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WIP Prodigal Son By commandocucumber -T- HTTYD

Discussion in 'Television and Movies' started by Republic, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Title: Prodigal Son
    Author: commandocucumber
    Rating: T
    Genre: Mystery/Drama
    Status: WIP
    Fandom: How To Train Your Dragon
    Pairings: None so far (tagged as Astrid/Hiccup, though)

    Summary: Eight years after Berk's heir vanished, the Viking town is slowly crumbling. Dragon attacks are more devastating than ever. To save her village Astrid must piece together exactly what happened before the dragons wipe them all out for good. Meanwhile, half a world away and eight years wiser, Hiccup decides it might just be time to go home.

    Link: Prodigal-Son

    I've wanted to post this fic for a while now, but wanted to wait until it had a bit more flesh to it. Now at almost 100k words and with the plot quite advanced, I believe my rating will remain consistent in the future.

    I think this fic was rec'd in the Almost Rec thread before, though I'm not sure.

    The premise of 'Hiccup up and leaves' isn't new, but the execution and where the fic goes from there are. The fic picks up (as the summary says) eight years after the fact, and the chapters alternate between Hiccup's point of view and Astrid's. While Hiccup is studying at Alexadria's fabled Library, Astrid faces an ever more grim future as one of Berk's chief defenders while at the same time beginning to untangle the mystery of what happened to Hiccup.
    The fic's pros are its amazing characterization (Astrid, Artemisia, Hiccup, Fishlegs, in that order), its historical details that really separate it from the rabble of HTTYD fics, and very good technical writing.

    Cons, as far as I can tell, are limited to the first few of Hiccup's chapters not being half as interesting as the Astrid ones, but maybe that's my own thoughts on them. In their defense, the Astrid chapters are really fucking good.

    For anyone afraid of rushed Hiccup/Astrid, don't be.
    Hiccup isn't even on Berk as of chapter 19, not to mention that Astrid's view of him and his actions is decidedly unfavorable. However, the time seems to be approaching when Hiccup will be returning, of his own volition. I'm not even sure how the Hiccup/Astrid will happen, if it does at all. This is okay.
    Characters are very well developed individually, with very clear personalities and beliefs that are still shaped as they learn and experience things.


    5/5 from me.

    P.S: Mention of the fic-that-shall-not-be-named (you know the one) is strictly prohibited.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  2. Bramastra

    Bramastra Groundskeeper

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    Really liking this fic, it has it's issues like the Hiccup chapters being boring as hell but i think it's a 4.5/5 rounded down to a 4 because of Hiccup
     
  3. Jarik

    Jarik Chief Warlock

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    Been following this for a while. Really enjoying it - both Astrid and Hiccup's POV.

    Really love the idea of Astrid being stuck on the island with a dragon, and nothing but Hiccups notes. I always felt her acceptance of Toothless in canon and in fanfiction is something really hard to pull off without diminishing her character a bit, but when it's something that comes from her, it works awesomely.

    4/5 at the moment because I think the hardest bit of the story - Hiccup coming home - has yet to come. And that can really make or break it. I felt even in <<EDIT: THAT FIC WHICH SHALL NOT BE NAMED>>, which was a fantastic story, lost it a bit after he returned to Berk. If that is pulled off well, could go up to a 4.5/5.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  4. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Though I occasionally read (and, less frequently, write) in the fandom, I found this story from this thread. I'll try to avoid overt spoilers, but there may be oblique references to events in the following, my take on it:

    Things I like:

    • The author does a credible job of getting into people's heads and working out what makes them tick.
    • Dragons don't suddenly pick up the ability to speak with humans, as in Hitchups (which was a mild disappointment for me with that story and, frankly, a sign of lazy writing). One of the charms of the film was the human-dragon interaction. Dragons can be made to be intelligent, sentient creatures without our having us hear them chatter nonsense words in our language.
    • An attempt at historical placement. The Vikings, for their time, were a major force on the international stage and any sort of "Hiccup escapes Berk and goes elsewhere" pretty much needs to address this in some fashion--Ireland, Britain, Normandy, the Frankish kingdoms, Byzantium, the Rus, Iceland, whatever.
    • The darker look at a small, warrior society beset by beasts. People and dragons die on-stage, not off.
    • A canonically consistent picture of Astrid and the elements that made her what she is today, a fair projection of how she'd be without the day spent riding with Hiccup.
    • Hiccup is not shown as a heroic figure (at least not yet), but rather as a habitual wanderer, deserter, coward. This is fitting with the point of departure from canon that the author chose. There's plenty of room for character growth.
    • The scenes with Astrid on the island.
    • Hiccup's fuckup with respect to Shahira and Anton. Also, a very nice mind-screw/betrayal in the last Alexandria chapter.

    Things I don't particularly like:

    • Long, italicized flashbacks get annoying to read.
    • The handling of the trial, with its potential to short-cut the interesting, upcoming Astrid/Hiccup conflict and reconciliation. (This will depend on how the author handles it--it could be a source of more conflict or something that diminishes the story.)
    • The "Hiccup as classical scholar" thing with Artemesia. I don't think he needed to read Cicero and Caesar, to have picked up trigonometry, or to have had a mentor hold his hand and guide him to the essential truths about his roles and responsibilities in the world as a man, not a scared child running away from trouble. It would have been more gratifying if Hiccup could have discovered this on his own without the artifice of the ultimatum/deadline set by his mentor or without said wisdom being literally given free of charge or obligation.
    • The cop out with Shahira and the events near when he broke off the affair with her. Better would have been if her involvement in the plot were left ambiguous and Hiccup, left wondering what she knew and didn't, whether anything of what she felt for him was genuine. It's weaker and less meaningful, ultimately, when one can wrap feelings of betrayal and hatred around one's first love, making a decision to leave that much easier.
    • A bit of the historical place-setting felt more like obligatory name-dropping than something contributing organically to the plot. Just my take on things.

