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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.

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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 animated movie 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.

It used to be on fanfiction.net, but due to harassment up to and including death threats, it has been deleted and access has been restricted on Archive of Our Own.


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This fanfic provides examples of:

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  • 0% Approval Rating:
    • Most of Harthacnut's people hate him for his tyranny, and in the future is mostly remembered as a tyrant who deserved his death by the general populace.
    • The few apologists aside, King Mac Bethad has become a stock villain in the future of the story on how taking actions based on unnecessary paranoia can spiral into chaos and death, and even those apologists admit their best defence of the man is that he was ignorant to the consequences of his actions.
  • 100% Adoration Rating: Hiccup is almost universally beloved by his people even if they don't always agree with him and in the future, is so fondly remembered his name is almost synonymous with altruism.
  • Abandon the Disabled:
    • Defied with the Hooligans. Unlike most other Norse societies, they abandoned the tradition of exposing weak and sickly infants and keep every child no matter the circumstances due to how hard it was for them to carry a child to term.
    • Toothless and his sister Fearless discuss that most dragons would leave a maimed dragon for dead.
  • 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.
  • Accidental Discovery: Gobber accidentally discovers how to cheaply mass-produce steel when Fishlegs and Meatlug come to him when Meatlug was sick from an eating binge.
  • 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.
  • Adopted into Royalty: William of Normandy gets adopted into the Royal Clan of Berk in Chapter 98.
  • Adult Fear: In chapter 104, Hiccup's and Astrid's infant daughter Valka contracts the 100-day cough and it worries Hiccup so much.
  • Alien Space Bats: The dragons and dragon-riding function as the space bats of the story, with Berk having an air force during medieval times.
  • The Alliance:
    • Berk and Norway form an alliance that greatly benefits both powers. Berk gains greater political legitimacy and some politicking know-how and gets brought up to speed on current affairs, while Norway gets dragons and a boost to their standards of living from implementing how the Hooligans do things.
    • A massive alliance of Eirish and Viking kings formed in order to crush Berk, but they were completely defeated by their defenders and their territory became annexed under Berk.
  • All Lesbians Want Kids: Played With. Jonna and Reidun weren't originally planning on having kids, but getting promoted to clanhead status means they need an heir, and they decide that they want biological kids after some discussion.
  • All-Loving Hero: Hiccup is willing to forgive attempts on his life if he thinks it will help the assassin become a better person, and the epigraphs note that he is so famous for it that in the future, his name is practically synonymous with altruism. One epigraph authored by Hiccup himself explains why he does this. He recognises that many of his enemies are trapped in a cycle of fear and mistrust, just like Hiccup and Toothless themselves used to be, up until Hiccup gave Toothless trust and broke the cycle between Berk and the Green Death nest. Because of this, Hiccup will always give his enemies a chance, show trust and extend a helping hand. No matter how many times his hand gets slapped away, sometimes, it does work in helping someone escape the cycle they're trapped in and Hiccup could never forgive himself if he didn't give someone the same chance he gave Toothless.
  • Alpha Strike: Played With. Stoick takes every rider and weapon they have to settle the score with Harthacnut, leaving barely anything behind to defend Berk and their holdings in southern Eire; Harthacnut and his forces gets squished, but several of Berk's enemies try to take advantage of the opening, attacking both Berk and Vedrarfjord. Unfortunately for them, they hadn't accounted for Hiccup and his preparations...
  • Altar Diplomacy:
    • Ruffnut and King Magnus of Norway get married to cement an alliance between Berk and Norway. Magnus' Norwegian vassals also force a concubinage arrangement between Hiccup and Magnus' half-sister, Wulfhild, but the situation was muddied a bit 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.
    • One was set up between Clan Dunbroch and the Bog Burglar tribe 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 Norway, 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."
    • Various historical figures live longer or die sooner than they did in real life. See Death by Adaptation and Spared by the Adaptation for more information.
    • The Byzantine Empire will fall in the late 1300's instead of the mid 1400's.
    • The first manned mission to the moon will take place on May 17, 1772, 197 years before it happened in real life.
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: A few characters invent many things centuries before they were invented in Real Life.
    • Hiccup
      • He invents ball bearings in 1040, seven hundred and fifty-four years before they were invented in real life.
      • He invents ring binders in the 1040s, eight hundred and forty years before they were invented in real life.
      • He invents the rolling mill in 1041, five hundred or so years before they were invented in real life.
      • He invents impression-die drop forging in 1041, about nine hundred years ahead of "schedule".
      • He invents the chimney (or as he calls it the skorsteinn) in 1041, one hundred and forty four years before they were invented in real life.
      • He invents the wheelbarrow some time in the 1040s, either one hundred or two hundred years before it was invented in real life.note 
      • He invents the spinning wheel in 1042, around two hundred years before they made it to Europe in real life.note 
      • He invents the pantograph in 1042, five hundred and sixty-one years before it was invented in real life.
      • He invents the elevator some time in the 1040s, over eight hundred and ten years before it was invented in real life.
      • He invents plaster casts in 1042, eight hundred and ten years before they were invented in real life.
      • He invents the parachute (or as he calls it the fallskarm) in 1043, seven hundred and forty years before it was invented in real life.
      • He invents the telescope, here called the synlengra, in 1043, five-hundred and sixty-five years before it was invented in real life.
    • Gobber
      • He accidentally discovers a way to cheaply mass produce steel, eight hundred and fourteen years before it was in real life.
    • Fishlegs
      • He invents the greenhouse in 1043, three hundred and ninety-five years before they were invented in real life.
    • Other
      • Hiccup's son Magni will use a synlengra to discover mountains and craters on the surface of the moon (which the Berk Vikings call "Magni") as well as the four largest moons of Jupiter (or "Odin") about five-hundred and fifty years before Galileo would discover them in real life.
  • Amazon Chaser: Sigurd shows genuine interest in Sophia after she fights off an assassin, and it's later observed that he only shows clear interest in any woman capable of fighting him.
    Gudmund: You just like people who can kick your ass.  You were interested in Sophia at first as a pretty face… but then she broke that chair on that guy's face and then you were in looove.
  • Ambadassador: When Hiccup and his entourage start paying diplomatic visits to other rulers, every time there's trouble, they tend to win.
  • 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?
    • In Chapter 103, it is confirmed that in addition to their sex life with Hiccup, Astrid and Wulfhild occasionally enjoy each other without Hiccup being present.
    • 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.
    • In Chapter 99, although she's married to Cami, Merida's words suggest that she doesn't have anything against sex with men but only objected to the fact that her mother's potential partners would have basically reduced her to a lord's bedwarmer.
  • 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, not seeming to care or even be able to acknowledge that things would have been worse if not for Sigurd.
  • Anti-Air: With the taming of dragons, weapons that can hit a Dragon Rider and their dragon in the sky becomes very important in warfare.
    • Hiccup came up with many of them back when Berk was fighting dragons such as the Mangler, and Mac Bethad's spies managed to copy the plans, and Mac Bethad then gave out copies of the plans to every major king and noble he could reach.
    • The cause of the New Year's Fire Rout was due to Mulan using Fatal Fireworks against the Pechenegs.
  • Appearance Angst: Drago suffers from body image issues. In addition to his losing an arm, his body is heavily scarred. He shares with Khursa a story where even a prostitute, who's paid to fake pleasure, recoiled in revulsion, which was a major contributing factor to his negative body-image.
  • 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".
    • Chapter 109 sees Dagur of all people give one to Toiréasa when questioning her conviction that Heather is keeping her daughter as a deliberate hostage rather than genuinely regarding her as a sister, pointing out that Toiréasa can accept that Dagur is capable of being something other than the monster most people see him as and yet still believes the worst of Heather.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Discussed in Chapter 93 regarding whether Ruffnut's forced baptism is valid or not; Gothi eventually finds a possible solution where Ruffnut can rededicate herself to Loki at Odin's blot (as Loki doesn't have a blot himself), but it depends on the idea that Ruffnut didn't ask for the baptism in the first place.
  • Asexuality:
    • The author describes Yngvarr as a "friend-focused aromantic asexual" in a tumblr post.
    • It is brought up that Viggo is demisexual, as he doesn't feel sexual interest/attraction until he's made an emotional connection with them; as he only really forms connections with his intellectual equals or superiors. According to his internal monologue, this apparently made his schooling occasionally awkward, as he felt attraction to his teachers. Since then, he's only had interest in a few men and two women.
    • Esther is as the author puts it a aromantic asexual.
      Esther wasn't interested in Hiccup, or interested in anybody, really. Oh, Hiccup was attractive to look upon, in the way that a fine painting or other piece of artwork was beautiful. He was much like the various pieces of art scattered around the chief's house in that fashion, she supposed. But the fabled 'stirring of the loins' which supposedly heralded desire was something she'd never experienced. Not with Dan, not with descriptions from other women about their husbands, not even the other night when she'd overheard Hiccup, Astrid, and Wulfhild. She'd been in the chieftain's hut, looking after Valka and Asta while reviewing a book for the King, all the while doing her best to not hear the trio making love in their bedroom—which had been, as far as Esther could tell, their first time since the births of their daughters, with all of enthusiasm that implied.
      And it had roused nothing in her.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The most powerful dragon of a nest becomes its nest-lord, the Thengill.
  • 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 a 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.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • Vigdis tricks one of an Eirish noble's men into believing it was okay to rape Heather and he attempts to but Heather manages to fight him off and got him and his group kicked out of Berk for it.
    • One of Dagur's warriors tries to force himself on Toiréasa, but she manages to fight him off and he is subsequently tortured and executed for it under Dagur's orders for violating his Sacred Hospitality.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: It is noted that while Bewilderbeasts are powerful, their size and slow speed means that they're better suited for naval defence rather than as part of an attack force.
  • Babies Ever After: Chapters 93 and 94 see Astrid and Wulfhild give birth, their daughters being named Valka Zephyr and Asta Rhonda Haddock respectively.
  • Badass Army: The Dragon Riders of Berk quickly develop a reputation as a mighty army, consistently holding their own against far larger forces.
  • 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.
  • Barbarian Tribe: All of their enemies expect the Hooligan Tribe to be typical vikings, just on dragon-back, but the Hooligan Tribe are actually a subversion, practicing universal literacy and freemanship. They are indeed highly martial in nature like other vikings, but they otherwise subvert many of the stereotypes everybody expects of vikings.
  • Battle Trophy: Pieces of the Green Death are taken as trophies, with the most spectacular being its tail which was relocated to near Berk's mead hall.
  • 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.
  • Benevolent Boss: Part of the reason many dragons stay with Berk, in spite of their distrust of humans, is because they were better than the Green Death, and the Hooligans help with feeding and egg-care. One dragon tells the rest that he will never take a human partner, nor ever fully trust them, but they will never find another home like Berk, which is why he stays and defends them and convinces the others to help out as well.
  • 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.
    • Yngvarr the Merry is one of the kindest people anyone would hope to meet. When he learns that Rasmus has beaten his wife Marte and his son Isak, he is said to resemble an irate dragon. He asks for Magnus' permission to dispense justice in this case, adding, "I have some trash to take to the midden."
  • 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. Another epigraph mentions that it was the book of dragon warfare for almost two centuries and still seen as one of the foundational texts on the subject later on.
  • Big Eater: Gunnar eats a lot without ever becoming overweight; he's routinely noted as poaching snacks and other edibles when he has the chance.
  • Bigotry Exception: Mold is the one exception to Mildew's dragon-hating attitude. He explicitly mentions that they were cut from the same cloth. Mildew actually refers to Mold as a friend.
  • 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.
  • Boom Town: Vedrarfjord started with roughly two thousand citizens within its walls and another two thousand in its immediate surrounding areas and was a small trading port. After the Hooligans conquered it by accident, regency of the city was given to Hakon and Gunvor and they turn it into an industrial centre with an ever growing population.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: In Chapter 109, Mulan is right in that they must help their people, which one of the councillors admits, but that same councillor points out that they can't afford to, especially with a reduced tax base from the damage to their nation's biggest city. Mulan can't offer a counter-argument to his observation that they need to raise peoples' moral through propaganda such as her own appointment.
  • 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, wets his undergarments in fear.
  • Bullying the Disabled:
    • Drago is looked down on by many for his lack of an arm and heavy scarring. He is often insulted, despite everything he has done for the Pechenegs, and has trouble with maintaining credibility. In the past a merchant's brother picked a fight with him and after Drago defended himself, the merchant arranged for Drago to be abandoned for dead in the middle of a desert. It forms a large part of the reasoning behind his ruthlessness, and when he meets the merchant again his new allies arrange a poetic retribution.
    • Mistletoe and Stormfly drop Toothless into the water since he can't fly. They later apologise to him after he made it clear how hurtful that was.
  • 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."
