Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / Tintin

Go To

    open/close all folders 

     Haddock and parrots 
  • Why does Haddock seem to hate parrots? Yes, the one that Bianca gave him in "The Castafiore Emerald" was an annoying and agressive bird but he doesn´t seem terribly happy about receiving a parrot as a pet. It could be that he simply doesn´t enjoy receiving pets out of the blue but in other stories he doesn´t seem very fond of the birds.
    • Perhaps the real question is, why did Hergé seem to hate parrots? Besides the irascible Iago in "The Castafiore Emerald," there was a parrot in "Tintin in the Congo" who bit Snowy's tail, causing it to become infected. "The Broken Ear" had an even more vicious and cantankerous bird ("GRRREAT GREEDY-GUTS!") who bit Tintin's nose and practically massacred poor Snowy in a fight. So my guess is that the Captain reacted to being presented with Iago the same way Hergé himself would have reacted if someone had given him a parrot.
    • Here's a theory: we know Haddock had an ancestor who was stranded for a long time on an island among parrots, and that he frequently swore at them, which means he probably was driven to distraction by them. Perhaps it is a genetic Haddock trait that has been passed down since Sir Francis to hate parrots.
    • Parrots are pretty messy animals to have as pets, so he probably wasn't looking forward to all the poop and feathers to clean every day. They also tend to bite often if they have a bad attitude. It's been implied often that Haddock's idea of a good time is doing an overall quiet, relaxing activity (walking in the park, reading, drinking by himself, smoking); parrots are pretty noisy, so being gifted with a 24/7 noise machine would be the complete opposite of "fun" for him.

     Rastapopoulous’ fall 
  • So how did Rastapopoulos survive his fall near the end of Cigars of the Pharoh?
    • It's left to the reader's interpretation. Either he caught on something, someone caught him, or he fell into a plothole and came out in a car in Shanghai.
      • That's not the kind of answer we are expecting in this section, do we?
      • The same way Sherlock Holmes survived the fall in "The Final Problem".
    • The same way Tintin always does. Something occurs.
    • He fell into a Plot Hole and appeared in China.
    • He's Made of Iron like Tintin who suvived several gunshots including some on the head.


     Calculus’ deafness 
  • If Calculus knows that he is hard of hearing, why does he still act like the words he thinks he hears are still what the people really say to him?
    • He seems to be in denial about how severe his hearing problem really is, constantly claiming that he's "slightly deaf in one ear" despite the fact that it's obviously way worse than that. Consequently, he never considers that he might be mishearing what other people are saying.
      • Truth in Televison – my partially-deaf father does this all the time.
      • So does my gets really really annoying because he says he only has a minor mishearing problem yet all the time he acts confused about mishearings.
    • This troper is of the opinion that he has selective hearing or has realised that his hearing problem is often advantageous. For instance his misinterpreting or mishearing allows him to ignore anyone who refuses him (Red Rackam's Treasure when he joins Tintin and Haddock despite their objections), to helpfully misinform people (The Calculus Affair when he gets rid of Joylon Wagg), or deflate awkward social situations (Tintin and the Picaros when he surprises Alcazar's wife and ends her tirade). Yes I am aware that this probably falls under the category of Fan Wank

     Calculus’ ear trumpet 
  • Why does Calculus not have his hearing device anymore after Explorers on the Moon? Didn't he realize how much more convenient his life got with it? And even if Status Quo Is God, why don't they just give a Lampshade Hanging?
    • Because it's all part of a game he plays with possibly the only person in the world he considers a friend (Captain Haddock). They playfully niggle each other, Haddock calls him names, Cuthbert just pretends to be deaf.
    • Given that we know he's also a little scatterbrained, he could just forget to wear the hearing aid (this troper's grandmother certainly does).
    • Calculus always insists that he's not as deaf as he actually is, and seems serenely convinced that what he thinks people say is what's been said. He says he needs the hearing aid for the Moon expedition because his hearing must be perfect under those circumstances, but this troper always assumed that once the expedition is over, he is quite content to go back to his regular auditory existence, being after all "only a little hard of hearing in one ear".
      • Rule of Funny, that's why.
      • It could also be that he "appreciates" his deafness as it lets him focus more on his work without interruption.

