The Batman sees the Riddler taunting the Dark Knight with a string of riddles, but what do they mean? Here’s each of the Riddler’s riddles explained. The Riddler has a number of enigmas to give Batman and Jim Gordon during The Batman and we explain each riddle for DC fans. An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
Every Riddle In The Batman Explained
The Batman sees the Riddler taunting the Dark Knight with a string of riddles, but what do they mean? Here’s each of the Riddler’s riddles explained.
Warning! SPOILERS for The Batman.
The Batman sees the Riddler taunting the Dark Knight with a string of riddles, but what does each one mean? Directed by Matt Reeves from a script he wrote with Peter Craig, The Batman is more of a detective story than any previous live-action Batman movie. It sees Batman (Robert Pattinson) and Lt. Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) working to catch the Riddler (Paul Dano) while also unraveling a conspiracy that links together several of Gotham’s most high profile citizens.
Beginning with the murder of Gotham’s mayor, the Riddler is targeting anyone with information about an informant who helped the Gotham City Police Department bring down the mob boss, Salvatore Malroni. The drug bust of Malroni is being lauded as the biggest win in GCPD history, but the Riddler knows it’s all a lie. The operation hasn’t actually been shut down, it’s just now being run by the crooked cops of Gotham. This sort of corruption is nothing new, as the most powerful in Gotham have been stealing from the city for years. Most notably, they’ve been using a charitable program called Renewal that was started by Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne, to launder money and get rich.
This is the corruption the Riddler wants Batman to uncover, and he leads him along the path to discovery with a series of riddles. Some are simply a clever play on words and whose answers lead Batman closer to the truth, while others are confusing cryptograms that only make sense once more of the Riddler’s plan is revealed. Here’s every riddle in The Batman and what it actually means.
Riddle #1: What Does A Liar Do When He’s Dead?
The Riddle: What does a liar do when he’s dead?
The Answer: He lies still.
A dead body, no matter who it was when alive, will “lie still” and no longer move. A dead liar, however, won’t just “lie still” in that sense – they’ll also “lie still” in that their lies will continue until the truth is found out. In the case of the murdered Gotham City mayor (at whose crime scene Batman is given this riddle), the Riddler is accusing him of lying for years to cover up the city’s corruption. Even now that he’s dead, he’ll continue to lie until Batman and Gordon can uncover the truth.
Riddle #2: Follow The Maze Until You Find The Rat.
The Riddle: Follow the maze until you find the rat. Bring him into the light and you’ll find where I’m at.
The Answer: Reveal who the police informant is to the public, and the Riddler will reveal where he’s been hiding.
This may be the most important riddle since it helps drive Batman’s search for the Riddler. It’s discovered when examining the cage of rats used to murder Riddler’s second victim, Police Commissioner Pete Savage. Initially, Batman and Gordon believe Penguin is the rat, but when that lead turns out wrong, they then rightly suspect Carmine Falcone. Ultimately, the mob boss is revealed to be not just the police informant, but the mastermind behind much of Gotham’s corruption, with several city leaders indebted to him. When Batman turns Falcone over to the police, however, and brings him “into the light,” he’s assassinated by the Riddler, who’s been working out of an apartment overlooking the Iceberg Lounge the whole time.
Riddle #3: You Are El Rata Alada
The Riddle: You are el rata alada.
The Answer: www.rataalada.com
Along with riddles, the Riddler leaves messages in code for Batman. These messages use a cipher and can only be solved by figuring out what letters correspond to the symbols. The most noteworthy of these cipher messages is “You are el rata alada.” At first, Batman and Gordon assume the clue is the Spanish translation of “rata alada,” or winged rat, believing it’s referring to the Penguin because penguins have wings and Copplepot is their chief suspect. When they confront Penguin over this, he points out the Spanish is incorrect since “rata alada” should be preceded by “la” and not “el.” This has Batman rethink the message and realize “You are el” is a homophone for “URL,” essentially meaning a website. They pull up www.rataalada.com and chat with the Riddler, who gives them another riddle when he realizes Batman still hasn’t put all the pieces together.
Riddle #4: It Can Be Cruel, Poetic, Or Blind.
The Riddle: It can be cruel, poetic, or blind. But when it’s denied, it’s violence you may find.
The Answer: Justice.
A play on words as justice can come in many forms, but when justice is being denied (as Riddler believes it is in the case of Gotham’s elite answering for their crimes), the response is very often a violent one. This is the first of three riddles posed to District Attorney Gil Colson and to which correct answers will unlock the bomb the Riddler has strapped to his neck. Batman is who actually supplies the answer, but the first combination code is unlocked all the same.
