|“||Living with dragons has its ups, and its downs. You need to stay calm, keep a clear head - not always easy with Vikings. In our own way, we're very reasonable. But when a problem is caused by something Vikings don't understand, they lose all sense of reason, and that can become very dangerous...||”|
|— Hiccup Haddock III|
"When Lightning Strikes" is the thirteenth episode of Dragons: Riders of Berk. It aired on December 5th, 2012.
A terrible lightning storm ravages the island of Berk. Mildew quickly accuses Toothless of bringing about the wrath of the god Thor, when he is witnessed to attract the lightning, as the Night Fury is considered to be 'The unholy offspring of Lightning and Death itself'. He gathers supporters and calls for the dragon to be banished, while Hiccup attempts to convince the Vikings that Toothless is not responsible for the lightning strikes.
The episode begins with the above narration by Hiccup as the viewer watches a Monstrous Nightmare land on the roof of a house. At first, it seems fine, but the wooden supports creak beneath it and give way. Next door, having witnessed this, a Gronckle encounters a similar problem, its roof also collapsing beneath it. Later, bouncing a design idea off Gobber, Hiccup works on blueprints for dragon perches, which will support the weight of the dragons, and not collapse like the roofs of the Vikings' homes. The Vikings quickly work together to build the perches, and when they are finished, Stormfly tests the strength of the supports. At first, Stormfly is nervous, afraid of breaking it and getting hurt, but Astrid gently encourages her to relax. Stormfly lands on the perch, her claws clicking on it, and it holds up against her weight, much to her relief and to the joy of Hiccup and the other Vikings . . . except for Ruffnut and Tuffnut, who are disappointed to realize they worked so hard to help build something that prevents destruction.
The scene changes to Hiccup's home, where he, Gobber, and Stoick celebrate the success of the perch project while Toothless has dinner. Stoick states it's some of Hiccup's best work yet . . . although as Stoick almost takes a drink from his mug, he notices something disgusting in the water and as he shows Gobber, who checks his own mug, adds they may need to move the perch that's over the well. Hiccup, excited by the perches' recent success, becomes fixated on the topic of building other things for dragons, such as landing pads, or stables in the caves below the village. As he does so, he reaches for his cup and lifts it, but his father quietly pushes it back onto the table, preventing the distracted teen from drinking it. Stoick stops him with a chuckle, reminding him to remember the village is still for Vikings, Gobber adding it's Viking (priorities) over dragons, reaffirming with Toothless when he looks up at him. After he says this, the rumbling of thunder comes from outside the house, and Toothless sits up, before running upstairs.
The three Vikings check outside and discover an electrical storm causes lightning strikes on the dragon perches throughout the village, which Stoick states doesn't usually happen. Gobber states Thor must be angry and mentions the only other time he recalls a lightning storm in the village was during the time of Jurgen Barnstadt. Stoick explains to Hiccup that Jorgern Barnstat was a drifter and thief who sailed into town one day and stole from widows and the elderly. When he fixed the mast of his ship to escape from Berk, Thor punished him by striking a thunderbolt right on his helmet, which was kept and still hangs on the wall of the chieftain's home. The lightning set Berk's entire fleet on fire. The villagers shipped him off the island and Thor hadn't sent a lightning hit on the village since.
The lightning bolts grow in strength, striking the perches and arcing to the nearby wooden buildings, setting homes on fire. A Terrible Terror panics in the middle of all the flames, but Astrid swoops in on Stormfly and rescues it. Stoick orders Gobber to organize a bucket brigade while he heads to the Great Hall. Having come down to Hiccup's side and joined him outside, a nearby strike spooks Toothless and he runs off.
As Stoick lends a hand on his way and dragon riders make bombing runs with carts of water, Astrid flies Hiccup to the Great Hall, where she saw Toothless. Toothless leaps between the dragon perches, barely avoiding being struck by lightning, which appears to follow him. Seeing this, Mildew (who sees it as a chance to get rid of the Night Fury and 'punish' Hiccup) accuses Toothless of being responsible for Thor's wrath, as the Night Fury is considered 'The unholy offspring of Lightning and Death itself'. As Mildew persuades the Vikings to believe this, Hiccup defends Toothless, and Stoick agrees the dragon can't be responsible for the storm.
The next day, the lightning is worse than before. Hiccup and the teens gather and discuss ways to regain Thor's favor, as well as what might be causing the problem. There are various examples of what the clans did to anger the gods in the past, with Fishlegs stating the Ingermans have so far not done anything to offend the gods, and performing various superstitious actions, such as knocking on wood, hopping on one foot, and slapping a Jorgenson (In this case, the Jorgenson was Snotlout. Although Fishlegs merely poked him, Snotlout shoves him back). Snotlout does a pose, saying they could make a statue of himself as Thor, and Hiccup states it's not a bad idea. Astrid, misinterpreting the idea, nearly throws up at the thought, believing he means a statue of Snotlout, prompting him to repeat the idea with more clarity: a statue of Thor, which Fishlegs adds the village never gave one to Thor. The scene shifts to a montage of the group building the statue out of metal while working inside and out of Gobber's smithy, with Ruffnut and Tuffnut crafting the lower legs though they soon turn to hit each other with their hammers, Snotlout crafting a knee and lower leg of his own (accidentally making the knee backwards, and in the end it was remade into an arm instead), Fishlegs crafting the pants (Using Meatlug's lower jaw as a model for size), and Astrid working on a cape, using Stormfly's tail spines to hold things together. Eventually, they finish and stand back to admire the statue below the Great Hall after its public unveiling. For the moment, the plan works, until the lightning starts again, channeling into the statue's raised hammer and out of the outstretched hand as well.
