"Death should always come smartly dressed."Julia Rothman is the main antagonist in the Alex Rider novel Scorpia.
Julia Rothman was a Welsh extremist, whose parents burned down the second homes of English tourists. One day her parents torched the house of a family with the people inside, killing them, and leading to Julia's incarceration in a detention center when her parents began a life sentence. She was born before the birth of SCORPIA and she fought in World War Two, presumably for Wales, as a spy. She tried to kill her colleagues, Winston Yu, Zeljan Kurst, and others at first. But eventually they all decided to team up, and become colleagues in crime. SCORPIA was born as a result.
Operation Invisible Sword
Julia Rothman headed and managed some early operations well. Eventually, she came to a management position in the new operation, Invisible Sword. It would take place in London and involve the deaths of hundreds of schoolchildren by nanoshells when activated if the government of America didn't agree with her demands. She became the head of this operation because SCORPIA assigned operations alphabetically.
One meeting, Max Grendel, one member, said he wanted to retire and go to his castle with his family. Julia Rothman pretended to honour his wish, but the other members were furious. Soon, Julia settled their anger by saying Max had enjoyed his time in SCORPIA and wanted to leave, for he had served them faithfully. She gave him a parting present, which turned out to be a suitcase full of scorpions. They sting him to death, his reward for abandoning SCORPIA.
Julia Rothman hosted a masquerade party in Venice. Her assassin Nile discovered Alex Rider trespassing in her study and looking for information. Alex told him he was John Rider's son, but Nile was too arrogant to listen; Nile put him in an underwater cell to drown. Julia was horrified when she found out, and ran to the cell to pull Alex out, but he had managed to escape. She guessed he had swum down the well, which was correct. Julia then sent Nile to blow up Monsanto Enterprises. However, Nile bumped into Alex there, and Alex was taken by the kindly Nile to become a SCORPIA member.
Alex had dinner with Julia. Like his father, he was infatuated with her, because of her beauty. Despite her charm, she kept trying to get Alex to be a killer, which he knew he could never do. Julia, however, convinced Alex to join SCORPIA after showing him footage from the past where it proved that Mrs. Jones, an MI6 agent, had ordered his father to be shot and killed.
Alex joined SCORPIA, and went to Malagosto Island, outside Venice. But Julia secretly had nothing but contempt for him. She ordered a doctor to inject him with what he said was a vitamin booster, but was actually the deadly nano shells. However, she still acted sweet and pretended SCORPIA was all happy. Alex was summoned one day a few weeks later into the principal's office. Julia said that he was to kill Mrs. Jones as a way to prove he is a true SCORPIA member.
Alex then was flown to London and smuggled through airport security. SCORPIA arranged a dramatic test of their nanoshells on a group of soccer players departing a plane, allowing Alex to escape unseen. Alex was taken by Nile to a safe house and given instructions and a disguise.
Alex was caught by MI6 after failing to kill Mrs. Jones, and he realized he could never kill in the first place. MI6 knew that Alex was going to be wanted back at SCORPIA, and so they arranged for him to be present with the Prime Minister at a COBRA meeting. Alex learns about the nanoshell plot and is briefed on how to stop it. MI6 fooled SCORPIA into thinking that Alex killed Mrs. Jones and had also supposedly endangered more civilians by causing a car crash (in reality, the crash was fake and staged by MI6). Julia Rothman fell for the fake.
Now back at SCORPIA (only armed with a communications satellite brace Smithers had given him) Alex had to convincingly lie to prove he was a killer. He convinced Nile and Julia, who approved of Alex. Julia said she would take him to see the finale of her experiment and research. She was pleased when Alex seemed delighted and took him to a church base where the radar dished for the nanoshells were- on a hot air balloon.
Julia Rothman showed him the full operation, and told him about the plan. Alex blurted out about how killing children was bad, but Julia, who hadn't told him about children, knew she had been double-crossed and that MI6 knew of her. She saw Alex's brace, made Alex take it out, and smashed it. Alex, however, had pressed the signal button and MI6 were on their way. Julia was prepared and alerted the guards. A battle soon ensues between the SAS forces and SCORPIA.
Julia Rothman then told Alex he was going to die, but Alex ran off to the launching balloon rope and began to climb it. She tried to shoot him down and then sent Nile up the other rope.
In the end, she realized the battle was lost and prepared to evacuate. When a SCORPIA soldier told her surrender was the only option, she asked him for his weapon and shot him. She then escaped in an old lady disguise through the back door. A SAS soldier found her just as the destroyed balloon radar dish control platform came crashing down on her, killing Rothman.
Rothman is a ruthless woman, defined by her cunning, resourcefulness and manipulative nature. She is adept at persuasion and swaying recruits to join Scopira, especially at a young age and will be or at least act like a friend to them but nonetheless is manipulating them for her own advantage. She took advantage of a 14-year old, Yassen Gregorovich who was desperate for a purpose in life by making him a killer and did the same with Alex Rider by manipulating events of Albert Bridge to make it appear that MI6 killed his father, John Rider.
Her loyalty to Scorpia was questionable. Though Rothman did appear to be a valued and significant member of the organisation she thought of nothing more than walking away when the SAS compromised Invisible Sword. In this case she is a hypocrite as she had previously demanded a Scorpia agent to stay at his post and then later shot the man at point blanc when he attempted to abandon the operation.
Also towards people who are unaware of her true sinister nature, Rothman has been described as very beautiful. Alex Rider describes her as having the looks of a "50ties movie star" and Rothman herself compliments this by normally dressing very extravagantly. As well both Yassen Gregorovich and James Adair compliment her physical appearance but she herself uses this as a means of manipulation to deceive recruits into trusting her. Her beauty however is quite the stark contrast of her personality, which is quite venemous and evil. James Adair sums Rothman up by stating she was "very beautiful but a complete bitch."
Aside from her cruel and devious nature, Rothman is very vengeful. She fell in love with John Rider and was quite bitter when he instead married, Helen Beckett. She was so regretful over not seeing John die that she attempted to make up for this by killing his son, Alex ignoring that the other Scorpia executives would be less than pleased which ended up jeopardising her operation.
- Her death is very similar to that of Alec Trevelyan from the James Bond movie 'Goldeneye'.
- Her Invisible Sword project bore a striking resemblance to Herod Sayle's Stormbreaker.
- Her character of pretending to like Alex Rider but in fact insidiously trying to kill him is also Sayle's attitude.