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Dragons and humans have different terminologies for the same things. Dragons call themselves flyers and humans are called walkers. They also call fish swimmers. Chapter 92 shows that other dragons call Night Furies 'Nightscreamers'.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Because of Spitelout's actions towards his son, which played a huge role in how Sigurd ended up giving dragons to the Byzantines, both Fishwings and Hiccup give scathing talks to Spitelout and show no sympathy over the fact Sigurd refuses to talk to him.
  • Canon Character All Along:
    • King Adalwin turns out to be Alvin the Treacherous. At some point, he killed and replaced the real King Adalwin with himself.
    • The Dragon-Hunter who was with the Pechenegs turns out to be Drago Bludvist.
  • 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.
    • When Hiccup is captured by Mildew, he's tortured to 'confess' his real reason for coming to Iceland because Mildew doesn't believe Hiccup's honest explanation that buffalord spit has healing properties and thinks Berk has discovered the activities of Mildew's new patron.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Stoick, unlike most other monarchs of the era, 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:
    • One example is Hiccup coming up with the idea for the Firecocks in Chapter 2, and then using them in Chapter 25 to help defeat Harthacnut's navy.
    • While on route to Constantinople, Snotlout trades a dragon scale to a merchant. That scale makes its way to the Pechenegs with Drago in attentance as proof that dragons were tameable.
    • In Chapter 22, the Pechenegs kill Kormak's brother. In Chapter 119, Sigurd uses this fact to set Kormak on the Pechenegs Dragon Riders to allow the rest of the Byzantine Dragon Riders to get to the Black Sea nest to warn its Thengill.
    • Berk made a lot of letters inviting Jews to their territories. One of those letters makes it all the way to the Kaifeng Jews in China, giving the Song Dynasty information on Berk and their friendly dragon riders while they try to prepare a response for the hostile dragon riders of the Pechenegs.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Beorn is introduced in Chapter 1, but it is not until Chapter 94 that he is revealed to be Lopsides' baby daddy. As a citizen of Berk, he provides Stoick with information on where they could find Buffalords for their healing saliva in Chapter 105.
    • In Chapter 23, Heather reflects once knowing a fellow thrall named Toiréasa whom she was certain was also trained as a spy. She later shows up in Book 2 and becomes a member of the Hooligans following an incident with her former master and plays a major role in Book 3 infiltrating Dagur's clan.
    • In Chapter 28, Johann first mentions a Moorish alchemist. Heather and Fishlegs will later meet that alchemist, Basir, and the information he provides allows them to figure out Mildew used his poisons in his dragon-slaying.
    • Bladewit mentions in Chapter 67 that one abused Deadly Nadder fled Berk. This Nadder made its way to the nest Valka is at, giving them stories of the abuse.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • When Wulfhild first suggested playing battledore on dragonback, all the Dragon Riders at Nidaros loved it, and Astrid realised that if it wasn't for that, she wouldn't be able to throw the firecocks at Harthacnut's navy with a large amount of skill.
    • Hiccup trained the dragons to drag nets to catch a large amount of fish. It also turned out to be useful in catching a large amount of ships, specifically the ones part of Harthacnut's navy.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: There are several volcanoes on Iceland. Fearless purposely triggers an eruption at one of them to defeat the Screaming Death, which has the side effect of also taking out Mildew and Mold.
  • 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."
  • Chosen Conception Partner: Jonna and Reidun, a married pair of Norse lesbians, realize that, they might want heirs with their sudden promotion to the heads of a new Hooligan clan. They discuss adoption, but ultimately decide that having their own biological children would be nice. They offer Stoick right of first refusal, resulting in him giving a Spit Take and a stammered "No thank you!", and then turn to Gobber, who watched his old friend with amusement. Gobber, after some thought, accepts, despite being gay himself, acknowledging that this isn't romantic love at all – and he has some very personal reasons to accept.
  • The Clan: There were five major clans on Berk at the start of the story, being Haddock, Hofferson, Jorgenson, Thorston and Ingerman. After Harthacnut was deposed, four new clans are formed, one of which is Joms.
  • 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. Jonna predicts Hiccup's response 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 involved her parents getting beaten for every failure on Heather's part.
  • Combat by Champion:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: The author, after being asked, made a tumblr post with faceclaims for some of the fic's OC's.
  • Common Law Marriage: After Roisin is rescued, she and Fintan spend months living as a married couple without officially marrying due to Fintan's issues with Christian vows having been made a thrall by Christians and questions on whether or not they could marry using Norse Pagan vows.
  • Conscription: Harthacnut's initial attack on Berk included about three-thousand conscripts. Markus is one of them, and his experiences demonstrates just how poorly they're treated.
  • Control Freak: After Snotlout/Sigurd relocates to Rome, once Hiccup learns what Snotlout has done with his dragon-training experience he spends some time attempting to basically watch everyone taking part in dragon training to ensure that nobody 'inappropriate' gets a dragon, until Astrid and Wulfhild observe that this gives the impression he doesn't trust them.
  • Construction Is Awesome: The Hooligan tribe is already noted as being heavily invested into infrastructure construction (because they needed to keep their output as high as possible in the face of dragon-raids), and now that they're politically expanding, they're building roads, cities, bridges, canals, universities... and that's even before Hiccup's Person of Mass Construction tendencies come to the fore.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The Bog Burglars claim that they capture potential rapists, build a wicker man out on the cliffs where ships can see, stick the rapist inside, and set it on fire, but Cami confirms to Heather, Atali, and Toiréasa that the tribe haven't actually done that for ages because of the lack of wood on their island to make a wicker man of that size. As such, they've had to 'settle' for more mundane punishments like hanging and castration.
  • 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.
  • Crossover:
  • 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 48-51; "Things Fall Apart…", "…The Center Cannot Hold…", "Mere Anarchy Is Loosed Upon The World" (from W.B. Yeats' The Second Coming)
    • 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, due to pressures from the Dragon War forcing them to adapt and adopt practical changes. Specifically:
      • They have universal literacy to preserve critical knowledge. Should for example, a Lawspeaker die because they attacked a Monstrous Nightmare sorely under-equipped while drunk, someone else will need to know the laws to replace him. And the incident did in fact happen and is cited by Gobber when he explains to Wulfhild why they write all these things down.
      • They have instituted social welfare because anyone could find themselves homeless and destitute because of a dragon-raid, and to make sure the tribe as a whole can survive, they need their worst off to be able to get back on their feet.
      • They abolished thralldom because defending their homes from dragons requires as many hands as possible, and when half their defenders had been injured from one bad raid night, the chief of the time promised every thrall freedom if they took up arms.
      • They abandoned the practice of exposing infants deemed weak due to the tribe's low birthrates resulting in them prizing any child they get.
      • They give their infants absurd or at least unconventional names out of a belief that it protects their children from real and imagined dangers.
    • 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.
  • Cult of Personality: Shown to be developing around Hiccup and Stoick, completely without their intentions, and helped along by their actions (Hiccup being a Hero and Stoick being a Good King). Conversely, Viggo specifically mentions in his internal monologue that he intends to emulate their examples and build up one around himself as king of Al Jazīra Al-Khadrā.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Unprepared medieval-era conventional forces tend to take heavy and disproportionate losses against dragon-riders, and even those ones that are prepared tend to also take heavy losses. Anyone who goes up against Hiccup and backs him into a corner also tends to take disproportionate losses without Hiccup losing a single person. The comparative death tolls speaks for themselves. In major battles with Berk, the other party could lose at least one hundred soldiers and only kill one Hooligan and their dragon. The Byzantine emissary sent to Berk reported to Theodora his shock at the fact that Berk fought four major battles against forces that vastly outnumbered them, and won all four.
  • 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 Ragnarök: 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 jötunn against Asgard.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Explicitly referenced by Stoick when Jonna (a lesbian) thanks him for not even trying to talk her into sleeping with him as a precondition of service. Stoick accepts the compliment in spirit it was given (honestly complimentary), but is a bit irked at being compared with "one of those men." Of course, Jonna brought it up as a lead-in for her next topic – her need for an heir for her clan. After giving Stoick, ahem, right of first refusal, Stoick does a Spit Take, turns her down, and beats a hasty retreat. Gobber finds the whole thing hysterical.
  • Dawn of an Era: The fic makes it very clear that Hiccup making friends with Toothless in HTTYD 1 was a pivotal moment for world history, with several epigraphs using such wording. Hiccup's actions leading to the domestication of dragons upsetted the entire world order and the next few centuries became known as the Dragon Era.
  • 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.
  • Dead Guy Junior:
    • In Chapter 93, Hiccup and Astrid name their first daughter Valka Zephyr, after Hiccup's legally-declared dead mother.
    • In Chapter 116, Fishlegs and Heather name their son Oswald, after Heather's dead father.
  • Dead Man's Switch: Mildew warns Mac Bethad that if the latter kills the former, letters will be dispatched to Stoick explaining everything they did. It took over a year, but Mac Bethad's people managed to locate those letters, destroy them, and kill the people who had possession of those letters. Except they missed one. Mildew told Peader and presumably most of the others that he'll send them letters every four months. Taskill managed to trace these to Peader and the other possessors of the incrimating letters. However, he told Fraser that he'll contact him yearly. Without a letter to Fraser to trace, he escaped the fate of Mildew's other contacts. The incriminating letter Mildew gave him is still intact. Overall the plan is decent but nearly fails because no one actually likes Mildew all that much. The remaining letter winds up gathering dust in a tavern keeper's papers while he decides what to do about it... until it is seized by Berk as part of entirely unrelated fraud charges. It reaches Stoic and alerts him to Mac Bethad's treachery merely hours after Hiccup's retinue leave to talk to Mac Bethad about his spies.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Hiccup and Astrid regularly have pun wars, and Hiccup's snark is weapons-grade.
    • Fintan mac Ionatan also has his moments—
      • Such as his comeback against Tuathel:
      Tuathel: Hold still so I can kill you, you bastard!
      Fintan: My parents were married!
      • Or when Astrid doesn't appreciate being woken up early:
      Fintan: Well, if this isn't a good time, I could go ask the three thousand man war-band heading towards us if they'd be willing to wait.
  • Decadent Court: The Byzantine Roman Empire's politics are extremely ruthless and cutthroat. Blackmail and extortion is actually on the more restrained end. The situation is bad enough that they hire Vikings as imperial bodyguards, so they won't be invested in internal politics. At least... that's the idea.
  • Death by Adaptation: Several historical characters die sooner in this fic then they did in Real Life. Also a few characters from the HTTYD franchise die sooner here than they did in canon, assuming they died at all.
    • Historical characters
      • 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.
      • Argyrus dies in 1042, twenty six years 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 
      • Zoë 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.
      • Thanks to this Tumblr chat we learn that several historical characters died during the attempted attack on Vedrarfjord in chapter 73.
      1. Diarmait mac Máel na mBó dies in 1042, thirty years before his historical death date.
      2. Donnchad mac Briain dies in 1042, twenty two years before his historical death date.
      3. Art Uallach Ua Ruairc dies in 1042, four years before his historical death date.
      4. Diarmaid mac Tadgh Ua Ceallaigh dies in 1042, twenty three years before his historical death date.
      • Eochaid mac Niall dies in 1042, twenty years before his historical death date.
      • Niall mac Eochada dies in 1042, twenty one years before his historical death date.
      • Kül Bilgä Tengri Khan dies in 1043, at least twenty five years before he died in real life.note 
    • HTTYD characters
      • In canon Oswald the Agreeable wasn't killed by his son Dagur, here he was.
      • In canon the fate of the Screaming Death post-TV show is unknown; here he is killed by Toothless's sister Fearless causing a volcanic eruption.
      • In canon, Toothless's Nemesis's (here named Mold) fate post-TV show is unknown; here he is killed when Toothless's sister Fearless sacrifices herself to kill her former nest-lord.
      • In canon, Mildew's fate was left unconfirmed after Berk made peace with the Outcasts; here he is killed when Toothless's sister Fearless sacrifices herself to kill her former nest-lord.
      • In canon Savage's fate post-TV show is unknown; here he is killed by Jacob stabbing him in the back with a sword.
  • Death from Above: Fighting from dragon-back makes attacks from above very easy to inflict on enemies if they don't have something to specifically counter Dragon Riders.
  • Death Seeker: Downplayed with Dagur. He's not actively seeking to die, but does not mind knowing his sister wants to kill him, saying he deserves to die.
  • Death of a Child: Dragon eggs explode not because they're hatching, but because the dragon foetus has developed some fault that will prevent it from hatching normally, effectively the dragon version of a miscarriage. In Chapter 98, one of the first eggs of the year's latest clutch to explode is one of Stormfly's and Toothless'.
  • 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.
  • Dictionary Opening: Chapters 5, 89, and 100 has epigraphs explaining the meaning of the terms Thawfest, Weregild, and Yule respectively.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • When Inga planned to get revenge on Rolf's family for a family feud for the sake of her mother due to how poorly their courtship ended by humiliating his son Dogsbreath, she didn't expect it to result in her and Dogsbreath accidentally violating Sacred Hospitality and running for it because she gave a stupid dare that Dogsbreath took seriously. She probably didn't expect that she'd end up falling in love with Dogsbreath and marrying him either.
