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The Blue Lotus: general discussion

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Fungry
Member
#31 · Posted: 17 Jun 2005 09:30 · Edited by: Moderator
[Moved from a duplicate thread. Note to poster: welcome to our community, Fungry. Please be sure to search for existing topics before creating a new thread in the future, thanks!]

The Blue Lotus: one of my favourites. I find to be one of the most detailed and well written Tintin adventures. The Blue Lotus really shows what a great artist and the 4th frame on page six of the colour edition is amazing [see for yourself!]. It illustrates Tintin travelling down a bustling Shanghai street in a richshaw. It also shows greatly the political happenings of that time. One thing I have noticed is that on the cover of the english colour edition tintin is hiding in a beautiful vase with a fine picture of a bird on the side. Although Tintin does hide in a vase in the story the one he hides in has a different picture on the side. Strange.
What do other people think of The Blue Lotus?
yamilah
Member
#32 · Posted: 17 Jun 2005 23:18 · Edited by: Moderator
[Post content removed. Sorry, for legal reasons, users are asked to refrain from linking to sites that offer unauthorized Tintin-themed material. Thanks!]
Snowy
Member
#33 · Posted: 18 Jun 2005 01:07 · Edited by: Moderator
Ah, Tintin and the Blue Lotus! I just re-read this book for the umpteenth time the night before last! It's one of my particular favourites. I am astonished by how much Herge manages to squeeze into 62 pages! He crafts a tale that encapsulates the struggles of a small Chinese family within a tangible historical national crisis allowing the reader of any generation to not only relate but be transported to that time.

In considering what album Spielburg might pick for his latest movie I thought that this, for these sheer epic proportions, would make a great choice. I honestly can't see it happening however, for the sensitive political realities that exist in the period the story is set during are unfortunately still obviously prevalent to some extent for many people in the present day.

As with many of the early Tintin adventures, we see the protagonist literally walk us through the story for the most part (until he meets Chang) by himself. I love this aspect of the story! I don't find following Tintin trudge through dimly lantern lit back alleys as he cogitates in the pouring rain dull in the slightest! There might not be Haddock to provide comic relief, or at least an ear to our hero, but in some ways, I feel that I (as the reader!) am the ear for him there in China, and that I am experiencing everything too!

Tintin's character can also be seen to adopt more of a comical role and even express more character in general than is seen in later albums with the absense of anyone else in this story to completely fill that position. It's great to see him laugh, flare up in anger, cry, or just grin in mirth as he drinks a bowl of soup after flooring Mitsuhirato.

But beyond Mitsuhirato, the dangers he faces are (or at least were for many people) very real and for that part I feel, a lot more scary than in most of his other adventures. The fact that he pulls through and wins the day is not tarnished in the outrageous, however - as is kindof the case with Tintin in America. Tintin, Chang and Wang and family may be safe at the end, but the rest of the world clearly isn't. Herge skillfully sets the scene for the real events that will lead up to the second world war in asia with a few panels of history just before he closes the story for its principle characters.

Who knows what he must have been thinking at the time he finished this book? It is evident that things were just beginning to heat up at that time. I guess that in such a period of uncertainty he must have been pretty scared sometimes. One thing is for sure, after the Blue Lotus, Herge never touched real events directly again. Sure he alluded to them with analogous situations, but this album sees Tintin put into a real world crisis for the last time... and if at least for that, it's a very special part of the collection, I think!

--
Incidentally, I wonder if the Japanese delegate to the League of Nations who is so unflatteringly portrayed in some of the final panels can be added as a real-life figure to Jock123's new list of cameo appearances...

--
[Edited by Moderator. Combined 2 consecutive posts.]
marsbar
Moderator
#34 · Posted: 18 Jun 2005 05:38 · Edited by: marsbar
Fungry wrote: The Blue Lotus really shows what a great artist and the 4th frame on page six of the colour edition is amazing [see for yourself!]. It illustrates Tintin travelling down a bustling Shanghai street in a richshaw.

A bit of trivia: the frame mentioned is clearly based on a photograph of old Beijing. I recently stumbled across an almost identical scene (minus Tintin, of course!) in a photograph taken in the early 1900s, in a pictorial guide of old Beijing, at Kinokuniya Books in Sydney.
igagli
Member
#35 · Posted: 20 Jun 2005 17:18
Harakiri means the highest apology for Samurai.
If Mituhirato is evil man, he never kill himself.
I feel Mituhirato's suicide is easygoing plot.
edcharlesadams
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#36 · Posted: 20 Jun 2005 17:46
Harakiri means the highest apology for Samurai.
If Mituhirato is evil man, he never kill himself.
I feel Mituhirato's suicide is easygoing plot.


I think this highlights a difference in cultures that Hergé was probably aware of.

Mitsuhirato was working as a Japanese agent. Therefore to redeem himself to Japanese society he was honour-bound to commit hara-kiri, proving his repentance and enduring nobility.

To Western eyes however, and especially in Catholic Belgium, suicide was viewed as the last act of a coward. To Hergé's readers then Mitsuhirato was ungodly and ignoble. This dichotomy between West (Europe) and East (Japan) reinforces the anti-Japanese nature of the book in view of the occupation of China.

If Tintin had an equivalent in Japan at the time, no doubt his enemy would have been too "cowardly" to commit hara-kiri, thus condemning him equally in Japanese eyes!

In terms of suicide there is the possible exception of Wolff, though Hergé was keen to point out the difference between suicide for personal gain and sacrificing oneself for the benefit of others.

Ed
yamilah
Member
#37 · Posted: 18 Apr 2006 23:28

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