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I am the Night Fury killer. I've hunted every last one but yours. [src]
  — Grimmel to Hiccup  

Grimmel the Grisly is the main antagonist of the film How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. He was a dragon hunter who believed that dragons must be exterminated, and was responsible for bringing the Night Furies to near extinction, leaving Toothless the last one of his kind.

Development

Grimmel is made to be a polar opposite of Hiccup, as he is essentially what Hiccup could have become if the latter took a darker path. Whilst Drago Bludvist is meant to be a foe of brute force, Grimmel is designed as an adversary of wits and manipulation.

Concept arts of the film reveal that Grimmel was initially about the same age as Hiccup, but was eventually aged up to give him a more “seasoned” appearance.

Official Description

Grimmel is a smart dragon hunter who is outraged at the idea that dragons can live alongside humans. Having believed that he had previously killed all the Night Furies, Grimmel is maddened to learn that the AlphaToothless — remains alive and free.
  How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World book  


Biography

Night Fury Genocide

Well, unlike you, when I was a boy and I came up on a Night Fury, I killed it where it slept. That simple act of courage made me a hero in my village. So, I decided to kill every last one, bringing real peace to the people of this world. [src]
  — Grimmel revealing why he went on a Night Fury genocide  

Grimmel originally came from the continent,[1] and when he was a boy, he came across and killed a Night Fury in its sleep. His village hailed him as a hero for this act. Motivated by this, Grimmel decided to hunt down every Night Furies in existence. Once he completed his genocide on Night Furies, he moved on to do the same to every living dragon species. At some point, he managed to drug a pack of six Deathgrippers with their own venom and trained them to become vicious killers that would only listen to his commands. Grimmel also became acquainted with Eret, Son of Eret and Stoick the Vast, for he even complimented the Viking chief as one of the greatest dragon hunters to have ever lived. His intelligence, skills, and extermination of the Night Furies have made him notorious.

Partnership with Eir Stormheart

Eir Stormheart, seeking revenge on Drago Bludvist and the tyrannical people like him, formed a partnership with Grimmel after the death of her father. He supplies her with dragons to experiment on, and she supplies a special drug formula to subdue and control dragons. However, Grimmel betrayed her, taking her ideas and concocting a dragon control serum for himself, building on her idea for harnesses and bridles for drug delivery, and most significant — steals her one major scientific accomplishment, the Chimeragon. However, the Chimeragon has an unforeseen side effect — rapid aging. Grimmel then traveled to Scriven Rock, an island of scholars, in his airship with the Chimeragon in tow. He hoped to find a way to stop the aging process amongst the knowledge of the people and the large collection of scrolls there. One islander, Scribbler, sees the elderly Chimeragon, and sets him free, both fleeing to the dragon sanctuary on Havenholme. Grimmel sends some of his Dragon Trapper lackeys after him, but is unsuccessful in retrieving the dragon.

Hunt for Toothless

Look, Berk's dragons will follow their Alpha. So, we'll pay you to capture him and bring the flock to us. [src]
  Ragnar hires Grimmel to capture Toothless  
THW-ChaghataiDeathgripperGrimmelGriseldaIvarRagnar-1

Grimmel arriving at the Warlords' base

Grimmel was hired by the Warlords because of the Dragon Riders' constant interference with their dragon poaching operations. Grimmel was initially uninterested since his business was in killing dragons instead of retrieving them. He commented on how Hiccup had already did the work for the Warlords by gathering all of the dragons in Berk. When he asked the Warlords on why they needed him, they responded that the Alpha of Berk's dragons is a Night Fury. Grimmel was shocked that one managed to elude him. The Warlords promised Grimmel to pay him to capture Toothless and all of Berk's dragons and offered a female Light Fury as bait. Just then, a captured Rumblehorn broke free from its chains, frightening the Warlords and the trappers. Grimmel, however, stood his ground and nonchalantly sedated the dragon with his crossbow before accepting the warlord's offer. As he walked away, he promised to prove that the people of Berk have no leader, just a boy.

After Grimmel landed on Berk, he released the Light Fury in the middle of the woods and planted a trap right next to her along with a poison dart. Toothless managed to evade this trap, and its presence alerted the Hooligan Tribe about Grimmel.

