|“||I have made it my life's work to study pain in all its different forms, and the pain I intend to inflict on you will perhaps be even worse. There are two instruments I am going to use. Earlier today I promised you hell and now, my dear child, it is here||”|
—Razim to Alex
Abdul-Aziz Al-Razim, referred to simply as Razim, is the main antagonist in Scorpia Rising, the ninth Alex Rider novel.
|“||Yes, Razim was perfect. He would bring his unique talents to this assignment. Kurst was sure of it. He had chosen exactly the right man||”|
—Zeljan Kurst's faith in Razim
Razim is a terrorist who claims that he has no emotions; this means he lacks fear, pleasure, sadness, or even anger. As a child, he once tested this characteristic by strangling his dog, just to see if he would feel any guilt or remorse (which he didn't). At the age of fourteen, he worked for Saddam Hussein and felt that this was perfect for his personality (Razim even sold out his own parents after they talked against Saddam, an act which resulted in both their deaths). A few years later, he graduated to Al-Qaeda and eventually earned a placement within the criminal organization SCORPIA. He lives in an ancient but personally modified fortress in the Sahara Desert.
|“||One of his officers had once joked that he looked like a Middle Eastern Harry Potter. Razim had enjoyed the joke. He was almost smiling as he stabbed the officer nine times with a paperknife||”|
—Razim's colleague observed his appearance was similar to that of Harry Potter
Razim wears round glasses. He is described as being small and slight, more like a girl than a man. His hair grew gray when he was only in his twenties. He wears a bleached white dishdasha. He also smokes Black Devil cigarettes.
|“||He contacted the local recruitment officer for al-Qaeda and soon found himself in charge of his own extensive terrorist cell. He wasn't paid, of course, but then he didn't need it. He was a wealthy man. He wasn't interested in politics or religion. For him, terrorism was like a jigsaw puzzle. You have an embassy and a bomb, how do you fit one into the other? It was a challenge which stimulated his mind, and he helped plan more than a dozen attacks in America and Europe, carefully examining the results on his fifty-five inch plasma screen he'd installed in his luxurious house||”|
—Razim regarding his attitude towards terrorism
Razim is a callous, self-serving sociopath with virtually no emotions or empathy. His evil even showed at a young age - as a baby, he never laughed or cried, instead lying sullenly in a cot. When he was a young child, he had multiple, uncontrollable temper tantrums which often resulted in the harm or suffering of others. Each and every nanny that had ever looked after him never lasted a day; one was even stabbed in the thigh with a pair of scissors after she told him off for teasing his sister.
Razim wishes to create a measurable unit of pain, which he would name after himself. To do this, he uses horrific medical instruments to inflict systematic pain on innocent people he captures and uses machines to record the pain they feel. He does not stop until the test subjects are killed. It is implied that many of his experiments involve vivisection.
Being a sociopath, Razim holds virtually no regard or understanding for the feelings of other people, and he sees emotion as a waste of time. Thus, he is unable to feel compassion and he is virtually indifferent to the pain and suffering of his human test subjects. When Alex is screaming and crying upon witnessing Jack Starbright's death, Razim isn't even paying attention. He nonchalantly notes that the readings he received were far higher than he had expected and that he may have to create a second scale of measurement.
Razim feels that he views the world like a scientist, analyzing and studying things and people as if they were slides under a microscope. He views human passions such as love and hatred as frivolous wastes of time. In his eye, everything that he does is purely scientific, but Alex suspects that the man secretly derives some sort of perverse amusement from his "experiments".
Razim is also highly intelligent, having earned top grades in school as a child and being almost fluent in three languages by the age of twelve. He is highly interested in science, and he had intended to invent his own weapon in college. His intelligence allowed him to contrive a convoluted plan to get the Elgin Marbles out of Britain while still dealing Scorpia's revenge on Alex Rider.
His arrogance is evident in that his self-centredness overwhelms his incredible intellect. He was cruel, manipulative and single-minded, callously deciding to kill Julius Grief after the Horseman File had done it's work. He wasn't as flamboyant as Mrs Rothman or as snide and emotional as Winston Yu, displaying extreme difference from the rest of the executive board of SCORPIA.
Like other sociopaths, Razim is self-centered and entirely self-focused. He wishes to name his inventions after himself and he kills people who make jokes about him, as demonstrated when he used a paper knife to murder one of his officers who joked that Razim had resembled a Middle Eastern Harry Potter.
When Alex Rider foils his plans, for the first time in Razim's life, all of his emotions burst out of him: fury, bitterness, and despair. On the verge of death, his last moments were spent screeching and tirading about how he should have come out on top.
Abdul al-Aziz Razim was raised in the Middle East. His father was a diplomat and his mother was an author. His father joked that Razim had been born in a sandstorm and some of the sand was still in his blood, but there was no easy explanation for Razim's emotionless state. He never showed any affection for his parents or his sister. When he was eight he was given a puppy and he tested his lack of emotions by strangling the puppy down at his orchard. And he felt nothing. So he proved to himself that emotions were a waste of time and he had other better things to be getting on with.
