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Alexander John Rider
Alex Rider: "I'm too young to die."Alex is a young agent for MI-6, the British international intelligence service. At no more than fourteen years of age, Alex was forced into this occupation after MI-6 noticed Alex's many talents. He has not only worked for MI-6, but also the CIA, Scorpia (in Scorpia), and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (in Snakehead).
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Alex has "fair" hair in the books, later described as light brown in Crocodile Tears. The film and graphic novels (which came out before Crocodile Tears) have it as blond.
- Anti-Hero: Type I --> Type II or III.
- Bully Hunter: Alex befriended Tom by going after his bullies.
- Butt-Monkey: Poor Alex can hardly take a breath of fresh air without being whisked away on another life-threatening, trauma-inducing mission.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Alex is quite nonchalant sometimes about the various death traps and problems he faces....
- Child Soldier: To put it bluntly he entered his business in a similar manner to Shinji Ikari.
- Combat Pragmatist: Has been known to use whatever resources are available to him to win in a fight.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Faces the possibility and escapes this, in Point Blanc, Dr. Grief wants to perform an anaesthetized vivisection on Alex. In layman's terms, he wants to harvest organs from Alex while he's still awake. You may now vomit and shudder. Eventually in Scorpia Rising. Alex is water-boarded by the CIA. Thankfully, Joe Byrne intervenes. Later Razim pulls out his own brand.
- Deadpan Snarker: Even—maybe especially—in the face of terrible events. Possibly becomes something of a coping mechanism.
- Deconstruction: Despite not being Horowitz's original intention, the series gradually becomes a deconstruction of the entire idea of spying being a cool or desirable occupation.
- It also rips the Kid Hero trope apart, demonstrating how traumatic, psychologically scarring and generally awful the whole ordeal is for Alex.
- Despair Event Horizon: Pushed over it by Razim.
- Establishing Character Moment: MI-6 as a whole during Ian's funeral as they talk to Alex concerning said death and calling it an "accident", setting up a Red Herring that they might be the big bads that killed Ian in the first place. For a more in-depth one, Mr. Blunt shows off the Good Is Not Nice aspect by threatening to deport Jack should Alex refuse to join MI-6.
- Expy: The author wrote him as a teenage James Bond. He even gets unfavourably compared to him a few times by his detractors In-Universe. Case in point his nickname during training: Double O-Nothing.
- On the other hand, he can also be the end result of imagining Shinji Ikari as a spy.
- Gaining the Will to Kill: Played with. While the Big Bad of the book usually ends up dead, and mostly because of Alex, he rationalizes them away as accidents (in that he didn't intend any of them to die or directly have a hand in their deaths). Alex's willingness to kill is treated by the series as a Moral Event Horizon that he has no intention of crossing—when SCORPIA manipulates him into trying to kill Ms. Jones by showing her ordering his father's death, Alex still has trouble shooting. Eventually, he does shoot, but later is told that his shot would have missed despite being at point-blank range, meaning he really can't kill. In the last two books, Alex begins to lose this innocence, doing things that would definitely kill the recipients—in Crocodile Tears, he cuts open a mook's protective suit while in a toxic biodome and attaches an explosive to a fuel barrel before rolling it over to the main villain. Finally, in Scorpia Rising, the last book he shoots Julius Grief point-blank in the head while the former was at his mercy, but scrambling for a gun. Unusually, this is treated as a good thing, kind of. Ms. Jones states later that due to Julius' personality and appearance, Alex also symbolically killed off the part of his mind that MI6 created—in other words, the part that killed Julius in the first place.
- Gallows Humor: All the time. It would be easier to count the times where he hasn't cracked a joke in the face of terrible events.
- Good Is Not Soft
- Good with Numbers: In Stormbreaker, Alex shows he is adept in mathematics as he solves a problem on the board just after glancing at it.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: He defects to Scorpia in the novel of the same name, but eventually stays a "Face" after learning the truth about what they really have planned.
- He Who Fights Monsters: It started out with taking out Tom's bullies then taking out Skoda, and later, Damien Cray.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Described as a spy wanting to be a schoolboy.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome/In Harm's Way: Who can't seem to keep himself out of high-risk situations even when Blunt isn't blackmailing him (even though he truly hates his "job") and refuses to quit before it's over...once it's started, anyway. (Also an unusual case in that he's usually not truly motivated by the greater good, although that's certainly a factor, instead being at least partially motivated by the well-being of people he cares about. Both tropes are downplayed.)
- Improbable Weapon User: Being a Combat Pragmatist, Alex has used unlikely objects to take down his foes. Such as a snowmobile.
- Heroic Blue Screen of Death: Suffers one at the end of Scorpia Rising and when Jack is killed.
- In the Blood: His father, his uncle, and his godfather were all spies before him.
- Ironic Name: Rider, if it is in the context of horseback riding, the one sport he hates.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Most people that die at his hand have it coming.
- Knight in Sour Armour: He hates being a spy, but conscience ultimately forces him to go into it. Well, that and Blunt often making it impossible to say no.
- Kung-Fu Kid: One of his ways of getting by, since he almost never has a gun.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Alex sometimes veers into this, especially in between missions. It's lampshaded in book two when he causes a lot of damage with a crane. Albeit because he didn't finish what he planned and things gust fell out of shape.
- Magical Defibrillator: Subverted. Alex attacks a character with a defibrillator. Given the misuse in other works, and the whole thing being preceded with something along the lines of "he knew what they did, he'd seen a lot of television", those must have been some pretty accurate television shows.
- Master of Disguise: One reason he blends in so well to backgrounds.
- Mister Fanservice: Discounting Stormbreaker and it's graphic novel, Alex has appeared shirtless at least once in every novel and graphic novel.
- My God, What Have I Done?: A possible interpretation of his Heroic Blue Screen of Death at the end of Skeleton Key.
- And in Scorpia Rising.
- Narrative Profanity Filter: Filters explicit stuff, until Scorpia Rising, where we are basically just told that Alex tells the CIA to go fuck themselves.
- Nice Guy
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine : This happens frequently with Alex. He's dined with every one of the Big Bad's in each book.
- Taken to its logical extreme in Skeleton Key where the villain more or less tries to adopt him and treats him like his now-dead biological son, after Alex ends up getting captured. Much of the book is the Big Bad letting (or rather, forcing) Alex to live with him in his luxury home, getting him to take part in various activities (like horse riding) and telling Alex We Can Rule Together. And dining with him, of course. He even forbids his Mooks and The Dragon from harming him (the latter gleefully disobeys) When Alex finally foils his Evil Plan and puts himself at his mercy, he chooses to shoot himself rather than kill him.
- Not Quite Dead: At the beginning of the sixth book.
- Obfuscating Disability: Alex has been kidnapped and several agencies are looking for him. The bad guys need to get him through an airport without arousing suspicion. How do they do it? They drug him to make him look like a disabled person, they note that no one looks twice at a disabled person, working this to their advantage.
- Omniglot: Can fluently speak French, Spanish as well as some German. It is mentioned on the wiki that he speaks basic Latin and Japanese.
- He appears to be more fluent in Japanese in the film and graphic novels.
