At the Shadow Gallery, V speaks with Evey. V explains that he’s actually a “very funny” person. Evey notices that V has changed into a new outfit: an old-fashioned vaudeville suit, complete with a different, narrower mask.
V is a totally anonymous character: we don’t know anything about his family, his background, etc. This allows him to be “larger-than-life,” and also to dress up as anyone he wants to.
V goes into a different room of the Shadow Gallery, where Lewis Prothero is standing in his uniform, very confused. Suddenly, V cries out, ”Good morning, campers!” Prothero cries out that V has “the wrong man.” He claims that he had nothing to do with the concentration camps. V ignores Prothero and drags him past life-size models of the sheds and prisons of Larkhill prison. Suddenly, V points out a huge pile of dolls: Prothero’s prized doll collection. Prothero is horrified that V will try to hurt these dolls. V mocks Prothero for having such love for his dolls, yet so little for other human beings. Prothero insists that it was “us or them” at the Larkhill camps.
This is a horrific section—and an undeniably humorous one. V again shows his penchant for theatricality, freely moving between different personas—jailer, guard, comedian, singer—while Prothero is “stuck” as a prisoner in the camp. In another sense, Prothero is the “straight man” to V’s vaudevillian. It’s crucial that Prothero admit his wrongdoing before he’s punished—V doesn’t want him to go proudly to his grave.
V continues with his torture of Prothero. He drags him to a model of “Room V.” Prothero seems to understand what this means: V is “the man from Room V,” an area of the camp where Prothero used to patrol as a guard. With this, V presses a button, and Prothero’s dolls burst into flames. Prothero gives a hideous scream.
Instead of punishing Prothero physically, V harms Prothero’s most prized possession: his doll collection. We don’t yet know much about the Larkhill camps, but we can tell that V is exploiting a horrible irony—that Prothero cares greatly about dolls, but not at all about human beings.
The narrative cuts to “Scotland Yard, later.” V, wearing his usual cloak and mask, skillfully maneuvers his way past a security guard. When the security guard catches a glimpse of V, he calls for his superiors over the intercom.
V is a skilled fighter, capable of killing a man with one finger, but he’s arguably even more terrifying when he maneuvers his way past guards virtually undetected.
In the evening, Roger Dascombe is working at his broadcasting office. Mr. Almond knocks and tells Dascombe that the fingermen have found Lewis Prothero. Officers lead Lewis Prothero into the room: his face has been painted white, like a doll’s, and he can only say, “Mama.” Clearly, Prothero has lost his mind. The broadcasters have no choice but to put a different man in charge of reading the “Voice of Fate.” Prothero’s replacement is clumsy, and slurs his words—and the people of London listen with great skepticism.
Here, we see the full scope of V’s attack on Lewis Prothero. Although V seems to have kidnapped Prothero for personal reasons, his revenge also has a broader political impact: the people of London begin to distrust the Voice of Fate, and, by extension, the entire Norsefire government. It’s a mystery why V kidnapped Prothero in the first place: was he aiming to enact revenge, dismantle Norsefire, or both? Moore will return to this question many times.