Riddle #5: If You Are Justice, Please Do Not Lie.
The Riddle: If you are justice, please do not lie. What is the price for your blind eye?
The Answer: Bribe.
If you want to keep a secret, a bribe is how you buy silence. In this case, the secret is the identity of the police informant. Colson and others were paid bribes to keep this secret – the “price” for his “blind eye.” After answering the riddle, Batman presses Colson for how much and learns he was paid $10,000, meaning it’s someone very wealthy who wants the rat’s identity kept a secret.
Riddle #6: Since Your Justice Is So Select.
The Riddle: Since your justice is so select, please tell us, which vermin you’re paid to protect?
The Answer: The rat.
Clearly, Colson is corrupt like so many of those in positions of power in Gotham. Their “justice” is “select” because they only really serve those who have something to offer them. As for the “vermin” Colson and others have been paid to “protect,” that’s obviously the rat. Specifically, the Riddler asks for “which vermin,” meaning Colson must reveal the rat’s identity. Colson refuses, and since the Riddler doesn’t receive the full answer to his final riddle, he explodes the bomb, killing him and knocking Batman out.
Riddle #7: I Grew Up From A Seed, As Tough As A Weed.
The Riddle: I grew up from a seed, as 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?
The Answer: An orphan.
An orphan is someone whose parents are dead, and the term generally refers to someone who lost their parents at a young age – growing up without knowing where they “come from.” There’s more to this riddle than that, though, because Batman deduces “in a mansion, in a slum” refers to the Gotham Orphanage housed in the old Wayne “mansion.” The building has since burned down, but it was in disrepair even before then as it had lost funding following the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, effectively becoming a “slum.“
Riddle #8: See You In Hell
The Riddle: See you in hell.
The Answer: Arkham Asylum.
This riddle reads more like a threat than a clue, which makes sense since it comes from the scene of a bombing on Wayne Tower that sends Alfred to the hospital. Batman doesn’t actually solve this one, either, and it’s only explained to him by the Riddler when he confronts the villain at Arkham Asylum. Originally, Riddler believed Batman would join him in his crusade against Gotham’s corrupt officials, even imagining that Batman would be locked up in the asylum as well. “See you in hell” wasn’t really a riddle or a threat but more like an invitation, with “hell” meaning Arkham Asylum.
Every enigma from The Riddler in The Batman explained
On top of spotting Easter eggs and catching references to Batman lore, fans viewing The Batman also had the task of solving every enigma from The Riddler alongside Batman and Jim Gordon.
We provide a recap of every riddle featured in the film and share the answers that gradually pieced together the sinister whodunnit at the center of the film.
Directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis, and Jeffrey Wright, The Batman takes place during the infancy of Bruce Wayne’s life as a vigilante and serves as a gritty crime noir as The Batman and Jim Gordon seek to catch The Riddler.
: Is Joker in it? [SPOILERS]
The Batman | Main Trailer
No More Lies
Riddle: What does a liar do when he’s dead?
Answer: He lies still.
This riddle is the first and is left at the Gotham City Mayor’s crime scene. The answer not only refers to a dead body lying still but also points out that the Mayor will lie still even after he is dead, as his corruption still spreads until someone puts a stop to it.
The “Secret Friend” greeting card also contains a cipher for Bruce and Alfred to solve, which leads them to the Mayor’s garage. After finding shears in the Mayor’s car tire, Batman and Gordon discover the Mayor’s thumb connected to a USB drive – a thumb drive – and once the drive is connected to the computer, it sends out photos of the Mayor with Selina Kyle’s friend, proving his infidelity.
Follow the maze until you find the rat
Riddle: Follow the maze until you find the rat. Bring him into the light and you’ll find where I’m at.
Answer: The riddle is asking for the police informant to be revealed to the public.
Discovered within the rat cage used to kill Commissioner Pete Savage, this riddle ties into Carmine Falcone’s arrest and assassination near the end of the film, as he was the informant who needed to be brought into the light.
Once he was brought into the light, Falcone was assassinated by gunshot, leading Batman to The Riddler’s location.
“El rata alada”
Riddle: You are el rata alada
The Riddler’s Spanish riddle “El rata alada” translates to “the winged rat”, and Batman and Gordon initially suspected Oswald Cobblepot, because penguins have wings.
Upon interrogating the Penguin, Oswald tells them that their Spanish is wrong, and “el rata alada” should actually be “la rata alada.”
