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Black Gold: Haddock's presence in Wadesdah?

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#31 · Posted: 6 May 2008 07:05
Moved from another thread:
Remember in The Land of Black Gold, when the Captain suddenly showed up? He had been absent for nearly the entire adventure*, only telephoning once to say that he had "Admiralty orders" and was leaving immediately.

That in itself is a mystery: Captain Haddock is retired. At the climax of Tintin's adventure, Haddock appears without explanation and assumes his position at Tintin's side.

It is only after all is said and done that Haddock tries to tell his story, over a good smoke. "Well...Pff...It's like this...Pff...I think I told you...Pff...it's quite simple really...Pff...and at the same time rather complicated...Would you believe it...Pff...I...Pfff..." At this point the Captain's cigar explodes, compliments of Abdullah. The Captain stalks off in rage, and he never finishes his narrative.

So here is my question: what was the Captain doing while Tintin was in Khemed? Is it a possibility that Tintin is not the only adventurer? Captain Haddock is an older man, with Tintin only a recent acquaintance. Much of Haddock's life happened without Tintin. We are free to wonder what he did with it.

*Note: Reality has an explanation for this seemingly suspicious plot hole. The Land of Black Gold was begun in 1939. Its anti-German implications and political references were dangerous topics in the days of the Swastika.

Hergé's next book was The Crab with the Golden Claws, concerning less touchy subjects. Consequently The Land of Black Gold remained unifinished until 1948.

By this time Captain Haddock had been introduced to the cast and much of The Land of Black Gold did not reflect this. He was therefore "written out" of a large portion of the book, to retain the basic plot.
#32 · Posted: 7 May 2008 08:50
Quite a few possible explanations I suppose, and quite a few of them discussed in this thread already. Hope that helps!

(No, I've got absolutely no idea myself, have to ask Archibald the next time we meet.)
cigars of the beeper
#33 · Posted: 7 May 2008 18:09
I guess if he had been mobilized, he must have ended up sailing to Khemed for some reason.
#34 · Posted: 7 May 2008 19:44 · Edited by: Triskeliae
' The Land of Black Gold' was started before Captain Haddock was introduced to the book series. When Hergé redid it, he added the character, but the author himself couldn't find a reason or explanation that justified Haddock's presence, so, he just confessed that through the character:
..."it's quite simple really...Pff...and at the same time rather complicated...Would you believe it..."

It was quite simple to add Archibald to the story, but hard to understand how he got there. Simply put, even Hergé didn't know, but the result was quite ingenious and funny!

About his family history- that's Sir Francis Haddock (The secret of the Unicorn). We know very little about his mother, though. I assume he loves her, because he cried " Mommy! Mommy!" in The Crab with the Golden Claws. He was drunk, of course.
#35 · Posted: 8 May 2008 05:34
Thanks, mondrian! I like to think that Captain Haddock has had an exciting past and still leads a dual life. Maybe that's why he's always so reluctant to join Tintin on his travels: maybe he's had his fill of adventure...
Tintin, too, seemed to be winding down in Tintin and the Picaros. Perhaps it's a cycle.
#36 · Posted: 6 Nov 2013 18:38
isn't it unlikely that a tanker would have gone to the Middle East in the early 40s? most of the oil in the area at that time was still unexploited, if not undiscovered. Of course, by the 1950s there would be nothing surprising about that. But would a retired ship captain be still mobilized by the Navy?
#37 · Posted: 7 Aug 2014 17:22
It isn't really that complicated. Due to the times Herge lived through he constantly had to find work-arounds or ways of working that didn't offend other people. Especially in the occupied times he lived in. He was a master of reinvention and putting Haddock in a story that didn't originally include him was genius.

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