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|“||THERE'S NO SECRETS ANY MORE||„|
|~ Harry Bulman's view of the Official Secrets Act|
Harold Edward 'Harry' Bulman is a major antagonist in the 8th Alex Rider book Crocodile Tears. An aspiring journalist who only wants to make money for himself and achieve fame, Bulman will do literally anything to get himself noticed.
Harold Bulman was born in London. He attended Eton School, but when he was sixteen, he was expelled (for doing drugs). He joined the Royal Marines, but was discharged due of cowardice when they found him in a sand dune hiding when his unit was being attacked. After his discharge, Bulman lived in East London and worked as a freelance journalist. He said "all journalists had a speciality subject"; his was politics and the military. Bulman was a perfectionist; he always wore variations on a combination blazers, slacks and dress shirts, always detesting jeans, and had cufflinks in the shape of the Fairbairn-Sykes Commando blade, symbolizing his militaristic origins.
The Alex Rider story
Bulman was drinking one day at the Crown Pub in Fleet Street, when suddenly, one of his friends (also a military veteran) said he was at the Science Museum, right when Herod Sayle was doing his presentation about the Stormbreakers, and suddenly a boy crashed through the museum roof and shot at Sayle. This wouldn't be unusual except it was a boy on the parachute. Bulman's friend swore MI6 had recruited a kid as a spy and this was their new plan.
Bulman laughed at him, but something said he was being honest. So Bulman pursued the story further, speaking to everyone from Brookland School, to the military who had all met Alex since the Science Museum, and he found out everything was right.
Bulman wanted to meet Alex Rider in person, following his research, so he got three Chinese men to ambush Alex in Brompton Cemetery on the way home when he visited his uncle's grave. The three men pretended to be agents of Winston Yu out for revenge, to the extent that they were armed with knives. Alex knocked them all unconscious (putting two of them in hospital) and fled. But Bulman was seen taking pictures of Alex's fight for the press, just behind a mausoleum.
Bulman visited Alex at his Chelsea house just when he and Jack were eating dinner. He intrusively entered the house after Jack said Alex didn't know him. He pretended to be friendly and drew his card out to prove who he was. But Alex was offended, and rightly so, because the man had just walked right in and was humiliating him in his own house. Bulman revealed it was he who had got the men to attack Alex, as well as having them wired for sound, only making Alex loathe him all the more. Harry seemed to apologize for it but he said he wanted to make Alex, and himself (translation: just himself, despite saying Alex and Jack will receive 50% of the winnings) very famous.
Bulman said that UK law dictates that residents cannot join the Armed Forces until they sixteen years old. Given the fact that Alex is fourteen at this time, this breaks the law. Bulman said Alex deserves to tell the truth to everyone, to reveal MI6 as scandalous, and Harry promised he'd write a book about Alex. Then he'd turn it into a movie and everyone would give Harry Bulman all their money for fame; even if he himself didn't, he claimed it'd be bound to come out sooner or later.
Alex realized Bulman was being extremely sick and greedy, and asked him to leave; Bulman said he'd be back the next week to talk to him.
Alex realized that if this did happen, everyone would laugh at him and he wouldn't be able to live in London, or even England, again. He said he'd have to go to MI6 and he did, but they said they wanted him to investigate the biologist Leonard Straik, director of Greenfields Bio Centre, in return for them dealing with Bulman.
Dissuasion, selling to McCain and death
The same week (on Friday), Bulman got up, and felt happy because he'd had a premonition of his possible successful future. Bulman saw a newspaper saying JOURNALIST KILLED outside his flat, and imagined it was one of his idiot friends. Bulman then took the bus but his oyster card wasn't working. It had no money; no bother, the machines were ALWAYS breaking down. He walked down to the bank, and later a building society, and saw that two of his three credit cards had no money on them, together with the fact that the money machines had seemingly eaten the cards, refusing to give them back.
Remembering that he kept roughly ten pounds in his car's glove compartment, Bulman went to get it, only to find that his Volkswagen had vanished from the side street where he had parked it the previous night (after a heavy drinking session in a pub). Annoyed, he then went to look at his phone but, even though he was in the busiest part of East London, he didn't get a signal, no matter where he stood. Freaking out, he then phoned the police from a public phone box, telling them about a stolen car, but they were deliberately rude and slow with him, treating him like he didn't know his own address, name or what car he drove. Then, he went, furiously, back to the bank. The bank employee told him that he had closed down his account twelve months previously, and offered to bring it up with his manager, but Bulman had stormed out, furious.
Bulman then went home, and a commuter threw a paper saying JOURNALIST KILLED at him; he read it, and suddenly saw that he was the journalist in the article. They were saying he was dead, stabbed two nights previously, in his apartment. Bulman was scared and angry, and knocked loudly on his own door which had suddenly locked itself shut (with a new lock). His own keys didn't work. Suddenly, a police car came and two officers asked if he was alright, then opened his briefcase and saw a bloody kitchen knife in there. Bulman, who didn't even know what was happening to him now, was arrested and seized, taken to jail.
There, Bulman met John Crawley, Chief of Staff of MI6, who told him that this was all happening because he had threatened Alex Rider. Crawley said this was an official warning; if he tried to repeat his actions with Alex, he would be arrested and imprisoned in a lunatic aslyum.
Bulman was furious, and extremely bitter. He went home, began drinking heavily and nursed a grudge against Alex. The next week, his friend and fellow veteran who had mentioned Alex in the first place rang him and said a man was willing to pay for information about Alex. Bulman suffered a crisis (he was afraid of being captured and imprisoned in a mental asylum (or executed)), but he needed money and a chance to get revenge on Alex.
The very next day, he phoned and met the man, Reverend McCain, as well as his colleague, Leonard Straik. McCain thanked him for coming and Bulman told him everything he knew about Alex Rider and his MI6 allegiance. McCain then thanked him and said they were an evil generation for recruiting a child. Bulman asked if they could renegotiate the payment because Reverend McCain was rich, and suddenly McCain took a pistol and shot Bulman dead, shutting him up.
McCain then said he was worried that the amount of money he'd pay Bulman for his information, and was probably going to shoot him anyway, due to a perceived unreliability. Bulman was then buried under a homeless shelter McCain was planning to build near King's Cross.
Bulman is in his mid-to-late 30s (judging by the newspaper saying he was 37 when he 'died'), with "blonde hair falling to his thick neck", and "powerful shoulders". He's also handsome, "but not as handsome as he thinks". He also has a sense of arrogance, which disappears after his threat from Crawley, replaced by "a dull sense of resentment". Bulman was quite a large man, as shown when he "becomes a deadweight" after McCain shoots him.
Bulman also appears to have given up smoking, replacing cigarettes with mint-flavoured chewing gum (seen at several points in the book). He likes good food, but appears to be unable to cook for himself, so he mainly lives on ready meals (especially Marks & Spencer). Bulman also retains a few vices, namely alcohol and gambling; in the case of alcohol, he is a regular at the Crown in Fleet Street, as well as drinking heavily (to the extent of being "well over the limit" before his meeting with Crawley, as well as having no money at all in his wallet that fateful day), and drinking half a bottle of whisky after his threat from Crawley. In the case of gambling, the night before his meeting, he ended up playing the fruit machine with a few fellow freelance journalists; Bulman himself won fifteen pounds at one point, but put it all back in the machine anyway, as he "just didn't know when to stop".