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Recap / A Thing of Vikings Chapter 24 "Your Only Hope..."

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Book I, Chapter 24

King Harthacnut's attack on Berk, in addition to costing the lives of dragon-riders in the first recorded battle on dragon-back (featuring human belligerents against the dragon-riders; Haddock's battle against the Green Death belongs to a different category), set the stage for the events that followed. Within a matter of months, the entirety of Europe had heard of the event, and the awareness that dragons could be tamed set off what could only be called an arms race among the European kingdoms as they sought to replicate the feat, or defend themselves against dragons being used against them. This was, of course, exacerbated by the fact that the continental European dragon populations had crashed due to human predation over the preceding centuries.

A History Of The Isles, Oxford, England, 1591
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Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:

  • All Just a Dream: The chapter opens with Heather and Fishlegs in the heat of passion just after she had told him that she was the spy and that they were going to work together to free her parents. Smash Cut to her waking up.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted. While Wulfhild only gets a small cut on her cheek in her efforts to tame Mistletoe, it's practically a paper-cut all things considered. With that said, when Einar finds out about it, he is quick to shame her for it through the mail, saying that tarnishing herself will make her worth less as a future wife.
  • Culture Clash: Snotlout does not seem to understand how a book (The Bible) could be holy.
    Did they worship the words inside it?
  • Engagement Challenge: Annoyingly self-imposed by Hiccup; he feels that he needs to have a bride price that is not only sufficiently proportionate for what he feels Astrid's value is to him, but what the tribe's (and the rest of the European world's) expectations are going to be for "The Hero Of Berk."
    "I don't even want to imagine what they'd say if the 'Hero of Berk'," his tone was mocking, "paid a 'normal' bride price? How they'd make her out to be some kind of, of, of—"
    Gobber held up his hand. "I got it. Yeh needn't say it."
  • Fallen Princess:
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    • 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 Einar, 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.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Downplayed. Fishlegs and Heather have only just started dating and he is already planning on proposing to her at around the upcoming Thawfest or Midsummer, taking the time to gather the right bride price and making sure she would not feel rushed into it.
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  • Happily Married: While technically not married, Astrid recalls that her great-grandmother became her great-grandfather's concubine and does not regret doing so, even to this day. This is a motivating factor that convinces Astrid that she would be fine as Hiccup's concubine if it ever came to that.
  • Internal Reveal: Fishlegs discovers the truth about Heather, that she was the spy.
  • Karma Houdini: Technically Hiccup and Astrid's extra-marital affairs (and Gobber's aiding and abetting them) are considered crimes by Berk law. Minor ones, but still. Considering Hiccup's father is the chief and (probably) everyone is certain they will get hitched anyways, no one is causing much of a fuss about it.
  • Love-Obstructing Parents: Averted. When Hiccup comes clean to Gobber that he and Astrid are sleeping together, he admits he is worried that it could start a clan war. Gobber assures him that Astrid's parents think the world of him and have no intention of starting anything over anything.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Wulfhild names her razorwhip Mistletoe as "a warning to anyone that might think to take advantage of [Wulfhild] - [they] are more than [they] appear."
  • Not So Different: Heather and Wulfhild find solidarity in that their lives have been controlled-by and ruined by selfish, powerful men. Also, since Heather's birth-father was a Viking Chief, this makes both of them Fallen Princesses.
  • Pregnancy Scare: Hiccup briefly thinks the reason Astrid is upset is because he knocked her up. She tells him that she isn't pregnant (or at least is sure she isn't) and that her mood isn't because of him.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Gobber mentions that Valka’s father is his nephew making her his grand-niece, while In canon she had no known blood relatives beside her son.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: In-Universe. The reason why Hiccup hasn't proposed to Astrid yet is because he is still trying to come-up with a bride-price with a secure-enough profit, feeling that paying a "normal" bride-price after the various amazing feats he has accomplished would not be enough.
  • Sex Dressed: While Gobber was sure that Hiccup and Astrid have been intimate, he is made absolutely certain when Hiccup tries and fails to sneak back into his own house with his various laces only partially done, his body coated in sweat, his back covered in scratch-marks and his neck riddled with love-bites.
  • Shamed by a Mob: Hazelnut has been mocked incessantly by the entire village for marrying Aodh without being able to pay the minimum bride price.

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