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Captain Haddock: His nationality?

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jock123
Moderator
#71 · Posted: 30 May 2019 09:51
Chrissie:
Never once mentioned to be a different nationality or have different ancestry

It's never mentioned that he is Belgian, either, nor is it even certain that he's speaking French, given that he could be speaking Flemish... It's often uncertain what language the characters are intended to be speaking: the Scottish characters all speak in fluent French to Tintin in the original Black Island, when presumably it's Tintin speaking English to them; so Haddock and Tintin could be speaking Flemish to each other, but it's being translated like the English was in Black Island (or they could be speaking English - it's not possible to be definitive).

Anyway, that's the point of this discussion - it's looking for clues, for nuance - Tintinology is meant to be fun, after all.

This question of nationality isn't something that arises out of the books being translated into English either - it's based on the anecdote of Hergé's about the "sad British fish", the haddock. That's our hint.

Chrissie:
Archibald is used in other countries

Again that holds equally true the other way - Archibald is a name more common in Britain than Belgium; the fact that it could be found in Belgium doesn't negate the possibility that Hergé intended him to be British.

Chrissie:
We have George and Paul Remi

Not certain of your point here - for a start, Hergé's name was the distinctly Francophone Georges, rather than the English George. If your suggestion is that you can't tell what nationality someone is from their name, then that just takes us back round again to the start - if we can't assume that someone called Paul is Belgian, it's just the same for someone called Archibald Haddock.
mct16
Member
#72 · Posted: 31 May 2019 14:33
jock123:
nor is it even certain that he's speaking French, given that he could be speaking Flemish

I've heard that although Brussels is in the Flemish part of Belgium, 90% of the population speak French. I imagine the rate was even higher when the original stories were published in the mid-20th century.

Herge was primarily a French speaker. It would be interesting to know how much Flemish he could talk, but I have also heard that while most of Belgium's Flemings also speak French, the Walloons (French speakers) do not necessarily get to speak Flemish as a second language.
jock123
Moderator
#73 · Posted: 31 May 2019 23:26
mct16:
I've heard that although Brussels is in the Flemish part of Belgium

Absolutely true - but it still doesn't negate the point that Haddock could be speaking any language really, given the way in which Hergé makes characters speak French, even when they would not be plausibly doing so, and generally has people speak in their own tongue (e.g. Arumbayas speaking Arumbayan) for comic effect.

mct16:
It would be interesting to know how much Flemish he could talk

His grandmother's Marollian dialect is a form of Flemish, so he would have had some understanding from childhood at least.
Chrissie
Member
#74 · Posted: 4 Jul 2019 11:25
Wasn't it Fanny's statement?
Again, I couldn't see anything to suggest he was British.
You can argue that there was nothing to suggest he was Belgian, but I think the fact that he lived in Belgium, spoke French, ancestors sailed under a Belgian King, seemed to suggest more that he was Belgian, rather than English.
Even if he didn't speak French. He talks to a lot of people where he lives and they all understand him, so I do t think he'd be speaking English to them.

No we can't be certain he was Belgian if he was called Paul, just like we can't assume Archibald is any indication he was English.

I'm just saying does Belgium have a high population of English immigrants? If it does yes it's possible. But if it doesn't I'd say it was unlikely, although not certain he was british.

Google answers gave this statement:

"As the other answers indicate - the original nationality is probably French or Belgian." According to the Herge website it was suggested when he asked his wife what was for dinner. She replied " A sad english fish - haddock ".

Tintin isn't a Belgian name, but it doesn't mean the character isn't Belgian. I mean just because it's a sad enlish fish doesn't mean that determined his nationality.

Again, I was merely stating my opinions, not cold hard facts. I was just saying that someone living in Belgium usually is presumed English, not Belgian and I never once felt there was any clue he wasnt.
snowybella
Member
#75 · Posted: 5 Jul 2019 01:46
Chrissie

(I'm not trying to argue with you here - just my opinions!)

Chrissie:
You can argue that there was nothing to suggest he was Belgian, but I think the fact that he lived in Belgium, spoke French, ancestors sailed under a Belgian King, seemed to suggest more that he was Belgian, rather than English.

That is a very true point; however, in support of the "Haddock = English" argument, Sir Francis could easily have been a mercenary who eventually earned a high ranking, or, as you said, was an English immigrant. Either that, or he is British (Scottish? English?) in the English editions...which is equally valid, because that move was done with the permission of Herge.

So if he isn't British in the originals, he is in the English!