- Our Hero Is Dead: The ending of the penultimate chapter and beginning of the final chapter of Skeleton Key imply that Alex is dead before it turns out that Sarov killed himself, not Alex.
- The end of Scorpia was not intended to be this as Horowitz believed the audience would assume Alex would be fine.
- There's a bit of this in Point Blanc too, with MI-6 organising a sham funeral to trick Stellenbosch and Dr Grief into thinking Alex was really dead.
- Overt Operative: This isn't a perfect example of this, in that the whole reason for using Alex Rider as a spy is that bad guys are supposed to think that he is Just a Kid. However, somehow the bad guys almost always find out who is really is and who he is working for, often by looking up his file in their Magical Database. Given how many times that his cover has been blown, it is amazing that he is still considered useful for covert operations.
- He remains useful due to his unique psychology - though he's an experienced and blooded agent, he doesn't act like one consistently. His enemies are used to Child Soldiers, but they aren't used to one being so stable. Alex's lifestyle and worldview(a schoolboy who keeps getting blackmailed into covert operations rather than a covert operative who takes time off to go to school) keep him psychologically healthy enough for people to keep seeing the "schoolboy" and forget that they're looking at a fighter capable of disabling men three times his size with his bare hands and causing millions in property damage with the contents of the average closet.
- Ironically enough, the fact that Alex is forbidden from ever carrying or using a gun is also a factor that probably contributes to his success. Without the recourse of direct violence to fall back on, Alex is constantly forced to think outside the box and resort to ideas and tactics that villains are unlikely to expect.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: In Scorpia Rising, he gets his revenge on Razim for torturing him and killing Jack.
- Percussive Pickpocket: In Prague in the Czech Republic, Alex learned pickpocketing from his uncle. Alex uses it to swipe matches from the man in charge of SAS training.
- Post-Climax Confrontation: Alex's fight with his doppelganger at the end of Point Blanc.
- It happens again in Scorpia Rising.
- Precision F-Strike: Tells the CIA to go fuck themselves.
- Pretty Boy: Thanks to the manga aesthetic of the graphic novels. Not that he's any different in the novels.
- Punch-Clock Hero: He admits as such in Scorpia, but this had been clear from Stormbreaker.
- Reverse Psychology: Alex falls for this near the end of Point Blanc. After nearly killing himself at least three different ways to get out of the school, he refuses to help out in the attack...until Wolf comes in and tells him he's Just a Kid. Alex immediately demands to go with them, and realizes what he's done five seconds too late.
- Right Under Their Noses: During Snakehead, Alex is trapped on the villain's ship and, with nowhere else to hide from the guards, spends a few nerve-wracking hours hiding under the villain's bed.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: In Eagle Strike.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Losing every member of his family and then having the only real adult he can trust killed really takes his toll on him by the end.
- Shirtless Scene: In all novels and graphic novels except Stormbreaker.
- Shout-Out: Possibly unintentional but the "Rider" part of his name may come from Honey Ryder.
- Technical Pacifist: He doesn't enjoy fighting. Doesn't mean he isn't really good at it.
- Teen Super Spy: A deconstruction.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted. He is often responsible in some way for the deaths of a Big Bad or their lieutenants at least once in each novel.
- Torture Always Works: Torture isn't even used much in the novel, and is usually avoided or interrupted.
- In Skeleton Key when Conrad places Alex on a Sugar Grinder conveyor belt and threatens to grind him up if he doesn't talk. At first Alex attempts to lie but once that fails he spills everything. Conrad being the guy that he is, decides to... grind him him up anyways. Alex is only saved when Sarov interrupts.
- In Ark Angel when Alex tells Kaspar that he's not Paul Drevin when one of the nameless Mooks attempts to cut off one of his fingers. Kaspar threatens to kill Alex if it turns out he's not really Paul Drevin but they purposely allow him to escape the death trap they built for him as it is all part of Nikolei Drevin's master plan.
- And the time in Crocodile Tears where Alex was dangling over a pool of crocodiles and told Desmond McCain EVERYTHING rather quickly. Alex is only saved when Ravi interrupts.
- And then there was the time Alex spilled his guts to a few CIA agents in Scorpia Rising to prevent this. They torture him anyway. He is only saved when their superior Joe Bryne (who knows Alex) intervenes.
- Trademark Favourite Drink: Coke
- Trauma Conga Line: This is his life in a nutshell.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Some of Alex's escapes. In Scorpia Rising, he escapes because he had a scorpion hidden in a cigarette packet which he'd captured whilst in his cell, which he then placed in the van and tricked Erik Gunter into opening. The only thing the reader knows about this before it happens is that there is a nest of scorpions in Alex's cell.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: Anthony Horowitz didn't expect anyone to believe Alex was really dead at the end of Scorpia because the gun used by the assassin is completely unsuited to assassination attempts.
- Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Averted. Alex misses most of his schooling due to his missions. It's gotten to the point that everyone, both student and faculty, somehow knows that there's something wrong with him and that there's more to him than just "illnesses".
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Alex has been described as this by other characters due to the psychological damage he has taken from his missions, enduring horrors that nobody should have to go through and watching people die.
Eight years before the start of Stormbreaker, she came to Britain. She struggled to receive a visa (mentioned by the MI-6 director Alan Blunt), before Ian Rider employed her to look after Alex. After Ian died she became Alex's legal guardian. She is killed by Razim during the events of Scorpia Rising...except she actually wasn't; Razim edited the film that he showed Alex and kept Jack alive just in case. Jack was then taken to serve as a nurse by Eduardo and Giovanni Grimaldi.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: In the novels she has red hair. In the film and graphic novels, she is blonde.
- Ascended Extra: Plays a considerably more active role in Eagle Strike, only to be Demoted to Extra in Scorpia.
- And then she ascends back up in Scorpia Rising.
- Blackmail: Blunt blackmailed Alex into being a spy by threatening to use information relating to Jack's visa and have her deported and by making sure Alex would be put into an undoubtedly bad institution.
- Cool Big Sis: Jack is actually Alex's housekeeper, but he appears to think of her more as one of these.
- Fiery Redhead: Gets rather heated up whenever Blunt gets involved.
- Innocent Blue Eyes
- Killed Off for Real: Averted. Razim alters footage of her escape to make it seem as though her escape vehicle was detonated, and the Grimaldi brothers enlist her services as a nurse.
- Kindly Housekeeper: Jack is a bit younger than most examples of this trope, but she still fits as she cares for Alex even though she technically finished her course long ago.
- Nice Girl: As much as the setting allows.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Invoked by Razim. Jack is blown up by a landmine just to make Alex cross the Despair Event Horizon because Razim wished to see how much emotional pain it would cause Alex. But it's actually just an empty car; Jack was extracted and the car detonated later.
Sabina Pleasure is a fifteen year old girl who becomes Alex Rider's close friend when they meet at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in the novel Skeleton Key.
- Adopted to the House: Sabina's parents "adopt" Alex, who flies off to America to go live with them.
- Big Damn Heroes: Rescues an unconscious, drowning Alex after he wipes out surfing the Cribbar as a result of (though unknown to her at the time) an attack by a Triad member.
