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Welcome to The DRAGONS TV Recap! This is a Rotoscopers series in which we recap and discuss the DreamWorks Dragons television series!
Today, we will review and recap episodes 10 & 11 (“Have Dragon Will Travel”).
(WARNING #1: This recap/review will contain SPOILERS for Episodes 10 & 11. Do not read if you haven’t watched this episode yet.)
(WARNING #2: Only spoilers for this episode can be discussed in the comment section. If I see spoilers from other episodes, you will be put on notice.)
So, “Have Dragon Will Travel” (the second two-parter episode of Race to the Edge) isn’t a season finale, but it certainly comes close to feeling like one. Directed by David Jones (Part 1) and T.J. Sullivan (Part 2) and written by Art Brown and Douglas Sloan (Part 1) and John Tellegen (Part 2), “Have Dragon Will Travel” is another great episode. A riveting, 44-minute roller coaster that’s jam-packed with great action, effective humor, great character development, and some of the strongest writing and visual effects that we’ve seen thus far. Best of all, it’s all topped off with a mother of a plot twist that should have some…interesting ramifications for two particular characters going forward.
But, before we dive in, let me say this. “Have Dragon Will Travel,” probably more so than any other episode in this current set, makes heavy use of characters and events from Riders of Berk and Defenders of Berk (mostly Riders). As such, viewers’ understandings of the crucial plot points in this episode will hinge greatly on their knowledge of the events of the previous two seasons. Like I said eight articles ago, Race to the Edge assumes that one has already watched Riders and Defenders and hits the ground running. It’s just something to keep in mind.
The episode begins when a mysterious rider and its dragon attack a Berkian merchant ship (while Bucket and Mulch survey the chaos nearby). Meanwhile, the Riders are on Berk, packing up supplies and getting ready for the return trip to Dragon’s Edge. Stoick and Gobber arrive with the news that a dragon rider is responsible for a recent string of attacks on their merchant ships. Stoick suspects that its one of the Riders, but Hiccup is quick to tell Stoick that all of them were packing when the recent ship attacked.
The Riders collectively decide to investigate the damage for any clues that could lead them to the culprit. Among the very few items that weren’t looted or destroyed on the ship, they find a sharp object that resembles Stormfly’s spines. At the Great Hall, they use Bucket’s descriptions of what happened to draw out a sketch of the dragon. Identifying it to be a Sharp Class dragon (like Stormfly), Fishlegs consults the Dragon Eye and finds a section on the dragon (called the Razorwhip). Hiccup decides to use its feeding habits to locate the dragon. They discover that the Razorwhip’s favorite food is sea slugs and search the islands that are abundant with them. They eventually find an island with an empty campfire and split up to find the dragon and its rider.
This plan doesn’t pan out well, as each of the Riders are ambushed one by one. It is only Hiccup and Toothless who manage to chase down the mysterious rider (via a great chase sequence) and have her cornered. Here the rider reveals her true identity: Heather. As Hiccup and the rest of the Dragon Riders find out, Heather changed quite a bit in the past few years. She’s more aggressive in both her tone and behavior, and trained herself to become both an exceptional dragon rider and a excellent combatant (both are qualities she didn’t have before). This new personality draws a number of varied responses from the gang, with Hiccup the most wary and cautious.
Hiccup tries to dig deeper and get to know what is really going on (to Heather’s continued resistance). Later that night, Heather locks up the dragons in their pens and heads off into the night with Windshear, not knowing that Hiccup and Toothless secretly follow them. They perch on a cliff, where Trader Johann is seen trading something with Heather. After she leaves, Hiccup and Toothless interrogate Trader Johann for information about why Heather has looted ships. As it turns out, her village was raided by ‘undesirables’ who killed her parents and destroyed her tribe. As a result, she not only seeks revenge for her village, but she also redistributes the looted items back to the victims. After being pressed harder, Johann reveals that she is going after ‘someone.’ That someone is Dagur the Deranged, which indicates that the Berserkers are responsible for the destruction of her village.
Heather and Windshear try to attack Dagur head on (not expecting him to have his army with him). Heather is spotted by Savage and Dagur immediately orders a full-on assault. Heather and Windshear are able to fight them off at first, but they become overpowered when more of Dagur’s reinforcements come in. Heather and Windshear are in a bad way when they are suddenly rescued by Hiccup and Toothless (as we begin the second part of the episode). When they break free of Dagur, Hiccup tries to convince Heather not to continue with her mission of vengeance and she reluctantly agrees.
On the way back, Heather tells the story of how she was separated from her birth family at a very young age and reveals that her parents that died weren’t her true parents. She has a few precious memories with her true family, in addition to carrying a horn that her true father gave to her. She wishes to know who her real father was, while she also feels that she’s destined to be alone.
