- The trailer for the sequel has Stoick being reunited with Valka, his wife and Hiccup's mother.Stoick: You're as beautiful as the day I lost you.
- The lead up to this line is just as heartwrenching, as Valka is half-ranting, half-pleading with Stoick, afraid that he was angry with her for deserting after 20 years, and seeking asylum with dragons after all they've done. Just think, for 20 years she believed that Stoick would never accept her new way of life and that he would hate her if he saw her again. Thank goodness she was wrong.
- Toothless falling into the icy waters and unable to get to Hiccup. Then he gets dragged underwater. He turns out to be okay later, but still.
- Pay close attention to Toothless' face and body language during that scene. He is barely able to keep his head above the water with only a thin piece of ice to cling to, and is calling out for Hiccup as he watches him get taken away. When the other dragons take him underwater, Toothless isn't acting aggressive towards them. Instead his ears are flat against his head, his eyes are wide with terror, and he even whimpers before he gets smothered by one of the dragons' wings. Toothless is one of the most powerful dragons ever, and seeing him so miserable and scared for both himself and his rider is pretty upsetting. The music also does its job well to make it all so much more effective.
- Stoick's death is sad all by itself but it's made even worse by the fact that the death blow was delivered by a mind-controlled Toothless. Worse still is that Stoick had asked Valka to come back home to Berk so they could be a family again — and she'd said yes. Their love not only survived a 20 year separation, it picked up where it left off, only for them to be so cruelly and painfully parted. Stoick doesn't even get to say goodbye to Hiccup. He is killed instantly.
- On top of all that there is a wider prespective. In the first movie after over a lifetime of despising dragons more than most people for terrorizing his village and taking; and from his view more than likely eating, his wife, his son finally convinces him that dragons are not the mindless, evil, beasts he thought they were. Now in this movie, after five years since then, he comes to love dragons as much as everyone else has, and because of the events of the movie; after around twenty years, he finds his wife alive and well and his family is finally whole again. These same events also transpired to cause him to do one thing he'd never thought he'd ever have to do again; fight a dragon to protect his family, and save his son from the very dragon he trusted with his own son's safety, now turned into the mindless beast he believed they were for most of his life.
- Meta-Worse is how different it is compared to other deaths in animated films. In most animated films, deaths are often offscreen shots, with the audience only seeing the reactions of the different characters. Here, it's onscreen. The audience sees the blast and the aftermath. The fact that the villain gloats after seeing Stoick's body drives the nail into the coffin
- Hiccup just got his mother back. After 20 years of thinking she was dead, he got her back. His father meets her again, and they're happily dancing and singing while eating dinner, like a real family. He gets his mother back... only to lose his father soon after.
- Valka's broken expression when she realizes Stoick is dead.
- Toothless snapping out of the Alpha's mind control, waking up to a puzzling sight of a motionless Stoick and a grieving Hiccup and Valka. He doesn't appear to have any idea of what he's just done, and when he sees Stoick lying there motionless he is totally unaware that he's the one who caused it. He tries to sniff Stoick's hand, but Hiccup pushes him away, afraid and uncertain of what might happen next. Both the pain and anger in Hiccup's voice when he pushes his best friend away, and the fact that Hiccup has broken to the point that he pushes his best friend away, is good enough to bring the waterworks. It's a good thing Valka was there to reason with him.
- "NO! GET AWAY FROM HIM! GO ON! GET OUTTA HERE! GET AWAY!"
- The entire scene is even sadder with the commentary.
- It's still worse when compared with a similar scene from the prequel.
- Worse still when you remember how much Toothless and Stoick's relationship had changed from the first movie. If you take the television series into account, they had been forming a bond of friendship for years. And now Toothless lost someone almost as important to him as Hiccup.
- All this is capped off with Stoick's Viking Funeral, where Gobber gives a tearful speech in his best friend's memory as a heartbreaking instrumental reprise of "For the Dancing and the Dreaming", the love song Stoick and Valka sang to each other earlier in the film, plays in the background.Gobber: May the valkyries welcome you and lead you through Odins great battle field. May they sing your name with love and fury, so that we might hear it rise from the depths of Valhalla. And know that youve taken your rightful place at the table of kings. For a great man has fallen: A warrior. A chieftain. A father. A friend.
Hiccup: I'm sorry, Dad.*shots of Fishlegs, the twins and Snotlout with tears in their eyes*Hiccup: I'm not the chief you want me to be... and I'm not the peace keeper I thought I was. I don't know...Valka: ... You came early into this world. You were such a wee thing. So tiny. So frail... I feared you wouldn't make it. But your father... he never doubted. He always said you'd be the strongest of them all. And he was right. You have the heart of a chief... and the soul of a dragon. Only you can bring our worlds together. That... is who you are, son.Hiccup: I was so afraid of becoming my dad, mostly because I thought I never could. I mean how do you become someone that great, that brave, that... selfless? I guess... you can only try.
