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Headscratchers / Alex Rider

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  • In Ark Angel, The Dragon has the world tattooed on his face as part of a disguise, hiding this with a latex mask. This is canonically stated to be "very painful". Why didn't he just put the tattoos on the latex mask?
    • Because... that makes sense. We can't have a Dragon making sense when they are supposed to be cool and support the Big Bad in obscene ways, can we?
    • Because it wouldn't show his devotion to the world. He'd be just another guy wearing a stupid mask to hide his face. Less sarcastically, he said that the world was his true face, metaphorically as well as tattooically.
  • All of the book titles have had some reference to the contents, and out of the blue we get Crocodile Tears. Why?
    • Because a good chunk of the book is set in Africa, the Big Bad's plan involves creating a famine in Africa so that he can hemorrhage money sent via his charity, hence the tears part and the Big Bad attempts to feed Alex to crocodiles.
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    • Also because crocodile tears are a term for tears that are shed by someone who is only pretending to be sad, fitting considering that the tragedy that the bad guy is manufacturing a tragedy to raise charity that he's going to steal for himself.
    • I honestly believe that Horowitz's titling strategy is to think up a cool name then work it into the story. This one was just a bit more troublesome than the others.
    • The title makes sense. If anything it's the title that works best because it ties into the theme of the book, rather than simply referring to an object, location or organization Compare to, say, Snakehead, where the titular human traffickers play a minor to medium role in the plot, basically serving as the Mooks who are barely if at all aware, or even involved, in the Evil Plan of the Big Bad, and vanish for much of the story, including the finale`
  • In Scorpia why does Alex take off his disguise when he's going to kill Mrs Jones? I can accept that he may have wanted to see her face to face, but leaving the stuff in the lift? And he broke his mask while he was pulling it off. How did he plan to get out? Did he want to get caught?
    • Scorpia probably had some plan for that. I doubt that an agency as powerful as them would let an amateur mistake like that pass.
      • But Alex should know better.
      • Perhaps subconsciously he did want to get caught.
  • Formula is fun, but couldn't we once...just once get a villain who has read the Evil Overlord List. I mean seriously, I don't expect any experts, but someone just give it a light perusal so that Alex's success doesn't just hinge on the bad guy spelling out his plan in minute detail, giving away everything that Alex needs to do in order to thwart him.
    • Well, you know how some bad guys are. Besides, when they're placed in certain situations (like when Alex suffered a Heroic BSoD after Jack died in Scorpia Rising) the bad guys feel completely safe. One of them even admitted that he told Alex everything just to get rid of the silence. Sometimes you just gotta roll with it, no matter how asinine it may be.
    • Razim from Scorpia Rising has studied and tries to correct for the mistakes of the previous villains. Of course, this just means that the Bond Villain Stupidity shifts over to Erik Gunter instead.
  • Scorpia Rising: Is Alex going to have a relationship with Sabina, or would he not have a relationship with basically his adopted sister?
    • That's one of those "You'll never know, but don't think about it too hard" questions.
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    • She's only his adopted sister from age fifteen onwards, and they had a bit of a romance before that. It's not like they've grown up as siblings, so I can't think of any reason that this would be a problem.
      • What's more, Horowitz was careful with his wording. never was the word "adopted" used, just the term "legally responsible" to paraphrase.
      • Page 428 of the UK edition: "It was almost as if he had been adopted."
      • This question might very well be the reason why Sabina and her family are completely absent from Never Say Die, assuming that book is canon - for all we know, Secret Weapon could address this issue (assuming that the Pleasure family appear.
  • Why is Alex shooting Julius Grief treated as the first time he's killed someone in cold blood? Dr Grief is debatable, but there's all the people he kills in the car chase in Eagle Strike or the guard he throws onto a bed of lethally poisonous plants in Crocodile Tears, and nobody even mentions the fact that just minutes before killing Julius he tricked a man into being fatally stung by a scorpion, broke his nose and left him for dead.
