Let’s be real, what hasn’t Jill done to Heather Ann O'Reilly. Jill has not only wronged Heather herself, but has also wronged all 50 states of the United States of America and the territory of Puerto Rico by leaving her off the Olympic Qualifying roster. #downwithJelloEllis2k16
I tot respect your opinion, I just don't agree that Heather is a grey character. Heather has been super predictable to me. I knew the writers would want their OC to be the savior/ the hero so I guessed right about everything that happened. Heather is not morally ambiguous. She is a goody two shoes. There is nothing deranged or unstable about her. Heather's actions are explained every step of the way, no room for a grey area. I bet they will turn Dagur into a grey character, make him do good acts
You’re totally free to disagree, and I like the different opinion, friend! Thanks for popping in and countering me! I respect other opinions, too, and legitimately enjoy hearing different perspectives from what I think. It makes fandom dialogue far more fun when you get different opinions! XD Part of watching and analyzing characters is about building an interpretation, and there are different legitimate ways we can mentally understand and interpret a character.
If you’re curious, I can do a bit of explaining as far as why I consider Heather a gray character, and a bit more of a “loose canon” than the other characters. I think I will step back and agree she’s predictable, though I’ll explain why perhaps I used the term “less predictable” to apply to her earlier.
Is Heather Predictable?
Essentially every character within How to Train Your Dragon is highly predictable, if I’m going to be honest. I am not saying that Heather has not been predictable to me or you, but that as a personality, she is more of a “loose canon” and more likely to be variable in her actions rather than steady. She follows a less steady and more variable course than the other Hooligans, especially the other dragons riders. To give just two examples:
Astrid is going to roll her eyes and gag at Snotlout. She’ll be irked at the twins and their jokes. She’ll stand by Hiccup’s side, agree with his ideas, and contribute some of her own thoughts to his plan.Heather will execute that plan with great proficiency.
Snotlout is going to whine and complain, especially pointing out that Hiccup’s ideas are stupid, insane, dangerous, and illogical. He’ll do short-sighted things that might endanger the mission. He’ll complain about the twins’ intelligence, Fishlegs’ nerdery, and try to kiss up and woo Astrid. He and Hookfang will bicker, and it’ll result in someone or something getting toasted. Snotlout won’t enact ideas proficiently half the time, even though he’ll brag that he pulled it off flawlessly.
These characters are highly predictable. We can even predict down to the word they’ll say. If Ruffnut and Tuffnut make a joke, Hiccup will groan with a muttered, “Okay.” If Snotlout flirts with Astrid, she’ll scream and attack him. If we’re going to call anyone predictable, it’s going to be the main set of characters.
Yes, they deviate sometimes, but that’s more of a recent thing within RTTE S2. We still have three seasons of television shows of the characters doing the same stock set of actions over and over again.
Heather, compared to that, is not quite as set in stone. One episode, she’ll be lying to Hiccup and his friends. The next episode, she’ll be straightforwardly honest to them and providing them key information. One episode, she’ll pretend to be the good guy but is actually working for the enemy. The next episode, she’ll pretend to be the enemy but is actually the good guy. One episode, she’ll be trying to kill Dagur; the next, she’ll be begging for him to see their common ground and be proud of their shared Berserker heritage. In some episodes, she’ll be very confident about her undercover mission, but in others, she’ll barely have it together, and it’s oh-so-painfully-obvious that she’s the mole.
I’ll agree with you, friend, that Heather isn’t unpredictable. I’ll step back, retract my words from the previous post, and agree with you there. :) I predicted a lot of her actions as well. I suppose what I meant to say is that she’s less bound by the same limited sets of actions we’ve come to see from other characters. Because Heather is a little less known and a little less emotionally stable of a character, we can’t always create some formula for when she’ll choose what choice. She’s more of a “loose canon” sometimes.
Is Heather Deranged or Unstable?
I’ve already written an entire analysis about this, so I’ll save a little space here. :) Check it out, friend, if you’re curious! Heather is beset with a lot of loneliness, which makes her a bit more raw than the other characters, and a little less stable and emotionally grounded than the other dragon riders. It’s not that she’s “deranged” like Dagur, but it’s potentially not that far out of reach to call her “Heather the Unhinged” sometimes. She’s still working out a lot of difficult things because of recent trying circumstances.
Is Heather a Morally Clean Goody Two Shoes?
