A Viking kransen (Nordic definition roughly translating as "head wreath") was a real accessory worn by unmarried girls during special occasions. Traditionally, it was passed down from mother to daughter, so a single kransen could last for many generations. Before her wedding ceremony, a girl would have it ceremoniously removed by her female attendants and replaced by a "wedding crown" to symbolize the end of her maidenhood. It would then be carefully preserved so it could be passed down to her daughter when she had one.
In the DreamWorks Dragons franchise, Astrid wears hers every day, and appears to be wearing a new one in each feature film. Until the final film, she is the only Viking maiden ever seen wearing one, and it has never been physically or verbally referenced aside from being a part of Astrid's permanent character model.
In early concept art, Astrid is shown to be wearing a helmet like the other teens, and when she appears at age five in "Fright of Passage", she's wearing a helmet instead of a kransen. However, in later concept art of her at age ten, she is wearing a simple dark leather band void of any decoration. Other concept art shows her kransen threaded with beads or decorated with braids/ other adornments.
The first film and TV series
Astrid is seen wearing the same kransen from her first introduction to the end of the TV series. It is worn over her hair in the back, and goes under her long bangs across her forehead in the front. By the age of 18, she's added a small braid over it on the left side, which joins up to her larger plait.
The kransen is also replicated in the live theater production of the first movie - the How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular. It is a metallic leather band with button-like metal circles around it.
Sometime between the last events of Dragons: Race to the Edge and the second film, Astrid starts wearing a new kransen. Although her hairstyle has changed slightly, she wears the kransen in the same manner as she had since the beginning, looping round and through various locks of hair.
Over the duration of the film, Astrid may be wearing yet another new kransen, or possibly added decorations to the one she was wearing in the second film. The kransen Astrid is seen wearing here differs slightly from her others, being decorated with a claw-mark like pattern across the front and the typical row of silver beads along the back. As Astrid's hair is let further down in this film, the kransen is slightly less visible, and shows itself chiefly at her forehead.
For the first time in the franchise other young Berkian girls that appear in the background are seen wearing kransens similar to Astrid's childhood one.
She is first seen without it during her wedding ceremony, when she has it replaced with a flower crown, though she is seen wearing it again many years later. Her daughter, Zephyr, is then seen wearing a kransen identical to Astrid's first one, which would be true to the Viking culture of a mother passing her kransen onto her daughter.
Astrid appears to be wearing the same kransen she had worn in the third film, worn over long braided pigtails in the back, and under whispy bangs in the front. Zephyr however is wearing a slightly thicker red kransen than the one she wore in the film. Other young girls in the village are also seen wearing them.
In How to Train Your Dragon 2, Astrid wears a slightly slimmer leather band that is void of any decoration.
In How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Astrid appears to be wearing a similar leather band with embossed spikes on the front inspired by her dragon Stormfly, and metal studs along the back and sides. She's still wearing it in Homecoming and Snoggletog Log, however the embossed spikes are now gilded in gold.
Symbolism: To symbolize a Viking girl's maidenhood.
Decoration: Traditionally they were only worn as additional adornment during special occasions, though they are worn as part of everyday apparel in the franchise.
- If the DreamWorks Dragons franchise stayed true to known Nordic tradition, it can be assumed that the kransen had previously belonged to Astrid's mother.
- Astrid is seen without the kransen for the first time during her wedding, which would have been culturally accurate; however she is seen wearing it again many years later as a wife and mother, which is historically incorrect since kransens were only meant to be worn by unmarried young girls.
- This was either an error on DreamWorks' part or the kransen was only ever planned to be a part of Astrid's character design and had no other significant meaning behind it.
- When mentioned as a part of Astrid's outfit, it has only ever been called a "headband" rather than a "kransen".
- Early concept art of Heather had her wearing a kransen.