    • Hiccup suggests that the Hooligans annex the Eirish territories that tried to attack them and are now leaderless to prevent further bloodshed. When Bladewit speaks up, he is caught off guard by the fact she completely agrees with him. He shares a look with his father and Stoick is also surprised.
    • 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.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When the Hooligans attacked Vedrarfjord it was just to get rid of the king. That they might have to take over the place now that it doesn't have a leader never occurred to them. As Hiccup puts it when talking to Astrid about it:
    Hiccup: Oops, we just conquered a city?
  • Disaster Dominoes: Inga only planned to get revenge on Rolf's family for a family feud by taking it out on his son Dogsbreath. It resulted in her and Dogsbreath accidentally violating Sacred Hospitality and running for it which would lead to them being captured by a French noble to kill his rivals. They managed to escape and after helping with a rebellion in Denmark, ended up going all the way to Constantinpole to join Dogsbreath's cousin in exile until both the Hooligans and the Bogs forgive them for the original violation of Sacred Hospitality. So in short, what should have been a simple revenge plan blew completely and utterly out of proportion and affects the geopolitics of at least four countries, Berk, France, Denmark and Byzantine Rome.
  • 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 1,090,823 words as of chapter 100, the fic is officially longer than the combined length of the seven main Harry Potter books (1,084,170).
  • Double Standard: The laws against having sex before betrothal are not enforced evenly with violators not treated equally. In the case of Hiccup and Astrid, chaperones are willing to look the other way, and no one ever raised a fuss in spite of everyone knowing they were in violation of the law. Lopsides on the other hand is a pariah for it, and it could be a lot worse for her if she wasn't the daughter of a clanhead. Heather was also ostracised, with only the fact Fishlegs enjoyed some of the same preferential treatment Hiccup and Astrid had mitigating the harassment, though in her case, a huge part of it was the fact she was a spy. The Double Standard is especially blatant with Tuffnut and Mor. Them having sex while courting is openly talked about but no one is speaking out against it.
  • Dragon Rider: Most adult members and some of the non-adults of the Hooligan tribe rides a dragon, which gives their comparatively small community a huge military advantage compared to entire nations.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: While dragons in this setting are just really weird animals, quite a few characters (namely Christian ones) believe them to be Satanic spawns, with some outright calling them demons, devils, or hellbeasts. After the Dragon Mail stations have been set up however, this becomes less prevalent as people get more used to dragons being around (as intended by Hiccup, which is partly why he set up the mail).
  • Dragons Are Divine:
    • After being freed from Harhacnut's tyranny by Dragon Riders, Markus starts comparing dragons to angels.
    • Drago mentions that dragons are venerated as messengers of the gods in Çin (China).
  • The Dragons Come Back: According to the epigraphs, dragons were comparatively rare during the time period of the story but they eventually became omnipresent in human society.
  • The Dragonslayer:
    • The Hooligan Tribe used to be full of people capable of slaying dragons in one on one combat before they tamed the dragons. Some former dragon slayers didn't adapt well.
    • Drago Bludvist killed hundreds of dragons before he independently of Berk found a way to tame dragons by making them submit to his strength. Even after realising the benefits of having dragons fight for him, he still mentions his kill count to impress other people.
  • 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 widely feared by the rest of Europe, especially the Christian part of it, to the point that those that deliberately attack them without a huge army of their own are considered Too Dumb to Live. As things stand, Rome, one of the centres of Christianity, is too afraid to actually attack them and are all too happy to accept peace.
    • Toothless in particular tends to reduce brave men into quivering wrecks the moment they hear the unmistakable sound of a Night Fury. In fact, the entire species is feared and centuries later, nations that have confirmed members of the species are at an edge compared to those without, even if they have other dragon breeds.
  • 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.
  • Due to the Dead: After Toothless's sister Fearless gives her life to stop the Screaming Death that was once her nest-lord, Hiccup makes sure to tell the rest of Berk about her sacrifice. Even the Christian priest sets up a monument for her, musing that, regardless of whether or not dragons have souls, he wants God to know that they appreciate her sacrifice. Later, Óengus, a silversmith, asks for some scales from Toothless to complete various pendants he's making in the style of a Night Fury to further honour Fearless's sacrifice.
  • 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. It's mused that, after an accomplishment like that, Odin and Freyja are likely competing over who gets to claim his service as an Einherjar.
    • Fearless sacrifices herself to set off a volcanic eruption that kills the Screaming Death and takes out Mildew and Mold as mere collateral damage.

    E - L 
  • 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: A key plot point in the series involves invoking this trope, as Hiccup and Stoick are working with Trader Johann to establish a mail delivery service throughout Europe, using dragons to carry mail.
  • Easy Logistics: Dragons eat a lot and Mac Bethad's court was shocked that Berk can afford to feed their army of dragons. Berk manages it because of several reasons. One, with the death of the Green Death, the ecosystem suddenly had a surplus to go towards other predators, such as Berk's dragon. Two, Berk uses the dragons themselves to catch all the fish they'll need to feed them while using the dragon's labour to be more efficient about feeding everyone. Dragon dung also makes good fertiliser, so the humans can grow more bountiful harvests which means they can allocate more fish towards the dragons while the humans eat the crops. Sigurd suggests following Berk's example of having the dragons help catch the food to feed them to help solve the Byzantine's logistical issues but his assistant says they'll be in such demand for warfare that they can't spare their labour for that.
  • Eating Contest: Mentioned as one of the popular highlights of the Thawfest; Fishlegs comes in second at the 1042 AD sausage-eating contest.
  • Elective Monarchy: As is normal for Norse cultures, the Hooligans elect their rulers, and as their territories grow, electing who is the ruler's heir becomes the method by which title inheritance is handled within their empire.
  • 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; despite being told Astrid's family would accept any reasonable offer, 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". He surpasses all expectations by giving a literal King's ransom as the bride price.
    "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."
  • Epigraph: Each chapter opens with an epigraph sourced from a fictional work from the future of the alternate history, which give painless exposition on some element of foreshadowing or worldbuilding, with the framing for each being as varied as textbooks, to a Norse-flavored Wiki, to military dossiers on the dragon breeds.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Eret assumes quite reasonably that in the triad of Gobber, Jonna and Heidrun, the latter two are the former's wives since that is a normal arrangement for Norsemen. What he doesn't know is that Gobber is Jonna's and Heirdun's concubine since he's not aware of the very possibility that men can be concubines.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • For all that Einar is the man who grabbed power over Norway, unlike Henricksson, he isn't a hypocritical fanatical fundamentalist.
    • Although Alvin's training of his spies was brutal, Toiréasa realizes when watching Dagur and Savage torture a prisoner that at least Alvin's torture was always for a purpose, whereas the current torture is just for the sake of inflicting pain. She later learns that Dagur actually doesn't approve of Savage's more ruthless actions, such as attacking small villages with overwhelming force, and Dagur has even avoided raping any women while being ruthless enough to imply that he'd kill anyone who questioned his attitude.
    • When Drago is informed that he needs a woman to legitimise his position as the new Kagan, he immediately rejects the idea of taking the Kagan's widow for himself (although nobody was suggesting that as an option given her age), and is uncomfortable with taking another woman because she's so much younger than him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Most of Heather's detractors in the tribe agree that Vigdis' actions that almost succeeded in getting her raped crossed the line and led to them being more sympathetic to Heather.
  • 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. Word of God is that part of the reason for this is that they're so used to dealing with people who are power-hungry conquerors that they simply don't have any life-experience that would let them recognise that Berk is different. The Chapter 82 epigraph addresses this issue. The epigraph is authored by Hiccup himself and in it, he shows that he eventually realises that the majority of Berk's enemies are trapped in a cycle of fear and mistrust and that someone has to show them trust and help them for that cycle to break.
    • Later on, Drago only lets Kurya treat his dragon with kindness because he believes the dragon's 'true' nature will show itself eventually and he just idly hopes that the beast won't maim his friend's son too badly when the time comes.
    • In Chapter 99, King Henry of France interprets the news that Stoick has adopted Duke William of Normandy into his family by speculating on how this gives Berk an opportunity to annex Normandy if William dies, rather than recognise that the Haddocks just made such arrangements because they care about William rather than caring about the Duke.
  • Evil Is Petty: Eochaid sends a poisoner to Berk for no other reason than pure spite. When he was discovered as the culprit, his own vassals turned on him for such dishonourable conduct.
  • Evil Regent: Einar Thambarskelfir seized power over Norway by having himself appointed regent and tries to keep Magnus dependent on him (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.
  • Exotic Extended Marriage: Berk and the future North Sea Empire allows polyamory. One epigraph notes that the record for the largest legally wed group is nine.
  • Expecting Someone Taller:
    • Everyone who has heard of the Hero of Berk expected someone who looked like a stereotypical viking. Reactions to actually meeting Hiccup range from mild surprise to complete bewilderment.
    • Inverted with Viggo and Stoick. After seeing that the tales had exaggerated Hiccup's size, Viggo immediately assumed the same was true of Stoick, only to be stunned to see that Stoick's size was not exaggerated.
  • 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). The deposed Emperor Michael V has his eyes gouged out 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 Bethad 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 Harthacnut.
  • Famed in Story: Hiccup has a saga, The Hero of Berk. He finds it humiliating. Berk also became renowned, due to their wealth and military might from their dragons, to the point that various powers are trying to either emulate them, ally with them, or destroy them.
  • Famous Ancestor: One of the most respected ancestors of the present story Hooligan Tribe is 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 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 despite having never spoken to another Jewish person besides him.
  • Fantastic Caste System: One of the arguments against limiting dragon adoption to allied clans was that it would lead to a new caste system where Dragon Riders are at the top and those without are effectively thralls. Bladewit counters that even without dragons, there was always a caste system and that those without dragons are still treated equitably and have all of the other rights that the members of the allied clans have. The actual reality a few years after Berk domesticated the dragons is that Berk's Dragon Riders are now nobles in all but name, with powerful established nobles arranging marriages or concubinages with them.
  • Fantastic Honorifics:
    • Stoick and Hiccup are occassionally called "Dragon Lord".
    • The female dragon riders are sometimes called "Lady Rider".
    • The Hooligans and Byzantines have separately come up with different titles for the dragons in charge of a nest. The Hooligans use Thengill while the Byzantines use Alphadraconis.
  • Fantastic Legal Weirdness: The Hooligans eventually grant dragons a special legal status where they are granted a lot of the same rights humans have with their rider being held responsible for their behaviour.
  • Fantastic Medicinal Bodily Product: Many of the dragons produce substances (mostly venoms, but some tears and salivas) of medicinal value, including anesthetics, heart medications, paralytics, sterilizing agents, and even abortificants.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: The Hooligan Tribe have a unique tradition of giving their children absurd or otherwise unconventional names out of a belief this protects them from real or imagined dangers.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Hooligans are viewed as evil because they ride dragons, which is viewed as a sign of witchcraft or devil-worship to their Christian neighbors.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness:
    • In the early part of the story, Christians view dragons as Satan's servants. This attitude starts changing, and it many cases, outright reverses itself with dragons being compared to angels and saints as the story progresses.
    • Muslim scholars are furiously debating the propriety of the use of dragon-flights to perform the hajj.
    • After it becomes known Buffalord saliva is a potent cure for many ailments, the Jewish community ask the Rabbis if it's kosher. They all answer yes, citing pikuach nefesh where saving a life took priority over nearly every law.
  • Fantastic Science: Dragon Biology becomes its own field of science in the future of the story, with several epigraphs coming from a text called An Introduction To Dragon Biology, 17th Edition, Oxford University Press, 1793.
  • 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. However, Fishwings Ingerman (Fishlegs' older sister) and Lopsides are revealed to know due to secretly reading the Healer's Book while it's implied Basir al-Lixbuna also knows.
  • 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 Byzantine Roman Empire to find a new place for himself, leaving just Hiccup, Astrid, and Fishlegs in Berk.
  • Femme Fatale Spy:
    • Delilah uses her feminine wiles to manipulate men of power, and she and her husband Alvin the Treacherous specialize in training more women in Delilah's craft to do their bidding.
    • Technically Heather and others have the potential to use their feminine wiles to manipulate men 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 civilisation, ranging from historical books providing brief hints about the human characters' future histories to some details about dragon biology.
  • Fictional Geneva Conventions: In the future of the story, multiple international treaties have declared the intentional killing of a Buffalord dragon a war-crime because Buffalord saliva have incredible healing properties and killing one would only serve to promote diseases.
  • Fictional Sport: With dragons, there are a lot of sports on dragon-back or otherwise involves the use of dragons:
    • Berk introduced a lot of them to their Thawfest games, such as dragon racing.
    • When the story first went to Norway, Wulfhild had the idea of playing a game of battledore on dragon-back.
