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Written by jelo singson
The eponymous V is an enigmatic, masked revolutionary who systematically eliminates the leaders of a tyrannical organization that calls itself Norsefire. The organization rules a dystopian version of the United Kingdom. His true face is always concealed in his trademark Guy Fawkes mask, wig, and all black outfit--useful for carrying out assassination in the dark. V is a fearless, skilled fighter, proficient with the use of bladed weapons, demolitions, computer hacking, surveillance and counter-intelligence measures. He also possesses great knowledge on a variety of topics from literature, politics, philosophy, and the culinary arts. Apart from his formidable military knowledge and training V also possesses super human strength, durability, enhanced reaction time, and an immense tolerance for pain. He developed these abilities after having been given repeated dosages of a mysterious chemical known only as Batch 5. The chemical however, is completely lethal in many cases, V being the only recipient out of four dozen other prisoners it was administered to to survive.
Evey "Eve" Hammond is a young woman of sixteen whom V rescues from a group of marauding Fingermen, Norsefire’s vicious secret police service. The novel is every bit about Evey as it is about V as it chronicles the major milestones in her life: how she became an orphan and turned to prostitution because of the Norsefire’s criminal network, how she was saved by V and how she becomes dependent on him for her comfort and protection, and how she is little by little groomed by him to become his eventual replacement in his fight against the fascist organization.
Adam Susan is the head of the Norsefire Party. He serves as both the organization’s “face” and coordinates most of its operations. His meteoric rise to power from being a police chief to "Leader" came about deliberate, careful planning. Susan is a despot through and through. He values order, cultural, and racial homogeneity above civil and personal liberties, seeing the latter as frivolities and a threat to national security in the long run. In pursuit of his ideals of a fully culturally and racially homogenous United Kingdom he relegates all non-white, non-Christian, and non-heterosexual members of society into concentration camps. Ironically, Susan despises all human contact, especially sex, viewing it as “barbarous coupling.” In place of normal human interactions he instead venerates Fate, the super-computer surveillance A.I. network that manages the United Kingdom, preferring its emotionless, precise companionship. His fanatical attachment to Fate becomes his undoing however when he discovers that V has tampered with its programming prompting Fate to express love and affection, emotions he prohibits, and this drives him to madness.
He heads the branch of Norsefire known as “The Nose”, or the Ministry of Investigations, analogous to the FBI or MI6. Finch is the chief of New Scotland Yard. Ever the realist, he sides with Norsefire because they have provided a semblance of order from the chaos of war. He is a rarity in government as he is actually morally upright and strives for integrity. The Leader trusts him for his reliability but mainly because he doesn’t harbor any political aspirations. He comes to an epiphany about the nature of Norsefire’s governance and he is horrified by the realization that he has colluded with Norsefire in enactment of atrocities.
The head of “The Finger,” Norsefire’s ruthless secret police force is a cold, arrogant man, fully assured of his organization’s abilities and reach. He is emotionally distant and abusive to his longsuffering and devoted wife, Rose. Eric Finch advises him of V’s attempt at Dr. Delia Surridge’s life but this turns out to be a carefully staged assassination plot for Derek Almond.
Rosemary "Rose" Almond
Derek Almond’s suffering wife, she collaborates with the despicable Roger Dascombe after her husband is killed. Unfortunately, she falls into performing as a showgirl as a means of supporting herself as V also assassinates Dascombe. Despite her seeming weakness of character Rose actually successfully manages to assassinate Adam Susan. She manages to buy a gun and sneak in on Adam Susan, capitalizing on the mayhem and confusion caused by the surveillance systems blackout that V orchestrates. Her fate is unknown as she is last seen being cross-examined by the Finger and it can be assumed that she would be violated and/or executed afterwards…
The new head of “The Finger” who replaces Derek Almond after he is murdered is a bloodthirsty, opportunistic, spiteful individual. He is also an ambitious man who seeks to replace Adam Susan as Leader, who he sees as weak and ineffective. In an attempt to strengthen his organization Creedy hires hoodlums, all of which were sourced from the underhanded Helen Heyer. Unfortunately for him though this was actually a plot hatched by Helen Heyer in collaboration with the gangster Alistair Harper to dispose of him.