- Covert Pervert: Implied in Skeleton Key where it is mentioned that she likes rude jokes.
- Damsel in Distress: In Eagle Strike Damien Cray uses her to get Alex to bring nuclear launch codes.
- Fingore: Narrowly averted. She nearly has her fingers cut off in Eagle Strike.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Has bright blue eyes.
- Like Brother and Sister: Technically, as her father "adopts" Alex in Scorpia Rising.
- Love Interest: Of Alex.
- Pity the Kidnapper: Subverted. During her time as a hostage, Sabina attacks Cray several times. Not that we feel bad for Cray at all...
- Punny Name: "It's been a pleasure." Word of God states that this was a play on the innuendo-laden names of Bond girls.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: At the end of "Never Say Die", the series has returned to the pre-Scorpia Rising status quo, but despite the fact that the Pleasure family are technically still Alex's legal guardians, they're not so much as mentioned.
Tom Harris is Alex's best friend from Brookland. He was bullied for two consecutive years before Alex set them straight, but is now the captain of the football team at Brookland, the school which both he and Alex attend.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: His hair is black in the books, but in the graphic novels, it is changed to brown.
- Book Dumb: Isn't good at the academics, but he is the only one able to beat Alex in sporting events.
- Butt-Monkey: For two years he was one, until Alex sorted them out.
- Cacophony Cover Up: Provides these to help Alex.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Described as having blue eyes.
- Kendo Team Captain: Now captain of his school's football team.
- The Reliable One: Does his best to help Alex when needed. He believed Alex about his occupation in MI-6.
- Secret Keeper: For the most part, although he does casually blurt out that Alex is a spy to his older brother. His older brother doesn't particularly care, so it's mercifully not damaging.
- Unfortunate Names: He and his brother gripe about being named "Tom" and "Jerry".
- We Need a Distraction: Provides the distractions.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He's heard from only once after he's shot in Scorpia Rising, and it's a passing mention. The final chapter never bothers to mention if Alex ever talks to him once he returns from Cairo or meets him ever again, despite Alex having agonised over leaving him to go to America in an earlier chapter.
- Fingore: Averted: His would-be kidnappers had no qualms about severing one of his fingers. However, they were unaware Alex had taken his place.
- Innocent Blue Eyes
- Lonely Rich Kid
- Ill Guy Alex first met him in St. Dominic's Hospital.
- Nerdy Inhaler: He has asthma.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Always tries to please his dad.
- Big Bad Friend: He murders his best friend, to whose son he is godfather, along with his wife, to prove he's loyal to Scorpia. He goes on to more or less ensure his godson will be killed by telling Major Yu about ASIS' plot and removing the battery from the homing device MI-6 gives him.
- Co-Dragons: Him and Bill to Winston. Ash plays a much larger role, however.
- Expy: In many ways, he's a lot like Peter Pettigrew.
- Evil Cripple: After Yassen stabbed him in Malta 14 years ago, he is missing half of his stomach.
- Evil Uncle: To Alex.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Alex's reaction.
- The Mole: For Yu.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: "Ash" are his initials, his full name being Anthony Sean Howell.
- The Resenter: An interpretation of why he defected to Scorpia, he may have just hated how John Rider never helped him out after Malta (albeit, that was due to his own mistake which got several MI-6 agents killed or wounded).
- Blackmail: Blunt blackmailed Alex into being a spy by threatening to use information relating to Jack's visa and have her deported and by making sure Alex would be put into an undoubtedly bad institution.
- Compromising Memoirs: Discussed briefly after Alan Blunt is forced to retire in Scorpia Rising.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Always wears grey. Heck, his whole appearance looks monochrome.
- Establishing Character Moment: Shows off Good Is Not Nice through the said Blackmail above.
- Good Is Not Nice: He is made of this trope. Starting with the Blackmail.
- The final novel goes Up to Eleven when it's revealed at the end that Alan Blunt arranged for the sniper to attack Alex at his school solely for the purpose of getting an excuse to put Alex on another assignment. That's right, he arranged a school shooting in order to coerce a fifteen-year-old boy into working as a spy again.
- Gray Eyes: Part of his Deliberately Monochrome appearance.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Uses this trope as an excuse for his general stoic attitude and his actions in Scorpia Rising. He even quotes the trope naming line itself.
- Jerkass: Rather rude, needless to say.
- Karma Houdini: And how. For arranging a school shooting and taking Alex to Egypt for another mission, he gets a knighthood and to retire and take a vacation with his wife.
- Knight Templar: The actions he takes for his plans to come to fruition scream this.
- Manipulative Bastard: Goes to great lengths to keep Alex 'employed.'
- Meaningful Name: Alan Blunt, to match his abrasive attitude.
- Out-Gambitted: Despite believing himself to be one step ahead of Scorpia in Scorpia Rising, he is in fact walking into their trap.
- Pet the Dog: He shows a surprising amount of concern for Alex in the meeting with the Prime Minister in Crocodile Tears. Then again, he could be doing this to act like he cares, as the government isn't too fond of MI6.
- The Spymaster: Head of MI6.
- The Stoic: He's often described as seeming completely emotionless.
- Not So Stoic: On the rare occasions he does show emotion, you know it's serious. When he's telling Alex the truth about how his parents really died in Scorpia, there's "a little pain" in his voice. Then again, considering who he is, he could have been faking it.
- Token Evil Teammate: "Evil" might be a strong word, but he's certainly got a meaner streak and is more willing to use manipulation compared to the other members of Mi 6.
- Would Hurt a Child: Arranges a school shooting to force Alex to work for him again.
Mrs. Tulip Jones
- Adaptational Attractiveness: It is outright stated in Snakehead that Mrs Jones is "not attractive". Compare her appearance in the movie and the graphic novels. Even in earlier novels she was described as "a head shaped like a potato".
- The Chess Master: Conducts an epic operation using John Rider to humiliate Scorpia and rescue an VIP hostage
- Defrosting Ice Queen: As time goes on, she becomes more warm.
- Embarrassing First Name: "It made sense. He wouldn't have used that name either."
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's slightly abrasive but genuinely wants the best for Britain, and eventually for Alex too.
- Number Two: Is Alan Blunt's second-in-command.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Shares this with Smithers. Both want the best for Alex and by the end of the series are strongly advocating for him to be let free from Mi 6's employment.
- She Who Fights Monsters: Mrs. Jones defies the trope in Scorpia. Although she had the chance to correct Alex about how his father died she didn't because she didn't want to use him the way Julia Rothman did.
- The Unreveal: What did happen to her husband and children?
- Trademark Favorite Food: Always has a peppermint.
- You Killed My Father: Alex is informed by Scorpia about the circumstances of his father's death. Subverted by Scorpia with Mrs Jones for John Rider.
- Badass Bookworm: As the gadget guy of MI-6, he fits this trope well.
- Big Fun: He's slightly fat, but he's a very enjoyable guy.