THW-GrimmelHiccup-5

Grimmel meets Hiccup for the first time

Whilst Hiccup was looking through his father's notes, Grimmel approached him. He walked down the stairs and poured himself a glass of tea before explaining how he killed all the other Night Furies and shot a sleeping Toothless underneath a blanket. After Hiccup proclaimed that he would never give Toothless up, the Dragon Riders burst out of hiding and into the room, revealing that it was Fishlegs that was shot, not Toothless. Grimmel responded by commanding his Deathgrippers to attack the Dragon Riders and burn the house down with their acid before disappearing with an ultimatum: if Toothless is not surrendered in the next day, Grimmel will destroy everything that Hiccup loves. This prompted the Berkians to leave Berk on a quest to find the Hidden World. But unbeknownst to them, they're doing exactly what Grimmel wanted them to do. Soon after the Berkians' departure, Grimmel rendezvoused with the Warlords by the Great Hall, where he revealed the direction that the Berkians were going.

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Grimmel creating vials of Deathgripper venom

Some time later, Valka and Cloudjumper were flying back to Berk to make sure that they were not being followed. Along the way, they were ambushed by Grimmel and his Deathgrippers but managed to escape. When Valka returned to New Berk to give out the news of her encounter, Hiccup and the Dragon Riders head to Grimmel's base to capture him. But Grimmel had anticipated this and trapped them inside the building with his Deathgrippers. A confused Hiccup asked Grimmel why he was trying to hurt them, to which Grimmel explained his past and his belief that humans and dragons cannot live together, deriding Hiccup's opposite beliefs as complete nonsense. Hiccup pointed out the hypocrisy in his statement by reminding Grimmel that he had his own dragons, but Grimmel retorted that his Deathgrippers were basically his slaves, brainwashed with their own venom. With that, Grimmel ordered the Deathgrippers to kill the Dragon Riders. The Riders barely managed to escape with their lives, and unknowingly left Ruffnut behind.

THW-GrimmelRuffnut1-17

Grimmel annoyed by Ruffnut

Grimmel held Ruffnut captive even though her constant chatter annoyed him a lot. When Ruffnut asked Grimmel for food, she inadvertently revealed her tribe’s current settlement of New Berk, which gave Grimmel the idea to release her and a caged Scuttleclaw so that he could follow her from a safe distance.

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Grimmel before shooting a dart towards Toothless

After Hiccup and Astrid returned to New Berk from the Hidden World with Toothless, they discovered that the Light Fury has followed them. It was a moment of happiness that quickly turned around as Grimmel finally took the opportunity to capture Toothless and recapture the Light Fury. But in an attempt to protect their Alpha, all dragons on the island came to save Toothless. But Grimmel, having foreseen this, pointed a harpoon at the Light Fury and ordered Toothless to make the dragons follow them without harming Grimmel. With his love for the Light Fury, Toothless was forced to obey. Having succeeded in his mission, he led the dragons to the Warlords, but decides to go back on their deal and kill Toothless and the Light Fury himself in order to finish his extermination of the Night Furies once and for all.

THW-Grimmel, Light Fury-3

Grimmel drugs the Light Fury into obeying him

Hiccup and the other Riders surprisingly came flying towards the armada in their flightsuits, starting a big battle. Grimmel's airship got destroyed in the fight and in an attempt to get away, he placed one of his collars on the Light Fury, which injected her with the venom of his Deathgrippers, gaining control over the dragon. Hiccup freed Toothless and chased after Grimmel. Grimmel watched as his Deathgrippers fell into the ocean before realizing that Hiccup and Toothless were in front of him. Hiccup jumped off Toothless to attack, but Grimmel was prepared and fired one of his darts towards them. Hiccup evaded the dart, but this resulted in the dart hitting Toothless instead, causing Toothless to fall towards the ocean below. Hiccup kicked Grimmel off the Light Fury and seeing Toothless is falling, removes Grimmel's collar. He told the Light Fury to save Toothless and released his grip, so he and Grimmel would fall into the ocean far below.
THW-Grimmel, Hiccup

Grimmel and Hiccup falling towards the ocean

As they struggled in the fall, Grimmel slowly ripped away Hiccup's armor before latching onto the latter's prosthetic leg, not knowing that it was removable. The Light Fury saved Toothless and came back just in time for Hiccup, who removed his prosthetic leg to separate himself from the astonished Grimmel. The Light Fury carried Hiccup to safety while Grimmel hit the water and died, ending his threat to dragonkind once and for all.

Physical Appearance

Grimmel cuts a slender figure and has a shock of white hair. He dresses from head to toe in black, scaly leather and is armed with a deadly crossbow.
  How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World book  
THW-GrimmelRumblehorn-4

Grimmel is a tall, slender, and handsome man with gray hair, pale skin, light blue eyes and a sharp chin. He wears leather armor, brown pants, grayish-brown boots, and a hooded jacket.

