This might be kind of weird but, have you ever imagined seeing things from a dragon hunter's perspective?Believing that dragons are to be treated like farm animals (or even below them), getting pissed at the dragon riders for destroying anything you've tried to build, constantly being attacked and your hard works are ruined. It's pretty hard being a dragon hunter too isn't it? Of course I don't think this way personally, but wouldn't it be interesting if the story is told by the opposite side?
I don’t think this is an odd thought at all! I like it! I honestly wish that more of this perspective-switching were done in media. The best antagonists, and most realistic, are those whose perspectives are understandable. Human beings tend to have decent reasons for behaving as they do; the dragon hunters are no exception.
Honestly, I think that the dragon hunters can be presented even more favorably than how you described them. Your description of the dragon hunters might perhaps be interpreted to some readers as the hunters looking at the dragons with little concern or even contempt, and a lot of focus on their own personal problems. But I think that there are a lot of ways we can legitimately humanize and make sympathetic the dragon hunter characters. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with all of their actions, but I think they have a very fair case for being humanizable and understandable.
Trading animals is nothing new to human civilization. I’m not going to go into the morals of whether or not this should be the case, but the fact is that countless humans across countless civilizations have hunted, fished, and domesticated animals to be eaten for millennia. How long has humankind raised pigs, chickens, and cows for consumption and survival? How long have people hunted elk and deer or fished salmon and trout out of the waters? The dragon hunters are pretty normal people to capture dragons and then sell the creatures for profit. It’s been in human trade for innumerable species for millennia to do things like this.
Really, the oddballs are the Hairy Hooligans. Everyone else in the Barbaric Archipelago across dozens of islands… are pretty accustomed to dragons being fought in battle or captured for trade. Dragons aren’t pets, dragons aren’t friends.. .they’re enemy creatures. It’s normal to hunt or fight dragons in this society, just as it’s normal to eat chicken or fish. It’s only the Hairy Hooligan Vikings who have befriended the dragons… and very recently, at that.
So I don’t think we need to talk about the dragon hunters looking “down” upon dragons in some sort of contemptuous or unsympathetic way. It’s not like they’re attacking family pets. They’re not being crueler than normal in this society to dragons. From their perspective, they’re just living their day-to-day lives doing typical societal things in how you treat dragons, just as most cultures don’t mind if you eat a chicken for dinner.
From the dragon hunter’s perspective, Hiccup’s gang are complete oddballs. Those kids are doing something monumentally bizarre. The kids are disrupting good, honest, economic trade. The Hairy Hooligans are flying around and being lawless menaces, disrupting legal trade and making it harder for these hunters to earn their honest wages.
The dragon hunters are engaging in a common Viking trade that has demand across lots of islands. The dragon hunters are going to be people with real lives and real cares. There are going to be brother dragon hunters who are doing this together, and find great happiness in engaging in this activity. They are the heroes who sail bravely across the islands and capture the dangerous beasts that burden their island homes. Some Vikings are proud warriors who defend their home from invaders; the dragon hunters are those who fight the most dangerous enemies, the dragons themselves! There are going to be husbands and wives on the dragon hunter crews with families back home. They will have families that they love and care about; this dragon hunting is their income, and the means by which they can feed their spouse and children and maybe their elderly parents they’re taking care of at home. They will be upset when their ship gets sunk and they’re stranded on an island… Hiccup’s destroyed their ship, meaning it’ll be many more months before they can sail home to see their baby child. And there are going to be dragon hunters who have no one to return to, who constantly sail across the archipelago because there’s nothing back “home,” but have found a mission and a goal and a purpose on the open seas conducting this trade. There are going to be dragon hunters who question Viggo’s trade practices and wonder if they are ethical, but know they have no other job to go to if they quit. There are going to be dragon hunters who have a mean streak in them and enjoy harming the dragons. There are going to be other dragon hunters who respect the dragons they capture, and look with awe at the creature on the other side of the cage bars.
The dragon hunters are going to be people with happy tales and sad tales and tales of family and love and honor and moral questions and conflicted feelings and senses of pride and conviction and happiness and more. They don’t have to be any more villainous than Stoick was in HTTYD when he wanted to fight the dragons Hiccup wanted to save.
Sure, yes, there will be devious dragon hunters. We’ve seen some of them on the shows. Some of them enjoy capturing or threatening harm to Hiccup and the gang. Some of them have a bit too much of a violent streak to them. Some are going to be greedy for power and wealth. Totally. There will be bad apples in this bunch. But not all of them have to be, and if we really look at RTTE from their perspective, we’re going to see a lot of motivations that are very understandable and not at all… dark and demonic.
I love what you say about Hiccup and the gang being a nuisance! From the perspective of an everyday dragon hunter, Hiccup and the gang are being horrifically annoying. They’re do-gooder vigilantes harping after a cause that basically nobody cares about. They’re screwing up all the hard work you put into things, they’re being EXTREMELY reckless damaging SO MUCH expensive property (LIKE ENTIRE SHIPS THOSE ARE NOT CHEAP), they’re messing up the trade of multiple islands, they’re being unreasonable about what society and civilization is typically like. These unruly kids might believe in their cause, but from the perspective of the dragon hunter, it’s going to be a pretty ridiculous and pointless cause. All the fires the youths have set, all the buildings they have collapsed, all the ships they have sunk… I’m sure there are more than a few dragon hunters who wish these obnoxious kids would pay for the damage they caused. You are, as you so aptly put, being constantly attacked and your plans put to ruin as a dragon hunter.
I’m not going to say I agree with the dragon hunter perspective, either. I’m not going to say that them attacking Dragon’s Edge and fighting teenagers with weapons is ever okay. It’s not okay. And there are so many other things they do that are not okay. The entire point of the first HTTYD is that the Vikings don’t have to be violent to dragons, after all. Dragon hunters could treat the dragons better. But there’s definitely a way to turn this story around, look at their perspective, and understand why - even if their actions aren’t always right - there’s a reason they’re doing what they’re doing.