This provokes Batman to look at the riddle again, revealing that the “you are el” of the riddle was referencing a website’s URL, leading the Batman to punch in “www.rataalada.com” to talk to The Riddler.
Later on, Batman and Gordon realize that Falcons have wings, turning suspicion towards Falcone.
Where It All Began
Riddle: It can be cruel, poetic, or blind. But when it’s denied, it’s violence you may find.
This riddle is attached to District Attorney Gil Colson after he disturbs the peace at the Mayor’s funeral. Bruce, Gordon, and the GCPD quickly realize that he has a bomb attached to his chest.
The answer justice comes in many forms, as stated, and because The Riddler believes justice has been denied, he uses violence to make the victims pay.
I Grew Up From a Seed…
Riddle: I grew up from a seed, as 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?
Answer: An Orphan.
After confirming that the answer is “an orphan”, the line “in a mansion, in a slum”, led Batman and Gordon to visit the old Wayne mansion, which was later turned into an orphanage.
Bring Him Into the Light
Riddle: If you are justice, please do not lie. What is the price for your blind eye?
After it was revealed Colson paid $10,000 to turn a “blind eye” to keep the rat’s identity a secret, Batman soon came to the answer “bribe” whilst visiting Wayne Manor Orphanage.
This is where we learn about Thomas Wayne’s Renewal Fund and Batman suspects that Alfred is going to be the next target at Wayne Tower.
Which Vermin You’re Paid to Protect?
Riddle: Since your justice is so select, please tell us, which vermin you’re paid to protect?
Answer: The rat.
Colson died from the bomb strapped to him because he didn’t reveal who the rat was that he and others paid to protect.
See You in Hell
Riddle: See you in hell.
Answer: Arkham Asylum
In this case, hell means the asylum, however, Batman never learned the meaning behind this riddle until after the explosion that injured Alfred.
It is revealed that “See You in Hell” was referring to The Riddler’s expectation that Batman would join him in his crusade to rid corruption from Gotham, and that afterward, they would both be sent to Arkham.
A Real Change
After The Riddler is arrested, Batman returns to the villain’s hideout, where he realizes the Mayor’s murder weapon was, in fact, a tucker – used to lift carpets – which leads him to lift The Riddler’s flooring to reveal a map of downtown Gotham with “A Real Change” written.
The phrase is also related to Mayor-elect, Bella Reál, which tells Batman that the final act will take place at Gotham Square Garden where Reál is speaking.
In addition to these main riddles, The Riddler also asks Batman in prison: What’s black and blue and dead all over?, revealing that the answer is Batman.
Additionally, the riddle he gives the Joker in Arkham, “Riddle me this, the less of them you have, the more one is worth?”, means “A friend”, suggesting that The Riddler and the Clown Prince of Crime could team up in a future sequel.
- THE BATMAN: Soundtrack tracklist
There’s another riddle during the end-credits scene
After the credits roll, The Riddler’s green question mark appears on the screen, which soon changes to someone typing out “Good Bye”. A familiar website URL is then quickly flashed on the screen.
The website is rataalada.com and it allows fans to have a similar interaction with The Riddler that Batman did in the film by answering a series of riddles and we answer them below:
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Edward stirs in his sleep before jolting up against the thick comforter. He was wearing the same clothes as yesterday, that being a thin t-shirt with the Carseat Headrest Twin Fantacies album art drawn on it and baggy faded jeans, which both stank of sleep and sweat. The room he had found himself in smelt strongly of wealth, each piece of ornate furniture around him costing more than the entire sum of money he will ever make. The only familiar items were his shoes, carefully placed on a dark oak table. Leaping up, Edward is immediatly hit with a headache festering in his head, causing him to stumble his way to the en suite, because of course this room had an en suite. The marble flooring shone like the stars Edward would never see from his polluted apartment, and the shower was the size of his entire bathroom. Edward held himself up at the sink, trying to stabilize his irratic breaths. The long framed mirror showed him how tired he was, the deep bags under his eyes making him look hollow. Edward began smoothing out his hair with his nimble fingers before spotting a small emblem on the top of the mirror. he squinted to see it, noticing it all around the house like some easter egg hidden for him. It was carved into every gothic pillar and antique wardrobe, and was undeniably a W, the very same W used as the emblem for the Wayne family.
