V for Vendetta

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Everybody is special. Everybody. Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain, everybody. Everybody has their story to tell...

V for Vendetta (1982 - 1986) is a comic book series written by Alan Moore and illustrated mostly by David Lloyd, set in a dystopian future United Kingdom. A mysterious anarchist called "V" works to destroy the authoritarian government, profoundly affecting the people whom he encounters.

There's no flesh or blood within this cloak to kill. There's only an idea. Ideas are bulletproof.
For quotations from the 2006 film see: V for Vendetta (film)


My word, doesn't time fly? It seems like only yesterday…
I'll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate.
Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late.
Away with our explosives, then! Away with our Destroyers! They have no place within our better world.
  • What was done to me created me. It's a basic principle of the Universe that every action will create an equal and opposing reaction.
  • Good evening, London. I thought it time we had a little talk. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...
    I suppose you're wondering why I've called you here this evening. Well you see, I'm not entirely satisfied with your performance lately…. I'm afraid your work's been slipping, and...and well, I'm afraid we've been thinking about letting you go.
    Oh, I know, I know. You've been with the company a long time now. Almost...Let me see. Almost ten thousand years! My word, doesn't time fly? It seems like only yesterday… I remember the day you commenced your employment, swinging down from the trees, fresh-faced and nervous, A bone clasped in your bristling fist... "Where do I start, sir?" You asked, plaintively.
    I recall my exact words: "There's a pile of dinosaur eggs over there, youngster," I said smiling paternally the while. "Get sucking."
    Well, we've certainly come a long way since then, haven’t we? And yes, yes, you're right, in all that time you haven’t missed a day. Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Also please don't think I've forgotten about your out-standing service record, or about all of the invaluable contributions that you've made to the company... Fire, the wheel of agriculture...It's an impressive list, old-timer. A jolly impressive list. Don't get me wrong.
    But...well, to be frank, we've had our problems, too. There's no getting away from it. Do you know what I think a lot of it stems from? I'll tell you... It's your basic unwillingness to get on within the company. You don't seem to want to face up to any real responsibility, or to be your own boss. Lord knows, you've been given plenty of opportunities...We've offered you promotion time and time again, and each time you've turned us down: "I couldn't handle the work, Guv'nor," you wheedled. "I know my place"
    To be frank, you're not trying, are you? You see, you've been standing still for far too long, and it's starting to show in your work... And I might add, in your general standard behaviour. The constant bickering on the factory floor has not escaped my attention...Nor the recent bouts of rowdiness in the staff canteen. Then of course there's... Hmmmm. Well, I didn't really want to have to bring this up, but...Well, you see I've been hearing some disturbing rumours about your personal life.
    No, never you mind who told me. No names, no pack drill... I understand that you are unable to get on with your spouse. I hear that you argue. I am told that you shout. Violence has been mentioned. I am reliably informed that you always hurt the one you love...The one you shouldn't hurt at all.
    And what about the children? It's always the children who suffer, as you're well aware. Poor little mites. What are they to make of it? What are they to make of your bullying, your despair, your cowardice and all your fondly nurtured bigotries? Really, it's not good enough, is it? And it's no good blaming the drop in work standards upon bad management, either...
    Though, to be sure, the management is very bad. In fact, let us not mince words ... the management is terrible! We've had a string of embezzlers, frauds, liars and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions. This is plain fact.
    But who elected them? It was you! You who appointed these people! You who gave them the power to make your decisions for you! While I'll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate.
    You have encouraged these malicious incompetents, who have made your working life a shambles. You have accepted without question their senseless orders. You have allowed them to fill your workspace with dangerous and unproven machines.
    All you had to say was "NO." You have no spine. You have no pride. You are no longer an asset to the company. I will however, be generous. You will be granted two years to show me some improvement in your work. If at the end of that time you are still unwilling to make a go of it... You're fired.
    That will be all. You may return to your labors.
  • Happiness is a prison, Evey. Happiness is the most insidious prison of all.
  • I didn't put you in a prison, Evey. I just showed you the bars.
  • Though recognition's been delayed by its circuitous construction, now the pattern, long concealed, emerges into view. Is it not fine? Is it not simple, and elegant, and severe? How strange, after the long exacting toil of preparation, it takes only the slightest effort and less thought to send this brief, elaborate amusement on its breathless, hurtling race. The merest touch, no more, and everything falls into place. The pieces can't perceive as we the mischief their arrangement tempts. Those stolid law-abiding queues, so pregnant with catastrophe. Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late.
  • There's no flesh or blood within this cloak to kill. There's only an idea. Ideas are bulletproof.
  • Everybody is special. Everybody. Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain, everybody. Everybody has their story to tell…
  • Anarchy wears two faces, both Creator and Destroyer. Thus Destroyers topple empires; make a canvas of clean rubble where creators can then build a better world. Rubble, once achieved makes further ruins' means irrelevant. Away with our explosives, then! Away with our Destroyers! They have no place within our better world. But let us raise a toast to all our bombers, all our bastards, most unlovely and most unforgivable, let's drink their health, then meet with them no more.

