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Tintin and World Book Day

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Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#1 · Posted: 3 Mar 2005 21:09
To celebrate World Book Day today, the UK Independent published a poll of famous writers to name their favourite fictional characters.

Here's Philip Pullman's choice (author of the His Dark Materials trilogy and pretty hot property in literary circles now):

"I like Tintin's blandness, his blankness, his lack of depth; he is an empty page on which adventures can be drawn. He is clearly a friendly and honourable chap; his dog is loyal, his friends dependably amusing, his way of life both comfortable and interesting."

#2 · Posted: 4 Mar 2005 08:20
Is he for or against Tintin?

#3 · Posted: 4 Mar 2005 16:31
He likes him. It's dubiously worded praise, but praise nonetheless. Admit to yourself: would you have carried on reading the stories if it was just him- no Captain, Thompsons, Professor and so on?

I know I wouldn't have.
#4 · Posted: 5 Mar 2005 16:36
The adventures of Tintin work because a relatively neutral-minded reporter (thanks to his lack of personality) interacts with a world with personalities. That way, Tintin reveals other characters and the stories very interesting. In other words, I agree with Karaboudjan.
#5 · Posted: 22 Mar 2005 16:36
that is kind of a peculiar way to praise someone in my opinion
#6 · Posted: 23 Mar 2005 10:51
would you have carried on reading the stories if it was just him- no Captain, Thompsons, Professor and so on?

Definitely! I think Tintin is far from neutral: he’s quick-witted, resourceful, intellligent, kind, good in a crisis, handy with his fists, can handle a gun, genial company - the list goes on.

A story like “King Ottokar’s Sceptre” is both Tintin and Hergé at his best, as far as I am concerned.

I would actually have liked to see more solo Tintin (and Snowy!) stories, or with an absolute minimum of the support cast, as I think the later stories became bogged down in the shoe-horning in of Wagg, Alcazar, the Captain’s fads etc., to the detriment of the series.
UK Correspondent
#7 · Posted: 23 Mar 2005 13:17
I thought I was the only one who really liked King Ottokar's Sceptre ! Whilst the later stories are superb - the Inca story and Tibet being personal favourites - the earlier stories are very very good, and for me are often better than some of the later ones. I would actually rate Sceptre over, say, the Moon books, and I also really like The Black Island - either version, although for me it'd be the first colour version, since it's wonderfully quaint and rattles along nicely without being weighed down in technical details ('66 edition).

I think that the later books, with the huge supporting cast, work very well, and there's some excellent character comedy in there, and by the time The Castafiore Emerald came along, Hergé could play with his creations by simply putting them all together and seeing how they'd react. Tintin in Tibet, whilst being a masterpiece on many levels, worked excellently with only Haddock (and Calculus in a walk-on rôle) accompanying Tintin and Snowy.

I also think that The Land of Black Gold would probably have worked better if Haddock and Calculus had just been left out, since they feel uncomfortably out-of-place, and the story pursued as Hergé originally intended. How was Tintin going to get out of being buried alive in the desert ?!
#8 · Posted: 23 Mar 2005 14:05
I thought I was the only one who really liked King Ottokar's Sceptre !

King Ottokars Sceptre is the first Tintin book I ever read so it will always have a place in my Top 5 favourite books. I think it has the best beginning to any of the books, as the finding the case in the park at the beginning is really mysterious and intriguing. One of my favourite scenes is when Tintin visits the Syldavian restaurant, it just has a kind of eirieness to it I cant put my finger on. Maybe its just nostalgia.
I would say it is the best adventure minus Haddock and Calculas, but it has a certain loneliness to it.
When I read the Adventures post Haddock, I feel Tintin is safer with his allies, and the one man (and dog) on his own against the world is almost lost. There are the Thompsons of course, but you still cannot trust them in the earlier books, I was always ready for them to arrest him!
Moderator Emeritus
#9 · Posted: 23 Mar 2005 19:27
I agree - I find many of the early books better than some of the later ones. Their quaintness, as Richard mentioned, definitely plays a part in this for me, it's great to see Tintin in a bygone era ! :)
Harrock n roll
#10 · Posted: 30 Mar 2005 17:11 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
ed mentioned at the start: Philip Pullman's choice (author of the His Dark Materials trilogy and pretty hot property in literary circles now)

I just read the first part of the His Dark Materials trilogy (called Northern Lights) over the Easter - I thought it was an excellent read so far and I recommend it wholeheartedly!

One minor character in the story caught my attention. I've passed the book on now so I can't remember the exact phrases but he was a slightly mad professor who constantly made curses like "Popinjay! Blaggard! Philistine! Thief!", etc. Remind you of anyone?

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