I Grew Up From A Seed Tough As A Weed

Бэтмен (2022) Paul Dano as The Riddler "I'm nobody. I'm just an instrument, here to unmask the truth about this cesspool we call a city." ―Riddler to Batman[src] Edward Nashton, known publicly as the Riddler, is a former forensic accountant turned serial killer, terrorist, and hacker who seeks to entrap Gotham's elite and to publicly…

Paul Dano: The Riddler

The Riddler : If you are justice, please do not lie / What is the price for your blind eye?

[Inside Arkham, Nashton is distraught that Batman has foiled his plans. Someone in a nearby cell speaks to him]

Unseen Arkham Prisoner : Isn’t that just terrible? Them raining on your parade like that? What is it they say? One day you’re on top, the next you’re a clown. Well, let me tell you, there are worse things to be.

Unseen Arkham Prisoner : Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? Riddle me this – the less of them you have, the more one is worth.

[the obscured criminal begins laughing unsettlingly, only a bit at first, then slowly more maniacal, and Riddler joins in, their laughs echoing the quiet hallways of Arkham Asylum]

The Riddler : You’re a part of this, too.

Batman : How am I a part of this?

The Riddler : [message] From your secret friend / Who? Haven’t a clue / Let’s play a game / Just me and you.

The Riddler : What’s black and blue and dead all over? You.

The Riddler : It can be cruel, poetic or blind. But when its denied, it’s your violence you may find.

Batman : Justice. The answer’s justice.

The Riddler : Me? Nobody. I’m just an instrument, here to unmask the truth about this cesspool we call a city.

The Riddler : Yes! Let’s do this together okay? You’re part of this too.

Batman : How am I a part of this?

Batman : You think you’ll be remembered? You’re a pathetic psychopath, begging for attention.

Batman : You’re gonna die alone in Arkham.

The Riddler : NO! AHHHHH! This is not how this was supposed to go! Ahhhhh! I had it all planned out! We were gonna be safe here. We could watch the whole thing together.

The Riddler : Everything! It was all there. You mean you didn’t figure it out? Oh, you’re really not as smart as I thought you were. I guess I gave you too much credit.

The Riddler : You know, I was there that day. The day the great Thomas Wayne announced he was running for mayor, made all those promises. Well, a week later he was dead, and everybody just forgot about us. All they could talk about was poor Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne, the orphan. Orphan. Living in some tower over the park isn’t being an orphan. Looking down on everyone, with all that money. Don’t you tell me. Do you know what being an orphan is? It’s 30 kids to a room. 12 years old and already a drophead, numbing the pain. You wake up screaming with rats chewing your fingers. And every winter, one of the babies die because it’s so cold. But, oh, no. Let’s talk about the billionaire with the lying, dead daddy, because at least the money makes it go down easy.

The Riddler : Hey, guys. Uh, thanks for all the comments, and, uh, a special thanks to everyone for the tips on detonators.

The Riddler : I just want to say this will be my last post for a little while, and, uh. what this community has meant to me these weeks, these months, let’s just say none of us. is alone anymore. Okay?

The Riddler : Tomorrow’s Election Day. And Bella Reál will win. She promised real change. But we know the truth, don’t we? You’ve seen Gotham’s true face now. Together, we’ve unmasked it. Its corruption, its perversion masquerading under the guise of renewal. But unmasking is not enough. The day of judgment is finally upon us. And now it is time for retribution. I’ve parked seven vans all along the city seawall. And on the big night, they will go boom. When the vans blow, the flooding will happen so fast, evacuation will not be an option. Those who are not washed away will race through the streets in terror.

The Riddler : As breaking news hits higher ground in Gotham Square Garden, celebrations will turn to panic as the venue becomes the city’s shelter of last resort. And that’s where all of you come in.

[looking at the video’s comments, Batman sees mentions of rifles and calibers]

The Riddler : Now, when the time arrives, I will already be unmasked. The pigs will have me in their custody, but that’s okay. Because then it will be your turn. You’ll be there, waiting. It’s time for the lies to finally end. False promises of renewal? CHANGE? We’ll give them real, real change now. We’ve spent our lives in this wretched place, SUFFERING! Wondering, “Why us?” Now they will spend their last moments wondering, “Why them?”

Batman : We didn’t do anything together.

The Riddler : We did. What did we just do? I asked you to bring him in the light, and you did. We’re such a good team.

Batman : We’re not a team.

The Riddler : I never could have gotten him out of there. I-I’m not physical. My strength is up here.

[indicating his brain]

The Riddler : I mean, I. I had all the pieces, I had the answers. But I didn’t know how to make them listen. You gave me that.

Batman : I gave you nothing.

The Riddler : You showed me what was possible. You showed me all it takes is fear and a little focused violence. You inspired me.

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Batman : You’re out of your goddamn mind.