- Chekhov's Gun: Word of God stated that Smithers has had a gadget that has appeared, unknown to the reader, in every book to up to the 8th book, Crocodile Tears. This was finally revealed in Scorpia Rising, book 9. And that gadget is Smithers' own fat. In fact, he's very thin and fit but has been wearing a special suit that has made him look fat all along.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: You think his weight problems hinder him? You'd be right, but he's surprisingly effective at getting rid of the Scorpia team that come his way. And then he's revealed to not even be fat.
- Dark Secret: To be revealed in Scorpia Rising as per Word of God, it's that Smithers is actually a thin man wearing a special suit that only makes him look fat.
- Fake Brit: In-universe example, as after removing his Fat Suit it turns out the "real" Smithers is Irish, rather than the "public school" accent he affects.
- Deadly Delivery: Fails miserably in Scorpia Rising when Smithers uses an X-Ray scanner to prove that the delivery man was carrying a gun and the package was empty. He then gets rid of him with a trapdoor under a welcome mat.
- Fat Suit
- Gadgeteer Genius
- Gadget Watch: He gives Alex one in Snakehead that can send out a distress signal.
- Literal Surveillance Bug: Scorpia Rising, when Smithers disguises an electronic bug as a dead cockroach.
- Nice Guy: Extremely caring for Alex and often holds reservations about putting him in danger, so for that reason he does his best to make sure he's well protected. In Scorpia Rising, he even agrees to go along with Alex's plan to
- Pun: A lot of his gadget names, including the 'fan club' and the 'Chamber of Secrets'. This therefore makes him a Pungeon Master.
- Put on a Bus: He's left MI-6 by the time of "Never Say Die", making it the first book in the series he's completely absent from.
- Sacrificial Lion: Subverted. He's set up to die, but manages to dispose of most of the Scorpia agents sent after him and escapes.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: shares this with Mrs Jones in MI-6, by the end of the series he's arguing with Alan Blunt on letting Alex go from employment with MI-6.
- He makes sure Alex is backed up when he goes rogue in Eagle Strike.
- Shoe Phone: Every single one of his gadgets. He never actually invented a shoe that works as a phone, though (at least in the books, anyway).
- Stuff Blowing Up: Several of Alex's gadgets; Smithers notes when giving him the exploding pens in Crocodile Tears that he "likes his explosions".
- Boring, but Practical: His attire looks like it came from the 'boring businessman' section. Probably deliberately too, as he is supposed to appear as a banker.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome / Demoted to Extra: He disappears after Skeleton Key. He shows up very briefly in Ark Angel and Crocodile Tears, but in both cases he does very little (his involvement in the latter is about half a page that could have been served by another generic MI-6 character). He makes something of a higher-profile return in Never Say Die, though.
- The Generic Guy: His main distinguishing feature is that he has the kind of face one can forget while looking at it.
- Heroes Love Dogs: He is shown walking his dog in Skeleton Key and seems to be rather fond of it.
- Informed Attribute: He says that he is skilled in Martial Arts and is a proficient marksman.
- Master of Disguise: It is known that he can blend in just about anywhere, including the Wimbledon committee.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Like Smithers, he is more of a decent human being towards Alex.
- Animal Motifs: His codename was 'Fox'.
- Ascended Extra: He was a background character in Stormbreaker but then played a much larger role in Snakehead, as he is promoted to Special Operations.
- Big Damn Heroes: He saves Alex's life by killing Anan Sukit who was attempting to shoot Alex after he had beaten Sukit's fighter "Sunthorn" in an arena fight.
- Dye or Die: It is implied that he is trained to disguise himself. In each of the novels, Ben is said to have black hair cut short, though the extra chapter in "Resistance to Interrogation" describes how "his fair hair was damp and untidy".
- Oop North: It is safe to say that he is from Liverpool.
- Selective Obliviousness: During the SAS training in Stormbreaker, instead of bullying Alex like Wolf him and the rest of the trainee group ignore Alex. However he interacts with him in the extra chapter "Resistance to Interrogation" Ben explains what is happening before helping lift the lid off a drain for Alex to crawl through to get out of the place where they are being held.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Assists Alex in Snakehead when he is needed. In Snakehead, he follows Alex whilst he prepares and goes on a mission to infiltrate the Snakehead with his godfather, Ash. He later rescues him in a helicopter.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Initially rather frosty towards Alex in Stormbreaker, but warms up to him considerably in Snakehead.
- Big Damn Heroes: Saves Alex from being killed by Eva Stellenbosch.
- The Captain: Now the leader of an SAS rescue unit.
- Jerkass Realization: After Alex kicks him out of a plane to prevent him from being "binned".
- Reverse Psychology: Used this with Mrs. Jones in "Point Blanc" when Alex refuses to take part in a raid on Point Blanc. Wolf comes in and tells him he's Just a Kid. Alex immediately demands to go with them, and realizes what he's done five seconds too late.
- Took a Level in Kindness: See Jerkass Realization above.
- Training from Hell: Subjects Alex to this, to a degree.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He's wounded in the raid in Point Blanc, and never heard from again apart from a line confirming he survived.
- It is mentioned in Ark Angel that Alex, in the hospital, receives a card from him, mailed from Baghdad.
- He returns in Never Say Die, alongside Fox.
- The Ace: Shown the was one as he taught Alex everything he hew prior to his death.
- Posthumous Character
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Smithers implies this in Scorpia Rising.People think that being a spy is fun and exciting. Your uncle was a bit like that. It was all a big adventure as far as he was concerned - and look what happened to him.
Joe ByrneThe head of the CIA throughout the series.
- A Father to His Men: He appears genuinely upset when his employees die.
- Big Good: For the CIA.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Unlike many of the other Americans, Byrne is willing to give Alex a chance and is much more cautious about his well-being than Blunt is.
Tom TurnerA CIA member that Alex is assigned to work with throughout Skeleton Key.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the American version, he is very friendly to Alex and even speaks up for him against his partner, Troy. All of his Jerkass moments are given to her instead.
- Adaptation Name Change: To "Glen Carver" in the American version.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Skewered repeatedly with a trap and then has his remains disposed of.
- Distressed Dude: Was briefly held hostage by the Salesman.
- Good Is Not Nice: While undoubtedly a good guy, he's a bit abrasive.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zigzagged. While abrasive towards Alex, he does show concern when he gets himself in trouble, and is undoubtedly committed to the job. He is also good friends with Agent Troy.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Alex saves him from the Salesman. Turner snaps at him for almost getting them both killed.
Belinda TroyA CIA member that Alex is assigned to work with throughout Skeleton Key.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the American version, though not to the same extent as Turner/Carver, but she is treated more sympathetically in the narrative.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Skewered repeatedly with a trap and then has her remains disposed of.
- Good Is Not Nice: While undoubtedly on the side of good, she's rather abrasive.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zigzagged. While abrasive towards Alex, she does show concern when he gets himself in trouble, and is undoubtedly committed to the job. She is also good friends with Agent Turner and is concerned when the Salesman tries abducting him.
Herod Sayle: "You're never too young to die."Herod Sayle is the Big Bad of Stormbreaker. On the surface, Herod seems like a generous, good-natured businessman who is always willing to give something back to society, as somebody who does not want anyone to endure the hardships and suffering he had to as a child. When he was younger, he was an unusually hardworking, dedicated student with a knack for coming up with new ideas in order to improve people's lifestyle. He is also shown to be quite humble when he plans to do something for the others out of gratitude as opposed to profit. However, there is a reason why he is on the list.