When he was eight he was given a camera for his birthday, but he used it for nefarious purposes. His mother hosted a political meeting about overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Razim spied on the whole event and filmed it. Then he took the film to the local police.
Immediately the police arrested his parents, and had them shot. They didn't even give them a decent trial. His sister was thrown into a van and presumably raped to death. Razim never cared about where his sister went, in fact he watched her abduction with a smirk.
Rising to power
Razim was taken to police for adoption, and the police chief was "sickened" by Razim's cold visage. He had children and knew children were more warm than Razim. Razim was only interested in money and power. He asked repeteadly about some reward, which the chief reluctantly promised would come to Razim. So, Razim waited and was adopted by another family. They disliked him but said nothing.
So Razim waited for his time. He was at university and wrote an article on weapons, such as biological warfare and guns, including an article about the gun which had killed his parents, until a letter came through from the government. It said he had been accepted by the police force, and they would use him as an agent. So, he joined the secret police of Saddam Hussein, and it was work he enjoyed.
Soon, Razim had a house full of servants and wealth and he knew what it was like being in power.
Razim soon realized that almost everything in the world was named after somebody; such as the Farenheit, who was a Swiss scientist, Celsius; who was German, and many other measurements. Also, he realized every thing in the world was measured in some way. Like food measured in kilograms; weight measured in pounds. He thought it would be delightful if there was some day a measurement for pain. Because it is dreadful having to wait in anticipation as a doctor tells you about how bad the pain is, Razim wondered wouldn't it be better if the doctor just said "Don't worry, this will only hurt two razims." So, Razim set about making his dream real.
He would abduct people, notably intelligence agents who were tracking him down, and he would take them back to his home in the desert in Egypt and torture them. He would first explain his ambition and his reason for the torture.
Razim had knowledge of Dr. Hugo Grief and his maniacal operations; and he knew of Julius Grief, the thirteenth clone of Grief. Razim knew that Julius had been changed to look like Alex Rider, and he came up with an idea when he was contacted by crime organization Scorpia to steal the Elgin Marbles. Razim was given leadership of the operation; and he came up with an idea: use Julius as Alex to kill the American secretary of state when she was in Cairo. The American secretary was anti British and this would make all the more sense because then everyone would think the British have executed her by using a child spy. Then Scorpia would blackmail to shut down the British government unless they obeyed them and sent the Marbles back to Greece.
When Alex Rider came into the operation, Razim used Julius to spy on him, and then Razim tried to have Smithers, the MI6 inventor, killed, but Smithers escaped when Razim ambushed his house. Alex went home to find Razim had abducted Jack Starbright, his housekeeper. So Alex chased after Razim and met Julius. He then realized what was happening, because Julius was identical to Alex.
Razim pretended to act humane by giving Jack and Alex breakfast, and being polite, but then he told Alex when it was dusk, he would torture him. Jack was horrified, not fully realizing what the torture would be.
At dusk, Razim put Alex in the torture chair. He asked if he wanted some water and then he switched on a television, showing a camera in Jack's cell, and showed Jack breaking out of prison. She then stole a Jeep, knocked out a guard, and drove out to get help. But, as Razim explained to Alex, she was sitting on a bomb which was in the Jeep, and this was the torture he had planned for Alex. Alex begged Razim not to detonate the bomb, but Razim said that it was up to Julius, because he had the detonator. Alex told Julius not to, but Julius, consumed by hate, detonated it anyway, and Jack was dead in the explosion.
Then Alex went mad, making Razim excited, because he knew he had finally found the measurement he was looking for all along.
Alex still nonetheless saved the secretary from being shot by Julius, killed Julius, and then returned to Razim. He pretended to be Julius, but then Razim worked out he'd been tricked and fought Alex high on a bridge as intelligence arrived and fought his own men. Alex's forces quickly won but Razim refused to give up. He chased Alex over the bridge but stepped on loose bricks which crumbled. He then fell thirty feet down, into salt. It dragged him in and pulled him under. Razim whined about how he should've won and how it wasn't fair before he was sucked into the salt and suffocated to death.
- Razim's name is a callback to previous Alex Rider books. Abdul is the fake name that Alex used when masquerading as an Afghan refugee in Snakehead, and Rahim is the Indian spy who helped out Alex in Crocodile Tears.
- Razim is similar to Shirō Ishii, the Japanese scientist who directed immoral medical experiments, often unanesthetised vivisections, on war prisoners during World War II. Isshi believed that his experiments had scientific value and that he was benefiting the medical fields through his experiments, similarly to Razim, who conducts his experiments so that he can present a scientific measurement of pain to the scientific community.
- His profession of torture is seen in the James Bond villains Stamper, Renard and Kaufmann.
- He is so far the only SCORPIA member to be killed during combat, rather than while escaping.
|Scorpia Rising Characters|
|Alex Rider • Jack Starbright • Alan Blunt • Abdul-Aziz Al-Rahim • Julius Grief|
|Other Key Characters|
|Smithers • Tulip Jones • Joe Byrne • Erik Gunter • Zeljan Kurst • Yannis Ariston Xenopolos|