HTTYD 2 was a beautifully crafted movie that has everyone in tears no matter who you are. And while grief is portrayed in the movie, parts of me wish they went deeper into it.
See, after the death and funeral of Stoick, we see usual reactions to grief. Guilt (Hiccup blames himself for Stoicks death), accusation (Hiccup blames toothless at first), utter sadness (seen in the gang) and some other blanket ideas of grief.
But let’s be honest. For those here that have grieved after the loved one, we know how grief can change a person, and really how each individual person reacts differently.
For example, while some may have an easier time, and some may go through the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) many go through completely different emotions and “steps”.
I feel like HTTYD 2 did do a good job, but I wish they could’ve done more. In the scenes, we see the same general reaction to grief in about all the characters, where instead they could’ve demonstrated the many facets of loss.
For example, in Valka we could have seen the aspect of anticipation and nervousness in loss, where one fears so much to lose another that they prevent those around them from doing certain things. A way to show this would be Valka holding Hiccup back from dangerous ideas and tasks. This could fit in with her character, given that she, after 20 years, finally reconvenes with her family only to lose one immediately.
In Hiccup, it would’ve been interesting to see the reclusive side to grief. (This could apply to Fishlegs too; more on that later). Hiccup would have been a good example of how people retract into themselves and reject the outside world due to loss. This would have also fit into his character as Hiccup is more intellectual and his mind is one of his strengths.
Gobber’s relationship with Stoick provides for a tricky idea of how he could’ve dealt with the loss. Being his best friend, and having the personality he does, it makes it more complex. However, I think the respectful, yet mournful feel and tone they gave him really fits, as he truly did respect Stoick and it is demonstrated in the funeral scene.
Now I’m not going to go into each of the gang members, because this post is already too long (good job if you made it this far). As for the gang, I think Astrid had one of the best responses that fits her character. As the outgoing, headstrong character she is, it makes sense for her to put aside emotion and dive head first into the problem at hand. In the rest of the gang, it would’ve been cool to see the other facets to loss. It would have also been cool to see the implications of Stoicks death instead of moving so fast after the death (a lot to ask for but an epilogue would have been cool.) now I know that due to the circumstances of the movie, all these emotions would’ve been harder to display. This is just an idea I thought would’ve been interesting To explore for each character. Let me know what you think about how each character would react.
(Also some shows that really get the grief in all aspects down would be Trollhunters and Camp Cretaceous, to those who have watched it. Also I did do research on reactions to grief, and will put my sources in the comments at a later time.)