Headscratchers / Astérix

  • So, if Obelix fell into the potion as a child, and got the effects permanently without any bad side effects, why don't the Gauls bathe in a large amount of potion? (Or just dip every newborn/child, for that matter, requiring less potion.) Wouldn't they then all have the effects permanently and not have to worry about Getafix being kidnapped or getting attacked by surprise when not battle ready?
    • He didn't just fall into the potion, he drank a lot of it while in the cauldron. Also, Obelix's strength turned him clumsy and prone to disaster, so the perpetual effects don't seem that good.
      • Every single (male) gaul in the village is prone to disaster, and half of them are clumsy, stupid or the best of two worlds. Anyway, Getafix states that if a child drink a large amount of potion, the duration is unknown. For Obelix is permanent; for the son of Caesar, it's a few days. On adults, it's dangerous: a Roman became a statue after drinking to much.
      • Becoming stone is what happens when you drink a dose of potion while already under its effect, it's what had happened to Obelix when he finally managed to drink some potion earlier in that book.
    • A recent picture book entry into the franchise, that elaborates on Obelix' bath in the potion as a child suggests, that the huge amount of potion also drastically altered his personality: Pre-Potion Obelix was shy and a pacifist. So, bathing every newborn in potion would probably result in them having a whole generation of Obelixes to raise.
      • Also, Obelix eats a LOT. Though not stated, the potion may well cause changes to one's metabolism, to the point in which the sustainability of the village might suffer from a whole generation of Obelixes.
      • Well, Obélix was fat and, apparently, not too bright even before falling inside the cauldron. Also I don't think the potion changed his personality: he just knew himself invincible and wanted revenge.
    • One comic showed that drinking too much potion turns people into stone, I believe Obelix drank just enough before he was rescued from the cauldron to give him superstrength without the side effect, but since it was an accident, maybe the druid doesn't know the exact amount Obelix drank and doesn't want to risk turning a newborn baby into stone for nothing.
      • No, it's drinking more potion while still under the effect of the potion that turns you to stone.
    • In Asterix and Son, we get to see what an absolute terror a super-strong baby is; even when super-strong themselves Asterix and Obelix can barely manage him, and the property damage is enormous. At least one additional story reveals that children aren't allowed magic potion, probably because they're not ready for that much power yet.
    • The official website observes that in Obelix All At Sea, when his potion is undone and he is reverted to childhood, he acts surly and precocious and generally more adult than when he is one. It also asks if one of the powers of the potion is to give its drinkers the mind of a child. None of the characters in the comic seem to notice any effects from it, but people on potion do seem to really enjoy beating people up even if they'd been pacifistic or intellectual before (such as the cameos in Asterix in Corsica - and indeed Asterix himself). It's possible the potion does have a psychological effect, but a subtle one. Note the similarity between 'fell in when he was a baby' and 'dropped on the head when he was a baby', after all - and don't forget that the village's star warrior is Asterix, entirely because he's clever. Intellect is much more precious than physical power.
    • There's also the security issue. If the Romans managed to kidnap a Gaul who was on potion, they couldn't then turn them on their own tribe, because the potion would wear off. A permanently strong person still needs to sleep, and is not immune to pain or certain drugs (it seems they are to sleeping pills, but not booze). Obelix is alright because his sheer size means he couldn't be moved without waking him up and causing consternation, but an insufficiently-guarded child could be.
    • One Pilote comic showed Goscinny and Uderzo meeting Monsieur Obelisch, a distant descendant of Obelix who shows them his family tree, full of super-strong Man Child Blood Knight French warriors. Obelisch also has super-strength and uses it to load ships. If this strip is canon, it means super-strength obtained that way isn't just permanent, it is Lamarckian and hereditary forever, along with any personality effects.
  • In "Astérix and Cleopatra", how does the taster survive that long (although crying OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH all the time) after eating an average-sized of the poisoned cake ? I know some poisons don't act fast, but according the Animated Adaptation, the cake includes two glasses of gasoil, cyanide, curare… At least he shouldn't be conscious !?
    • Same way people survive having menhirs fall on their heads, I guess.
  • This may be just an issue of translation, but in the Druids' competition in the Forest of the Carnutes, one of them demonstrates a potion that makes you immune to pain, and demonstrates this by taking chips out of boiling oil with his bare hands. He seemed to incur no damage, but if pain was the only thing removed, his hands would still have been destroyed by the heat. Did the original French text say "immune to heat"?
    • The Brazilian Portuguese version also just said immune to pain. My guess is that they meant immune to pain as in "immune to damage", seeing as in a later comic the village druid comments how the potion gives superstrength, but not invulnerability, then adds something to the effect of "but there's another potion for that".
  • Obelix has a birthday party in Obelix and Co., and no one mentions Asterix. However in a later issue it is revealed both were born at the same day, and always celebrate their birthdays together.
    • I also wondered about that, but it would certainly be in character for Asterix to decide that this year would be for Obelix. After all, Obelix has completely forgotten what day it is, so it's easy to imagine Asterix laughing to himself as he goes around to the villagers and say "Look, Obelix doesn't remember it's our birthday, so I want to arrange a surprise for him."
    • It was written by Goscinny, and all the instances involving Asterix and Obelix sharing a birthday seem to be found only in albums by Uderzo.
  • Whenever we see the magic potion, it's clearly not wine. In Asterix In Britain our heroes have to find a barrel containing the potion in amongst loads of barrels of wine - they've all been opened, including the one with the potion... so why not look quickly into each barrel until they find it?
    • Magic potion doesn't look much like red wine, but it looks quite a lot like white wine.
  • In Asterix and the Great Crossing, the duo encounter a bear, which immediately proves to them that they aren't near their village, as there are apparently no bears nearby. But just before, they see a turkey, and just dismiss it as a "funny kind of creature". They've spent a lot of time in the woods, so wouldn't an animal completely unknown to them raise more eyebrows than an animal well-known to everyone in Europe?
    • Strange-looking birds are probably quite a common sight in the woods.
  • Was there ever an explanation for why Getafix doesn't manufacture the potion for the whole of Gaul and not just his village?
    • No, but Gaul as a whole is way bigger than the village, and Getafix always seems to be busy just with that.
    • I remember one of the live action movie that where he shows it only to the druids and he tells them to not replicate it for mass production can make it easier to fall in the hand of the Romans (which happens right away since one of the druid was a Roman in disguise)

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