     The Broken Stair 
  • In The Castafiore Emerald, why don't they just keep the broken piece of stair somewhere else instead of PUTTING IT BACK ON ITS BROKEN SPOT WHERE IT MAKES PEOPLE CONSTANTLY SLIP?
    • They either never get around to putting it away since they're all so busy (And Haddock is stuck in a wheelchair) or they don't want to lose it. Besides...the Rule of Funny states that since the repairman is taking his time getting his arse over there, they have to keep slipping on it for the running gag. (It's implied nearly everyone in Marlinspike has fallen down the stairs at one point)
      • They don't want to lose it? Does it take so much time and effort to just pick it up and put it on a table that is near? Rule of Funny has its limits, and this one, strains too much on my Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
      • This troper was under the impression that the loose piece wasn't the problem - they just didn't look and stepped on the hole out of habit.
    • The same reason the Marlinspike phone is still connected to the wrong number of Cutts the Butcher: Rule of Funny.

     The Castafiore Emerald 
  • What the hell was the point? Seriously, throughout the whole episode we are given numerous possible thieves, and in the end it turns out it was a bird.
    • This was deliberate: Hérge wanted to see if he could maintain suspense throughout sixty-two pages in which not much happens.
  • We have a trope for this: Rule of Funny.

     Tintin’s fate in Alph-Art 
  • So in the final Tintin, the Alph Art, the last panels drawn shows that Tintin is going to be covered in liquid polyester and sold as a work of art by an artist named Cesar. Specifically the last panel ever drawn just shows a person with a gun leading Tintin out saying, "Let's go, it's time to be turned into a Cesar". What do you think Herge intended to happen after that?
    • It was a draft, after all.
      • Just because it was a draft doesn't mean you can't wonder what Herge intended to happen. Yves Rodier definitely wondered what'd happen.
    • According to the notes, Herge didn't really know what would happen next either.
    • Optimist answer: If past experience is any guide, Tintin is saved by some unlikely turn of events, possibly involving Snowy. Or by an ally he made earlier in the story. Or (less likely) he pulls off some badass feat of getting the drop on someone who's holding him at gunpoint; this has been known to happen.
      • Pessimist answer: If past experience isn't a guide, then there's a reason this is the very last panel of Tintin ever drawn. Tintin's luck has finally run out after decades of improbable good fortune, and this is how he dies.
      • Possibly, he might have been bought by an agent of one of the Warehouse's at the time. seeing as how Tintin has never died, has been just about everywhere and seems utterly morally upright, don't you think the Regents just might wanted to have him "on ice" who knows? Ceasar might have been a Warehouse agent.


     Alien abduction 
  • What happened to Rastapopoulos, Spaulding, and the others who got kidnapped by aliens in Flight 714? Did the people who he hired to help escape from the volcanic island in time?
    • In the "finished" version by Quebecker artist Yves Rodier, Rastapopoulos says that he just remembers ending on an island with no memories. Apparently, the aliens thought they were above sentencing human criminals and just brainwashed them after returning them to Earth. It is definitely not canon, but several fans consider Rodier's Alpha Art finished version the best.
      • Rodier's version provides a possible explanation, as Allan is revealed to have given up crime and to be trying to lead an honest life. Kanrokitoff and/or the aliens may have tried to hypnotise the bad guys into becoming good, and while it worked with Allan, Rastapopoulos was too irredeemably evil for the hypnosis to work.
    • Late in the book, Allan mentions that the Sondonesian nationalists fled at the first sign of volcanic activity, well before the actual eruption happened. If the explosives that Rastapopoulos put in their boats were supposed to be remotely triggered, then they probably survived; otherwise, they were likely blown to shreds off-panel.
    • No, Allan was sent to get the plastic explosives to blow up the cave. The Sondonesians stampeded him, but he came back with the explosives, so they probably survived.
    • In "Alph Art" Rastopopolous is (probably) Akass who is living as a mystical guru. Could this be an identity that was given to him by Kanrokitoff with his memory partially erased?

     Tapioca and Alcazar 
  • In the earlier albums featuring Alcazar, he is in a perpetual struggle for power with Tapioca, "both men claiming leadership of the country with comedic frequency" (from The Other Wiki). But in Picaros, it is clearly stated as a San Theodoros tradition that, upon a coup, the defeated leader be executed. How come neither of them is dead?
    • Or else why he's always seen in Brussels? He always got to leave with the help of his half of loyalists. Probably every time either of them stormed the Presidential Palace in Los Dopicos, it's already empty.
      • This. Neither of them is particularly talented, and San Theodoros is a very comic-opera sort of country. There's no obvious reason
    • Odds are Tapioca and Alcazar were extremely wary and constantly on the move during times of civil strife, hence why neither man was ever able to catch each other. Tapioca's eventual capture by Alcazar's came about through a combination of his own overconfidence, and Alcazar's rather unusual method of gaining access to the presidential palace.
    • It's probably a tradition that's only carried out when leaders are caught; chances are, Alcazar and Tapioca know when the tide's turning and flee before this tradition can be observed.

