Alfred J. Pennyworth was truly Batman’s Batman.
He took in Bruce Wayne when the little boy was orphaned after his parents were mercilessly murdered. He didn’t look back after that fateful day. Many remember him as the loyal butler who looked after the Wayne mansion and served his master breakfast.
But he was so much more than that. The caped crusader would’ve never come to life had it not been for Alfred.
After the family tragedy, Alfred spent the rest of his days caring for a lost and scared child, slowly honing him into the brave saviour he would one day become. He gave everything he had, without asking for anything in return. He guarded Batman’s secret with his soul.
Bruce Wayne got his first valuable lessons from his guardian. His morality, strength and determination were all gifts from the man whose wisdom and courage never failed. Calm, dignified and wise, he always found solutions to problems, never, ever giving up, not even in the darkest times.
He just couldn’t bear the idea of letting down his protégé. And he never did. Here are the ways in which Alfred J. Pennyworth, the man with many roles in the life of Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman.
The Father Figure
Well, that was his first protective instinct, unleashed upon seeing a broken, scared boy cowering from the world after his parents were taken away from him. Alfred cared for Bruce and showed him what he could be. Right from teaching him how to fight bullies to motivating him in his toughest times as Batman, Alfred ensured Bruce got the unending support he needed. He even entered a burning house once to save Bruce’s life. Now if a father wouldn’t do that, who would?
“I never wanted you to come back to Gotham. I always knew there was nothing for you here, except pain and tragedy. And I wanted something more for you than that. I still do.”
Having worked with the British Secret Services and the army earlier, the man knew how to keep a secret. Yeah, he used to be a spy and took on the role of a butler to fulfil his dying father’s wish. That explains how he was so good with medicine, technology, firearms and combat; they were the tools of his trade. He used all his knowledge and expertise to make save Batman and make his job easier over the years.
“I’ve sewn you up, I’ve set your bones, but I won’t bury you. I’ve buried enough members of the Wayne family.”
The Comical Confidante
Alfred’s greatest weapon had always been his scathing wit and smooth sarcasm. Be it an advice or a comment, it surely came with a bite. He was around whenever Bruce needed him. Alfred knew his deepest desires and darkest fears. He fostered the boy’s dreams while shooing away his nightmares. Whenever the situation arose, he’d share Bruce’s burden and take charge to get him on his feet again. Yet, he waited for Bruce to return after every mission with bated breath, heaving a sigh of relief to see him return.
“Endure, Mr. Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of the Batman. He can be the outcast, he can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice.”
The Busy Butler
Now let’s not forget the fact that despite all his surrogate roles, he also managed a colossal estate as the Wayne manor. Making sure everything is in place and fully functional isn’t a joke. He was always up and about, putting things in order while tending to his master’s requirements. He even fed Bruce and nursed him back to health after his injuries.
“When you told me about your grand plan for saving Gotham, the only thing that stopped me from calling the men in white coats was when you said it wasn’t about thrill-seeking.”
The True Friend
More than anything else, Alfred was the friend Bruce never had. He had his back at all times. He showed him the right path and advised him when necessary. He even exercised the authority to tear up Rachel’s letter and keep the shattering truth from him. He made Bruce’s problems his own. A friend is always there to help at a person’s worst. If Alfred didn’t do that well, no one else could either.
“Drive sports cars, date movie stars, buy things that are not for sale… Who knows, Master Wayne? You start pretending to have fun, you might even have a little by accident.”
Alfred played every possible role and took on responsibilities without a word of complaint. He worried and cared for Bruce like his own and never broke his promise of protecting Bruce. Wanting only the best for his young master, Alfred did all he could. When Batman was hitting an all time low, this instance in particular brought tears to the eyes of millions,
“Every year, I took a holiday. I went to Florence, there’s this cafe, on the banks of the Arno. Every fine evening, I’d sit there and order a Fernet Branca. I had this fantasy, that I would look across the tables and I’d see you there, with a wife and maybe a couple of kids. You wouldn’t say anything to me, nor me to you. But we’d both know that you’d made it, that you were happy.”
Bruce Wayne once asked his guardian, “You haven’t given up on me yet?”, to which he replied, “Never.”
Damn. Honestly, every person in the world could do with an Alfred J. Pennyworth. But most of us don’t even deserve him.