Berk's Grapevine

Dragonvine Discussion, Interview Richard Hamilton!

Have you picked up your copy of Dragonvine yet? If not, you can grab your instant digital copy on Amazon (or a slightly less instant, but potentially more fun physical copy) before reading the rest of this article!

First, if you liked The Serpent's Heir and Dragonvine and want to see further development of the Dragons graphic novel universe, you need to make your voice heard so that we are able to see the third graphic novel in the series, The Fire Tides! The story is outlined, but needs a green light from Dark Horse and Universal to begin production.

The graphic novel universe is a special and unique bridge between Dragon 2 and The Hidden World, showing how Hiccup learns to become the chief of Berk, how the other dragon riders grow and develop, how new characters like Valka and Eret integrate themselves into life on Berk, and how Berk itself physically changes over the time period between the films. According to Richard Hamilton, The Fire Tides has some special moments in store: a new dragon called the Fathomfin, important new characters moments for Astrid, a "Viking Atlantis" that sounds a bit like a hidden world analog, a reveal of Valka's backstory between leaving Berk and meeting Hiccup in Dragon 2, and shirtless Hiccup!

Whenever you can, make sure to let DreamWorks, Dark Horse, and NBC Universal know how much you want to see the Dragons graphic novel series continue with The Fire Tides and possibly beyond, and how lucky we are to have this part of the dragons universe!

Dragonvine continues Hiccup's journey of becoming the chief of Berk that started in The Serpent's Heir. In the latest graphic novel, Hiccup's meets a new tribe that has also been affected by Drago, forced to move from their homeland and set up on a new island.

Though Dragonvine was drawn by two different illustrators, the graphic novel fairly successfully blends their different styles, transitioning from Doug Wheatley's highly detailed and carefully composed scenes to the energetic and action-packed panels of Francisco de la Fuente. This worked well in the context of the story, where Doug Wheatley's illustrations from the "burning midnight" section at the beginning was based on storytelling prior to the main action of the graphic novel, which was passed along to Francisco de la Fuente.

One of the unexpected highlights of Dragonvine was Hiccup's new outfit ("stylishly jacketed in a mystery," according to Tuffnut). In our discussion with Richard Hamilton, he describes this as one of the unique advantages of the medium -- being able to play with costume changes. Indeed, Hiccup's costume change is a reference to the running joke in animation that characters never change their clothing. But not Hiccup! It turns out, our protagonist wasn't lying about making outfits since he's made a new one in for almost every medium a dragon story is told! I believe we all agree with Tuffnut: he does indeed look very stylish.

We also see more of Valka and Eret in this story. Because these are two characters new to Berk in Dragon 2, it's especially interesting to see how they interact with the main dragon riding crew and become increasingly integrated into Berk over time. Eret in particular had a large role in this story, as did his poor dragon, Skullcrusher, the subject of repeated and completely unfair teasing by Tuffnut. (We love you, Skullcrusher, keep on crushing those skulls.)

Also building from the story told in The Serpent's Heir, we see Astrid taking on even more of a leadership role beside Hiccup: not as a chief, but as more of a general. We don't get to meet Astrid's parents in the graphic novel, as some had speculated. However, we do see her interacting with both Stoick (in a flashback prior to the story) and Valka, and see how much they appreciate her as "the spirited warrior who keeps watch over all of Berk, including our son."

It is increasingly clear after the Hidden World events at Annecy and TIFF how much The Serpent's Heir and Dragonvine are setting up the world of the third film. We see Berk and the rest of the world changing, but we also see the relationships of the characters changing. This is especially true for Hiccup and Astrid as leaders of Berk, which increasingly seems to be a critical relationship to the story of The Hidden World, and parallels the future relationship between Toothless and the Light Fury.

What did you think of Dragonvine? What was your favorite part?

We're sure you have questions and comments about Dragonvine, the process of writing graphic novels, and how the graphic novel series bridges the events of Dragon 2 and The Hidden World. And who better to ask these questions to than Richard Hamilton, the author of the graphic novels himself?

In addition to writing The Serpent's Heir and Dragonvine alongside Dean DeBlois, Richard Hamilton was also a writer on Race to the Edge, the creator of To Berk and Beyond, the author of several other graphic novel series for Trollhunters, and recently has started his own series, called Scoop.

Submit your questions on Dragon Academy Dropouts

by Sunday, September 23 at 12 p.m. ET

You can also submit your questions in the comments below, or upvote questions you want to hear!

(And yes, according to Richard Hamilton, the title "Dragonvine" is exactly the reference you may have suspected, intended as a subtle nod to this website and community of dragon fans reading the story!)


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