Alex Rider (character)

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Alex Rider
Alex Rider character
Alex Rider, as portrayed by Alex Pettyfer in the film Stormbreaker.
First appearanceStormbreaker
Last appearanceSecret Weapon
Created byAnthony Horowitz
Portrayed byAlex Pettyfer
AliasFelix Lester, Kevin Blake, Alex Friend, Alex Gardiner, Federico Casali, Abdul Hassan, Alex Brenner, Alex Tanner
Spy for MI6 Operations
FamilyJohn Rider (father, deceased),
Helen Beckett (mother, deceased), Ian Rider (uncle, deceased), Jack Starbright (guardian) Sabina Pleasure (close platonic friend and adoptive sister)
Birthdate13 February 1987

Alex Rider is a title character and the protagonist of the Alex Rider novel series by British author Anthony Horowitz. He has also been featured in three short stories written by Horowitz based in the same canon as the series; Secret Weapon, Christmas at Gunpoint and Incident in Nice.

Alex is a boy who works for MI6, the British international intelligence service. When fourteen years old, Alex was forced into this occupation after MI6 noticed Alex's many talents. He has not only worked for MI6, but also the CIA, Scorpia (in Scorpia), and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (in Snakehead). In the film adaption of Stormbreaker, Alex Rider was portrayed by Alex Pettyfer.


Horowitz came up with the idea for the series when he thought about creating a teenage equivalent of James Bond.

He initially considered several possible names for the character, including Jack Banning, Tom Summers, Zac Marshall, Scott Winters, Dylan Beckett, Miles Longman, Sean Reeves, Jake Keaton, Adam Whitehead, Kai Bexter, Marcus Edwards, Liam Skye, Connor West, Kyle Fisher, Bradley Roberts, Callum Gates, Rupert Halliwell and Ben Shires, before finally settling on Alex Rider. Rider's last name comes from the Bond girl Honeychile Rider from the novel Dr. No.[1]

Alex was originally to have had dark hair, but after Horowitz saw several surveys that said teenage girls preferred blond boys, he made him fair haired instead.

About the character[edit]

Alex has a birthday on February 12 . Before Alex became involved with MI6, he wanted to be a professional football player, but now is unsure of what he wants to do when he finishes school. Alex once joked that he wanted to be a train driver. He has stated many times that he is not interested in becoming a full-time MI6 agent.

Alex's athletic talents greatly assist him during his missions many times: for example, in Point Blank he snowboards down a mountain on an ironing board to escape Point Blanc Academy, in Skeleton Key he scuba dives into Skeleton Key, in Scorpia he base jumps into a factory, in Ark Angel he walks between two apartment buildings on a tightrope and in Snakehead, he kayaks down a river on a makeshift kayak.

As the series progresses, Alex becomes more skilled at spying. He later pursues Damian Cray alone after MI6 refuse to investigate him, and is recruited by the CIA in the United States, and later by the ASIS in Australia although in each case only for specific missions.

Physical appearance[edit]

Alex Rider is described as a strikingly attractive 14-year-old boy, with fair hair, and a handsome, slender face, and an appealing expression that "would attract plenty of girls". He has serious dark-brown eyes and a slightly hard, narrow mouth. Alex is well-built and slim, and has a tan. He is also mentioned to have a birthmark on his left shoulder. He is very fit, being described as having "the body of an athlete." Alex is 5' 7" tall and weighs 140 lbs although this conflicts with the data presented in the film. He prefers wearing casual clothing such as jeans and T-shirts and is occasionally described as wearing a wooden bead necklace.

In the later novels, even though Alex stays fourteen (until the end of Crocodile) he is described as looking older - due to the emotional and physical stress he endures because of his missions. Also, his injuries gradually accumulate. After the novel Scorpia, he has a bullet wound, as well as several scars and bruises from previous assignments. In the last book, Alex, who is now fifteen, is described with longer hair, being 5'10", with broader shoulders and that, through the years, he had lost his "little-boy looks that had been so useful to Alan Blunt and Mrs. Jones".[2]


Jack Starbright[edit]

One of Alex's closest friends is Jack Starbright. With his uncle having been away on secret missions for MI6 much of the time, Alex has spent a lot of time with Jack. Alex met Jack when she came from America to study law in London, and being employed by his uncle as a housekeeper and to watch over Alex, who was seven years old at the time. She has known Alex for seven years. After Ian died, Jack became Alex's guardian. Even though it was originally her job to care for Alex, they have grown attached and their relationship has become very personal. However, as Alex's MI6 life starts to take a toll on him, it also places somewhat of a strain on their relationship - Jack is always very worried and upset that Alex's life is constantly being put in danger. In Scorpia Rising, Jack learns that her father is sick and needs someone to look after him. Jack decides that she needs to tell Alex that she must leave in order to care for her father, but she first decides to accompany Alex to Egypt for his mission. After the two are captured by Razim's men, Jack comes to experience, for the first time, what it has been like for Alex on a mission. She attempts to escape, and nearly succeeds, but Razim is merely using her for his "measurement of pain" experiment, and has Julius Grief detonate a bomb on the Land Rover she is driving, killing her instantly. Alex's grief is enough to cause him to black out, and Razim "may even have to create a second scale of measurement" for the amount of emotional pain Alex felt. However, Jack is revealed to be alive in the following novel Never Say Die, as her death was faked by other members of Scorpia as part of their plans to set up a complex hostage situation involving taking a school bus of wealthy children prisoner, with Alex eventually managing to rescue her.

