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The Broken Ear: Under- or over-rated?

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#21 · Posted: 11 Oct 2005 03:34
I thought that after several re-reads of The Broken ear that all the plot strands did tie up. I also really liked the very political criticsm of the hypocrisy of the arms dealer and the war between the two countries.

It is interesting that later on in "Tintin and the Picaros" the same country is used to show the futility of the regime having been changed (not to mention Alcazar's repeated threats towards Tintin).

The colouring in The Broken Ear doesn't look very nice I must admit - especially if you compare it to say the early colour version of L'ile Noir. The black and white version is so much nicer to me - the lines are thicker (the frames being bigger size) and the drawing look really quite nice.

#22 · Posted: 11 Oct 2005 03:39
It is also interesting that the TV version of this story had some of the best animation in the entire series (including the jungle scenes which weren't great in the book). But it also left out all the political machinations of the oil companies and the arms dealer manipulating both countries.

#23 · Posted: 4 Mar 2012 21:17 · Edited by: Moderator
Just read this book again and I was a little disappointed by the artwork and coloring. Most of the jungle scenes were just a plain green background!

I also was a little confused at times about the plot, but after reading this forum, I mostly understand it.

And perhaps this is silly, but was anyone else a little disturbed by the demons taking Alonso and Ramon to hell? I know it's just a story but I found it a bit unnerving.

Overall, however, Broken Ear was a pretty good album in my opinion.

Moderator Note: Just a quick reminder that doing a forum search is a good thing before posting.

For example, you can find a discussion of the colouring issues here:

The Broken Ear: Poor quality colouring?

As to the scene with Alonzo and Ramon, that has been covered here:

Most disturbing scene in the albums?

The Tintinologist Team
#24 · Posted: 5 Mar 2012 17:37
Plus points for The Broken Ear are background story, setting, and the Arumbayas.

What makes me put the Arumbayas into the plus points is their uniqueness compared with any other people in the album, not mentioning the Arumbaya language, I knew this sound tawdry but this is one thing that makes me highly interested on buying the album (yes I am obsessed to master the language! XD).

And also the characters, too. They might be just supporting characters, but it was what they did that make them a colorful addition to the story.

The plot might be a minus point.

While it is interesting in the first time you read it, it could have been boring after a while (but maybe I am wrong here).

The plot was admittedly quite confusing too. While in other Tintin stories you could gather details with ease, you might not be able to do this in The Broken Ear. I sometimes flipped back through previous pages I've read to remember the key details of the story.

In short, though it is just an "ordinary" plot, it's quite confusing (and could become boring after a while).
#25 · Posted: 28 Aug 2012 19:24 · Edited by: GSC
Acully, The Brocken Ear is one of my favourite books, even though there are some problems with it.
#26 · Posted: 10 Jan 2013 06:19
What bothers me about Alcazar are his most threatening last words towards Tintin (p.38, A2), and the fact there isn't the slightest discussion about that when they meet again in The Seven Crystall Balls...

To be fair, that's more an issue with Crystal Balls than with The Broken Ear.

I recognise a lot of the problems with it (plot - and some of the colouring) but I really enjoy the criticism of revolutionary fervour, American big business and arms dealing, especially the fact that it is based on the Bolivian/ Paraguayan situation, and that the arms dealer is unashamedly based on a real person. That lifts it up several notches in my opinion, and gives another early indication of Hergé's views that people often forget when criticising him.
50 Spann
#27 · Posted: 24 Mar 2013 20:50
Personally, I think The Broken Ear is neither overrated nor underrated. The general consensus seems to be that it's a good book, although not one of Hergés best, and I agree with that. While I don't think it's a masterpiece, there is some good stuff in it.

First of all, it marks the first appearance of General Alcazar, who is a great character. He provides a lot of funny moments with his short temper and impulsiveness. It's kind of curious that Tintin becomes such good friends with him.

I also love the villains in the story. While they are very cruel and selfish, they don't seem to be very good at what they're doing - especially Ramon Bada, who keeps wanting to throw knives even though he always misses. In this manner, they stand out to me as remarkably realistic characters.

There are some problems with the book, though - for example, the plot is rather confusing. I noticed that there's an entire thread on this forum for figuring out the plot, which is saying something to me. The artwork isn't particularly strong either - of course, since it's Hergé, there is an amount of quality to it, but compared to other books in the series I don't think it's that impressive.
#28 · Posted: 25 Mar 2013 20:14
50 Spann
I totally agree with you. It's certainly neither underrated nor overrated, simply because the plot does get pretty convoluted, while the TV Version was even worse!
#29 · Posted: 14 May 2013 01:39
I would not worry about this book in that considering the time frame and how early it was done means that you can't compare it to later books.
#30 · Posted: 9 Jun 2013 18:50
The story had a high potential, but it was very confusing. There are a lot of loose ends that aren't tied up, but are overlooked. For example, who stole the idol from the museum? Tortilla or Balthazar? There is a thread here that discusses the various loose ends and plot. If you can fully grasp the story and forget or tie up the loose ends yourself, the story is enjoyable.
My biggest gripe is how the political plot deviated away from the original story. It is still entertaining, but makes the story more confusing as you start to forget small details.
I do like the story because it makes the book feel long. This may have made it boring at points, but not many Tintin books feel that long. Stories, like Shooting Star, feel very short. The Broken Ear feels very long compared to other books.
Not the best, but it still has its perks.

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