What does Httyd mean to you?
"But I do know one thing. Toothless didn't just become my friend. He became the friend, who gave me my purpose." - Hiccup
A franchise about dragons that I enjoy watching.
In short? A lot.
I grew up with this franchise. I've loved the characters ever since the beginning, and HTTYD was one of the things that really made me who I am today. When it first came out, I was young, and I never really fit in anywhere. In a sense, I was like Hiccup- I was a nobody. HTTYD showed me that I can be a somebody, even if no one thinks I can. I was antisocial and awkward, and now I'm enthusiastic, and I love me for who I am, not for who people think I should be. This is one of the movie franchises that isn't just something I enjoy, it was a part of my childhood. And I still love the characters and the story, and pretty much everything about it. When I have days when I feel like the world is against me and I don't have anybody, I can remember the fictional world that I was a part of for so long, and still am, even though I'm much older now.
It also inspired me to write. When I first realized how much I loved the franchise, I became enchanted by the idea of creating worlds of my own. People of my own. Sprung purely from my imagination, just like those characters I loved so dearly, as if they were my own friends. I was like an architect, constructing worlds and adventures that no one else will ever experience. HTTYD was like a whole other world to me, and I loved the idea of having one of these "worlds" as my own. It's a sense that is fulfilling and cherished.
The characters were my friends and the world was my home.
Anyways, sorry, that was long, but as the subject says, I like that question. It's deep. XD
Dragon - embodiment of power and freedom
combined with playful approach = httyd
HTTYD is everything to me. It's the thing I want to learn about and the thing I want to play. It's worth I talk about and the thing I love. Todd has made me see everything differently.
"I used to be scared of the dark,
because I thought the monsters
would get me. But then one day I
Thought to myself, 'What if not
all of the monsters are bad?"
When I was 10 I got into dragons. That was just before the first HTTYD commercial played and I got obsessed with it for a while only because I liked dragons. Now, it just looks like another Dreamworks movie that I enjoy. I am a big fan of Dreamworks, someday I wanna work with them.
I still like HTTYD because I love the dragon diversity, and I would like it better if Toothless wasn't so popular.
HTTYD - the first film - is my favorite movie. And frankly, it was life-changing.
Funny thing is, this all began, not with a dragon, but with a horse.
Jetta was a pony-sized Quarter horse mare we rescued. She was half-starved, had overgrown hoves, a bashed-in skull, and old scars all over her legs. I, meanwhile, was going through the worst years of most people's lives - middle school - and dealing with my parents currently having a visitation and child support court disagreement. (Fun times.) Not to mention I wasn't exactly a popular person at school, what with being your resident honors student dork.
Jetta was a little bit unsure about people, understandably. As a result, people thought the horse was crazy and that we were crazy for buying her. But...I don't know, I just thought she was the best thing from the start. She was quiet with me, she let me handle her, let me catch her in the pasture, and no one really knew why. I guess because I didn't know what I was doing, really, so I didn't ask much of her. I learned how to ride while trying to teach her to be ridden; we were both green and had many hilarious falling accidents (never because she spooked but because one of us just plain messed up). But we kept at it. I discovered we had the same energy and love to explore and willingness to try new terrain.
I didn't just ride, either. I spent time with her. I went for walks with her by my side. I read to her in the pasture. I introduced to her new locations, and she was always more curious than fearful.
Before long, we were riding bareback and bridleless regularly, and we were as inseparable as possible. She even proved protective of me, standing over me when I fell off during a stampede and chasing off a dog that tried to nip my ankles. Mostly we rode for miles into the wilderness, going as far as time would allow, riding out into miles of state park, chasing deer and running straight into flocks of wild turkeys, jumping any log or bluff we found. And I guess that riding paid off, too; I didn't like shows, but in all the ones we ever wented, we only ever got first and second place.
And they called her crazy.
Funny thing was, I thought I was healing a rescued horse. The truth was...I think she saved me. I won't get into that...but she wasn't just my horse. In a way, she wasn't even really a pet. She was my best friend. She was my sister.
The first time I saw How to Train Your Dragon and saw how Hiccup and Toothless interacted...I saw Jetta. Toothless was like her in so many ways, it just...tugged so much on my heart strings. From their untrusting first encounters to their comical first failed attempts at riding to Toothless' sassy and blunt Jetta-like nature and how he was even protective like she was...this movie had me from the touch scene onward and wouldn't let go.
That's just the main reason, of course. The music and animation are amazing; this is just beautiful to look at and listen to. This movie taught me that soundtracks can be composed to be good enough to stand on their own as pieces while also still being able to support a scene. And it taught me to appreciate animation in a way I never did before.
