Just where do the Night Furies come from? And is Toothless really the last of his kind? We have a long time to wait before How to Train Your Dragon 3, but it's likely that solving this mystery will be a large part of the plot. And there may be more clues in the first two films than you'd expect!
When Hiccup first encounters Toothless in How To Train Your Dragon, his first step is to try and find out more. But he just encounters an enigmatic warning, along with a rough sketch of a Night Fury. The author's note goes like this..
"Speed: Unknown. Size: Unknown. The unholy offspring of lightning and death itself. Never engage this Dragon. Your only chance, hide and pray it does not find you."
Of course, we soon find out that Toothless can be as sweet as a kitten, though he is also one of the most powerful dragons we encounter. But the warning does prove that Vikings have encountered Night Furies before, though they are very rare. It would be easy to just assume that this is a solitary species, dragons that use their intelligence and dark camouflage to hide from humans. However, Valka's revelations in How to Train Your Dragon 2 dropped hints that Toothless may be all alone in the world...
Solving the mystery
Despite the Night Fury's rarity, Valka seemed to have encountered them before. She knew how to reveal Toothless' spines, and she also suggested that he may be alone in the world.
How could she know this? There's a big difference between dragons being rare and completely extinct. Up until this point, we had assumed that Night Furies kept to themselves, and their lethal nature dissuaded anyone from looking for them. Yet Valka seems to know Night Furies: could she hold the secrets of Toothless' origins? It's possible that her old foe, Drago, may have had a hand in the Night Furies' demise. But we'll get to that later. Let's look at some reasons why we haven't seen other Night Furies, and why mass extinction is quite likely...
Shy species or victims of hunting?
From Toothless' appetite and behaviour, we can tell that maybe Night Furies are just not native to the Vikings' cold Northern lands. Toothless eats mainly fish, so his natural habitat would be near a large body of water. As he can swim well, and hold his breath for a long time, it's possible this could be an ocean. So far, this lines up with where Hiccup lives. But Toothless also prefers to be warm, protecting himself against the cold nights by heating his nest with his fiery breath.
Perhaps this is because Night Furies are used to a warmer climate. It's possible that Toothless could have flown too far as a baby, and got lost. Maybe the Night Furies do exist, but they are further South than the Vikings have ever ventured.
Or is Valka hiding a darker secret? The Night Furies might have been hunted to the brink of extinction by Drago and his people! Drago does seem to recognise Toothless as a Night Fury, and we know nothing about who he is or where he comes from, just that it is a "strange land". And take a close look at Drago's coat: does this look like Night Fury hide to you?
Dean DeBlois, director of How To Train Your Dragon 3, recently revealed that Drago would indeed return for the next film, and that we would find out more about him.
“You have to wait until the third film to actually see where Drago’s character goes. He’s a lot more complex than he’s presented in this second installment.”
If the movie also reveals the secrets of Toothless' origins, could the mysterious absence of the Night Furies be connected to Drago's past?
One thing's for certain: if we find out more about Toothless' family, How To Train Your Dragon 3 will be an emotional rollercoaster!