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Explorers on the Moon: did Wolff cut the wires?

rich23434565
Member
#1 · Posted: 15 May 2005 14:53 · Edited by: Moderator
One aspect of 'Explorers on the Moon' has left me wondering ever since I first read it 20 years ago.

On page 29, after Calculus has nearly been squashed under one of the crates that fell from the unloading port of the moon rocket, Tintin states that the wires holding the crate have been worn through by friction.

Later in the story, on page 46, and once Wolff's duplicity has been revealed, Tintin asks Wolff if he was responsible for the falling crate. Unfortunately Haddock intervenes before Wolff can answer so we're left wondering whether the falling crate was an accident or part of Wolff's diabolical scheme!

I know it's a fairly irrelevant point, and no answer is going to be the right one, but I'd be interested to know what other Tintinologists think. I'm of the opinion that it was an accident, that friction did indeed sever the wires and that, in this one instance at least, Wolff was blameless.

What a wonderful creation Wolff is, 'that wolf in sheep's clothing'. Only Herge could've inserted such a complex character into a comic strip book and make him believable.
:-D
snafu
Member
#2 · Posted: 15 May 2005 15:48 · Edited by: Moderator
When that part I also found it hard to believe that friction from the journey could have caused the wires to break. I can't imagine anything directly related to the journey (acceleration into liftoff, flight, or landing) that could have caused that sort of damage.

Conversely, however, there is no real evidence at that point in story that Wolff would have caused damage, although, as the journey progresses, it becomes increasingly likely that he was responsible. But most if this is probably speculation.

Interesting notion about the "wolf in sheep's clothing"; Wolff does sound like "wolf", doesn't it, leading us to that phrase. I never thought of that!
jockosjungle
Member
#3 · Posted: 15 May 2005 17:06
Surely it could have been Colonel Jorgen in the hold cutting the wires?

Rik
rich23434565
Member
#4 · Posted: 16 May 2005 01:48 · Edited by: Moderator
jockosjungle
Surely it could have been Colonel Jorgen in the hold cutting the wires?

I'm not sure even Jorgen's devious mind could've planned the crate to fall at the exact moment when Calculus was underneath it! Having said that, I'm not totally sold on the notion of the wires being frayed through friction either. It just seemed as though Wolff was getting blamed for everything: smacking Haddock over the head, the crate, the premature launching of the rocket, oh, and being the 'skeleton', of course :D

Rich
Karaboudjan
Member
#5 · Posted: 17 May 2005 08:24 · Edited by: Moderator
rich23434565
oh, and being the 'skeleton', of course :D

Blistering barnacles, this is a SERIOUS investigation! *grins*

Hmm... good point about the wires. I know absolutely nothing about the laws of physics (having gained only a very shaky pass at GCSEs), much less about those laws when applied to rocket take-off or space. I think the main reason Tintin's remark goes by without comment is this general ignorance about space and its effects- surely if there was no possibility that the wires were worn through 'naturally', and were the result of sabotage, Cuthbert would have been wondered aloud about this? (Then again he's trusting to the point of over-credulity)...

Most likely Herge put in this comment by our hero (who is usually right) to divert attention away from the possibility of saboteurs, so Wolff being unmasked as a mole and Jorgen's presence on board would be a surprise to the last moment.

Incidentally, I don't think it could have been Jorgen. It's made clear in the story he had been in hiding up until the moment he knocks Tintin out, and since so many characters were going in and out of the hold to get equipment, the chances of him moving around in there without anyone seeing him are slim. Stocky, mustachioed maniacs chivvying away at wires are very noticeable, lol!
finlay
Member
#6 · Posted: 22 May 2005 17:21
Surely it could have been Colonel Jorgen in the hold cutting the wires?

Rik


He wasn't let out of his box in the hold until later, though.
Richard
UK Correspondent
#7 · Posted: 22 May 2005 19:31
Hmm ... I suppose it would depend on how the cables were stored in transit. If, for some reason, the crate had been suspended, then the vibrations from the landing could have caused the cables to weaken. However, logically, it'd be rolled up somewhere, on a coil or on a hook, or perhaps attached to the cargo boom.

I'm not sure whether Wolff cut through the wires, though. The shutting of the outer door was probably his doing, although his conscience got the better of him. As Karaboudjan suggested, Hergé could well have put this in simply as a red herring, in between the outer door and the "queasy Wolff" bit. And after all, Tintin's (usually) always right !

And happy birthday to Hergé, who would have been ninety-eight today.
yamilah
Member
#8 · Posted: 24 May 2005 18:17
Richard
Herge could well have put this in simply as a red herring

This unexplained scene might also be kind of a 'rhetorical device' intended to point to one of the many wood boxes drawn all over the adventures, imho...
labrador road 26
Member
#9 · Posted: 13 Dec 2005 21:47
However, logically, it'd be rolled up somewhere, on a coil or on a hook, or perhaps attached to the cargo boom

Looks like the wires are wrapped to each crate and they all has its own wires. I would assume that the wires were also used to load the crates on earth. Considering that the moons gravity is only one sixth of earths is kind of strange that if the wire was strong enough to lift the crate on earth it would suddenly not be able to support the crate six times lighter.

My conclusion is that someone tampered with them, and that tampering would most likely reflect Jorgen. Maybe he somehow had the chance to do it, he seems quite resourceful, that dear colonel.
stuart
Member
#10 · Posted: 3 Jan 2006 08:23
I agree, the implication is that it is Jorgen's work even though that creates a bit of a plot hole later. It would have been completely out of character for Wolf to cut the wires (at least, without Jorgen pushing him to do it).

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