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. "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…
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:
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.  His vendetta against Gotham put himself in conflict with Bruce Wayne, because of his ties to the Wayne Family. 
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. 
Birth of the Riddler [ ]
Eleven years later, Nashton secured a job in accounting, 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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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.”
“What?” ―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.