Chrissie:
He talks to a lot of people where he lives and they all understand him, so I do t think he'd be speaking English to them

He, along with Tintin, can also speak to (say) Tibetan monks and modern-day Incan priests, and they all seem to understand each other, too!
Chrissie
Member
#76 · Posted: 6 Jul 2019 18:55
Yes he is English in the originals, but so is Tintin as he's living in London in Secret (that always bothered me as the streets look nothing like London). If the wanted to make him British, they shouldn't have mentioned London and made it less specific. That said, no one here is making a case for Tintin being British. Now that Soviets have a translation that literally places him in Belgium, the case for London is now conflicting.

As for the monks, it could be possible that Tintin is bilingual and speaking English. Perhaps as English is so widespread that the monks understand English, even if it's not their first language, but that's my opinion.

Like I said in another post, I'd like to see the albums retranslated, if not just to fix the inconsistencies. (Tintin living in two different countries, Haddock mentioning the Red Sea in Crystal Balls, etc.) Another that bothers me in one the Herge himself done. In the reprint of Cigars, having the Destination Moon book. I don't know if it's fixable. I'm not sure if the Marlinspike comment is either the translator or Herge's fault, but it is another that could be fixed.
snowybella
Member
#77 · Posted: 7 Jul 2019 11:20 · Edited by: snowybella
(Excuses for the unrelated post, Chrissie - I didn't see your reply!)

Chrissie:
Now that Soviets have a translation that literally places him in Belgium, the case for London is now conflicting.

You're starting to convince me that they're all French now...!

Chrissie:
As for the monks, it could be possible that Tintin is bilingual and speaking English. Perhaps as English is so widespread that the monks understand English, even if it's not their first language, but that's my opinion.

That's actually quite true - I believe there was a British invasion on Tibet once, which might explain it. Either that, or - as I should have suspected earlier - Tintin and Haddock learned some Tibetan beforehand, just in case.

Chrissie:
Another that bothers me in one the Herge himself done. In the reprint of Cigars, having the Destination Moon book. I don't know if it's fixable.

Unfortunately, it isn't - at least until the copyright expires.


An interesting update (or confusion) on the debate...


I was battling through a few more pages of The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (published 1771; written by Tobias Smollett), when I noticed the following incident:

The Bramble family have just arrived in London. They attend a party, where they meet members of the aristocray. A rather forgetful ex-spy named Mr. Barton "recognises" Bramble's nephew, Melford, "and seizing me by the hand, 'My dear Sir Francis! ... when does your excellency set sail? ... eat stewed prunes in the passage ... .'"

(Incidentally, Melford confirms that he is not Sir Francis.)

All this leads to me ask the impossible: with the knowledge that he was not really a novel-reader, is there any proof that Herge read the book before he began planning the Unicorn set?

If there is no concrete evidence for that, then I will ask: does anybody know what the French King was at the time of Sir Francis?

If it turns out that Sir Francis was around in Smollett's time, then that means that he could easily have been friends with Mr. Barton.

This thus means that he was either English, French ("[Barton] had been...in France"), or even Spanish ("traversed all Spain") with perhaps a modified name (Francisco, etc. = Francis), though to stretch it slightly, he may have been Scottish, too (the Bramble family visit Scotland later in the book, so it is possible).

We can infer from the text that he probably doesn't live in England, so that lowers the possibility of his being Scottish or English (though he very well might be!); in which case, he is either French or Spanish - though, judging from his hairstyle, out of the four, French is most likely...then again, if he was Spanish, then he may have had his hair done like that simply to fit in.

However, if it turned out that Sir Francis' King was not living long enough for the possibility of Sir Francis going on holiday to London, then I sincerly apologise for leading everybody on a wild goose chase!
Furienna
Member
#78 · Posted: 9 Jul 2019 02:09 · Edited by: Furienna
Remember how Tintin and his friends found an old paper in a box, that had been swollowed up by a shark? It is confirmed by that paper that the king during Sir Francis's time was Louis XIV.
snowybella
Member
#79 · Posted: 9 Jul 2019 04:25 · Edited by: snowybella
Furienna

Thank you!

Upon checking Wikipedia, Louis XIV passed on in September 1, 1715 - if Sir Francis was (say) 20 during the time he battled with Red Rackham and still got his title and house (let's say he returned home in 1702), he'd have to have been in his nineties when Mr. Barton "recognised" him in 1771 - and I don't think Barton is so forgetful as to confuse a ninety-something-year-old for a sixty- or fifty-something-year-old! If he returned in 1714, that makes it a somewhat more plausible eighty-something...but somehow I doubt it (even for an aristocrat), and even if he did make it to that age, I don't think he'd want to be recklessly sailing.

In the English edition, according to my memory, his king is Charles II, who passed on in Februrary 6, 1685...which would mean, if he still lived in 1771, he'd have to be one of the world's oldest people to have ever existed, at the whopping age of 108 (assuming he returned in 1684, of course)!

So it was a wild goose chase, after all - sincerest apologies!


...unless one of his sons was a Sir Francis Jr.?

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