Personality

Nothing's accidental when it comes to old Grimmel. He lives for the hunt. To get inside the mind of his prey, to control its every choice. It's all a game to him. [src]
  Eret's assessment of Grimmel's character  

Grimmel is a veteran dragon hunter who lives for the thrill of the chase. He is cunning, determined, single-minded and patient, ready to strike at any opportunity, but perfectly willing to wait until his target is assured. He is adept at anticipating and predicting the moves the behavior of his prey and enemies. He is ruthless and sadistic, as he is willing to do absolutely anything to get what he wants, such as threatening to destroy everything Hiccup loves if he doesn't deliver him Toothless or burning much of Berk with his Deathgrippers, or mocking Hiccup, saying that he's nothing without Toothless.

Grimmel is both manipulative and treacherous, having formed partnerships with Eir Stormheart and the Warlords, only to betray them once he had achieved his goals.

Grimmel holds great prejudice towards dragons and is of the firm belief that they must be eliminated. Any alternate ideas that involve coexistence are unacceptable to him, as he believes that dragons and humans simply cannot live together and that humans are superior to dragons. This stems from the time he slew a Night Fury when he was just a boy and being hailed as a hero by his village, which motivates him to wipe out every last one and coming in conflict with Hiccup and the Berkians just because Hiccup had the last Night Fury with him. Grimmel also reneged his deal with the Warlords so he would kill Toothless despite the promise of a huge payment if he delivered him to them. However, his hatred for dragons doesn't stop him from using Deathgrippers both as transports and as weapons in order to hunt other dragons.

He does have a humorous side, sarcastically asking the Warlords how were going their plans to conquer the world while they are having great difficulties to assemble and control dragons, tauntingly asking Hiccup on how he should address him while doing an audible hiccup and spelling out to the warlords the direction where the Berkians and the dragons were going after leaving Berk in a comical way.

Grimmel is a hypocrite as despite justifying his actions by saying that dragons are nothing but murderers and thieves and that he works to bring real peace to the world, he has little if any regard for anyone other than himself, having no calms with threatening, robbing, betraying and trying to kill other humans and being in truth motivated by his blind prejudice against dragons rather by any desire to help others. He also presented his first killing of a Night Fury as an act of courage to Hiccup, despite having killed it in its sleep instead of facing it directly.

He is also a highly independent character, working alone with his Deathgrippers most of the time and having no alliegance to anyone except himself. Grimmel also acts as if he was equal or even superior to individuals in position of power, speaking in a familiar and condescending manner to the Warlords, sitting in Stoick's chair and treating Hiccup as a boy rather than a chief.

Grimmel is also quite arrogant due to his intelligence and exploits as a dragon hunter, treating the Warlords with contempt and viewing Hiccup as little more than a boy. He also rarely loses his composure, staying completely calm when a Rumblehorn charged at him or when Hiccup threatened him with his flaming sword and set a trap for him, even looking amused in the latter case. However, he has his limits, as he was very annoyed by Ruffnut and her endless talking and panicked when Hiccup caused him to fall into the ocean. Grimmel's arrogance ultimately caused his own downfall, as he seriously underestimated Hiccup and thought that the young chieftain and the other Berkians were powerless without their dragons and didn't represent a threat to his plans once Grimmel captured Toothless and all of the other dragons. His inability to even consider the possibility of humans and dragons being capable of bonding together also caused him to underestimate how far Hiccup would go to save Toothless and he was totally shocked when the Light Fury came back to save Hiccup from falling.

Abilities, Skills, and Talents

Dragon Hunting: Grimmel was an exceptionally skilled and experienced hunter who knew how to track down his prey and anticipate their actions. The most infamous example of his hunting skills is the fact that he hunted the Night Fury dragons to the brink of extinction. He is an extremely deadly and precise shot with a crossbow of his own invention and is adept at laying traps to capture or kill dragons.

Dragon Commanding: Grimmel managed to successfully drug six Deathgrippers and trained them to become vicious killers that obey his every command. He trained them through unknown ways to answer to his whistles and finger snaps. He also forces dragons to do what he demands without Deathgripper venom, such as forcing Toothless to call off his dragon flock from attacking in order to protect his mate.

Dragon Riding: Grimmel was able to ride the Light Fury without any difficulties after drugging her with Deathgripper venom, until he was knocked off her back by Hiccup.

Inventing: Grimmel had a talent in creating devices that would help him in his hunting expeditions. He was able to create devices that are oriented with Deathgripper venom such as his crossbow and collars that he would use on his dragons. It is also possible that Grimmel created his airship to help him travel to various locations.

