Welcome to The DRAGONS TV recap! It’s a new series on Rotoscopers in which we recap and discuss the DreamWorks Dragons television series. With Dragons: Race to the Edge set to premiere in June, I took it upon myself to give a detailed summary of both Riders of Berk and Defenders of Berk.
You are free to avoid reading this if you don’t want to be spoiled. This article is simply meant to allow the fans and readers to catch up just in time for Race to the Edge!
Without further ado, let’s delve into the second half of Riders of Berk (from “Heather Report Part 2” to “We Are Family Part 2”).
Heather Turns a New Face (Literally)
We begin with Heather in the midst of one of her many attempts to get off the the island of Berk. She was previously caught by the Dragon Riders and brought back to the island, at the cost of leaving the Book of Dragon to Alvin and his Outcast tribe.
When her escape attempt is foiled by Astrid and Stormfly, she is thrown back in her prison cell and is pressed for answers. With seemingly no hope of getting off the island, Heather confesses to Astrid that the real reason that she stole the Book of Dragons and wanted to get back to Outcast Island was because Alvin holds her parents hostage on the island. She admits that her whole ‘pirate’ story was made up to gain the Berk residents’ trust.
At Outcast Island, Savage and three other Outcast soldiers try to retrieve the Book of Dragons, which happens to have landed near a wild Gronkle (from which hijinks ensue). Once Savage retrieves the book he gives it to Alvin, who begins to thumb through the pages in search of any valuable information on dragon training.
Back on Berk, the Riders get together and hatch a plan to retrieve the book off Outcast Island by training and learning new attack methods. Doubtful that Alvin would give up the book, Astrid devises a plan with Hiccup and Fishlegs that basically amounts to her disguising herself as ‘Heather’ and convincing Alvin to give up the book. The rest of the gang goes along with this plan (even through Ruffnut and Tuffnut mistakenly tackle Astrid in thinking she’s actually Heather). Once in disguise, Astrid sails off for Outcast Island in the dead of night.
While this is going on, Bucket comes in to feed Heather in her cell only to see it is empty. He inspects the cell, but is knocked out by Heather. Making sure to apologize, she makes her way outside in what seems to be another attempt to get off the island.
Astrid finally makes it to Outcast Island. Her disguise as Heather works to her advantage as she’s recognized by Savage and the other Outcast soldiers and is allowed in.
A Flight to Outcast Island
On Berk, the real Heather finds Stromfly without her rider. After some hesitation, Heather convinces Stormfly that she means no harm and wants to find Astrid. She attaches Stromfly’s saddle and they fly off.
As it turns out, the Riders themselves are on their way to Outcast Island, and are formulating a plan to get around the wild dragons that live around the island, in order to get inside and retrieve the book.
Meanwhile, Astrid (as Heather) tries to convince Alvin to give her the book. He refuses on the grounds that he thinks her role in his grand scheme is done. It’s only when his soldiers fail to interpret the Book of Dragons and use its knowledge to tame a dragon that Alvin becomes convinced of “Heather’s” role in interpreting the book for them. This happens as the Riders successfully divert the wild dragons and make their way further into the island.
In the morning, Alvin puts Astrid into the arena to prove that she can use the Book of Dragons to train any dragon (while reluctantly giving her the book to do so). Given a wild Monstrous Nightmare (instead of a wild Nadder like she hoped), she uses her Academy training to work on the dragon after failing to approach it in a gentle manner.
Astrid (as Heather) tries to use this demonstration as a means to escape with the book, but Alvin notices and commands his soldiers to block the exits. He then reminds her about Heather’s parents, confirming the real Heather’s confession about having parents held hostage by Alvin. Astrid backs down and accepts a trade (the Book of Dragons for Heather’s parents). She tells the parents that she’s not actually Heather and, in planning an alternate escape route, she tosses the book in the air and punches the wild Nadder, causing it to shoot to flames at Alvin.
An Eventful Rescue
Just as Alvin begins to suspect the true identity of ‘Heather,’ the Riders arrive and clash with the Outcasts in an ensuing battle. At first, the Outcasts seem to have the upper hand. Then, the real Heather and Stromfly come in and help the Riders. Astrid apologizes to Heather for not believing her (Heather forgives her) and rides with her to save her parents.
Riders: 2/Outcasts: 0
With his men retreating, Alvin becomes frustrated and gets creative by using Savage as ammo for a nearby catapult. He succeeds in knocking Astrid off of Stormfly and holds her hostage instead. But before Toothless can fire off a blast in order to free her, the wild Monstrous Nightmare from earlier arrives and knocks out Alvin.
