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How to Train Your Dragon
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Author Cressida Cowell
Illustrator Cressida Cowell
Published on 2003
Published by (UK) Hodder Children's Books

(US) Little, Brown and Company

Publication order
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How to Be a Pirate

How to Train Your Dragon is the first book in the series by Cressida Cowell 


Can Hiccup pass the Dragon Initiation Programme with a toothless dragon and fight the Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus before it gobbles up every Viking on Berk? It's time for Hiccup to learn how to be a Hero.


10 boys of the Hooligan Tribe intend to become full members of the Hooligan Tribe by passing the Dragon Initation Programme. 2 boys, Hiccup, son of the Chief Stoick the Vast and Fishlegs, Hiccup's friend who has a squint and allergy to reptiles, are hasty about it.

Everyone else is big, tough and manly like Vikings should be, but Hiccup and Fishlegs are skinny.

Gobber the Belch, the soldier in charge of Initation leads the Vikings-to-be to Wild Dragon Cliff, where they have to complete the first part of the Dragon Iniation Programme: catching their own Dragon. Fishlegs awakes all the young dragons when he tries to get a deadly nadder. In a rush to escape, Hiccup gives Fishlegs his basic run and runs back to grab a different dragon. Gobber the Belch saves the boys from attacking dragons, but scolds them later.

Hiccup finds out he stole a tiny common or garden, and Snotlout names the little dragon Toothless, as a joke. Toothless is finally trained, after many months, when Hiccup tells him jokes. During Thor's Day Thursday, none of the boys pass the test required to join the Hairy Hooligans or Meatheads. This is due to Toothless making fun of Fireworm, Snotlout's Monstrous Nightmere, who wreaks havock on the whole holiday. Stoick is forced to banish Hiccup and the rest of the boys.

During the night, a storm roused by Thor washes two sea serpents onto the beaches of Berk. While the adult Hooligans and Meatheads argue about what to do, Thuggery, heir to the Meatheads, tells Hiccup to think of a plan. Hiccup finally comes up with a 'fiendishly clever plan': annoy the dragons, lead them to each other, and let them kill themselves. The plan kills one of the seamonsters, Purple Death, but the Green Death survives and chases Hiccup. Hiccup is swallowed but kills the Green Death from the inside by plugging its fire holes. Hiccup is then taken out of the Green Death by Toothless, the only dragon that didn't abandon his master.

Due to this heroic action, all of the boys are allowed to join the tribes after all.