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Gronckle (Franchise)

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"Gronckles are tough. Killing one of those would definitely get me a girlfriend."
―Hiccup, opening narration in How to Train Your Dragon[src]

The Gronckle is a Boulder Class dragon, and one of the toughest (and slowest) dragons known to Vikings. It made its debut in the first film, and has made frequent appearances ever since.

Official Description

"One of the toughest dragons in our world is the Gronckle. Gronckles have gigantic heads, short bodies, and round tails. Gronckles are lazy, and spend most of their time sleeping in communal heaps. They have been known to fall asleep while flying, waking only when they crash into the ocean or the side of a mountain. Gronckles have relatively small wings that beat as fast as a hummingbird's. They are slow in the air, but make up for this with their maneuverability. A Gronckle can fly backwards, sideways, and even hover. Gronckles attack from the air, where their primary weapon is most effective. Gronckles chew rocks, melting them in their bellies and firing them as balls of molten lava."
Dragonpedia
"With its bulbous shape, tiny wings and laid-back demeanor, the wart hoggish Gronckle is proving to be a fan favorite." says , “He is a series of round balls, including warts. He’s just lazy, cantankerous and grumpy, and that makes you like him even better. The critter is known to doze off even in mid-flight as he floats about like the Goodyear blimp. But there is no denying that his fire packs a lethal punch."
―Sanders[2]

Development

"Flies like a cross between a bumblebee and a helicopter, fueled by the roar of a motorcycle."
―Simon Otto, Head of Character Animation[src]
Simon Otto also mentions that the Gronckle is inspired by a mix of a pit-bull, a crocodile, a Harley-Davidson and a helicopter[3]. While the Gronckle evidently gains inspiration from a bumblebee's stature and a helicopter's ability to hover and move in all directions, the Gronckle is also based off walruses and rhinoceroses. The animation team studied their behavior and movements, and imagined how the Gronckle would be like if it had the size and speed of a hummingbird's wings.

While most of the early concept art still preserve its stubby, segmented body, as well as warty skin, several variations on their spikes and body design exist. Gronckle by Nico Marlet, for example, features a much larger lower jaw. Whereas another concept art depicts the Gronckle with a more 'Monstrous Nightmare' like vibe, for it has a significantly longer tongue, frilly nasal horns and eye lids, smoother skin and leaf-like lobes along its back.

Physical Appearance

Egg

Gronckle eggs are the smallest of all the species. Some are a blueish color, while others are goldish, some even purple, and have a rocky appearance. They also bounce around like jumping beans. They are shown to explode when they hatch. Although the eggs are supposed to be barely larger than a marble, it shown that Meatlug's eggs to be just a bit smaller than the average Viking head and snuggly fitting inside Viking helmets.

Hatchling to Adult

The Gronckle can be a slow, lazy, and cranky bulldog-like dragon; it has been known to fall asleep mid-flight, waking only when it plunges into the sea or crashes into a mountain. They spend the majority of the day sleeping.

Because of its tremendous weight and small wings, it would seem impossible for them to fly. However, because the wings of a Gronckle beat at a speed similar to that of hummingbirds' dragonflies', or bees' wings,  it is possible for one to sustain flight. In fact, a Gronckle can fly backward, sideways and even hover in place. However because of their massive weight and small wings they are the slowest dragons in the dragon world. Its tail can be mistaken for the head if little attention is paid.

Because of its large stout body and clubbed tail, the Gronckle somewhat resembles an Ankylosaurus. It has huge jaws which it uses to hold food when carrying it to the dragon mound. It has a rather blunt nose horn and fairly stubby toe claws. Its legs are practically useless in battle, and due to its short tail it has a fairly small attack range.

Titan Wing

Titan Wing Gronckles are volcano-like in color. They are black with red striped and eyes. Their eyes have no pupils now. Their wings are gray with yellow edges. They mouth and nose are glowing yellow from the lava inside them. Beside the color, nothing else is changed from the adult form. It is unknown if the red stripes are lava or it is just their color.

