The How to Train Your Dragon series has its fair share of fans, but it’s safe to say that many people are drawn to the films not by the characters or stories, but by the dragons themselves. It’s hard not to fall in love with these scaly creatures—they’re both terrifying and adorable at once, with faces like domestic cats and movements that are even more feline than canine. Yet as realistic as they seem, Toothless and his fellow dragons were designed by a team of computer animators who took inspiration from all sorts of unlikely places. Here are some fun facts about how dragon designs were created for this epic film series:
Do not underestimate the power of the dragon’s wings.
Dragons can fly. How do I know? Because there’s a whole movie about it, and I watched the whole thing. They can also use their wings to fight, or to protect themselves from enemies who attack them from below.
For example, in one scene where Toothless was trying to escape from some very angry Vikings on boats, he used his wings lift himself up into the air as soon as possible so that Hiccup wouldn’t get caught in the crossfire when all hell broke loose between him and his pursuers. This is important because if Toothless didn’t have those awesome appendages attached at his shoulders, then he would’ve been sunk!
How to Train Your Dragon is based on a series of children’s books.
The How to Train Your Dragon film series was based on an award-winning book series of the same name. The 12 books were written by Cressida Cowell, who also wrote The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion and How to Speak Dragonese. Her most recent book in the series, How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury (the 12th one), was published in 2015.
The first book, titled How to Train Your Dragon: Book 1: Flying Lessons, was published in 2003 and won several awards including the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Gold Award and Wellcome Trust Award for Children’s Books. Since then it has been translated into more than 30 languages! There are currently 12 books out in this collection with more on their way!
Hiccup’s character in the film series was changed from the original book character.
The character of Hiccup in the film series is a lot more relatable and likeable than the book character. In the books, he is an older teenager who has to grow up fast when he’s forced to take on responsibilities that are very adult-like. He has to act mature because he wants his father to be proud of him and acknowledge him as an adult. In the movies, Hiccup is much younger and acts like a typical teenager (which is what I think most people want). He struggles with hiding how smart he really is from his peers because they don’t respect him as much if they find out how smart he really is!
The first film was released in 2010, and the second in 2014, with a third film slated to come out in 2019.
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Vikings in the film were given a makeover to look like they originally might have looked, based on archaeological findings.
The Vikings in the film were given a makeover to look like they originally might have looked, based on archaeological findings. For example, the vikings in the books were portrayed as being blond and blue-eyed, but when it was decided to make them more realistic for the movie, they were changed to having dark hair and brown eyes.
The movie also portrays Hiccup’s village as not being a Norse settlement but rather a Celtic one. This is because there are no known Norse settlements in Scotland or Ireland during this time period (although there is evidence that Norse traders traveled through these areas).
Toothless was designed with the movements of cats and dogs in mind to make him more believable.
Because of the close relationship between Toothless and Hiccup, there was an extra emphasis placed on creating an animal that could move believably. The animators studied cats and dogs to make sure that Toothless had the same sort of movements they do. They even designed him after a real cat, a Turkish Van named Katie who was owned by one of the film’s storyboard artists!
The dragons are very realistic looking and it’s easy to relate to them.
In the movies, the dragons are very realistic looking and it’s easy to relate to them. This is because they are based on real animals, so they have the same basic qualities as their counterparts. They can be trained and they’re intelligent, loyal and emotional—and of course fun! Plus, they always make you smile with their cute faces.
Well, I think that concludes my overview of some of the most interesting facts about How to Train Your Dragon. I haven’t even covered every detail here; this series is so rich and filled with information that it could take years to go over it all! But I hope that what we have talked about has been enough to help you appreciate just how incredible this movie (and its related media) really is.