The Riddler : Since your justice is so select, please tell us which vermin you’re paid to protect.

Batman : The rat. The informant you all protect from the Salvatore Maroni case.

Batman : He’s gonna kill you.

District Attorney Gil Colson : I’m a dead man either way. You’re talking to a dead man, okay? If I go out this way, it’s just me. But if I give over that name, I have family, people I love. He’ll kill them, too.

District Attorney Gil Colson : It’s so much bigger than you could ever imagine. It’s the whole system!

[the bomb timer hits zero and detonates]

The Riddler : Your mask is amazing. I wish you could’ve seen me in mine. Ain’t it funny? All everyone wants to do is unmask you, but they’re missing the point. You and I both know I’m looking at the real you right now. My mask allowed me to be myself completely. No shame, no limits.

Batman : Why did you write me?

The Riddler : What do you mean?

Batman : All those cards.

The Riddler : I told you, we’ve been doing this together. You’re a part of this.

The Riddler : I told you I’d see you in hell.

Batman : What do you want from me?

The Riddler : Want? If only you knew how long I’ve been waiting for this day. For this moment. I’ve been invisible my whole life. I guess I won’t be anymore, will I? They’ll remember me now. They’ll remember both of us.

The Riddler : [communicating with Batman through an online chat room] Did you find him?

Batman : Maybe. Is a penguin a rat with wings?

The Riddler : Interesting. You’re missing the big picture.

James Gordon : What the hell does that mean? Is he or isn’t he?

The Riddler : I need to show you more for you to understand. My next victim is the biggest piece of the puzzle yet.

The Riddler : He will be soon. Here’s a clue to where you can find him.

James Gordon : [reading along] “I grew up from a seed, tough as a weed. But in a mansion, in a slum, I’ll never know where I come from. Do you know what I am?” Any idea?

Batman : Yeah. It’s an orphan.

[typing to Riddler]

Batman : [the chat closes] A mansion in a slum. He’s talking about the old orphanage.

James Gordon : The one that burned down?

Batman : It was part of the Wayne estate. They donated it after they built the tower.

James Gordon : He said put your goddamn hands up, you son of a bitch.

Edward Nashton : [raising his hands in surrender and turning around] I just ordered a slice of pumpkin pie.

The Riddler : Say hello to my followers. We’re live. They’re here to watch our little trial. At the moment, the man across from you, Mr. Colson, is dead. But wait a minute.

District Attorney Gil Colson : Jesus, can we get somebody out here? This psycho’s gonna kill me!


The Riddler : I’m giving you a chance. No one ever gave me a chance. Now, ever since I was a child, I’ve always loved little puzzles. For me, they are a retreat from the horrors of our world. Maybe they can bring some comfort to you, too, Mr. Colson.

The Riddler : Three riddles in two minutes. You give me the answers, and I’ll give you the code for the lock.


Edward Nashton, known publicly as the Riddler, is a former forensic accountant turned serial killer, terrorist, and hacker who seeks to entrap Gotham’s elite and to publicly unmask the city’s darkest truths with a series of puzzles and tortuous devices. [1] His vendetta against Gotham put himself in conflict with Bruce Wayne, because of his ties to the Wayne Family. [2]


Biography [ ]

Early Life [ ]

Childhood and Teenage Years [ ]

“You know, I was there that day. The day the great Thomas Wayne announced that he was running for mayor, made all those promises. A week later, he was dead, and everybody just forgot about us. All they could talk about was poor Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne the orphan. Orphan. Living in some tower over the park isn’t being an orphan. Looking down on everyone with all that money, don’t you tell me. Do you know what being an orphan is? It’s thirty kids to a room, twelve years old and already a drophead, you wake up screaming with rats chewing your fingers, and every winter one of the babies die because it’s so cold.” ―Riddler to Batman [src]

A young Edward Nashton

Edward Nashton grew up in the Gotham Orphanage, neglected and shunned by his peers for his love of riddles and puzzles. Combined with a bitter interaction with Bruce Wayne at a young age, in which Wayne smiled at Nashton, which he took as his way of saying he was better than them because of his money, Nashton grew up quiet and bitter at those around him, especially the elite of Gotham City, feeling himself superior to everyone else who thought him invisible.

Following Thomas Wayne’s death along with his wife, Martha at the hands of an unidentified mugger, the city’s corrupt police and city officials, alongside Carmine Falcone took over the Gotham Renewal Fund and turned it into a front for money laundering, thus cutting off funding for the orphanage and forcing its orphans, Edward among them to live in poverty for the rest of their childhoods.

