Stoick’s first flight versus Hiccup’s first flight
Some random thoughts/observations:
The first flight out in open skies between Hiccup and Toothless and Stoick and Toothless shows a lot about the Haddocks’ respective characters, as well as demonstrates the importance of working together with the dragon in order to have a successful flight.
Hiccup and Stoick both struggle to fly Toothless their first time in open skies, though they react to the situation in opposite manners. Hiccup apologizes to Toothless every time he crashes up against a rock, saying, “Sorry, my fault,” whereas Stoick immediately says, “Dragon’s fault.” Hiccup’s apologies demonstrate his sympathy toward Toothless, regarding the dragon as an equal – for, as Hiccup remarked, “I looked at him… and I saw myself.” He also speaks to encourage Toothless, stating, “Come on, buddy, come on, buddy!” Hiccup, a very humble individual, does not let pride get in the way – he and Toothless are partners working on the same goal. And while they come close to completely falling and crashing, working together ultimately allows them to successfully navigate and fly together by the end of the test drive.
Stoick, however, has always regarded dragons as enemies, fighting them off his whole life. His first flight with Toothless is not the gentle and slow ride of equals (like Hiccup so *tried* to be), but instead forceful and controlling. He does not even fully want to learn how to fly Toothless because he claims that he, as the chief of Berk, should do things “the Viking way.” And “the Viking way,” even if more inconvenient and time-consuming, has never before involved dragons. Though Berk has changed and become dragon-friendly, Stoick’s reluctance to fly a dragon, and his stubbornness to blame Toothless for every crash against the rocks, shows that his old habits and mindset have not yet fully caught up with the times. Stoick is still acclimating to the new dragon-filled village of Berk. Instead of encouraging the dragon, he bites back somewhat pridefully at both Hiccup and Toothless for the rough flight, never taking the blame, nor treating the flight as the cooperation between two individuals. The result of Stoick’s first flight is a crash; the lack of partnership prevents the flight from being a success.
It is when Stoick finds a match, a dragon to consider his counterpart, that he gets on board fully with dragons. Yes, Stoick glibly chiefs Berk while riding Toothless, but it still not is the mutual, bonded relationship Hiccup has; he considers Toothless a wonderful, useful tool to make chiefing more efficient on Berk. However, once Stoick meets Thornado and finds that tenacious, stubborn dragon that matches his soul, he forms a partnership and can truly fly to the skies. That partnership is more than riding a dragon to chief; he and Thornado handle situations together, and Stoick has such a care for Thornado that he selflessly lets the dragon return to the wild when the time is right.