Titan Wing Gronckle

Titan Wing Gronckle

Abilities

Babies' Abilities

As eggs, they have shown to be rocky like shape that shows off their Boulder Class dragon. Once they hatch the egg will explode like grenades can cause destruction.

As baby's they are able to make up of their tiny wing size with tremendous flapping velocity, like hummingbirds. Just like the adults hatchlings are able to fly forward, backward, and sideways. Haven't been confirmed, although they tried to fly, but they handle the strong winds. Baby Gronckle needs a lot of naps just like children. As they were observed to fall asleep in mid-flight.

Baby Gronckles, are said that their bark is far worse than their bite. Although they bellow and open their mouths to display their growing tusk as their teething, as they use to seldom attack one another but this hasn't yet been confirmed.

Rechargeable Firepower

The Gronckle can launch a devastating fire attack, but is limited to six shots at a time. Both its fire attack and hovering flight pattern make it a very dangerous dragon. It can simply hover slightly out of reach of the Vikings and then blast them with its powerful fire. Unlike the other dragons, the Gronckle can refill its so called shot limit fairly quickly.

Most dragons use a flammable gas, but the Gronckle eats rocks and then melts them in its stomach. So as long as there are edible rocks in the area, the Gronckles will be one of the few dragons to be able to refill their shot limit. The Gronckle's lava depends on the type of rocks they eat. They are able to produce regular flaming hot lava, lava coated rocks, Gronckle Iron, a transparent material and lava of different colors.

Jaw Strength and Jaw Expansion 

Like all Boulder Class dragons, Gronckles have extremely strong jaws, being able to crush boulders with ease. They are able to hold large boulders in their mouth to shoot back to their enemies as shown by Meatlug and also able to hold 3 fully grown sheep in their mouth. 

Strength and Combat

They have shown to have some strength able to lift heavy Vikings and some extra weight of objects, but as expected the Gronckle uses its heavy weight showing its brute strength instead as their advantage when fighting its opponents, whether they are being Vikings or Dragons. This was demonstrated by Meatlug several times like a herd of Gronckle's have shown this against the Screaming Death and proven by Meatlug to make a powerful warrior like Stoick the Vast stun on the ground for a short period of time as the same with Razorwhip as they can use their tailclub on their belly.

A Gronckle was proven for its kind to be easily get defeated in very short fight by a Night Fury. 

Gronckle Iron Creation

This one interesting fact about a Gronckles stomach is that it is able to melt down any type of rock and metal like a forge. By mixing certain minerals and ores, it is able to create an alloy called Gronckle Iron, which can be shaped into weapons and instruments that are lighter and stronger than those made of pure iron. Meatlug was able to create a large amount of Gronckle Iron, though she is unable to do so again since no one knows exactly what she ate at the time. Other mixtures allow them be magnetized and create glass (sandstone alone).

Dragon Root Immunity

Gronckles second hidden ability is that they are possible few of known dragons that are immune of Dragon Root, possibly because of their mineral-based diet. Therefore, it might be possible that the Hotburple, Grapple Grounder, and the Snafflefang might be immune too.

Bump Scatter Blast

Also, their third hidden ability is that when they are provoked or surrounded, the Gronckle will inhale deeply, the bumps on their bodies will blast off and scatter in every direction for self defense. This hidden ability, however haven't been shown yet.

Speed and Agility

Interesting enough, Gronckles are much faster on the ground than in the air. They are very maneuverable in the air, being able to go backward, sideways and even hold still to hover. As Meatlug have shown to be able to stand on their hind legs to walk.

Durability and Stamina

Gronckles have extremely tough scales, that can withstand many attacks from enemy dragons and Vikings. A wild Gronckle was shown to be able to take attacks from Viking from his mace as showing not too munch difficulties from him. This makes them one of the most toughest dragons, in terms of defense of their armor body. According to a Webisode, they can survive a crash into a mountain or fall at high altitudes. The Gronckle has shown by Gothi Gronckle that endure the lighting blast of Skrill will go down. Despite their small wings and laziness, their stamina doesn't seem to be as bad as their speed, as Gronckles (mainly Meatlug) have been shown to fly the same amounts of time as other dragons.

