Hi! I hope you're having a lovely day, and I want to share with you a small detail that I noticed in Viggo's flashback in RTTE S5. When we see Viggo fall into the volcano, he was holding the dragon eye in his hand. But in the last episode of the previous season, he fell into the volcano AFTER the dragon eye is gone. Do you think this could have been a mistake or did he really caught it mid-air? Personally, I don't think the latter is possible since he fell waaay after the dragon eye was lost.
Hey there! I hope you’re having a wonderful, lovely day, too. And whoa! Good attention to detail!
You are absolutely right - during “Shell Shocked Part 2,” Hiccup throws the Dragon Eye into the volcano, Viggo rushes to the edge of the volcano, and watches it plunge downward.
Only after the ground of the volcano splits beneath Viggo’s feet does he fall into the volcano, too, a good several seconds after the Dragon Eye has already fallen downward.
And it’s not like the Dragon Eye is a feather, where air resistance would cause it to fall so much more slowly that Viggo could catch it mid-air. As you yourself say, it’s extraordinarily unlikely Viggo could catch it because he falls so much later than the Dragon Eye. Presumably the Dragon Eye would have already landed by this point.
Yet the flashback of “The Wings of War Part 1″ indeed shows Viggo holding the Dragon Eye as he falls to the bottom of the volcano.
So what happened?
I’m an analysis blog that primarily prefers describing events only as though they’re the real deal in canon - that because they’re what we see, they’re what actually occurs, no questions asked. I don’t usually like to look from a meta perspective outside of the events - so I usually don’t talk about “mistakes.” Rather, I like to talk about the best way we as audiences can interpret the events we see on screen to be logical and consistent in-universe.
So sure, we could say the animators made a mistake or something. Sure, that’s likely what happened from the production angle of things. I recognize internally where mistakes probably happened from an outward production angle of things. But that’s boring as fuck to say and doesn’t help us at all when we want to consider understanding the integrity inside the story. What is on screen is what it is, and we as fans have the power of interpretation on our side.
And I do think that there is a good plausible explanation for the “inconsistency” between the two volcano scenes. They don’t have to be inconsistent. The first scene in “Shell Shocked Part 2″ is the actual event - Hiccup watching Viggo fall into a volcano after the Dragon Eye. That’s the event, concrete, unyielding. The second volcano scene is Viggo’s memory of the event.
And the truth is, the animators themselves clearly present this as a memory from Viggo’s mind. When Krogan asks Viggo if he’s sure the Dragon Eye is down there, the camera pans in on Viggo’s face. Then it transitions to the flashback. The implication is that this is Viggo’s mental answer to Krogan’s question, that Viggo is remembering and reliving this moment and recalling exactly why the Dragon Eye is still down there.
But the thing with memories is… they’re notoriously unreliable. Terrifyingly unreliable. How people remember a car crash they just saw can be manipulated simply by the phraseology of someone asking questions about the event - for instance, if I asked about “smashing head on” versus “bumping into,” you’re going to remember a crash of differing intensities. We like to say that our eyewitness testimony is critical, but the truth is, our memories are fragile, easily manipulated, and often untrustworthy once we triangulate with other sources outside personal recall.
So even though this is a huge and traumatic event for Viggo, he’s not necessarily going to recall it correctly. He could incorrectly remember holding the Dragon Eye as he falls. What we see in the flashback is what Viggo recalls, not necessarily what happens. And so we see that he “remembers it wrong” for a few details.
There is a third possibility we could propose outside of Viggo catching the Dragon Eye mid-air, or Viggo recalling the scene incorrectly. It could also be that the Dragon Eye landed on a ledge at first. When Viggo started falling, he could have “caught up” with the Dragon Eye’s descent - whether that means that the Dragon Eye started falling again when Viggo fell (due to the ground shifting)… or Viggo hitting the same ledge the Dragon Eye is on, grabbing it, and then continuing to fall… or any number of plausible variations that would cause Viggo and the Dragon Eye to come in contact with one another.
Personally, what I see between these two scenes is one concrete event happening, one incorrect memory recall. Something like this is going to happen so fast that your memory won’t process everything perfectly. How long would it have taken Viggo to plunge to the volcano? Not long at all. It would be a flurry of vision, an intensity of heat… but he would clearly remember the Dragon Eye lying just a few feet away from him on a stone. His mind could have filled in the rest and processed that he “held it” until he reached the bottom of the cauldron.