An enormous percentage of communication occurs non-verbally. This explains why text messages or even phone calls cannot compare to a real live interaction with another person. And it explains why watching the body language in well-done live action or animated…
Aaah this is all the stuff I’ve thought about it but never bothered to put into words.
Also I feel like it really shows that they had this huge cycle of misunderstanding. Stoick came off way more, well, stoic than he actually felt. His conversation with Gobber made it clear he did care about Hiccup, he was worried about his future, about him surviving, worried about him going into dragon training since he was afraid he’d die, but knowing he had to learn to survive, especially as Gobber pointed out that he wasn’t going to always be around to protect him.
He DID love him but he did not understand him or know how to show it at ALL and because of it Hiccup interpreted it as he was a total disappointment and went overkill trying to prove himself all the time. Which made Stoick more worried about him and disappointed in him.
Presumably he wasn’t always that way. After all, at one point Hiccup was a tiny child and his dad had to show enough love at some point in his life to make him want more of it.
And we do see that in the second movie. Stoick saves him as a baby like he’s the most precious cargo in the world and according to Valka was the bragging father talking about how despite how tiny he was. he’d grow up to be the strongest of them all. In his early years, as his only parent, he was probably a bit more doting. It was probably as Hiccup got older and no bigger and more awkward and more hard to understand that the rift began to grow and so did the physical distance and lack of affection.
Which might explain why Hiccup was so desperate to prove himself to get it all back.