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Recap / A Thing of Vikings Chapter 65 "Knives In The Night"

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Book II, Chapter 34

Dragon biology is specific enough to be given its own distinct sub-classification within the realm of herpetology, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, unlike most reptiles, dragons are endotherms, with the corresponding higher need for caloric intake and higher ability to maintain activity in a variety of temperature conditions. Secondarily, the draconic clade is home to a variety of unique anatomical and genetic adaptations, including the definitional petrochemical organ system and all of its myriad variations; the high silica content of their hides, tissues, and bones; and, in some breeds, the addition of a third set of limbs in the form of wings. The third reason is strictly pragmatic: due to the omnipresence of dragons within our society, the field of dragon medicine and biological research is in high demand and warrants specialization—which is probably why you are reading this textbook in the first place.

[…] Like all doctors, regardless of patient type, physicians who specialize in the treatment of dragons most often find themselves dealing with prosaic injuries, and we must remember to avoid the allure of the fascinoma and other zebras; a dragon shedding its scales out of season likely has mites, not skin necrosis, and a dragon whose flame is weak likely has swelling of the throat valves, not Flame Dousing Disorder (as the FDD virus, which ravages the dragon's symbiotic bacteria, can only be transmitted under specific circumstances and there hasn't been a recorded case in over eighty years). More common are simple injuries. While dragons are hardy and resilient creatures, they can still be tremendously fragile under certain circumstances. The wings, in particular, while sharing the fireproof nature of the rest of the dragon's hide, are simply skin with minimal scale cover, if any. Wing injuries are extremely common simply due to this vulnerability...

An Introduction To Dragon Biology, 17th Edition, Oxford University Press, 1793

Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:

  • Bully Hunter: Having been bullied for most of his youth, Hiccup's already salty demeanor turns to hatred at the assassin they captured because he looked like "the look of a bully who had never been on the side of being the weaker one in his life."
  • Content Warnings:
    Chapter Trigger Warnings: Explicit Attempted Murder by Suffocation, Implied Act of Dismemberment, Implied Acts of Torture, Explicit Acts of Violence
  • Exact Words: Hiccup forces the assassins to confess who sent them and why. When they do just that, they are shocked that Hiccup won't let them go. Hiccup mentions that this is because he said that he would let them live and that he will let them go free if his word checks out and he never sets foot within 100 feet within him or his family again.
  • The Fundamentalist: Father Michael Henriksson, he tries to murder Ruffnut after baptizing her without her consent. During the attempted murder he reveals that he was the one who tried to have Hiccup and Astrid killed, and that him marrying Wulfhild to Hiccup was part of some plan to convert Berk to Christianity.
    I have saved you, and I will save that entire village of pagan dragon riders and bring them into the welcoming arms of the Lord! I've already married a Christian woman to their heir — I failed at having him and that shameless interfering pagan whore of his killed last year, but this is better. His heirs will be Christian, and they will help bring about—
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  • Half-Identical Twins: Ruffnut and Magnus' children are a boy named Olaf and a girl named Segna.
  • Heir Club for Men: Father Henriksson assumes that Olaf is going to be Magnus' heir just because he's a boy, much to Ruffnut's annoyance.
    Sire, my congratulations on your new heir, and on your daughter—
    Ruffnut sputtered. Segna had been born first!
  • Honor Before Reason: Having promised to let them live, Hiccup refuses to kill the captured mercenaries regardless of his true feelings.
    Hiccup: They just tried to kill us. It's not like Henry's comedy act last autumn, where they were trying to capture us and then we executed them for something else. They just tried to murder us in our sleep after luring us here! Maybe later I'll feel differently, but I've still got Toothless's blood drying on my hands! But I gave my oath that they'd live.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Father Henriksson's initial murder plan is to smother Ruff and make it look like the stress of child birth was too much. When Einar stumbles in, he shifts gears to stab them both and say they killed each other.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Ruffnut and Magnus' son is named after Magnus' father king Olaf.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: During his rant while trying to kill Ruffnut Michael Henriksson calls Astrid a "shameless interfering pagan whore."
  • The Reveal: Father Henriksson admits to being responsible for the Assassination Attempt on Hiccup and Astrid way back in Chapter 15.
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: Ruffnut gives birth to Half-Identical Twins.
    Twins. It had to be twins.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Father Hendricksson attempts to smother Ruffnut with a pillow after baptizing her in her sleep in order to get rid of her pagan influence and make it look like she died from the aftereffects of childbirth. However Einar catches him and intervenes on the attempted assassination.


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