Make your own judgments, of course. We all have a right to different interpretations of characters. XD Perhaps, though, before considering her a goody two shoes, you might want to consider some of the things she has done which can be regarded as ethically questionable:
Heather boasts about Windshear’s capabilities, saying, “Her breath can burn the flesh off a human from one hundred feet away.” Okay okay okay, how does she know that? Probably because Heather has done this. Hiccup tells Snotlout in RTTE S2 that they aren’t the sort of people who use dragons for aggressive attacking and killing, but apparently… Heather does. Oh my gods. Heather has used Windshear to literally burn the flesh off of a human form one hundred feet away, meaning that this “little angel” has run around killing people. I don’t know about you, but that’s a little morally questionable to me! She’s not some goody two shoes… she’s an unstable teenager who’s a little too eager to kill. Yikes.
Heather attacks innocent ships to gain supplies. Johann reveals that it’s because, “She’s made it her personal mission to avenge her island and her family.” Hiccup calls this sinking and looting ships, but Johann counters that, “She’s not looting. She’s redistributing back to the victims of those horrible crimes. Every ship that Heather attacks means they’ll get back some of what they’ve lost.”
But Hiccup has a point. Heather is attacking innocent, unarmed fishing vessels like Mulch and Bucket’s vessel. It’s true she’s redistributing back the supplies from the victims, but she’s still taking it from innocent seafarers. She’s still sinking ships. Odin, she’s still LOOTING. Heather might have a good goal, but she’s rather questionably going about it. This isn’t some great, heroic Robin Hood adventure. This is rogue action that frankly deserves her to be arrested and put on trial.
And, as I said, she’s been killing people in the process. She is going around KILLING non-violent people to try to avenge other peoples’ DEATHS. Awkward ironic cycle any? Hiccup and his company typically try to avoid death. Heather charges right in and kills people who aren’t even directly involved with Dagur… would you really consider someone who almost killed Bucket and Mulch goody-goody?
Heather has no qualms lying to her friends and family repeatedly. Yes, putting on a front before Dagur and Ryker is part of going undercover. I’m not talking about that. Frankly, the way she handles Hiccup, Astrid, and the others isn’t so pretty. Instead of telling, Hiccup, Fishlegs, and the others to simply leave the island and stay out of her way in Have Dragons Will Travel Part 1, she thinks it’s okay to attack them, tie them up, knock them out, and otherwise subdue themrather than simply chat. Her only excuse is that they’re “stubborn.” Okay… Hiccup and his friends are stubborn. So that means skirting in the shadows and ATTACKING THEM? Are you for REAL, girl?
Then, once Hiccup and his companions ask her to just talk to them, she goes out behind their back multiple times more. She sneaks out of Dragon’s Edge to speak to Johann for information. Then she agrees to simply capture Dagur in a mission… which she immediately turns her back on, deciding to kill Dagur instead.
Everyone else in the team wants to capture Dagur, not kill him. They believe subduing him gets the goal accomplished without any blood need be shed. Then there’s Heather. Heather decides it’s totally fine to turn her back on her promises with her friends (ironic, being as she just yelled at Astrid for “turning her back” on her), shove a gag up someone’s mouth roughly, and kill them instead.
So for Heather, it’s not okay if people give her advice that contradicts her goals. It’s why she yells at Astrid. But Heather has no problems if SHE goes about lying to friends, turning back on her promises with them, and being a loose canon in the process.
Even by the time of the second season, Heather encourages Astrid to lie to Hiccup. She thinks it’s best for everybody if Astrid lies to someone she’s really close to, someone Astrid knows could help them. Great idea, Heather. Let’s just keep up the tradition of lying to people we can trust.
So what we can conclude from this is that Heather is a liar, a hypocrite, a looter, and a murderer. She’s clearly holding herself to a different moral code than Hiccup and his companions are doing.
Having studied philosophy, I could talk about Heather’s morals being more along a utilitarian principle rather than Hiccup’s more deontological moral values. Essentially, Heather believes the end justifies the means. For some people, that’s totally moral all the time. Frequently in movies and other media, a hardcore utilitarian is portrayed as someone more gray, because we see how willing they are to do things like steal and kill innocents. So yes, we can argue that Heather’s actions are all “right” from some philosophical frameworks, but by and large how viewers are going to interpret someone like Heather is with a bit of skepticism and worry at how far she’s going to take things.
Now Heather seems to becoming less ambiguous in her moral actions over the series. By the end of season two, her actions seem a lot more honorable by and large. I would say that Heather is going to be increasingly less gray and Dagur increasingly more gray. They’re both at points of change, and Dagur’s characterization is obviously veering toward something less strictly dark. But being as we’ve still seen Heather act in a gray manner in Riders of Berk and two seasons of Race to the Edge, I can’t wipe away what she’s already done. Yes, Heather is always a good guy in the stories, which is where we might not call her “gray,” but her moral choices are more gray than even Snotlout’s. By far.
