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Prodigal Son is a How to Train Your Dragon fanfic written by commandocucumber.

Eight years after Berk's heir vanished, the Viking town is slowly crumbling. Dragon attacks are more devastating than ever. To save her village, Astrid must piece together exactly what happened before the dragons wipe them all out for good. Meanwhile, half a world away and eight years wiser, Hiccup decides it might just be time to go home.

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The fanfic can be read on Fanfiction.net.


This fanfic provides examples of:

  • Altar Diplomacy: After Fishlegs convinces the village that Astrid was in a secret relationship with Hiccup, Astrid is more or less forced to use that to her advantage to inherit the role of future chieftess to prevent a potential civil war on Berk, knowing full well that Snotlout's incompetence (having just been responsible for the death of a child during a training exercise) has soured over half of the village on the idea and will lead to conflict. She does this by agreeing to marry Hiccup post-mortem, becoming a member of the Haddock family under Berk's laws and thus next-in-line for the throne. It's a particular shock to Hiccup when he decides to return.
    • After Astrid is announced as Stoick's heir, Spitelout and Snotlout offer an ultimatum; she marries Snotlout and makes him Chief or they will use the economic power their clan has over the rest of the island to force her out of her position. She manages to haggle her way into having the marriage held off for three years.
  • Badass Teacher: Astrid is a very competent, tough but fair mentor to the children, having taught them fighting and survival skills with the knowledge that they will eventually be savvy enough to fend for themselves against their dragon enemy. Even when she has Snotlout take over for her to spite their parents for trying to force her to quit, she's able to remind them of the basic skills they need to survive.
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  • Be Careful What You Wish For: When the parents of the village try to retract their children from training because Astrid sides with Hiccup (then under the name Prometheus), viewing her as a traitor, Astrid makes a point by having the incompetent and narcissistic Snotlout take over for her. What follows is Snotlout trying to bully the students into a total offense attack on a monstrous nightmare all the while the terrified parents try and salvage the situation, Astrid's training advice being the only thing keeping them alive.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Hiccup was nicely hit by a swath of arrows during the Reconquista in Spain.
    • Hiccup briefly worked as a member of the Varangian Guard before quitting when he was ordered to needlessly destroy sacred objects.
    • While Hiccup and Toothless were unable to prevent the Siege of Alexandria, he was able to provide support in helping to evacuate the citizens.
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  • Berserk Button: Still sore from Hiccup's (supposed) death, Stoick is quick to lose his patience when he is brought up in conversation.
  • Brains and Brawn: A romantic example with Artemisia and Martius respectively.
  • Captain's Log: How to Train your Dragon by Hiccup Haddock III.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Hiccup arrives back in the Archipelago over Helheim's gate just as Berk figured out how to navigate the fog and have just awoken the Red Death ready to kill them all.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: Fishlegs convinces Astrid to use a dragon raid to gain access to Hiccup's room.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: In Chapter 21.
    Astrid: Fancy meeting you here, Fishlegs.
    Fishlegs: Listen, I know you might be upset...
    Astrid: Upset? No. I'm just curious. Do you think a grown man can drown in just a few inches of water?
  • Death Is Cheap: Astrid is declared dead twice only for her to show up alive and well both times, the first time being a failed hunt for the nest, the second time being snatched up by Stormfly to safety during the Red Death's attack.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When questioned on what punishment Stoick intends to inflict onto Astrid when she is found guilty, he says he intends on exiling her. What was her crime? Stealing a drawn depiction of herself from Hiccup's room. Those who were not loudly protesting this decision still thought it was a bit of an overreaction.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: While Astrid is still irate about Hiccup, she becomes rather flustered after he takes off his mask, confused by how handsome he had become within eight years.
    Astrid: Hiccup Haddock?
    Hiccup: Thought you said you already figured that one out.
    Astrid: Hiccup Haddock?
    Hiccup: That's right! [Gives her a thumbs-up.]
    Astrid: Hiccup Haddock?
    Hiccup: Ooohkay. I'm going to be over there. [He pointed with both hands towards the pool at the centre of the cove.] When you can remember words that aren't my name, let me know.
    Astrid: Hiccup Haddock?
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Invoked by Astrid word-for-word when Hiccup discovers the marriage contract she has with Snotlout.
  • Everyone Has Standards: When Astrid asks Snotlout to teach for her in the Killing Arena, he agrees on the condition that she names him better than her at being a viking, a sailor, a skilled warrior and poet. It is not until he tries to get her to say that he is the best lay that she loses her patience, breaks his nose, and forces him to tell everyone in the Great Hall that they have never slept together before more or less forcing him to honor his side of the deal.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Despite being the new heir of the Hairy Hooligans - being the typical viking the tribe wanted to be Stoick's successor - Snotlout's Know-Nothing Know-It-All Narcissism has caused everyone to lose all confidence in him, usually trying to ignore him or keep him busy.
  • Freudian Threat: A favorite of Astrid's, who has claimed that she would castrate both Snotlout, if he ever tried having sex with her, and Hiccup, if he runs away a second time.
  • Guile Hero: Hiccup was able to leave Gothi speechless (even for her) when he openly defies her use of the valknut rune in order to get him to tell her his true identity in what essentially amounts to "if the Gods wanted you to know, then you would not have had to ask in the first place." Ironically, it actually compels her to speak to Astrid, telling her to tread lightly, comparing him to both Odin and Loki.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Astrid's opinion of her tribe comes across as this point.
