Characters & Places

Tarrie  Tintin’s faithful companion. His name means terrier in Scots. He is called Milou in French, Snowy in English, Terry in Danish and Norwegian, and Tobbi in Icelandic! For names in other languages, see this list.

Nisbet and Nesbit the two glaikit detectives that follow Tintin. You can tell them apart by their moustaches! Nisbet has a curled moustache and Nesbit has a straight one.

The Hairy Etin (Derk Isle) based on the Red Etin of Scottish folklore, a flesh-eating giant whose red colour came from the blood of his victims! He was said to utter this grisly rhyme as he hunted his victims: ‘Snowk but, snowk ben, I smell the bluid o earthly men’.

Cameron Cartouche (Merk o the Pharaoh) the absent-minded professor and Egyptologist who is searching for the tomb of Pharaoh Kih-Oskh. A cartouche is an ancient Egyptian name-plate in an oval shape. (In the original French text, his name is Philémon Siclone.)

Sergeant Sur-Duq (Merk o the Pharaoh) the crabbit drill sergeant who recruits Tintin. His name is a pun on the Scots word soor dook, which means ‘sour milk’ and also ‘a sour, mean person’.

Blissit Fireflaucht (Snaws o Tibet) a Buddhist monk. His name means ‘Blessed Lightning’.

Chitterin Licht (Snaws o Tibet) a Buddhist monk. His name means ‘Flickering Light’ and refers to a line in Hugh MacDiarmid’s poem, ‘The Watergaw‘.

Poutherie Snaw (Snaws o Tibet) the name that the monks give to Tarrie. It means ‘Powdery Snow’.

Mr Octavius (Auld King Ottokar’s Sceptre) the royal photographer. His name is a homage to David Octavius Hill, who along with Robert Adamson pioneered photography in Edinburgh in the 1840s. (In the original French text, his name is Monsieur Czarlitz.)

Hamish Brewster (Auld King Ottokar’s Sceptre) the bespectacled professor and sigillographer. His name is a homage to David Brewster, the Scottish scientist and expert in optics who invented the kaleidoscope. (In the original French text, his name is Nestor Halambique.)

Lieutenant Korbi (Auld King Ottokar’s Sceptre) his name is a pun on corbie meaning ‘raven’ (so-named because his neb looks like the beak of a corbie).

Niblik and Tizov (Auld King Ottokar’s Sceptre), two of the conspirators. A niblick is an old-fashioned type of golf club, and the phrase tees off also refers to the game of golf.


Corbiecraig Castle (Derk Isle) the name means ‘crag of corbies or ravens’.

Inverdoom (Derk Isle) the name means ‘mouth of (the river) Doom’.

Al-Jabra (Merk o the Pharaoh) the name is a pun on algebra, which itself comes from an Arabic word meaning ‘reunion of broken parts’.

Cullenskink Hoose (Snaws o Tibet) the ancestral home of Captain Haddie. Cullen skink is a traditional Scottish soup made with smoked haddock (haddie), tatties and milk. (In the original French, it is Le château de Moulinsart.)

Khor-Bisang (Snaws o Tibet) the name of the monastery is a pun on Corbie Sang, meaning ‘Raven Song’. (In both French and English versions, it is called Khor-Biyong.)

Gowdspink Road (Auld King Ottokar’s Sceptre) the address of the Syldavian restaurant. The name means ‘Goldfinch Road’.

Sangshov Pavilion (Auld King Ottokar’s Sceptre) the name of the concert hall is a pun on Sangshaw (‘Song Festival’), the name of Hugh MacDiarmid’s collection of Scots poems, published in 1925.