|“||But to rule the world in the twenty first century requires something more than military strength. The world is a more complicated place now. Where does real power lie? In politics. Prime ministers and presidents. But you will also find power in the industry, in science, in the media, in oil, in the Internet... Modern life is a great tapestry and if you wish to take control of it all you must seize hold of every strand. This is what I decided to do, Alex||”|
—Hugo Grief's speech to Alex Rider
|“|| "The white people of South Africa ruled everything. Under the laws that came to be known as apartheid, black people were not allowed to live near white people, they could not marry white people, they could not share white toilets, restaurants, sports halls or bars. They had to carry passes. They were treated like animals"
"It was disgusting"
"It was wonderful"
Although highly intelligent, Grief is sadistic and borderline insane. He is a highly idealistic misanthrope, and he truthfully believes that he can and should seize hold of the world through his clones. He kills without sparing a second for remorse and does nothing for anyone except himself. He is a very accomplished scientist, but in all the worst ways. He purposefully conducted his research in South Africa because the moral regulations set down in other countries did not apply there. He performed tests and experiments on prisoners, showing a total lack of conscience. Even before Alex knew of the monster that Grief was, he found the man to be extremely unsettling.
Grief was extremely narcissistic and selfish, and was egotistical into cloning himself sixteen times and callously utilising the families of rich families in his labyrinthine schemes. Grief was an expert tactician, with a web of criminal mastery in his intellect and an unrivalled analytical mind, considered one of the most scientific characters in the Alex Rider series. He displays several aspects of a misanthropic megalomaniac, most notably a casual obsession with obtaining personal power, which extended to his actions of naming his 'children' for famous conquerors in history - namely, Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Mao Zedong and Julius Caesar.
Grief has an ambiguous relationship with Eva Stellenbosch. They may or may not be in love, but either way, it seems that Stellenbosch lives in complete servitude to Grief, acting as his brutish personal bodyguard and carrying out his dirty work. When Alex insulted Stellenbosch, Grief became enraged by the boy's disrespect. While all his clones seem to idolize him, Grief appears to only care about the children for what they will do for him rather than for who they are.
Unsurprisingly, Grief has absolutely no qualms about the idea of vivisecting Alex in a biology classroom, without anesthetic. He would be willing to cut Alex open and pull out his internal organs one by one without remorse, no matter how hard the boy would scream and cry.
A psychopathic individual, Grief shows immense self-confidence, as well as cruelty and pure sociopathy. He has an ambiguous and idealistic relationship with his 'children' and in general makes them slavishly devoted to him. This factor is what spurs Julius Grief into his obsession with killing Alex Rider. Grief also knew to prepare them for dangerous situations, putting them through rigorous physical training and teaching them to kill.
Dr. Grief admires several historical dictators and war criminals including Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Josef Stalin, which suits his fascist and misanthropic views of the world - this is an extension of his deeply narcissistic nature, since he admired men who displayed similar ambition, ruthlessness and brilliance as he did. He hates Nelson Mandela for his idealistic "equal rights" beliefs between blacks and whites. He is also seen to be a white supremacist and sees views of peace and equality a disease, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall in Russia.
Role in Series
Grief was born back when Apartheid was big, sometime in the forties. He was raised to be contemptuous of black people, whom he saw as animals, and he harboured bitter feelings to them throughout his life. Dr. Grief was disgusted at how rebellions against Apartheid by black people soon became successful, and when his native country, South Africa, was given away to Nelson Mandela, he despaired. He thought that black people were ignorant and had no idea of how to run Africa, and he made plans for a comeback and revenge.
In his early twenties, Grief was approached by Jon Voyer, Prime Minister of South Africa, where he was offered a government position as Minister of Science. As South Africa was a corrupt country at the time, Dr. Grief manipulated the government into providing him unethical scientific equipment, most notably political prisoners. In his own words, "the rules that hampered other scientists around the world did not apply to me!" Dr. Grief then personally selected sixteen biologically irrelevent females and had sex with them, setting into motion a chain of cloning programmes from which, ten years before the first cloning programme was completed successfully, he first cloned an adult human. Sixteen times. With his ambitions and tenacity.
In the Alps
Dr. Grief stole a very large sum of money from the South African government and moved to France, to the French Alps. He moved into the Point Blanc academy with his clones and waited patiently for sixteen years before they became mature enough to follow his stead at world domination. He hired a doctor named Baxter from London to start altering the clones' appearances. He manipulated the whole third floor of the castle into a perfect copy of the first floor and replaced all dormitories on the second floor with copies of those on the fourth floor.
It had come to Dr. Grief's attention that families with fortunes had children who were, in essence, troubled. Parents who ignored their children and children with complete disrespect and disappointment for their parents. These children became Grief's targets. Dr. Grief turned Point Blanc asylum into Point Blanc academy and began a business with his partner, Eva Stellenbosch, and together ran the place. The families began sending in their children hoping for a better turnout, and Dr. Grief began altering his clones to resemble the original children. He kidnapped the real children in the middle of the night after around a week's assimilation and then he replaced them with the altered clones, which, as the clones were identical to their originals, made it seem like nothing odd had happened. The only visible "difference" was that the clones seemed much more energetic and hard-working than before.