Sabina Pleasure[edit]

Sabina becomes one of Alex's close friends throughout the series. The two first met while working as ball boys/girls at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and they quickly became good friends. Sabina soon became suspicious when Alex had to leave the Championships early, and more so when Sabina saved Alex's life, and Alex then disappears on a mission for several weeks. Alex's constant disappearances place a real difficulty on their relationship, and when Sabina finally finds out the truth about Alex, things turn out differently for them. Alex's relationship with Sabina takes a turn during their first holiday in Cornwall, when the two share a slight kiss one night. The next day they went out for a surfing trip, when Alex is knocked out by a massive wave and Sabina gives him CPR. Sabina soon leaves Britain to live in America. Although Alex suspects he will never see her again, she later sends him a card when Alex is in the hospital after being shot by a sniper. She shows up at the end of Snakehead to have dinner with him. She then invites him to celebrate New Year with her family in Scotland, where the plot of Crocodile Tears begins and also shares another kiss with him, hinting that her feelings for him may still exist. In Scorpia Rising, Alex and Sabina are revealed to be in a relationship, and struggling with the long distance between them. At the end of the book, after the apparent death of Jack while on a mission in Egypt, Sabina's family become his new legal guardians.

Ms Tulip Jones[edit]

An assistant to Alan Blunt, Alex first met Ms. Jones when she briefed him for his first mission. Ms. Jones is very sympathetic to Alex, and offers reassurance when Alex is uneasy about what is required to do for his missions. Tulip Jones shows great concern for Alex's situation - often protesting that he is not to be used again, but all the while admitting that he is useful to MI6. She shows signs of great attachment to Alex, of an almost motherly kind. Tulip Jones also has hinted that she has had children (at least two) and that they were taken from her, which could contribute to why she has so much sympathy for Alex. In Scorpia, Alex breaks into her apartment with the intent of assassinating her, after Scorpia manipulate him into believing that she ordered the assassination of his father, but changes his mind at the last moment even without learning that she actually helped his father fake his death.

Yassen Gregorovich[edit]

Alex first met the Russian contract killer who killed his uncle on Herod Sayle's ground during his mission in Stormbreaker. At the time, Alex originally vows to kill him. Later, during the events of Eagle Strike, it is revealed that Gregorovich worked with Alex's father John 15 years prior. When Gregorovich's friend captures Alex, Gregorovich is able to arrange for Alex to do bullfighting instead of being shot directly, leading to Alex being able to escape. At the end of the novel, when Damian Cray (the man who hired Gregorovich) orders him to kill Alex, he refuses and is shot and killed. Before dying, Gregorovich tells Alex that he worked with his father and to go to Venice and find Scorpia to find his destiny.




Graphic novels[edit]

Supplementary books[edit]

  • Alex Rider: The Gadgets (October 17, 2005) (mentioned only)

Short stories[edit]


  • Stormbreaker (July 21, 2006) (Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker in North America)

Video Games[edit]


In the 2006 Stormbreaker film directed by Geoffrey Sax, Alex Rider is played by Alex Pettyfer, a British actor. Pettyfer was chosen from 500 hopefuls for the role of Alex.[5][6]

Anthony Horowitz, who was the screenwriter for the film as well as the author of the novels, recommended Pettyfer to play Alex Rider after seeing him in Tom Brown's Schooldays. Horowitz gave Pettyfer intense guidance on becoming the character of Alex Rider, expressing him and bringing his athletic talents, intellect and charm to the screen.

The role of Alex Rider was said to be the most physically demanding ever taken by a child actor.[7] Pettyfer undertook martial arts training with Hong Kong martial arts choreographer Donnie Yen,[8] as well as horseback riding.[5] Pettyfer did most of his own stunts in the film, and underwent major physical preparation for the role.[6]

Pettyfer was fifteen years old at the time of the film's shooting, a year older than his character. He is not expected to reprise his role in any future Alex Rider films, because he is now too old.[9]


  1. ^ As stated by Horowitz in his Intelligence Squared debate, Ian Fleming vs John le Carré
  2. ^ Scorpia Rising (The Final Mission) chapter 7
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2007-01-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker (2006) - Trivia".
  8. ^
  9. ^ Hudson, Fiona (September 24, 2006). "Young star cruising". The Sunday Mail (Qld).

External links[edit]