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Discovering the warrior's heart in 'How to Train Your Dragon 2'

How to Train Your Dragon 2

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When their dragons are threatened by a mysterious entity known only as Drago, a young warrior named Hiccup must rise to unite the broken pieces of his family and protect his clan from a malevolent force that threatens to destroy them all.

Toothless and Hiccup
Dreamworks Animation

One of the major themes that the film focuses on is leadership. In the beginning, it is established that Hiccup’s father, Stoick, wants his son to take up the mantle of leadership in their village and become the clan’s chief. Although this title is meant to be taken as an honor, Hiccup initially sees it as a burden and he struggles with understanding what being a leader truly means.

While Hiccup’s father defines being a true leader as one who chooses the path of war in times of crisis, his mother, Valka, teaches him that a true leader is one who is the voice of patience and reason. Ultimately, Hiccup learns that the essence of being a chief is in knowing when to be the voice of reason and when to fight for the things that you love. It was not exclusively one or the other, but a combination of both which allowed Hiccup to become the leader that his people needed.

Love is also a powerful theme that is woven intimately throughout the story. While Valka and Hiccup share a common love for dragons which is illustrated in their willingness to perceive them as equals rather than as savage monsters, the love shared between Hiccup and his father, while just as strong, is more understated. Both of Hiccup’s parents share the same desire. They both want to protect the things they love most. Although their love for their Hiccup is expressed in uniquely different ways, it is that same love that compels each of them to make extraordinary sacrifices in order to protect both the dragons and their son from the impending danger that seeks to destroy them all.

The love shared between Hiccup and his dragon, Toothless, is also undeniably strong. It was Hiccup’s love for Toothless that broke the shackles of control that the Alpha dragon had over Toothless and it was that same love which allowed the friendship between Toothless and Hiccup to be restored. Likewise, it was Toothless’s love for his human friend that saved Hiccup from meeting death at the hands of the Alpha dragon.

With it's exceptional casting, stunning animation, and a story that transcends the first installment, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" is a film that both children and adults can fall in love with.