Dragons: The Nine Realms

5 teens and some dragons - Dragons: The Nine Realms

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Reviewer

Lauren Cook

TV Series Review

It’s been 1,300 years since the events of How to Train Your Dragonbut while Hiccup and Toothless may be long gone, dragons are still around, just hiding from the modern world. Dragons: The Nine Realms takes the boy-bonds-with-mythical-beast premise of its predecessor and brings it to the 21st century, as a group of teens discover the secret world just beneath their own and embark on an adventure to protect it.

 The Secret Life of the Viking Teenager

Tom Kullerson might be the son of a brilliant scientist, but he tends to gravitate a little bit more towards his Viking ancestry. There’s no cliff too high for him to jump from (literally and figuratively) and no thrill too dangerous for him to chase. His recklessness may get him in a lot of trouble, particularly with his long-suffering mother Olivia, but it’s also what leads him to discover the mystical dragon realm. Along with his friends Jun, Alex and D’Angelo, Tom sets out to learn more about this secret world while protecting it from a variety of threats—including those coming from the surface.

How to Train Your Dragon stole the hearts of kids and adults alike with its charming, tear-jerking story about two outcasts finding purpose through their relationship. Dragons: The Nine Realms may not have the same captivating spirit that drove the film, but it comes with enough action and dragons with exciting powers to keep younger viewers engrossed.

However, a few content issues weigh down this high-flying adventure.

One of Tom’s friends, Alex, has two mothers in an explicitly lesbian relationship, and Jun uses tarot cards that she claims can show her the future. While she denies that they’re in any way magical, she tells Tom that his actions have been “fated,” and that she has seen them “written in the stars.” Some high-stakes situations of peril in a similar vein to the original film might also frighten younger viewers.

Watching Dragons: The Nine Realms often feels like Hiccup tentatively reaching out to touch Toothless only for the dragon to retreat at the last second. It comes so, so close to providing a clean, exciting fantasy adventure to inspire younger imaginations, but a few brief yet glaring issues prevent it from fully taking flight.

Episode Reviews

Nov. 17, 2022 – S4, Ep1: “Cold Open”

In the season four premiere, the Dragon Riders (Tom, Alex, D’Angelo, Jun and her brother Eugene) discover a new dragon realm, as well as a mysterious hiker with a secret grudge against Tom’s dragon, Thunder.

More scenes of danger and peril appear in the newest season. Buzzsaw, a stranger in the Ice Realm who introduces himself as “Keith,” wields a small tomahawk that he uses to attack Thunder, even threatening to cut off his head. He traps the dragon in a net and pretends that his leg is broken so Tom, Jun and Alex don’t discover his true intentions.

A few immature references are made; Eugene complains that he has to urinate, and D’Angelo and Jun tell him to “hold it.” A joke is also made about throwing “bomb loogies.”

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Lauren Cook Bio Pic
Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook is serving as a 2021 summer intern for the Parenting and Youth department at Focus on the Family. She is studying film and screenwriting at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. You can get her talking for hours about anything from Star Wars to her family to how Inception was the best movie of the 2010s. But more than anything, she’s passionate about showing how every form of art in some way reflects the Gospel. Coffee is a close second.

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