MAHF Top Ten: Alex Rider Deaths
Okay, so I’ve killed off some of my characters. Martina stabbed herself, Orson shot Gil with a flare pistol (the guy then toppled over a balcony), and who can forget the countless hundreds that died when the Death Star blew up? Oh, wait, that wasn’t me. But authors have come up with far worse ways to die. I could list them all, but let’s focus on one series in particular: the Alex Rider books, by British author Anthony Horowitz. This is genius. A kid named Alex Rider is blackmailed/pushed into becoming a spy for M16 (the UK’s version of the CIA), and deals with crazy villains who either want to take over the world or decimate a good portion of it. Said villains almost always die. Some are shot, at least two die in a plane crash, etc. But what I want to focus on are the top ten worst ways to die in an Alex Rider book. Let’s start the countdown!
#10. Desmond McCain. This guy is the main baddie for the book Crocodile Tears. He was a famous boxer, real estate guy, and is now a pastor and philanthropist. Little does anyone know that he’s actually a con artist, whose charity, First Aid, has made him rich. Cause of death? Alex uses an exploding pen to blow up an oil drum that he kicked at Desmond. The resulting fireball engulfs the guy. It’s technically not a particularly strange death, but how many con artists die in a huge column of flame?
#9. Myra Bennett. An evil scientist working for the aforementioned and incinerated Desmond McCain, Myra helped him organize a huge plague in Africa (at least, she would have had the plan worked), and Alex unknowingly took part in the plan by using a cropduster plan to infect crops. Cause of death? Well, the big action scene takes place in Africa, and the book is called Crocodile Tears. Take a guess.
Okay, she’s eaten by crocodiles.
#8. Julia Rothman. This black-haired beauty is the head of Scorpia, a massive criminal organization introduced in the book of the same name. What was her evil plot? Blackmail the British government to either agree to their demands, or thousands of schoolchildren die. She wasn’t joking. Scorpia had microscopic pellets of cyanide injected into the kids, and could activate them using a balloon-mounted satellite dish. Cause of death? In possibly the funniest death in all the books, Julia is crushed by the hot-air balloon’s basket.
#7. Winston Yu. If those two words don’t sound right together, you haven’t met the eccentric England-loving member of Scorpia featured in the book Snakehead. Unfortunately, he suffers from a bone condition that makes his skeleton extremely weak. His plan was too kill off a bunch of charitable celebrities with a “freak” tsunami caused by a bomb. Cause of death? Let’s go back to the bone condition thing. In a death that seems all too obvious, the shock wave caused by the bomb shatters his bones, causing him to deflate like a sad balloon
#6. Unnamed Worker. This is another Crocodile Tears death. It takes place inside a killer greenhouse full of poisonous plants and animals. The point is, Alex is searching for secrets like any spy would, and he winds up inside the greenhouse, which is called the Poison Dome. He encounters a murderous… I don’t know. Security guard? Scientist? I don’t know. Cause of death? The two duke it out, and Alex tears a hole in the guy’s protective suit. Then, the worker falls onto a patch of poisonous plants, causing him to spit gray foam and die a most likely unpleasant death.
#5. Razim. This guy is from the final Alex Rider book, Scorpia Rising. Razim is a sadistic, ex-terrorist guy whose real name I can’t pronounce. Cause of death? During the climax of the book, he falls into a pit of salt, which begins to absorb him like quicksand. Eventually it gets into his bloodstream, which has gruesome side effects. Point is, he is finally completely buried in salt. His last words? “Alex.”
#4. Darrius Sayle. You who have read the books may have noticed that there is no such character. That’s because in the novel Stormbreaker, the guy’s name is Herod Sayle (which, yes, has been confirmed to be a Harrod’s reference). And he doesn’t die nearly as badly as his renamed counterpart Darrius does in the movie version. Cause of death? In the book, he’s just plain shot. In the movie, however, he’s shot and then falls off a who-knows-how-many story building. Ouch.
#3. Nadia Vole. This is basically the world’s most evil secretary. She’s the personal assistant of Herod/Darrius Sayle in both the Stormbreaker book and the not-too-shabby movie adaption. Cause of death? Herod/Darrius (Harrius?) keeps a Portugese Man of War in a giant tank (actually, the Man of War is a lot bigger than the real thing). When he traps Alex in it, and the teen spy uses acidic zit cream (no, I’m not joking) to destroy the tank, dumping a couple hundred pounds of jellyfish onto poor Nadia. But the deaths get even worse!
#2. Sir Damian Cray. Imagine an evil Michael Jackson (No, not zombie-evil!). That’s Sir Damian Cray, pop singer and philanthropist villain of Eagle Strike, in a nutshell. Now, how could someone so good be so bad? Well, maybe if your idea of fighting the war on drugs means launching nuclear missiles at innocent people, that’s how. Cause of death? During an epic runway scene on board none other than Air Force One, Sir Cray gets-you guessed it-sucked into a jet engine. Not shredded-vaporized. But of course, it can always get worse (or so that guy from Alcatraz says). What is the worst death ever from an Alex Rider book? It is the death of…
#1. Flamingo Bay Guards. Okay, I’m cheating a little here. We don’t know if those guards from Ark Angel are actually dead. It’s just heavily implied. Why? Because none other than Alex Rider got them quite likely killed! Cause of death? To escape the boat where Alex and another spy are being held, Alex uses Stingo-a mosquito spray that does the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to do. It attracts mosquitoes-along with spiders, beetles, and giant freakin’ centipedes! The scene gives me the chills just thinking about it. And while the guards’ fate is unknown, I think it’s safe to say that THIS is the worst Alex Rider death in book history. Presumably.
*shiver* Wow, that was creepy. Women being crushed by jellyfish, con artists bursting into flame, and of course, being eaten by crocodiles. I think we can all figure out that ANTHONY HOROWITZ IS TOTALLY SADISTIC! Well, not totally. Just a little, and within the normal bounds of a spy writer. Give the guy some credit-he’s really good at what he does. Ciao, and remember, NEVER take a job where you’re going to have to enter a Poison Dome!