Weaponry

They have physical weaponry, body of armor with bumps, sword like teeth, sharp tusk, club tail, nose horn, claws, and they can use their head. Well, for Meatlug shown a useful weapon that's powerful enough against her enemy's that can stun dragons for a short period of time is their smelly gas attack such as the Screaming Death as she shown to able to use it anytime mostly when needed. Their club tail is short is actually quite a strong weapon, against both Vikings and dragons. Meatlug demonstrated this in battles with a Whispering Death and Typhoomerang.

Intelligence

In the books, they are said to be quite stupid. But in the series the Gronckles are shown by mostly Meatlug to be proven to be much smarter than they appear as Fishlegs was able to teach teaching her many skills and able to show how to stop Dragon Island to others of her species to use their lava blast.

Senses

Gronckles have a strong sense of smell, which was demonstrated several times when Meatlug found hostile Outcast Vikings from a far distance, or when she found a Changewing egg under the sand of a beach.

Behavior and Personality

They are usually pretty friendly unless something angers them, said to be sociable to most dragons and animals.

As mentioned before, Gronckles are lazy and sometimes cranky dragons. They fly slowly due to their small wings and bulky bodies, but their fire attacks are devastating. They can be sweet natured at times, especially towards their hatchlings or their riders. They are faster on the ground and if they need to move quickly, they prefer to run. But this is in the film and TV series.

As shown Gronckles have bit of dog like personality as they can apparently love to play catch. As they love to get their belly rub but according to Fishlegs they don't like to get their chins rubbed. Also they can wine like dogs when their upset as well as shown by Meatlug as she gets upset.

They love to eat dragon nip and feeding them rocks can help one train this dragon. Their main diet is rocks, but they can be fed fish. Gronckles can be easily distracted by food, munch like other dragons, and they butt heads in territorial displays like mountain goats.

Gobber found out from being a dragon doctor that these dragons hard skin has a weak spot under their belly to be tickled by a single feather.

Gronckles are said to be territorial like some other dragons, as proven by a wild Gronckle that was fighting Toothless. As Fishlegs said Gronckles can be tenacious dragon if have too.  

Weaknesses

Eating too many rocks can make them overheat, meaning that they can´t make lava. Their fire is also dependent on the type of rocks consumed, ranging from those that give them uncontrollable magnetic forces to causing them to barf out a brittle, useless, transparent substance (glass).

They are one of the slowest and laziest dragons, making it easy for them to get left behind by their herds if they fall down from falling asleep in mid flight.

Like Deadly Nadders, the Gronckle has a specific spot that, when scratched, will cause the dragon to instantly calm down, as it is a sensitive spot for the species.

Appearances

How to Train Your Dragon

The Gronckle was first seen in Hiccup's opening narration on common dragon species, picking livestock off the fields. The Gronckle is the first dragon that the Viking Trainees have to fight in the arena. It is used to teach them how to use the shield to block attacks and shown to have a six shot limit. One almost blasts Hiccup, but he is saved by Gobber the Belch. Hiccup learns from Toothless that dragons love Dragon Nip and uses this to calm down the same Gronckle in a later training session. The Gronckle is used to determine who will kill the Monstrous Nightmare and is seen subdued by Hiccup (presumably through scratching a particularly sensitive spot dragons have), earning him that right. Hiccup later gives the Gronckle to Fishlegs during the attack on the Red Death and during the battle, she hovers beside the dragon's head, allowing Fishlegs to distract the Red Death by banging on his shield. This also confuses the Gronckle and causes her to crash and flip upside-down, pinning Fishlegs who ends up being okay. The Gronckle and Fishlegs are nearly crushed by the Red Death's foot, but thanks to Snotlout's antics, it barely misses them and the Gronckle is later seen flying around the village as Fishlegs' pet dragon, Meatlug, who appeared in almost all other episodes in the series and the second film.

