After watching the not-so-great Dragons: The Nine Realms, it got me wanting to rewatch all of the Viking era movies, shows, and short films from the How to Train Your Dragon franchise. So I did, and I ranked all of them!
I’m someone who has watched all of the franchise multiple times and has tons of HTTYD merch. So you know it was hard to rank my favorites. I won’t be including the newest show or Dragons: Rescue Riders, so here’s your spoiler warning for everything up to How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming.
11. ‘Book of Dragons’
If you want to know more about the dragons in the franchise, this is one way to do it. Another much more enjoyable way is to play the Rise of Berk game. This short film was fun to watch, but other than showing how the Book of Dragons came to be, it fell flat.
The short film starts with a recap of what happened in the first movie before launching into the rundown of the book’s origin story. It’s filmed in first-person, meaning it feels like the characters are talking directly to you. I enjoyed it to a point, but I’ll skip watching it again.
10. ‘Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury’
It was an interesting short film, but I don’t think it lives up to those I ranked higher. There were a few scenes and lines that didn’t fit into the overarching narrative from the rest of the franchise. I did like how we got a glimpse into more of Berk’s traditions like Snoggletog.
My first gripe was with Meatlug. I could have sworn Meatlug was said to be a girl in the first movie, so I must have missed something. Otherwise, it was retconned for this short. It’s also the only time we see the dragons leave to lay eggs. It was honestly a Christmas (or Snoggletog) disaster.
9. ‘Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon’
This is a fun watch, but it didn’t really add anything to the franchise other than a new dragon. And while I love the Boneknapper’s design, we only see it in this short and in Rise of Berk. I did enjoy Gobber in this just as much as the movies, though.
The short follows Gobber and the group of teens looking for the Boneknapper, which nobody believes is real. Honestly, Gobber’s story of his first time meeting the dragon could be what caused his slight insanity. Or maybe it’s because he’s a Viking. Who knows?
8. ‘Dragons: Dawn of the Dragon Racers’
This short film takes place in between Defenders of Berk and the first season of Race to the Edge, which you could probably tell based on the characters’ looks. While Hiccup has his iconic How to Train Your Dragon 2 glow-up already, most of the characters have the sequel’s hairstyles.
Dawn of the Dragon Racers shows how the Berkian sheep-catching competition started. Like Gift of the Night Fury, it was fun to see Berk’s traditions. However, this one was a bit more enjoyable and added a little to each character’s personality. It also introduced the game we see in the HTTYD2.
7. ‘How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming’
As the last installment in the franchise, Homecoming gave fans still heartbroken over the ending of the third movie a holiday present. It was a much better Snoggletog tale than Gift of the Night Fury, which is why it was ranked the highest out of all the shorts. However, it still wasn’t up to par with the movies and television series.
Homecoming introduces us a little more to Toothless and the Light Fury’s babies, the Night Lights. According to Rise of Berk, their names are Dart, Pouncer, and Ruffrunner. The Night Lights sneak off to the new Berk established at the end of The Hidden World. From there, we see Gobber try to put on the story of Hiccup and Toothless.
6. ‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’
Speaking of the ending to the Viking era of the franchise, we come to the last movie. And yes, I ranked this lower than the top five because it was the most heartbreaking of the three films. I loved the story, the villain, and the character development. But there was something missing.
That something was a happy ending. I will never not cry at the last few scenes. Knowing it was the last movie with Hiccup and Toothless meant I never knew if one of them was going to die. And Hiccup had a few close calls. Not to mention, we got that fantastic Toothless mating dance.
My biggest gripe with this movie was that it ended. But seriously, there were so many characters from the television series that never got to make an appearance in the films. This would have been a perfect time, especially since there were Easter eggs thrown in all over the place.
5. ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk’ (Season 1)
Riders of Berk picks up directly after the first movie, with Berk and the dragons still learning to live with each other. We meet a ton of new characters and dragons, including the main villain of the first two seasons, Alvin the Treacherous. We even get to meet Heather, my favorite character from the show.
Alvin was the Outcast Tribe’s chief who launched an attack on Berk after Stoick banished him. In addition, Stoick gets his first dragon, a Thunderdrum named Thornado. We also meet many new characters on Berk and on other islands. I wish we’d gotten more of this show after the second film.
4. ‘Dragons: Defenders of Berk’ (Season 2)
Defenders of Berk picks up immediately where Riders of Berk left off. Alvin is still planning his attack on Berk, and Dagur (who grows on you as the show continues) is still causing chaos, specifically for Hiccup and Astrid. We also see Heather’s redemption this season.
Toward the end of the season, Alvin and the Outcasts work with Berk to take back the island and become allies for future battles, including in HTTYD2. We get to see a ton of new dragons, including Stoick’s second dragon, Skullcrusher, who is his dragon in the second movie.
3. ‘How to Train Your Dragon’
While this was the first movie, it wasn’t the best. It’s the movie that started it all, but I think the sequels are actually better.
Here, we met some of our favorite dragons, specifically Toothless, as well as my favorite Vikings. We see Hiccup grow up throughout the movie, showing that not all Vikings are stubborn through and through. My favorite flying scene is when Astrid flies with Hiccup and Toothless for the first time. And I’d be lying if I didn’t still cry a little bit at the end, even after all these years.
2. ‘Dragons: Race to the Edge’ (Seasons 3-8)
Each season of Race to the Edge kept getting better and better. Even when it ended on cliffhangers and I had to wait months (which I despise), I loved the show. All six seasons of Race to the Edge took place directly after Dawn of the Dragon Racers but before How to Train Your Dragon 2.
The first season under Netflix saw Hiccup and the other Dragon Riders find the Dragon Eye, a way to discover new dragons and islands. The rest of the seasons bring those dragons and new dangers. The show also includes other characters from the last two seasons of Dreamworks Dragons.
If you didn’t watch the show, some characters you missed are Heather and her Razorwhip, Windshear; Dagur, her brother; and Ryker and Viggo Grimborn. Ryker and Viggo are the big bads of the show until we’re finally introduced to their boss, Drago (who you’ll recognize from the second movie).
Viggo was the best villain from Dreamworks Dragons, but he didn’t stand up to Drago. Viggo was much more patient and calculating than his brother, Ryker. On the other hand, Ryker was the hothead, constantly running in head-first when he shouldn’t.
Best: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’
I could watch this movie over and over again and never get tired of it. It had the best combination of story, villain, and character development of all the films. If you watched Race to the Edge, you’ll understand how exciting it was to finally see the final battle with the overarching villain, Drago.
I couldn’t stand that man! The way he treated dragons was disgusting, but I think that’s the point. He got what he deserved. The only thing I won’t forgive Dreamworks for was killing off Stoick. And the audacity of having the movie in theaters during Father’s Day weekend – even worse.
Even without watching the shows, it was easy to pick up where we were in Hiccup’s life at the beginning of How to Train Your Dragon 2. At first, Hiccup was struggling with knowing he’d be chief one day. Then that day comes sooner than he thought. In the end, Toothless becomes Alpha, too. It’s a bittersweet ending–but after rewatching the whole franchise, I can confirm that HTTYD does bittersweet endings better than anyone else.