Then you have no fear anymore. You're completely free. You said that you wanted to live without fear.


I ask the simplest question and it's like Alice In Wonderland.
  • I give up on the puzzles. I just want to turn the page upside down and read the answers.

Adam Susan[edit]

  • My name is Adam Susan. I am the leader.

Leader of the lost, ruler of the ruins. I am a man, like any other man. I lead the country that I love out of the wilderness of the twentieth century. I believe in survival. In the destiny of the Nordic race. I believe in fascism. Oh yes, I am a fascist. What of it? Fascism…a word. A word whose meaning has been lost in the bleatings of the weak and the treacherous. The Romans invented fascism. A bundle of bound twigs was its symbol. One twig could be broken. A bundle would prevail. Fascism…strength in unity. I believe in strength. I believe in unity. And if that strength, that unity of purpose, demands a uniformity of thought, word and deed then so be it. I will not hear talk of freedom. I will not hear talk of individual liberty. They are luxuries. I do not believe in luxuries. The war put paid to luxury. The war put paid to freedom. The only freedom left to my people is the freedom to starve. The freedom to die, the freedom to live in a world of chaos. Should I allow them that freedom? I think not. I think not. Do I deserve for myself the freedom I deny to others? I do not. I sit here within my cage and I am but a servant. I, who am master of all that I see I see desolation. I see ashes. I have so very much. I have so very little. I am not loved, I know that. Not in soul or body. I have never known the soft whisper of endearment. Never known the peace that lies between the thighs of woman. But I am respected. I am feared. And that will suffice. Because I love. I, who am not loved in return. I have a love that is far deeper than the empty gasps and convulsions of brutish coupling. Shall I speak of her? Shall I speak of my bride? She has no eyes to flirt or promise. But she sees all. Sees and understands with a wisdom that is Godlike in its scale. I stand at the gates of her intellect and I am blinded by the light within. How stupid I must seem to her. How childlike and uncomprehending. Her soul is clean, untainted by the snares and ambiguities of emotion. She does not hate. She does not yearn. She is untouched by joy or sorrow. I worship her though I am not worthy. I cherish the purity of her disdain. She does not respect me. She does not fear me. She does not love me. They think she is hard and cold, those who do not know her. They think she is lifeless and without passion. They do not know her. She has not touched them. She touches me, and I am touched by God, by Destiny. The whole of existence courses through her. I worship her. I am her slave. No freedom ever was so sweet. My love, I would stay with you forever, would spend my life within you. I would wait upon your every utterance and never ask the merest splinter of affection. Fate… Fate… I love you.

