- "What should we do, Old Wrinkly? You're the thinker in the tribe."
- ―Stoick in Book 1
Old Wrinkly is an Elder of the Hairy Hooligan tribe and grandfather to Hiccup. He first appears in the children's book Hiccup, The Viking who was Seasick. His role is reprised in the main Book series as a minor character, starting with How to Train Your Dragon.
Soothsaying about Hiccup's Future
Old Wrinkly reappears in How to Train Your Dragon, this time advising a much older Hiccup. He took up soothsaying and predicted that his grandson had a grand future in front of him. Old Wrinkly offered cryptic comfort to Hiccup when Hiccup realized he had grabbed the smallest most ordinary dragon possible from the Dragon Nursery.
After discovering that his dragon was very small and unremarkable, Hiccup sought out his grandfather for advice. Old Wrinkly suggested that Hiccup see things from a different perspective, such as that his dragon was not small compared to the other boys' dragons, but rather all their dragons were miniscule compared to Sea Dragons of immense size. He also suggested that perhaps their tribe needed a new type of leadership and that perhaps Hiccup would have to train his dragon the "hard way".
Don't Open the Coffin!
In How to Be a Pirate, the Hooligan Novices encounter a coffin at sea during lessons and eventually bring it back to Hooligan Village. It is the coffin of Grimbeard the Ghastly, and clearly states not to open it. Old Wrinkly and Hiccup are the only two people gathered from the village who recommend not opening the coffin, as advised. However, the tribe opens the coffin anyway and find Alvin, the-poor-but-honest-farmer inside.
Old Wrinkly is very wise and loving towards Hiccup.
He is referred to as "the thinker of the tribe" and is skilled at seeing the bigger picture of things, such as referring the Thors'day Thursday initiation as a "piddly little test", and realizes the danger of it lightening the sleep of a few very large and ancient Sea Dragons. He is usually depicted as a wise, frail old man smoking a pipe.
Old Wrinkly is, as his name suggests - old and wrinkly. He is rather thin and gangly. In Hiccup the Viking Who Was Seasick, Old Wrinkly is depicted as having red hair, as opposed to white or grey hair as one might assume. His beard is longer than he is tall and tapers to a messy point. His helmet is dark and conical, with two very curled horns.
Old Wrinkly fancies himself a soothsayer for the tribe, but most think he is incorrect in his predictions. However, as the reader finds out, his predictions are not necessarily wrong, but not obvious.
- "He had taken up soothsaying in his old age and he kept on telling Hiccup how he had looked into the future and that Hiccup was destined for great things."
- ―How to Train Your Dragon
Old Wrinkly is also the Tribe's healer.
Old Wrinkly is Hiccup's grandfather on his mother's side. He is the one who tells Hiccup 'the world is changing' and a new generation of heroes is needed. He is very observant and watchful over Hiccup, finding out he is a friend to most dragons by spying on him. He is fluent in Latin and (against the wishes of his father) teaches it to Hiccup, saying it will "come in handy someday".
Although it was not specifically shown in the books, Old Wrinkly and Valhallarama had a good relationship. As she was his daughter he was quite protective of her, because of this he set an impossible task if anyone wanted her. Many people failed the task including Humongously Hotshot the Hero. In his ‘older’ age he did regret how cruel the task was.
Stoick the Vast was his son-in-law. Because of their age gap and also Stoick being a typical Viking-type, they didn’t have a close relationship. Old Wrinkly always tried to reason with Stoick when he was acting without much logic. In Stoick’s perspective, Old Wrinkly was quite an unreliable soothsayer and thought he might be going a little seanile.
- While he has never appeared in the film franchise, an item called Old Wrinkly's Cauldron can be purchased in the School of Dragons game.
- Like Valhallarama, Old Wrinkly had concept art for the film, but was later scrapped.