- April Fools' Plot: Taken to the most lethal of extremes.
- The Clan: Back in Lebanon, he had a family consisting of 15 people. (This is including himself.)
- Big Bad: Of Stormbreaker.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Seems to be an insanely generous entrepreneur. The reality however...
- Bullet Holes and Revelations: The end of Stormbreaker: Sayle has a gun pointed at Alex and two shots are fired. But they went from Yassen's gun into Sayle's chest.
- Butt-Monkey: His school years.
- Disproportionate Retribution: He planned to kill millions of innocent schoolchildren as revenge for the Prime Minister bullying him at school.
- Evil Is Petty: The motive for his evil plan? To get back at the Prime Minister for bullying him in school.
- Freudian Excuse: Was bullied a lot by the future Prime Minister and his posse. This really doesn't justify his actions though.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Eight brothers and four sisters.
- Meaningful Name: Shares his with the biblical king who practised infanticide. Though his name was changed to Darrius in the movie and graphic novel version.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Y'know Herod Sayle?
- Also Punny Name on "Harrods sale".
- Piano Drop: Him saving tourists from one is what enables him to move to Britain.
- Pet Monstrosity: Has a freaking Portuguese Man O' War (which is constantly mistaken for a jellyfish). He arranges to have Alex killed by it.
- Race Lift: Twice. He was Lebanese in the book, but for the Americanized version he is from Egypt. In the movie version of Stormbreaker, Herod Sayle becomes Darius Sayle- a kid from a redneck "trailer park" family who moved to England.
- Smug Snake: SO confident his plan will succeed, and so wrong.
- Tragic Bigot: He hates British people because of their bullying of him.
- Unusual Pets for Unusual People: Who here keeps a pet Portuguese Man O' War?
- Verbal Tic: "Bliddy", at least in the book.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: On the receiving end of this from Scorpia.
- Would Hurt a Child: Like any Alex Rider Big Bad. Had Nadia Vole send Alex into the Man O' War's tank.
- All There in the Manual: His original name was Sean Green.
- Battle Butler: To Sayle.
- Co-Dragons: With Nadia Vole, to Sayle.
- Glasgow Grin: It's the source of his name, since he can't speak—he lost his tongue when he got the scars.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: The Knife Nut variation.
- Knife Nut: He is an expert with knives.
- Knife-Throwing Act: Mr Grin in Stormbreaker used to be part of a knife-throwing act in which he would catch a knife between his teeth during the act's finale. As a result of the act going horribly wrong due to his mother distracting him, he now sports a Glasgow Grin and has difficulty speaking properly.
- Not that this has discouraged him.
- Red Right Hand: His Glasgow Grin.
- Tongue Trauma: As part of his backstory, he tried to catch a knife in his teeth.
- The Unintelligible: He lost his tongue.
Dr. Hugo Grief
Dr. Grief: "But to rule the world in the twenty-first century requires something much more than military strength. Where does the real power lie? In politics. In prime ministers and presidents... but you will also find power in the Media, in science, in the Internet... modern life is a great tapestry and if you wish to control it all you have to seize it strand by strand."Dr. Grief is the Big Bad of the second Alex Rider novel "Point Blanc." He runs a school for hopeless cases that come from wealthy backgrounds. However, he is a shameless racist, sadistic Mad Scientist, who wants to rule the world.
- Amoral Afrikaner: To a T.
- Big Bad: Of Point Blanc.
- Car Fu: Killed by a flying snowmobile that blows up his helicopter.
- The Chessmaster: His complex plan takes decades to get going.
- Cloning Blues: Causes them.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Dr. Grief wants to perform an unanesthesized vivisection on Alex. In layman's terms, he wants to give his class a biology lesson using Alex while he's still awake. You may now vomit and shudder.
- Evil Albino: All There in the Manual
- Evil Plan: Obtaining the children of very influential wealthy families is the start. His ultimate plan involves surgically altering loyal, racist clones of his back to their wealthy and influential parents, so that when they inherit their assets by hook or by crook, they'll eventually restore apartheid as well as possibly other stuff- this time, on a global scale.
- Evil Teacher: Grief and his dragon Mrs Stellenbosch are the only teachers at Point Blanc.
- Expy: Grief may be an expy of Josef Mengele.
- Mad Scientist: Quite clearly insane.
- He appears to share similarities with Dr. Josef Mengele, a Nazi scientist.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr Hugo Grief.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Doctor Grief, anyone?
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Amongst other things, Hugo Grief is also an utterly unrepentant White Supremacist.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Not so much "red eyes" as "red shades", but the effect is the same.
- He is an Evil Albino.
- Shout-Out: Dr. Grief's ultimate plan in Point Blanc is essentially The Boys from Brazil taken Up to Eleven.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The exploding snowmobile that killed Dr. Grief.
- Brawn Hilda: Fits the trope to a T.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: She's ridiculously strong to the point that she almost comes across as superhuman.
- The Dragon: Grief's right-hand woman.
- Evil Redhead: Has ginger hair.
- Evil Teacher: She and Grief are the only teachers at Point Blanc.
- Forehead of Doom: Has a high, domed forehead.
- Gonk: At one point, she puts on make-up to try and look pretty. The result, according to the book, looked more like a man in drag.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: She is a chain-smoker.
- Jerk Jock: She's a former weightlifter.
- Multiple Gunshot Death: Gets pumped full of bullets by Wolf.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Just like her boss, she is a shameless white supremacist.
- Real Award, Fictional Character: She was Miss South Africa for five years in a row for weightlifting.
- Villainous Breakdown: Running into Alex during the raid on Point Blanc.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: He looks a lot like Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the comic book version.
- The Gambling Addict: He signed up to work for Dr. Grief because he had gambling debts.
General Alexei Sarov
- Affably Evil
- Alas, Poor Villain
- Bullet Holes and Revelations: The penultimate chapter ends with the statement that Sarov, face to face with Alex, "raised his gun and fired a single shot". A few pages into the next chapter, it's revealed that Sarov shot himself after Alex rejected him as a father figure.
- Driven to Suicide: By Alex's rejection of him, and the failure of his plan.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": He still goes by "The General."
- Four-Star Badass: He actually tries fighting at the end too and does an okay job.
- Gilded Cage: Sarov keeps Alex in a very nice place during his captivity. Sarov even comments on this.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Sarov intends to portray his nuking of Murmansk as an accident caused by a defective submarine, which he will then blame on the Russian government being run by idiots.
- Monster Sob Story: Losing his son and watching the USSR breaking down.
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Taken to its logical extreme in Skeleton Key where the villain more or less tries to adopt him and treats him like his now-dead biological son, after Alex ends up getting captured. Much of the book is the Big Bad letting (or rather, forcing) Alex to live with him in his luxury home, getting him to take part in various activities (like horse riding) and telling Alex We Can Rule Together. And dining with him, of course. He even forbids his Mooks and The Dragon from harming him.
