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Jolyon Wagg

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  Summary  

Jolyon Wagg (in the original French version: Séraphin Lampion) is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the series of classic Belgian comic books written and illustrated by Hergé. He is an gregarious, simple, and overbearing man who enters the story by barging in uninvited. He is disliked by Captain Haddock, who finds Wagg frustrating, although Wagg remains cheerfully oblivious and believes himself a great friend of the Captain. Wagg often quotes his Uncle Anatole, who was a barber. Wagg is portrayed as a clueless tourist in the exotic places where Tintin and the Captain have their adventures. Wagg is an insurance salesman by trade, and he often tries to sell other characters insurance.

He is generally seen as a more modern character, as opposed to the older archetypes (crusty sea captain, absent-minded professor) that inhabit Hergé's earlier works.

  Biography  

Jolyon Wagg is based on a salesman who came to Hergé's door and invited himself in, but also on a stereotype of what Hergé called a belgicain (roughly, "an Ugly Belgian", one who is insensitive, for example, when visiting in foreign countries). Wagg appears late in the series, starting with The Calculus Affair, where his self-importance and insensitivity enrage Captain Haddock. Wagg also appears in The Red Sea Sharks, The Castafiore Emerald, Flight 714 and Tintin and the Picaros.

Wagg appears four times in The Calculus Affair, inviting himself inside Marlinspike Manor, interfering with a critical radio transmission, repeatedly interrupting Haddock's phone call to Nestor, and moving into the Marlinspike Manor with his family for a holiday while Tintin, Haddock, and Calculus are gone. Tintin, who rarely shows anger, is unaffected, however the Captain is goaded into memorable rants, for example:

It’s pointless, Mr. Wagg, I have every kind of insurance possible and imaginable. Yes, everything! I have life insurance, accident insurance; against damage from hail, rain, floods, tidal waves, tornadoes; against cholera, flu and head colds; against mites, termites and locusts. Everything, I tell you! In fact, the only insurance I don’t have is against crushing bores!" (Translated from the French L’Affaire Tournesol, p. 6) (In the English-language version of the book, this is translated to "The only insurance I don't have is against insurance salesmen!")

Wagg cannot take a hint. He sees himself as Haddock's friend and cannot appear to appreciate the Captain's outbursts as genuine dislike for him: when Bianca Castafiore insured her jewels for a large sum of money, Wagg gave the Captain a critical phone call, saying that as a common "friend" of his and Bianca's, Haddock should have seen to it that Wagg got the deal.

In the final Tintin album, Tintin and the Picaros, the tables are turned when Tintin and the Captain steal the costumes from the group with which Wagg is traveling.

Wagg has an unusual role in Tintin albums in that, unlike most recurring characters with a role in the plot, he is a relatively average human being . He facilitated Hergé's bringing in a more realistic, domestic mood into some stories. Perhaps reflecting Hergé’s dislike of mediocrity, in his appearances, Wagg never accomplishes much, except to get in the way.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Jolyon Wagg", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.