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Tintin & Friends: How old are they?

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#131 · Posted: 30 May 2013 01:59
In Tintin and the Black Island Tintin goes into a Scottish pub alone, and orders what appears to be an alcoholic beverage (page 41 in my Little Brown edition of the 1966 text.)

The story originally being published around 1937-38, from what I can find, this pub ("Ye White Hart" in the 1938 edition, "Ye Dolphin" 1943, and "The Kiltoch Arms" 1966) would have fallen under the Children and Young Persons Act of 1933, which set the minimum drinking age at 18.

Unless I'm reading the laws wrong, it would seem that at the time of The Black Island, Tintin would have been at least 18 years old. Interestingly enough, this would also be before he meets Captain Haddock, which could reasonably place him in his 20's for the majority of the canon.
#132 · Posted: 30 May 2013 10:30
it would seem that at the time of The Black Island, Tintin would have been at least 18 years old

It’s an interesting point; however, in the same story he’s also seen riding in a moving caravan attached to a car, which is illegal - so it isn’t a given that he wouldn’t be against breaking the odd law here and there.
Also remember that Hergé thought that the U.K. had colour television in the Thirties, so it could be that he thought that the drinking age in Scotland was lower than it was, beer being available to sixteen year olds in Belgium.
#133 · Posted: 30 May 2013 11:34
he’s also seen riding in a moving caravan attached to a car, which is illegal

And Herge showed why it is illegal: in case of accidents! In any case, allowing someone to sit in the caravan would be the responsibility of the car driver and he is excited by the prospect of chasing after crooks.

FormulaFourteen is looking at it in the context of the real world and not whether or not Herge checked up on local laws. I personally have always thought of Tintin as being in his early to mid-twenties. It's quite common for comics to imply that the heroes are in their teens when they are clearly much more mature and better educated than the average real-life teenager - a way of allowing the readers to more closely identify with them. I expect that that is what Herge had in mind when he once stated that Tintin was in his teens.
#134 · Posted: 6 Jun 2013 04:26
it isn't a given that he wouldn't be against breaking the odd law here and there.

Good point. I think there is a bit of a contextual difference, though. Tintin frequently exhibits his abilities to think on his feet and adapt to almost any situation, often breaking the law in the process. To my knowledge, however, he only freely bends the rules when he is in some crisis situation.

There are numerous examples in the books where Tintin does what would appear to be many age-restricted actions... drinking (The Black Island), traveling alone (King Ottokar's Sceptre), presumably owning a firearm (The Broken Ear)... And these all appear to be undertaken without the influence of a crisis, or under duress, but rather perfectly at his own convenience and election.

To me the environment Herge created for Tintin would seem to imply (most of the time) that Tintin is around his early twenties, maybe even a bit older.

FormulaFourteen is looking at it in the context of the real world and not whether or not Herge checked up on local laws

Very true. It seems to me that Herge strove very hard to depict Tintin as credibly and realistically as possible, so it makes sense to me to analyze him as realistically as possible. Obviously, though, you can only take this line of reasoning so far before it begins to get far-fetched!
#135 · Posted: 29 Sep 2014 04:05 · Edited by: Moderator
Here's an interview with Hergé, in which he mentions Tintin's age (at around 5:50)

It's in French though, so for those who don't understand, here's a word-by-word translation:

Interviewer: "So how old is Tintin?"
Hergé: "How old is he? It's getting embarassing. (laughs) Let's say he's around 15, no? 15-16 I don't know."
Interviewer: "So it's adolescence"
Hergé: "Yes yes"

That interview took place at the time Hergé was working on The Castafiore Emerald.
That One Aussie Chick
#136 · Posted: 30 Sep 2014 15:42
I would say around 16-17. Judging by the 2011 movie, he looks like he can't be any older than 20, 21 tops. And judging by the artwork in the books, he looks slightly younger, but that's just my opinion.
#137 · Posted: 6 Oct 2014 22:20 · Edited by: Moderator
I don't know why, I thought I'd read it somewhere (maybe not), but I thought he was 16, I thought it was fact.

Having seen the above post concerning an interview with Hergé it seems it was about right, 15 or 16.

He never ages throughout the adventures, and up to today he is forever young.

As for Haddock, he has to be late 50's and colors his hair so that it remains black.
#138 · Posted: 13 Nov 2014 09:21 · Edited by: Furienna
Like I said years ago, I don't like to disagree with the author about his character's age. And I guess we can see the early adventures as some kind of fantasy, so Tintin could be only 14 years old and still do all that travelling with his dog as his only company. But as time passed by, everything else became more and more realistic. And already in "The broken ear", we see that Tintin has his own apartment. So I guess he would have to be at least 18 years old by then. So I say Tintin would realistically be at least 20 years old by the end of series.

Captain Haddock and the Thompsons seem to be somewhere in their 40s. Professor Calculus is probably in his 50s.
#139 · Posted: 7 Feb 2015 15:21
Tintin is clearly 15 or older, as he was seen driving a car in The Blue Lotus (p.52, panel 15.)

And the logic is? The legal age for driving a car is 18. Personally I always thought he was around 25, but I hear many people think he is a teenager.
#140 · Posted: 8 Feb 2015 00:49
The legal age for driving a car is 18.

It depends where you live, and when, I think.

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