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Measuring up to a Viking father isn't easy. Especially when that Viking father is also the Chief of your village. So, when you get a chance to prove yourself, you jump on it.

"Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Man" is the eighth episode of Dragons: Riders of Berk. It aired on October 10, 2012.


Hiccup is dismayed when Stoick has their father-son portrait altered to make Hiccup look more muscular. Desperate to prove himself as a Viking, Hiccup sets out to find a fabled long-lost treasure.
  Official Website  

Major Events

  • The Fireworm species makes its first appearance.


The episode starts off with Hiccup and Stoick standing side by side. Bucket paints a portrait of them on a round shield, to go on the wall with all the other chief-and-son portrait shields in the Great Hall. Stoick fondly reflects on the day he and his father had theirs painted, the only one of them together, as he points out that shield on the wall. Adding this is also a great day as well, he encourages Hiccup to remember to keep his shoulders back and chin up, with his chest out.

Later that day, the teens look at the other shield portraits in the Hall, discussing how Hiccup is going to be joining them tomorrow and become a part of history. Snotlout stops by one and comments the portrait as being a "history of goofballs; what a clown". Fishlegs explains the portrait is of Hamish the First, their richest and most revered leader with his son, Hamish the Second. Snotlout mockingly pretends to be Hamish I and says in a high, nasally voice to kiss his 'pointy shoes'. Ruffnut and Tuffnut pretend to do so, so they can set up to shove him over Tuff while on his hands and knees to trip him. Snotlout's slamming into the wall causes the shield to fall and it hits him in the face with the back. Fishlegs is immediately worried and carefully hangs the shield back up. A piece of parchment unexpectedly falls off the back, which Snotlout snatches up. On closer inspection, it turns out to be a map. A treasure map with clues encoded as riddles. Gobber walks up and takes it, explaining it’s too dangerous for anyone to try; many great Vikings lost limbs, their lives, and their very sanity looking for this treasure. He's amazed there's a copy: they were all supposed to have been purposely destroyed. Fishlegs realizes it's for the treasure of Hamish I. His son buried him with it and created the maps: his clues were so complicated, only a brilliant mind could ever decipher them. Gobber tells them even he and Stoick went after it once. They ended up high in a mountain snowstorm and "fought like badgers" over what the clues meant. They were lucky to make it back alive, and with their friendship intact. He tells the teens in no uncertain terms that for their own good, to forget they ever saw the map, and walks off with it. However, it looks like the twins, Snotlout and Fishlegs have no intention of doing so . . .

Bucket's first portrait of Hiccup and Stoick.

The next day, it’s time to reveal Bucket’s painting and hang it up. The sheet is pulled off from the top of the painting and everyone cheers. Hiccup notices something off in the painting; he looks buff. He doesn’t look like himself at all and that upsets him a great deal. No one else notices particularly Astrid and Ruffnut. In fact, Astrid and Ruffnut like what they see in the portrait (through Astrid might be joking). His dad says it is him, only bigger and stronger; Mulch makes it worse by saying the portrait is how a chief's son should look like. Actually, Stoick seems to like him better that way. Hiccup feels unwanted and walks away.

He and Astrid walk away from the Great Hall and through the village, Hiccup lamenting his father likes the portrait version more than that of who he really is: even his very name proves it. Everyone knows it's Viking tradition to call runts a "hiccup". As if to prove his point a Viking herding a family of sheep along encourages a runty lamb he named Little Hiccup into his arms so it can keep up and the Viking greets Hiccup. The real Hiccup wonders what he has to do to have his father accept him for who he is; Astrid says that he does . . . he just accepts the painting more.

They walk up to Gobber's smithy and see a nervous-looking Fishlegs. He makes obvious bird calls off to the side while denying there's anything going on.

Every step of the way.jpg

"Where are they?" asks a somewhat annoyed Hiccup. When Fishlegs switches to owl hoots, Hiccup and Astrid walk around the side themselves. He sees the twins waiting, and Snotlout climbs out the window ungracefully onto the ground, having retrieved the treasure map. After commenting on what a horrible lookout Fishlegs is, Snotlout says he can probably find the treasure. Astrid is incredulous, repeating how some of the best Vikings in history have been killed trying to find it. "And I'm next," says Snotlout proudly. Astrid is dead set against it: she wants to be around to see her next birthday. When Fishlegs says they'll be legends remembered in song, Astrid points out he'll be dead; not even Stoick, the village's greatest living warrior, found it. Hiccup ponders on this fact for a moment. When he takes the treasure map Astrid thinks he will talk some sense into them. Hiccup decides it might not be a bad idea to look for the treasure. If even his dad couldn't find it, what would he say if Hiccup pulled it off: how great would that be! Astrid decides to come along anyway, she says she can't leave him alone with them, pointing to Ruffnut and Tuffnut having a who-can-whack-each-other-on-the-head-the-hardest contest.

