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Alex

     Alex Rider 

Alexander John Rider

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/alex_gn.PNG
Alex as he appears in the graphic novels

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.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Pushed over it by Razim.
  • Drink Order: Coke
  • 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 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.
  • Mr. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Real Name as an Alias: A lot of his covers retain the first name “Alex”
  • 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.
  • 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.
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Alex's Allies

     Jack Starbright 

Jack Starbright

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jack_comic_version.jpg
Jack's appearance in the graphic novels

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.


  • 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. It is clear, however, that her death was absolutely intended to be real at the time, and Horowitz retconned her survival in when he decided to write another book.
  • 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.

    MI6 

Alan Blunt

  • 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.
    • Scorpia Rising takes it 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. In Scorpia, he is clearly genuinely afraid of the titular organisation's threat to kill tens of thousands of schoolchildren, and when he's telling Alex the truth about how his parents really died, there's "a little pain" in his voice.
  • 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.
    • Mrs. Jones has taken over as head of MI-6, and probably makes sure that MI-6 will never contact Alex again.
  • 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 Un-Reveal: 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.

Derek Smithers

  • 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: His job.
  • 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".

John Crawley

  • 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.
  • Noodle Incident: Crawley has gone up against Scorpia, and does not have positive memories of that time.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Like Smithers, he is more of a decent human being towards Alex.

Fox/Ben Daniels

  • 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.
  • Series Continuity Error: Horowitz inadvertently refers to him as "Wolf" in Never Say Die.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Initially rather frosty towards Alex in Stormbreaker, but warms up to him considerably in Snakehead.

Wolf

Ian Rider

  • 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.

    CIA 

Joe Byrne

The head of the CIA throughout the series.

Tom Turner

A CIA member that Alex is assigned to work with throughout Skeleton Key.

Belinda Troy

A 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.

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