- Then there's, Hiccup and Valka's dialogue.
- More meta-worse! All of this happened when the film was released just a few days before Father's Day!
- The names of the tracks during this scene? Stoick Saves Hiccup and Stoick's Ship
- The whole thing is inarguably one of the saddest moments in animation history.
- Hiccup explaining to Valka the deal with his leg and how Toothless's tail ended up with a prosthetic, too, is a little sad when you realize he might just be joking to cover up the pain for his mother. He's at least pretty obviously regretful that Toothless will have trouble flying the rest of his life without his rider, which taking into account how long dragons typically last in stories...
- It's also worth noting that Hiccup never explicitly told Toothless what happened in the original film, which makes you wonder how/when that particular admission came about.
- It gets better in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World where Hiccup constructs a tail fin for Toothless that is fireproof, painted black and allows him to fly on his own, essentially restoring the form and function of his original tail.
- Drago makes a particularly cruel comment to Hiccup when they first meet, mocking him as the "Dragon Master," the son of Stoic the Vast, and "what shame he must feel." Given how Hiccup believed this in the first film, it's definitely a low blow.
- The way Hiccup tries to get through to a Brainwashed and Crazy Toothless is just heartbreaking. It's mainly the tone of voice that does it, making Hiccup's desperation so painfully clear, and how he tells Toothless that Stoick's death isn't his fault. His entire dialogue below is just moving.Toothless? Hey its me, Im right here, bud. Come back to me.. It wasnt your fault, bud.. They made you.. do it You would never hurt him, you would never hurt.. me! Please, you are my best friend, bud. My best friend..
- The sanctuary's Alpha dragon being gored to death by Drago's Alpha.
- Hiccup's conversation with Astrid where he explains how he's not certain about his place in the world. Most people spend all their lives trying to figure theirs out, so it's not hard to relate to his lament, even with all that he's accomplished with the dragons.
- After Eret is saved by Stormfly, you can see a look of surprise on his face, implying that he never thought of the dragons as a semi-sentient species, and is only now getting the message.
- That poor, traumatized Dark Alpha Bewilderbeast. See how majestic and serene the White Alpha is, and then compare it to the aggressive, neurotic mess Drago has created. It is not evil, it is simply beyond broken.
- The worst part of this is that a lot of the behaviors the Dark Alpha exhibits are Truth in Television; it is extremely reminiscent of an abused elephant in particular. One of the most heartbreaking parallels is the chains around its tusks, which are almost identical to a cruel "training" method used on baby elephants; if you chain their leg to a pole as a baby, and keep doing it throughout the elephant's life, by the time it's an adult it will have stopped fighting the chain even though it could easily rip it out of the ground. Drago has taught a proud, powerful creature to feel helplessness.
- In addition to this, the Dark Alpha's seemingly plot-induced ineffectiveness is another trait of abused animals—there are many, many times it could have ended the fight simply by attacking in an obvious moment of weakness, which on a first watch can be incredibly frustrating to the viewer. On a second or third watch it becomes clearer; the poor creature is incapable of making decisions for itself. It never, in the entire movie, acts without a direct order from Drago—even to save its master's life, it waits until Drago has signalled it. It's clear the dragon has learned that doing anything without explicit permission is a very bad idea.
- Contrast this to how beautifully Hiccup and Toothless, or any of the Berkian pairs, play off one another: exploring their environment, playing and teasing, trading "ideas" and acting instinctively with complete trust that the other will follow their lead and adapt to best complement their actions.
- It becomes even more clear how completely broken Drago's Alpha is that it shows no real interest in its surroundings except to scan them in what resembles a threat assessment. The "Dark Alpha" isn't cruel, or even really aggressive; it's lashing out like an abused dog snaps at anyone who comes near it, because it's learned to associate being approached with being hurt. It's not vicious. It's terrified.
- It's small, but there's the moment when Stoick is singing his love song to Valka, and just for a few seconds it looks like she won't join in. Of course, she does and it turns into a CMOH instead, but still.
- It's subtle, but Hiccup's ascension to chieftain is also this. The moment Elder Gothi taps him to get his attention his smile drops and he looks tired and unhappy. The entire time she draws the symbol he looks solemn. And at the beginning of the cheer he's forcing his smile. It becomes a real one by the end, but he is still very much affected by Stoick's death.
Tear Jerker / How to Train Your Dragon 2