Consider which characters get developed in the film. There are three: Hiccup, Stoic, and Astrid. They not only appear in that order, but their development and time spent as the focus of the movie corresponds to their time as the focus within the first few minutes. Even though Gobber is present, he's never the real focus. You know this because Gobber is used to tell us more about Hiccup (and later about Stoic or dragons) but never about himself. However, Stoic has a few scenes where he is the star of the scene and Astrid has one moment in the opening as well where she's the star. Now if you argue there's a fourth character, I would agree if you mean all of dragons. This is because they also take the focus as Hiccup informs us about a few of them which happens quite a bit throughout the film but at a good pace.
It's actually amazing that for a movie that has very nice visuals to realize that it is so great even without them. However, I have to admit that the visuals are fantastic. Not only are they beautiful, but they are well-shot. I recently saw Big Hero 6 and was underwhelmed by it's visuals and flight scene because I kept comparing it to HTTYD. No matter how much I could try to avoid comparing the two, in every regard I saw HTTYD as the much better movie in the areas where they were similar (the first flight scene). This one I can watch the scenes over and over again but I cannot do that with Big Hero 6. If you were to ask me why, I would argue that part of it is the music.
Music is meant to complement the scene. In Big Hero 6, there is a main theme but it has vocals which end up distracting from the scene. In How to Train Your Dragon, they are never distracting from the scene but rather emphasize whatever is happening. There is one peace that I feel like drags on a little bit in the Forbidden Friendship song, but that's okay because when you pair it with the actual activity on-screen, it works perfectly. You know you have a great soundtrack when you can imagine the movie and get excited just by listening to the music (Besides Star Wars and LOTR, only one other soundtrack got me so excited and that was for Hero of Time by George Powell which is far better than the movie it was made for).
That's all I have for today and I believe all I have for covering this topic. If you asked me, there probably something else I can praise HTTYD for but I should probably return to writing Neostriker if not work on learning how to make video games. At least now you have a recommendation for a movie to watch if you are looking for one.
J. D. Nyle