Recap / Asterix in Britain

After conquering Gaul, Gaius Julius Caesar set his sights on Britain. The Britons, who are similar to the Gauls, were defeated by their tendency to stop a battle to drink cups of hot water and their refusal to fight on weekends. Now, only one village is still fighting the Roman Empire. The chief of said village Mykingdomforanos wonders how to fight off the local Romans. Warrior Anticlimax mentions that the village of his Gaulish cousin-once-removed Asterix has a magic potion that grants super-strength, and volunteers to retrieve it.

Asterix and Obelix are more than happy to help Anticlimax bring a barrel of Magic Potion to Britain, and offer to come along. Before leaving, Getafix gives Asterix some new herbs he purchased- they might come in handy in Britain. Enroute to Britain, the three warriors come across a Roman galley. Though they thump the Legionaries, a veteran of one of the four camps around Asterix's village realizes what they're up to and sends word back to the Romans in Britain.

In Britain, our heroes are faced with many difficulties, such as a side-trip to the Tower of Londinium to rescue Obelix, and losing the magic potion barrel to a thief. They track the barrel down to a game of rugby, where the magic potion has been mistaken for wine. They manage to retrieve the barrel, but an attempt to lose following Romans in the river leads to an ambush, with the barrel ultimately lost in the water. Nonetheless, they continue on to Anticlimax's village.

There, Asterix gets the idea to brew a potion from the herbs Getafix gave him - He doesn't know if they'll be magical, but it might encourage the village's warriors. Sure enough, the placebo effect works, and Mykingdomforanos decides to make the concoction the national drink. Back in Gaul, Asterix asks Getafix about the herb. The druid reveals that they came from a plant in barbarian lands.

The name of the plant? Tea.

Tropes present, "what".

