A Must-Have: How to Train Your Dragon Toys

Image

Image courtesy: Playmobil

Fans of DreamWorks Dragons now have a new reason to rejoice – they can have Hiccup and Toothless perched upon their desks while reading and pretend they are Vikings alongside the duo in Berk! How? Well, Playmobil has come out with a brand new line of toys based on our favorite characters, which look as realistic (if not more) as the TV series and/or movies.

All you’ve got to do is to get your hands on one of those impressive blue boxes and assemble the pieces. The DIY assembly isn’t a tedious task at all; in fact, it is super exciting to, say, snap on Toothless’ wings or set up the 145-piece village of Berk, replete with a concealed trapdoor, cute mini dragons and majestic-looking statues with hidden treasures.

Hiccup, Astrid and even Drago the villain are included amongst other Vikings with their dragons in the extremely well-designed sets. The attention that has been given to detail is immense, which is evident in the likeness of these physical characters to their movie and Netflix counterparts. Pirate ships, flame darts, flight shields, battle helmets, fire blasts from Toothless and wonderfully illuminated LEDs glowing on his back spikes – these are just a few of the reasons why a DreamWorks Dragons lover should own these sets. Can’t wait to get my hands on them myself!

Advertisements

How to Make a Simple Toothless Halloween Costume

Since Toothless became such a loved character all around the world, I’ve come across several parents of newborns dressing up their babies for their first Halloween as Toothless, on the basis of the literal meaning of the word – without teeth. And why not? After all, Toothless is a cute, friendly dragon – and needless to say, one of the major stars of the How to Train Your Dragon series.

Image

Pinata” by arqgalindo is licensed under CC by 2.0

Here’s how you can make a simple Toothless Halloween costume for kids at home. Get hold of a plain black body suit, sweatshirt or better still, a hoodie for your little one that is just slightly big for her. You would also require a roll or two of black, green, red and white felt (for the body and wings, eyes, tongue and center of the eyes respectively). Sew on two big black felt ears accompanied with two smaller ones on the hoodie cap, such that each side’s ear comprises of a bigger and a smaller part, both representing parts of one whole ear. This will somewhat resemble the structure of Toothless’ natural ear. Cut out the two green felt eye pieces in the shape of oval eyes and sew them on below the ears. A good idea would be to stuff in some cotton to give the eyes a protruding look.

Make sure the green eye pieces are big enough, as you’ll have to follow them up with smaller black and still smaller white pieces within the eye for that ‘glint’. The smallest white pieces that make up the center of the eyes can also be stuck on instead of painstakingly stitching them. Next, measure out the length from your child’s underarm to her wrist and cut out an equivalent piece of black felt. Create a webbed look at the bottom of it, sewing the non-webbed part on to the lower side of each sleeve.

The tail could simply be cotton stuffed into a rectangular piece of felt and sewn on at the bottom. A simpler and longer tail could also be made by gluing a number of discarded toilet paper rolls together and then sewing them into a piece of felt such that they trail behind, dragging a little on the ground for added effect. Don’t forget to add a red webbed felt piece at one end of Toothless’ tail… Remember the missing left side of the Night Fury’s tail fin, the prosthetic one Hiccup constructed and replaced himself so Toothless and him could glide over the seas in perfect sync with each other?

Another simpler and quicker alternative for a Toothless costume which does not involve sewing could work like this: On an oversized black hoodie, glue on 2 black felt wings on either side of the back. Similarly for the eyes – if you’re in a hurry or short on time, do away with the sewing and simply use fabric glue instead. Black felt spikes glued all the way from the top of the cape to the bottom of the tail look realistic enough and are super-easy to do. For added effect, cut out spikey white teeth from thick cardboard or white felt and glue them on the underside of the hoodie.

And thus arises the question which comes up in my mind every now and then: Toothless has menacing teeth.  Retractable yes, but when Hiccup met him for the first time, he was greeted by a mouthful of not-so-welcoming set of teeth. The next time they met, there seemed to be no teeth at all – just gums. In this case, our beloved protagonist could have just gone ahead and named his dragon Tooth-full and not Tooth-less. Wotsay?

Last but not the least, have a look at this video of my favorite scene of Hiccup and Toothless – their expressions are just so adorable!

The Harry Potter Dragons – Part I

It is only fitting that we talk about Harry Potter when September 1 is upon us. What’s more, it’s not just any September 1; we are talking about the September 1, 2017. The closing lines in the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows say: “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.” September 1, 2017 is the post-nineteen years date that Rowling was talking about. The new generation of Potters, Weasleys and Malfoys are now on their way to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for their official entry into the magical wizarding world.

Since our blog is about people meeting dragons, let’s talk about the four ferocious creatures which exist in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book of the series. We’ve talked about friendly dragons in story books, School of Dragons with dragon riders and sun-eating solar eclipse dragons in the past. But these dragons in the Potter books seem to be more ferocious than the entire lot of the others put together.

Here are the first two dragons faced by two of the champions of the Triwizard Tournament.

