Study Guide

Commander Julius "Beetroot" Root in Artemis Fowl

By Eoin Colfer

Commander Julius "Beetroot" Root

Unlike the rest of the fairy population, Julius is a major player in this book. Sure he starts out with a desk job, but when Holly gets kidnapped, he reactivates himself in the force at blinding speed and goes out after her. He's tough on his officers, telling Holly at one point that she's never given him her best (3.48) even though she has to be "better than everybody else" (3.43) because she controls the future of law enforcement (by being the first lady on the team). He also gives credit where credit is due though, like when he tells Holly "well done on the life-saving thing" (3.272)—though he's a bit of a grump about it. 

Root's Behavior 

Root would find it insulting, but really the best way to describe him is to talk about how curiously human his character is. Rage is "more or less his general state of existence, a fact that had earned him the nickname 'Beetroot'," and there is "an office pool running on how long he had before his heart exploded" (3.28). Juliet says he needs to "lay off the red meat" because he's "just a coronary waiting to happen" (7.301), and he smokes a brand of "particularly noxious fungus cigar" (5.1) regardless of the people passing out around him. 

He's loud, intense, and at his core his main concern is the safety of his officers—in other words, he's the classic (human) movie police chief who is all grumbly on the outside and soft on the inside. 

Root and His Age 

The other thing to know about Root is that he's old school. We mean really old school. He has "no time for gadgetry" (5.88) and grumbles about all of the new stuff on Recon suits when he reactivates himself. He finds the "old style decor strangely comforting" (5.101) when Foaly starts making retro ship designs, and tells Foaly he'll make up for his age "with a really big gun" (5.71). 

His old-school attitude is part of the reason he's so tough on Holly (here we can equate old-school with sexist)—but this attitude is also why he totally understands why Holly does some of the crazy things she does. She reminds him of himself when he was young.

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