V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta

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V for Vendetta Book 3, Prologue Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It is November 5, 1998. At the Ear, Mr. Etheridge, a high-level executive, sits alone. Dominic enters the room and asks him if he’s seen Mr. Finch lately. Mr. Etheridge replies that he hasn’t. Dominic explains that Mr. Finch has been acting strange ever since he returned from his vacation. He reads books by Arthur Koestler, the 20th century writer who campaigned for the right to die with dignity, and later killed himself. Etheridge asks Dominic how the “terrorist case” is coming along, and Dominic replies that things have been quiet lately.
In this opening scene, we see Finch taking on some of the qualities of V, his supposed nemesis. Like V, Finch reads literature—indeed, literature from long ago (it’s possible that Koestler has been banned by the government). Moore also gives us some subtle foreshadowing with the date—it is Guy Fawkes’ day, and so V probably won’t stay “quiet” for long.
Themes
Freedom and Anarchy Theme Icon
The Power of Symbols Theme Icon
At the Shadow Gallery, Evey calls to V—she’s moving some things out of her room, since she doesn’t need them anymore. V nods, and takes these things into a closet—we see that they include the book about “the Land of Do-As-You-Please.” Evey asks V what he’s planning to do to London, and when. V tells Evey to be patient: “it’ll all be over by Christmas.” We see him going to the roof, where he’s placed a copy of the orchestral sheet music for Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
There are many allusions in this section. The Land of Do-As-You-Please has already figured prominently in the graphic novel, and here it comes to stand for the state of anarchy that V is intent on producing in England. It’s also significant that V brings up the 1812 Overture, a paean to Napoleon’s revolution in Europe, which resulted in the deposing of dozens of monarchs.
Themes
Freedom and Anarchy Theme Icon
The Power of Symbols Theme Icon
Fatherhood, Mentorship, and the State Theme Icon
At the Head, the Leader stands before the Fate Computer, enraptured. He praises Fate as the ultimate force in the universe, and begs it to answer one question “Am I loved?” He remembers seeing the words “I love you” on the computer, and begs Fate for another sign. He collapses before the screen.
The message “I love you” on the Fate Computer has seemingly driven Adam Susan insane: he spends all his time before the computer, imprisoned by his love for Fate, domination, and control.
Themes
Freedom and Anarchy Theme Icon
The Power of Symbols Theme Icon
Fatherhood, Mentorship, and the State Theme Icon
V stands on the roof of his home, mock-conducting the skyline. Suddenly, there is an enormous explosion, and multiple buildings—including the Ear and Eye headquarters—burst into flames. Outside the Eye, Conrad Heyer rushes away from the flames, followed by Helen Heyer, who yells at her husband for abandoning her inside the building. Suddenly, Dominic runs to Conrad—he left the Ear seconds before it exploded: Mr. Etheridge is surely dead. We cut back to V, who continues to “conduct” the burning skyline.
In contrast to V’s calm command of the situation, here we see government authorities displaying their cowardice and weakness. Conrad Heyer isn’t even brave enough to help his own wife, Helen. In all, V’s attack destroys the most important parts of the Norsefire state: Moore doesn’t go into any detail about how V ”orchestrated” these bombings, suggesting that for the superhuman V, it was easy.
Themes
Freedom and Anarchy Theme Icon
Bigotry Theme Icon
The Power of Symbols Theme Icon
Vendettas, Revenge, and the Personal Theme Icon
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At the Head, the Leader receives an urgent message: the broadcasting headquarters at Jordan Tower have been blown up along with the Ear and the Eye. The Leader has no way to broadcast to London now. Suddenly, the Leader hears a voice coming from the television screen: “Good evening London,” it says, “this is the Voice of Fate.”
Once again, V has hijacked the weapons of the Norsefire government and used them to advance his own political goals. Here, he uses the broadcasting system to send his messages throughout the city—he is the new “Voice of Fate,” declaring the inevitability of anarchy.
Themes
Freedom and Anarchy Theme Icon
The Power of Symbols Theme Icon
Vendettas, Revenge, and the Personal Theme Icon
Fatherhood, Mentorship, and the State Theme Icon
We see the “Voice of Fate” broadcasting in radios and televisions all over London. The voice announces that 400 years ago, a great man made a “Great contribution” to culture. In honor of this man, the voice continues, the government of London will return the rights of secrecy and privacy to its citizens. For the next three days, citizens will be able to “do as they wish” without being monitored or followed. We then cut back to V, who is clearly the voice of the broadcast. He leaves the roof of his building.
The “great man”: to whom V alludes is clearly Guy Fawkes, who attempted to blow up Parliament under the rule of King James. It’s interesting that V acts as the voice of Norsefire, rather than an alternative to Norsefire—he’s using Norsefire’s authority to undermine all authority, allowing the people of London to run wild for three days—like children without their tyrannical father.
Themes
Freedom and Anarchy Theme Icon
The Power of Symbols Theme Icon
Vendettas, Revenge, and the Personal Theme Icon
Fatherhood, Mentorship, and the State Theme Icon