    • This annoys me too. I suppose before he's always been able to reason his way around it somehow, like he didn't know for sure they would die, or it was an absolute last resort (how true that would be is debatable).
    • I think it may be because it was the first time Alex killed someone while he had the upper hand instead of just in the heat of the moment. He actually had time to deliberate over it
    • IN. COLD. BLOOD. That's the key phrase there. There's a huge difference between killing people in a desperate chase or heat of the moment and killing someone in cold blood.
      • But at the moment he shot Julius, Julius was going for the gun on the ground and Alex knew he was. Until the point where Julius dived for the gun, Alex was walking away.
    • There's also how he deals with Dr. Grief in Point Blanc. Ramping a snowmobile off a ski-jump to take down a helicopter takes some serious forethought. That sounds pretty cold-blooded to me.
      • I think it's also the whole "killing someone who looks just like you" bit. That would mess up a normal person, let alone someone who'd been through a Trauma Conga Line like Alex. Plus most of the deaths were from a distance/he didn't watch the other person die-this is up close and personal.
  • With regards to Razim's death - can salt really do that to a person?
    • Yes. This is a great way to cook fish. And apparently terrorists.
  • Here's one, Horowitz meant for the reader not to think that Alex died at the end of Scorpia, because the weapon used was not suited for assassination attempts. Why the hell would the expert criminal organization SCORPIA, which gets the "A" part of their name from "assassination" knowingly make a mistake that interferes with one of their core functions? All I can think of is that Horowitz was either too proud of his little ruse to notice that crucial detail, or it was just Plot Induced Stupidity brought on by a lazy writer.
    • I'd always assumed that this was, in-story, meant to be an error on the part of the assassin. Reading back the last chapter of Scorpia, it's stated that he chose the gun himself because it was light and very compact, so he could get it across London without attracting suspicion. It even notes it's "less deadly than some he might have chosen".
    • Another thing involving this: It's stated that the bullet bounced off his ribs, which is why he didn't die. Is that actually possible?
      • I think it is. Granted, I know very little about the weapons involved, but it is definitely true that bones are really dense and if you get shot directly in a rib it can stop a bullet.
    • The acknowledgements section mentions a doctor who helped Horowitz with the explanation of how Alex survived, so I guess he did his research.
  • At the end of "Scorpia", Alex is shot with a .22 round, fired from a sniper rifle. That's all fine, but why .22? I accept that Anthony Horowitz may not know a great deal about firearms, but this really bugs me. A .22 is a tiny target rifle round. The only way to kill someone with it would be a point-blank shot to the heart or temple. And it's not like the Scorpia agent used a legal round to avoid detection, as Scorpia is stated to have serious firepower at their disposal, as well as the fact the weapon was concealed, which wouldn't look very good if he was caught. Why doesn't Scorpia use a high-powered rifle with a larger round, fitted with suppressors and sub-sonic ammunition?
    • According to Word of God, the reasoning for this was that Horowitz wanted to leave a clue that Alex wouldn't be killed as a result of being shot.
      • There's also the fact that if Scorpia used a high-powered rifle, assuming that Alex did die, it would be kind of a dead giveaway that they were involved, since in the U.K., they are a lot stricter about gun regulations than in the U.S. If Alex was shot using a high-powered round, an autopsy would kind of make it a dead giveaway; using a .22 round might make it plausible that it was just someone who was crazy and just so happened to choose Alex as his target.
  • Why do the books make reference to dollars as currency in situations where references to pounds would be more appropriate?
    • Could be that you're reading the US edition, which Americafied a lot of things. I know the figure of Michael Owens in Eagle Strike was changed to Tiger Woods, and in one book(could have been the first?) miles was used instead of kilometres. Even in areas where they were in America, or the CIA was involved, things got awkward.
    • Shakespeare has actually used dollars to refer to money; plus, there were points in UK history where it was slang for some kind of money.

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