With the Book of Dragons back on Berk and her parents safe and sound, Heather bids Hiccup, Astrid, and the Riders farewell (for now). At the same time, Alvin comes to and realizes that Hiccup is the real key to knowing how to control a dragon.
Everyday Life (with Dragons)
After this, the Riders continue the day-to-day operations of confronting new dragons (and secrets), all while attending to personal matters. These adventures include Hiccup and Snotlout getting competitive in a festive sporting event (“Thawfest”), one of Mildew’s attempts to pin the blame on the dragons after lightning starts to strike the new metal interiors of houses (“When Lightning Strikes”), and an old rivalry between Toothless and a Whispering Death (“What Flies Beneath”).
Dagur the Deranged
A new villain is also introduced to the How to Train Your Dragon universe: Dagur the Deranged. He is introduced in the episode ‘Twinsanity” as the leader of the Berserkers and very clearly lives up to his name. While now 17, both he and Hiccup have known each other since childhood. Their tribes would often come together to renew a peace treaty. This time, however, Dagur has seemingly replaced his father (supposedly ‘retired’) as the chief and his psychotic ways (as well as rumors of Berk trying to build a dragon army) threaten to dismantle the treaty. A subsequent falling out between Ruffnut and Tuffnut (and their conjoined dragons, Barf and Belch) serves to complicate maters even more.
After getting the twins to reconcile the group tries to find Barf and Belch, who crashed the feast at the Great Hall earlier and revealed themselves to Dagur. The Berserkers eventually track them down. But, before Dagur can kill them, Stoick intervenes and suggests they should properly behead the dragon in the arena. Stoick leaves it up to Hiccup and the gang to come up with a plan to prevent Barf and Belch’s execution while not exposing themselves. Dagur and Stoick are about to behead the Zippleback (with Stoick planning to incapacitate Dagur and potentially start a war with the Berserkers) when the Riders’ plan of diversion is revealed: a faked “dragon attack.”
Luckily for them, the trick works. Dagur buys in the deception heavily (especially after he sees Toothless and is protected from him by Hiccup) and orders a full retreat back home, considering the treaty ‘signed’ after the fake attack.
There and Back Again
From this point, the Riders continue on their dragon-based training and exploits. These include Hiccup, Snotlout, and Toothless stranded on Outcast Island (“Defiant One”), an attempt to locate a missing ship in search of a gift left by Hiccup’s mom (“Breakneck Bog”), and mistaking a Changewing egg for a Stone of Good Fortune (“Gem of a Different Color”).
Things take a turn when Bork Week, a week-long holiday celebrating Gobber’s ancestor Bork the Bold, rolls around. As it turns out, Bork was a legendary dragon expert and was known for documenting the various dragon species in (what would become known as) the Book of Dragons. It also happens that Bork had a box full of archived information that wasn’t included in the Book of Dragons. Stoick (unsurprisingly) entrusts the archives to Hiccup, as he was the one to make peace with the dragons and dedicate his life to protecting that peace.
A Flash of Hope
While looking over the archives, Hiccup discovers notes on the Night Fury and, upon further inspection, finds out that Bork discovered an island full of Night Furies called the ‘Isle of Night.’ Hiccup takes this as a sign of hope for finding others like Toothless and flies off with the other Riders to find more evidence of the island the next day.
When they arrive at Bork’s cave (his last known residence), they are confronted by a host of wild dragons. Hiccup and Toothless find a map on the ceiling of the cave. Hiccup sketches the map in his notebook just before a sonic blast from a Thunderdrum demolishes the cave entrance.
When they return to Berk, Hiccup examines the map and discovers that Night Furies are reclusive on principal because of their hostility to other dragons. This prompts Hiccup and Toothless to fly off to the Isle of Night alone. Their disappearance does not go unnoticed and Astrid resolves to find them.
A Turn for the Worst
When they arrive on the island, they spot what they think looks like another Night Fury. Hiccup immediately senses that something is wrong, only to be tackled and pinned down by Outcast soldiers while Toothless gets his feet tangled in a thrown bola. Alvin then appears, revealing that the ‘Night Fury’ they saw was a dummy. Alvin tells Hiccup his plan to have Hiccup train the Outcasts an army of dragons to take over Berk.
Meanwhile, Gobber and Stoick catch on to the fact that Hiccup is missing. They also find that Mildew is mysteriously missing as well.