    • The Pechenegs had a similar idea, adapting the game of buzkashi traditionally played on horse-back to being on dragons.
  • Fingore: When Mildew tortures Hiccup, he starts by ripping out at least one of Hiccup's fingernails.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Stoick and Fergus, due to the latter coming the closest to beating the former in an arm-wrestling match.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • The epigraph for Chapter 7 talks about England's burh and herepath system that was notably effective in repelling viking raids, up until the vikings tamed dragons. The opening scene for that chapter then shows Snotlout and other members of his clan about to raid one of said burhs.
    • The epigraph for Chapter 78 mentions that since the only thing that can counter a dragon-riding force on anything resembling equal footing is another dragon-riding force, everyone had two options. That they could either have dragons, or they will be beholden to one with dragons. The opening scene then shows Drago strong-arming several chiefs into joining his Khagan and punishing them severely for refusing.
  • Fix Fic: Of a sort to ''HTTYD'' 3; the dragons don't leave or retreat from the world, but remain integrated with human society, and Hiccup's friendship with Toothless and example of a harmonious society does change the world. Unique in the fact that the fic was begun over two years before the third movie was released.
  • Food Porn: Some of the descriptions of the banquets (especially the wedding banquets) have apparently set some of the readers to drooling.
  • Foreign Ruling Class: During Book 3, Berk ends up controlling Southern Eire. The majority of the population is Eirish, but Berk itself is Norse. One of the new Eirish vassal lords points out that even though this was due to Berk offering annexation, it still smacks of conquest though they manage to keep the peace by keeping the vassalised Eirish lords in charge but with new duties to run things the way Berk does. Epigraphs reveal that this eventually extends to all of Eire and the Eirish become so loyal due to everything Berk does for them that they resolutely back House Haddock in the Grand Thing.
  • 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.
    • In a less positive direction, in chapter 21, Snotlout trading with some villagers along the Dnieper river, and hits upon the idea to use some of Hookfang's shed scales as payment rather than his few remaining coins. The shed scales get used as currency further downriver, and at least one Pecheneg man trades with him and sees him riding Hookfang. That Pecheneg man later goes around as a courier between the Pecheneg encampments and shows off the scales that he got in trade while telling of the dragon-rider he saw, and meets one dragon-hunter in the process. And then the dragon-hunter, after a period of disbelief, proceeds to tame his first dragon while out on a hunt, and brings more tamed dragons to the Great Kagan of the Pechenegs. So a bolt of cloth that Snotlout wanted to trade for is the nail that leads to Drago Bludvist and the Pechenegs starting to conquer across the Asian Steppes.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The epigraphs reveal a few things ahead of time:
    • Chapter 60's epigraph reveal that Stoick will somehow lose an eye and a hand and will hire a woman of a different faith who never married. That woman is Eshter.
    • Chapter 79's epigraph reveal that Mac Bethad will die in a duel with Astrid, with Chapter 57's epigraph dating this to 18 April 1043.
  • Forgets to Eat: One of the Jews who moved to Vedrarfjord, Niv ben Shelomo, has been known to forget to eat by being so engrossed in his studies.
  • 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.
    • In Chapter 2, the lack of options for Ruffnut in men close to her age besides her brother is brought up and foreshadows two different things. Ruffnut would later find love outside the tribe, King Magnus of Norway, and all as part of an alliance between Berk and Norway. It also foreshadows that Deadly Nadder venom can cause miscarriages if even a small prick hits a pregnant women, which is why there was a lack of options for Ruffnut in the first place.
    • In Chapter 7, Stoick mentions their lopsided population of having more elders than youths, which also foreshadows the fact that Deadly Nadder venom causes a miscarriage even in small doses.
    • Pliny's books are shown to have information on dragons when Fishlegs checks them in Chapter 7. One hundred and fourteen chapters later, Viggo checks those books and finds information on a nest no one else alive knows about.
    • Before The Reveal of a Jew joining the Hooligan tribe roughly a century in the past and a significant portion of the present Hooligan tribe as well as the ruling families of the Meatheads and Bog Burglars are descended from him, there was a lot of foreshadowing. In Chapter 6, Bladewit's patronymic is Drorsdoitter. Dror is not a Norse name. In Chapter 41, Fishlegs mentions that his great-grandfather could speak Evreet and Aramaya, which given that he was from France, is highly unusual. In Chapter 42, Gunvor mentions that the Hooligans traditional way of counting people is to have them pay a coin and count those, which is a Jewish tradition. In Chapter 55, when telling Heather about him, Fishlegs mentioned that by his people's custom of handling patronymics, he was Dror ben Ezra.
    • In Chapter 8, Stoick angrily tells Snotlout that his actions won't lead to glory and Harthacnut paying them tribute, but to Harthacnut attacking them, with the tribe's only hope of survival being another of Hiccup's ideas. In Chapters 24 and 25, that is more or less exactly what happens.
    • In Chapter 9, one of the villagers of Glenfinnan asks Hiccup to deliver a package to her daughter in a neighbouring village. This foreshadows Hiccup developing the Dragon Mail and in fact is the inspiration for it.
    • In Chapter 16, Father Michael Henricksson looks at Hiccup and Astrid in disapproval. This is actually very subtle foreshadowing for The Reveal that he was behind the assassination attempt on them the previous chapter and his disapproval is actually him being upset they survived.
    • In Chapter 24, Fishlegs noted that he saw the various different dragon species mating outside their kind. This is foreshadowing for The Reveal that the dragons are more one singular species with many breeds.
    • The epigraph for Chapter 26 mentions that the battle of the Sound of Berk was the only battle of the First Berkian-English war. For there to be a First war, there has to be a Second, which happens in Chapter 73.
    • Trader Johann mentions in Chapter 49 selling the refined oleander to someone other than Mildew. The buyer was Eochaid who uses it to try to assassinate Clan Haddock.
    • Fearless' sacrificing herself was foreshadowed. The Chapter 25 epigraph mentions that most Night Furies are descended from Toothless. Had Fearless lived to see Berk, roughly half should have been descended from her.
    • The epigraphs foreshadowed that Valka is alive. Chapter 67's epigraph makes a point in mentioning Valka was legally declared dead. In Chapter 80, the epigraph mentions some Dragon Nests made a tentative shift to agriculture and fish-farming before the Dragon Era started. Those nests learned it from Valka I.
    • There was a lot of build-up towards the telescope being the invention Hiccup makes that allows him to pass Astrid's challenge. The chapter 23 epigraph mentions that Hiccup encountered Ibn al-Haytham's writings to use as the basis to create the most earth-shattering scientific innovations of his career. Also starting chapter 23, Fishlegs spends a lot of time setting up a proper glass workshop and after getting an actual trained glass craftman in Chapter 55, succeeds by Chapter 59. Chapter 113 shows Hiccup asking the glass workshop to prepare some lens for him.
    • In Chapter 10, one of Mac Bethad's spies, Gregor, mentions once fighting a shieldmaiden. Over one-hundred chapters later, in Chapter 116, it turns out Jonna is the shieldmaiden in question and she identifies him as a spy.
  • Foreign Queasine: Ruffnut finds Roman-style garum (fermented fish-sauce) to be... less than palatable.
  • Fourth Date Marriage:
    • Ruffnut and Magnus the Good. They barely knew each other for a week or so before the latter proposed.
    • As of Chapter 60, Cami proposes to Merida. They knew each other as long as the previous example did, perhaps less.
  • 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 unnamed Hobblegrunt, a Scauldron named Wavecrest, and a Deadly Nadder named Windleaf).
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • From the public perspective, Berk has gone from being an insignificant isolated tribe to a major political power in a few short years 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.
    • Snotlout also fits 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.
  • Futureshadowing: The epigraphs, being mostly excerpts from historical or other texts from far in the future, foreshadows a lot of key plot points and developments, with some still waiting to happen:
    • Chapter 13's epigraph tells that diplomatic relations opening between Berk and Norway led to Berk taking a larger role on the world stage, and several chapters later, starting with Harthacnut's attack on them, this is actually shown and takes up a large portion of the story.
    • Chapter 15's epigraph mentions that Berk's Norse culture has actually diverged from mainstream Norse of the time, which caused culture shocks to other societies, including mainstream Norse. Dozens of chapters later, this culture clash is shown when the Jonna's Jomsviking group shows up and joins Berk. Even after fighting side by side against Harthacnut and being recognised as an allied clan, there are still issues.
    • Chapter 16's epigraph reveals that Wulfhild would end up in a marital alliance. It would later be revealed that this is with Hiccup as his concubine.
    • Chapter 45's epigraph mentions that a Gronckle's breath attack can have variable effects based on what they eat. This foreshadows them producing steel cheaply in an era where steel is both rare and expensive.
    • Chapter 48's epigraph mentions that Berk would annex Eire piece by piece, beyond what they already had by that point in the story. Chapters 73 and 74 shows that this is because Southern Eire united to attack them, were defeated, and annexed to stop further bloodshed.
    • Chapter 60's epigraph mention that Stoick will hire a woman of a different faith who never married as an aide. This later turns out to be Eshter, a Jew from Normandy.
    • Chapter 63's epigraph mentions that the Normans will conquer, among other places, the Straits of Jabal Ṭāriq, and that they practice meritocratic egalitarianism, integration and syncretism. The leader of the Norman conquerors in question turns out to be Viggo and the reason he implemented those practices is because he saw how well-beloved the rule of the Hooligans were in Vedrarfjord and wanted to emulate their success.
    • Chapter 68's epigraph has Astrid explaining that warfare involving Dragon Riders against Dragon Riders aims to capture rather than kill or drive off the dragons because dragons were just too rare and valuable to realistically do otherwise in most situations. Later in the chapter, it shows Sigurd attempting to capture the dragons of the forces loyal to Michael V, and succeeding.
    • Chapter 82's epigraph mentions that some people do accept the chance Hiccup gives them to escape the cycle of fear and mistrust that they're trapped in. In Chapter 118, it turns out Dagur is one of those who accepts the chance to escape that cycle.
    • Chapter 86's epigraph mentions that Hiccup not meeting King Henry of the Capets while visiting every other major noble and king soured relations before they had the chance to formally open due to the apparent snubbing. When Hiccup finally does meet him, Henry is indeed mistrustful of Hiccup and his activities.
    • Chapter 107's epigraph mentions that in the aftermath of the New-Year Fire Rout, there were significant political developments among the Pechenegs. Later in the chapter, Kagan Berk, believing his son to be dead, announces Drago as his heir .
  • 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 Vedrarfjord, 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.
  • Gender Is No Object: The Hooligan Tribe has all their women fighting alongside all their men. The reason they practice this compared to other cultures is due to the Dragon War necessitating that everyone be able to fight. After the end of the Dragon War, they kept doing it, and at least one outsider observed that gender makes no difference when you're a Dragon Rider.
  • Gender Reveal: Gudmund Halvarsson is actually Heidrun Halvarsdoittor, a fact she reveals after kissing Sigurd, and while he's sputtering in surprise and confusion, still not getting it, decides to take drastic measures and pulls off her shirt, just to get it through his very dense head.
  • Global Currency: Dragon scales and teeth becomes in use as a currency far beyond Berk's territories, with even their enemies using them.
  • The Good King: His insistence on not being called King aside, Stoick cares about everyone in Berk's territory, even the ones that were part of the groups that attacked Berk. He does his best to look after their welfare, and this makes them very loyal.
  • 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 a kingdom where most citizens are happy and provided for.
  • 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.
  • Government Procedural: Downplayed. The story is not focused solely on the workings of government, but there are several times where laws and policies are decided:
    • During Book 2, there is a lot of debate on who gets to adopt a dragon. Despite Hiccup's and his supporters efforts, the tribe votes to keep adoption rights only to members of the Allied Clans.
    • During Book 3, Magnus is shown trying to organise how the government procedures should work after he becomes King of England and Denmark. After hearing suggestions, he organises Things in Denmark and transforms England's Witengamot which was previously only for the elites into Things so that commoners can have a say too.
    • Also during Book 3, a lot of laws are voted on to allow for the annexations of the Bog Burglars and Meatheads tribes into the Hooligans. Among other things, anything that requires an oath to be sworn against one of the Hooligans' gods is changed so that the person can invoke any god or goddess of their choosing and for the Bog Burglars specifically, the Hooligans vote to pass a law allowing abused and/or runaway women to seek sanctuary status with them.
  • 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.
  • Grandfather Clause: In arguing for restricting dragon-adoption to members of allied clans only, Bladewit makes a point of mentioning that it is not retrospective and the clanless members of the tribe who wanted to have a dragon already got one and will not have them taken away.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: The new Book of Dragons that Hiccup and Fishlegs are writing contains everything new they learned about dragons after Berk tamed them. Heather realised that this makes the book an extremely valuable tool, as anyone with it doesn't have to go through the effort of making the same discoveries they did. Later chapters also reveal that it doesn't contain the extensive medicinal uses of dragon parts that the healers know, and they'd like to keep it that way. Gothi has her own separate Book of Dragons with this knowledge that Hiccup and Fishlegs and the rest of the non-healers don't know about.
