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Fanfic / Rise of the Brave Tangled Dragons

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The Big Four, all together.

Once upon a time, there were four teenagers who all wanted something more. One was a young Viking with a draconic best friend and a talent for not fitting in. One was a dreaming girl, locked in a tower, who yearned to know of the world outside. One was a hot-blooded princess who wished to escape the confines of royal life. And one was a reckless winter spirit who only wanted someone to believe in him. If these four ever met, it would be the beginning of something wonderful...

There was one problem. None of them existed in the same universe.

That is, until the Internet got a hold of them...

Or, what happens when Friendly Fandoms goes to the next logical extreme and becomes a fandom in and of itself. Also known as The Big Four, ROTBTD is the crossover of the popular movies Tangled, Brave, How to Train Your Dragon, and Rise of the Guardians. It kicked off big on Tumblr in late 2012/early 2013, and has gained a sizable fanbase in and of itself. Sometimes Frozen is added to the mix, making it Rise of the Brave Tangled Frozen Dragons. (It helps that Rapunzel and Eugene have a cameo in Frozen.)

This crossover provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Rapunzel and Merida are both this—but it's more emphasized with Merida.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Sometimes, Rapunzel gets reduced to a damsel in distress and/or team healer, even though in Tangled, she's a capable fighter in her own right (even saving Eugene twice), and the TV series subjects her to Xenafication.note 
  • Alternate Universe Fic: One of the ways to make this crossover work. The most popular include a modern AU, a Hogwarts AU, and a Rise of the Guardians-Universe AU, where Hiccup, Rapunzel, and Merida are chosen as Guardians. Occasionally, they're also seasonal spirits. The Hogwarts AU usually sorts each character into a Hogwarts house, though who goes where changes according to writer. Jack is often in Slytherin and Merida in Gryffindor, but Hiccup and Rapunzel play musical chairs with Ravenclaw and Huffepuff.
  • Amazon Brigade: Rapunzel, Merida, Astrid, and Tooth, on occasion.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Based on the timeframes of the original movies, it would technically be impossible for half of the characters to meet. Brave and How to Train Your Dragon roughly take place in the 10th to 12th century, Tangled is in the 1800s while Rise of the Guardians is set in the modern day. Jack was said to have existed for three hundred years, so he was human during the early 18th century. This is why the "Hiccup, Merida and Rapunzel are Guardians and therefore immortal" plot became so popular.
    • Jack's blue hoodie also contrasts with the older period outfits of the other three. Some artists and writers put him in his colonial outfit to avoid this trope.
  • Artistic License – History: A source of friction for those who know their history is the fact that the Scottish and Vikings, Merida and Hiccup's respective cultures, were notorious for warring with each other. It's mentioned in Brave but rarely comes up in fanfiction. That being said, there are fics where these wars are a part of the story; this is often used to bring a Star-Crossed Lovers factor in if the main pairing is Merida/Hiccup.
  • Badass Normal: Merida, out of the Big Four. Archery and a bit of swordplay (as well as sewing) are all she has. In comparison to Jack Frost's flight and ice powers, Rapunzel's healing hair (as few fans are likely to use her post-haircut state), and Hiccup's dragon-taming skills (with crossbow and short-range weapon training on the side).
  • Big Bad:
    • Generally accepted to be Pitch, the Nightmare King, if they're not at Hogwarts.
    • Mor'du and the Green Death are also occasionally featured as antagonists, though much less frequently. But when it happens, there's more of a Big Bad Ensemble.
    • With the release of How to Train Your Dragon 2, Drago Bludvist is well on his way to becoming a big-name baddie due to how big a threat he is.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Rapunzel, Hiccup, and Merida accordingly. Jack could count since he was a brunette when he was alive.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Jack and Rapunzel's friendship (or romance, Depending on the Writer) in a nutshell.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Flynn and Astrid usually die or vanish conveniently if there's any shipping to be done within the Big Four (except Jack×Merida). Unlikeinvoked Die for Our Ship, there is rarely any spite against these characters.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: A popular fanon is that Pitch will try to turn Merida, Hiccup, and/or Rapunzel over to his side to get to Jack.
  • Crossover: Apart from the obvious, the Big Four are often put in Hogwarts or the Avatar universe.
  • Crossover Alternate Universe: Nine out of ten Big Four fics take place in one of these, almost out of necessity.
  • Crossover Shipping: Hiccup×Merida, Jack×Rapunzel, Jack×Hiccup, Merida×Rapunzel, Jack×Merida, Hiccup×Rapunzel, Merida×Astrid, Eugene×Astrid... take your pick.
  • Crossover Villain-in-Chief: Pitch Black often has the honor of villainous top billing in these works, owing to his status as an immortal representation of fear itself.
  • Darker and Edgier: Some newer fics tend to do this. Depending on the writer they will often be deconstructions of the team as a whole (Clashing views or failing to be heroic, Hiccup caring more about Dragons than people) or set it in a more darker setting. Especially noticeable in fics that deconstruct ships, most specifically Jack×Elsa where their romance tears the team apart.
  • Depending on the Writer: Despite what this page might imply, the exact nature of the fandom varies wildly from person to person. Some fans are in it for shipping, others for pure friendship. Some limit it to the four leads while others meld entire movie casts. Some writers use alternate settings — like Hogwarts or the standard High School AU — to facilitate the stories; others shuffle timelines and motivations around to slot the movies together; and still others simply ignore any details that get in the way. There are no hard and fast rules. The appeal of the crossover is in character compatibility, everything else is fair game.
