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Broken Ear: Explain the lightning/storm sequence??

#1 · Posted: 22 Jan 2010 07:35
Hi All,

I actually love 'The Broken Ear' is is a fantastic adventure/chase Tintin story which really paved the way for bigger and better Tintin adventures!
Great slow start which drew you in for a classic thrilling tale which held you all the way, some parts were pure farce but it really showed you the abilities of Herge in his narrative and ability to hold you to the plot. Save the poor jungle illustration background!!

I really don't understand the sequence in which Tintin is captured in the small wood hut by Alonso and Ramon and is being forced to reveal the location of the real fetish.
There is a massive storm and suddenly a huge bolt of lighting hits the hut (possible ideas for 'Crystal Balls??) then Tintin is:
1.Knocked from his chair
2. His ropes are severed
3. Smashes thru the small window pane of glass perfectly
4. Lands outside the hut at a considerable distance without any key injuries save torn clothing??

I know we possibly have to suspend disbelief as there are some parts of 'Broken Ear' which are improbable - this is an early Herge story whereby he was still fleshing out the character of Tintin with less research and accuracy as depicted in the later stories.

I'm just confused as to the lighting phenomenon? Does it hit you and tear your clothes to sheds but not actually harm you? In reality should a bolt of lighting burn you considerably? Is this sequence pure fantasy and there is no way Tintin or Alonso should have survived or been able to perform normal activities as shown in the story??

I would love to hear your feedback, preferably if you have some background in meteorology.
Still love the story, just think this was totally unbelievable that there was no way the characters could have feasibly been OK.

#2 · Posted: 25 Jan 2010 05:05 · Edited by: derdup
Hi Rodney,

I suspect your first instinct – to suspend disbelief – is the one Hergé would expect from his readers. I know nothing about the phenomenon of ball lightning, but people who get too close to ‘regular’ lightning are likely to suffer burns etc, and often don’t survive it.

Incidentally, just the other night we had an electrical storm pass through our town (Hamilton, New Zealand). A house not far from where I live has a HAM radio antenna mast in its back garden, and this received a direct hit. Of course, we saw the flash and heard the almighty BANG and I’m glad I wasn’t any closer, that’s for sure. Nobody was injured.
cigars of the beeper
#3 · Posted: 25 Jan 2010 14:13
Well, the problem was probably actually that Herge was not sure how to get Tintin out of that mess, but I suppose that a lightning bolt coming down into the fireplace might cause an explosion forceful enough to send Tintin through the window. The other affect of this, was, of course, the vaporisation of Ramon and Alonso's outer clothing. Very peculiar lightning, that.
#4 · Posted: 31 Dec 2018 23:52
Seeing that this is my first Tintin book and my second favourite, here goes!

1. Knocked from his chair

As cigars of the beeper wrote, maybe the lightning was powerful enough to launch him off the chair? Like in Seven Crystal Balls.

2. His ropes are severed

Being a ball of fire, as Demicius Phostle describes the meteorite in Shooting Star, the lightning-ball-thingy must have burnt the ropes.

3. Smashes thru the small window pane of glass perfectly

He must have been launched off the chair backwards, and seeing that he doesn't usually get bruises or bleeds (apart from Blue Lotus), he would obviously smash through it perfectly.

4. Lands outside the hut at a considerable distance without any key injuries save torn clothing??

Again, he doesn't get bruises or bleeds...unless the clothes saved him from bleeds?

The order should be:

1. Ropes burnt off
2. Launched from chair
3. Flies backwards as Ramon and Alonzo's clothes sizzle
4. Smashes through window
5. Thrown in the air for a distance and is saved from any nasty injuries by clothes

Apparently, the ball-lightning effect is a real thing. There is a thread on it somewhere in the forums.

On the alternative, one could always just watch how Ellipse-Nelvana did it...
#5 · Posted: 1 Jan 2019 03:29
Well, as a matter of fact, Tintin defeated a polar bear and a Royal Bengal Tiger with his bare hands!

And interestingly, the Captain also had a similar experience in The Calculus Affair, when he was receiving a call, a lightning struck, and he ended up on top of the chandelier!
#6 · Posted: 1 Jan 2019 12:50
The "beneficial" lightning also occurs in Herge's "Popol and Virginia": an enemy ties Popol to a tree; a storm begins, lighting strikes the tree, destroying it and sending Popol and his clothes over a wide area. Popol survives and sets off to deal with his enemy.

Also remember the famous ball of lighting in "Crystal Balls".
#7 · Posted: 10 Jan 2019 20:22
As you said he was fleshing out the character and just need to put something in the story to propel it forward. Later on he manager to make the books a little more real.

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