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • Hiccup lost a leg, but his genius allows him to make weapons that more than makes up for it.
    • Toothless lost part of his tail fins, but the prosthetic tail Hiccup made allows him to keep up.
    • Drago Bludvist has only one arm, that doesn't stop him from out fighting able-bodied people and dragons.
  • Happily Adopted:
    • Heather and Mhairi are both happy with their adoptive parents.
    • In chapter 98, William accepts being adopted by Stoick into Clan Haddock, and Stoick will happily teach him how to be a leader.
  • Has Two Mommies: While Hiccup is a constant part of his childrens' lives, it is made clear that Astrid and Wulfhild consider the other's child to be their child as well; the only difference which of them gave birth to which child makes is in terms of who the child will be 'allowed' to marry later.
  • 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.
  • Hegemonic Empire: Starting with Veisafjord conquering themselves and giving themselves to Hiccup, Berk found itself with expanding territories with people who want to be their vassals due to their high standards-of-living.
  • 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 Sacrifice:
    • Heavily injured and knowing they're slowing the group down, Fritjof and his Zippleback, Nott and Delling, face against their pursuers and take about one hundred horsemen and their horses down with them, saving his tribe's heir and the rest of their retinue.
    • Fearless, Toothless's sister, sacrifices herself to set off a volcanic eruption that kills the Screaming Death that was once her nest-lord, the subsequent eruption also killing Mildew and his Whispering Death.
  • 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 are real historical figures, for obvious reasons. The biggest examples are Wulfhild and Magnus of House Fairhair of Norway, who have equal prominence to Hiccup and the rest of the first flight of dragon riders as others call them.
  • 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.
  • Hope Spot: Kerr made it to Ivor's village carrying information Berk would want to know. He is told that they get regular visits and Berk is a few hours away by dragon-flight and is relieved. Then Dagur catches up, kills him, and kills or enslaved the rest of the village.
  • 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.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Toothless observes that the dragons have begun to learn compassion from the humans, as if the dragons were still wild he would probably have been abandoned by the rest of his kind after the loss of his tail-fin as opposed to life on Berk where he has been given a chance to fly again. After over two years living with humans, Eret notices dragons developing a taste for ornamentation, such as Stormfly getting carvings on her horns in a similar style to human tattoos or another Nadder getting gold gilding on its horns after its rider started wearing earrings. After Fearless's sacrifice, Toothless is genuinely touched to see how so many humans have found ways to commemorate his sister's sacrifice, regretting his own realisation that he has so few memories of his own parents compared to his time under Fire-Hunger's rule.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: Dragons call humans "walkers".
  • Hurricane of Puns: Hiccup and Astrid tend to exchange these whenever they are flirting.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Snotlout eventually realises what a huge hypocrite he was when he gave the Byzantines dragons while loathing Hiccup for doing the same with Norway. He also realises that what he did was worse than what Hiccup did, because Hiccup personally gained something out of his deal while also benefiting Berk, while Snotlout did it because he had a crush on his homophobic commander and has nothing to show for it on that front and his actions endangered Berk.
  • I Am X, Son of Y:
    • Due to naming conventions in the era, patronymics are 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, with his people's version of the trope.
  • 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 81, 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.
    • For obvious reasons, Valka assumes that Stoick has married again to the extent that she wonders how Hiccup gets along with his half-siblings rather than consider that Stoick loved her too much to take another bride.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Tyrannical Thengills can and will engage in cannibalising other dragons, be it because of perceived treason like with the Screaming Death eating a dragon carrying a human or something as petty as not bringing enough tribute like with the Green Death.
  • 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 main players in the British Isles, knows it, and takes unnecessarily drastic actions because of it. He keeps trying to destroy or at least weaken Berk, thinking they intend to invade his realm but they have no such ambitions. 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.
  • Inhumanable Alien Rights: Drago and the Pechenegs enslave dragons and mistreat them, considering them just beasts, because they don't recognise their intelligence.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Hiccup's daughters Valka and Asta catch an illness later, the village is able to find a cure from Buffalord spit, and when a Screaming Death goes on a rampage that leads to the death of Toothless's sister Fearless, one of the only surviving eggs is Fearless's own.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: All the problems Snotlout caused from his attempts to seize glory in the first ten chapters of the story were motivated by him feeling overshadowed and left behind by Hiccup's successes. This would later motivate him to leave for the Byzantine Roman Empire to join the Varangians and achieve glory that way only for his feelings of inferiority to all come back when he hears that Hiccup became even more prominent and successful while he was gone, resulting in him going on a disastrous bender.
  • 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.
    • Some chapter epigraphs gives a lot of background info vital to explaining the context of the story without getting in the way of the story's pacing. One example is the epigraph explaining Eire's caste system which is important to understanding Eire's society and how Berk tries to interact with them in their attempt to slowly dismantle any slavery institution.
  • In Love with the Mark: Toireasa is sent by Heather to infiltrate the Berserkers to find a way to kill Dagur. As the mission eventually spans into months and her target exposes his insecurities to her, she finds herself falling in love with him before she knew it.
  • 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. Too bad for him a lot of people don't even bother pretending otherwise, including his own tribemates. Others humour him but call him king when he isn't around.
  • 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.
  • Interspecies Romance: In chapter 86, Toothless mates with Stormfly and Mistletoe.
  • Intrepid Merchant: The fic opens from the perspective of Trader Johann, who is one of the few of those brave enough to travel to Berk and its dragon-infested waters in search of profit, 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, claws, and other body parts 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.
  • Interspecies Friendship: In the beginning of the story, humans and dragons have bonded on a society-wide scale, with dragons being fully-intergrated into Berk's previously human-only society. This eventually extends to a species-wide scale in the future where the global human and dragon populations have made peace from their previous conflicts and dragons become omnipresent in every human society on the planet.
  • Invented Linguistic Distinction: Dragons have their own language but the syntax is different from that used by humans. The dragons speak using Object-Subject-Verb order, which makes their speech highly distinctive from human speech and serves to highlight that the dragons have their own culture independent of humans.
  • It Can Think: Dragons are more than just animals. They are capable of high-level reasoning and debating among themselves as shown when the Skrill, later named Mjolnir, convinces the other dragons of the Haddock Wild Flock to help defend Berk.
    • The first example of this is in chapter 23 when Toothless and Stormfly managed to convey to Gobber that Hiccup and Astrid were working too hard and got him to fill a picnic basket for their riders.
    • One 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, Stormfly, 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. In Chapter 95, Toothless is surprised when he learns that walker infants are born live, even if he quickly moves past his shock to vow to protect Hiccup's babies like family.
    • In Chapter 99, Stormfly, Mistletoe and Galloway (Merida's Nadder) each take part in their riders' target practice, shooting spines at the targets instead of arrows (Cami's Changewing doesn't join in only because he doesn't have the ability to do something like that).
    • Chapter 106 takes this even further; Stormfly literally falls over laughing when Hiccup initially assumes that the new Night Fury is Toothless's new girlfriend rather than his long-lost sister, Toothless uses Tuffnut and Ruffnut to explain his relationship with the new arrival, and Eret later observes the Night Furies talking to the extent that the female clearly gestures towards him at one point. The following chapter reinforces how only truly sentient creatures can make a decision to override self-preservation instincts and sacrifice themselves for others, as the now-named Fearless triggers a volcanic eruption that kills her and the Screaming Death.
    • 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. This is further reinforced in Chapter 92 when a completely wild nest is shown having a 'debate' about the merits of acting against nearby dragon hunters, with the Nest-Lord preferring a more violent approach and only being talked down due to a 'Nightscreamer'.
  • It's All About Me:
    • A good description of the Roman Empire's attitude towards the expanding dragon empires; Markis explicitly confirms that he's making plans for the possibility of putting Sigurd and Harald on the thrones of Berk and Norway on the chance that Hiccup and Magnus's children will prove hostile towards the Empire, even though there is no sign that such a scenario will happen. Really, it's all about making sure the Byzantines remain the biggest power in Europe instead of losing its position to Berk.
    • Harald knows Makris' plan could weaken his home, but, since he would be in charge if it works, he's very interested in seeing it work.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Hiccup blames himself when he realises that Mildew has been capturing dragons in his new village using the Mangler plans he stole from Hiccup before he left Berk.
    • After Fearless dies saving them, Ruffnut privately blames herself as she feels that she could have done something if she hadn't frozen at a crucial moment, as her current baptized state left her concerned that she wouldn't go to Valhalla if she died.
  • Jerkass Façade: Bladewit wanting to keep dragon ownership to Berk's clans was not because she wanted to halt progress, but because she wants to make sure they do it right. If Berk's human citizens grow, the dragon citizens will be outnumbered quickly and if dragon adoption was a right for all, that would force the dragons into slavery. She kept this a secret, telling only Fishlegs, so no one could manipulate the law contrary to her intentions.
  • 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 clans does stem from reasonable concerns; chief among them being that said dragons would be abused, or turned against Berk.
  • Jerkass Realization: Sigurd realises how much of an asshole he was when he was Snotlout and his abandonment of his old name in favour of his new one is partially because he wants to be a far better person than Snotlout was.
  • 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.
  • Just One Man: Played With. Hiccup might be just one man, but given his past battle record, Sigvatr deeply enjoys responding to an incredulous thrall wondering what Hiccup can do against all of Mildew's forces, as he's "just one man", with a comment about said battle record.
    Jyette: But… but he's one man. What can he do against all of Mildew's forces?
    Sigvatr: Ask your father about what one man could do against an entire fleet eight thousand men strong. You'll be seeing him and your home again soon, I promise.
  • Kaiju: Most dragons are on the same scale as more mundane animals, but there are a few that are larger than a whole village.
    • 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.
    • Good-Cold the Bewilderbeast as per canon.
    • The Black Sea nest lord (Night-Glow) is described as being less than half as big as the Green Death was.
    • Furious as per canon.
  • Karmic Death: Mildew murdered almost his entire family by setting a fire. He meets his own death in a similar way by getting killed by a volcanic eruption.
  • Kill All Humans: The Screaming Death in Iceland wishes to kill all humans when dragons from his nest are getting captured, but is talked down from following through. When Fearless comes back to their nest with humans, he decides enough is enough and immediately goes on a rampage to kill all humans and the dragons who side with them.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: Discussed, Sophia explains to Sigurd he is now a kingmaker. Because of the dragons, Sigurd is now in charge of the most powerful military unit the Byzantines have. They will never accept him as their emperor because he's not Greek, but his backing will play a major role in deciding the new ruler should he still be around by the time Theodora dies without a clear successor. This factor is why Sophia's family wanted to tie him to them. They know they can't get the throne, but by tying Sigurd to them, they become kingmakers-by-proxy, greatly increasing their own influence.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Kurya is the only one of the Pechenegs the story shows that treats their dragon well. The dragon, Kudret, rewards him by saving him from a potentially lethal fall and protecting him from the flames of the burning building they land in.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Savage orders the village of Glenfinnan be silenced when the Berserkers catch up with Kerr.
  • 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.
    • Lampshaded by one of the epigraphs, which wonders how many dragons were the basis of their respective myths, and which were named for their resemblances to pre-existing legends.
  • Lensman Arms Race: After Berk's invention of dragon domestication results in them becoming a major power, other kingdoms begin scrambling to either get their own dragon riders, or at the very least develop viable countermeasures.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: A common reaction to people being told about the extravagant bride price Hiccup gives for Astrid is for the listener to repeat what the speaker said just to make sure they heard right.
  • 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.
  • Long-Lost Relative: The 'Nightscreamer' that has been attacking Mildew's new village is actually Toothless's sister.
  • 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 above 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 customary since the clanhead controlled most of the clan's wealth, 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. Hiccup was not amused, neither was Stoick when he heard about it.
    • Chapter 87 concludes with Hiccup, Astrid and Wulfhild looking over and concluding a contract that makes their three-way marriage legal from all relevant perspectives.
  • Love Epiphany: About a month after she becomes his concubine, Wulfhild realises that if Hiccup wasn't already courting Astrid, she'd have asked Magnus and Einar for a Perfectly Arranged Marriage with him. Even with the initial discomfort from having the situation forced on them, Wulfhild still likes the idea of bedding Hiccup, giving birth to his children, and living with her best friends.
  • 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.

    M - Q 
  • The Magnificent:
    • Stoick the Vast, of course. An epigraph reveals that Stoick gains "Odin's Spear-carrier," "the Wise," and "the Law-Giver."
    • 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."
    • Other recurring characters include Alvin the Treacherous and Magnus the Good.
  • Malicious Slander:
    • Alvin and Delilah spread false tales of Berk's Norse persecuting Christians. Unfortunately for them, Viggo is perceptive enough to realise that this isn't corroborated by anyone else and in fact manages to disprove their stories to the Vatican when he shows them letters from the Christians themselves.