Intelligence: Grimmel's specialization in hunting Night Furies allowed him to gain a great amount of knowledge about the species' behavior. For instance, he is aware that this species mates for life and is able to exploit that by exposing Toothless to a Light Fury. It can be presumed that he has significant knowledge of other dragon species as well. He was also prepared for nearly every scenario when facing the Dragon Riders by setting up traps or ordering his Deathgrippers to be in certain locations. He also correctly deduced the trajectory the Vikings would take on their quest for the Hidden World, something the Warlords were unable to do, and employed tactics such as tracking the movements of a released Ruffnut to locate the Berkians.

Stealth: Grimmel was able to sneak into most places without anyone noticing him as he was able to sneak on Berk and lay a trap there without anyone knowing about it. He effortlessly sneaked into Hiccup's home and followed Ruffnut to New Berk with his Deathgrippers without being seen by anyone (though Ruffnut didn't try to check if there was someone following her).

Marksmanship: Grimmel was a very skilled crossbowman, using his crossbow to shoot dragons with great accuracy both at short and long range without ever missing his target.

Relationships

Toothless

Well, it seems one slipped through your fingers. [src]
  Chaghatai informing Grimmel of Toothless' existence  

Grimmel has claimed to have hunted down every Night Fury except for Toothless. This causes the latter to become the hunter's most coveted trophy, particularly since capturing Toothless simultaneously allowed him to capture all of Berk's dragons.

To better capture Toothless Grimmel used the Light Fury as a bait to distract him and lure him away from Hiccup. Just like he did with other dragons Grimmel viewed Toothless as little more than a vermin and thought that he had no real loyalty to Hiccup, scoffing at the idea of Toothless even caring for him.

His Deathgrippers

Save your breath. The only Alpha they respond to is me. [src]
  — Grimmel to Toothless  
THW-Deathgripper, Grimmel-3

Grimmel injecting one of his Deathgrippers with its own venom

Grimmel has subjected six Deathgrippers to his command by using their own venom against them. He did this by sticking vials of their venom into their heads through a collar that each one wears, drugging them into absolute obedience. Grimmel possesses no personal attachment to his Deathgrippers and views them only as tools instead of living creatures. He does, however, show a hint of shock when witnesses all of his Deathgrippers falling to the ocean after Toothless electrocuted them with lightning.


Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III

You wish dragons to live free among us like equals? A toxic notion, my boy. History has shown that we are the superior species. What if word of your misguided ideas were to spread? It would be the undoing of civilization as we... know it. [src]
  — Grimmel to Hiccup  
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Grimmel threatening Hiccup

Grimmel at first thought little of Hiccup and was uninterested in meeting him, viewing him as an idiot boy and noting how he did all the work for the Warlords by assembling so many dragons in Berk. However, after learning that Hiccup had the last Night Fury with him, Grimmel took an interest in Hiccup and sought to take Toothless from him so he would complete his genocide of the Night Furies. Soon after, Grimmel sneaked into Hiccup's house and told him to hand Toothless over to him, revealing how he nearly exterminated his species and asked Hiccup about how Stoick would see his son before taunting him over his father's death after Hiccup said that Stoick changed his view. After Hiccup refused to surrender Toothless and tried to trap Grimmel, the dragon hunter showed amusement at Hiccup's fighting spirit before calling his Deathgrippers and burning Hiccup's home and most of Berk with them while threatening the young chieftain that he would destroy everything Hiccup loves if he does not surrender Toothless.

While he seemed to have a small degree of respect for Hiccup's intelligence and bravery, showing amusement when the dragon riders ambushed him at Berk and latter tried to capture him in his lair, Grimmel mostly viewed Hiccup as little more than a boy, often mocking and taunting him and thinking that the young chief was powerless without his dragon.

Grimmel revealed himself as a dark reflection of Hiccup, as he killed the first Night Fury he encountered instead of saving and befriending it, subsequently convincing himself that humans and dragons could never be friends. At several reprises Grimmel expressed his disdain for Hiccup's ideals of coexistence with dragons, viewing them as a folly and sought to prevent them from spreading. His prejudice against dragons caused Grimmel to severely misjudge Hiccup and Toothless' relationship as he underestimated how far Hiccup would go to protect Toothless and was blind to Toothless' loyalty to Hiccup. In their final confrontation, Hiccup's views on the potential friendship between humans and dragons are proven correct, as he risks death to let the Light Fury save Toothless and she subsequently returns to rescue Hiccup while leaving an astonished Grimmel to fall into the ocean.

