Tintin Forums

Tintin Forums / Official Tintin books /

Prisoners of the Sun: The eclipse

Page  Page 1 of 3:  1  2  3  Next » 

laura
Member
#1 · Posted: 26 Sep 2004 11:03 · Edited by: Moderator
How is it that, when Tintin reads the scrap of newspaper which Snowy was playing with, he knows exactly when the eclipse is coming and when it ends?
Because an eclipse does not stay there forever - Tintin says things like "Oh mighty god, let thy sun shine again" to fill the time.

P.S.: The scrap of newspaper that had details of the eclipse, was the wrapping for their box of cartridges.
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#2 · Posted: 27 Sep 2004 02:12 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
I think we have to assume that the scrap of newspaper had details of when the eclipse would begin and when it would end. For example, the newspaper may have stated that the eclipse would begin at 11.00 and the point of totality would last from 11.15 until 11.20, allowing plenty of time for Tintin's scheme to play out. I imagine that Tintin would have known that the eclipse was about to begin from the fact that the Incas were setting light to the pyre (and perhaps he could also see the sundial). The one thing I can't fathom is how Tintin would have known he was on the path of totality, which is 100 or so miles in width, unless he'd have known very accurately where he actually was! Perhaps the newspaper said something like "a total eclipse can also be seen from the temple of the sun..." ;)

It's also worth mentioning that this whole saga was actually a bit of a goof on Hergé's part as he hadn't realised until later that the Incas (at least the ancient ones) were very knowledable about eclipses and their frequencies.
jockosjungle
Member
#3 · Posted: 27 Sep 2004 08:21
Perhaps the newspaper was the Inca Sun Temple Times!

Rik
tybaltstone
Member
#4 · Posted: 27 Sep 2004 11:35
I wonder if Hergé had read Rider Haggard's 'King Solomon's Mines' where the 'heroes' also use an eclipse (but an eclipse of the moon) to frighten their captors, a lost tribe of Kukuanaland?

Being a big fan of Haggard, I always felt that Prisoners of the Sun was the closest Tintin adventure to a Haggard 'Romance'. In Solomon's Mines, one of the characters has an almanac on him which details the eclipse, not at all out of place for a Victorian adventurer.
OJG
Member
#5 · Posted: 27 Sep 2004 12:03
It was certainly quite a quick eclipse, wasn't it?
Richard
UK Correspondent
#6 · Posted: 27 Sep 2004 13:03 · Edited by: Richard
It's also worth mentioning that this whole saga was actually a bit of a goof on Hergé's part as he hadn't realised until later that the Incas (at least the ancient ones) were very knowledable about eclipses and their frequencies.

I'm sure that I read somewhere - although I cannot confirm the reliability of the source, due to my having forgotten where it was - that the Incas themselves were not as knowledgeable about eclipses as had been previously believed. Again, I don't know where I read this, it could well have been wrong, but just an idea.

Regardless of whether it's historically accurate or not, it still makes for a very exciting climax - in my opinion, one of the best in the series.
jockosjungle
Member
#7 · Posted: 27 Sep 2004 17:44
It's pretty common though for Sun God followers to be fooled by an eclipse in a book. I believe it happened to The Secret Seven.

I agree with the talk of them not understanding an eclipse, they really aren't that common, hundreds of years pass before each one passes a certain place on the globe.

Surely on any past instances, they may assume that they had displeased the Sun?

Rik
Jyrki21
Member
#8 · Posted: 28 Sep 2004 00:15
It is also possible that the 'modern' Incas had had a bout of cultural forgetfulness... this has been proven to happen (and is generally considered a sign of cultural decline into a 'dark age'.)

Urban theorist (and fellow Toronto resident) Jane Jacobs' latest book, Dark Age Ahead talks about this, with a lot of allusions to Guns, Germs and Steel.

To get back on topic, I mean that it's possible, if unlikely, that the Incas lost a lot of their prior knowledge, especially being so far out of the mainstream and putting up with political upheaval and genocide by way of Spanish conquest.
Richard
UK Correspondent
#9 · Posted: 28 Sep 2004 00:31
I agree with the talk of them not understanding an eclipse, they really aren't that common, hundreds of years pass before each one passes a certain place on the globe.

A lunar eclipse they might have had knowledge about - they're more frequent than total solar eclipses. And yes, I agree they could surely have thought that they may have displeased the Sun at the time of the last total solar eclipse.

Despite having knowledge about solar eclipses, Tintin apparently commanding one at will must have been a shock for the sun-worshippers, what with their god doing a runner when he's supposed to be putting the three of them (four, including Snowy !) to death.
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#10 · Posted: 28 Sep 2004 10:35 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
jockosjungle said
I agree with the talk of them not understanding an eclipse, they really aren't that common, hundreds of years pass before each one passes a certain place on the globe.

Total eclipses aren't that common as you say, but partial eclipses occur on average once every 2 years at a fixed point (according to Patrick Moore's book of astronomy anyway!). Perhaps that also answers my point about Tintin knowing they were on the path of totality - he couldn't have, but maybe he figured that a partial eclipse would be enough to do the job :)

OJG said
It was certainly quite a quick eclipse, wasn't it?

I had another look at the passage and noticed that just before the pyre is lit the Thompsons are near to the Sphinx in Egypt. Later, as Tintin & co. are being set free, the Thompsons appear again at a very European looking 'dodgems' (or maybe there's some funfair rides near the Great Pyramid?)

Page  Page 1 of 3:  1  2  3  Next » 

Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the Forum Posting Guidelines.

Disclaimer: Tintinologist.org assumes no responsibility for any content you post to the forums/web site. Staff reserve the right to remove any submitted content which they deem in breach of Tintinologist.org's Terms of Use. If you spot anything on Tintinologist.org that you think is inappropriate, please alert the moderation team. Sometimes things slip through, but we will always act swiftly to remove unauthorised material.

Reply



  Forgot your password?
Please sign in to post. New here? Sign up!