    • The village that sold Dogsbreath and Inga into thralldom to Henry the Sinister claim that the former two attacked them without provocation, and that the two were randomly attacking Brittany in general, leaving Hiccup's group with the wrong idea of what truly happened. However, Dogsbreath and Inga manages to tell Tuffnut and Wulfhild respectively their side of the story, and that Henry was forcing Dogbreath to kill his rival nobles while holding Inga hostage. As part of the deception Henry would "drive Dogsbreath off" to make himself look like the hero. Better yet, Duke William manages to corroborate Dogsbreath's and Inga's side of the story by pointing out the suspicious attack pattern. The only village that was attacked was the one that sold them to Henry and besides them, only nobles were attacked and they were all Henry's rivals. Unfortunately, even though Berk and William believes them, too many French people believe Henry's ruse over the truth.
  • 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.
  • Medical Monarch: After Ruffnut marries Magnus and becomes a queen, they establish a hospital where Ruffnut is one of the medical staff.
  • Mistaken for Romance: When Hiccup sees the way Toothless interacts with the Night Fury that has been attacking Mildew's village, he initially assumes that she is Toothless's new girlfriend, before Toothless uses Tuffnut and Ruffnut to 'explain' that the new Night Fury is his sister.
  • 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 Fantastic: Because of the Dragon Mail, by Chapter 78, the citizens of countries without Dragon Riders have become so used to dragon sightings that such news are barely reacted to with a shrug, if that. Exactly as intended by Hiccup.
  • 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. All the uses of dragons in ways other than warfare managed to turn Berk into an economic and industrial powerhouse.
    • Outside of the dragons, Hiccup has noted that some of his weapons have been useful for more non-martial purposes, such as his flaming sword being more commonly used as a light source.
  • Multiple Government Polity: The North Sea Empire is made up of several different countries and smaller fiefdoms within those countries. While there are universal laws that apply to all, they each have their own culture, caste systems and local legal codes.
  • 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.
    • Eret feels this way when he learns that the Buffalord spit has medical benefits, as he wonders how many people might have died in the last month because he killed a creature that could produce medicine.
  • 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 42, when asked by Einar what he wants out of life, Tuffnut responds with "a finely crafted mace and a chicken".
    • 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).
    • Gobber is the Dragon Healer in line with him being the Dragon Dentist in canon.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • In Chapter 113, in a nod to the movie she's from, Mulan disguises herself as a man named Ping.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Hiccup, Snotlout and many of the other Hooligans are inexperienced and largely unaware of 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 After Somebody Famous: The epigraphs reveal that because Hiccup and Dror had such a positive impact on their society and history, they will have many people named after them. One epigraph reveals that the name Hiccup has become synonymous with genius and altruism with another revealing that there is a Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Sixth. Jews are also extremely grateful to the legacy Dror left behind and named their children after him as revealed by an epigraph showing that there is a prominent Rabbi named Shihook ben Dror (And for bonus points, "Shihook" is Hebrew for "Hiccup").
  • 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.
    • In canon the Skrill isn't given a name, here after bonding with William he is named Mjolnir.
  • Narrative Filigree: In spades, being used to worldbuild, flesh out character interactions, give a little immersion, and hide all sorts of foreshadowing.
  • Neck Lift: Stoick lifts one of Eochaid's men by the neck when he finally reaches the limits of his patience with Eochaid. Heather is impressed that Stoick's arm doesn't even quiver, despite the desperately twitching man at the end.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Henriksson's attempts to Christianise Berk through subterfuge and lies not only failed, it backfired. In response to his crimes, Magnus has cause to reverse the outlawing of the Norse Religion in Norway while Stoick gains the idea of telling a priest who settles on Berk that while he can preach, he is not allowed to proselytize.
  • 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.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: In Constantinople, Sophia is looked down on and considered unattractive due to her being unfeminine by their standards. Part of the reason she genuinely likes Sigurd is that he considers her Amazonian traits attractive.
  • 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.
  • 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…"
  • 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 as the Byzantine Empire's first Dragon Rider, he 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 he is forced to confront the consequences of his actions 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. Even a letter intended to keep Toiréasa up to date on events back on Berk is interpreted as a reminder that Heather still has the option of threatening Toiréasa's daughter rather than the friendly update it was intended as.
  • 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. The epigraphs note that the outcome of the Battle of the Sound of Berk caused a huge shock to the status quo of Europe as more people could spread the story of the battle compared to Berk initially taming the dragons.
    • The Plague arc and it's resolution in Book 3 causes a lot of changes, with the two biggest being that the Christian Eirish are even more accepting of the pagan Hooligans' rule and they have even started venerating dragons after hearing of Fearless' sacrifice and how she helped save them all from the plague.
  • Not Me This Time: Harthacnut had nothing to do with the ambush that killed Fritjof and his dragon and injured Hiccup and his group. However, since the truth was that he was planning a completely separate ambush, there was nothing he could say to escape retaliation.
  • 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. For his part, Snotlout considers himself to have kept the oath. He swore not to raid, and he hasn't. He's carrying out military operations under orders. Hiccup and Stoick think it's hair splitting.
  • 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:
    • Mac Beth's court were shocked that the number of Dragon Riders number at least five hundred, with the number of unbonded dragons that could carry a person numbering three or four thousand.
    • Two for the Byzantine empire:
      • Snotlout/Sigurd was ordered to reveal the number of dragons his homeland had to the Byzantine Court, and they went into an uproar when he admits it's over ten thousand.
      • When their emissary came back, he gives an updated number. Because the dragons have been breeding, they now have tens of thousands of dragons. Those present almost reacted with hysteria before Theodora calmed them down.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: As an adult, Asta Rhonda Haddock- the firstborn daughter of Hiccup and Wulfhild- will be one of the first graduates of Waterford University, with her interests including biology, anatomy, botany, mathematics, geology, paleontology, and cartography.
  • 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). It is noted that part of the reason for this is that compared to other geniuses of the time or before him, Hiccup as the heir to a rapidly emerging power did not need to seek funding to build his inventions or spend time just trying to earn enough money to feed himself. 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.
  • Open Secret:
    • Nearly everyone knew Hiccup and Astrid were having sex months before they actually got married. No one made an issue of it out of respect for the two.
    • Tuffnut and Mor having sex while only courting is technically a secret in that people are turning a blind eye and looking the other way, but is openly talked about by several characters.
  • 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. Dragons make it so easy to conquer that Berk with a relatively small force conquered Vedrarfjord by accident when they only wanted to get rid of the king. When they do it on purpose, Harthacnut's reign over England and Denmark ended in short order.
  • 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: 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's and Magnus' had a lot of political considerations going into it influencing how quickly it all played out, but they are perfectly loving and the historical record is that it was a love-match. Hiccup, Astrid and Wulfhild are also all loving with each other, although they took a while to work out the details from Magnus' vassals forcing Wulfhild on them.
    • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: Einar gives Tuffnut a pep talk about not letting his potential go to waste after seeing the latter has no meaningful ambition to speak of.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: It is confirmed that Berk's Vikings didn't bother doing any raiding when they had to deal with the regular threat of the dragons, and even after they start training dragons they don't use them on similar raids against innocent villages (apart from an early attempted raid by Snotlout), although they are willing to go on raids to rescue thralls if they have sufficient evidence that said thralls are mistreated. Their anti-raid stance is for the dual reason that Hiccup doesn't approve of going on raids, and his practical concerns that the dragons may start feeling like they 'need' to go on raids for the Vikings in the same way as they needed to feed the Red Death.
  • The Plan: Alvin's and Delilah's plan for them to become High King and Queen of Eire was to send Femme Fatale spies to their rivals to obtain information and possibly assasinate them. That plan has since gone sideways with the spy they sent to Berk Defecting for Love and them losing their main power base.
  • Politically Correct History: Berk's culture is considered progressive even by modern-day standards, and this was before they made peace with dragons. For example:
    • They have laws against slavery and have (relative) gender-equality due to the Dragon War forcing them to have as many defenders as possible.
    • They also laws against rape and other forms of sexual misconduct (which is accurate for Norse-based cultures).
    • They also approve of same-sex marriage and relations (which is not historically accurate, but comes from being allies with the Bog Burglars).
    • They also practice Polyamory, religious-tolerance, have laws that protect the rights of concubines, just to name a few more.
    • 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 for the time period.
    • 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.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Constantine's motivation for plotting against Sigurd is that he hates the latter for being a foreigner with too much power in the Byzantine Empire.
  • 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:
    • Einar is a manipulative and controlling man, but his own detractors note he has a sense of practicality that can substitute for honour. Even he is shocked when Henricksson manipulated things such that had they succeeded, would have enraged his country's dragon-riding allies for pretty much no other reason than religious extremism. For this reason, despite their inherent conflict with Einar being the controlling regent and Magnus being the king, there are a few things they completely agree on, and why Magnus is willing to leave Einar in charge while he checks in of his new kingdoms because again, Einar is practical and competent in addition to being a known factor.
    • Basically applies to Viggo, as 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. 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 strength. That said, he also emphasises that Berk is very defence-minded, with Viggo entering into a partnership to help set up Hiccup's planned dragon mail stations around Rome and the Vatican. Seeing how much the people of Vedrarfjord support Berk, he decides the best way to be a conqueror is to be a Villain with Good Publicity and convince his newly conquered subjects that he is a better ruler for them than their previous ruler, and follow through on his promise of being a better ruler so that any sceptics can see he's putting his money where his mouth is.
    • Drago, for all his cruelty, also can be pragmatic, telling the Khagan he works for that burning the fields and killing the enemy's livestock was incredibly wasteful as they could have seized those for themselves instead of destroying it.
    • Kurya treats his conquered people well, telling his friend that needless tyranny will only provoke resentment and their new vassals will try something at the first opportunity in spite of their dragons, while citing Drago giving them dragons due to the kindness he was shown as proof that kindness is rewarded.
    • When Hiccup arrives in Mac Bethad's kingdom after the battle at Iceland accompanied by a mass of dragons from Mildew's former forces, Mac Bethad rejects the idea of trying to attack Hiccup's forces at this time, despite them being tired and vulnerable after the battle at Iceland, because there are too many dragons for him to guarantee killing them all, and if even one gets away to reveal what he did he doesn't have the forces to resist a full counter-attack.
    • It is noted that Mildew was a variation of this, in the sense that he was only loyal to whoever could offer him safety; Mac Bethad notes that if Hiccup had captured Mildew in Iceland, he would have immediately told them the identity of his patron to save his own neck.
  • Protection Racket: Not knowing that Berk's leaders were not interested in conquest, their neighbouring royals give gifts to them to bribe them to not attack them with their dragons. To prevent insult, Stoick accepts the gifts. When non-aristocratic neighbours start doing it in the aftermath of Harthacnut's attack, Stoick insists on paying them a fair price for the goods they provide.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Dagur the Deranged showes 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.
  • The Puppet Cuts His Strings:
    • Einar begins losing control over Magnus after Magnus marries Ruffnut since her personality made her difficult to manipulate. Einar lost even more control after Magnus is crowned king of England and Denmark and has his own significant power base independent of Einar.
    • Michael V is supposed to be just another puppet when he becomes the Emperor of the Roman Empire; but 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. That promptly backfired, as Michael V was determined to rule on his own... but has no idea what he's doing.
  • Puppet King:
    • Magnus the Good of Norway, under the effective control of his regent, Einar Thambarskelfir at the start of the story.
    • Several Byzantine emperors were little more than puppets for John the Eunuch. He 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.

    R - Z 
  • Rags to Riches:
    • As a society, the Hooligans went from being just another Viking tribe to an economic powerhouse, with the biggest examples being Clan Haddock who by controlling the Wild Flock also control most of the wealth that comes from dragons and Fishlegs whose glass workshop made him one of the richest of his clan.
    • Fintan went from being a thrall who only had the clothes on his back to being Hakon's and Gunvor's aide and rich enough from his wages and investments that he could buy out an Eirish petty kingdom.
  • 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 Is a Special Kind of Evil: The Eirish men on Berk who tried to rape Heather enraged Stoick and resulted in them getting kicked out for violating Sacred Hospitality. Vigdis' actions that led to said events also turned the tribe and their Bog Burglar allies against her and resulted in them being more sympathetic to Heather.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Standard operating procedure for most armies at the time. Defied however by Berk despite being proud unabashed Vikings who still worship Odin and Thor and indeed Stoick very specifically forbids any raiding using dragons. Most everyone else, however, knows nothing about Berk other than they're Vikings on dragon-back and thus fear the results and take actions based on the assumption that they will go raiding, regardless of repeated demonstrations and evidence that Stoick and Hiccup will not allow raiding without justification and that attacking them anyway is a lethally stupid course of action.
  • Reading the Enemy's Mail: Macbeth and his court are convinced that the Dragon Mail is a ploy to read their messages.
  • Reality Ensues: There's enough examples that it has it's own page here.