Heather is a goody-goody in the sense she wants to police what she feels is wrong. But Heather is a crazy moral loose canon sometimes when it comes to enacting her sense of “justice.”
Calling Heather an “OC”
I hope you are okay with me hoping into this, friend. It’s just something I want to bring to attention with all good intentions and respect to the fandom. If people don’t want to hear my respectful reservations of HTTYD fandom dialogue, you have full right and ability to ignore this conversation. :) I’m not going to bring it up again and you can go along your merry way with no scars taken. <3 I simply ask people to consider the language of the dialogue with all loving consideration to you and the writers of the television series. :)
It’s very common in the HTTYD fandom to call Heather the writers’ “OC” or their “pet character,” and I hope it is okay to you if I ask us to reconsider the word. I don’t imagine that you or many others think that “OC” is a word with bad connotations, but I do think that sometimes using that word regarding Heather has negative consequences, intended or unintended.
I mean this with all lovingkindness, friends… but to speak of Heather as “those writers’ OC” in some ways might not sound respectful. I would encourage us fans to speak about the show and the show-only characters with more careful language if at all possible. I don’t care if people like Heather, I don’t care if people dislike Heather, and I don’t care if people think that she is highly favored by the writers of RTTE and might be a bit of their special baby - we shouldn’t be calling her “their OC” because it’s unfortunately implying that Heather is in some ways “not legitimate.”
Riders of Berk, Defenders of Berk, and Race to the Edge are all productions straight out of DreamWorks. They come straight out of the DreamWorks studio and are official DreamWorks shows. No, Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders did not write the show. But it doesn’t make the show “fanfiction” where it has some “OCs” that aren’t “canon characters.” We can debate about whether or not the storylines mesh perfectly together with movie canon, but we can’t deny this is straight DreamWorks material and not some random fandom video independently produced. This is official material.
How to Train Your Dragon was started by Cressida Cowell. She didn’t make Astrid. Astrid isn’t in the original HTTYD books. When Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois made Astrid for the HTTYD movie, we didn’t call Astrid “Sanders and DeBlois’ OC.” We called Astrid a canon character. When Dean DeBlois made HTTYD 2 in full by himself, we didn’t call Valka “DeBlois’ OC” or
Drago “DeBlois’ villain OC.” We called them canon characters despite the fact one of the original movie producers wasn’t involved in their creation. If under some crazy hypothetical someone other than DeBlois and Sanders directed, wrote, and produced HTTYD 3, we wouldn’t call any new HTTYD 3 characters that person’s “OC.” So why should we suddenly treat the television show writers differently? It’s a double standard and an irreverent judgment if we say that Chris and Dean have total reign to create their own canon characters under official DreamWorks movies that diverge from Cowell’s novels, but it’s not okay for Sloan and Brown to create their own canon characters under official DreamWorks movies that correlate with the movies.
Heather isn’t Sloan and Brown’s OC, at least not in the sense we usually use the word “OC” to refer to someone outside of canonical literature. Heather is a canon character made by Sloan and Brown, and that’s how we should talk about her. To say anything less regrettably might sound demeaning and disrespectful to people who have given us almost seventy episodes of a show straight out of DreamWorks.
Yes, we can have dialogue about how Heather is given some special attention in the shows. We can have dialogue about whether or not Heather is a Mary Sue. We can have dialogue about whether or not Heather should be so central to the narrative. That’s fair constructive criticism of how the show is written. You can agree or disagree with it. You can like her. You can dislike her. In all truth I don’t mind what your opinion is, and I’m always interested and respectful to hear what other people think. I respect varying perspectives. Fandom dialogue is good and we shouldn’t become some hive mind who has to believe or think a certain way. But we should be respectful to the people who give us our story.
I’m sorry for charging off and bringing this unpleasant comment up, friend. I mean no harm or ill will to you or anyone; I don’t have ill will. :) But please, for everyone who talks about Heather as Sloan and Brown’s “little pet” or “OC,” please be considerate and consider that this term might sound irreverent rather than well-intentioned or constructive in criticism. I love constructive criticism. Sounding disrespectful is something I hope we all can avoid.
I have no problems with your alternate interpretation of Heather! It’s totally cool, and I’m glad you popped in with a counter perspective. It’s one I would never have considered otherwise. If you are interested, I’ve explained why I think Heather is a bit more of a “loose canon” since she’ll emotionally make some interesting choices, and that she’s morally gray in the sense that she’s willing to go pretty far and do some seriously harmful actions for the sake of her goals.
