I started collecting movie soundtracks for writing in about 2010. Pandora and its random singles weren’t cutting it. I need full films or plays to get the entire joy.
How to Train Your Dragon has the best movie soundtrack I’ve heard, in the first two films. It stimulates creativity and joy. Certain numbers will bring on the feels, always. That’s why I consider it so important for the movie.
The HTTYD Movie Soundtrack
At first glance, the first How To Train Your Dragon movie seems goofy and comical. You see bristly hair that looks too stiff. The music, however, is rightly wistful and dangerous, showing how Vikings take on the night.
Hiccup’s instrument is a pennywhistle, showing his eagerness and how he stands out. Astrid gets a violin, which reveals both her prickly and her soft side. Toothless has moments where bagpipes represent his fury, and his decisions to show mercy instead. I can’t go into a full analysis, but it is amazing.
The whole soundtrack balances the joy of Hiccup’s discovery with real stakes about if his father catches him with a dragon. He falls with Toothless but keeps getting back up. Astrid sees the world from high up and becomes entranced by flight. A soft piano notifies us that Hiccup needs to recover from the climactic battle, as he’s lost a limb.
The second movie takes it a step further by having Stoick sing. He and his wife dance to a melody that later gets incorporated as a leitmotif. The same melody that makes Hiccup smile later makes the rest of us cry when it’s set to a funeral. Powell integrates everything to make a cohesive whole.
John didn’t put in the same work for movie three, sadly. It’s all typical action film stuff, without the wistfulness of the previous two movies. I listened to the soundtrack once, and it didn’t hold me. That makes a person sad. I can only recommend the first two soundtracks. Fortunately, there is always music in the franchise.
Alex Rybak’s Dragon Songs
The best part about listening to the soundtracks on YouTube was that they link to surprises. One example was finding this music video from a Norwegian violinist and singer. His name is Alexander Rybak, well-known on the other side of the pond.
Alex Rybak is the Norwegian voice actor for Hiccup. He wrote one song for the second movie, and another that was inspired by Toothless. The man is a professional musician, polyglot, and a really good dance. Rybak also bears an uncanny resemblance to Hiccup with the brunette hairstyle.
“Into a Fantasy” nails the joy of the second movie. Hiccup keeps flying and enters a world he’s never seen before; the nest of the Bewilderbeast. In the process, he finds his mother again and reunites her with his father by accident. His life has more joy in it.
His second song is more morose, from the point of view of a Hiccup who has lost his Toothless. I don’t consider it third movie-wise because it could also apply to the books. Alex sings about waiting for Toothless to return, for the joy and the sparks. His Hiccup is melancholy but hopeful, knowing that he and Toothless are destined to reunite. Alex also does all the instrumentals and vocals.
I recommend listening to his music if you aren’t already. Alex is so bubbly and peppy, that he will inspire people as well.
Dear Honey Lemon is a really cool friend to have in the fandom. She‘s a stellar artist and a great singer. I recommend listening to her work.
Her song, which is a dark reprise of Stoick and Valka’s song in the second movie, gives a voice to the grief that Hiccup and the audience are feeling. It’s painful, in a great way.
It’s the inspiration that makes HTTYD memorable. We always find new things from which to draw hope. Music is one such way, to take us out of this world and onto the cliffs of Berk.