  • "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.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Stoick increasingly presents himself as this as events unfold, allowing people to swear allegiance to Berk without forcing them to convert to follow the Norse religion or change their own ways of life beyond freeing any Thralls they may have.
  • 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 is to be Magnus' regent forever, 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. This also makes Gobber Hiccup's great-granduncle.
    • Dogsbreath and Snotlout/Sigurd are cousins here.
    • Mildew used to be a Hofferson before being banished from his clan, and is Astrid's great-granduncle.
  • 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: Defied; while Tuffnut rescues Marte from her abusive husband, he feels that sleeping with Marte when she offers would be taking advantage of her while she's emotionally vulnerable.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Mildew dies without a weapon in his hand and while fleeing from a battlefield (in this case, an erupting volcano), which disqualifies him from ever entering Valhalla.
  • Riches to Rags: Alvin and Delilah went from being petty royalty and ruling their own city with an extensive spy-network far beyond it, to being on the run and reduced to getting by on the goodwill of others, goodwill that lasts only as long as they're more useful alive than dead.
  • 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: Though they had no such ambitions, Berk ended up annexing territories as a result of them launching a counterattack or because the territory petitioned to join. Berk eventually officially forms the North Sea Empire, apparently still going strong in 1822.
  • Rite of Passage Name Change: It is common for members of the Hooligan Tribe to change their names once they reach adulthood, since parents would often give their children horrible names for superstitious reasons. The notable example given here being Snotlout Spiteloutson clan Jorgenson taking the name "Sigurd Trondsson" after leaving to joining the Varangian Guard.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Hiccup and Stoick do a lot of practical things for their people. Stoick resolves issues and makes sure his peoples' wellbeing are looked after. Hiccup, in addition to his duties as the Herald, helps manage the dragons and creates lots of useful inventions. Magnus wants to follow their example, but Einar tries to keep him as a Puppet King.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In China, dragon attacks are interpreted as symbolic of the emperor losing their heaven's mandate of their right to rule.
  • Running Gag: Hiccup has a deal with Astrid (and later with Wulfhild) that if he can get five inventions in a row working perfectly the first time he tests them, they will do something pleasant for him in turn. To date, Hiccup has only managed to get four in a row working first time, and Gobber has expressed curiosity about what Hiccup could get the girls to do for him outside of their usual activities anyway. Hiccup finally completes the challenge in Chapter 115, but realises that he doesn't actually want anything from Astrid as he only pursued the challenge for the sake of the challenge itself.
  • Sacred Hospitality: One epigraph mentions why hospitality is so important during the medieval era as a way to keep peace between neighbours, and it is indeed a major source of drama and conflict, as most people take their duties as host and guest very seriously. Specifically:
    • 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.
    • Played for laughs after Cami and Merida sleep together. Cami briefly ponders whether seducing Merida was considered a breach of hospitality, and decides that it's not, just a breach of etiquette.
  • Sadist: Toiréasa witnesses Savage torture a prisoner, and realises that he's driven by a genuine desire to cause pain for the sake of it.
  • Sand Necktie: Heather mentions that one possible method which Alvin used to dispose of the hostages of washouts from his Spy Training is to bury them up to their necks in a river marsh and from there, it's a race between what kills them first, drowning, thirst, or attacked by wild animals.
  • 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 (Astrid taking the strength test on Hiccup's behalf as he isn't a good fighter and is still trying to cope with his recent lost leg while Hiccup beats Snotlout in a dragon race) Snotlout still insists on doing the wisdom test. The test giver explains that in attempting to do so he has already failed, as 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.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Every action Mac Bethad takes to subvert and destroy Berk to prevent them from attacking him are the very actions that provoke them into attacking him and cost him his life in a fatal duel with Astrid.
  • Separated by a Common Language: For most of the world the term "concubine" means anywhere from pleasure thrall to, at best, an acknowledged lover. For the Hooligans, specifically after the system was reformed, it means a legal partnership with a lot of guaranteed protections for the concubine, but the Hooligans never bothered changing the term. This caused significant confusion for outsiders and new citizens such as with Eret being flabbergasted by Wulfhild explaining how concubinage works on Berk.
  • 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: Played With. Kerr, a thrall from the town Mildew controls, spends several chapters on the lam, 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; however, while Kerr might be dead and his news silenced with him, his legacy lives on, as one boy from the town is now part of Mac Bethad's court as part of the settlement of the damages from the massacre, and Berk has dispatched an assassin to deal with Dagur. And both of those facts come home to roost when Mac Bethad finally openly moves against Berk. He plans to take Hiccup, Astrid, and Wulfhild hostage while they are visiting as envoys, convinced that they have already learned he was Mildew's sponsor and an attack is inevitable. But not only does the boy from the village manage to warn them, sending an assassin to deal with Dagur has revealed his situation is much more complicated than it appears... and he and his forces are in Mac Bethad's castle right now.
  • 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."
  • Shipping Torpedo: Ruffnut makes it clear that she recognises that Snotlout is only flirting with her now because Astrid is no longer 'available', but in turn notes that she isn't interested in Fishlegs or Hiccup either, only considering herself remotely 'jealous' of Astrid because Hiccup's the only decent male in their age group.
  • Shotgun Wedding: After Lopsides and her lover Beorn the sailor are caught in the act, he is "made to do the honorable thing".
  • Shout-Out:
    • To The Far Side, oddly enough; in the first chapter, Hiccup refers to the spikes at the end of The Green Death's tail as a Thagomizer.
    • The chapter titles "Understanding is a Three-Edged Sword", "Your Side…", "…Their Side…", "…And The Truth" and "The Third Principle Of Sentient Life" are all references to Babylon 5.
    • 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, though it is also a reference to a Jewish parable.
  • 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: Cami's offer to lie through her teeth in order to protect Merida's reputation as a marriageable young noblewoman is cut off when Merida kisses her, 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:
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man:
    • Hiccup and Fishlegs treat Astrid and other woman like people while other boys like Snotlout treat them as possessions, which is why Astrid is with Hiccup and why a lot of Berk girls wanted Fishlegs and resent Heather for being with the latter. Astrid makes this absolutely clear to Snotlout in Chapter 17 as part of her scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech to him, and even Ruffnut uses this argument as to why she had no interest in Snotlout.
    • Later on, Princess Mór notes that part of the reason she likes Tuffnut is that he wouldn't look at her as a woman with titles he has to control but appreciates her as a person.
  • The Singularity: By training dragons, Berk had inadvertently upsetted the status quo of the entirety of Europe and beyond 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. It took several nobles visiting them at the same time for Berk to actually realise the effects of them accepting dragons. Specifically:
    • Warfare: In an era long before any kind of viable flight by humanity's own hands, being a Dragon Rider is a huge advantage against ground-bound forces, with any engagement almost always resulting in the side with no Dragon Riders suffering disproportionate losses. Every major power quickly realised that Berk taming dragons heralded a new era of warfare. The Byzantine Empire's top military brass noted that Dragon Riders are faster than light cavalry, hit as hard as heavy cavalry, and can deny the enemy the ability to engage on their terms and go straight for the leaders. They note that the only real counter is massed archers deploying a Rain of Arrows, but that weakness can itself be managed as demonstrated when Berk decisively defeated the English-Danish fleet. Astrid's book 'The Wing and the Ax' notes that the best counter to a dragon-force is another dragon force and to be or remain a world power, one must have dragons or they will be beholden to one who has dragons.
    • Politics: As a direct result of the military advantages of dragons, the Hairy Hooligans tribe which only had about seven hundred members at the start of the story almost overnight became a major world power comparable to entire countries as soon as people heard about it with other nations tripping over themselves to form tangible alliances with them. The first one to succeed, Norway, benefited a lot from that alliance.
    • Social: As a result of the political advantages, being a Dragon Rider of Berk suddenly gave them status equivalent to nobles and their Chief effectively a King, to the point that a King like Magnus proposing to Ruffnut who otherwise doesn't stand out that much from her tribemates was accepted easily by his vassals, with other aristocrats like Earl Godwin eventually following his example. Berk's fervent anti-slavery views and their attitudes about helping each other also raised the standards-of-living of their new holdings. Some characters outright state that having a dragon has become a status symbol.
    • Economics: Taming dragons allows Berk to harvest dragon-derived materials like wool from a sheep. This makes the tribe very very rich and the annual shedding of dragon scales helps them finance the infrastructure they build for their new holdings. It also causes merchant traffic to head to Berk in full force and all pathways between the merchant homelands and Berk benefit from it too. One epigraph noted that Berk's treasury was greater than that of the rest of Europe's royals and nobles combined.
    • Technology: Having a ready source of dragon-derived materials from whatever the dragons shed gives Hiccup and Fishlegs lots of material to work with. The labour the dragons provide can also do a lot for them. In combination, they developed a lot of technologies making the most they could with the aid of dragons.
  • 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 is that the thrall is freed, with the exception of when a thrall-owner is given hospitality. No matter how much they prefer otherwise, hospitality takes precedent.
  • 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 allowed Berks to understand and bond with the dragons on an emphathetic level.
  • Sliding Scale of Alternate History Plausibility: The story is a combination of the Fantastical (How To Train Your Dragon is dropped into real history!) and Hard/Soft variants, where all the consequences of there being tamed dragons are explored, with the various players reacting in all their own ways.
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • A villager in Glenfinnan asks Hiccup to deliver a package to her daughter, giving Hiccup the idea to set up the Dragon Mail, a massive communication network that invokes Easy Communication in medieval times that massively impacted the world.
    • Vlademar, Oddmund and Mikael are some of Magnus' thanes, and they played very minor roles in the story, but they're the ones that told Snotlout about and inspired him to join the Varangian Guard.
    • Fishlegs' 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!
    • A Pecheneg trader who was not even named got some scales from Snotlout as payment for some goods. Through him, news of it being possible to tame dragons reaches Drago, which inspires him to try it out instead of just killing the dragon he beat. When it worked, he offers his services as a warlord to the Pechenegs, and with his help, the dragons they ride helped them conquer large territories.
  • 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 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.
    • And among the HTTYD characters: Stoick, as the events that led to his canon death never occur here.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Chapter 108 shows Valka conversing freely with the dragons in her nest. By Chapter 114, Hiccup still doesn't completely understand Toothless, but he is able to comprehend the key ideas that Toothless is trying to express when they talk about Fearless's death.
  • 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 Breath Weapons.
  • Spit Take: Tuffnut times his telling of Hiccup's bride price for Astrid to the Rus' men specifically to provoke one of them into spitting his drink in shock.
  • The Spymaster: Stoick asks Heather to be his Spymaster 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, Stoick 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.
  • Standard Royal Court: Given the abundance of characters who are royals and other aristocrats, there's plenty shown courts. Consistent among most is that besides the ruler, there's a marshall in charge of the army, a spymaster in charge of espionage, a steward in charge of finance and other duties, and a herald to be their ambassador. Berk's Royal Court also has the Master of Dragons, who is in charge of all dragon-related issues, and High Almoner, who is in charge of making sure there is enough food and beds to go around for all citizens and visitors. The Pechenegs also have the the Dragon Warlord, a position filled by Drago Bludvist, which combines the positions of marshall and Master of the Dragon into one role.
  • 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, discriminatory attitudes against women are common. 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 targeting the enemy leader 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.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Hiccup develops droppable firebombs early on, and later, when an army shows up outside of the walls of the city he's in, they find out that a human-wave attack doesn't work when the genius you're attacking just made the world's first INCENDIARY MINEFIELD.
  • Stunned Silence: Ruffnut's parents are shocked speechless to find out a major king had proposed to their daughter, who would have been an ordinary village shieldmaiden, if not for the fact she was a Dragon Rider.
  • Stupid Evil:
    • Just like in Real Life, Emperor Michael V of the Byzantine Roman Empire was so stupidly incompetent as a ruler that it's a wonder the Byzantines didn't collapse during his rule when he constantly and actively made decisions that were so obviously detrimental to both his own and the Byzantine's long-term prospects.
      • The most narratively prevalent were his actions regarding Sigurd and the empire's Dragon Training:
      1. He demands that Sigurd give Hookfang to him and when that was resisted because the precedent would undermine the Varangian Guard's reliability, tries to have Sigurd killed and kidnap Hookfang anyway, never mind that this would result in the Byzantines losing their only dragon-training expert.
      2. After the Dragon-Hunting expedition returns with the captive dragons, he takes responsibility for their training away from Sigurd, completely ignoring the fact that Sigurd is still the only one the Byzantines have available who can actually tame the dragons.
      3. After the training is complete, Michael sends Sigurd on Uriah Gambit after Uriah Gambit, hoping he would die for his earlier defiance of him, even though again, this would cause him and the Byzantines to lose their best dragon expert.
      • He also banished his stepmother Zoe to prevent her from being a threat to his rule due to her popularity, never mind that his association with her is the only reason he's an Emperor in the first place, and since she was, you know, more popular than he was, that provoked her supporters to riot. Harald could only call Michael "half-brained" and "quarter-wit" after hearing about it.
