Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Dragon Behind the Dragon

You thought the movie I referred to Monday was Iron Man 2, didn’t you?

Well, I saw that too, and loved it, but that’s not what I’m talking about today.

On the recommendation of several different friends, I saw How to Train Your Dragon, a DreamWorks animation.

The friends were so right. Awesome film.

Of course, it got me thinking. J

The basic plot revolves around Hiccup, a young Viking who has a problem, he’s puny, and he’s terrible at battling the dragons that repeatedly attack their little island and steal their livestock. It’s not that he doesn’t want to kill a dragon. But he’s less a fighter, like normal Vikings, and more an inventor. To make matters worse, his father is the Viking leader, who is, of course, stellar at killing dragons. Hiccup’s embarrassment is a village-wide joke. He has little place to hide.

One night, though, he manages to use one of his inventions to net a night fury, the most feared dragon. Up to this point, no one has seen or killed this special kind of terror, and so no one believes puny little Hiccup when he claims to have hit one. Perpetually on his own, he searches the forest for his prize, finding the dragon wounded and bound by his net invention. Hiccup finally has his chance to kill a dragon.


He can’t do it. The dragon is wounded and scared and defenseless.

Hiccup actually sets it free.

This sets in motion his opportunity to observe, interact with and eventually train this dragon. He finds out that these dragons are misunderstood, and only fight back when fired upon. He also finds out why they attack the Vikings and steal their food.

Hiccup, via his newly trained pet, sees the nest housing all of these thieving dragons, and discovers that a much, much bigger monster exists and that all the livestock the little dragons steal are for the big guy. So Hiccup, through a set of difficult and extenuating circumstances, manages to convince his people to band with the little dragons to fight the real terror, the gigantic monster living at the nest.

So many life lessons come to mind when I watch and think about this movie. But I might be able to sum them up into a unifying point.

It’s about motivation.

The Vikings are motivated to kill dragons because they attack their island, steal their livestock and torch their houses.

Hiccup is motivated to kill a dragon because he wants to make his dad proud and to establish a favorable reputation.

Hiccup is motivated to free his captured night fury because, in his own words, he saw that the wounded animal was as scared as he was.

Hiccup discovers what motivates the dragons like his night fury to attack his village and steal their livestock – the bigger dragon will kill them if they don’t.

Both Hiccup and his night fury, as well as his friends from school and eventually his father, are motivated to perform heroic acts to defeat the bigger dragon because of love.

So, do you have a dragon in your life? Something that disrupts your home or job or peace of mind? Is it a person who treats you miserably?

How do you respond to the dragons in your life?

This is where I learned a lesson from the movie.

Hopefully I can explain…

The dragons attack the Vikings and carry away their food. Not knowing their motivations and concluding it is purely for sport or viciousness that they do it, the Vikings retaliate with lethal force. In turn, the dragons fire back with equally lethal force. Back and forth and back and forth until the fight is legend, a way of life, recorded in their books of knowledge, passed on to their children, tradition. All the while the dragons are driven by a much, much bigger dragon.

Has someone wronged you today? What do you perceive their motivation is?

Sometimes we’re so focused on how it is affecting us (our livestock is being carried away) that we don’t stop to wonder (like Hiccup did with his night fury) why our opponent is being so nasty. So often, their behavior masks a deeper problem. They are not just being a jerk. Most likely, something else is wrong.








Before we retaliate with lethal force, let’s look behind the little guys to search for the real motivation, the bigger dragon, the one causing all the problems to begin with. If we do that, we might find out that the little dragons are our friends and there is no need to fight them. Instead, we find out that we’re actually allies! And relationships can form that otherwise would never have been.

Cool ones. Like having a pet dragon.

Consider your motivations. But more than that, look further to see the motivations of others, and be willing to extend a hand of grace.

Happy Wednesday, Dry Ground readers! Thanks for stopping by! See you Friday! God bless!

(Photos by


KM Wilsher said...

good thoughts, girl.

:0) Love this movie!

Susanne Dietze said...

We saw HTTYD a few weeks ago. I admit that I wasn't enthusiastic, but wow, did I love this movie. Entertaining, crisp, and thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing your insights!