serious glum

santathegrey  asked:

Hey there, I have a little question about Httyd, that has been bugging me forever: How does the ending of the first movie fit in the timeline? When Hiccup wakes up, he is still a bit beaten up, but not surprised to see his peg leg. This means that a few conscious days must have gone by. He is, however, surprised to see Toothless and the other Dragons. And Gobber mentions his leg as if it were the first time. I guess Stoick sat by H. bed most of the time, but why did'nt he let Tl. in before?

Thanks for your question! The ending of HTTYD certainly contains a whole lot of information, so it’s a lot to process, work out, and understand. The exposition is a little “rushed” in the sense that it shows a lot of events happening all at once… the reveal of Hiccup’s peg leg, Toothless moving into the house, the Vikings accepting Hiccup, and dragons residing peacefully on Berk. Some people suggest that it is a bit of a montage in the sense we’re seeing lots of events that actually would have occurred over a wider space of time, but were compressed into a single scene so that viewers may easily understand what happened on Berk post-climax. I personally think the only area we have to really postulate a montage or fluid-time-explanation is when Hiccup hops into Toothless’ saddle and flies… I bet his leg would still be too tender to actually fly the day after he left bed.

But that flying scene is not important to your question, so let’s just talk about the moment Hiccup wakes up.

I’m going to start by saying I actually personally believe this is the first time Hiccup sees his peg leg. It’s how they talk about it in the Filmmaker’s Commentary, if you watch it. The animators meant this to be Hiccup’s personal discovery about the leg. But even beyond that, watch Hiccup’s facial expressions really closely.

First, look at Hiccup’s face as he pulls off the covers and looks down at his leg - which is hurting because Toothless just stepped on it. Hiccup’s eyes widen slightly and his lips part immediately when the covers leave his legs. His eyebrows pull upward and his jaws slacken. That all indicates shock. And he’d only be shocked if he hadn’t seen the peg leg before.

Then he just pauses and stares, slightly unfocused, as he processes the information. After a short moment, his eyes move slightly to the right. This is a very common eye movement that occurs when people are trying to remember visual information or are experiencing an internal dialogue with themselves. Hiccup, likely, then is trying to remember his last conscious memory - his fight with the Red Death. The lowered and tightened eyebrows further show a lot of thought processing is occurring. He might even be swallowing a little bit, too, depicting surprise and emotional response to the news. He certainly swallows later on this scene, at least.

Hiccup’s shocked eyebrows lower into a serious, glum expression, his lips tighten together, his shoulders slump, and his neck falls as meaning takes effect. He blinks multiple times rapidly, indicating distress. He realizes that the fight with the Red Death must have resulted in this amputated limb. A grim reality settles in. He has not had these thoughts before. It is a new revelation upon waking for the first time after the confrontation on the island.

It’s a sad, solemn face that looks down as he puts his peg leg gently on the ground for the first time. That in itself does not indicate if he’s consciously noticed it before, but his next facial expression does indicate this leg is a novelty. He turns his attention to Toothless with a very wide-eyed, dazed stare. He expressively widens his eyes even more, an incredulous, unworded question to Toothless basically asking, “Can you believe it?” It’s a wordless “What?” Hiccup is trying to process what he has just seen. He leans in stretching his neck to enunciate that surprise even more.

Just look at all that distress on his eyebrows and partially-opened (then determinedly pursed) lips. He even lets out a heavy exhaled breath. Sure, that is related to him preparing to stand up, but it’s also a reaction to what he’s just learned. The peg leg is definitely new information to him.

Hiccup clearly is on his feet the first time and fumbling with the unknown. He takes in huge breaths and steels himself whenever he tries to move the peg leg. That sort of steeling would happen even if he’d been conscious before - it must hurt a lot, so he’d have to prepare for the pain - but it does also show to us that Hiccup is trying to get used to what has happened to him, and that this is all very new to him. Hiccup would probably look a little less dazed trying to stand if he had had several days of psychological processing beforehand. There are waves of perplexity shown in his face, and you can see he’s really trying to process what’s occurring. 

Hiccup might not be saying anything, and he might not be reacting enormously overtly, but all this body language is genuine and shows us he is conscious for the first time.

This then would solve the problems you bring up. Gobber mentioning the peg leg for the first time would make sense because… well, it is the first time. This would also resolve your worries about why or why not Toothless was let into the house before that scene (and likewise explains why Hiccup, surprised, says, “I’m in my house.”). And regardless of whether or not Hiccup has been consciously awake before, he’s certainly never been out of the house - explaining why he has not seen the other dragons on Berk.

If we want to take your theory it’s not the first time he’s been awake, we could argue Gobber hasn’t been inside to talk to Hiccup about the peg leg since the boy was conscious, and that Stoick never let Toothless in because he was afraid the dragon would disrupt his son (such as stepping on Hiccup’s tender leg). And if Hiccup never went outside and it wasn’t brought up in conversations, he wouldn’t realize dragons had become integrated into Berk society.

In the end, though, I strongly feel as though Hiccup is waking up for the first conscious time. Based upon medical knowledge (read Dyanne’s incredible article if you don’t get easily queasy), it’s about a month after he fought the Red Death, most but not all his injuries are healed, and his amputated limb is still enormously sore. The only other times he’s been conscious, it’s been basically delirious… certainly in no state of mind to register he lost a foot. This is when he cognizes it. He cannot really walk because the amputation is so recent - and that’s why at the start I said he would be in no condition to ride on Toothless then and there. But other than that, I think the ending scene is solid and totally understandable as a first-time-awakening. There’s been a bit of a time gap, but nothing from Hiccup’s conscious perspective has been deleted between this point and the battle with the Red Death.