But the characters and story! This means so much to me, I can't even. Toothless is the absolute best part of this franchise for being every best friend-pet anyone has ever loved. Heck, every heroic thing that dragon does in the movies is for love; I mean, he becomes alpha simply because he loved and wanted to protect his best friend, for goodness' sake! And speaking of heroes, that's what Hiccup did, too, in both films, risking his life for his village and his best friend. Hiccup's conviction and bravery in the first film is still the most powerful thing of this franchise. I can't think of a stronger message or one I'd want proclaimed even more than the power of love. And the first film hands out character arches like candy. Hiccup gets a character arch, Toothless gets a character arch, Stoick gets a character arch, Astrid gets a character arch, we're just handing out the arches.
And that's where the storyline shows through. Let me tell you, as someone who loves the art of storytelling, I love the first movie's story. It's not flawless, but dang, is it good! People can talk all they want about the cliche storyline in the first film, and usually they're using that word incorrectly and what they actually mean is "tropey." And yes, it is tropey. But thing is...they do it well. Almost everything is set up, you can see every emotion in the characters, the pacing is great, and the heart of the story, the "love triangle" between Hiccup, Toothless, and Stoick, symbolizing the continuing conflict of what Hiccup desires vs. what he recieves, is what holds the tension together and keeps us entranced throughout the film. For the most part, this is good storytelling! This is using tropes in a way that shows us why they became tropes in the first place...because they make great stories with great morals! Jetta or not, this wouldn't have remained my favorite film for 7 years otherwsie.
I also feel this movie just hit all the right parts for me personally. I've always loved dragons and medieval fantasy worlds, so that's a plus. I love sarcastic humor. And I just...relate to Hiccup. I already brought up the Jetta/Toothless thing, but that just scratches the surface. I have father issues a mile long, so Hiccup and Stoick's conflict...eh, hit home harder than it probably should have. (I hope most of you don't relate as much as me.) Hiccup is a pretty nerdy Viking, too, which I can't even begin to tell you how much this straight-A student relates to that. Not to mention Hiccup being small and wimpy? ...I don't weigh enough to donate blood, okay? I totally get that. And now he just wants to research dragons. I'm currently getting a degree to research wild animals. And I actually did do animal training in high school as a "first job." I just...the only way I could have related more to this character is if they made him a writer instead of an inventor and then made him female. I connect to this character intensely.
Speaking of being an animal trainer, there's also the dragon training. I actually worked as a dog trainer and horse rehabilitator for a time, and I've been fighting against the harmful "alpha dog training" and the bullying "old school" way of horse training and riding in favor of working with the animal and developing an understanding based on trust. So seeing films and even a whole franchise that, in a way, are entirely about making a bond with your animal and training them with kind but firm positive reinforcement brings more joy to my heart than I can say. I sincerely hope that this franchise has a positive affect on the ideas children have about handling animals; it's powerful propoganda that I truly believe in and live by.
And finally, while the franchise often annoys me the further it corrupts things from the first film and the more ridiculous it gets story-wise, the many different types of dragons are a BIG reason for continuing to consume everything in the franchise. After all, without this riduclous expanding HTTYD universe, I wouldn't have my HTTYD ice dragons! ^_^ Not to mention...all the different dragons are just so cool, ice-breathing or not! They're amazing!
So I first loved it for Jetta and Toothless. Then I found so much more to love along with it. And I've been in deep ever since. I'm not going to sit here and say it changed my life, but it's gotten a huge chunk of my heart, and I doubt it's letting go any time soon. (Otherwise I wouldn't be here.) ;)
That is literally beautiful. I can honestly say I'm moved.
Why? Because the story about your horse, Jetta. I understand that, though not to such an extent. I find it amazing that you took a horse so damaged and treated her with love and affection, not to mention earning her complete trust- not many people can do stuff like that! More and more these days, I see people earning "trust" with animals by forcing them to obey them. My mum, sister and I train and ride horses, with a method not commonly seen. That method involves earning trust, but also respect, in not a dictatorship-like way, but in a way that you might earn trust with a new friend. The trust in our methods go both ways- we trust the horse, and the horse trusts us. We respect the horse, and the horse respects us.
My mare, Freya, we think was likely abused by her past owners. I started riding her when she was still skittish and unsure of humans, and though certainly not as much as your horse would have been, it was understandable that Freya was scared. Previously, about five years prior, I had suffered a riding incident that wasn't major, but caused me to fear riding and horses from that point forward. Then, I started training with Freya- who was also scared, just like me. And we grew out of that together, and we still are growing. I had been a part of the HTTYD fandom long before that, but then I started to realize that horses were a lot like the dragons I loved so much- if you treated them with love and respect, they would treat you with love and respect. Because young me had dreamed of having a dragon of my own (I spent my days searching my half acre backyard for them), Freya sort of became my "dragon". My friend that showed me I could face my fears.
Anyways, that's awesome, like I first said. Which is technically what I was going to say overall, but then I started ranting, shame on me. XD