Hiccup has PTSD after Shell Shocked Part 2 (RTTE S5 Theory)
Okay, so this is a really interesting theory I’ve developed with my most recent re-watch of RTTE Season 4. I’m going to go ahead and apologize because I have no idea how to do that “Keep Reading” thing, and this is going to be long.
So the last two episodes of RTTE Season 4 was named Shell Shocked Parts 1 and 2. Shell Shock was actually the word for PTSD before science declared it a disorder. For those of you who don’t know, PTSD is a mental disorder that is “triggered after either witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event.”
The name for Viggo’s operation was “Operation Shell-Fire” not “Operation Shell-Shock” It would make no sense from a writing perspective to name these episodes “Shell Shocked” unless they were planning to give a character Shell Shock.
But what event would give Hiccup Shell Shock? A lot of very stressful events occurred during both Shell Shocked parts 1 and 2, but I think we can all agree that the most stressful event for Hiccup was when Viggo held Astrid at Axe - point and demanded Hiccup choose between her and his future or the Dragon Eye. Hiccup, not wanting Viggo to have the Dragon Eye back but also not wanting to loose Astrid, threw the Dragon Eye into the volcano nearby. Viggo chased after it and fell into the volcano, screaming Hiccup’s name once he started to fall. Soon after Viggo’s death (Since we now know Viggo survived we can’t deny how traumatic an experience that must have been for Hiccup just seeing it) we see the volcano on the Edge explode, more than likely taking Hiccup’s home away from home and burning it to the ground. And if the Edge survived, several dragons must have gotten hurt.
I don’t have a link or anything (Sorry about that, and because I don’t have a link I don’t expect anyone to take my word on it) but I remember an interview where Douglas Sloan and Art Brown - the head writers of the show - said that the last 3 episodes would have the most emotional tests for Hiccup. That is something worth noting.
The show has increasingly been getting darker anyway. Remember Enemy of My Enemy? The Snotlout Anxiety Episode? Midnight Scrum? Berk nearly dying of starvation in Dire Straights?
Now, we all know that Viggo had plenty of deep quotes from Maces and Talons Parts 1 and 2 that foreshadowed future events, the most popular being the one where Viggo says “Black and white can become gray so easily.” However, there is one quote from Viggo that never seemed to connect to anything, until now. In Maces and Talons Part 1, Viggo takes Heather to an edge in his camp and he tells her “A man will never know how far he’s willing to go until he steps to the edge and looks down.” There hasn’t been any other moment in the show that I can recall where a character symbolically does this, except in Shell Shocked Part 2, where Hiccup runs to the edge of the volcano, looks down and says, “It didn’t have to end this way.” That was Hiccup’s moment where he realized how far he really went, and how far he was willing to go.
The Shell Shocked person might have been Viggo since we know he survived. Falling into the volcano must have been traumatic for him too.
But I don’t think so.
It does make sense for it to be Hiccup because it would 100% explain why he is so anti-violence in HTTYD2. From what I have been seeing around the fandom, all theories on how Hiccup became the strong supporter of peace in HTTYD2 revolves around Hiccup realizing that he can change anyone’s mind about dragons by giving them a flight. It worked with Astrid, Stoick, kind of Dagur, Mala, and the other teens in Hiccup’s gang. But what if the real reason he is so anti-violence is for a much darker reason? Part of the definition of PTSD or Shell Shock, is to “avoid situations that bring back the trauma”. If Hiccup never goes into another conflict with violence, then what happened to Viggo won’t ever happen again. No one has to die (or nearly die) from any decision Hiccup made.
Also: The show is no stranger to giving a character a mental problem, for lack of a better word. In one episode, Snotlout was super paranoid about not being important enough for the gang, thanks to his father’s words. In that episode, Snotlout had some extreme anxiety and was very insecure. And after seeing Midnight Scrum (let’s talk about how violent that episode was), I wouldn’t be shocked if they continued along such a dark path for Hiccup. Especially remembering that Hiccup jumped at Grump’s explosion at the beginning of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Maybe the sound of the explosion took him somewhere in his past.
But that is just my theory and while I’m not sure I like this route that the show has the opportunity to take right now, I can’t deny that it is completely possible and probable.
Also, I am certainly no expert on PTSD and if I mentioned anything in the above that is inaccurate to the diagnosis, please tell me so that I may remove or edit that section.
If you read this far, thank you! I know my thoughts were all over the place, so you might not have understood a word. But thank you for your time!