I’ll add reference links in the future, then because I think avoiding terminology is equally the cause of miscommunication, these days. Simple is only best if it is also a complete explanation.
Reese’s Mission is to protect Sarah. He’s 100 percent in Avoid and she is 100 percent in being pursued until the end. But, here we have a terminology problem due to equivocation because the elements of an archetypal protagonist are a crutch even if we only look at Pursuit and Avoid.
The Archetypal Protagonist (collection or semi-collection of character elements) isn’t the same thing as the Subjective Protagonist (the person we root for or against depending on how we feel, nor is this the MC by definition). The Objective Protagonist, as I’m referring to it, is the one that is building up justifications in the OS to close the goal outcome out. Even though Avoid is the Solution, Reese is clearly building up the justifications in the OS until Sarah Connor can step up to the plate and do her part to keep the time loop consistent, while Cyberdyne’s Terminators are clearly set to tear down the justifications of the pre-existing time loop.
Making these distinctions has helped us immensely to clarify goals in stories. I spoke with Julie this morning and neither of us feel the Goal was set right last night for Wolfwalkers even though the end feels triumphant. We have had to defend this position in How to Train Your Dragon quite a few times, as has @jhull , and there are a lot of similarities with the dragons going from pests to pets as the wolves go from feared to embraced, among other clues, when the goal fails.
In both films, setting the father as the protagonist goes a long way to make it a kid’s story. Where I think they differ is in the Antagonist Role. I believe we have a complex MC in wolfwalkers with Robyn caught in the middle and Mebh is set as the Antagonist while, in HTTYD, Hiccup is the MC/Antagonist. Consider the Lord Protector as a Guardian who is advancing civilization into pagan territory while Mebh, Mammy and Wolves work to scare off the townies. Clearly they want to dissuade through fear rather than bloodshed since they heal anyone who gets physically hurt. This is also evidence for why the conflict in the OS is more about the subconscious fears people have toward the pagans and the wolves as each attempts to deny the other’s ideology. Is the physical jeopardy not largely quarantined to Robyn’s throughline and the relationship throughline she has with her parents?
It seems to me that the Antagonist stole the show in this one while we got to feel what it is like to be trapped between worlds through the MC. How many little girls feel caught between following their parents rules and embracing their spiritedness? Why is that being missed? Maybe it’s because we relied on rules of thumb and tropes to keep it “simple” instead of allowing the narrative to have “as many problems as it damn well pleases” and solving from there. Would it not be better to try and understand where young women are coming from that this movie is so beloved? Was it not written for them?