  1. Common Welsh Green

Image 1

Image courtesy: Wikia

When Harry surprisedly asked Ron to confirm that there weren’t any wild dragons in Britain, he replied: “Of course there are. Common Welsh Green and Hebridean Blacks. The Ministry of Magic has a job hushing them up, I can tell you. Our lot have to keep putting spells on Muggles who’ve spotted them, to make them forget.”

A native of Wales, this relatively subdued, two-horned breed of dragons has a surprisingly melodious roar and emits fire in narrow jets when angered. It enjoys eating sheep and other smaller mammals. This was the Common Welsh Green dragon Fleur Delacour of Beauxbatons faced for her first task in the Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts. She put the beast into a partial trance of sorts in order to retrieve the golden egg. In the process, the fire-breathing dragon snored, resulting in the hem of her robes catching fire.

  1. Chinese Fireball

Image 2

Image courtesy: Wikia

Popularly known as the Lion Dragon and native to China, the Chinese Fireball is characterized by a rich scarlet skin with smooth scales along with yellow blazing eyes. Viktor Krum from Durmstrang had to face this creature as a part of his task to get past the dragon and steal the golden egg. He decided to temporarily blind the dragon using a conjunctivitis curse. In the process, the dragon ended up crushing some of its own eggs, due to which Krum lost a couple of points.

With protruding eyes, golden spikes around the head and face and flaming nostrils, this Fireball gets its name from the large mushroom-shaped ball of fire it emits when annoyed. The story goes that it is also fond of eating mammals similar to the Common Welsh Green, preferably humans and pigs. Needless to say, the gigantic creature weighing between two and four tons is a force to reckon with.

For those of you who aren’t very familiar with the storyline, in a nutshell here’s what the Triwizard Tournament was all about. In the next post, we’ll talk about the remaining two dragons faced by the Hogwarts champions at the Tournament.

The Land of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’

Welcome to ‘How to Train Your Dragon land’ at Motiongate theme park in the heart of Dubai! If the pictures and videos doing the rounds are anything to go by, then this exciting space is as magical as the movie characters and their Viking escapades.

‘Camp Viking’ is an interactive playground within the DreamWorks section of the park wherein kids can run amok, armed with crawl nets, water guns and other dragon training tools. Then there’s a suspended in the air, inverted roller coaster of sorts with twisting seats called ‘Dragon Gliders’ stationed above the village of Berk replete with scenery befitting the Viking village, which, in the words of the makers themselves, is ‘storytelling through the use of technology at its very best’.

Image

Image courtesy: TravellerCzech

Last but not the least, the third major attraction is the gondola-shaped ride called ‘The Swinging Viking’. With this, you can embark on a hijacking adventure with the mischievous twins Ruffnut and Tuffnut, and hold the ship to ransom. This is as real to the reel story as it can get; rest assured, we all know where we are heading to for our family holiday in the next vacation!

Dragon Classes in the HTTYD Universe – Continued

In my previous post about dragon classes as discovered by the Viking’s of Berk, I mentioned the first person – Bork the Bold – to start researching, observing and classifying dragons. We went into 3 dragon classes. This post attempts to talk about more dragons (do I need an excuse?)

Sharp Class

Timberjack_book_of_dragonsThe dragons under this class are supposed to be vain and self-obsessed. They also have a lot of pride and possess a body with sharp parts.

Some of the dragons under this class are – Timberjack, Speed Stinger, Stormcutter, Raincutter, Scuttleclaw, Hackatoo, Shivertooth and Windstriker.

Tidal Class

33fbe18f0b75e6960a72603203219519Usually found near the ocean, these dragons can very rarely use fire breath. They are larger than most dragons. Hiccup has mentioned that Tidal Class dragons can’t stay out of water for too long but it has been proven false for some of the dragons in this class.

Some of the dragons under this class are – Scauldron, Thunderdrum, Seashocker, Bewilderbeast, Shockjaw, Sand Wraith, Tide Glider, Sliquifier, Submaripper and Desert Wraith

Mystery Class

boneknapper_by_xx_nightfurygirl_xx-d5eom1vThey are aptly named ‘Mystery” Class because not much is known about them. They are hard to track and barely give you any chance to observe them. They are easily the most feared dragon class of all of the classes.

Some of the dragons under this class are – Changewing, Boneknapper, Smothering Smokebreath, Flightmare, Sweet Death, Hideous Zippleback, Snaptrapper and Sword Stealer

Strike Class

gift_of_the_night_fury_screencap___toothless_by_sdk2k9-d5dgx3mThis is my favorite class because, well, Toothless. Dragons from the strike class are extremely fast and intelligent. They have amazing firepower and intense strength. They are rare and very close to extinction. They are known to be very difficult to train, which makes Hiccup’s training of Toothless quite an underestimated feat.

Some of the dragons under this class are – Skrill, Night Fury and Woolly Howl.

Villainous Dragons in Popular Fiction, Movies and Television Series

While my superhero was busy maneuvering through the dragon game on his tablet, I immediately started to get visions of the dragons from books I read and the television series and movies that I watched for years. And, here I am with my blog post, on my three most favorite villainous dragons, each from a popular fiction, movie and television series.

