go through with the third challenge - the test of wisdom. He is then immediately declared the loser of the third challenge because he just proved he is not wise enough to see that he had been beaten 2 out of 3 and that it would have been better if he had admitted defeat.
    Chestnut: Only a fool continues to fight after he's beaten. Only a colossal jotunn of a fool would continue to fight after he's beaten and in his area of weakness. You failed, boy. The wise thing to do would not have been to try. is better to remain silent and be thought a fool... than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. Mind you, Hiccup here didn't manage much better in wisdom by giving in to an opponent's demands when he already had won, but he at least admitted that he didn't see the point. If you were wise, you would have recognized that literally nothing you could have said would have changed the final results to being more to your liking… and all you've done is make yourself the stubborn fool in front of everyone.
  • Wrong Assumption: King Adalwin ua Imair (real identity Alvin the Treacherous) tries to send an envoy to apologize for the attempted theft of Meatlug and attempted murder of her rider Fishlegs and to plant a spy in Berk to feed him intel and information on Berk and their dragon-taming skills by giving the tribe a whole ship's worth of thralls. Unfortunately, they did not count on the fact that unlike most of the rest of the world, Berk is fervently anti-slavery. It also does not help that Fishlegs was far from the kind of viking who would use a pleasure thrall, and is so tender-hearted that their spy Heather would eventually fall in-love with him and lead to Berk invading his city.
  • Written by the Winners: Referenced in Chapter 36, when Ruffnut pledges to help her husband Magnus break free of Einar's control, envisioning a future in which Magnus is revered as a strong, wise and beloved ruler.
    Ruffnut: Well, the ones who write the sagas are the winners, yeah? I wanna write that one.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: King Mac Bethad and his court think that they're in a Game of Thrones-style grimdark setting of musical backstabbing and Disproportionate Retribution (which is justifiable, given their history with Vikings), not realizing that Hiccup and Berk are much more idealistic than that.
  • You Are in Command Now: The Roman Dragon-Riders get betrayed by the Roman Catapan of Italia, who wants to use them to make himself emperor... and won't take no for an answer. The Roman commander is killed by him before their escape... devolving command onto Sigurd.
  • Young Future Famous People: Harald Sigurdsson is a high-ranked Varangian mercenary... but most people know him as the Viking King, Harald Hardrada, who tried to conquer England in 1066 (and failed). William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, is mentioned early on as a teenager even younger than Hiccup. This William is in fact the William the Conqueror, who also tried to conquer England in 1066 (and succeeded).
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Einar congratulates Hiccup on getting rid of Snotlout, thinking he tricked his cousin into leaving. This makes Hiccup feel "unclean in a way that soap and rosewater wouldn't touch".
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Fritjof clan Jorgenson and his dragon, the Zippleback Nott & Delling, are both wounded, and the English army has almost overtaken Hiccup's party. So the two of them turn back, facing over a hundred mounted cavalry to buy the rest of the party time. They die, but a valley full of Zippleback gas wiped out the majority of the cavalry, sending the rest running for their lives.


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