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The Tintin Miniseries: Tintin and His Sidekicks


By Amanda Sheppard

Tintin and Snowy

The vim to his vigour, the bread to his butter. Such is the infallible bond between Tintin and Snowy. Their friendship lasts to the very end; Snowy is the only character to feature alongside Tintin in every tale. So important is Snowy that their friendship has been forever immortalised at the Place du Grand Sablon in Brussels, with the terrier sitting proudly next to a bronze statue of his master.

Snowy’s original name was Milou in the French language serials, after Hergé’s first girlfriend. Though his new, English moniker might suggest otherwise, he seldom demonstrates a sunny disposition. While in the collective minds of a generation, Snowy remains the loveable sidekick, his primary role in the chronicles, through to King Ottokar’s Sceptre, is to provide a balancing act to Tintin’s unfailing optimism. He does this by speaking directly to the reader, with Hergé granting him dedicated speech bubbles to do so.

With the introduction of Captain Haddock, who willingly assumes the role of drunken sailor and ill-tempered pessimist, Snowy is left to his animalistic tendencies, remaining a loyal companion whose only shortcomings are falling foul of the occasional vice – a big bone or the odd dram of Loch Lomond whisky never seem to go amiss. From Haddock’s introduction onwards, Snowy communicates only with Tintin and no longer directly to readers, with his dialogue few and far between.

Tintin demonstrates a great dependency on his friend, who risks grave peril to free him in countless tales. He remains fiercely loyal throughout, proving himself indeed to be man’s best friend.

“Tintin demonstrates a great dependency on his friend”

Tintin and Captain Haddock

There comes a time in every man’s life when he must choose which path to take. That time came for Captain Archibald Haddock of the Merchant Marines when he met a tenacious young reporter named Tintin. On his first appearance in The Crab with the Golden Claws, Haddock’s first mate Allan uses his vessel to smuggle drugs. From the get go, Hergé’s Captain was rife with vulnerability – possessing a unique blend of hard-headedness and naivety.

With Tintin firmly by his side, Haddock sets sail for a life less ordinary, though his penchant for whisky and seafaring expletives remained (“blistering barnacles”, indeed). The muted nature of his seafaring swearing is perhaps a nod to Tintin’s Boy Scouting ways. But the teen reporter remains capable of seeing beyond the rough exterior of his hard-headed ally, opposite though they may be.

Haddock counterbalances Tintin the idealist, offering himself as a source of dry wit and humour. As the stories progress, he transforms into an increasingly mature, protective figurehead, one who was willing to lay his life on the line.

Haddock is one of few characters whose family is referenced. His ancestral home, Marlinspike Hall, is returned with the help of Professor Calculus in Red Rackham’s Treasure, enabling him to offer Tintin a permanent home.

How Tintin views Captain Haddock has long been a subject of debate – whether he serves as a father figure or older brother – but on one many fans do agree, that in spite of his flaws, Tintin holds him in the highest regard.

The HOCA Foundation, in collaboration with The Hergé Museum, presents THE WORLD OF TINTIN  

Wednesday – Sunday, 17 November – 10 December at the new ArtisTree. Due to popular demand, the exhibition will be open daily from 11 – 26 December.

See the Tintin programme page for more details. 

Follow @artistreehk on Instagram for all the #tintin_Artistree action

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