Tiamat from Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons is a popular television series that’s based on the popular dragon game by the same name. The story revolves around a group of friends who are accidentally sucked into the “Realm of Dungeons & Dragons” while on a roller coaster ride at an amusement park. On their arrival at the realm, each of them is given a magical item that they have to use to find their way back home. It’s during their homeward journey that they encounter Tiamat, a five-headed dragon, who is named after a goddess on Mesopotamian mythology. Tiamat is the queen and mother of all evil dragons and one of the members in the pantheon of gods in D&D. This evil dragon can unanimously be called one of the greatest evil dragons in both dragon games and dragon series as Forbes calls Tiamat “the most fearsome dragon in D&D’s history”.

Dragon from Beowulf

Beowulf is perhaps the first known piece of English literature to present a dragon slayer as its protagonist. The dragon slayer returns to his homeland after many an adventure and becomes the king of the Geats, the people of his land. Fifty years after he reigns as a wise king, his kingdom is attacked by a rampaging dragon. Beowulf, with his troop of men, set out to defeat the dragon only to be deserted by the men because they found the dragon to be extremely intimidating. Though Beowulf himself is slain in the end, he deals the final, fatal blow to the villain and occupies the place of one of the most beloved tragic heroes in ancient literature. Though there have been instances of other fictional animals presented as villains in Scandinavian and Germanic literatures, Beowulf poet was first among his peers to combine features and create a distinctive fire-breathing dragon in the poem. Beowulf’s villainous dragon, hundreds of years later, is still an inspiration for contemporary fictions such as J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and others.

Muddy Bewilderbeast from How to Train Your Dragon 2

Not many may agree with my choice of the third most villainous dragon in popular fiction, movies and television series but the Muddy Bewilderbeast from How to Train Your Dragon 2 has to feature right here in the list. I had never seen such a beast in any popular source of entertainment till I came across the Muddy Bewilderbeast. With large spikes protruding from back of neck, gargantuan tusks, fins around tail, and an aura that will put any contemporary, titanic villain into an existentialist crisis, Muddy Bewilderbeast possesses the power to enslave every dragon around it with its mind. Muddy Bewilderbeast’s most notable and feared ability is to exhale streams of ice-turning water like liquid nitrogen. The ice-blast can freeze anything for years that comes in contact with it and create ice masses that are far larger than its own body.

My list has come to an end but the tablet continues to work overtime with the overloaded dragon games that keeps my teenager engaged for hours!

Mad about Madagascar

From folklore to fables, animals have been used to teach us how to live. Sometimes stories are about good versus bad. While at other times they are not so black and white. Human traits are attributed to animals (a form known as allegory), making it easier for kids to understand and make distinctions in behavior.

These days we are serving old wine in a new bottle. Instead of fables, we have larger-than-life animated movies that offer valuable lessons in living for children. One such movie is Madagascar. The lovely thing about the Madagascar characters is that they have both positive and negative traits, as humans do. But we don’t criticize them for that, we accept them. There you go, life lesson one – acceptance.

Accept!

People around us have their own individual traits. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so are these traits. We classify these traits as good and bad based on who we are. Accepting people as they are and allowing them to find their way out of their own obstacles is one of the greatest gifts of friendship. We don’t tell our friends what they should do and lay down conditions for being lovable; we show them that we are there for them no matter what. Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman show us how!

Madagascar 2PhotonQ-M.Soleil” by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Go after your dreams.

As Marty shows us, we cannot waste away our lives daydreaming. To make our dreams a reality we have to get out of our comfort zone. That is not easy. Marty also believes in that old saying, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ and his optimism is infectious.

MartyMarty the Zebra…” by rmansoorian is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin.

The more comfortable you are with yourself, the happier you will feel. We learn that from Gloria who takes life at a leisurely pace, never losing her cool, no matter what is going on around her. She drives home the point ‘cool head on the rapids’ and enjoys having a good time.

Gloria

gloria & moto moto” by digipam is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Take a Chill Pill.

Melman loves getting attention and sometimes gets it by imagining all kinds of illnesses, but what he really needs is to relax and know that letting go is all it takes to be content. He also teaches us to take a stand; we don’t have to always please others and be agreeable in order to be liked.

Melman

Melman” by Luciano Joaquim is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Go with the Flow.

In stark contrast to Melman is Alex, who is a born showman and confident. Alex is also a perfectionist and does not like change. The less you hold on to the way things were and your past, the easier it is to stay open to all the wonderful things life has to offer.

Alex

Alex Dance 0439” by mliu92 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Happiness is but a Move Away.

While he may come across as conceited, King Julien XIII knows the secret to happiness. Let your hair down, dance (it releases happiness hormones) and have a good time every now and then. Another lesson: we need not wait for other people to make us feel special. We can hold our heads high, wear our crowns and know we rock!

Julian

Cartoon Lemurs” by Maurina Rara is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

If you think the Madagascar characters and their shenanigans are farfetched, you will be surprised to learn that animals in real life can make unlikely friends too!