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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: The Child Lama Indiana Jones
The Child Lama
Written by Richard Beugné
Illustrations by d’Erik Juszezak
February 1998

Indy befriends a Buddhist lama his own age in Tibet and must race to his rescue when the boy is kidnapped for ransom.


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


The opening chapter of this book states that it takes place in August 1913. 


Didja Know?


To my knowledge, this junior novel was published only in France as Indiana Jones Jr et l'Enfant Lama. A series of junior novels was published in this series, some original stories and some French translations of the American Young Indiana Jones junior novels. For some reason, the French versions are all titled beginning with "Indiana Jones Jr" instead of the French translation of "Young Indiana Jones", "Jeune Indiana Jones".


Notes from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones


The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones is a 2008 publication that purports to be Indy's journal as seen throughout The Young Indiana Chronicles and the big screen Indiana Jones movies. The publication is also annotated with notes from a functionary of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, the successor agency of the Soviet Union's KGB. The FSB relieved Indy of his journal in 1957 during the events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The notations imply the journal was released to other governments by the FSB in the early 21st Century. However, some bookend segments of The Young Indiana Chronicles depict Old Indy still in possession of the journal in 1992. The discrepancy has never been resolved. 


The journal as published skips over this time in Indy's life. In fact, it goes from August 5, 1912 to March 9, 1916...a period of about 3.5 years! Are we to believe that Indy made no journal entries that entire time? Perhaps the entries were excised by the Russians for some reason when it was in their possession?


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Henry Jones, Sr.

Indiana Jones

Bobkar Rimpotché (mentioned only, deceased)

Lt. Nyak Tso

Tibetan soldiers


Dalai Lama (mentioned only)

Gisha (mentioned only)


Alexandra David-Neel


Didja Notice?


Chapter 1: An Ungracious Lieutenant


As usual with the French novels, Indy is said to wear a Stetson brand hat.


Indy and his father are travelling to Tsadong Monastery in Tibet to meet the professor's friend Bobkar Rimpotché. As far as I can tell, this is a fictitious monastery.


On page 8, the Tibetan lieutenant refers to the Jones boys as Tchilingas. This is a somewhat derogatory Tibetan term for white men.


Indy meets a boy lama named Dentsen who is one of the highest leaders of the Buddhist religion after the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is the head monk of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, and nominally the leader of Tibet.


Chapter 2: A Voice in the Wind


On page 16, Dentsen wants to hear more about Indy's adventure with the Eskimos in the Far North. This is a reference to the events of The Sacred Meteorite.


Dentsen's explanation of the Buddhist end state of nirvana is essentially correct. "Nirvana" is the state of perfect freedom and the release from the cycle of birth, life, and death in Buddhism.


Page 20 states that the expedition to the Tsadong Monastery was close to the pass of Ma when the storm hits. Ma is a village in Tibet.


Also on page 20, Indy calls Lt. Nyak Tso a "badly licked bear." This is a French colloquialism for someone who is vulgar or unsociable.


Chapter 3: Broken Glass Does Not Bring Luck!


On page 24, Indy exclaims, "Name of a little man!" This is a French colloquialism that is essentially a more polite way of saying "In the name of God" (similar to "Name of a dog" used in the previous French Indy books).


On page 26, the description of the small Buddhist religious structure called a stupa, which is meant to be walked around clockwise is accurate.


Chapter 4: The Culprits Are Innocent!


On page 33, the Tibetan party eats tsampa, a Tibetan dish of porridge of barley flour.


    On page 34, Indy's father remarks that Tibet's capital city of Lhasa is a city forbidden to foreigners. Lhasa has the nickname of the Forbidden City due to the difficulty of entering it legally at various times in the past according to its priority as a religious and governmental center of the country in turbulent times.

    Dentsen adds that the Dalai Lama returned to Potala Palace last year and drove out the Chinese occupiers. Potala Palace is a dzong fortress in Lhasa that served as the Dalai Lama's winter residence from 1649-1959. It is now a museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    A footnote on this page in the book states that the Dalai Lama is of the Yellow Hat caste of Tibetan Buddhism which makes him the head of state of Tibet. This is true, though the current Dalai Lama lives in exile in India since 1959 due to Tibet's occupation by China, which no longer recognizes the Dalai Lama's right to rule Tibet.


Chapter 5: Bad News


No notes.


Chapter 6: A Nice Cellmate


On page 66, Tomo explains that numo is a type of Yoga for warming up your body. I've been unable to confirm this term.


When Henry, Sr. learns that Alexandra David-Neel is coming to the monastery, he is excited that she may be able to help free them from Nyak Tso's cell because he knows her, having met her in France. Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969) was a Belgian-French explorer and spiritualist. She did travel widely through India and Tibet from 1912-1916.


On page 73, Tomo describes the cave of Dawa-Dzon in the Mhal Gorge, a place supposedly infested with demons. As far as I can find, Dawa-Dzon and Mhal Gorge are fictitious locations in Tibet.


Chapter 7: Old Glasses or a Nice Hat?


No notes.


Chapter 8: Meet an Adventurer


The full original name of Alexandra David-Neel (Louise Eugenie Alexandrine Marie David) and mini-biography given by her on page 94 is accurate of her as an historical figure.


Chapter 9: A Scary Disguise


On page 103, Indy's father exclaims, "Name of a pipe!" This is a French expression essentially meaning "For goodness sake!"


On page 105, Indy's father plugs up his ears for sleeping in the monastery dormitory with wax balls he'd bought at a drug store on Fifth Avenue in New York. Fifth Avenue is a major thoroughfare in the Manhattan borough of New York.


To disguise himself as a "demon" at the caves, Indy makes a mask out of a large melon, similar to a costume he once wore for Halloween back home.


On page 113, a monk is frightened by Indy in his demon costume, and he shouts, "Shenji!!! Shenji!!!" I've been unable to determine what this means in Tibetan nor of Tomo's assertion that Shenji is the god of death in Buddhism. In Buddhism, Yama is normally the god associated with death.


Chapter 10: Caverns and Taverns, One Must Not Get Confused!


On page 119, Tomo worries that the great "snow monkey" is following them. Indy identifies this term with the Yeti or Abominable Snowman. The Yeti is a cryptozoological, ape-like creature said to inhabit the Himalayan Mountains separating India and Tibet. It has often been referred to in the west as the Abominable Snowman. The Yeti is somewhat analogous to the Sasquatch (or Bigfoot) of the Pacific Northwest of the United States.


Chapter 11: The Suspense of the Suspension Bridge


The cutting of the suspension bridge with Indy upon it is similar to the suspension bridge scene that will occur in The Temple of Doom.


Chapter 12: The Tamed Bandit


No notes.


Chapter 13: Small Farewell Gifts


At the end of the story, the child lama gives Indy his yellow hat of Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. In return, Indy gives the lama his Stetson fedora. This would imply that the fedora worn by Indy in later adventures is not the same one he received from Garth in "The Cross of Coronado", since the lama now has it.


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