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Fanfic / The Blacksmith's Apprentice

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The Blacksmith's Apprentice by harrypanther is a How to Train Your Dragon AU fic set in a world where Hiccup didn’t shoot Toothless down as depicted in the film. As a result, three years later, Hiccup has been disinherited and disowned by Stoick while Snotlout has taken his place as Heir to Berk, leaving Hiccup as essentially the village thrall with only Astrid, Fishlegs and Gobber being remotely kind to him (and Gobber is prone to being harsh when he’s particularly drunk while Fishlegs mostly ignores Hiccup). However, when a chain of events give Hiccup another chance to prove himself, he is able to reaffirm his status in the eyes of the Tribe and find another chance to form his greatest friendship…

This fanfic can be read on Fanfiction Dot Net here and Archive of Our Own here

The Blacksmith’s Apprentice contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parent:
    • Considering that Stoick disowned Hiccup and left him basically a servant in his own village, it’s initially hard to see him as anything but, although he swiftly recognises his mistake when Hiccup begins to prove himself.
    • Even Gobber qualifies as such to a degree; despite taking Hiccup in after he was disowned, over the past three years Gobber has become increasingly drunk and lazy, essentially shattering Hiccup's spirit when he destroyed some of Hiccup's inventions and sometimes hitting Hiccup when he's drunk and Hiccup doesn't keep up with others' orders despite Hiccup having been working for hours without a break.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Snotlout and the Twins in particular, but seen for most of the village, as their dismissive attitude towards Hiccup in the first film has now escalated to the point of varying levels of physical abuse (even if Hiccup notes that he's at least allowed to stay in the village in contrast to Mildew being essentially exiled to the outskirts)
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Snotlout and Spitelout, to the point that they actively assist Alvin the Treacherous in an invasion of Berk (although Spitelout realizes his mistake before his death).
    • Dagur is even more deranged than he was in the show, making plans to mutilate and torture Hiccup to make him a slave, until his actions push Hiccup to realize that the only way to stop Dagur's plans is to order Toothless to kill the Berserker chief.
  • Ascended Extra: Gustav goes from trying to imitate Snotlout as a Dragon Rider in canon to becoming one of Hiccup's first group of Dragon Riders, training Fanghook before one of the new Riders train Hookfang.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: To a degree; Toothless demonstrates that he has a degree of authority over other dragons, with the first sign of this being when he orders Stormfly not to leave with Astrid; notable as he had previously "defeated" Stormfly to save Astrid when she was still controlled by the Red Death, which prompted Stormfly to come to the cove for safety.
  • Babies Ever After: By the very end, Astrid tells Hiccup that she is having a baby.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Astrid is the only person who reaches out and acts friendly to Hiccup while everyone else either ignores or abuses him because he was the only one there to be a shoulder to cry on when her parents died and her family home destroyed during a dragon-raid. This eventually increases from platonic love to romantic after Hiccup manages to prevent her from being politically kidnapped by Thuggory, using his then heir status to claim her as his fiancé (while assuring her that he has no plans to force that on her in the aftermath).
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Snotlout chooses to jump off a cliff rather than accept that Hiccup defeated him and claimed back the title of Heir.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Snotlout thinks he's a great heir, but even before accepting Hiccup back in the role, Stoick recognized that Snotlout was a poor choice due to his lack of diplomatic skill or even any real tactical ability beyond "beat the other guy up", to the point of having Hiccup "pretend" to be the Heir when other tribes are visiting (albeit saying that Snotlout just isn't ready yet rather than acknowledging that he never will be). After being Outcast, Snotlout tries to reclaim his title by making a deal with Alvin, but this "deal" proves to be hopelessly in favor of Alvin, even if Snotlout accepts a position of apparent power among the Outcasts when Alvin takes the position of Berk chief that he had "promised" to Snotlout.
  • A Boy and His X: Hiccup and Toothless, as always
  • Brain Bleach: Hiccup told Astrid he wanted to unhear the details of Dagur's sexual conquests.
  • The Bus Came Back: Hiccup and Astrid win the allegiance of Tuffnut and Ruffnut when they offer to take them back to Berk from their current outcast status on Eel Island.
  • Coming of Age Story: A key element of this fic is Hiccup proving himself as Stoick's heir despite being officially disinherited, even before he trains Toothless; Stoick explicitly states (before he learns about the dragons) that he now recognises that Hiccup is not a runt, but just a late bloomer.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Hiccup takes the entire village by surprise when he proves to be a skilled enough combatant to defeat Thuggory in a duel even after three years as essentially the village thrall.
