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Recap / A Thing Of Vikings Chapter 68 Hide A Knife Behind A Smile

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Book II, Chapter 37

The typical aims of dragon-rider versus dragon-rider battles in the air are often very different from battles of dragon-riders versus foot soldiers, for all that they can take place in the same battle. Dragon-riders against soldiers on the ground aim to destroy, rout, or contain the ground forces, but dragon-riders against dragon-riders often aim to capture the enemy's dragons instead of killing them or driving them off. Simply and pragmatically put, killing an enemy's dragons might deny their use to the enemy, but capturing them potentially allows for their recruitment to one's own side. The same cold logic applies to all dragon-riding forces, regardless of their affiliation—dragons are more valuable in warfare than men and far more expensive to waste, due to both their rarity and their capabilities.

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As a result of that logic, capture weapons—nets, bolas, traps and more—have always been a component of dragon-fighting warfare, going back to before the end of the Dragon War, when capturing dragons meant that they could be killed cleanly for their parts, rather than risk them detonating. Since then, such weapons have been refined by all sides…

The Wing And The Ax, Queen Marshal Astrid Haddock I, undated draft, Waterford University Archives

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Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:

  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: Gobber accidentally discovers a way to cheaply mass produce steel, eight hundred and fourteen years before it was in Real Life.
    Steel was precious; the ax head he had just been working on was iron, and he would later forge-weld a line of steel onto the head to act as the cutting edge, as the steel would hold the cutting edge better than the iron would. And the work he'd had to do to make that steel in the first place… half of the purpose of the bellows that were now powered by Hiccup's waterworks were for the bloomery furnace to hopefully make steel and not slag… and a single batch from the furnace took a day or more to make, and days more to process. A spongy mass of steel, called a bloom, came out of the furnace, which he then had to pound out with the hammer to get the steel, forcing the slag out.
    But this… this was a veritable fortune in steel. His bloomery out back could maybe make ten or twenty pounds of steel in a batch.
    In front of him, now cooling into bars for him to play with…
    Was most of a ton.
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  • Call-Back: Stoick loans Father Dúnchad the Bible that was gifted to him all the way back in Chapter 5.
  • The Reveal: The identity of the dragon hunter is revealed to be Drago Bludvist.
  • The Stations of the Canon: The discovery of Gronckle Iron (here retconed as being steel, as opposed to some sort of super metal) being the result of Fishlegs and Meatlug indulging in some stress-induced binge-eating.
  • Symbolic Mutilation: Michael is blinded and castrated.
  • Wham Line: When the Great Kagan asks the dragon hunter for his name he gives it.
    You may call me Drago. Drago Bludvist.


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