As we later find out, Mildew reveals to Hiccup that he worked with the Outcasts to capture him. With their mission a success, they raise the sails and head back to Outcast Island.
A Devious Plan
Once arriving on the island, Hiccup sees the various dragons the Outcasts captured (and want him to train). He then points out all their mistakes when it comes to protecting the well-being of the dragons, only to be taken to Toothless’ cage. Here, before they take him to his cell, the Outcasts show Hiccup just how serious they are about him training their dragons. This all happens while the rest of the Riders look for Hiccup at the Isle of Night, expecting he and Toothless to be among Night Furies. A short time later, Alvin throws Mildew in cell and takes his lamb away from him. Presumably, his role in Alvin’s plans is over.
Connecting the Dots
Back on the Isle of Night, the Riders find what appears to be a Night Fury, but it turns out to be fake. Gobber comes in to inspect it and finds that the material the dummy is made out of can only be grown on Outcast Island. They come to the conclusion that it was a trap and that Hiccup and Toothless are on Outcast Island.
Back on that island, Hiccup tries to devise a way to get out of his cell (to Mildew’s amusement). Meanwhile, Alvin and his men take Hiccup’s comments into consideration and start to take better care of the dragons. Toothless, however, is resenting this care. This worries Alvin, as Toothless’ death would end his leverage over Hiccup.
A Twisty Escape!
Back in the prison, Hiccup calls a guard over to his cell and promises that he’ll tell Alvin everything he needs to know. The guard promptly open his cell door, only to have Hiccup knock him out with his prosthetic leg. But, just as the guard gains consciousness, Mildew knocks him out with his staff (to Hiccup’s surprise). Mildew explains that he knows his way around the island and wants to make it up to Hiccup. Though reluctant, Hiccup unlocks his cell door and the two make their way out.
Taming a Dragon = A Means of Freedom
Meanwhile, Toothless is still acting unresponsive. The Outcasts take the muzzle off him and try to get him to eat, only for Toothless to set off a blast and gnarl through his restraints. He then scares the guards off with a warning roar and knocks them aside with his tail on his way out. Toothless and Hiccup (with Mildew in tow) begin searching for each other on the island, with the former fighting through Outcast soldiers and the latter wading through a field of wild dragons. Hiccup and Mildew are then confronted by a wild Deadly Nadder, who quickly gets tamed by Hiccup. Hiccup then gets Mildew to approach it in the same way and succeeds.
This happens as the Riders use Trader Johann and his ship as a way to get. Once they reveal themselves and defeat the soldiers, Stoick grabs one of them and demands to know where his son and Toothless are.
Hiccup then teaches Mildew how to ride the Nadder (with an expected amount of trial and error). They reach the dragon pit, where they notice Toothless is gone. Suddenly, Alvin appears and releases the wild dragons on them. While dodging their attacks, Hiccup manages to trick the wild dragons into colliding with one another, allowing them to make their escape. Once outside, Hiccup and Mildew manage to find Stoick, Gobber, and the other Riders. Mildew is wrangled by Gobber for betraying their tribe. Gobber surprised to learn that Mildew actually helped Hiccup escape. Hiccup then makes a Night Fury call across the island, which Toothless picks up.
Reunited in Conflict
Now that Hiccup and Toothless are finally reunited, they confront Alvin once again. He continuously taunts them as they charge toward him, only to have his soldiers launch a bola that restrains them both. But, suddenly, the Riders’ dragons begin to act on their own, battling the soldiers and bringing Hiccup and Toothless to safety (a result of their training). The Riders all make their escape sans Mildew, who ‘sacrifices’ himself to buy them time.
The Tables Turn…
Back on Berk, Hiccup apologizes to Toothless for the map not turning out to be the real thing. He promises that, at least for now, there’s nothing wrong with being one of a kind. Meanwhile, on Outcast Island, Mildew is not only revealed to be alive, but fully aligned with the Outcasts. Now with the knowledge of everything Hiccup told him about dragons, Alvin succeeds in taming his first one: a Whispering Death.
And that does it for Riders of Berk! Join us next time when we jump into Defenders of Berk!
DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk is available on DVD (Part 1/Part 2) and all digital platforms.
What do you think? Any thoughts on what was presented in the article? If you’ve seen these episodes, be sure to discuss them in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Berk’s Grapevine, The How to Train Your Dragon wikia, and the Turbulent London blog).
Previously on The DRAGONS TV Recap:
Riders of Berk (Part 1)
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes