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The Broken Ear: Under- or over-rated?

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Ramona
Member
#11 · Posted: 3 Aug 2005 02:00
I really like the Broken ear because of the fact that there are so many unasnwered questions. I think that everyone is so used to reading tintin books that have complete endings and when you read one that still have gaps that the story didnt cover, it can throw people off. I like this story because this is as realisitc as it can get!
Muller
Member
#12 · Posted: 3 Aug 2005 16:28
but the adventure seems to be so mindless, losing the gem and ruining the Fetish, and with the criminals dying. Although he did meet a lot of interesting characters in this adventure, oh and get drunk :)
ClaroQuerido
Member
#13 · Posted: 12 Aug 2005 02:51 · Edited by: ClaroQuerido
I think it is definately underrated. I don't think it has ever been overrated.

I admit that the plot is complicated and bitty. I only 'got it' completely after having read it about ten times. But that is surely a good thing. The fact that I finally understood (almost) all the intricacies of it shows that it was all there, waiting to be found, and not that the plot has holes.

Also I think the artwork is not bad. I agree it's sometimes very simple and 'iconic' (almost like 'Peanuts'), but again I think that shows Hergé's skill as an artist working within a tight schedule (plus I actually like the scenes where there is no background. They are quite a risky thing to do. Notice it doesn't only occur in this album). I loved the depiction and impression I got of San Teodoro. I found it equal to the artwork in Blue Lotus.
Karaboudjan
Member
#14 · Posted: 16 Aug 2005 21:26
I agree that it never seems to have been held in high esteem. It's a transitional album, when you think about it- after the artistry and seriousness of the Blue Lotus, capers in a banana republic seem a step down, more than anything, and Herge both as an artist and craftsman doesn't seem to have learned anything new. This at least can't be said for the following albums, where he goes from strength to strength.

(And I really can't stand the bit where the villains are dragged down to Hell. That's so gimmicky and naff!)
snafu
Member
#15 · Posted: 17 Aug 2005 01:14
Not necessarily. That scene where Tintin nearly gets knife or when he jumps into the river aren't what you'd call light material; it still gets your adrenaline running! Still not the best plot, though, in an overall sense. But the setting was not the problem; I think it's more about the ultimate resolution of the conflict.
ClaroQuerido
Member
#16 · Posted: 17 Aug 2005 13:06 · Edited by: ClaroQuerido
(And I really can't stand the bit where the villains are dragged down to Hell. That's so gimmicky and naff!)

Well, if you take it literally it does seem just stupid. But I prefer to see it as something the villains are imagining or hallucinating as they are dying (notice how much the 'demons' look like Tintin!)
snafu
Member
#17 · Posted: 17 Aug 2005 14:04
Well, if you take it literally it does seem just stupid. But I prefer to see it as something the villains are imagining or hallucinating as they are dying (notice how much the 'demons' look like Tintin!)

Interestingly enough, I once read a part from "The Perfect Storm" that describes a person's recollection of nearly drowning (but the events I'm going to describe take place over 80 years before the featured storm in that book). He recalled that as he drowned, he slowly lost consciousness and then drifted away--and then it ended as he miraculously landed ashore in South Africa, where he recovered. It is possible that this drift into unconsciousness could be accompanied by hallucinations, so that scene of the villains being dragged by demons could well be what they think they're seeing. Still, it's a weak scene because it's not consistent to Herge's style. Many people have died in Herge's work, but none have gotten this sort of attention. As for hallucinations, this was still a time when that sort of stuff was reserved for slapstick comedy (think "The Crab with the Golden Claws", with the all those mirages, which were still reserved for the "Goodies" as far into the series as in "Land of Black Gold"), not for morbid scenes. It looks like Herge gave a little too much attention to the villains compared to the way he did in the other stories (like showing a small picture of Gibbons and Dawson and an article of Mitsuhirato in "The Blue Lotus"). The particular resolution to the end of a story went in too many directions without completely tying the loose ends, so there isn't that feeling of completeness.

BTW, did anyone notice that the demons were leading the villains UPWARDS instead of downwards towards Hell?
ClaroQuerido
Member
#18 · Posted: 18 Aug 2005 16:57 · Edited by: ClaroQuerido
Actually, I'm not here discussing what Hergé meant by the scene (whether he meant it to be 'real' or 'imagined') but how I (or any reader) can interpret it. It doesn't have to be a hallucination. It could just be something the villains are imagining, brought graphically to life in the drawing, but not necessarily what they are really seeing.

As for hallucinations, this was still a time when that sort of stuff was reserved for slapstick comedy (think "The Crab with the Golden Claws", with the all those mirages, which were still reserved for the "Goodies" as far into the series as in "Land of Black Gold"), not for morbid scenes.

I could not disagree with you more! The only 'mirages' I can remember in 'Crab' was where the Captain thought Tintin was a champagne bottle (there is also Tintin's dream where he turns into a bottle). I think you are confusing it with 'Black Gold', where, admittedly there are a lot of mirage scenes which are all or mostly for comedic effect.

However, in other books in the series, hallucinations/dreams are hardly ever used for purely comic effect. Going back to the scene in 'Crab', I think the comedy in that scene is almost incidental. The main reason for the scene is to demonstrate how thirsty and tired the the Captainwas (and how crazy perhaps). I think it is pretty morbid since they are both pretty much dying of thirst and weariness.

Other hallucination/fantasy scenes which are not meant to be funny or are not only for humour are: Rascar Capac climbing in the windows; the Inca calling down fire from heaven on Tintin in 'Prisoners' (dream); Phililipus and the spider; and Tintin being drugged in the Tomb of Khi-Oskh and carried away. There are many more.

I don't see why the scene in 'Ear' in particular should be 'weaker' than those others unless you take it completely literally.
snafu
Member
#19 · Posted: 19 Aug 2005 00:37
I took that scene with Rascar Capac in "The Seven Crystal Balls" as a bad dream since there were no shards of crystal in Tintin's, the Captain's, or the Professor's bedrooms. As for "The Crab with the Golden Claws", I was referring to the scene where the Captain thinks that Tintin is a champagne bottle as very dark humor (still slapstick though, and a reflection of the influence of alcohol on Archie...) I'm still not sure about what happened in "Cigars of the Pharaoh", although I guess that it's related to drug-induced hallucinations. Still, the use of such in "The Broken Ear" was not what really weakened the story; merely seeing a broken fetish back in the Museum appeared to be a very awkward way to restore the equilibrium in the book that had been disturbed by its theft...
theone
Member
#20 · Posted: 10 Oct 2005 17:24
Personally, I really like Broken Ear. It provides a light tone after the seriousness of Blue Lotus, which is appreciated by me. It's also very humorous, and for once the villains aren't as heavy and well, they just have a different feel than some other villains, because they seem more like common people.

It was very funny watching the corporal's escapades, or Alcazars fake shooting of Tintin for winning chess, as well as Tintin getting drunk which saves his life.

Personally, I really like the story. It's not a work of art, but it's an enjoyable tale and I think that counts for something.

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