Book II, Chapter 13
Dragon eggs are laid in a single clutch of three to nine eggs between 24 and 32 days after fertilization. Counting from the time of fertilization, gestation for all breeds is approximately 220 days until hatching.
Laying eggs has numerous adaptational advantages for the mother, including allowing her to deal with the metabolic load during the time of year when food is the most plentiful, allowing her to fly without the additional weight of the eggs, and, perhaps most importantly, minimizing the risks associated with draconic embryonic development. From the evolutionary perspective of the mother, it is far better to lose some potential offspring to malformed hydrocarbon organ systems than to risk her own life by internally gestating the offspring. Indeed, while most eggs with malformed hydrocarbon systems are simply nonviable, a significant minority of the nonviable eggs will detonate in the course of the fourth and and fifth months of gestation. For obvious reasons, this would have negative effects on the health of the mother if gestated internally...
— An Introduction To Dragon Biology, 17th Edition, Oxford University Press, 1793
Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:
- The Caligula: Harthacnut's idea of justice is to execute any nobles and merchants who try to curry favor with Berk and any soldier that tried retreating from their invasion along with their families.Harthacnut: No mercy for traitors.
- Hope Bringer: Berk has become this to the Jomsvikings due to not just being a great power but a great pagan power showing that their way of life can potentially survive the onslaught of Christianity.Jonna: We have been dying and bleeding for decades! Our harbor once held three hundred longships, and now we barely have thirty! The ways of the Viking are dying! I will die for Odin with a smile, but I know that he will not smile upon a warrior wasting themselves in a hopeless fight when there is a way to victory! We go! We join ourselves with these Hooligans and their Chieftain Stoick the Vast and his son, the Hero and Tamer of Dragons, Capturer of Kings! We will show the Christian lords that the ways of the All-Father and the hope of Valhalla will not be plowed under and replaced with the Cross and and the Trinity! When Ragnarok comes, the world will not forget what to do, because we will. Still. Be. Here!
- Kick the Dog: Eochaid has been "paradin' [Toiréasa] in front of everyone to piss them off."
- Mythology Gag: 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.
- Related in the Adaptation: In canon Silent Sven had no known blood relatives, here he has six siblings, and his father is Astrids grand-uncle.Astrid snorted. Her grand-unclefull grand-uncle, as both he and her grandfather were Ingrid's sonsSven the Old had seven children five of them Sven Svensson, and they'd been given the ironic monikers 'Tall', 'Short', 'Wise', 'Fat' and 'Silent' to help differentiate them. Then his daughter was named Svenja and his youngest, only four years older than Astrid, was named Svan. And his grandchildren continued the theme.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: This is Jonna's opinion of the Thingmen who died at the Battle of the Sound of Berk.Of the Dane's hundred and fifty ships, less than half returned, all with their nerves shattered for having faced Thor's might in battle! None of the Thingmen, the traitors who abandoned our ways for coin, were said to have survived.
- Rule of Two: Alvin's idea of a "final exam" for Heather was for her to kill another person, implying it to be a fellow candidate as a spy.
- Sadistic Choice: Astrid's great-grandfather Rikard makes a point that if Hiccup doesn't bed Wulfhild, his fidelity will become more and more obvious both to the tribe and surrounding areas, making the security that taking Wulfhild as his concubine ensures nonexistent.
- Shout-Out: At Jomsburg, Gudbrand shouts "Jonna, stop this crazy Thing!"