Species: Night Fury
Featured in: How To Train Your Dragon (Film Series)
Voiced By: Non-Applicable
Toothless is quite likely one of the most popular dragons to date, in no small thanks to the Dreamwork’s films and television series all based on a book series wherein he is not a Night Fury, but a species akin to the Terrible Terrors and is, quite literally, without any teeth whatsoever. Still, this version of Toothless is still quite the amazing specimen of dragon to behold. One of the first dragons to be tamed by Vikings of Berk, or more specifically by one Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, it was because of Toothless that the centuries long animosity between Vikings and dragons came to an end at long last.
To me, what makes Toothless an interesting character is that he is a crippled dragon. Thanks to his capture via Hiccup, Toothless lost one of the two fins at the end of his tail, making it impossible for him to fly properly. The tail fins are used primarily for steering and without it, Toothless could only go up or down and any attempt he made at going any other direction would result in him crashing into something.
Hiccup was able to create a prosthetic for him and together, the two of them could take to the skies once more and their friendship only grew closer when Hiccup lost his own leg, making the two of them equal in a way that I’ve yet to see. That one moment at the end of the first film, when Hiccup is helped outside his home by Toothless and we see a brief look at the dragon’s own lost limb, always resonates with me. It was a powerful moment in ways that I can’t justify with mere words alone.
As a species, Night Furies are incredibly intelligent to a point where they can actively fight against the control of “queen” dragons such as the Red Death and, if properly motivated, an Alpha like Drago’s Bewilderbeast. Night Furies are especially curious creatures that will try to mimic actions they find interesting such as when Toothless mimicking Hiccup’s smile never mind his own attempts at drawing. While Toothless has demonstrated full sapience, in the sense of actual speech, there’s no mistaking that he can understand human language as he all but freaked out when Hiccup mentioned that there was an eel in the basket of fish. There’s also the numerous faces and vocalizations that Toothless makes in his attempt at communication.
Being a nocturnal hunter, Toothless can use echolocation to see in the dark but what makes him an especially deadly dragon is both his incredible wingspan, reaching close to forty-eight feet from tip to tip, and his breath weapon. Though he doesn’t have the largest wingspan, Toothless’ wings make him one of the most agile of dragons in the air, reaching speeds that few other species can reach and with a maneuverability that is completely unrivaled.
As to his breath weapon, it was what earned his kind the narrative prose of being “the children of lightning and death.” In short, whereas most dragons breathe fire, or some variation thereof, Night Furies like Toothless breathe plasma. Great balls of it strong enough to destroy a Viking tower in a single hit and he can even charge their inner flames to a point where he is literally aglow with heat and power.
One interesting trait of Night Furies, and what earned Toothless his name, is their strange ability to retract their teeth. While no reason is ever outright stated in the films or television series, the most popular fan theory is that Night Furies can do this as a means of carrying their young in their mouths without harming them, much like how crocodile mothers. Considering that freshly hatched baby dragons are incapable of flying and most other species of dragon can’t carry their young in such a way, it does make more sense than simply “because” at any rate.
While Toothless ranks at number three for my top ten favorite dragons, it was a literal coin toss between him and the top two. Toothless is one of the few dragons I’ve seen in fiction that isn’t sapient, but possessing far more character than those that are. You can watch him and see that there’s an actual personality to him as you could a dog or a cat and though he doesn’t speak, you know almost precisely what he’s saying with mere looks alone.