Have you ever wondered where Syldavia is? Where Tintin found the Shooting Star? Or where was Captain Haddock’s ancestor was marooned in Secrets of the Unicorn?
When I read Tintin, I wanted to know more about the places he visited. Herge brought them so vividly to life in the books that as a child I dreamt of going to Tibet and finding the Yeti myself or to exploring the streets of Brussels and meeting the weird and wonderful characters that occupied Tintin’s world. Over time, I grew up and these fantasy developed into a genuine fascination in the history and geography of the world.
My love for Tintin had waxed and waned over the years. I completed my collection of books but they were rarely looked at. More reminders of fond memories than anything I kept for their own value. Yet when the Tintin movie was announced, something drew me back to them and I started this blog. Once more I’ve found myself engrossed with Tintin except this time, I was more interested Tintin’s place in the world. How Herge shaped the real world around his hero, keeping some aspects of reality and ignoring others. Eventually this drew me to the map. I wanted to be able to see how Herge had intertwined reality with fiction and a map was the easiest way of exploring this aspect of Herge’s creativity.
Probably my favourite part of the map is the route taken in The Shooting Star. It was the first Tintin book I owned and I spent many hours as a child reading and rereading it. But what stands out from the map is the real sense of a chase taking place. With the sighting of the Perry and the distraction of the faked SOS message, more than any other of Tintin’s travels, it is possible to see how the story and his physical journey combined.