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Villains Wiki
Villains Wiki

It's much too late...
~ Axel Bellman

Axel Bellman is the main antagonist in the Sally Lockhart second book The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman. Axel Bellman is an industrialist in Victorian London and an arms dealer.

He was played by Jared Harris - who also portrays Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mac McGrath in Mr. Deeds, and David Robert Jones in Fringe - in the television adaptation.


Axel Bellman was a shady businessman who came from Germany. He set up his business in London and made sure he could sell weapons to rich clients for military purposes. His purpose seemed good, but it was all so he could ruin the current world and become ruler of his own fanatical dream world to come. Axel Bellman was all the more disturbing because unlike many villains, he actually cared for his workers, and his subordinates: He ensured all his workers were treated equally and cared for, being a much better businessman than many others at the time. Even Sally is forced to admit he is right in his morals. He says it does not matter if he creates a genuinely evil weapon, so long as his clients and staff are well treated and well fed.


Bellman was being blackmailed by his partner so he killed him in the North and this left a stain upon his business, hence the title.

Later, Axel Bellman found out one of his clients was about to expose his plans, so when he set sail from England on a ship, Bellman had a bomb put on the ship and murdered the whole crew in the middle of the North Sea. This led sailors to suspect paranormal happenings like the Bermuda Triangle. However, Bellman took pride that no one knew he was responsible.

However, some of his clients knew he was a monster and his clients tried to contact Sally to warn her. Bellman wanted to marry the daughter of Lord Wytham so he could swindle him out of his money and make them in debt. Bellman also got wind of Sally's involvement in his schemes by having his agents try to kill her in his theater.

Axel Bellman eventually found Sally's persistence annoying, so he realized she was dating Frederick, because he had his own personal spy, Windlesham, burn down Frederick's company and although Frederick wakes up in time (just after making out with Sally for the first time) and evacuates everyone in the building, Belllman's assassination attempt is successful and Frederick dies in the flames.

Afterwards, Sally is distraught, but she is also extremely angry, and she goes on a long march across London. When she regains consciousness, she finds herself at Bellman's headquarters. A guard pretends he is out, but Sally knows Bellman is at home. She knows he set the fire because of his rudeness to her before and of Windlesham being a traitor. Sally is given a tour of the place by Bellman, who shows her his Steam Gun, hoping that he will cease another world war by having the Gun frighten enemies into surrendering. Sally, not being one to bully people, pretends she agrees with this mad plan but then she eventually sets off the Steam Gun, intending to die and be with Frederick, but then the Gun kills Bellman, who suffocates in the gas after being shot by his own creation. Sally makes it out and though badly hurt, she survives.


  • Coincidentally, Bellman's goals were the same as those of Moriarty: To sell weapons to their clients in order to instigate a war.