- Nuke 'em: Sarov intends to kill millions of people by nuking a nuclear submarine repair shipyard, making it look like an accident, and blaming it on the Russian government's incompetence.
- Outliving One's Offspring: The of his son is part of what drove him to villainy.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Conrad's Red.
- Title Drop: His Cuban island the island that he lives on, Cayo Esqueleto translates to "Skeleton Key".
- Tragic Villain
- Villain Takes an Interest: Wanted Alex to join him and become his adopted son.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: An interpretation of him.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Quite possibly the most sympathetic villain in the series.
- Blood Knight: The guy enjoys fighting.
- Body Horror: The paragraph describing his appearance is not flattering. Getting blown up by a bomb one is carrying tends to do that to a person.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Blew up his school for getting a detention.
- The Dragon: Plays this part to a T.
- Mad Bomber: Used to be one before his... accident.
- Mismatched Eyes: One eye is red and permanently bloodshot.
- No One Should Survive That: He was blown up by a bomb. Whilst he was carrying it.
- Psycho Supporter: Sarov at least has a noble goal from his mindset. Conrad just wants to kill things.
- Punny Name: Probably on the word "comrade."
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Sarov's blue.
- Red Right Hand: Probably the most extreme example in the series. He was blown up by one of his own bombs and then surgically put back together with metal parts added. The operation was not completely successful, resulting in mismatched body.
- Torture Always Works: Conrad places Alex on a Sugar Grinder conveyor belt and threatens to grind him up if he doesn't talk. At first Alex attempts to lie but once that fails he spills everything. Conrad being the guy that he is, decides to... grind him him up anyway. Alex is only saved when Sarov interrupts..
- Two-Faced: As a result of the above.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Long colourless hair on half his head.
- Abusive Parents: Exaggerated. Despite having a spot-on singing voice, and although he wanted to become a pop star, his parents forced him to learn classical music.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
- Blofeld Ploy: In "Eagle Strike", Damian Cray orders Yassen to kill Alex and Sabina. Yassen refuses, saying he "does not kill children". Flustered, Damian snatches his gun, and instead of shooting Alex and Sabina, turns the gun on Yassen.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: He goes off his trolley and is vaporized by a jet engine.
- Death by Materialism: Literally played straight in Eagle Strike when Charlie Roper is trapped inside a bottle-shaped room and then killed when Damian Cray fills the room with two million dollars’ worth of quarters (the two million dollars Roper was due to be paid for betraying his country). In other words, 8,000,000 quarters.
- Disproportionate Retribution/Evil Is Petty: He arranged the death of a journalist who objected to the violence in his video games, and later told Alex he planned to kill him before he found out he was a spy, on the basis that Alex had done too well at what was supposed to be an extremely difficult game.
- Drugs Are Bad
- Expy: He's an evil Elton John.
- Faux Affably Evil: While he can be calm and civil, it usually doesn't last very long.
- Nuke 'em: His plan involves him launching nuclear missiles at various areas of the world to end the drug trade.
- Piano Drop: How his parents die.
- Pink Mist: This is all that is left of him after he gets sucked into a Turbine Blender.
- Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Yassen to Damien.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Has a tendency to fly into violent tantrums whenever things don't go his way.
- Self-Made Orphan: He lost his parents in an accident when a car fell on them from a falling structure. It wasn't an accident.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: One way of looking at his ideals. He has animal testers, illegal whalers and landmine sellers killed, and launches a nuclear strike on several countries to stop productions of illegal drugs.
- Would Hurt a Child: Fortunately, Yassen wouldn't.
- Colony Drop: He plans on blowing up Ark Angel and having it collide with Washington D.C., destroying the Pentagon's evidence regarding his illegal activities.
- Insurance Fraud: Ark Angel was going massively over budget, so Drevin also planned on destroying it to get the insurance.
- Faux Affably Evil: Tries to be polite but cracks of his true personality show over time.
- Man Behind the Man: For the first half of Ark Angel, Kaspar is made out to be the Big Bad. Guess who it really is?
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: This Russian oligarch who happens to own a Premier League side is certainly not Roman Abramovich.
- Villainous Breakdown: After his son is shot. (He lives, though.)
- Would Hurt a Child: He arranged for his own son to be kidnapped as a Force Three stunt, and even arranged for them to cut his finger off just so the threat would seem credible. He shoots him later, but that is an accident (he's aiming for Alex). Still doesn't change anything, though.
- You Have Failed Me: After Stratford East's star striker, Adam Wright, misses a penalty against Chelsea, Drevin has him killed by Force Three.
- Awesome McCoolname: Admit it.
- Bald of Evil
- Body Horror: The Earth tattoo on his face is... well, not pretty.
- Dragon-in-Chief: To Drevin, at least for the first half of the book.
- In the Back: Kind of. He gets kicked in the chest and falls on his own knife.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Magnus Payne.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Alex can't tell where he's from, though works out that he's definitely not English.
Major Winston Yu
- Bond Villain Stupidity: A really bad case, as his plan for Alex doesn't even require him to be alive.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: After she died, he went off the rails.
- Evil Cripple: While he's not technically disabled, he does have osteoporosis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. This ultimately does him in.
- Evil Old Folks
- Death by Irony/Hoist by His Own Petard: He's killed by the bomb that he would have destroyed Reef Island with.
- Foil: To Herod Sayle, in that both are foreigners who came from dirt-poor families but, because of extraordinary circumstances, ended up receiving a top-rate education in Britain. While Herod's experiences led to him despising the Brits however, Yu became a huge fan of British culture.
- In the Blood: His mother was a professional killer in the snakeheads.
- Immigrant Patriotism: Served with distinction in Northern Ireland but when he was consigned to a desk job at Mi 6, this went out the window. Still loves Britain however.
- Smug Snake: He's too confident for his own good.
- Wicked Cultured: He has a very aristocratic behaviour.
- Yellow Peril
- The Dragon: Would be this if he lived longer.
- In the Back: Courtesy of Fox.
- Gladiator Games: Runs one of these, and forces Alex into it.
- Red Right Hand: Has no ears.
Dr. Bill Tanner
- Co-Dragons: See above.
- Driven to Suicide: Possibly; it's known that he kills himself, but why he does is never explained (it's suggested that he was following orders from Yu after Alex escaped, which given the fate of de Wynter earlier seems likely).
- Faux Affably Evil: Remains polite even after threatening Alex with a slow and painful death.
- Mad Scientist: Dissects people to give their organs away.
- Smug Snake: He has to brag about how Alex "can't escape" and gives away how he can escape.
- Bald of Evil: Described as very notable.
- Foil: To Damien Cray, in that both are British celebrities heavily involved in charity work. But while Cray does want to make a positive difference in the world, Desmond only cares about his own wealth.
- Heel–Faith Turn: But it was all a ruse.
- Line-of-Sight Name: His name comes from the bag of oven chips he was found wrapped in as an abandoned baby.
- Sinister Minister
- Scary Black Man: When he drops the act of politeness.
- We Care: His charity exists purely to gain whatever profit it can from the disasters by keeping as much of the donation money as it can. Perhaps taken to its extreme when he starts engineering disasters to get people to donate.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Eaten alive by crocodiles.