    Gods above... more than anything else, Astrid just craved stability. Protect village during a dragon raid? Reputation up. Help Stoick conduct a raid on the nest? Reputation down. Get shipwrecked and miraculously find one's way home? Reputation up. Get accused of theft? Reputation down. Reason for theft: long lost love? Reputation up, and the chief's favor. Try for another attempt at the nest? Reputation down. Actually make it? Reputation up. Can't fight the monster? Reputation down. Found someone who could? Reputation up... until everyone realizes that his method is unorthodox... then down again.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Emperor Leo V.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In Chapter 24.
    Snotlout: Don't talk about me like I'm some piece of meat! We're here to buy Astrid, remember?
  • Incest Subtext: According to Fishlegs anyway.
    "What do I say to her?"
    Fishlegs shrugged.
    "We're married, right?"
    "No. You're dead, remember? It's a complicated legal situation. If anything, she's like... a sister."
    Hiccup turned a very putrid shade of green.
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: In his first day within Artemisia's Natural Philosophy class, Hiccup was able to comprehend concepts that baffle students who have been there for weeks. Within months, he surpassed concepts that students who have been there for years have been struggling with.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: Inverted according to Emperor Leo V.
    Leo: [Alexander the Great] was a brilliant tactician, and a brutal tyrant. A good ruler must be nothing less.
  • Meaningful Rename: When he returns to the Archipelago, Hiccup adopts the name "Prometheus" to keep suspicion off of him. It is stated early on that he relates to the original character: an enlightened being that brings knowledge to the ignorant masses only to be punished for it.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: When Astrid and Fishlegs start collaborating on figuring out the nature of Hiccup's absence, her mother starts to suspect that they are having an affair.
  • Mistaken for Romance: When it is revealed that Astrid stole something from Hiccup's room, Fishlegs steps in and bails her out by convincing the tribe that she was secretly in a relationship with Hiccup before he disappeared.
  • Mistaken for Undead: After Astrid returns from supposedly dying on their hunt for the nest, Snotlout is quick to point to her and call her a draugr.
    Astrid: Snotlout, you are an idiot every day of the week. Why can't you take just one day off?
  • My Greatest Failure: It is not until after one of the children under his supervision dies in the arena during training does Gobber retire from training, passing on that responsibility to Astrid.
  • Mythology Gag: As Astrid visits to the cove and cooes over Stormfly, Hiccup remarks that she accidentally spoke to her in dragonese. It is very likely that he is just messing with her though.
  • The Philosopher King: Discussed with between Artemisia and Hiccup in Chapter 14. Even Artemisia declares Hiccup falls into this trope due to his reluctance.
  • Platonic Cave: Discussed with between Artemisia and Hiccup in Chapter 12.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Fishlegs is an expert at playing politics in Berk, able to manipulate things so that they come out positively. He convinces the village that Astrid was secretly in a relationship with Hiccup, both saving her life and eventually securing her as heir to the chiefdom, and later manages to convince Stoick to allow "Prometheus" to explain himself while still coming across as being as anti-dragon as the rest of the villagers.
  • Prince Charmless: Ever since he became heir to the chiefdom, Snotlout has only gotten worse, flaunting his position in different, equally obnoxious ways, one time being him having Tuffnut announce his presence to everyone at the Great Hall while riding a horse surrounded by a harem of sycophantic girls.
  • Propaganda Machine: Emperor Leo V muses to Hiccup that one of the benefits of having an ignorant population is that this makes it easier to control them.
    Hiccup: There's more in those texts! Roman history and Greek philosophy! We have a responsibility to spread knowledge and understanding! Even if you don't care about the people, at least save the books.
    Leo: For whom? The people of this Holy Roman Empire are illiterate. Would you like to know the benefits of an Illiterate population? The people only hear what my town criers are paid to tell them. The only believe what the priests say. They don't think too much. It makes my job a lot easier.
  • Related in the Adaptation: In one instance, Tuffnut refers to Mildew as "old uncle Mildew."
  • Robinsonade: After another botched attempt at finding Helheim's Gate, Astrid winds up shipwrecked on a deserted isle, only being able to get back to Berk by taming a Deadly Nadder using Hiccup's notes.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: In the first natural philosophy class Hiccup attends, Artemisia brings up the idea that the world is round, while one of her more fundamentalist students Linus surmises that the Earth is flat because the Bible says as much, only for Artemisia to dismantle the notion through geometry. She then goes on to correctly assume that the Sun and stars are millions of times farther away from the planet than the planet's circumference, a notion that baffles even Hiccup.
  • Sadist Teacher: Being the asshole that he is, Snotlout is prone to make stupid decision after stupid decision and give bad advice (like forgoing the handiness of a shield and sending minors to fend for themselves against dragons).
  • Secret Keeper: By the time Hiccup returns, Astrid and Fishlegs already know who he is.
  • Shoo the Dog: After freeing the Deadly Nadder from a netting of ropes, it continues to follow Astrid around, having bonded with her from the experience whether she likes it or not.
  • Shout-Out: One of Astrid's recommended pseudonyms for Hiccup to use was "Cattongue."
  • Soap Box Sadie: The agora in Eskendereyya is full of people giving "free lectures," most of these being crazy people preaching like prophets.
  • Speech Impediment: After Astrid breaks his nose, Snotlout speaks with a consonance so ridiculous it takes the real danger of his incompetently fatal teaching methods to take him seriously.
  • Spotting the Thread: The road to Astrid takes to discovering the truth behind Hiccup’s disappearance starts when one of her students notices the illustrations and notes Hiccup took on the Night Fury in the Book of Dragons.
  • Stay with Me Until I Die: As was the case with Martius and Artemisia during the invasion of Alexandria.
  • Yes-Man: Tuffnut seems to have taken on this duty for Snotlout.


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