King Ottokar's Sceptre

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King Ottokar's Sceptre (French: Le Sceptre d'Ottokar) is the seventh of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring the young reporter Tintin. It was first serialized as a black-and-white comic strip in Le Petit Vingtième on 4 August 1938. A new colour version was drawn and published in 1947.

Contents

Synopsis

Tintin finds a lost briefcase and returns it to the owner, Professor Hector Alembick, who is a sigillographer, an expert on seals (as in the sort used to make state documents official). He shows Tintin his collection of seals, including one which belonged to the Syldavian King Ottokar IV. Tintin then discovers that he and Alembick are under surveillance by some strange men. Tintin's flat is even bombed in an attempt to kill him. Suspecting a Syldavian connection, Tintin offers to accompany Alembick to Syldavia via Frankfurt and Prague for research.

On the plane Tintin begins to suspect his companion. The Alembick travelling with him does not smoke and doesn't seem to need the spectacles he wears, while the Alembick he first met did smoke and had very poor eyesight. During a layover, Tintin fakes a fall and grabs Alembick's beard, thinking it is false and Alembick is an imposter. However, it is (for Alembick) painfully real. Tintin decides to let the matter drop but then, while flying over Syldavia, it is the pilot of the plane who opens a trap door and Tintin drops out, landing in a haywagon.

Tintin has a hunch that a plot is afoot to steal the sceptre of King Ottokar IV. In Syldavia, the reigning King must possess the sceptre to rule or he will be forced to abdicate, a tradition established after a past king used the sceptre to defeat a would-be assassin. Every year he rides in a parade during St. Vladimir's Day carrying it, while the people sing the national anthem. Tintin succeeds in warning the reigning King Muskar XII, despite the efforts of the conspirators. He and the King rush to the royal treasure room to find Alembick, the royal photographer and some guards unconscious and the sceptre missing.

Tintin's friends Thomson and Thompson are summoned to investigate but their theory on how the sceptre was stolen — the thief throwing the sceptre through the iron bars over the window — proves to be inaccurate and painful for them. Later on, Tintin notices a spring cannon in a toy shop and this gives him the clue. Professor Alembick had asked for some photographs to be taken of the sceptre, but the camera was a spring cannon in disguise, which allowed him to 'shoot' the sceptre out of the castle through the window bars into a nearby forest.

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