Trying to scream, Edward could only produce a desperate, breathless dry gasp. He wanted to itch all of his skin off, rip out all of his hair in disgust, his skin somehow became paler and his legs buckled under his weight, letting him loudly fall to the cold floor. A man instantly rushed in, kneeling at Edward and asking him questions he had become too numb to hear. Despite his thick eyeliner, stained onto his skin, and Joy division t-shirt contrasting from his usual formal attire, it was Bruce Wayne. Edward weakly pushed himself out of Bruce’s warm grip and turned away from him. Bruce held him again, his calloused hands clutching Edward’s pale skin, still inspecting him for for injuries. ‘ Are you ok? I heard you fall from outside.’ Bruce murmured, lifting Edward to stop him from slipping back onto the floor. Edward simply flared his nostrils and turned away from the man. Bruce reached his hand out softly, and clasped Edward’s soft cheek, turning him to make eye contact. Bruce’s eyes were a deep, unflinching blue that matched his other perfect features perfectly. It was unfair he was born handsome and rich, Edward thought, shamelessly checking him out. ‘If you aren’t in the mood to talk, can you at least say something so I know you’re ok’ Bruce whispered, bringing a sense of intimacy into his small request. Edward refused to let himself be charmed by the man. It would be foolish to give him another opportunity to deceit him, and hurt him even more personally. Edward was not worthy of love, in his own opinion, and he was deffiently not worth the love of someone so desireable as Bruce Wayne. It was all some kind of trick.
‘Ok fine, I’ll say one thing, Why Am I Here ?’ Edward demanded, his hoarse voice causing his demand to lack the edge he wanted. Bruce seemed unscathed by Edward’s sudden hostile nature by his steely expression, but was internally unsure of how to explain what had happened in a way that seemed normal. ‘Oh yeah so I got you really drunk at a bar and bought you home to keep you safe. I also took off your shoes el oh el.’ Bruce thought. He shouldn’t of taken Edward home really. He should of left him in a nice hotel with a note explaining everything, saving them both the awkwardness and confusion, yet, even now he had the overwhelming urge to care for Edward, that only he could be trusted with him, like some fragile item. ‘ I- You got drunk. With me. You asked me for a ride home but were too drunk to give me your address so I took you here.. We didn’t do anything, obviously. I’m not that kind of person.’ Bruce explained slowly. Edward sighed and rubbed his forehead, watching Bruce fetch some painkillers from the cabinet above them. ‘ Well, thank you for the bare minimum.’ Edward spits coursely ‘ I’m sure we had fun last night but I would prefer if we keep this second meeting our last meeting. Please just order me a cab home.’ Bruce knelt back down to make eye contact with him, his eyes looking wet and disappointed. Bruce gulped down the frog in his throat and ran his hand through his hair, reminding himself to wash it.
‘ I know this must be confusing for you, but I really believe we had a great time last night. I’d really like to get to know you, even just as friends. I can’t,, isolate myself forever’ Bruce was only met with cold silence and thought through what Edward had said more clearly. ‘Second meeting?’ Edward’s head shot back to face him , his expression bitter. ‘ Yes second meeting. We had met at the opening for the renewal project. You and I were only 8, but we caught eyes for a moment and-‘ Edward sighed softly, pushing his glasses back up to meet his soft eyes and shaggy hair.’ I was so certain you would fix everything for us. You carried so much hope.. I guess we can see how well that went, for me and the rest of the orphans.’ Bruce’s stomach panged with guilt and recognision. The renewal project and, more specifically, funding for Gotham Orphanage, had been forgotten about after the passing of his parents, as well as most projects and responsibilities given the the 9 year old Bruce. They both sat in awkward silence, Bruce regretting not hiring them the ride home they had asked for.
‘I’m..sorry. I was a kid, I forgot the-‘
‘ Not every Kid has the luxury of being able to forget responsibilities. Not every kid can flit from interest to interest due to their hoards of wealth’
Bruce bit his lip thoughtfully, a bad habit, and let the pair step back into silence.
‘ I wasn’t there for you then, but I want to be here for you now. I know I could never make up for what I let happen to you, but I want to try. I really like you, Please.’
Edward stirred and wrung his hands. he was right, Bruce was only a child. He would have had no idea how to help, or really remember the orphanage at all. He had no control over how much the media pitied him. ‘Fine.’ Edward muttered, still nursing his hangover. ‘ Please take me home.’
Edward clutched the piece of paper with Bruce’s discord and number in his clammy hands. He was sitting in the back of the driver Bruce had sent to deliver him home, an old man who kept sneaking curious glances at him through the rearview mirror. Arriving back at the door of his apartment, he turned to thank the driver, before seeing he had already sped off. Logging onto his computer, Edward sent the friend request to Bruce, for it to be instantly accepted. He rocked back and forth while thinking off what to say before just sending a short message and closing the laptop.