At seventeen, Nashton held a job as a delivery boy at an Italian restaurant known as Fumento’s, which he got so he could pay for his education. One day, Nashton noticed an illegal race with a group of rich teenagers being set up through Gotham. Still angry at the city’s socialites, Nashton decided to finally get back at them by placing an explosive in the car of Dex Starling. A few days later, he put his plan into action, hoping to cause a pileup and seriously hurt the racers, but another racer helped out Starling and a pileup was avoided. [3]

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Birth of the Riddler [ ]

Eleven years later, Nashton secured a job in forensics, and, after driving past it, decided to destroy his old home of Gotham Orphanage, due to all his bitter memories there. A few nights later, he snuck in and pulled the fire alarm, alerting everyone in the place to go outside, allowing him to douse the building in gasoline and burn it to the ground.

Upon realizing how oddly unsatisfying the crime was, Nashton decided to leave clues and riddles at his crimes to let the people of Gotham City know who had wronged them, gaining himself a notoriety. Thus, he reinvented himself into the psychopathic serial killer and terrorist known as the “Riddler”, donning a baggy green suit and mask in his murders and other various crimes, and continuing to commit crimes unhindered for two years straight. [3]

Exposing Gotham [ ]

Targeting the Gotham Elite [ ]

Riddler tapes up Don Mitchell, Jr.’s corpse

“NO MORE LIES!” ―Riddler [src]

In his two years as a serial killer, Riddler discovered deep seeded corruption in Gotham, tying Gotham’s elite to crime lord Carmine Falcone. He then decided to use his knowledge and skills to reveal the truth of Gotham’s corruption to the people of the city by way of targeting those connected to this corruption and killing them to create mass panic. Over the course of his reign of terror, the Riddler amassed a following who believed in his cause and joined him in his schemes. [2]

Assassination of Don Mitchell, Jr. [ ]

After some careful planning and creating a list of targets, Riddler began his crusade against the corruption and stalks Mayor Don Mitchell, Jr. and his son, before bludgeoning him with a carpet tucker. Batman was called upon the crime scene, learning of what the Riddler did. Riddler left a message for Batman to read but was scowled by Commissioner Pete Savage upon letting a vigilante tamper with a crime scene. [2]

Assassination of Pete Savage [ ]

Riddler then kidnapped the commissioner and killed him by rigging a sophisticated rat cage to his head, forcing several rats inside to eat away at his face. He broadcasts this crime on the evening news. He left another clue for Batman, and then left a print on the car which is revealed to be from the Iceberg Lounge along with a girl named Annika Kosolov, who works there. Batman arrives there and questions the Penguin, the lieutenant of the Falcone crime syndicate, on his involvement, but gets no leads. [2]

Riddles for the DA [ ]

Riddler speaking with Batman on the phone

“I’ve been trying to reach you. You’re part of this too.”
“How am I part of this?”
“You’ll see.”
―Riddler and Batman [src]

At the Iceberg Lounge, the Riddler kidnapped district attorney Gil Colson and attached a collar bomb to his neck. He commandeered Colson into plowing his SUV into the crowd at Don Mitchell, Jr.’s funeral at Gotham City Hall with tape around his mouth reading “NO MORE LIES”, a phone taped to his hand and a letter taped to his chest reading “TO THE BATMAN”. Riddler watched this event from the balcony, looking down at Bruce Wayne before escaping.

Sure enough, Batman approached Colman, allowing him and Riddler to meet face to face for the first time. Riddler activated a two-minute timer to the bomb, and forced Colson to answer three riddles relating to his corrupt dealings with the mob. Batman assisted with answering two of them, but Colson refused to answer the third; naming Carmine Falcone as the informant who tipped the GCPD about the Salvatore Maroni bust. Colson opted to die, believing himself to be a dead man either way, and the Riddler subsequently blew up his head. [2]

Rata Alada Riddle [ ]

As Riddler left behind a riddle taped to Gil Colson’s chest, Batman incorrectly deduced the informant to be Penguin. Riddler was disappointed when the Batman captured Penguin, and instead urged Batman to realize the bigger picture. Through his riddle, Riddler led Batman and Jim Gordon to the ruins of the Gotham Orphanage, where Riddler explained the rationale behind his politically-motivated crusade. Riddler sent a letter bomb to his next target, Thomas Wayne’s son, Bruce Wayne, but his butler Alfred Pennyworth intercepted it first just before it exploded, unwittingly blowing up Pennyworth instead, although he survived. [2]

Assassination of Carmine Falcone [ ]

Riddler handing himself over to the GCPD

As Batman began to realize the true context behind the botched Carmine Falcone-Thomas Wayne arrangement, Riddler releases and exploits the evidence of the Waynes’ connection with Falcone, including Martha Wayne’s history of mental illness, towards the public. Riddler watched from the sidelines as Batman confronted Falcone, leading to his arrest. As things get heated between Falcone and Penguin, Riddler took up a sniper rifle and assassinated Falcone, fulfilling his ominous riddle to “bring the rat into the light”; Falcone was the informant in question who tipped the GCPD about the Salvatore Maroni bust.

