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Seven Crystal Balls: General questions

harishankar
Member
#1 · Posted: 7 Jun 2007 17:11 · Edited by: harishankar
Here are a few queries regarding The Seven Crystal Balls.

1. During the Hippodrome sequence when Madame Yamilah faints, the manager comes on stage and says that there is an important message for Mrs. Clarkson. Does he say this message because of Madame Yamilah or because he had received a message just after she fainted? Otherwise wouldn't he have come on stage earlier to give such an important message?

2. Professor Calculus' kidnapping is obviously not part of the plan for the people who attacked Prof. Tarragon, and it was pure chance that he was on the grounds - so how did the kidnappers have a chance to change cars so quickly after the police broadcast?

Were they prepared for such an eventuality or was it part of their earlier plan to get away after the attack on Tarragon?

3. How many people are totally involved in the crystal ball attacks on the explorers?

Midge and Mark Falconer are attacked almost simultaneously. But apart from Chiquito we are not quite sure who the others are. Are they also Indians? There seems to be at least one person of Spanish origin among the kidnappers of Prof Calculus.

4. This is more of opinion, but do you believe that the fireball which came through professor Tarragon's fireplace was supernatural?
Balthazar
Moderator
#2 · Posted: 7 Jun 2007 17:36 · Edited by: Balthazar
1) I think the point is that Madame Yamilah, being clairvoyant, is aware that Mrs Clarkson's husband has fallen into the coma before the theatre manager has been phoned with the news. I guess the neighbours or servant who find Clarkson in the coma know that Mrs Clarkson has gone out to the theatre, so they or the police put a call through to the theatre box office. I'd say that this phone call must come through just as Madame Yamilah is already telling Mrs Clarkson. Mrs Clarkson doesn't believe Madame Yamilah, and is shocked when the theatre manager brings official news from an external reliable source that confirms Yamilah's vision was true. That wouldn't make sense if the theatre manager was merely making his announcement because he'd seen Madame Yamilah saying it.

2) The gang were waiting around with the car to pick up Chiquito, who was shot in the dark. They presumeably don't want to leave without him. Chiquito is still hiding up the tree early the next morning, waiting for a safe chance to slip away and join them. Then Chiquito just happens to see Calculus putting on the sacred bracelet( (which he'd liberated from Tarragon's collection but accidentally dropped when climbing the tree) and takes it upon himself to kidnap Calculus. The plan to just pick up Chiquito at the road is quickly adapted to take Calculus with them as well.

3) You're right. There's at least the driver of the fawn car, but maybe a whole little network operating in Belgium. The whole crew of the Panachamac are part of the Inca network resumeably, so they might all have come over to Europe on the ship and met up with Chiquito (who was already touring Europe with Alcazar).

4) That's more ambiguous. Is the thunderstorm and ball lightening
a) just a coincidence, adding a bit of atmosphere to the scene;
b) part of the prophecy, as Tarragon believes, but not necessarily controlled by the incas;
or
c) directly brought about by the incas in order to make the prophecy come true and release the mummy?

Given the Incas can do long range "voodoo' torture and control people's dreams, maybe controlling the weather is within their powers.

(Given all the magical/supernatural powers they seem to have, it's surprising the Incas have to resort to such earthly plans as train sabotage when trying to stop Tintin and co reaching the Temple of the Sun in the next book!)

Anyway, hope that at least my first three answers help clear up some of your doubts. It's quite a complicated book. I never really got the whole plot straight as a child. I think I've got it all straight now only because I've read it about a hundred times. And there's still always something new to spot on each reading of a Tintin book.
harishankar
Member
#3 · Posted: 7 Jun 2007 17:44 · Edited by: harishankar
Thanks.

1. I think your explanation (what I had thought originally myself) is the best. Also how could she know that the lady pointed out was Mrs. Clarkson?

2. Makes sense also. But I don't think the man who got shot in the dark was Chiquito. Might have been one of his companions. Somehow his silhouette doesn't look like Chiquito to me.

3. The gang had to be pretty big and well organized to stage the attack on seven explorers in a relatively short period of time.

4. Regarding point #4. I think it was part of the prophesy. However as you say, in Prisoners of the Sun, the Incas act in a bewilderingly naive manner. Even the eclipse sequence was a bit off... Imagine traditional sun worshippers being unaware of eclipses. However, I think that mostly the local Indians were the ones who wanted to stop Tintin and Haddock from reaching the Temple. I don't think the Incas themselves expected the adventurers to reach the Temple which was hidden so effectively that even Tintin could find it only by accident.
Balthazar
Moderator
#4 · Posted: 7 Jun 2007 17:57 · Edited by: Balthazar
You might be right that the Crystal Ball thrower isn't Chiquito. As you said, earlier simultaneous attacks suggest they've got more than one ball thrower in the gang.

Re the size of the gang, from the way all Indian Peruvians seem to obey Inca orders in the next book - eg: the doctor who orders the ship's quarantine, the railway official who agrees to sabotage the train coupling - I suppose most Peruvians of Inca descent living in Europe are available to be used by the gang to provide safe houses, cars etc.
harishankar
Member
#5 · Posted: 7 Jun 2007 18:05 · Edited by: harishankar
Balthazar
I suppose most Peruvians of Inca descent living in Europe are available to be used by the gang to provide safe houses, cars etc.

I think most of them are in fear of incurring the wrath of the Inca and are not really "gang members". The core followers of the Inca Prince are the ones found in the Temple of the Sun and they are the ones who work for him. The others I think follow orders out of coercion and fear for their fate.

Zorrino confirms this I think.

Also many of the mysteries in Crystal Balls do not have satisfactory explanations in Prisoners. I think even the Inca Prince himself has only a vague idea of the witchcraft used against the explorers and the key to the whole mystery is the High Priest.
Furienna
Member
#6 · Posted: 19 Mar 2020 13:54 · Edited by: Furienna
harishankar:
I think most of them are in fear of incurring the wrath of the Inca and are not really "gang members". The core followers of the Inca Prince are the ones found in the Temple of the Sun and they are the ones who work for him. The others I think follow orders out of coercion and fear for their fate.

Indeed, because it's made clear that the guy, who had to sabotage the train and kill Tintin and Haddock, was coerced.

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