Unnamed Light Fury

The only dragon they left us from last night's raid.
  Chaghatai presenting the Light Fury to Grimmel  
THW-Grimmel, Light Fury

Grimmel first saw the Light Fury caged at the Warlords' base, and he would use her as bait and as a distraction for Toothless. Once the Light Fury has served her purpose, Grimmel recaptures her and drugs her with Deathgripper venom in order to ride her and control her more easily. Fortunately, Hiccup saves the Light Fury by kicking Grimmel off her back.

Ruffnut Thorston

Most annoying creature ever to cross my path! [src]
  — Grimmel to Ruffnut  
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After Ruffnut is left behind by the Dragon Riders at Grimmel's base, she is thrown into a cell next to a Scuttleclaw. Ruffnut annoys Grimmel by talking non-stop about herself and her love life to the point where he decides to free her from her cell (along with the Scuttleclaw) and use her to discover the location of New Berk. Grimmel hates Ruffnut, and claims he has never met a creature so annoying, and Ruffnut makes it her responsibility to annoy him as much as possible.

Stoick the Vast

Your father knew of me. Now, that was a chief. One of the greatest dragon hunters to have ever lived! What would he think of you? [src]
  — Grimmel telling Hiccup about Stoick  

When Grimmel first confronts Hiccup, he notices Hiccup has never heard of him. He tells Hiccup how Stoick, who had heard of him, was a great chief and one of the best dragon hunters of all time. He also states Stoick would be ashamed of the way his son is ruling Berk. Grimmel then goes on about how Stoick did the right thing by killing dragons so that Hiccup could live in a better world. Hiccup retorted back by stating that his father changed his mind about dragons, and Grimmel simply countered by saying that it was Stoick's new opinions that sent him to his own death.

Appearances


Trivia

  • Grimmel's full name resembles that of Grimbeard the Ghastly.
  • Grimmel's intentions to exterminate all dragons are similar to that of Alvin the Treacherous from the book series.
  • Grimmel is the foremost antagonist in the How to Train Your Dragon series, along with Drago Bludvist, as he hunted the Night Furies to near-extinction, which is one of the two reasons why there was no information in the Book of Dragons and was never seen in the first film, as well as the fact that it was a plot point in some of the episodes. However, he is proven to be arguably even more dangerous than Drago, who was just being driven by revenge to hunt and enslave dragons rather than being driven for sadism and pleasure to kill them without reason. Grimmel also serves as the final antagonist of the series.
  • Grimmel's hairstyle is similar to that of Gellert Grindelwald from the Fantastic Beasts films.
    • The two characters also believe that their actions are for the greater good of the world.
  • Grimmel's accent seems to indicate that he is of Russian origin or descent.
  • Grimmel shares several similarities with Viggo Grimborn from Dragons: Race to the Edge.
    • Both characters rely on their wits to swindle and outmaneuver their enemies.
    • Both of their professions are hunting and killing dragons.
      • While Viggo hunted and killed dragons for profit and power, Grimmel hunted and killed dragons for pleasure and out of hatred.
      • Viggo was betrayed by his allies first, while Grimmel betrayed his allies before they could do anything.
  • Grimmel is referred to as "G" in Dreamworks Dragons: Dawn of New Riders, as well as the "pale poacher", and has "an odd ship, one that seemed better suited for the skies than seas". He was never mentioned by full name, due to a spoiler embargo on the third film while the game was in production.[2]
  • When Ragnar the Rock refers to the female Light Fury as Grimmel's "favorite bait", it is implied that Grimmel used captured Light Furies or Night Furies in his past hunts to lure others of their kind into his trap.
  • Since Grimmel knew that Toothless had met and was attracted to the Light Fury, it is possible that he was present and hiding somewhere when the former found the latter.
  • Grimmel somewhat resembles Pitch Black in appearance, the main villain of the film Rise of the Guardians, which was also produced by DreamWorks Animation.
  • Grimmel is also similar to Lord Shen from Kung Fu Panda 2.
    • Both are thin, handsome, and white-haired villains.
    • Both hate other races (Grimmel: Dragons, Shen: Pandas).
    • Both tried to kill the heroes of their respective stories, only to inadvertently create their own demises.

References

  1. SDCC 2018 Interview: How To Train Your Dragon 3. (Date Posted - October 11, 2018). YouTube.
  2. "It seems that all the hints in DoNR point to G being Grimmel." (Date Posted - April 1, 2019). Twitter.

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