Dascombe is the head of “The Mouth” and he is tasked with creating and disseminating propaganda material in various mediums for Norsefire. Derek Almond openly despises Dascombe and upon his death he targets his widow, Rose, who out of sheer desperation comes to rely on him for provision. The police and the fingermen unwittingly kill him when V makes use of Dascombe as an unwilling decoy to aid him in his escape from the Jordan Tower.
Etheridge is the Head of “The Ear”, Norsefire’s audio-surveillance arm. He is tasked with leading his group in listening in for dissidents and reporting them to “The Mouth” so they can be exposed and “The Finger” for eventual elimination. He is also tasked with managing a catalogue of music that the party deems as illegal or subversive, dubbed “The Blacklist.” Etheridge speaks with a conspicuous stutter. He is killed in the destruction of the Post Office Tower, which was the cover for The Ear's headquarters.
Alistair "Ally" Harper
The Scottish mobster and Gordon’s killer, he is hired by Creedy in an attempt to momentarily reinforce the police force. He is unaware though that Harper was in truth employed by Helen Heyer as part of a ploy intended to bring about Creedy's ruin. Ally Harper becomes Helen's lover for a time a situation that V uses later on to his advantage. After Helen’s husband, Conrad becomes Head of “The Eye” which is Norsefire’s video surveillance network Creedy is promoted as head of “The Finger.” Upon Creedy's assumption of this role Harper dispatches him with a slash to the neck with a straight razor alá Sweeney Todd.
Conrad Heyer manages "The Eye"--the organization that monitors and maintains the United Kingdom’s CCTV system. He is a cuckolded man with his unfaithful, domineering wife, Helen, positioned as the power behind the throne. V sends Conrad a videotape of Helen having sex with Ally as part of his destabilization plot against the Norsefire party. It proves too much for him to take and he proceeds to beat Alistair Harper nearly to death with a wrench. He is mortally wounded during the struggle however. Helen arrives on the scene and sees the carnage but instead of helping Conrad, she realizes that all her manipulating has come to nothing. She spitefully sets up a video camera connected to their TV so that he can watch himself bleed to death.
The ruthless, scheming wife of Conrad Heyer, she leverages sex and cunning to keep her husband under her thumb. She is a skilled manipulator and an ambitious woman to boot. Her less than covert goal is control the country herself by installing Conrad to become the next leader of Norsefire. Despite all her jockeying for power on behalf of her husband she in truth has nothing but derision for him husband. She sleeps with Harper in order to gain his allegiance and to turn him against Creedy. All her scheming fails because of V however and she is last seen selling herself in exchange for protection and food to gang once chaos reigns in London.
Bishop Anthony Lilliman
Bishop Lilliman is the corrupt priest who serves as the official “voice” of Norsefire in the Church. He is a vicious pedophile, molesting young girls in various parishes under his care. Before being given his post as bishop he worked at Larkhill as a priest. He was tasked to provide spiritual support to the prisoners receiving Batch 5. Using Evey Hammond as bait to lure the bishop V captures him and stages a mock “communion” ritual, finally killing him by forcing him to eat a communion wafer loaded with cyanide.
The former head of the Larkhill concentration camp where V was incarcerated, he is later moved up to become “The Voice of Fate”, the Norsefire approved radio personality broadcasting propaganda to the public. He is captured by V and mentally broken by him through the trauma of seeing his cherished doll collection incinerated as a reenactment of the Camp Larkhill fire and from a near-lethal dose of Batch 5.
Dr. Delia Surridge
One of the Larkhill camp doctors and the only one of V's tormentors with the distinction of actually feeling remorse for her crimes, V kills her by injecting her with an unnamed chemical. She manages to apologize to V before expiring.
Apprentice to Inspector Finch, he was the one who managed to draw the connection between V’s anarchistic activities and the former Larkhill concentration camp staff. Similar to Eric Finch, he works out of civic duty not out of political aspiration. It is implied later on in the series that Dominic will take on the personage of V after Evey has trained him.
Evey’s lover for a time and small-time bootlegger, he is later on murdered by the ruthless gangster Alistair Harper.
A well-loved and lauded actress imprisoned at Larkhill when she was discovered to be a lesbian. Her unfortunate fate and cruel torture at the hands of Norsefire is chronicled in a letter that V discovers while he too was incarcerated at Larkhill. V keeps the letter and during Evey's "training" he makes sure that she finds it and reads it. The contents of the letter provide the impetus for both V and Evey to fight against the party.
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