The map displays six clues, each in continuity with the previous: solving one will lead you to where to solve the next one. Snotlout reads out the first clue:

Where the land meets the sea, in the crook of the master's knee, that's where your search will be . . . gin.
  — First clue  

DRoB Ep8 - Crook in the Master's Knee.jpg

Hiccup notices how he saw a "crook in the master's knee" before, and takes them back to the Great Hall to the portrait of Hamish the First and Hamish the Second, where they first found the treasure map. Hiccup points out the knee of Hamish the First is bent ("crook of the master's knee") and it points towards a rock formation in the background of the painting. He guesses they have to search for a similar rock formation on the beach ("where the land meets the sea"). Riding on their Dragons, the Dragon Trainers head to that spot on the beach, where Hiccup reads the next clue:

From here you see the sea that's been sewn, look to where water turns to bone.
  — Second clue  

Hiccup interprets "water turns to bone" as ice (because ice is as hard as bone, not to mention white), and exclaims the clue refers to the glacier nearby . . . and sure enough, an opening is in the top half.

Meanwhile, back in the Great Hall, Stoick and Gobber argue because Gobber hadn't destroyed the map, despite knowing the dangers. Gobber admits he thought he and Stoick could try again at searching for the treasure, as they "turned back too early" the last time; and besides, it only cost them a couple of toes (from the snowstorm incident Gobber mentioned, no doubt). Stoick gets up and tells Gobber they have to find Hiccup and the other Dragon Trainers before they get themselves killed, and walks out, asking aloud why Hiccup would do something so risky. At that question, Gobber looks over at the portrait of Hiccup and Stoick and gets a dejected expression, implying he already knows.

Back at the beach with the glacier, the Dragon Trainers have walked into a giant cavern within the ice, where Astrid points out something is embedded below. Hiccup reads out the next clue:

Call on Magni; you'll go astray. Freya, though, will show the way.
  — Third Clue  

The first piece of the key, found in the glacier

Snotlout, disregarding the clue, tries to break the ice around the object by banging his helmeted head on it. The ice cracks and sets off a trap that nearly crushes his head were it not for Hiccup spotting it triggering and yanking him back. Hiccup and Fishlegs realize Magni is known to be the God of Strength and Freya the Goddess of Fire. Hiccup has Toothless melt the ice away from the object, which turns out to be a piece of forged metal. Ruffnut asks if this is the treasure. Hiccup says it must be something that leads them to the treasure, and it is only the first piece. The cavern destabilizes; the teens make a quick getaway on their Dragons before the space partially collapses.

Stoick and Gobber, looking for the teens with Stoick's Thunderdrum, search the beach and find Toothless' prints. Gobber concludes, by sniffing sand grains, they were there an hour ago. The rumbling of the glacier's ice is all they need to figure out the Trainers found something. This only confirms Gobber had been right; he thought of the glacier too. Stoick asks why they spent a week digging in the sand, but Gobber reminds him that had been Stoick's idea. Stoick marvels how it took them a month to get to that point, while his son got farther in one afternoon. Gobber agrees, noting they've been bested by "the little hiccup" when men like them think themselves to be the "big, strong Vikings". Stoick wants to know what his friend is getting at. Gobber reminds him of the painting. Stoick puts two and two together, realizing Hiccup's out to prove himself. The three look off at the glacier.

From the flat top of a rocky spire, the teens look out over the ocean and Hiccup examines the next clue:

At the edge of the world, amidst the raging sea, in the serpent's mouth lies another key.
  — Fourth clue  


After some brainstorming among them, Hiccup notices a rock jutting out of the ocean that seems similar to the picture of a serpent on the map. Hiccup is about to have Toothless take off, but Fishlegs quickly points out a Night Fury has too large a wingspan to hover in the shearing winds around the serpent; they'll only get themselves killed. Hiccup suggests Fishlegs, who rides the small-winged Gronckle, takes him to the rock. Suspended by a rope tied to Meatlug's saddle strap, Hiccup has Fishlegs hover over the serpent's mouth where Hiccup sees a key. Out of arm's reach, Hiccup uses his prosthetic foot to flip it into the air and catches it. The gang heads toward the forest.