Gift of the Night Fury

In this short, there were several Gronckles seen on The Rookery, mating and tending to their young. They later helped Hiccup ferry a Viking Ship filled with baby dragons back to Berk.

Book of Dragons

The Gronckle's abilities and features were mentioned in this short, along with its life cycle, which composes of the Egg, Tiny Tooth, Shirt Wing, Broad Wing and the Titan Wing stages.

Dragons: Riders of Berk

In "Heather Report, Part 2", she was standing on top of the Book of Dragons when it fell on Outcast Island. Savage and a group of Outcast Soldiers attempted to get the book from her. One of the soldiers attempted to retrieve the book, but was violently attacked, and most likely killed. Savage asked if one of the others would go get the book, but the others refused. Savage had to get the book himself and, though he succeeded, he got slightly burned by the dragon.

Dragons: Race to the Edge

Season 1

Tuffnut Junior, Junior Tuffnut and Junior Tuffnut Junior first encountered Fishlegs, Meatlug, Hiccup and Toothless shortly before they were ambushed and chased away by the Catastrophic Quaken in "Quake, Rattle and Roll". The three Gronckles were temporarily relocated at Dragon's Edge with all the other Gronckles from Dark Deep, much to the annoyance of the other Dragon Riders. Later, they returned to Dark Deep and befriended the Quaken, who had become more welcoming thanks to Fishlegs and Meatlug.

Gothi was assigned to a purple Gronckle when she joined the Auxiliary Riders in "Team Astrid". She then joined the battle for the Edge, helping the gang succeed. They also appeared during their attempt to ward the Frozen Skrill away from Berk in "A Time to Skrill".

Several rouge dragons held Fishlegs captive on an island during the events of "Edge of Disaster, Parts 1 and 2". He managed to tame them when he saved a Baby Gronckle's life. It was choking, and using his knowledge on dragons, he rescued it and it promptly returned to its famiy.

During the event s of "Family on the Edge", Dagur was assigned to ride Shattermaster when he begged Hiccup to teach him to ride. Dagur was hoping for a Skrill or a Night Fury, but was a bit displeased upon seeing that he'd be riding a Gronckle. In fact, he initially thought that Shattermaster was going to be breakfast for a more powerful dragon. However, he completely changed his mind upon seeing Shattermaster's abilities.The duo then enthusiastically began training with Hiccup, and later Fishlegs. Shattermaster was said to be a fast learner, as shown by his mastery of the Inverted Gronckle Drop. When Dagur was locked up after being accused of spying for the hunters, Shattermaster broke them out, which prompted Fishlegs to comment on how well they had bonded. Upon reaching the hidden shipyard, Dagur and Shattermaster charged into battle and laid waste to the hunters' fleet.

Games

Dragons: Rise of Berk

The Gronckle appeared in Rise of Berk, along with individuals like Meatlug, Meatlug's mate and offspring, Book Wyrm, Gothi's Gronckle and an Exiled Gronckle, which is one of the Green Death's subjects.

School of Dragons

The Gronckle also appeared in School of Dragons, as one of the free dragons available for players. They are also one of the few dragons in this game that has its Titan for available, adapted from Rise of Berk.

Trivia

  • The Gronckle's wing-to-body ratio would mean it would have to beat its wings significantly faster than any hummingbird would need to flap its own wings. It would have to beat approximately 4.1 times faster than any hummingbird.
  • To train a Gronckle, one must feed it Dragon Nip or rocks.
  • They are the slowest flying dragons so far in the franchise, but are relatively fast on the ground.
  • The Gronckle's tusk-like canine teeth make the species in a sense, the warthog of the dragon world.
  • The Gronckle's wingspan is definitely not as wide as it is long.
  • Gronckles originally come from Dark Deep, as mentioned in "Quake, Rattle and Roll".

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Dradon site logo Gronckle in the Dragonpedia.
  2. 'How to Train Your Dragon' takes flight - USA Today—Page 3 of 7
  3. Otto, Simon. How to Create Your Dragon: The Inspirations Behind the Creatures. (July 10, 2014)

External Links

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