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Hidden in Plain Dialogue (Introduction)

The Not-So-Secret Intelligence of Ruffnut and Tuffnut in Netflix's 'Dragons: Race to the Edge' Series

The Twins: Ruffnut (right) and Tuffnut (left) from Netflix's "Dragons: Race to the Edge" series

Dragons: Race to the Edge is one of my top favorite Netflix series to binge. While the show is aimed at a much younger audience, much of the plot is engaging for people of all ages. There's something to be said about the pure genius of the lines of dialogue that are clearly meant to entertain the parents or older siblings watching the show with young children. One of my personal favorites is an exchange between Hiccup and Trader Johann in the "Have Dragon Will Travel Pt. 1" episode from season one. Hiccup is asking Johann why Heather, a lone dragon rider, is attacking and looting ships:

"I'm sorry Master Hiccup, but I've been sworn to secrecy. The chief of the headhunting Asmat tribe from Papua New Guinea couldn't part these lips!"

"Really? How about Stoick the Vast of the Hooligan tribe from Berk? Do you know what trade sanctions are Johann?" 

"Two words that should never be used in the same sentence?"

A young child would miss the joke in this exchange, but adults watching will most certainly be entertained.

Now, as much as I love Hiccup's character, he's not who I'm here to talk about. Hiccup, being the center of attention throughout most of the show, can draw attention away from the some of the less obvious qualities of the other characters, especially those of the twins, Ruffnut and Tuffnut Thorston. Ruff and Tuff are primarily seen as the comedic relief of the show. Due to this, they are primarily portrayed as Loki-worshipping "muttonheads" and are easily overshadowed by Hiccup and other, more prominent, characters, such as the many enemies the dragon riders face. It is very easy for a casual viewer to miss Ruff and Tuff's moments of intelligence. One might even be led to believe that these are rare moments, but they occur frequently throughout the series, making the twins an integral part of the Dragon's Edge gang.

Ruffnut and Tuffnut have as many smart moments as they do comical ones. While their worship of Loki, the Norse God of mischief, and their seeming lack of intelligence makes them appear to be nothing more than two crazy troublemakers who happen to ride a dragon; they often are actually the ones who come up with the solution to the problems the dragon riders face in an episode. I'll list some episodes from each season where the twins play a vital role here. I'll do a more in-depth episode by episode analysis of their role in the group as time goes on.

Season One

  • Episode 4: "When Darkness Falls"—On an island that is perfect for building their own dragon riders' outpost Tuffnut discovers a new species of dragon, the Night Terrors, initially thinking it is one large dragon. When he, Ruffnut, and Hiccup discover it is actually a flock of small dragons the twins capture the leader leaving the flock incapable of flocking together, which, ok, causes a problem rather than solving one as it attracts another predatory dragon to the now defenseless Night Terrors. Hiccup soon releases the leader (whom Tuffnut named Smidvarg) and the Night Terrors and the dragon riders are able to successfully chase off the predators.
  • Episode 5: "Big Man on Berk"—The twins actually identify that Fishlegs is suffering from adult onset allergies.
  • Episode 7: "Reign of Fireworms"—The twins discover they actually have a connection to Dragon's Edge and are left to "govern" the outpost on their own during a fireworm migration.

Season Two

  • Episode 3: "Night of the Hunters Pt. 2"—Ruffnut successfully steals the key to the cell she, Tuff, Astrid, and Fishlegs are held prisoner in on a dragon hunting ship.
  • Episode 4: "Bad Moon Rising"—When Tuffnut is bitten by a strange creature Ruffnut sets out to prove to her brother he is not turning into a mythical half man, half dragon called the Lycanwing.
  • Episode 6: "The Zippleback Experience"—Ok, so this episode is more about Barf and Belch, the two headed dragon Ruff and Tuff ride then the twins themselves but I still think it's worth mentioning as each dragon seems to take after its owner(s).
  • Episode 8: "Edge of Disaster Pt. 1"—When Ruffnut is captured by the dragon hunters Tuffnut and Astrid have to put aside their differences and work together to get her back and defend The Edge from the hunters.
  • Episode 9: "Edge of Disaster Pt. 2"—With Tuff and Astrid still defending The Edge alone, Ruffnut breaks free, steals Heather's dragon and goes to bring Hiccup and the other riders back to help defend The Edge.

Season Three

  • Episode 5: "Buffalord Soldier"—It's through the actions of Ruff and Tuff that Hiccup is able to figure out how to make a cure for a deadly sickness Astrid becomes infected with.
  • Episode 6: "A Grim Retreat"—Tuff discovers how to rid the dragons of a parasite they were affected by on an island retreat.
  • Episode 7: "To Heather or Not to Heather"—The twins and Snotlout discover that Fishlegs has been corresponding with Heather. Tuff also gives Hiccup the idea to invite her to The Edge for a few days to see if she wants to become a part of the team.

Season Four

  • Episode 2: "Gruff Around The Edges"—Ruff and Tuff's cousin Gruffnut comes to visit Dragon's Edge. While Tuff works hard to impress him, Ruff is suspicious of his real reason for coming.
  • Episode 7: "The Longest Day"—Ruff and Tuff prove themselves to be knowledgeable of the effects of sleep deprivation. To be honest, this is one of my favorite episodes of the entire series
  • Episode 10: "Twintuition"—The Twins uncover a secret dragon hunter operation.

Season Five

  • Episode 5: "A Matter of Perspective"—Ruff and Tuff ignore Hiccup's orders and follow a dying Eruptodon to its final resting place, an island previously thought to only be a myth.
  • Episode 11: "Snuffnut"—Tuff fakes his own death in an attempt to allow Ruff to accept a marriage proposal.

Season Six

  • Episode 5: "A Gruff Separation"—Cousin Gruffnut returns on the twins 19th birthday to administer the Thorston coming-of-age ritual.
  • Episode 7: "Ruff Transition"—While the riders are visiting one of their allies at Wingmaiden island Ruff bonds with a baby razorwhip dragon and tries to be a Wingmaiden.
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