Sharks are predatory fish that live world-wide, mostly in saltwater. They appear very minimally in the How to Train Your Dragon Franchise.
Sharks encompass a wide variety of cartilaginous fish. Many are top predators of the seas, but can occupy a variety of niches. They are most widely noted for their classic dorsal fin, many rows of sheddable teeth, and moveable upper jaw (it is not attached to its cranium).
A few notable species that occur in Scandinavian waters that Vikings may have come across include:
- Greenland Shark - A large shark than can live for over 200 years.
- Common Thresher Shark - Known for its very long tail.
- Basking Shark - The second largest fish alive, and eats plankton.
- Porbeagle - Lives into the Arctic Ocean and prized for its meat.
Despite mentions in the Franchise, Hammerhead Sharks are found in more temperate waters, and are not found in the North Atlantic, Artic Ocean, or North Sea, which is where Vikings would typically encounter them.
In the How to Train Your Dragon Franchise, sharks are only an accessory, mainly seen as furniture, especially as a sleeping pallet. They are also seen as adversarial and predatory, as in the Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon. Since the Hairy Hooligan Tribe ate fish as a significant part of their diet and culture, it can be assumed that Shark was on the menu, occasionally, too.
In actuality, a signature Icelandic dish is made from fermented Greenland Shark. Its flesh, without proper preparation, is actually toxic. In order to circumvent this toxicity and also have a preserved food, Greenland Shark was cleaned and buried whole in sand and gravel for about 2-4 months, then removed and hung to dry in the cold open air for a few more months. The dish is called Hakarl, and it or a variation of it may very well have been eaten by Vikings.
In the Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon, Gobber's story of his relationship and encounters through his life with the Boneknapper involved an incident with Hammerhead Sharks. They were attempting to eat him as he tried to get to another island to escape the Boneknapper.
In Cast Out, Part 1, Tuffnut and Ruffnut took over Snotlout's and Hookfang's stall at the Academy, when Snotlout was suspended. Tuffnut had a flattened shark for decoration and was later seen playing and dancing with it when he heard that Snotlout was still suspended.
- Sharks are also mentioned in the How to Train Your Dragon Books, in How to Ride a Dragon's Storm, Gobber told the Vikings participating in the Intertribal Friendly Swimming race that their hunting dragons were going to fly above them while they swim to protect them from sea creatures, including sharks.
|The FLORA and FAUNA of How to Train Your Dragon|