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Castafiore Emerald: not much of a plot?

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#41 · Posted: 22 Jan 2011 10:20
I have to say I've always had a sneaking affection for The Castafiore Emerald, and not just because it's the second adventure I read. As a kid I loved all variations on the 'mystery in big country house' genre, and in many ways it's a wonderful subversion of that. It's a rare example to see what our heroes are like on their home turf- who, for instance, could have guessed that Cuthbert would turn out to be such a romantic? And poor Captain- he's been talking about his wish for peace and quiet since The Calculus Affair, yet he's thwarted at every turn!

I personally don't hate La Castafiore, though I can understand why people might. We must remember that not only did Herge have a deep rooted antipathy to opera but performers were much more flamboyant then, their every idiosyncracy pandered to. Yes, she's crass, silly and vain, but comes across as more human as a result. I particularly like the irony of her laughing off that article about impending nuptials, only to throw a tantrum when a less than flattering picture's published by a rival magazine. The inability to remember names is also exposed as something of a sham when the two reporters turn up- no Pillowby Frupe or Garotto for them. (Though why can't she remember Archie's when she has a mad crush on him?)

So while I can understand readers who feel slightly disappointed, expecting more exotic locations and breakneck adventures, I like the leisurely pace and the chance to get to know our leads a little better. Even if not everything's positive, eg. Nestor's casual racism, always hinted at, being expanded upon. Though that in itself is a good object lesson for kids. Characters aren't black and white but shades of grey.
#42 · Posted: 20 Nov 2011 22:44
I love "The Castafiore Emerald". I don't see how anybody can find it boring, as it's so full of humor. I didn't even dislike it as a kid, and it wasn't until I was an adult, that I realised that this is the only album, where Tintin doesn't do any travelling. But I can only applaud Hergé for being able to pull such an atypical album off, and so well at that. But then, "Tintin in Tibet" had been very atypical as well, as it has no villains (unless you want to count the yeti, but you really can't), but is so full of emotions. "The Castafiore Emerald" doesn't have any villains either (at least not of the usual kind), but instead of emotions, it's full of laughter.
#43 · Posted: 21 Nov 2011 05:54
I always thought The Castafiore Emerald was one of the best. It is missing all the elements of a Tintin classic, yet it possesses all the elements of a Tintin classic at the same time. There's no international adventures, no one's life is in danger, there's no conspiracy with Rastapopoulos behind it or something like that.

Yet, it leaves you in much suspense, as any of the more typical stories. You always think there's going to an international manhunt to get the emerald back, yet the "thieves" are photographers and it turns out to be a Magpie of all things. I can just see Hergé laughing when he finished it. A great "gotcha" gag, and of course it's Captain Haddock's finest hour.
His quote "If this is luck, then give me disaster", when he finds out he has to be in a wheelchair the whole time Bianca is there, is just classic.
#44 · Posted: 21 Nov 2011 11:52
I love "The Castafiore Emerald". I don't see how anybody can find it boring, as it's so full of humor.

I couldn't agree more. I have always loved "The Castafiore Emerald". While being completely unlike any of the other Tintin adventures, it is a masterpiece in its own right. Frankly, it was relieving for me to read at least one Tintin adventure that does not involve fighting crime and criminals! I loved reading about Tintin and Captain Haddock's day-to-day life (which, of course, gets disrupted thanks to the Signora's arrival..but that's another story :D), the rumored relationship between Capt. Haddock and Castafiore (one of the best parts of the book-"My love is like a red, red rose" :P), and who can forget the dear parrot... :D

And it does have its share of adventure and suspense.. the initial mayhem with the lost jewels, (which, as it turned out, were never lost.. :D) the little lost scissors, and the actual loss of the emerald..which, we have to admit, was indeed a theft-although by a magpie..

The book has its share of tense moments as well.. at the very beginning with the Captain's sprained ankle and plaster, his later being bitten on the nose by the parrot, the Signora's necklace breaking in the garden, Castafiore's accompanist disappearing to place gambling bets, the suspense surrounding the gypsies and they later being accused of the emerald theft..and how can I forget Captain Haddock's misadventure with the red rose and the bee-nosebite!! :D

Before I quote the entire story here, let me just say..I certainly don't agree with anyone who thinks this is a boring book..it is, while being very different from the other Tintin adventures, an outstanding piece of creation-which goes to shows how Herge could create a masterpiece from a seemingly routine story of daily country life.
#45 · Posted: 22 Nov 2011 02:29 · Edited by: Tintinrulz
I thought it was fairly boring as a young child but I've grown to appreciate it far more as a teenager and an adult. That's not to say that it's one of my favourites, but it's probably one of Herge's best works in terms of overall quality.
#46 · Posted: 3 Dec 2011 11:59
I didn't get it much either, but growing up, I reread our rather pitiful and obsolete Tintin library (consisting of five books) and enjoyed this one. It had a fairly intriguing plot, as ever. And it's the closest look we have at the Tintin gang's 'ordinary' lives. Now I have a habit of screaming 'MERCY, MY JEWELS!' whenever something tragic happens. :D
#47 · Posted: 9 Dec 2011 21:46
I agree that the plot was definitely weaker than most other albums, considering it is the only book where Tintin and co. never leave the Moulinsart castle. I guess Hergé was in a less-inspired phase, I also think the Calculus Affair had a weak plot (compared to much stronger preceding books) but thankfully, the Moon saga and the Picaros more than made up for these weak titles.
#48 · Posted: 10 Dec 2011 01:31
That was a joke right? The Castafiore Emerald may not be to everyone's liking but the plot is as clever as they come, for what is essentially a home-based Tintin adventure. As for The Calculus Affair, it's very different but that's also a marvelous title. Finally, Tintin and the Picaros is a weak title but the Moon books are very good (they also were created long before any of these albums.
#49 · Posted: 10 Dec 2011 04:10
The Castafiore Emerald may not be to everyone's liking but the plot is as clever as they come, for what is essentially a home-based Tintin adventure

I agree, and I think that in this story, it is where Tintin acts like a detective most compared to other stories, and it is where the story plot so... detective. When I was 8, aside from Tintin, I watched a lot of detective anime series, such as Detective Conan. After I watched those series, I wander if Tintin could be as great as the detective from the series, since I knew Tintin has some ability needed by a detective (you know, deduction skill and so on). And Castafiore's Emerald proves that.
#50 · Posted: 10 Dec 2011 19:05
I'v just finished reading one of Michael Farr's books, he make's a comment on The Castafiore emerald. He says that at one point on his life, Herge was depress (probly because of the presser of constantly having to create more and more Tintin books). Around the time of creating Tintin in Tibet, his depression Finlay wared of when he married his second wife(Fanny Vlamynck). In The Castafiore emerald, we can see how good he felt around that time, since you see that it all happins at marlinspike. I don't think it's Herge's best book, but I still think its pretty good.

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