    On balance, it's a good story thus far, though much will depend on how the author handles the inevitable set of conflicts coming up. To a large degree, the story has just been table-setting to this point and despite there being many chapters, it may well be too early to rate. I'll give it a 4/5 for now based on its promise and for being a possible gem in a fandom that's a bit short on good material. This might move up to 5/5 if the upcoming chapters are handled well.
     
  5. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    Agree with the general consensus, 4/5 seems to be the fitting score.

    So far, it's good. Characters are well explored, and the additional historical, scientific and philosophical fun facts and tidbits make the story more enjoyable. And While I concur that Astrid's chapters were more enjoyable, I wasn't bored with Hiccup's chapters. I also immensely enjoy his teacher as a character.

    But yes, despite the nearly 100k words, its true difficulties are yet to come. Am curious how this will play out with Hiccup's return as this will either make or break the story. So, 4/5 for now.

    Enjoyable story.
     
  6. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Anything beyond Unfettered? That was all the way back in '11. For that matter, your FFnet hasn't had anything new since August of '13, if I'm not mistaken. Do you post your stuff elsewhere?
     
  7. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Pretty awesome latest chapter. We also have an eta for Hiccup's return, which is nice.
     
  8. Jarik

    Jarik Chief Warlock

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    We also have the potential for an interesting conflict. Nothing I've seen before in the (limited) HTTYD fiction I've read.

    The whole dragons vs Berk is pretty dull as a conflict. The real conflict of HTTYD is Hiccup trying to change Berk's fundamental ideas.

    But if King Leo brings conflict to Berk? If Hiccup has brought war to Berk? That sounds really interesting and different.

    Not only has he gone against all their moral beliefs and befriended a dragon, but now he's made a powerful enemy. Somehow I don't think they'd support his justification of wanting to protect a city for its knowledge, culture and history.
     
  9. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I don't think emperor Leo is going to be a problem, or even feature again in the future. Berk is supposed to be far out of Byzantium's reach, and Leo doesn't seem to really care.
     
  10. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    That would strain my willing suspension of disbelief something fierce. Campaigns are extremely large, expensive, dangerous things to undertake even today. For the Byzantine Empire of the time to be able to effectively project power in Scandinavia is ridiculous. Rome at her peak was barely able to keep her forces in Britannia supplied. A naval expedition would take years just to reach them, and would be sailing past waters controlled by two caliphates. The Byzantine territory at this time was essentially Anatolia and half of Greece, and they would not be able to commit any significant forces to conquering a Danish Kingdom half a world away. As well, they have little to no information about the size and strength of Berk. What kind of force would be necessary to conquer another state that is beyond the borders of the map whose numbers, alliances, fortifications, and naval strength is unknown? Throw on the Emperor's belief that these Vikings have control of dragons and you can see how this venture is doomed from the start.

    EDIT: Typed this up last night and got ninja'd by Republic. Ah well.
     
  11. Jarik

    Jarik Chief Warlock

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    Yeah in retrospect, I think what you guys are saying makes sense and reading the last few paragraphs again, the scene doesn't seem to end in a way that seems like it could be leading up to more from Leo.

    He could also be interested in militarizing dragons after seeing Hiccup use Toothless. That'd probably more likely see them work with Berk than against them though.
     
  12. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Updated.

    We're seeing Astrid slowly realize the sort of situation Hiccup had found himself in while still retaining her own personal views. I'm enjoying how this is playing out.

    Also, plot thickens and all that. Tension is rising.
     
  13. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Updated again.

    Alexandria is over. Hiccup is going back. This should be good.
     
  14. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    Well, the next two chapters are probably going to be the essential ones. I am sad to see the Alexandria business be over and I did enjoy the time with Artemisia but I am also looking forward to the return.
     
  15. Narf

    Narf Administrator Admin DLP Supporter

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    I liked the Hiccup chapters more than the Astrid chapters, to be honest.

    5/5 for me, I'm only sad that I finished reading it one or two chapters before he gets back to Berk.
     
  16. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    I love this feeling of tension, when Astrid is building her house of cards in Berk and how she is trying to do her best, while we know how much things are going to be once Hiccup returns.
     
  17. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen Prestige DLP Supporter

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    About fucking time. Drum-roll
     
  18. Fatality

    Fatality Unspeakable

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    Yeah, but fuck that cliff hanger though. I knew it was coming but it still sucks. Hope the next update is soon.
     
  19. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen Prestige DLP Supporter

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  20. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Just read through all 26 chapters in one sitting. I'm really enjoying it. The author could care less about something as pointless as being historically accurate though. Especially if they're actually leaving the rest of the world behind (unlikely. The foreshadowing is as subtle as a sledgehammer).

    Funny point to come into the story though, because it basically starts now. I suspect chapter 26 is the point everyone who's been following this fic has been waiting for, or at least the moment you've wanted to reach.

    I was a little surprised with Astrid overall tbh. I thought the author was gearing up to turn her into a Dtago like figure who learned about Dragons but didn't care for them.