    • Eochaid sends a poisoner to Berk's Thawfest Festival after he and his men were kicked out for violating Sacred Hospitality. There was literally nothing he had to gain for it and yet he did it anyway out of spite. After Berk discovers he was the culprit, his own vassals turned on him for doing something so obviously stupid as to provoke Berk when the military power disparity was huge.
  • Suddenly Significant City: Berk was previously just another Viking village, that just happened to fight dragons. Then they tamed the dragons and it suddenly became the capital of the Kingdom of Berk a few short years later. At the start, it had 712 Vikings per the Chapter 42 epigraph, and by the time Mac Bethad visited them for the first time, it's a full fledged city with thousands of residents and far wealthier than Mac Bethad's own capital.
  • 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.
    • In Chapter 113, Mulan disguises herself as a man named Ping for her envoy's expedition as they prepare to travel to Berk since an unmarried woman travelling without a chaperon would have drawn too much attention during that era.
  • 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, though that third option ended up having it's own unintended consequences since the city has since became the first of many annexed territories under Berk.
  • 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.
    • Fearless' Heroic Sacrifice, where she takes the Screaming Death down with her by triggering a volcanic eruption. For bonus points, she also kills Mildew and his dragon with the same eruption as a side-effect – a fact that would infuriate the egocentric Mildew, and due to him fleeing the battlefield in panic, dropping his weapon in the process, he would be denied entry into Valhalla.
  • 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 Fishlegs' 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?
  • Teens Are Monsters: Rodhlaug takes a lot after her father Savage. She's a power-hungry serial rapist before she turned sixteen winters and a murderer soon after.
  • 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.
    • Bladewit tells Fishlegs that blood-ties are an important bond that keeps the clans at least somewhat united – but that bond is under strain without constant dragon attacks giving a clan incentive to stay united. But that doesn't mean that it isn't still stronger than any oath, which is why she will only trust the welfare of dragons to the clans and those who marry in.
    • Speaking of which, the Norwegian Jarls are of the same mind of Bladewit that 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 attacks.
    • 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.
  • Tiger by the Tail:
    • Sigurd/Snotlout eventually realises his error in judgement in helping the Byzantine Empire take dragons, but he can't leave without violating his oath or putting those same dragons at risk of mistreatment. And then Hiccup exiles him for it, and it is upheld by Stoick due to him violating his oath to them to not go raiding using dragons through a Loophole Abuse and breaking Berk's monopoly that made them a world power in the first place, which means he can't go home, he's stuck.
    • For the Berserkers, Dagur is fully aware of what his fellow Berserkers are, but if he starts acting like Oswald the Agreeable instead of Oswald the Antagonistic, they'd all turn on him. After hearing that, Toireasa compares the Berserkers to stampeding cattle with Dagur running ahead of them. He's "leading" them, but if he stops or tries changing direction, he'd get run over and stomped on.
  • 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 even though not even Mac Bethad likes them. 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.
  • To Serve Man: Inverted. Before Berk tamed dragons, people used to eat dragon meat not knowing they were thinking creatures like they were. It was subtly implied in chapter 1, and explicitly suggested in Chapter 101 where Mildew tells Eret that his family can eat the Buffalord they just captured.
  • Total Party Kill: All of Mildew's men end up killed in Iceland. This is not actually a good thing as it prevents Berk from interrogating them to find out who was their backer.
  • Triang Relations: Hiccup, Astrid and Wulfhild, after some drama, form a fully loving polyamorous trio.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Hiccup is one of the greatest smiths of the era and of all time, being capable of such feats as making a prosthetic tail-fin for Toothless and forging a flaming sword.
    Stoick: One of these days, a bunch of dwarves are going to tunnel up into the Broodery down there and say that they need help reforging Gleipnir, and ask if they can borrow Hiccup.
  • Undercover as Lovers: Defied. In Chapter 113, when Mulan sets out to contact Berk about an alliance against Drago's forces, it's brought up that there was a potential alternative for Mulan disguising herself as a man, and that was Mulan and Shang would pose as spouses, but that plan was rejected.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Alvin the Treacherous and his wife, Delilah, though villainous, are genuinely loving (along with Vitriolic Best Buds).
  • Unreliable Expositor: Downplayed example, but some of the chapter epigraph sources are explicitly designed with biases, axes to grind, double standards, and agendas that color their exposition. Most notable of these is the recurring source The Genius Has No Clothes, which engages in various logical fallacies (in one example, it holds Hiccup up as being more scientifically productive exclusively because he had leisure time and a fortune, despite noting that he was busy with diplomacy and affairs of state, and doesn't hold the same standard to another polymath who lived right before Hiccup who was imprisoned by the Fatimid Caliphe in house arrest for ten years and wrote numerous scientific treatises during this time.
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: Ruffnut finds that twins run in the family when she gives birth to both a boy and a girl.
  • Unwanted Harem: Initially Hiccup is uncomfortable at the notion of having Wulfhild as a concubine while already married to Astrid, but eventually the three of them get past this and genuinely fall in love as a triad. That said, Hiccup makes it clear that he won't be taking any further wives or concubines, to the extent that he signs a contract preventing anyone trying to force additional marriages onto him.
  • 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.
  • Viking Funeral:
    • After the first clash with Harthacnut's forces, Berk held a funeral for their dead. Both humans and dragons were honored in the first funeral for dragons Berk held.
    • Another one was held for Fritjof and Nott and Delling after they sacrificed themselves. Hiccup and his group did the best they could while pressed for time, not wanting their pursuers to catch up to them so that their sacrifice didn't go to waste.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Adalwin/Alvin pulled an escape after realising that not only was his true identity revealed, but his forces were overwhelmed by the Hooligans.
  • Villainous Friendship: Drago and the Kagan of the Pechenegs are warmongering conquerors and genuine friends with Drago becoming the Kagan's most trusted adviser as he shows the Kagan the world he's seen before joining the Pechenegs. The trust is mutual, the Kagan earning Drago's Undying Loyalty. This continues after the Kagan's death, with Drago being made the ruler and swearing to conquer the world in his friend's name. While this might seem self-serving, his internal narrative reveals he really means it.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Astrid, in spades. Wulfhild has her moments too.
  • Volcano Lair: Dragons tend to make their homes in volcanoes because they need the heat to incubate their eggs. There are risks with doing this as an eruption could wipe out the entire nest, which is why the Hooligan dragons like the Brooderies the Hooligan humans set up as there's no risk of a decimation event like with volcanic nests.
  • 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 like 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.
  • Warrior Prince: Push comes to shove, Hiccup eventually develops into a prince that will defend his home and family, creating battle plans and weapons and of course, leading his tribe's warriors on dragon-back.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Fearless, Toothless's sister, only spends enough time with her brother to receive a name and be given the offer of leading her nest back to Berk before she gives her life to save the others from the Screaming Death.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Fishwings and Lopsides used to be close friends, but they drifted apart. Fishwings thought it was because she wasn't there for Lopsides when the latter was a pariah for having a child out of wedlock. Lopsides sets the record straight by telling her that it was because she was willing to abort her own child which disgusted Lopsides.
  • 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.
    • Chapter 105 ends with Mildew capturing Hiccup's party; the following chapters reveal that the Night Fury attacking Mildew's new village is Toothless' sister, and then the now-named Fearles sacrifices herself to stop the Screaming Death that was her prior nest-lord.
    • Chapter 108 ends with Valka appearing in the nest with other dragons, confirming that she's still alive.
    • Chapter 119 has so many major reveals and developments that makes it more than worthy of being Book Three's final chapter:
      • The Nest Lord of the Black Sea Nest allies with Theodora and the Byzantines in response to the Pechenegs enslaving her subjects and brings her remaining subjects and eggs to them.
      • Dagur abdicates his position as Mormaer in favour of Heather and the Agreeables faction of the Berserkers support her.
      • Fergus becomes regent of Alba with a plan for the Albans to hold a vote in four years time for them to decide who will be their permanent Ruler from among the claimants.
      • It turns out Drago and the Pechenegs have captured over three-thousand dragons from the Black Sea Nest.
      • The eggs on Berk hatch, and Toothless' and Mistletoe's egg hatches into a Razorwhip, Toothless' and Stormfly's egg hatches into a Night Fury, and Fearless' egg hatches into a Skrill.
      • Viggo finds a Dragon Nest on Ninguaria, Canariae Insulae, right where Pliny said they were in his millennium-old works.
      • Taskill is captured and Heather begins questioning him.
      • The Green Death has a brother named Furious, and he advocates enslaving humans in response to humans enslaving dragons.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In Chapter 104, Ruffnut delivers a variation of this to Gothi when she learns that the tribal healers have knowledge of the healing properties of the Buffalord dragon and haven't shared this knowledge with anyone out of fear of it being abused like other healing secrets, Ruffnut countering that suppressing such knowledge is just as bad as killing potential patients themselves.
  • What's Up, King Dude?: Stoick resists being called king because to him, a king is unapproachable while a chief is. The original members of the Hooligan tribe are all used to being casual with him since it was a habit from before they tamed dragons, but not the new members, so Stoick is doing his best to invoke this trope with the new citizens by going with the census team and meeting as many people as he could.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: The Hooligan Tribe's tradition of giving their kids silly names tends to give outsiders pause. The most notable example is that more than one person is stunned or at least surprised that the Hero that tamed dragons is named Hiccup. One of Mac Bethad's spies even mourns the fact that Hiccup is the third person of his line with that name. The main exceptions are the Hoffersons, who feel themselves too skilled to need such protections. It's also noted that the practice has been waning for a while.
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: During her and Fishlegs' 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. ...it 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.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: Discussed. After repelling the attacks on their home from the entirety of Southern Eire, Hiccup discusses the possibility of there being more fighting. Since the attacking areas are either leaderless or has a lessor leader eyeing the throne above him, more blood might spill if they just ignore them or support someone seizing power. He then suggests a way to defy this by offering those people membership in their tribe, which is accepted by the majority.
  • Would Rather Suffer: In trying to emphasize how big of a jerk Snotlout is, Astrid tells Wulfhild that if she was on fire and Snotlout had the only bucket of water available, she would rather enjoy the warmth then let Snotlout have any chance to lord the fact he saved her over her.
  • 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, not realizing that Hiccup and Berk are much more idealistic than that. To be fair though, they weren't previously wrong, and their beliefs and actions have served them well in helping them survive before. The issue is that with Hiccup and Berk entering the political landscape, the genre shifted and they haven't realised it.
    ATOV from the comment section: And on top of that, Macbeth has reasons to be paranoid. The Big Name in terms of Viking lords that Macbeth would be the most intimately familiar with? King Cnut. And to give just one example out of the many, many, many things that he did... In the 1020s, he's ruling from London, but he also controls Denmark, who are getting uncomfortable with an absentee king. So when Harthacnut is six years old, he appoints Harthacnut as his regent-king over Denmark. But a six-year-old is not really capable of being a king, right? So he turns to Ulf, his brother-in-law, the husband of his sister (Sweyn's father, btw), and says, "You can be his regent." So Ulf goes with his nephew to rule over Denmark and he fucks up. Olaf (Magnus and Wulf's father) and Anund Jacob (Olaf's brother-in-law) decide to raid Denmark while Cnut isn't looking, and Ulf uses the crisis to have the freemen of Denmark elect Harthacnut as King – without acknowledging Cnut's overlordship. So by appealing to the people anxious about Cnut being absent, he made a powerplay, because, as Regent, that would give him more power and authority. Cnut quickly found out, came to Denmark, demanded his son and brother-in-law's submission and got it. On Christmas Eve, he was playing King's Fist with Ulf, and then they started arguing with each other, and at Christmas morning mass, in the Church, Cnut had Ulf assassinated. And that is the pattern of behavior Macbeth knows of and expects from Norse kings.
  • Xenofiction: Downplayed; the majority of the story is written from the perspective of human characters, but there are a number of dragon POV sections, and their different social structures, physical capabilities, and modes of thought are visibly on display; there's enough overlap between them and humans to be able to engage in mutual understanding, but the scenes in question really show the differences between how they think and speak and humans, without even taking the flight and firebreathing into account.
  • 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). To add insult to injury, one of the main causes of William's success in our timeline is that he attacked shortly after Harald, meaning his tired troops had to march form northern England where Harald had attacked all the way to the English channel, where William was invading.
  • 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.
  • Zerg Rush: Shows up twice. First suggested as the tactic of choice by Spitelout when the Anglo-Danish fleet attacks, reasoning that the the archers aboard the ships couldn't kill enough of them fast enough. Later in the fic, this tactic was used by the Eirish during their attack on Vedrarfjord, specifically of the human-wave variety. As there were a limited number of defenders protecting the city (about fifty or so, facing over two thousand attackers), their plan was to rush the walls and climb up over them to overwhelm the defenders through sheer numbers. It was their bad luck that Hiccup invented the minefield in response to the threat.

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