- The Dragon: To McCain.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Flipping between The Stoic and just plain Ax-Crazy.
- Unholy Matrimony: Intends to marry McCain.
- Bad Boss: To Yassen, and he happily admits it. He forces the kid to taste his meals for poison, treats him like a slave and happily lets his son abuse him.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: An immensely wealthy businessman who has contacts with the mafia, politicians and the police, and has apparently killed who knows how many people to get to his current position. He also cuts corners at a certain pesticide factory, indirectly causing the events of Russian Roulette.
- Evil Cripple: Becomes one after surviving an attempt on his life, suffering a broken neck in the process.
- Get It Over With: After seeing Yassen apparently preparing to force him to play russian roulette, Sharkovsky flat out refuses to co-operate, telling Yassen that he can kill him if he wants, but he won't play along with him.
- Karmic Death: Gets shot by the kid he kept as a slave for three years, who also happens to be the last survivor of the town that was ultimately destroyed thanks to Sharkovsky's earlier actions.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Is implied to be a Nazi or at the very least a sympathizer, having both a nazi tattoo and an anti-jewish one.
- Would Hurt a Child: Specifically, would hit a child, throw him off a bridge and into a river, make him play russian roulette, use him as a food taster if he survives, and have him beaten up by his henchmen when he tries to escape.
SCORPIA As A Whole
Julia Rothman: "They could have added kidnapping, blackmail, terrorism, drug trafficking and vice, but that wouldn't make a word. Anyway, we've got to be called something, and I suppose SCORPIA has a nice ring to it."
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Averted in Scorpia Rising, as Razim needs Alex alive and without any physical marks on him. He also refuses to tell Alex what he is planning.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: An obvious instrument they use. Played straight in Scorpia Rising with Razim, who wants to create a measurable unit of pain and slowly kills people with various horrific instruments, like knives, syringes and many more, to measure the pain that they feel. He tortures a French spy; the author manages to spare the readers the details, though. ...Unless you want to read about that stuff...
- It's later mentioned that he does several more "experiments" with Julius. Again, the details are thankfully spared.
- Conspicuously Public Assassination: SCORPIA's plot in Scorpia Rising.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Sanity wise: SCORPIA condemned Damian Cray as a madman.
- Fun with Acronyms: SCORPIA: Sabotage, CORruPtion, Intelligence, Assassination. Yes, the P is a bit of a stretch. The narration remarks at one point that whoever came up with the name had probably been watching a little too much James Bond.
- Julia Rothman: They could have added kidnapping, blackmail, terrorism, drug trafficking and vice, but that wouldn't make a word. Anyway, we've got to be called something, and I suppose Scorpia has a nice ring to it.
- Gaining the Will to Kill: SCORPIA runs an assassination school, so naturally, this is part of the curriculum.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Zeljan Kurst, leader of Scorpia.
- SCORPIA themselves.
- Internal Reveal: In Scorpia Rising, the reader is aware pretty much from the start that Alex's mission is a trap to deliver him to Scorpia.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: The plot of Snakehead, where Scorpia have to destroy a conference aiming to wipe out poverty but avoid the organisers looking like martyrs.
- Man Behind the Man: Scorpia's admitted to being behind book one's villain's plan by selling him the virus strain he implanted in the stormbreakers. It's very possible that they're behind some of the other villain's actions if not all of them.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: There's a Scorpia member named Dr Light.
- Nebulous Evil Organisation: Scorpia. They're the villains of three books.
- Red Right Hand: SCORPIA has a few.
- Resignations Not Accepted: The opening chapter of Scorpia has one of the titular organisation's senior members offed in this fashion. He refuses to participate in Scorpia's latest project: a biological weapon that specifically targets children. He is given a "retirement present" from his former co-workers, which turns out to be a box filled with deadly scorpions.
- The Syndicate: SCORPIA is basically the series's version of SPECTRE.
- Uriah Gambit: In Scorpia Rising, Zeljan Kurst has Levi Kroll killed and false evidence placed on his cadaver in order to lure MI-6 — and Alex — into a trap.
- Villain Decay: In-Universe example; Scorpia's credibility is seriously affected when a fourteen-year-old boy destroys two of their operations and (indirectly) kills two of their executives within a few months. The failure of their plan in Scorpia Rising results in the organisation disbanding.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Really wants to get even with John Rider and MI-6 for outwitting her and she thinks she can do this through killing Alex.
- Death by Looking Up: Even better, one of the SAS soldiers was actually trying to warn her, not detain her.
- Faux Affably Evil: She remains calm and polite even while trying to kill children.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Not uncommon for the antagonists in the series, Julia Rothman is flattened by the satellites on the hot air balloon needed to initiate Invisible Sword.
- Little Black Dress: In Scorpia.
- Manipulative Bastard: Isn't a big player in SCORPIA for nothing.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Well actually, her skin is more peach coloured but as far as the hair description.
- Shout-Out: Her death is like Alec Trevelyan's, the main antagonist from the James Bond movie Goldeneye.
- Would Hurt a Child: Herod levels. She says she'd rather not, but if the money pays well...
- Death by Irony: He has a fear of heights, and ends up being knocked off a hot air balloon from a height of 100 metres. To add insult to injury, he gets knocked off by a fireball that Alex sets off by severing the balloon's propane burner. How did he do that? By cutting through it with a sword Nile had thrown at him.
- Master Swordsman: They're his Weapon of Choice, though he's not above using other things available.
- Scary Black Man
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: When he kills a researcher, though later averted when he tries to kill Alex because he was crippled by his fear of heights. Though these are swords that are meant to be thrown, not normal swords.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: His biggest flaw is his crippling acrophobia.
- Accidental Misnaming: His name is really Yasha. Sharkovsky misheard it as Yassen, since Yasha had just been beaten up by Sharkovsky's two bodyguards and his face was still swollen. After escaping, Scorpia ran with it.
- Affably Evil
- All a Part of the Job
- Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: A rare male example, Sharkovsky orders his men to make sure the captured young Yassen has washed himself throughly before being in his presence as Yassen was living on the streets at the time.
- Blofeld Ploy: In "Eagle Strike", Damian Cray orders Yassen to kill Alex and Sabina. Yassen refuses, saying he "does not kill children". Flustered, Damian snatches his gun, and instead of shooting Alex and Sabina, turns the gun on Yassen.
- Book Ends: Both Stormbreaker and Russian Roulette end with Herod Sayle's assassination by Yassen Gregorovich, but from the perspectives of Alex and Yassen, respectively.
- Bullet Holes and Revelations: The end of Stormbreaker: Sayle has a gun pointed at Alex and two shots are fired. But they went from Yassen's gun into Sayle's chest.
- Doomed Hometown: His home village was contaminated with an artificial strain of anthrax, and later destroyed by the Russian government as part of their quarantine/cover-up.
- The Dragon: Co-Dragons with Mr. Grin in "Stormbreaker" and for Damien Cray in "Eagle Strike."
- Even Evil Has Standards: Yassen is a professional assassin, but even he refuses to kill children and anyone not strictly on his list of targets.