In the forest, Hiccup discovers the keys fit together to form part of a larger key. Ruffnut asks Hiccup what he plans to do with his portion of the treasure. When he replies he's not in it for the treasure, Snotlout quickly calls dibs on his share. Astrid asks Hiccup if he knows he doesn't have to find the treasure, but he tells her his father thinks otherwise; she only responds to this with a worried expression. The team reaches a cliff face with a triangular wall made of tightly-fitting stones set in it. Hiccup comments this must be the spot where the next puzzle would be "Why else would anybody build a wall in the middle of the woods?" He reads out the next clue:

The world is right when stars align. When not in sync, the danger you'll find.
  — Fifth clue  

Over here.jpg

Snotlout complains he wouldn't want to wait until nightfall to look for the treasure. Hiccup assures him the "stars" mentioned in the clue doesn't mean literal stars since their previous clues used metaphorical language to describe things. While Hiccup tries to puzzle out the clue, Fishlegs inspects the wall, and remarks there are shapes carved into several of the stones, and those specific stones have finger grips. The other teens move toward the wall as well, and Hiccup tells them to keep an eye out for anything that looks like a star. Snotlout finds a stone with a star carved into it and starts pulling it out, but the wall shakes and trembles, threatening to collapse around them. Snotlout can't push the stone back in with his own strength, but Hookfang helps him to quickly do so after he screams for help. Hiccup reasons "in sync" means there must be another star and they must be pulled at the same time, and so asks Ruffnut and Tuffnut to take care of it. Using their twin bond, they easily and simultaneously signal Barf and Belch's dual heads to pull the stones free. The wall reveals itself to be a door as it opens up down the middle and slides back, revealing a dark cavern. Humans and Dragons enter, but when Toothless does, the door closes behind him. With the aid of two torches, they go further in, but stop when they notice an elevated change in temperature; the result of what looks to be easily a hundred Fireworms, tiny Dragons whose skin can burn hotter than the sun. The teen's Dragons rush into action when the Fireworms attack, and repel them with their fire, with Barf and Belch, Toothless and Hookfang scattering them away from the lower central area. During the fight, a ring of fire ignites and shows four pedestals in the center, each with a key piece on them. Snotlout urges Hiccup to grab them all so they can leave, but Hiccup explains it's a choice:

Something pure and something strong, look first to yourself and you won't go wrong.
  — Sixth clue  

As Hiccup is starting to fall.jpg

Thinking the clue narrows it down to a choice between two pieces, Fishlegs reasons that strong is the piece made of iron, but Astrid points out iron isn't pure, which would be the gold piece. The Dragons defend as they can, but Hookfang runs out, and Meatlug covers until she runs out. As Stormfly picks up the slack, Hiccup chooses the piece he sees his reflection in (look to yourself). All the Fireworms flee the room: the floor beneath Hiccup and Toothless falls through as a cave-in commences. Toothless makes the jump out from the center, but Hiccup doesn't and falls; Toothless turns around and dives after him. Reluctantly, Astrid leaves with the others through openings Snotlout spots near the ceiling, as Fishlegs points out no one will be left to help Hiccup if they become trapped too.

At the bottom of the pit beneath the Fireworm room, Hiccup notices an oddly-shaped hole in the floor. He takes the three objects from the glacier, the serpents mouth, and the pedestal room, and puts them together, forming one key. Hiccup inserts the key into the floor then turns it, and the key rises as the top of another pedestal, which opens a secret passageway. Hiccup walks through the passage with Toothless behind him. Outside, Astrid and Fishlegs dig through the rubble from the cave-in (as Meatlug happily snaps up some of the tossed stones as snacks) in order to find Hiccup. After arriving with Gobber on his Thunderdrum, Stoick looks at the teens and recognizes the situation. Inside the cave and across a stone bridge, Hiccup and Toothless arrive in a room with a pedestal surrounded by gold: the burial room of Hamish I. On the pedestal, inside a stone ring jutting out from it, sits a rolled-up piece of parchment Hiccup pulls out and reads what's written on the outside:

This treasure was passed from father to son. I leave it to you, the next worthy one, for only a hiccup could get this far. From one to another, be proud of who you are.
  — Hamish II's message  