The scene cuts to Hiccup's house, where he, Toothless, Stoick, and Gobber take shelter from the lightning. Hiccup pets a nervous Toothless, trying to reassure the dragon everything will be okay. Hiccup asks his father if he believes Toothless is responsible for the storm, and Stoick tells him that he isn't, without a trace of doubt. Gobber, however, takes a side step away from the dragon, and receiving an angry look from Hiccup, quickly says he is simply erring on the side of caution. Hiccup states firmly to Toothless he isn't the cause of Thor's wrath, no matter what some people think (looking directly at Gobber upon saying this, who looks embarrassed). The scene cuts to Fishlegs' house, where Meatlug enters his bedroom and searches for her rider, revealing he hides under the bed. He asks if Meatlug is scared (she's clearly not), and hugs the dragon, saying it's the reason he's there. Another scene shows Ruffnut and Tuffnut sitting on the roof of a building, watching as the lightning starts fires and burns the buildings. They admire the destruction and chaos while eating nuts from a bowl, cracking open the shells on each other's helmets.
Meanwhile, Mildew begins a riot among the Vikings, who head toward Stoick's house, calling for Toothless to be removed from the island. While Hiccup and Toothless flee from the house through Toothless' ceiling door, Stoick exits the front door and delays the mob, stating the dragon is already gone, Gobber adding the chief sent Toothless off the island. Mildew replies the storm is still there, and it must mean the Night Fury is still on Berk. As Hiccup and Toothless get away from the riot, they run into Astrid, who tells Hiccup he can hide Toothless in the cove. Hiccup replies if he does so, the mob will find him. He states they have to leave, and the dragon can't survive on his own, and Hiccup doesn't want Toothless to do so.
Astrid, upset as she realizes Hiccup is leaving the island with his dragon, asks if he ever comes back, to which he responds he will when everyone realizes Toothless isn't responsible. He flies away, and Mildew arrives with the mob a few moments after the two disappear into the clouds. Astrid angrily tells Mildew he got his wish, and Hiccup and the dragon are gone. Mildew, still wanting to hurt the dragon (Or to humiliate and hurt Hiccup), calls to find the Night Fury, and initiates a search throughout the entire island to do so. Hiccup and Toothless land in the woods momentarily, and they see and hear the voices of the mob as they search the forest down below. The two once more vanish into the storm clouds. As the two fly, it is quiet . . . until lightning attempts to strike them. Toothless barely dodges each bolt, and eventually fails as it strikes his prosthetic tail-fin, destroying it and causing them to plummet out of the sky. As this happens, Mildew spots Toothless' burning tail-fin and points him out, before the riot heads in the direction of where they are likely to crash.
After they roughly land, Hiccup and Toothless stand back up, while Hiccup examines his dragon's damaged tail-fin. The leather part of it has been burned away, and when he touches the fin ribs, he withdraws his hand to avoid burning it on the still red hot metal. He looks over at the village and sees the perches and metal statue of Thor beyond the trees, and the lightning hits them, leading him to remember what they made the perches out of: metal. As he realizes this, three bolas are thrown at Toothless, tangling the dragon so he can't escape, and the mob arrives. While more people rush in to secure the Night Fury, another Viking grabs Hiccup roughly by the arm, holding him back and preventing him from reaching Toothless, not letting go until they chained the dragon and carted him away.
The scene cuts to the forge, where Hiccup runs in, looks around and spotting a spear, grabs it. Astrid arrives and tells him the mob found Toothless, and they were about to send him off the island, unaware he was present at the dragon's capture, while the other teens arrive behind her. Showing the weapon, he says he does know: why do they think he has the spear, which explains little of his plan, but he doesn't have the time to do so anyway. Hiccup asks Astrid to fly him to the docks as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, Stoick, who goes so far as to firmly back Toothless' innocence with a drawn sword, Gobber, Mulch, and Bucket stand between the rioting villagers and Toothless, preventing them from sending the Night Fury away. Before the mob resorts to physical violence to move the four, Hiccup shows up with Astrid and Stormfly, the dragon's head shoving back the mob on the fly-by before she lands. Jumping down on to the dock, Hiccup attempts to convince the mob Toothless wasn't responsible for the lightning, but how it hit the metal. He reasons with them, walking through his thought process and pointing out all the facts he realized: how the lighting didn't start until they put up the perches, the new statue of Thor being hit, and how the connecting rod on Toothless' prosthetic tail fin was struck. The one thing they all have in common is they're all made of metal.