By killing Falcone, Riddler robbed both Penguin and Selina Kyle, Falcone’s illegitimate daughter, of their vengeance against him. A witness saw Riddler escaping to a cafe, where he ordered a coffee and a slice of pumpkin pie, but was immediately surrounded by SWAT, led by Jim Gordon, and Nashton remained undeterred and continued watching the television across the counter. The SWAT team pointed their rifles at his head, and he eventually surrendered with a smug smile on his face, as he looked at Batman from outside the window. Martinez then slammed his head into the counter, and Nashton is arrested for the murders of Don Mitchell, Jr., Pete Savage, Gil Colson and Carmine Falcone. [2]

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Visitation in Arkham [ ]

In Arkham State Hospital, Riddler requested a meeting with Batman, hoping the vigilante had learned of his plans and wanted to join him in safety. In the Visitor Center, Riddler bemoaned the fact he’d failed to kill Bruce Wayne, his comments make Batman suspect he had deduced they were the same person. During the conversation, Riddler revealed he was actually inspired by Batman and expressed his belief that they worked together to take down Falcone. Batman, however, rejected the notion, causing Riddler to have a mental breakdown. As the interrogation continued, Riddler realized that Batman did not know about his upcoming plans, causing him to realize he had outsmarted the vigilante. As Batman attempted to get him to confess to his plans, Riddler joyously celebrated, singing “Ave Maria” as Batman struck the window in anger. [2]

Befriending Joker [ ]

After Batman left, Riddler was returned to his cell in the Maximum Security Ward to watch the car bombs go off around Gotham. He witnessed the bombs destroy Gotham’s reservoir and flood the city, gleefully predicting the explosions. However, his followers’ attack was foiled by Batman, Selina Kyle and the GCPD. After learning of their failure to kill Bella Reál and Batman’s interference, Riddler’s sanity finally reached a breaking point, leading him to have a breakdown in his cell, with the Joker initiating talk with him from the next cell stating “one day you’re on top and the next you’re a clown”, during this Riddler begins to cry. Then Joker calms him, reassuring him of his success stating that Gotham City loved a comeback story, then he gives up a riddle “the less of them you have the more one is worth”, to which Riddler answered a friend, as the two began to laugh maniacally together. [2]

Personality [ ]

“You showed me what was possible. You showed me all it takes is fear and a little focused violence. You inspired me.”
“You’re out of your goddamn mind.”
―Riddler and Batman [src]

The Riddler is a ruthless, egomaniacal serial killer who greatly abhorred the establishment within Gotham, specifically the corrupt elite. Growing up in an orphanage owned by Bruce Wayne’s parents, he was always shunned by his peers, particularly Bruce himself, which made Nashton bitter and envious towards the Wayne family (whom he originally idolized, particularly Thomas), thus setting up his deep-seated hatred for the city’s rich and powerful, particularly those who are corrupt. Despite his vain demeanor, he is sufficiently intelligent, as shown with how he planned his crusade to take down Gotham’s corruption, as well as with the elaborate riddles and clues he leaves behind at the scenes of his murders.

Being a sadist, he believes that it is necessary to express his victim’s demise in the most horrifying and creative ways done, while also showing it on Gotham Television. Additionally, he is very well-intentioned in trying to expose the secret immoral truths surrounding Gotham to its civilian populace. He has an inspired obsession for Batman, seeing the cape crusader as an aggressive ruthless influence on his motives to clean Gotham as he sees fit. His view on Batman’s mask is how he sees himself wearing the Riddler mask; a means to feel free of any boundaries to be the real him.

He is deluded to the point that he believed Batman was an ally to his cause, expecting him to enjoy the scenery of Gotham being flooded and the assassination attempt on the newly-elected mayor. When Batman rejected him by calling him a delusional psychopath, he freaked out and screamed in immense disappointment, and when Batman demanded to know what Riddler had done, the latter merely gave a clue by tauntingly singing Ave Maria. On the plus side for Riddler’s case, he has some compatibly with others who are fond of and follow his anarchy, as his private social media allies worked with him to set his plan in motion believing themselves, alongside with him, to be vengeance, and a certain jail inmate took thrill-seeking interest with him on what they were going to do in committing more of their crimes in Gotham.

Riddler also often behaves in a manner that can be easily seen as strange: often moaning and grunting in uncommon or weird ways, his pitch and volume constantly in flux, often behaving somewhat childlike and sometimes in a manner that can be read as perverse, and occasionally seeming to throw small fits.

Despite these negative traits, the Riddler did still possess a few morals. When he was planning to burn down his old orphanage, Riddler made sure to pull the fire alarm and waited until everyone was safe outside before setting the place on fire. Riddler also has a friendly manner when interacting with his subordinates. This is shown during Riddler’s private video when he refers to his followers as “guys” and thanks them for their support.