  • Culture Justifies Anything: Subverted. In-contrast to Hiccup's innovations, Berk runs on a series of traditions that have been in place for generations, causing a stagnation on their way of life that causes Berk to slowly die. For instance, tradition states that the families of the village look after each other, otherwise they are left to fend for themselves with no help from the village. When Astrid's parents died and her home burned down, her more distant relatives would not let her stay in their homes and thus she was forced to live in the Great Hall, with no one able to help her to rebuild her home. It is not until Hiccup (who was temporarily reinstated as heir when the Meatheads came to visit) forced the village to collaborate in building homes were they all able to make progress, rebuilding Astrid's home along with many others in quicker succession than if they worked only for themselves.
  • Death by Adaptation: Spitelout, Mildew, Alvin, Dagur and Snotlout all die in the battle between the Outcasts and the Hooligans to reclaim Berk.
  • Doomed Hometown: With its small size, routine dragon attacks and stifling traditions, Berk was well on its way to becoming this until Hiccup was able to take what few advantages he could to make the quality of life better.
  • The Dreaded: Scenes from Toothless' POV refer to the Red Death as "Her", giving the impression that Toothless fears falling under her influence again.
  • Driven to Suicide: After a series of events reinforce the idea that nobody in Berk (with the possible exception of Astrid) would care if he was there or not, Hiccup releases the Night Fury from its bonds in the full expectation that the dragon will kill him.
  • Entitled Bastard: Snotlout makes it clear more than once that he has become this after being appointed heir, complaining when he has to do any work that doesn’t involve giving other people orders or beating someone up, in contrast to Hiccup’s willingness to serve the village in any capacity even after he’s been disinherited.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Berk may treat Hiccup harshly, but in a 'talk' with Mildew Hiccup observes that even after he was disinherited he was still allowed to live in the village itself, whereas Mildrew was forced out of Berk.
  • Eye Scream:
    • A minor example; Snotlout sustains a scar over his eye in a duel with Hiccup, but all observing parties can see that his eye hasn’t been damaged and it's only temporarily blinded due to the blood from the scar
    • A more significant example occurs during the fight against the Red Death, as Astrid and another Nadder rider strike the Red Death in the eyes with Nadder spines.
  • Handicapped Badass: While still not fitted for his prosthetic and barely recovered from his victory over the Red Death, Hiccup manages to lead the dragon riders against Alvin, Dagur and Snotlout's invading forces
  • Heel–Face Turn: The twins do this when Tuffnut and Ruffnut realise that Snotlout has abandoned them to take all the blame for the attack on Hiccup, while Hiccup and Astrid not only went to Eel Island to give them food but even help the twins train a Zippleback.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Stoick has a habit of trusting the wrong people. He was convinced by Spitelout to instate Snotlout as his heir and publicly disown Hiccup in order to sell it to the village. Whenever Snotlout accuses anyone of anything that he actually did - like Hiccup breaking a cart of fish or Astrid being the one to nearly beat Hiccup to death - he will immediately believe it and act with great aggression.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The people of Berk start training dragons three years later, but all available signs suggest that Toothless, Stormfly, Meatlug, Barf and Belch, and Fanghook all end up with the same Riders (although Hookfang has a different rider).
  • Informed Ability: Essentially applies to Snotlout; while he looks like a good choice for the new heir on paper as he's physically capable where Hiccup was 'a talking fishbone', in practice he's an idiot with an over-inflated ego who has no clue how to do anything beyond beating up people he doesn't like who essentially aims to set himself as a warlord rather than a benevolent chief.
  • It Can Think: Made clear for Toothless, as various scenes show him thinking about how being shot down freed him from Her (the Red Death), recognizing Hiccup and Astrid as mates before they've even kissed, and choosing to stay in the cove out of affection for Hiccup even when he doesn't need Hiccup to fly
  • It's All About Me: Snotlout takes everything Hiccup does as acting Heir as an insult to himself. Granted, Hiccup acted as Heir because Stoick recognized that Snotlout wasn't ready to be publicly introduced to other tribes, but Snotlout was simply incapable of recognizing that Hiccup's priority was helping Berk rather than showing him up.
  • Junior Counterpart: As well as Hiccup, Astrid, Fishlegs and the twins, the Dragon Riders in this version of events include Fishleg's younger brother Yaklegs, Gustav- explicitly referred to as 'Mini-Snot' by Hiccup and Astrid more than once-, the twins' cousin Tiril, and another set of Thorston cousins in the form of the 'Tiny Twins'; even Hookfang is trained by a close friend of Snotlout's sister.
  • Loophole Abuse: Thuggory attempts to invoke Heir's Privilege to claim Astrid as his wife, but Hiccup uses that same rule to claim Astrid for himself as local heir takes precedent in the event of such a claim, despite the fact that Berk doesn't recognize Heir's Privilege under normal circumstances (which stops Snotlout trying to invoke it after Thuggory's left).