     Tintin’s given name 
  • What kind of a name is "Tintin" anyway? Maybe that's just a nickname for "Martin", but still... Everyone in the series has a first and last name except for him. This troper is bugged by the fact that no one seems to be bugged by this.
    • Franco-Belgian comics' heroes with just a nickname weren't uncommon, by this time. And the Thompsons are in the same case.
      • Tintin may be his last name. One of the characters in 1912 book La Guerre des Boutons (adapted to the screen in France in the 1960s and in Ireland in the 1990s) is called Tintin, and his sister is Marie Tintin.
    • What kind of name is it, you ask? Answer: A Swedish one. There are people in Sweden named Tintin, though they're not that many (currently around 900, less than 400 of them male). And it's not certain how many of them are named after a certain popular comics hero...
    • The name is deliberately bland; it means "nothing" in dialectal French. It goes together with his lack of family, profession and relatives: he is a blank character that anyone can relate to.

     Incans speaking French 
  • This troper just realised, literally while at my fridge looking for food, that the Incans in Temple of the Sun speak French. ...WTH? They've hung around a mountaintop inaccessible to visitors for thousands of years, and yet they're somehow able to communicate perfectly with a pair of random strangers that waltz into their main hall of worship out of nowhere? I mean, sure if all the other foreigners (Tchang, the Emir, Oliviera) are able to speak easily as they could've learned French or English etc, but the Incas? Just bugs me.
    • In fact, now that I think of it, the only person that's shown to have an accent is Szut, the Estonian pilot... or is it just a case of selective memory on this troper's part? Still doesn't explain the Incas though...
    • It can be explained through Fan Wank : Haddock is a sailor and probably knows several languages. Tintin is a polyglot genius (he probably speaks chinese, arab, spanish, english, etc...). In Temple of the Sun, it's just Translation Convention. Everybody actually speaks spanish.
      • Wouldn't isolated Incas be more likely to speak Quechua, which is much more obscure?
      • You forget that they do keep in contact with the outside world. They are able to get to other countries to follow the archeologists and the high priest hangs round the streets of one of the cities.
      • It's a more sophisticated Translation Convention. We see very few Incas speaking. They speak Quechua between one other; two characters can speak with Tintin in proper Spanish: the Inca himself who has to be the better educated and wise person of his people, and the sacrifice priest; and there are a soldier and a servant who talk to Tintin in a pidgin, probably a mix of their own language and two or three Spanish words, plus Huascar who infiltrated himself in the Peruvian society.

     General Alcazar’s money 
  • So if General Alcazar was down and out in Seven Crystal Balls how does he have enough money to buy aircraft in The Red Sea Sharks?
    • This is just a guess but maybe he earned money as a film actor.In the beginning of The Red Sea Sharks when Tintin remarks on the resemblance between the star of the western and the General he is actually noticing that its the same person. We know that Alcazar does odd jobs when he's not starting revolutions so maybe he found his way to Hollywood and landed a contract with a studio. He's a politician and knife throwing is a kind of performance art so acting would probably come naturally to him.
    • Another possiblilty. In an early draft of Tintin and the Picaros Alcazar explains that he met Peggy in New York when he was doing his knife throwing act and that she is the daughter of arms dealer Basil Bazarov as well as being very wealthy. So if we accept that about the two then we could assume that the General is either married or engaged in Red Sea Sharks and Peggy is bankrolling his coup (she wants that palace after all)
    • Also remember that Tintin found a lottery ticket from San Theodoros in Alcazar's wallet. This might be a clever way on Herge's part of telling us that he won the lottery and that's where he got the money
      • But if Tapioca was in power, how would Alcazar have been allowed to claim the money? I'm assuming that when Tapioca's in power Alcazar is persona non grata in San Theodoros
      • How about a Belgian ticket?
      • Nope it was definitely from San Theodoros
    • In Tintin and the Picaros we're told that Alcazar is being funded by a banana company.
  • Tintin learned what actually happened between then and when the comic was printed, probably. Alcazar, for his part, was probably happier not mentioning that event when they met again in The Seven Crystal Balls.
    • Maybe Alcazar didn't pay for the aircraft up front; perhaps he got the aircraft for free in exchange for future payments, or an exclusive contract to use that dealer for future orders of military hardware?


