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      Fort Sinister is a fortress owned and operated by the Romans in How to Speak Dragonese.

Official Description

The Island of Sinister was surrounded by enormous black cliffs plunging dizzily down to jagged rocks. On top of these cliffs the Romans had built the biggest fort you could possibly imagine, covering the entire island.
The wind shrieked through its awful towers and great grim cages, the sea seeped through its iron gates and into its terrible dungeons; it was a fort as black and bleak as the rocks it was made out of.
In the middle was the Consul's palace, a gorgeous villa built around a central courtyard with an ornamental fountain. Next to the Palace was an enormous wooden amphitheater, and beyond that were the soldiers' barracks.
Countless numbers of dragons were being held in fifty enormous iron cages, with no shelter from the wild wind and bitter cold of the Inner Isles. ...
Beyond that were slaves' quarters and kitchens and exercise yards for the horses and training grounds for the gladiators and little temples for the gods and heated swimming baths for the Consul and senior soldiers and stores of ammunition and gigantic equipment for breaking a barricade and field after field of crops.
And this entire, massive area was encircled by high wooden fences, with watchtowers manned by sentries every hundred meters. Four enormous observation balloons sailed overhead.
  — Book 3  


Fort Sinister was built by the Romans on the Isle of Sinister, and takes up the entire surface of the island. It is their outpost in the Barbaric Archipelago, outside the Roman Empire. Fort Sinister covered the entirety of the tiny island it was built on in the central part of Mazy Multitudes, south of the Isle of Berk.

Other than the captured dragons and livestock held by the Romans, no wildlife exists around the island.

As they neared the fort, the seas around them became a desert. Not a bird called, not a fish jumped. The reason for this was clear when they spotted two dead Slitherhawks all tangled up in a gigantic net, hanging from a cliff face.
  — Book 3  

Presumably the Romans have wiped out the wildlife, probably to eat.


The fort is huge and very well guarded. The only way to get in is through a channel, which flows directly from the sea. It each of its sides end in high walls, with at equal distances from each other high watchtowers. Fort Sinister has many structures such as:

  • Observation Balloons as a look out for any unusual activities such as escapees and war parties
  • Dragons' Cages
  • Soldiers' Barracks
  • Residential buildings
  • Horse Stables
  • Slave Quarters
  • Fat Consul's Palace - "Tapestries hung from the walls, couches were draped in silken covers, the mosaic floor was warm and toasty underfoot." Additionally, the Consul has a bathing pool supplied with warmed water.
  • Farmlands
  • Moat
  • Prison Tower - This is where Hiccup, Fishlegs and Camicazi are imprisoned.
  • The Great Amphitheater - where games are held.


The Great Amphitheater is a place which hosts regular gladiator fights and other spectacles. The Arena can be dry or flooded, and it has at the top a metal grate, preventing the escape of dragons (the walls are still too high to be able to escape from it people). Around the arena stands a huge auditorium, which can accommodate thousands of Romans.

The prison tower is packed with the purpose for which they are held slaves, criminals, gladiators or simply prisoners. Small windows overlook the ocean and are placed too high to try to escape from them.


Fort Sinister is also equipped with dungeons, one of which Toothless is held captive in.

Far, far away from Berk in the sinister Fort Sinister, there was a dungeon so deep beneath sea level that no light ever reached it, a dungeon so far away that even the gods had forgotten it existed.
  — Book 3  

Toothless is especially fearful of small dark spaces.


How to Speak Dragonese

In How to Speak Dragonese, Hiccup, Fishlegs and Camicazi are held prisoner in Fort Sinister as part of a plan hatched by Alvin the Treacherous in the guise of the Thin Prefect. The trio manage to escape at the end of the book when the Romans surrender and Hiccup defeats Alvin by kicking him off the Hot Air Balloon they were using to leave.

How to Twist a Dragon's Tale

Fort Sinister is mentioned in How to Twist a Dragon's Tale as being torn down and abandoned by the Romans. It is also the place were Alvin the Treacherous nursed himself back to health after the incident with the Sharkworms.


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