But of course, anyone is free to have different opinions on Heather, and being able to give different interpretations provides interesting discussion and dialogue within the fandom. Have a wonderful day, friend! Take care and continue being aweseom! :)
Could you do a analysis on heatstrid relationship in this season? They seem to be more close now and I ship them so much. ps: your blog is amazing
First, a preface: Astrid and Heather are the relationship. Bear in mind, relationship =/= romance, though they’re plenty rife with that for those who want to see it. These are two well-rounded individuals who have come to care about each other and work with each other without questionable, outside forces (i.e. writers deciding someone needs a reciprocated love interest or the like).
Heather’s goal has always been one thing: Family. Years ago, she wanted to save her family and would do anything to manage it–stepping on toes, lying to faces, burning bridges–if it meant their safety. Astrid saw through her first layer of deception, she was astute like that, and despite the minor threat it posed to her plan, Heather pressed on the mind games. Almost like she was pleased Astrid could level out with her. But when everything came crashing down around her, Astrid was the one to put herself on the line to help her. After their unpleasant beginning. After the insults and scrabbles. (It wasn’t the first time Astrid has shown this virtue either)
Heather saw such character in Astrid, an almost fairy-tale sort of honor that, I believe, this was the moment when her small circle of loyalty expanded to include Astrid.
Then they run into Heather years later and Astrid finds Heather on her level. Blades and battle and that fun, fiery energy still blazing between them. (Though, while Astrid sees her growth–while Astrid understands the evolution Heather went through in the wake of tragedy–Hiccup sees the loss and mourns the girl she used to be).
They’re both so adorably excited by each other. Here is another person who clicks on so many levels–someone they rarely get to see. It’s like there aren’t enough hours in the day for them and they know their respective life choices will force them apart sooner or later so they might as well catch up and enjoy until the next time.
And Astrid seems to know there will be a next time just as she knows Heather will leave again. Hiccup can beg and needle and offer a place for Heather amongst them until his voice dies, but Astrid doesn’t need to be told no twice on this. She gets it.
Heather has a vice for vengeance. She has a penchant for layers and lies as a first defensive mechanism. Astrid is more tempered by the likes of Hiccup, she’s more clean-cut and confrontational than deceptive. But despite these differences Astrid understands. She understands that there’s something unsettled inside of Heather that would never allow her to feel safe and quiet on the Edge. She knows that Heather needs to do this for herself, and she wants to protect Heather, she wants to help her however she can, make her as safe as she can, but she understands that her meddling has a limit.
And Heather knows Astrid understands.
That’s why she trusted Astrid immediately with her plan to smoke out Viggo. Heather trusts Astrid above anyone else in that group. She appreciates the Riders. She’s likely forever an ally of them and she loves Hiccup in her own way as well, but nothing trumps her relationship to Astrid. Astrid is on par with her in ways no one else is–physically and intuitively. Despite their differences in values, in tactics, she and Astrid both understand acts of necessity, and sacrifices, and the very notion of an End Game. They both accept the ins and outs of war without idealism getting in the way.
So Heather knows Astrid is her Girl. Astrid is the one to correspond to as she works the Trappers. Heather can see the distress Astrid endures in ‘omitting’ information from Hiccup, she understands it’s hard–especially hard for Astrid, and she regrets what she puts her through–but both girls foresee the same reaction from him. Astrid’s on Heather’s page here, and it’s a testament to how right Heather was to choose her, though there likely hadn’t been much doubt to begin with.
Astrid is, for all intents and purposes, Heather’s best friend. Astrid is a sister. Maybe a crush. But she’s the closest human Heather has in her life outside of whatever relationships she has left.
And that’s probably why they’re my favorite pair in any interpretation: their relationship has nothing to do with the protagonist (Heatcup was the biggest red herring in the history of hilarious red herrings. Real Satanic Panic situation right there) and it has nothing to do with furthering some gimmick or drama. They’ve genuinely, and rather seamlessly for this franchise, come together.
For subject of them as a couple: They’re fantastic. They’re fantastic in that they compliment each other so incredibly well–from their meeting, to their resolution, to their trust in each other, to their joy around each other, to their every interaction…which is both sweet and intense and I’m sure the writers have a field day with that. Also, when you operate under the assumption that no one’s sexuality is determined, their relationship is told as strong than any other romance on in the series. You can chant “Hiccstrid is canon” as much as you want, but it won’t change the fact that its brick-laying is less stable than a sea-sick viking.
Heatstrid was the sort of chemistry that was ‘shown’. Not ‘told’. I’ll always be grateful for that.
Heather sat down and sipped her coffee. Things were so quiet and she appreciated it. She felt someone walk past and knock her bag off her chair, the content spilling out across the floor. “I’m so sorry.” Heather said quickly, scurrying to the floor to pick the things up. “I should of saw I was in the way. So stupid Heather.” She said under her breath.