21

In Watchmen, Rorschach (Kovacs) and Nite Owl (Daniel) discover Ozymandias' (Veidt) plan after breaking into his office computer. The password he used was incredibly easy to crack: Rameses II. There was a book of that title on the shelf beside his desk, and he was known to be obsessed with Egyptology, Pharaohs, etc. Even worse, his superhero name - Ozymandias - is the Greek version of the name Rameses II. Considering the fact that he's supposed to be the smartest man on earth, it appears that he wanted his former colleagues to uncover his plans.

After their discovery, Nite Owl and Rorschach head to Veidt's headquarters in Antarctica. As a result, they aren't killed in the attack on New York City. This might be interpreted as a sign that Veidt is still fond of his former colleagues, and doesn't want them to die. When Daniel visits Veidt earlier in the story, Veidt does seem to be genuinely happy to see his old friend, which could lend some support to this idea; on the other hand, Veidt is nothing if not a duplicitous schemer, so he could have been putting on a show to allay suspicions.

However, the fact that Nite Owl and Rorschach survive the attack on NYC puts Veidt's plans in jeopardy, because they might tell the world what really happened, which would render Veidt's scheme useless and provoke the very war he was trying to prevent. In order for the plan to work, Veidt needs Dr. Manhattan alive and willing to go along with it, but the fates of the other Watchmen is largely irrelevant - in fact, it would be slightly better, from Veidt's perspective, if the other Watchmen were dead and unable to expose the plot.

So here's the question:

Why did Veidt use such an obvious password? It seems clear that he wanted Nite Owl and Rorschach to find him out, but why?

6
  • 11
    Genius (and vanity) requires an audience.
    – Radhil
    Nov 1, 2015 at 18:44
  • 4
    Because he's a schmuck
    – Valorum
    Nov 2, 2015 at 0:22
  • 6
    Hey it was the 80s! Is this any worse than a teenage boy being able to access the WOPR at NORAD using Joshua? Jun 19, 2016 at 15:30
  • I don’t think it’s a terrible password, even given his superhero name, or his obsession with Egyptology. By office PC standards, it’s almost certainly above average. This doesn’t mean that it’s a good password of course. — Particularly given that his is a high-risk system for breach attempts. But in the historic context, at the time it’s unlikely that many systems (even such important ones) had better passwords. Oct 23, 2017 at 13:16
  • I suspect it's because Alan Moore doesn't own a computer and has no interest in the finer points of password protection, but needed to move the plot along.
    – El Cadejo
    Aug 30, 2019 at 23:02

3 Answers 3

19

The very short answer is that while Adrian may be a genius, he does have the classic supervillain 'Achilles heel' when it comes to his obsession with history. Not only does he model himself on Ozymandias but he puts his plan at severe risk through his choice of names for the various parts of his scheme;

  • Pyramid Deliveries (the shell company he's using to pay those involved in the scheme)
  • Karnak (his Antarctic hideout)
  • Rameses II (his password)

There's no special indication in the graphic novel that he's expecting to have his computer system cracked although it has to be admitted that his security absolutely sucks.

enter image description here

In the film, it's even less likely given that he has what appears to be gay pornography on his desktop

enter image description here

6
  • 3
    Re: the files in the movie version - maybe he's out and proud?
    – Wad Cheber
    Nov 1, 2015 at 18:59
  • 20
    Wow--I'd imagine the folks at Information Security SE would have something to say about that "password incomplete" message!
    – wyvern
    Nov 1, 2015 at 21:48
  • 4
    @sumelic Or the fact that the password is visible as plain text.
    – Mr Lister
    Nov 2, 2015 at 10:24
  • 5
    @WadCheber In the movies he is not "out and proud" in Rorschach's second journal entry of the movie he literally says "Adrian Veidt...possible homosexual...must investigate further." If Rorschach can suspect Ozymandias of being a homosexual that clearly means that he has not come out. Jan 10, 2016 at 20:23
  • 1
    @MrLister Reading the comic, the only way to see what he was typing was for it to be in plain text. Jan 10, 2016 at 20:24
2

Maybe Adrian wanted the files to be found so to lead the others to Karnak. If he said "Come to Karnak I have something to show you" then they may be suspicious of a trap. Doing it this way they feel they have the upper hand and so be more comfortable with the meeting.

2
  • 1
    How did you come to these conclusions? Can you provide any sources to got you to this conclusion?
    – Edlothiad
    Apr 10, 2017 at 1:14
  • 2
    Well. It was essential for Dr Manhatten to come to Karnak so that he would be assigned the blame for the destruction. If he was unknowing of the plot then he might try and 'fix' things and as such trigger a war between himself and the superpowers which Would prob involve nuclear weapons. As for the others - they might try and protect Manhatten's reputation and likewise unstabalise Veights plot. So they would have to know the reason for his disappearance. With all of them at Karnak they would know the full reason behind the plot and so either agree to it.. or be eliminated. I am speculating May 21, 2017 at 23:48
-1

It's just Moore being clever. The recurring theme of that issue is "Two Riders"- Night Owl and Rorschach taking Archie to Antarctica, two people on horseback during the "Black Freighter" segment, the missionaries on bicycles, Nixon and Ford on Air Force One and Two... so the "rider" for the password is "II".

Also, the late '80s readers were not as tech-savvy. As was pointed out above, most people took "War Games" at face value.

2
  • 2
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. The question is looking for the in-universe reason for Veidt to choose such an easy password. Even if you're right about the theme that Moore is developing, it doesn't explain the character's motivation, which is what the question is asking.
    – DavidW
    Mar 22, 2021 at 19:14
  • Once you have eliminated the Watsonian, whatever remains, however Doylist, must be the truth.
    – Rendu
    Apr 20, 2021 at 20:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.