The Vikings aren't entirely convinced, so he tells them he can prove it; he has Astrid fly him to the top of the mast of the ship they were going to put Toothless on. Worried, Astrid asks him if he's sure he knows what he's doing; he admits it's more of a hunch but assures her he'll be fine and sends her back down. Gobber mutters to himself, saying 'ohhh boy, here he goes again . . .'. Stating they will see he tells the truth, Hiccup explains he will attach the metal rod on top of the ship's mast, and it will draw the lightning to it... but before he does so, lightning prematurely strikes the spearhead, electrocuting him. Hiccup falls into the water and sinks to the bottom, unconscious. Stoick shouts Hiccup's name in alarm. Toothless, seeing this, becomes incredibly upset; greatly motivated, he struggles, then gathers all of his strength and bursts free of his restraints, diving in after his friend. After the Night Fury rescues Hiccup and drags him back onto the dock, Gobber and Stoick rush over to see if he is still alive. The scene abruptly ends.
Later, Hiccup wakes up in his bed with Toothless at his side, happy his rider is okay. Hiccup swings his legs off the bed to get up, but not before checking his right foot, and telling the dragon he's glad he didn't lose that one too. Gobber and Stoick come up, with the chief picking his son up, overjoyed he's all right, and saying he was struck on the head by a lightning bolt, like Barnstat, except, as Gobber points out jokingly, they're not throwing him off the island. Stoick confirms the village knows the truth, with Gobber commenting, while they don't know why Thor was angry at the metal, they're not taking chances until they do. Hearing a hollow banging noise, they walk outside where Tuffnut and Snotlout wait, watching two Vikings carefully laying down the statue of Thor as the first step. Hiccup looks on and states it's disappointing they worked so hard to build such a nice statue, only for it to be scrapped for parts. Stoick suggests they take the statue to a high point on the island and leave it there (honoring Thor, yet keeping the village safe).
Later, the twins and Snotlout use Hookfang and Barf and Belch to lift the statue to the highest point on the island, with Hiccup surveying them while riding on Toothless. Unsurprisingly, the highest point on the island, from the other teens' perspective, is located in the same spot as Mildew's house, and when they tell him this, Hiccup remains silent, and flies away with them (though he is possibly still angry with Mildew), as Mildew comes out of his house to investigate the noise. As they fly away Hiccup wonders if it was the right thing to do, putting the statue so close to Mildew's house. Later, as Hiccup gives his closing narration, it is shown that at his house, Vikings arrive with gifts consisting of baskets of bread and buckets of smoked fish for Toothless as a way of apologies. A young girl gives Toothless one fish and pets him on the nose, which the dragon gratefully accepts.
Back at Mildew's house, the statue of Thor conducts lightning, which it redirects at the house, with Mildew screaming inside, possibly trying to take shelter. Fungus, who is outside, watches and bleats, although whether or not he's concerned for his master is unclear. What is clear is Mildew had that nasty electric shock coming to him, for his actions, both past and present. With this, the episode ends.
- The Thor Statue is constructed.
- This the second time that Hiccup loses consciousness and wakes up in bed.
- The Berkians learn that lightning is attracted to metal.
- Hiccup suggest building stables for the dragons. The dragon stable will be eventually built before the second film.
- When chained Toothless was at the pier, he clearly has a muzzle on his head. After camera moves, the muzzle is gone, but after another movement of the camera, it is there again.
- Many fans predicted that the Skrill would appear in this episode. In the end, it did not.
- The runes on the base of the statue decrypt as THOR THE THUNDERER WIELDER OF MJOLNIR. Much as elsewhere, it's English using runes equivalent to each letter, except that Þ is used correctly for TH.
- Stoick is shown as being left-handed - he's holding his sword in his left hand. In that case, his sword should be worn on the right but it isn't.
- Astrid says that her aunt had to travel to the end of the world to pay tribute to Odin, but couldn't find it because she kept coming back from the opposite direction. This is the first of many gags throughout the series that the earth might be round.
- The reason for Toothless being nervous about lightning is unclear unless he knows that lightning is attracted to metal.
- In actuality, metal doesn't cause lightning to strike. Tall metal objects wouldn't cause a lightning storm to happen, they would only attract the strikes if a storm was already happening.
- Snotlout says that when it rains he cancels bath night and stands outside with nothing but a bar of soap.
- Apparently, the village has had meetings about it.
- It is unlikely that Snotlout continues to do this, as the gag is never mentioned again.
- In the episode, it is shown that the Norse gods of myth some of the Vikings believe in are not real when the lightning has nothing to do with “Thor” but rather the increase in tall metal objects around Berk.
- Jay Baruchel as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III
- America Ferrera as Astrid Hofferson
- Nolan North as Stoick the Vast
- Chris Edgerly as Gobber the Belch
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs Ingerman
- T.J. Miller as Tuffnut Thorston
- Julie Marcus as Ruffnut Thorston
- Zack Pearlman as Snotlout Jorgenson
- Thomas F. Wilson as Bucket
- Tim Conway as Mulch
- Stephen Root as Mildew