  • Alcohol Hic: Thanks to all those confiscated barrels of wine.
  • Animated Adaptation: One was released in 1986.
  • Artistic License – History: Julius Caesar did not conquer Britain as such during his two campaigns there, but rather installed a client king named Mandubracius in what is now Essex, and the real Cassivellaunos was made to submit to Mandubracius. The actual Roman conquest of Britain happened a century later under Emperor Claudius. But then, without a Roman conquest of Britain, Asterix and Obelix would have had no excuse to go there.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Towards the end of the Animated Adaptation, the Pirate Captain takes this attitude toward his ship, and sinks it himself to keep Obelix from sinking it.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Anticlimax describes his jolly boat as "smaller than the garden of my uncle", but "larger than the pen of my aunt". French speakers may recognize these as English transliterations of the sort of phrases used to teach elementary French in British schools at the time Asterix in Britain was translated (in particular, "pen of my aunt" = "plume de ma tante"), and their use here parodies just how useless they really are in conversation.
    • Mykingdomforanos' name in the original French version is actually an English pun - probably the only character in the original language books whose name isn't French. His name? Zebigbos.
  • Blatant Burglar: The thief of the magic potion barrel and other wine barrels. Luckily, the receipts he gives make it easy to track down.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: The Animated Adaptation demonstrated how the whole village qualifies perfectly. The usual argument over the quality of the local fish starts the usual brawl between the blacksmith and the fishmonger, with half the village running to join in just because it's an excuse to fight. Obelix not joining in because of his suffering Roman Withdrawal disrupts it, but then there's the following conversation:
    Unhygienix: Now, where were we?
    Fulliautomatix: Um, your fish stink?
    Unhygienix: Oh, yes. MY FISH ARE FRESH! (Everyone resumes fighting)
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When Obelix has his first taste of British beer, he is disgusted by how warm it is. Anticlimax asks if it isn't warm enough.
    • Mint sauce is so universally reviled by every non-Briton that two Romans have this exchange on learning they're to be thrown to the lions with mint sauce.
      Roman General: How horrible!
      Other Roman General: Yes, poor beasts!
  • Culture Clash: Obelix isn't happy to learn how the Britons prepare their boars.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Inverted; the French version of the comic refers to Londinium (London) as the capital of Roman Britain, which was incorrect; while it was the biggest city in the country, the actual capital was Eboracum (York). The English version fixed this by just saying that Londinium was a big city.
  • A Foggy Day in London Town: At sea the Gauls and Anticlimax are suddenly caught up in fog and can't see anybody or anything. Anticlimax says it is a natural phenomenon in his country.
  • Foreign Queasine: Even Big Eater Obelix finds British food and drink revolting; one mug of warm beer and a meal of boiled boar and mint sauce, and he loses his appetite completely until the return to Gaul.
  • Gratuitous English: Mykingdomforanos' original name was Zebigbos.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Poor Obelix and the legionaries, especially the latter being yelled at by a centurion.
  • Magic Feather: With no potion, Asterix tries to lift the spirits of the Britons with a cauldron of water and some herbs Getafix gave him. It works, and Mykingdomforanos plans to make the concoction the national drink. What plant did the herbs come from? Tea.
  • Mary Tzu: Parodied when the narration declares Caesar a brilliant strategist for only fighting the whole day for two days in the week and after five PM the other days. invoked
  • Mid-Battle Tea Break: The Britons were in the habit of stopping a battle just so they could have a cup of hot water with milk. This, added with their refusal to fight on two days out of the week, led to their defeat when Caesar (unsporting chap that he is) launched attacks at 5:00 and on weekends.
  • National Stereotypes: The Britons are depicted as calm, polite, reserved and imperturbable.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: The barrel of magic potion ends up in a cellar full of wine barrels. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Anticlimax, normally calm and imperturbable, gets very excited when the rugby players arrive on the field. It even surprises Asterix and Obelix.
  • Oxbridge: Anticlimax belongs to the Oxbridgienses tribenote , "famed for their skill in rowing".
  • Punny Name: Zebigbos ("The big boss"), Anticlimax ("anticlimax", though in the French version he is named "Jolitorax" ("nice thorax").)
  • Reference Overdosed: As with most Asterix stories this one is full of references and shout-outs too. Several things Great Britain is famous for are referenced: rain, fog, their eccentric cuisine, tea, inns, darts, the Tower of London, double decker buses, The Beatles, umbrellas, gardening, driving on the left side of the road, imperial measurements and rugby.
  • Rugby Is Slaughter: Even before Magic Potion is used. Obelix approves.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The "four most popular bards of Britannia" are caricatures of The Beatles.
    • After winning the battle Anticlimax makes the "Victory" sign with his fingers, in reference to Winston Churchill.
  • Spot of Tea: However, the Britons didn't have tea until Asterix unwittingly introduces it to them at the end of the story, so they had a Spot Of Hot Water.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: The Britons.
  • Thrifty Scot: On learning that Asterix, Obelix and Anticlimax only want one cup of wine for three, the barkeep caustically guesses they're Caledonian.
  • Time Marches On: As they arrive in Britannia during rainy climate Obelix suggests building a tunnel between Gaul and Britannia. In the original version Anticlimax told them that they were working on the idea, but it might take some time. Back in 1966 the underlying joke was that the idea of a tunnel between both countries ever being built seemed highly unlikely. Plans had indeed been made in previous centuries, but always abandoned again. Since 1994 a tunnel has been built between both countries, thus changing the original meaning of the joke.
  • Vacation Episode: Asterix and Obelix travel to Britannia, aka Great Britain.
  • Verbal Tic: In the English version Anticlimax and all other Britons add "what" to the end of their sentences.
    Obélix: What do you keep on saying what for?
    Anticlimax: I say, sir, don't you know what's what, what?
    • Which was a splendid Woolseyism, as the original version had the Britons speak a form of literally translated English, peppering their speech with literal translations of "isn't it", "I beg your pardon", "I say", and occasionally, "what". Goscinny and Uderzo also reversed the word order in the sentences to make the French languages appear more "English" - they used the English grammar rule of adjectives always being placed before the name in French, where it may be grammatically incorrect - "magique potion" instead of "potion magique", "chaude eau" (hot water) instead of "eau chaude", and so on.
    • In the original version, the quote above had Obélix asking Anticlimax why he reverses his words? (the position of the adjective and noun is often inverted between French and English).invoked