Hiccup and the riders pose with their dragons.
(Paramount Pictures)

Take Flight With the Best Dragon Franchise Out There

You just gestured to all of me.

Some of us are obsessed with dragons. We can’t help but love the giant, horned fire-breathing beasts. From fantasy novels like Fourth Wing to adult series like House of the Dragon, if there are dragons, count us in. This obsession also includes the need to watch animated series that feature the mythical, winged creatures.

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Arguably one of the most famous series to feature dragons is DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon franchise. Based on the books by Cressida Cowell, How to Train Your Dragon takes us to a world where Vikings ride dragons. Sounds magical, right? Luckily I have kids so I can blame them for how many times I have watched the Dragon movies (and shows). To be fair, the animation is also wonderful. Saddle up, riders—here is how to watch all the How to Train Your Dragon movies in order.

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Hiccup meets Toothless for the first time in 'How To Train Your Dragon'
(Dreamworks Animation)

How to Train Your Dragon is the movie that kicked off a franchise full of beautifully animated dragons and their cool Viking companions. On the mythical Viking island, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) finds himself at odds with the rest of the dragon-hunting folks of Berk. His ultra-Viking dad, Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), tells Hiccup he is not physically capable of fighting the dragons.

Now angry, Hiccup takes down a dragon. However, when he finds the injured dragon (a rare Night Fury), he can’t bring himself to hurt the creature. Instead, he names the dragon Toothless and they become BFFs. However, Toothless’s tail became torn and he can longer fly on his own. Hiccup creates a prosthetic tail wing and saddle so that with Hiccup’s help, Toothless can fly again. Together, the two of them must forge a way for dragons and Vikings to be friends and not kill each other.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Hiccup and his mother in 'How To Train Your Dragon 2'
(20th Century Studios)

Four years after the release of the first film came the sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2. Thanks to Hiccup and Toothless, Berk is a paradise for dragons. Each of the Vikings acquired a dragon that complements their personality perfectly. Even chieftain Soick has a dragon pal. Hiccup’s friends Astrid (America Ferrera), Snotlout, Fishlegs, and the Thorston twins have joined Hiccup to become dragon riders.

But things aren’t perfect. Their world is expanded when they find a villain who is trying to control all the dragons for his own gain. Now the riders have to help save the stray dragons who stray into the nets of hunters looking to hurt them. Hiccup also reunites with his long-lost mother, Valka (Cate Blanchett). With Valka also brings a new understanding of how dragon society works.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Two dragons in love in 'How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'
(Universal Pictures)

The Hidden World is the last film in the series and wraps up the main story for Hiccup and Toothless. Although the people of Berk live in harmony with their dragons, it doesn’t mean everyone is as wonderful to the winged beasts. With dragon hunters a constant threat, Hiccup and the others decide the world is no longer a safe place for dragons. They must find a “hidden world” where the dragons can be safe and live in peace until humans can not be so evil. Get ready to have all the feelings in this one. But at least we get a very cool new dragon. A female version of Toothless, a white Light Fury.

Bonus content

In addition to the three main films, there are many other side Dragon stories to enjoy. After the first movie, DreamWorks made three short films. Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon (2010), Book of Dragons (2011), and Gift of the Night Fury (2011), all expand the How to Train Your Dragon world. When the second film hit DVD, a short film Dawn of the Dragon Racers (2014), was part of the special features. During the holiday season after the release of the third movie, NBC aired a holiday special set during the epilogue of Hidden World.

There is also a show called Dragons (2012-2018) that ran for 8 seasons that bridges the story between the first and second films. Although it is broken up into three sub-parts (Riders of Berk, Defenders of Berk, and Race to the Edge), the series is one cohesive plotline. You don’t need to watch the series to understand the movies, but who really wants to leave Berk?

(featured image: Paramount Pictures)


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Author
D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.