Hiccup unrolls the parchment to reveal another portrait of Hamish I and Hamish II - a detailed illustration of the true Hamish II, a hiccup; perhaps Hamish II even made it himself. Hiccup realizes Hamish II knew only another hiccup could find the treasure: a Viking, not of muscle, but a Viking of the mind. Marveling at the vast wealth of gold, Hiccup reasons maybe being a 'hiccup' isn't such a bad thing after all. The pedestal's ring, with no parchment to hold it up, drops down and sinks the pedestal into the floor while two more pedestals rise on either side of it and several steps away from each other, one bearing a typical Viking war hammer and the other a quill. Hiccup notices another riddle on the floor:

In between the body and mind, a choice must be made on what you find. At this moment you must look to yourself, as only one path will give you true wealth.
  — Final Clue  

Stoick and Hiccup hugging.jpg

Two stone pillars fall, the rubble blocking the entrance as the treasure room collapses. Hiccup realizes in order to survive, he must choose either the hammer or the quill. Hiccup makes his choice as Stoick, Astrid, and Fishlegs still dig through the rubble. Everyone outside notices a hill collapsing behind as they rush to investigate. When the dust clears, Hiccup, who chose the quill, and Toothless are all right. The quill was located in the only safe spot to stand while the hill collapsed around it. Stoick and Hiccup rush toward each other and embrace in a hug. Hiccup shows everyone the real treasure: the portrait of Hamish I and hiccup Hamish II. "That's not treasure," Snotlout says. "To a father, it is," Stoick replies. Stoick apologizes for making Hiccup feel like he had to find the treasure to prove his worth to Stoick. Hiccup replies he had to do it for himself. Stoick and Hiccup embrace each other in another hug.

Bucket's second (more accurate) portrait of Hiccup and Stoick.

The scene shifts to the Great Hall where everyone looks as Bucket replaces the original Stoick-and-Hiccup portrait with a more accurate one showing Hiccup as he truly is, wearing his Viking helmet and holding a rolled up piece of parchment with both hands in front of him. As Hiccup does the closing narration, Stoick puts his hand on his shoulder, looking as proud of his son as he does in the painting.

I've spent most of my life trying to prove to my dad that I could be his kind of Viking. As it turns out, I already was.
  — Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III  


  • The runic script in the map mixes the letters "w" and "h".
  • Bucket uses his fingers to paint, which obviously makes his fingers covered in paint. In later scenes when he positions Hiccup and points to the duo, no paint is visible on his fingers, though it's possible he washed his hands earlier after painting.
  • In several scenes, Stock's mustache was separated.
  • Freya isn't the goddess of fire. In Norse mythology, she is the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. Loki is the actual god of fire, trickery, mischief, chaos, and change.
  • When Gobber finds Night Fury prints, there isn't a visible mark in the sand.
  • In the scene where the Fireworms close in on Hiccup from their point of view, Toothless is missing.


  • This episode strongly parallels the second book How to Be a Pirate. In both the book and the episode Hiccup goes on a hunt for the treasure of an extremely wealthy ancestor with a Hiccup for a son. He alone is able to succeed in the hunt when many men before him have failed, including his own father. In the treasure chamber, Hiccup finds a note written to him specifically by the one who hid the treasure, which brings him enlightenment. Both Book Hiccup and Film Hiccup choose to leave the bulk of the treasure behind, taking only a scroll and a single souvenir. And finally, they receive their fathers' wholehearted approval despite their lack of treasure.
  • The title of this episode is a reference to the book A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.
  • When Stoick and Hiccup pose for the portrait, Stoick carries a sword. When the portrait is revealed, he carries a hammer and is wearing a cape, although he was never wearing one. Also, Hiccup holds a shield when posing, and holds nothing in the portrait.
  • Astrid and Ruffnut's reactions to the first painting might be based on the stereotype girls prefer strong men, however, Astrid might be joking about liking it since she understood his thoughts about it.
  • It should be noted all the obstacles the riders faced were solved with their Dragons' help. However, Hamish II hid the treasure before Berk made peace with Dragons.
  • The large gold Viking figures that are part of Hamish's treasure appear to be a life-sized Maces and Talons, similar to what is mentioned in the episode "Shell Shocked, Part 2".
  • When Hiccup read "At the end of the world beyond the raging sea", it could possibly be foreshadowing How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.





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