Romantic Flight: More than just a Love Song

Throughout history, there have many renditions of your typical love song. Music has always been at the forefront of artistic mediums that man has chosen to express their love through, whether it be for another person or thing that is a part of their life. It has allowed people to communicate various forms of love: intense, forbidden, unrequited, and many others.

There are many examples of love songs that have survived throughout time, but one of the best examples of a modern love song is John Powell’s Romantic Flight written for the movie How to Train Your Dragon. Romantic Flight is more than just a love song. While the term “romance” is included in the name of the piece, it tells a story of not only love, but trust and acceptance.

The beginning of the piece opens with a solo violin whose only support is a choir in the background. As the main character Hiccup takes Astrid the love interest on her first flight on the back of a dragon, it is his job to lead the situation as she is timid and scared about the experience. This is reflected in the solo violin as it introduces the piece and takes charge of leading the ensemble. At first, there is only Hiccup, the violin, as Astrid does not yet trust him and what is going on. After all, she is a Viking that was trained from birth to kill dragons. But gradually, as the piece continues on with the scene, Astrid opens her eyes and begins to notice the beauty of the sky around her as the dragon Toothless soars into the cloud range. As this is happening, more and more instruments begin to join in on the melody. It is no longer just the violin playing, and with more instruments, there is more support.

At around the 0:43 mark, the piece begins to shift into a new musical idea. With Astrid’s growing trust in hand, Hiccup allows Toothless to elevate their flight as they trio soar amongst the pillars of clouds, even executing a complete 360-degree turn. At the culmination of the new musical idea, Astrid has fully embraced the situation as Toothless flies above the clouds where an aurora borealis can be seen. They continue their flight for a bit with the music continuing to grow and evolve, eventually climaxing as their home returns to their view. Toothless glances at Astrid and smiles, noticing her enjoyment. Astrid wraps her arms around Hiccup for a brief moment as they fly around the outskirts of their village. The music now involves the entire orchestra, each part and instrument supporting one another in a final culmination of the melody and supporting ideas.

As the scene slowly comes to an end, Astrid confirms her newfound trust and acceptance of Hiccup and his companionship with Toothless the dragon saying “It’s amazing… he’s amazing” in reference to Toothless. With that, the scene is over and the music ends with the full string section playing the melody one last time. It is no longer just Hiccup in his mission to save the dragons and show his village that they’re not the monsters they think they are, but Astrid as well.