V for Vendetta (comic)|
V for Vendetta (film)
Black and white (comic)|
Red and black (film)
The story presents a post-apocalyptic Britain that has narrowly avoided an international nuclear war from 1988 on. As displayed during the story of Evey Hammond, although the United Kingdom did not suffer any nuclear attacks, the effects of full-scale nuclear war on other countries had severe effects on the environment, and thus on agriculture. This in its turn severely damaged the British economy and mass riots broke out. As Evey relays to V, an anarchist determined to destroy Norsefire, the government quickly collapsed and chaos overran the country.
The situation turned after several years (approximately 1992 in the story). From the madness of the violence came the ultra right-wing Norsefire regime: fascists (similar to Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists) that united with the surviving big companies and businesses, giving them the appearance of wealth and stability. However, while the Norsefire regime did indeed bring order back to the country, this order came at a cost: people who were not white, Christian, and heterosexual were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Political leftists were also persecuted. With their potential enemies all removed within a short space of time, Norsefire began consolidating their power over the country. They began to sink their influence into the Church of England, giving it more power and influence. They began promoting and demoting members of the clergy as they saw fit. They also took over the television companies, creating NTV (Norsefire Television), and implemented the technologies that would allow for a closely monitored society, including closed-circuit television. In the novel the British monarchy continues under Queen Zara. No reference is made to the monarchy in the film, though God Save the King is played during a television comedy sketch.
By the time the story of the graphic novel has begun, Norsefire has shut down the concentration camps and is essentially in complete control of society. Although competition exists between the varying branches of the state, they generally have complete control over the United Kingdom. The head of the party is Leader Adam Susan, a self-proclaimed fascist who seems to worship Fate, the super-computer surveillance system that oversees the nation. Their control over the state soon faces a threat from V, the anarchist protagonist of the story who seeks to overthrow the regime and allow the people to decide their own fate. By the end of the novel, every top government official and notable figure in Norsefire has died, except for Lewis Prothero who is driven insane by V and incapacitated by Norsefire early on in the novel, and Eric Finch who leaves Norsefire after he kills V and when Norsefire collapses.
A common recurring motto is "Strength Through Purity, Purity Through Faith" (or in the movie, "Strength Through Unity, Unity Through Faith"). The British Union of Fascists also used a similar slogan, "Action within unity". Another maxim often used by Norsefire as a salute is "England Prevails".
In the book, a blue "N" on a black flag is the symbol of the party. An "N" or "NF" are the only party symbols shown. Yet, as mentioned above, the first issue's cover also features a Greek or Latin cross merged into a pair of wings rising from red flames. This could symbolize the "rise" of Britain from the ashes similar to that of a Phoenix. It is notable that this symbol also uses the British national colours, red, white and blue.
In the film, the Norsefire symbol is a combination of the flag of England and the Lorraine cross. The symbol is shown on flags, police badges, coat of arms, tanks, and army beret badges. Two versions exist, one with a red cross on a black background and another with a black cross on a red background.
- V for Vendetta (1980s comic)
- V for Vendetta (2006 film)
- British Union of Fascists
- National Front (UK)
- British Fascism
Notes and references
- Moore, Alan, Introduction. V for Vendetta. New York: DC Comics, 1990.
- Madelyn Boudreaux. "An Annotation of Literary, Historic, and Artistic References in Alan Moore's Graphic Novel, V For Vendetta.". An Annotation of Literary, Historic, and Artistic References in Alan Moore's Graphic Novel, V For Vendetta. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
...make Britain great again....This is typically "nationalistic" sentiment.... It was this sentiment, taken to its extremes, that drove Hitler's Nationalist Socialist (Nazi) Workers' Party to try to rid Germany of "non-Germans."
- Call, Lewis (1 January 2008). "A IS FOR ANARCHY, V IS FOR VENDETTA". Anarchist Studies. 16 (2): 154–172.
V for Vendetta offers a clever, insightful look at the rise of fascism. The fascist 'Norsefire' party takes advantage of the power vacuum which occurs as the liberal British state collapses in the aftermath of the nuclear war.