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Themes of Tolerance - How to Train Your Dragon

            The 2010 DreamWorks animated film, "How to Train Your Dragon," encompasses the heroic tale of an oddball outcast and his unlikely companion, a disabled dragon. Contrary to society's portrayal of those who are considered to be outcasts, this film showcases the irony of the outcast being the only individual who is not ignorantly supporting the narrow-minded ways of his people. Continuing in this unusual perspective, the two main characters, who ultimately save the day, also deal with major disabilities. In a disgruntled culture that often frowns upon anyone or anything out of the norm, this film refreshingly approaches the topic that impairment does not have to be viewed as an obstacle. .
             Within first five minutes of this DreamWorks film, the audience is introduced to a burly, and zealous character with a disability, Gobber the Belch. A massive Viking, with weight to throw around, he fearlessly continues to slay dragons even though dragons are the very cause of his having lost both an arm and a leg. Working in the blacksmith field, he has customized tools to help him readily and speedily complete his projects. In fact, it could be noted that his prosthetic arm is presented in such a positive light that he seems to have the advantage over someone with a basic arm.
             Although Gobber does have a prosthetic arm and leg, his disability is never blatantly or negatively mentioned - it's just a fact, a reality of his life. In this culture it is simply assumed that a Viking is a Viking. Regardless of your build or any accompanying helpful tools, if you fight dragons you are as valid and valuable as anyone else. There is a moment towards the end the film when Gobber's disability is subtly mentioned. However, it is not dwelt upon or used against him, rather Gobber's personality triumphs over his inability. This moment takes place when his best friend Stoick the Vast decides he needs to create an opportunity to buy some time so his people can flee.

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