By: Kayla Stephensen
Maybe it has to do with the proximity of my menstrual cycle, or maybe it has to do with how close to home the stories hit, but I have cried during the second and now third How to Train Your Dragon movies. In the second movie, the parents were brought back together only for the father to lose his life moments after. I shed a tear as I sat next to my seven-year-old cousin. It wasn’t the dragons that got the waterworks moving–although I do enjoy fantasy quite a bit. It wasn’t the accents or the gruffness of the voices–although those are definitely grand. It must have been the way the father, the stoic father, teared up at the sight of the only woman he has ever loved. It must have been the look in Hiccup’s eyes when he finally got to see his parents together. It must have been the overwhelming happiness for this fictional family that made my tear ducts get to working. While I have been blessed enough to have both parents with me my whole life, I find that my empathy for others’ in overdrive at moments like the end of Dragon 2.
Now the third movie hits home far more than the second. Hiccup must learn to let his best friend, Toothless, go and be the alpha dragon that he is. It takes a true friend to be able to break your own heart in order to let your best friend follow their dream. While my best friend is not a different animal, the message is still powerful and moving. Friends are the family you choose and being willing to give them up for their own happiness is an act of true-platonic-love. This was of course the movie where I was full on bawling. My eyeliner ran and my nose filled with sadness. My boyfriend couldn’t hold back the laughter as I cried through the end of a cartoon PG movie. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Then of course, they get to see each other again when they both have their families. That’s my dream: to have a best friend for life.