"How to Train Your Dragon" (and How to Train Your Kid to Embrace Nonviolent Conflict Resolution)

It took me a while to get into Dreamworks' new animated extravaganza, How to Train Your Dragon—I didn't care for the noisy opening battle sequence or the logic-defying dragon "school" subplot—but once I did I found it to be a fun, emotional, and intellectually stimulating piece of work. (Also, I was initially distracted by how buttery my fingers were getting from my popcorn. I over-pumped! I OVER-PUMPED!)

At the risk of being mocked about reading too much into things (as in the recent, hilarious Catcher in the Rye episode of South Park), I think How to Train Your Dragon doubles as a primer for nonviolent conflict resolution.

I am reminded by Phil Ochs's famous line from his signature song, "I Ain't Marching Anymore": "It's always the old to lead us to the war/It's always the young to fall." It's a sentiment that's somewhat echoed in Dragon, as it's an every-child who challenges his elders' traditional notions on how best to settle disputes. The old want dragon blood; the young just want to pet them.

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