After she apologizes to the other Riders on Dragon’s Edge, Heather is overwhelmed by the sudden rush of interest in her until Astrid pulls her away to have a girls’ day out (which consists of hurling axes at things, boy talk, and jumping off cliffs). Heather eventually takes Astrid to her campsite, where Astrid finds Trader Johann. Johann reveals to the girls that Dagur is preparing to buy more ships for his army, which will contain dragon-proof wenches and mechanisms similar to the Reaper. Heather takes this as one more opportunity to get Dagur and goes with Astrid to rally the others. Meanwhile, Toothless snoops around in Heather’s handbag and finds her father’s horn, which mysteriously has Stoick’s chief seal carved into it…
While Heather tries to convince the other Riders of her plan to attack Dagur without Hiccup’s assistance (failing at first), Hiccup flies back to Berk to ask Stoick about the origins of the carved seal. Stoick explains that when a chief has a newborn child, that child receives gifts from other tribes all over. With this knowledge Hiccup informs Stoick that the horn was given to Heather by her father, but it has Stoick’s seal. This raises a very important question about Heather’s true lineage and who she’s actually related to.
Meanwhile, the other Riders come around to Heather’s plan, but only under the condition that they only capture Dagur and send him back to Outcast Island. They hatch a plan to use the element of surprise on Dagur and his men as they sail on their way to “purchase” more ships. Ruffnut, Tuffnut, Snotlout, and Fishlegs put up a front to distract Dagur and his central forces, while Astrid and Heather sneak up from behind and take out the remaining men on their way to Dagur. Dagur is in the process of trying to attack the Riders in the air with a grappling hook when they are stopped by Astrid and Heather.
Right then and there, Heather changes her mind and has Windshear readying for the kill when Hiccup swings in and stops her, sparing Dagur’s life. Hiccup points out that her father’s horn has his father’s chief symbol on it. He explains further that the horn was given by Stoick to Oswald the Agreeable’s newborn daughter. Here we get one of the BIGGEST revelations ever. Are you ready for it? Okay, here it is:
Heather is Oswald’s daughter. In turn, this makes Dagur her brother.
Heather is Dagur’s sister.
Not knowing how to react, Heather freezes up while Dagur frees himself and offers her the chance to join him in his conquest. Ultimately, she decides against it and flees with the Riders. Back on Dragon’s Edge she packs up to leave, as she needs to figure things out on her own. Hiccup and Astrid readily reassure her that she has a place she can come back to and friends to rely on.
Even though she only previously appeared in another two-parter on the show (“Heather Report” in Riders), Heather has gone on to become something of a breakout character in terms of her receiving equal amounts of admiration and scorn from the fandom. But, for me personally, it’s not until “Have Dragon Will Travel” that she truly earns her breakout status. In this episode, Heather is simply a fascinating character all around. She’s one of the few characters in the Dragons franchise who occasionally lives in an area of gray morality. Once a sweet, shy kid forced to do something bad to protect her parents, we now find a young woman whose life was ripped out from under her (and then turned upside down) and is transformed as a result (perhaps revealing a side of her that is more like Dagur).
As you can tell, Heather’s arc in this episode is one filled with a lot of moving parts. In lesser hands, this would have dissolved into a sloppy mess. But it is a testament to how good these writers are that they were able weave all these elements together and make it feel like a natural progression of the character. The reveal of Heather as Dagur’s sister will definitely serve to re-contextualize what we previously knew about her and not everybody will like that. But it definitely caps off her development in thrilling fashion and leaves the door open for this new revelation to be expanded upon in numerous ways.
So yes, “Have Dragon Will Travel” definitely made Heather (in my opinion) one of my favorite characters in Race to the Edge, if not one of the clear breakouts.
- So Heather has the hots for Fishlegs. I also didn’t see that coming.
- I like the friendship and bonding moments between Heather and Astrid. A clear step up from their antagonistic encounters in “Heather Report.”
- Dagur continues to be a scene-stealer, even when Heather is the center of attention.
- Baby Hiccup using a tiny axe as a paperweight sounds just like Hiccup.
- When Ruffnut says (to Heather), “Hey, glad you’re back. Your dragon rocks.”
- When Trader Johann says (to Astrid), “Miss Astrid, so nice to see you again. Would you mind, please, lowering you axe so my frightened soul might be granted safe passage back to my body?”
- Did Fishlegs really think that Meatlug would be able to carry those rocks?
- I like how Heather’s new outfit mirrors the armored look of her dragon.
Video Recap #9
Thanks for reading! Check back tomorrow for the recap/review of Dragons: Race to the Edge episode 12!
What are your thoughts on this episode? If you have seen this episode, discuss it in the comment section below!
Edited by: Morgan Stradling and Hannah Wilkes