Going Where No Ones Goes - The How To Train Your Dragon Soundtrack
During my personal exploration of new music I seem to have gravitated towards instrumentals, including a lot of movie soundtracks. Listening to movie soundtracks has immersed me in many different worlds during quarantine, fuelling my imagination and making for some interesting commutes from work.
I stumbled across the soundtracks of the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy unexpectedly. I have always loved the world that Dreamworks has created from the Cressida Cowell novels, having watched all three movies, both television series, and all the bonus content. I had dreams of riding my very own dragon, fighting alongside the characters and feeling free. I was not looking to listen to the HTTYD soundtracks until a cello player did a rendition of “Romantic Flight” on my TikTok for you page. I decided to finally take a listen to the music that shaped a world I loved so much as a kid (and, if we’re being honest, love even more now).
I was not expecting the impact these tracks would have on me. Here are some of my favourites:
Dancing and the Dreaming*
This song is the only one on the list that includes characters from the series. This is the iconic dancing scene between Stoick and Valka that happens after they meet again after many years. Musically I don’t have much to say about it, it seems to be Powell’s take on a traditional marriage song in Berk’s culture. It’s adorable, the actors did an amazing job moving from hesitation to glee within the song’s 3 minute run time.
I give this one 4 dragons out of 5. Gobber’s singing is annoying.
Where No One Goes
This song is a collaboration between Icelandic musician Jonsi and composer John Powell. The HTTYD signature theme plays in the break between chorus and verse, and the percussion seriously drives this song forward, evoking a feeling of flying (understandably). There is a wall of harmonies that sound almost ethereal, again modelling this heavenly flight imagery that the song seems to be conjuring. Playing this song while driving is something otherworldly, I would compare it to the tunnel scene in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
I rate this song 5 dragons out of 5. Perfection.
This song is huge. I don’t know how else to describe it. Sonically it takes up so much space, it sounds thunderous and powerful. The lower horns blast in the background every so often, almost like a boat horn or a triumphant battle cry. The song follows a specific scene in the first film, and therefore the instruments seem to be mirroring the characters in the scene. The beginning of the piece has all the instruments following each other, they’re in harmony, representing Toothless and Hiccup finally being able to fly together and follow each other’s lead. Mid-song, the music gets shaky, the sound becoming anxious and loud. This represents Toothless and Hiccup falling out of sync, getting too confident and plummeting to the ground. The music spirals much like our characters, eventually picking up as Hiccup re-attaches himself to his dragon. The instruments are now completely in harmony as Hiccup abandons his flight position cheat sheet and becomes one with Toothless, the melody now unified.
I give this one 4 dragons out of 5 based purely on the fact that the middle of the song is scary. The rest (especially the boat horn sound) is amazing.
This track starts with a very sweet sounding violin, setting the tone to this song as romantic immediately. The swelling on the instruments evoke a flying feeling yet again, with a slower melody that seems almost like a waltzing song. The signature melody plays in the middle of this one as well, perhaps signifying Astrid’s understanding of Toothless and Hiccup’s new friendship. This is a sweet song, lots of swaying and swooning.
I give this one 4 dragons out of 5.
I’ve never considered myself someone who would listen to movie soundtracks for fun, but the impact that the How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack has made on my lockdown experience is unexpected. I have never before been closer to the feeling of racing a dragon through the sky, a little escapism that I didn’t know I needed.
I guess I should try the Star Wars soundtrack now...