Today marks the debut of Alex Rider on Amazon Prime Video. The Sony Pictures Television production is packed with plenty of interesting characters to inhabit its world of secrets and espionage.
To help get you ready for the series we’re introducing you to some of the most important characters from Anthony Horowitz’s novels.
Alex is a teenager who has been a little battered and scraped by circumstance. Being orphaned at an early age has already set him apart; growing up with his uncle, Ian Rider, shapes him further – without his fully realising it – in unusual ways. Ian has always emphasised independence, knowledge and skills over friends, socialising and camaraderie. He can speak multiple languages, is hugely resourceful both mentally and physically and is adept at thinking on his feet. He’s aware that his home circumstances are odd. He’s guarded about his past to anyone except his closest friends. Alex’s core strengths are courage, determination and loyalty. His main weaknesses are curiosity, impulsiveness and a growing mistrust of authority, which come into a rather different light when they impact life-or-death situations, and particularly when, in time, they lead him to mistrust the very people who are giving him his orders – Mr. Blunt and The Department. Alex often thinks with his heart more than his head; is often instinctive rather than intellectual. Despite being bright, despite all the languages and training, he is at core a doer rather than a planner, which is why Ian’s constant, patient instruction has often frustrated him. Over time Alex discovers that these qualities make him both surprisingly effective as an agent, and extremely dynamic and adaptable. Which will work both for, and against him.
Tom is Alex’s best friend and a bit of an outsider figure: like Alex, he’s often in trouble, but unlike Alex he doesn’t have the innate smarts or physicality to excel. Instead, Tom has decided that he’s a misunderstood genius: once he survives the horrors of adolescence, he’ll be the next Tarantino, hiding behind his camera is what helps Tom protect himself from the real world. Tom is fiercely loyal to Alex. He’s also, aware that Alex can be guarded about his home, his parents, and his background, he’s a dab hand at using humour and charm to deflect attention away if personal questions arise in social situations. He’s got a natural wit and can sometimes shoot his mouth off before thinking through any potential consequences – but his intentions are always true and the bond he shares with Alex is as much brotherhood as it is friendship. He also likes to subvert and question the norm – which he often expresses through his impressive collection of slogan T-shirts!
An American in her mid-twenties, Jack came to Britain for a gap year and ended up staying. Originally employed by Ian Rider as a housekeeper, over time, the role of surrogate older sister to Alex naturally evolved. In addition to keeping the Rider household running smoothly for the past six years, she’s also been working hard studying in the evenings and weekends for a law degree – from which she has just graduated. And just as she dreams of a new life, Alex’s world is blown wide apart by Ian’s death, and she is forced to protect him in her own way.
Mrs. Jones serves as a natural foil to Blunt, and despite her calm demeanour and attempts to emotionally detach from the job, she can’t help but be wary of the danger that Blunt has put Alex in. Although she has her reservations about using Alex as part of Blunt’s plan to uncover the truth behind Point Blanc, she is continually forced to reconcile this doubt with the overriding interests of national security. Blunt thinks very highly of Mrs. Jones – though would never outwardly acknowledge this, and he purposely makes her Alex’s handler to ensure the boy is looked after as best as the mission will allow it. And it’s not because she’s a woman – it’s because (unlike him) she is able to empathise and demonstrate compassion and concern. She is the perfect natural (professional) guardian for Alex.
Blunt is the spider at the centre of the web. A Machiavellian operator with an absolute genius for manipulating people. Blunt developed the Department as a small, semi-independent offshoot of MI6, dedicated to protecting the UK (and sometimes the rest of the world) against the kinds of threat that no-one else foresees: not the big, obvious terrorist threats, but the individual, unpredictable cases that could nevertheless have devastating consequences. He’s a cold, calculating man whose preferred method of operation is to gather the right staff around him, formulate every eventuality, and stop at nothing in achieving the objective. He is always ahead of the game and every aspect of his work (including his accidents and mistakes) is always part of a long-term game plan.
One of Blunt’s most senior and trusted operatives, Ian Rider is the consummate professional with a near-perfect track record when it comes to accomplishing mission objectives. He became Alex’s guardian following the death of his brother, John Rider when Alex was an infant. Although loving and keen to ensure that Alex has as ‘normal’ upbringing as is possible, Ian has seen to it that every facet of Alex’s life outside of school has been engineered to prepare him for a life of espionage. Ever since Alex could walk & talk, Ian has, by stealth, been training his nephew. He is at times, guilty of perhaps pushing him too far and as Alex has gotten older, his expectations have also grown.
One of several international students at Point Blanc, Kyra is a lonely and troubled soul who immediately presents herself as an enigma to Alex. Constantly on the move thanks to her parents’ line of work, she’s from everywhere and nowhere and feels lost, which she covers with sarcasm, indifference and a wryly sardonic take on situations. The daughter of billionaire bankers based in Singapore, who despite appearances are in fact financiers to the criminal underworld, Kyra was sent to Point Blanc to contain her behavior after hacking the Tokyo stock exchange ticker that cost billions of dollars and caused her parents serious embarrassment. Extraordinarily computer-savvy, brilliantly capable, and with a sharply sardonic personality which can immediately rub people up the wrong way, her background is one of the key reasons why she’s so guarded – let no-one in, and you can’t get hurt. Kyra is an enigma – constantly challenging Alex and in the process, forming a spiky and uneven friendship with him.
All eight episodes of Alex Rider season one are available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video.