Despite sharing the same name, the “How to Train Your Dragon” films are almost nothing like the book series on which they are based.
Both take place on the Island of Berk, following the adventures of a young Viking, Hiccup Haddock, and his dragon, Toothless.
But this is where the similarities end.
The “How to Train Your Dragon” book series by Cressida Cowell is a perfect example of a book series gone too far.
Written from 2003 to 2015 and published by Little, Brown and Co., the first few books were good reads. They were interesting, entertaining and provided a fun, new fantasy storyline that followed the intermingling of dragons and humans and the subsequent consequences. However, when this same storyline spreads over 12 books, the novelty starts wearing off.
What these books really suffer from is the fate of doing too many: Too many books, too many characters, too confusing and too complex. The reader gets lost trying to keep up with the returning villains, names of dragons and storyline for the book they’re currently reading.
In contrast, the movies were a trilogy done brilliantly.
Instead of being confined to its source material, the movies took the basic framework from the books and made a completely original story off of it.
Hiccup’s best dragon-friend, Toothless, transformed from a small runt of a dragon to a fearsome terror, and new characters joined the storyline, making it both easier to follow and more relatable.
Instead of starting off with the Vikings at war with the dragons as the books do, the movies make it more relatable to the viewers by following a teenage Hiccup who is trying to impress his father and live up to his expectations before slowly transitioning into the ongoing war that sets the premise for the next two films.
By learning from the mistakes made by the books, the movie trilogy adapted into a new storyline that drew readers in and left them satisfied and content, even earning Cowell’s author seal of approval for the brilliant adaptation.
How to Train Your Dragon
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— By Arjin Claire
Originally published in the March 29 edition of the Octagon.