  • Manipulative Bastard: Snotlout tries to act like this, but continually underestimates Hiccup's abilities as a combatant and a leader.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Hiccup declines Dagur's offer to go wenching, he thinks that it's because Hiccup isn't into women, something that Dagur had assumed for a while.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Stoick. In chapter 36, he rhetorically asks Astrid if the bad choices he has made regarding Hiccup make him Stoick the Stupid.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Snotlout finally ruins his chances to become Chief when he tries to rape Astrid, finally committing an act that Stoick can't try to overlook with the argument that Snotlout just needs time to develop.
  • Nice to the Waiter: In a sense; with Hiccup basically relegated to the role of a thrall, the fact that Snotlout thinks he can get away with treating Hiccup that way says a great deal about him.
  • Noodle Incident: Astrid never had to kill the would-be Hookfang in the final lesson of dragon training as she killed a random wild Monstrous Nightmare during a raid instead.
  • Papa Wolf: Stoick might have disowned Hiccup, and he spent the last few years basically ignoring his son to the point of getting angry if Hiccup just calls him "Dad", but he swiftly begins looking for an opportunity to undo his past mistakes once Hiccup begins to show evidence that he can improve from his old performance.
  • Point of Divergence: It occurs some time before the main storyline begins, but the main change from canon is that, during the raid where Hiccup shot down Toothless in canon, he was kept too busy to make the attempt, which led to Hiccup's poorer performance in dragon training and being officially disinherited by Stoick.
  • Put on the Bus: The twins are banished to Eel Island after Snotlout puts all the blame for a recent attack on Hiccup on them. They come back later and this makes them finally abandon Snotlout.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Why Stoick decides to finally remove Snotlout as Heir and banish him.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After helping Snotlout lead the Outcast assault on Berk, Spitelout sacrifices himself to save his wife and daughter from Alvin.
  • Right Behind Me: Tiril says this when she, Yaklegs, Gustav, and Mrs. Larson have a conversation about what dragons eat that turns into a conversation about Astrid's cooking.
  • Shaming the Mob:
    • When Hiccup is forced to fight Thuggory for the right to marry Astrid, Astrid basically does this when she starts audibly cheering for Hiccup to win, prompting the rest of Berk to realise that they've been cheering for Thuggory to beat Hiccup when that means that Berk's representative would lose the duel.
    • Later, while Mildew managed to rally a crowd of people to protest against Hiccup being reinstated as heir, that mob distinctly lost their enthusiasm about supporting Mildew when he stated that they wanted Snotlout back.
  • Shipper on Deck: Stoick and Gobber are quietly supportive of Hiccup and Astrid’s relationship once they see evidence that Astrid genuinely cares for Hiccup, and Toothless recognizes them as mates before they’ve even kissed
  • Sucksessor: Snotlout officially replaced Hiccup as Stoick’s Heir a few years before the narrative begins, but Stoick has been forced to acknowledge over time that while Snotlout is physically stronger, he has all the tact of a rampaging dragon and gets bored when taking any kind of lessons, to the point that Stoick twice has to arrange for Hiccup to ‘pretend’ to be his heir when other tribes visit Berk to avoid Snotlout insulting them and provoking war.
  • Suicide By Dragon: Hiccup basically attempts this after he shoots down a Night Fury; concluding that Berk will never accept him even if he actually brings back the head of the dragon in question, he releases the dragon and then sits back in the full expectation that the dragon will kill him.
  • Token Good Teammate: While the Heirs never appear all at once, Astrid observes at one point that all the heirs seem to be arrogant bullies, with Hiccup being the only official exception.
  • Trauma Conga Line: As though three years as basically the village thrall weren't bad enough, after Hiccup is forced to pretend to still be Stoick's heir during another tribe's visit to Berk, Snotlout and the twins destroy his few possessions, leave him half-dead on a cliff and attempt to frame Astrid for it, with the twins taking the bulk of the punishment as they are exiled to Eel Island while Snotlout is just sentenced to two weeks in jail (a punishment that Hiccup notes is less than what some people receive for mistreating a yak). Faced with such escalating proof that his life is worth nothing as far as the majority of Berk are concerned, it's actually a miracle that Hiccup didn't actually try to kill himself rather than just nearly letting the Night Fury do it.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Defied Trope. Mildew says this almost exactly when he starts a riot against Hiccup being reappointed as heir, but saying the mob wants Snotlout back actually stops the riot as Berk realizes that they don't want him to be heir even if he’s the better candidate in terms of appearance.