- Fate Worse Than Death: He spent three years working as a virtual slave for Vladimir Sharkovsky.
- Foregone Conclusion: Of course he, Julia Rothman and John Rider will survive Russian Roulette.
- Heel–Face Turn: Yassen, arguably, in the end of the fourth book when he tried to stop Damian Cray from killing Alex and got shot in the process. He dies in Alex's arms after Damian Cray dies.
- Ideal Illness Immunity: Yassen has never been ill once in his life. He attributes this to his parents giving him an antidote to a powerful strain of anthrax when he was a kid.
- It's Personal: For Alex, since Yassen killed his uncle.
- Killed Off for Real: Dies at the hands of Eagle Strike's Big Bad, Damian Cray.
- Made a Slave: For three years following a burgulary gone wrong, after he was caught by the rich man he tried to rob.
- Morality Pet: Alex seems to be this for Yassen, who in Eagle Strike first arranges him to "die" in a bullfight so that Alex can escape and then tries Please Spare Him, My Liege! on Damian Cray.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Yassen gives one of these in Russian Roulette when he talks about how people who couldn't afford vodka would use shoe polish as a drug.
- Professional Killer: He's an assassin.
- Punch-Clock Villain: In it for the money, and nothing else.
- Redemption Equals Death: He may have not liked John Rider trying to turn him away from being a assassin but when push comes to shove, he won't lay a finger on Alex and is willing to die instead.
- Retirony: He chooses to spare Damian and go through with the Eagle Strike project because after that, he can retire and return to Russia. Of course, he didn't expect Damian to shoot him later on.
- Russian Roulette: Sharkovsky makes him, as a fourteen-year-old, play it after he is captured. At the end of the book, he returns to Sharkovsky's mansion and plays it again - but this time with five bullets instead of one. He survives, and kills Sharkovsky and his son.
- Small Role, Big Impact: In the main series, he only actually appears in two of the books, twice briefly in Stormbreaker, and acting as The Dragon to Damian Cray in Eagle Strike before being killed off. Despite that, his actions continue to influence Alex's life for the rest of the series, in addition for being the one indirectly responsible for Alex being railroaded into the spy game from the very beginning (by killing his uncle). Thanks to that, he received his own spin-off novel focusing on his origins.
- Street Urchin: While he was a kid, he lived as one in Moscow.
- Unperson: Because of certain events in his childhood, there are no records of his existence anywhere in the world. It's this trait which makes him good at his job, since it's much harder to track him down.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: He has no qualms about working for an employer intending to kill millions of children, but objects to directly killing Alex and Sabina. Though this may be because Yassen worked with Alex's dad.
- You Are Not Ready: Scorpia sent him out to assassinate a New York lawyer. He had doubts; a Scorpia sniper killed her anyway. Scorpia knew that this was the case, so he wasn't killed like Grant was.
- You Killed My Uncle: Killed Ian Rider.
- The Ace: Frequently described as one of the best agents MI-6 ever had. Even Alan Blunt is described as having a soft spot for him.
- Broken Pedestal: To Yassen in Russian Roulette.
- Deep Cover Agent: Even though he was part of Scorpia, it was all part of his work with MI-6.
- Posthumous Character: He and Alex's mother died before the series began.
- Reverse Mole: While working with Scorpia.
- Crazy-Prepared: He's fully aware that one of his fellow board members might be considering avoiding the usual punishment for retirement by gunning them down when Scorpia begins to hit rock bottom, so he has snipers placed on the root of the Scorpia riverboat to take them out. This is how Kroll dies.
- Greater-Scope Villain: He's the leader of SCORPIA, and the one who orders the BigBads of Snakehead and Scorpia Rising to carry out their plots, though he never comes face to face with Alex.
- Man Behind the Man: In Snakehead and Scorpia Rising, for Winston and Razim respectively. He comes up with plans, the other Scorpia executives carry them out.
- Eye Scream: The result of his Pillow Pistol.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Managed to do this to himself before we first see him. He lived through it, though.
- Pillow Pistol: Until it went off.
- Too Dumb to Live: Pulls a gun on Zeljan of all people and gets assassinated for his trouble.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: He knows retiring from Scorpia just leads to early death. Unfortunately, he misinterprets a comment from Razim as a suggestion that they should kill him, and ends up giving them reason to. Probably what Razim had intended, of course.
- Alliterative Name: His real name is Abdul-Aziz Al-Rahim.
- Ax-Crazy: The things he did while he was a child says a lot about how fucked up he was, and considering that the only development in this as he got older was managing to somewhat conceal this so that you won't be able to tell at first glance anymore, still is.
- The Chessmaster: He plays Alan Blunt like a chump.
- Disproportionate Retribution: As a child, he stabbed his nanny in the leg when she told him off for teasing his sister.
- Faux Affably Evil: Always goes with a polite and stoic demeanour, but it's entirely fake and just serves to make him even worse.
- For Science!: Takes no pleasure in his experiments. Supposedly.
- Karmic Death: Yes.
- Kick the Dog: Or rather, strangle the dog.
- Kids Are Cruel: He was this as a child, strangling his dog and ratting out his parents to Saddam Hussein alongside his sister. Then he wanted to join the police force and start killing. The officer who was doing the whole "you did the right thing" talk to him wanted to gun him down there and then.
- Knight of Cerebus: The series was never light to begin with, but Razim takes it into its darkest moments pretty much single handedly.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: We're told his real name at one point, but he doesn't use it once.
- Self-Made Orphan: Indirectly; he rats his parents out to Hussein, but doesn't do anything to them himself.
- Spanner in the Works: He expects Jack to steal a knife when she and Alex are dining with him, as it's part of his plan to cause Alex emotional pain. Alex stealing a cigarette packet at the same meal is not part of his plan.
- The Sociopath: He is characterized by a complete lack of emotions or empathy.
- The Unsmile: At the end when he's fallen into the pile of salt and is pleading with Alex to throw him a rope. It's described as looking more like a hideous grimace than anything.
- Villainous Breakdown: He completely flips out when he finds out that Alex is still alive.
- Failed a Spot Check: Alex's plan to escape would have failed if he hadn't noticed the cigarette packet hadn't been there before Alex got into the van.
- Fallen Hero: It is suspected that this happened after leaving his hospital treatment. The suspicions are true.
- Smug Snake: He tells Alex more or less the whole plan.
- Axe-Crazy: He's rather unhinged.
- Back for the Finale: He hadn't appeared since Point Blanc.
- Cloning Blues: Double Subverted. He knows his genetic material is the same as his father's, but he doesn't mind, and when neither Julius nor his "father" knew who Alex really was, he was OK with becoming a clone of Alex Friend. But then once he figured out Alex's true identity...
- Demoted to Dragon: If one takes the view that the clones are Grief, which is mentioned several times in Point Blanc.
- Last of His Kind: Last of the Grief clones.
- Look Both Ways: Downplayed. Getting hit by a car doesn't outright kill him, but it does leave him wounded for Alex to finish off.
- Not Quite Dead: Remember the fire in Point Blanc? Yeah, he survived that.
- Walking Spoiler
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Actually, a bit far from it.