Things did not go unnoticed forever; and when a wealthy business president from New York believed his son was not all he seemed, he called MI6, who of course contacted Alex Rider, a teenage agent they had recruited a month ago. They told him the businessman had been assassinated and that around the same time, a Russian general named Viktor Ivanov, whose son was also at Point Blanc, had been killed after an argument with his son, Dimitry. Alex Rider's job was to infiltrate Point Blanc disguised as a student and find out what was happening. He would assist them and they would drop any charges the police had against him after he exposed a drug dealer by accidentally dropping a boat containing the antagonist into a conference room.
MI6 gave him gadgets and although Alex was a litle unnerved by the eeriness and emptiness of the academy, he befriended a boy named James Sprintz, son of a superbillionaire, only to have him replaced by a clone of Dr. Grief (although Alex didn't know this was a clone) with the real Sprintz held captive in the dungeon cells. Alex explored the academy and found the cells. He realized, upon seeing the real boys in the cells, that Grief had made clones of them, and was captured by Dr. Grief who had discovered his disguise and knew he was with MI6. Dr. Grief captured Alex and boasted to him about his plans for world conquest, and imprisoned Alex, only to have Alex escape by skiing down the mountain and reaching MI6. Alex eventually returned with a load of SAS soldiers who assaulted Point Blanc. They gunned down the guards and rescued the real boys, arresting the clones immediately. In the chaos, Eva Stellenbosch, assistant director, was killed and Dr. Grief attempted to leave in a helicopter. He saw Alex as he flew upwards and smirked, waving goodbye to him, but an angry Alex rammed a snowmobile into Dr. Grief's helicopter, killing the evil scientist and destroying his chopper, sending it crashing into the hillside below.
Later that week, Alex was called in to see his principal about his numerous absences. His housekeeper, Jack, said she thought he had just come in and gone out, but Alex was too tired and pissed off to notice. Again, the school cleaner said he thought Alex had just entered. Alex entered nonetheless, and asked the principal what it was he wanted to talk about, but froze when he himself turned round in the principal's chair. It turned out to be the final clone, named Julius Grief, who had escaped capture. Julius was now on the warpath to kill Alex, whom he blamed for the destruction of the Gemini Project and the loss of his apparent "father." Julius attempted to shoot Alex, but Alex, knowing how difficult it was for Julius to kill someone identical to him, jumped onto the rug just as the bullet went off. Julius ran after Alex as Alex ran out of the office, and Alex set off gases inside the science lab to evade and deter Julius. Julius persisted, thanks to his father's determination, and ran up to the top of the school, following Alex. Alex and Julius fought until Alex eventually knocked Julius into a hole, with flames closing in.
Differences in the TV series
Dr. Greif, as he is known in the TV series, holds loosely to the actions of the Point Blanc novel's Dr. Grief. Although Greif did indeed come from South Africa, his racism was not the springboard of his plans; rather, his admiration of dictators such as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao was his motivation, as he thought their genocides and population decreases were what was necessary for humanity to thrive. For different reasons, both versions of Greif began cloning and planning to take control of the world's industry, although in the TV series he only had eight clones, not sixteen.
In the series, far more than a mere week was necessary for the clones to properly mimic the originals, and even then, they were much less effective at selling themselves as copies than in the books. For example, Alex knew immediately that James was not normal once a clone had taken his place, and all of the other clones were treated with distrust as freaks by the non-clones still at large. Further, Alex discovered Dr. Greif's Project Gemini of his own volition, requiring little revelation from Greif himself, who was instead tight-lipped.
Ultimately, Greif was successfully captured during the raid on Point Blanc Academy, never making it to his helicopter as he did in the novels. In MI6 custody, Greif revealed almost nothing, and was soon killed by Yassen Gregorovich while in transit to an interrogation center, thus preventing him from revealing his true employers.
- His red-colored glasses may refer to the idiom "seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses", meaning to see good where there is none. This could symbolize the fact that only Grief sees good in his cruel, evil actions and ideals.
- Dr. Grief is a white supremacist.
- Because of his admiration of Adolf Hitler and his plan to dissect Alex alive, this character may have been based on Dr. Josef Mengele, a Nazi scientist who performed similar experiments on concentration camp prisoners. Mengele preferred to vivisect children 5 and under, and his "test subjects" numbered into the thousands.
- He is an albino.
- It is mentioned that his clones are all named after a famous world leader.
- Photo: http://img2.imagesbn.com/images/14590000/14598229.JPG
- General information: various sources, including but not limited to:
|Point Blanc Characters|
|Alex Rider • Alan Blunt • Tulip Jones • Jack Starbright • Hugo Grief • Eva Stellenbosch|
|Other Key Characters|
|David Friend • Smithers • James Sprintz • Michael J. Roscoe • Wolf • John Crawley • Fiona Friend • Julius Grief|