Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"You're just going to walk away? Like my dad?" "Yes." "I'm cold." "I know. You know how I know? Because we're connected."

 Wherein Jack Continues Ranting About Characters.

 I have a favourite characters category. There are ones I like, ones I love, and ones I pick apart. If I  pick a part a character and study them it means they've made the highest list possible.

 One of these characters is Tintin.

 The main character of Herge's comic books, Tintin won me over the moment I read The Broken Ear, the first Tintin book I ever read. Ever since then, the more I get to know him, the more I like him.

 Tintin is another of those characters who can be seen as "flat" when one first gets to know him. His past is unknown. It is never said if he has a family or not. The reader is never told anything about himself. All we know is that he's a reporter, loves mysteries, and that Tintin isn't his real name. "My name? It would mean nothing to you, but back home they call me Tintin."

 So, why is this "flat" character so well loved? Why do so many still read his books? Why was there a movie made about him? 

 One reason I've heard is because Tintin isn't an already drawn out character. Everything about him is a mystery, and we can fill in all the blanks. We can put ourselves into his character, in a manner of speaking. Which is what I think Herge meant us to do.

 Herge left Tintin's past, his whole character open. Some things we do know clearly about him. We know he dislikes injustice and does all he can to right it. We know nothing will stop him from getting to the bottom of something. We know he cares for his friends, enough to risk his own life for them. We know he is loyal to them and will stop at nothing to help them, even if everyone around him says it is impossible. But these are just things we see. Throughout the stories, we see certain aspects of his character. But there is still so much "missing."

 What does he like to do when he's not trying to solve a new mystery? This is where we get to use our imaginations. This is where Tintin becomes more real to us. Because most readers give him the same likes and dislikes they have.

 This now feels a little weird to write. I think everyone who has read the books has done this, but it is weird to say, or write, out loud.
 I think we've all done this, even if it isn't with Tintin. If we really like a character we put ourselves in their shoes and pretend to become them. Some characters we travel with, and become their friends, but others we actually become.
 And this is how I would describe Tintin. We can become him. His mysterious past we can explain because we use our past. And Herge gave us the ability to do this, leaving an almost blank character. (Though I'm not sure that is the best way to describe Tintin.)

 I think, though, that is why Tintin has been around for so long. So far, I've never found another character like him. One we can kind of create ourselves. I think that was one of Herge's writing gifts. He knew how to write a story with enough in it to keep it fun and exciting, and knew how to leave enough out that we could have just as much fun using our imaginations. 

 What are your thoughts? Have you ever found a character which you kind of became? 
  On a side note, I FINALLY saw Iron Man 3!!! I will have a review soon. (I have a lot of reviews I need to write up. I might just do them all at once and post them on Saturday. I read a wonderful book recently which I want to review.)

 Anyways, I took the quote from the movie, where Tony is talking to a little boy who is helping him. The boy is trying to make him feel guilty but it doesn't go as he planned. 




  1. Nice description of Tintin. I think that you are right, although I never really thought about Tintin's character until you talked about him on your blog. I've been a Tintin fan since I was probably 8ish.... Or maybe even 7. I don't think I could read much because I remember flipping through Cigars of the Pharaoh thinking that it was a huge book of amazing pictures with so many words that I would never be able to read on my own. So maybe I was 6 when my dad first started to read me Tintin... I don't know.
    Anyway, I've never been good at character development or character analysis. I think that's one reason why I love Tintin and his character so much.... The action kind of propels the story forward, and I like that.

    Well, I can't go and see Into Darkness until my mom makes me my Star Trek skirt. I REFUSE to go see Into Darkness until I can wear that skirt to the theater. :P

    Eep! Tell me when you see the finale of Elementary!

    P.S. I liked your post about the Pevensie kids as well.

  2. I only know of Tintin from the movie (which I really liked) and need to go back and check out some of the books.

    I never knew his background was so wide open, though, which is very interesting.

  3. That line from the movie was just awesome!
    I don't know that much about Tintin. A wide open past does leave room for the reader to insert himself into the adventure though.

  4. That was questionably one of my favorite moments in Iron Man 3, right there in that quote.

    I've only seen the Tintin movie, however, I did find it rather intriguing that his character wasn't very filled in. He just sort of was there, and no one questioned why. It never even occurred to me as I watched the movie, which I assume to be a sign it was written in well, otherwise I would have complained!

    1. In other news, I have a character post to submit for submitiness! I might end up sneaking in another in a week or so, but for now I did one on Rovee and my love of enigmatic characters and their slow development.


      I hope this is the right place to post...Because I'm never certain with this sort of stuff xD

  5. Wow, I love this picking-apart of TinTin. I've always loved him too, and never really knew why. Now I kinda do. I always loved him because of his red hair, the fact that he traveled all over, and the fact that he had a trench-coat. :D


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