First, know that this post is going to be mostly me rambling in circles, with no clear direction or topic beyond character death and How To Train Your Dragon 2. I’m not expecting it to make much sense, I just feel like I need to get it off my chest and share all my feels with all of my lovely followers. This is sort of a follow-up to my How To Train Your Dragon 2 rant. For those who didn’t read it, it can be summed up easily enough: I didn’t like Stoick’s death….or rather I was devastated by it. I spent several days in a severe depression where I didn’t want to interact with the world at all.
I also touched on the fact that I don’t think being so connected to characters that you feel their loss deeply is an irrational response. I’ll stop there before I fall back into the rant that immediately comes to mind on the subject. At the end of that post, I promised that I would see the film a second time and I have. Once again, I feel I have things to say that need to be
I saw the film a second time two weeks ago. It was playing at my local drive-in (which is closing for good at the end of this summer ;-;) along with Days Of Future Past. I resolved to see it this way because if I truly still hated it, then at least I had a good movie immediately after it to comfort me. I went in, attempting to be open-minded, fully aware of what would happen in this film, fully aware that Stoick’s death would be just as devastating the second time around, even though I put on a brave front, telling people I’d be fine. And I was right. Stoick’s death had me sobbing yet again, but I forced myself to continue to watch the film and see what I missed before. But I do want to say that my reaction was exactly the same. Though my outward appearance was much calmer, I was dying a bit inside, still incredibly angry at the filmmakers for bring it to this point. I quietly finished the movie, enjoying parts of it a bit more, especially the ending. Now, even two weeks later, I’m still trying to sort through my feelings about it. I still feel like the rest of the movie is overshadowed by that moment. I still feel like Stoick’s death was an unacceptable loss and I’m still angry as hell at the filmmakers for doing this to me. But I liked the ending and I liked the beginning and I liked all the bits outside of that horrid fight scene. So where does that leave me? Do I love it? Hate it? Tolerate it?
All this brings makes me think about how particular I’ve become over the last few years. Character death has always been a pet peeve of mine, make no mistake about that, but it hasn’t always been this bad. I realized this while re-watching Serenity, which is an epically amazing film that also contains the death of a character I loved. Despite that I still love the film because it’s too awesome not to. And there are probably a lot of other films that I love even though there are horrid character deaths. In books, I generally only demote the novel a single star rating for character death…except in one of the Mythos Academy novels where they killed the wolf, which was uncalled for.
I think the key here, though, lies not in the death itself, but the manner of the death. In the end, I know that character death is just something I’ll have to learn to deal with because it’s unavoidable. Authors (and writers in general) think that they have to start killing people off to keep the story realistic, especially if it’s a novel with fighting in it. I personally think that’s bullshit, but they are entitled to their opinion. But Stoick’s death at Toothless’s hands is just too much for me.
Bottom line? I will buy this movie when it comes out. I will probably watch it a handful of times, but not nearly as many as I have the first one, and I will always have to skip the battle. The whole thing, from the Alpha’s fighting to when they burn Stoick’s body. I can’t watch it, I just can’t.
What do you all think? Did any of you who hated it initially give it another try? What where the results? Let me know in the comments!