  • Elemental Powers: Another common AU option.
    • Jack usually gets water magic as an extension of his ice powers or air magic because in canon, he can fly.
    • Merida usually gets fire powers due to her hot-headed temperament. Sometimes, it's earth magic instead, due to her stubbornness.
    • Hiccup gets fire or air powers, thanks to his connection with dragons and flying.
    • Rapunzel is the most flexible: her element can be air to match her free-spirited nature; it can be earth due to her nurturing personality and love for nature; it can be water, matching her healing magic (especially in Avatar AUs); and it can be fire thanks to her connection to the sun.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Often enough, the characters are initially indifferent or even hostile towards each other and become friends after fighting together.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: These roles are rather fluid too:
    • The Cynic: Merida
    • The Optimist: Rapunzel (and Jack)
    • The Realist: Hiccup
    • The Apathetic: Jack
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Again, the roles are rather fluid, but the characters do line up well like so:
    • Sanguine: Rapunzel
    • Choleric: Merida
    • Melancholic: Hiccup
    • Phlegmatic: Jack (with traces of Sanguine).
  • Fluffy Tamer: Often, if Toothless is hostile he'll warm up to Rapunzel the quickest, if not instantly.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Another popular fanon, often used in 'trailers' using the dialogue from the Rise of the Guardians scene with Baby Tooth, is that Pitch will trade one or all of Jack's new friends for his staff (often Rapunzel, using her hostage situation in Tangled).
  • Leitmotif:
    • A commonly accepted theme for the group is "I'm Still Here" from Treasure Planet. Although the song is in and of itself the leitmotif for Treasure Planet's main character Jim, it fits this group quite nicely as well. See a video of the song set to clips of the four here.
    • Alternatively, Something Different, a fansong written for the group. Told from the perspectives of the four, the verses go in order of when the four movies were released. The lyrics before the final chorus become a Breaking the Fourth Wall Aesop about how you shouldn't let anyone control your life, because maybe you're meant for something different, too.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Interactions between Merida and Hiccup usually look like this.
  • The Medic: Rapunzel's healing hair means that she's able to fill this role.
  • Nature Spirit: Some AUs build on Jack's Snow Day powers by dubbing him the Guardian of Winter and assigning the other three seasons to the other three heroes, sometimes after untimely deaths of their own. This tends to work out surprisingly well, as is par for the course with this crossover:
    • Spring: Rapunzel is quite consistently in charge of Spring, for obvious reasons.
    • Autumn: Usually Hiccup, as he's the more serious and reflective character.
    • Summer: Usually Merida, thanks to her hot-tempered and wild personality.
    • Rapunzel occasionally headlines as summer which is when she was born, while Hiccup and Merida can swap depending on the fan creating the particular AU. (There are good arguments for either arrangement).
  • Night and Day Duo: Some fics play up this motif between Jack and Rapunzel, especially if they're being shipped together.
  • Pair the Spares: Flynn and Astrid get together in some fics that that ship Rapunzel and Hiccup with someone other than their canon love interests.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Rapunzel wears her pink/lavender dress, and Jack Frost wears his blue hoodie.
  • Portmanteau: The title is a combination of the four movies which the protagonists come from.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • They may be Bash Brothers when they're fighting Pitch, but Jack (red, weirdly) and Hiccup (blue) have this sort of relationship in general.
    • Merida (red) and Rapunzel (blue).
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Rapunzel's dynamic with Hiccup is often portrayed as this.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Hiccup (sensitive guy) and Jack Frost (manly man).
  • Sixth Ranger: Characters from other CGI-animated movies are often added to the group. Mavis is something of a Guest-Star Party Member for the original group, and Elsa is popular especially since people ship her with Jack. Eugene might also tag along — a Smolder never hurts in a pinch. Toothless is almost always present since he and Hiccup are inseparable and being an animal he doesn't change the four's dynamic too much. Hiro, Moana, Cassandra, and Varian are popular additions, too.
  • Solar and Lunar: A popular motif, thanks to The Man in the Moon and the Sundrop. It's become even more popular since Tangled: The Series introduced the Moonstone.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Merida (tomboy) and Rapunzel (girly girl).
  • True Companions: The Big Four themselves.
  • Unexplained Recovery: People tend to overlook the fact that Hiccup lost his foot and Rapunzel's hair got cut. After HTTYD 2, Hiccup's issue isn't as ignored, with half of fics portraying him as his older self and the other half as his younger self.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Pitch and Gothel, the respective villains of Rise of the Guardians and Tangled, are sometimes paired up.
  • Universal-Adaptor Cast: High School AU, Hogwarts, Avatar universe, Super Fic, Heroic Fantasy, Space Opera, you name it- with some backstory tweaks, these characters fit everywhere.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: In many fanfics, they are the Big Bickering Four and the True Companions nonetheless. Jack, Hiccup, and Merida are canonical deadpan snarkers, and Rapunzel sometimes gets into the act, too. This crosses into Belligerent Sexual Tension in more shippy works.
  • White Magician Girl: Rapunzel sometimes takes this role because of her spunky girl qualities, compassionate nature, and healing magic.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: True to canon, some fanfics partray Jack as an immortal spirit and the others as mortals, and the idea that he will inevitably outlive all his friends and/or whoever he's paired with causes him a lot of angst. Other fanfics avert this by making him mortal or making them spirits.