     Ahmed's fate 
  • Whatever happened to Ahmed? I might have missed something, but I think Tintin got to him and the latter managed to impersonate him to get close to Muller. So he's just left in the desert?
    • I've always wondered this. I assumed Tintin left him Bound and Gagged to be killed by the fire from the pipeline, but that seems unlikely.
    • Most likely he was just Mugged for Disguise and left by the pipe. As the authorities don't mention arresting anyone maybe he just came to a moment later and ran away before they arrived.

     Sir Francis and The Unicorn 
  • Sir Francis Haddock sinks The Unicorn with treaure aboard, then hides documents to the location of the ship in three models. But on board The Unicorn are a series of documents that say the treasure is actually inside Marlinspike Hall hidden there by Francis. Why would the documents in the models lead to a place where the treasue isn't when Haddock had it in his possesion the whole time? And how could there be documents aboard The Unicorn pointing to Marlinspike Hall if the treasure wasn't put there until AFTER The Unicorn sank?
    • What the heck are you talking about? There were no documents on The Unicorn saying the treasure was in Marlinspike. Tintin and Haddock found the treasure in the globe completely by accident, when they came across the statue and the globe in the cellar and Tintin figured it out.
      • Sorry, that was one change made in the animated series. As soon as Tintin learns that Marlinspike Hall once belonged to the Haddocks he immediatly deduced the treasure must be there. In the original book he does indeed find it by accident.
      • If I can remember correctly, Tintin didn't find it completely by accident. He fell into the basement and looked around, finding a sculpture with a eagle on its shoulder, with a stone globe under it, pressing the button where the island is opened the globe, showing the treasure inside it. Showing how the messages in the models were pointing to the Marlinspike Hall all along.
      • The exact reason is a mistake. The documents found in the Unicorn do not say the treasure is in Marlinspike Hall. The documents found in the Unicorn state that Marlinspike Hall is the family estate of Captain Haddock. The finding of the treasure is due to partial accident and partial detective work by Tintin.
      • The coordinates on the clues in the model ships give the location of the island. The characters assume that means the treasure is on the island itself, wheras actually, the treasure is at Marlinspike. To reveal the treasure, they had to press a secret button on a statue of a globe... the button being at the exact location of the island. So the clues did say where the treasure was, they just assumed incorrectly that it was the real coordinates of the island and not on a statue.

     The Thompson’s ineptitude 
  • Just about every other book Tintin is either arrested or narrowly escapes arrest by the Thompsons after being framed by the Villain of the Week. It seems like even they would have noticed a pattern by now, yet they blithely follow their orders every time with only the odd comment about "such a shame". Even Tintin never points it out. Why?
    • It doesn't happen quite that often, just three times: In "The Cigars of the Pharaoh", "The Blue Lotus" and "The Black Island". The first of those is also their first meeting with Tintin, so they've no reason to give him the benefit of a doubt. The second, they're just following Dawson's orders, and claim they don't actually believe Tintin's guilty — but they probably assume he'll be tried fairly and acquitted anyway if he just comes quietly. The third time... well, okay, they're being really dense, but no one's ever accused the Thompsons of being smart. They're essentially Lawful Stupid, feeling compelled to do their job by the book, regardless of personal relations with the suspect. Plus, there's an element of wounded pride to it — in both the second and third books they suffer various comedic injuries and humiliations while trying to apprehend Tintin, which just makes them more determined to bring him in.
    • They do also point out the third time the evidence all points to Tintin being responsible for a mugging which Tintin even agrees with. And him resisting arrest means more reason to go after him.

     Tintin, Snowy, and the phostlite 
  • In The Shooting Star, why didn't the phostlite also make Tintin and Snowy grow?
    • As far as we know, it might only affect immature organisms (mushroom spores, an apple seed, a caterpillar). The spider could have been a juvenile, it would be hard to tell.
    • In addition, those organisms were all very small, even compared to Snowy, so they would have absorbed a great deal more radiation for their body size. It's possible that Snowy would have started growing if he'd stayed longer on the phostlite, followed by Tintin, as their bodies kept accumulating the substance's strange radiation.

     Missing Thompsons 
  • In Flight 714, does anyone else find it strange that Thompson and Thomson don't appear and aren't even mentioned? Why weren't they invited to the astronomic conference if they were on the moon expedition too? (sure, they only went along by accident, but still).
    • Perhaps they were invited as well, but either they couldn't attend or were already on Sydney by the time the story takes place. Maybe they just had caught an early flight which Tintin, Haddock and the others weren't able to catch.
    • Alternatively, maybe their presence on the trip wasn't officially disclosed? Keep in mind that they ended up on the rocket by accident because they got the launch time wrong, it may be that certain details of the expedition (including Jorgen's presence and Wolffe's betrayal and final suicide) weren't disclosed to the general public to save face.