  • You will be SILENT, Mr. Almond! Your incompetence has cost us our oldest symbol of authority and a jarring propaganda defeat! Do you understand what happened last night? ...And you allowed them to do it. I want this creature and his associates found Mr. Almond. I want his head...or by God I'll have yours instead! You will consult Mr. Dascombe at Jordan Tower before making any official pronouncements. That will be all, Mr. Almond. England prevails.
    • Reprimanding Derek Almond after V destroys the Old Bailey
  • Laughing, cheering, crying: They at least have not forsaken me... But why can't I feel anything for them? There's only me here, isn't there? I've known since childhood no one else is real. Just me and God. No boil upon the driver's neck; no stinking leatherette, no crowds,... I'd talk to my creator, about Nigger boys on the estate; and men, naked in bed, rubbing together, rubbing, pushing... When I grew weak, we'd talk. I talked to God, while colleagues laughed... but I was vindicated: God was real, embodied in a form that I could love. When I first saw her screens, her smooth unyielding lines... not as a woman, with strange sweat and ugly body hair, but something cold, hard; sensual. We loved, my God and I. But then... them she betrayed me. Now there's nothing. Now I am alone... except for them; waving beyond the glass. I'll try to love them more. They're all I have. Should I wave back? It mustn't look rehearsed, or insincere, but be instead a gesture from the heart... as spontaneous as their own. They love me. I pass on. England prevails.
    • Silent monologue as he rides in a limousine, watching the cheering crowds as he passes

Mr. Finch[edit]

I still don't know who codename V is, but I think I know what he is.
  • I think he's a psychopath, leader. I use the word in the most precise sense.
    • On V.
  • I still don't know who codename V is, but I think I know what he is.
  • Despite their faults those two men were human beings; and he slaughtered them like cattle.
  • What's holding me back in my life … what's holding me back except..me?


Anarchy means "without leaders", not "without order". With anarchy comes an age of ordnung, of true order, which is to say voluntary order... this age of ordung will begin when the mad and incoherent cycle of verwirrung that these bulletins reveal has run its course.
Evey: V? You're almost finished, aren't you?
V: See for yourself. The pieces are set out before me, perfectly aligned. Complete, one may at last grasp their design; their grand significance. But "almost finished"...? Yes. Yes, I suppose I am.

[V is talking to the statue of Madame Justice atop the Old Bailey]
V: Hello, dear lady. A lovely evening, is it not? Forgive me for intruding, perhaps you were intending to take a stroll, perhaps you were merely enjoying the view. No matter, I thought that it was time we had a little chat, you and I. Ahh... I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madame Justice, this is V. V, this is Madame Justice. Hello, Madame Justice.
V: [as Madame Justice] Good evening, V.
V: There, now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking... "The poor boy has a crush on me... an adolescent infatuation". I beg your pardon, Madame. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you... Albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice". And I'd say "Isn't she pretty?". Please don't think it was merely physical, I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person, as an ideal. That was a long time ago, I'm afraid there's someone else now...
"Madame Justice": What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!
V: I, Madame? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms! Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it! You thought I didn't know about your little fling, but I do! I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.
"Madame Justice": Uniform? Why, I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...
V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots! Well? Cat got your tongue? I thought as much. Very well. So you stand revealed at last, you are no longer my Justice. You are his Justice now, you have bedded another. Well, two can play at that game!
"Madame Justice": Sob! Choke! Wh-Who is she, V? What is her name?
V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a Mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that Justice is meaningless without Freedom. She is honest, she makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So goodbye, dear Lady. I would be saddened by our parting, even now, save that you are no longer the woman that I once loved. Here is a final gift. I leave it at your feet.
[V leaves a small heart-shaped chocolate box at the statue's feet. As V walks away, the box explodes, destroying the Old Bailey and the statue]
V: The flames of Freedom, how lovely, how just. Ahh, my precious Anarchy... "O beauty, 'til now I never knew thee".

Mr. Finch: [checking computer files] Quinn, Andrew Eamon. Deceased 23,12,98. File closed. Rouse, William. Deceased 18,7,97. File closed. Rappit, Peter Kevin, Deceased 8,11,94. File closed. He's killed them, Dominic. Everyone who ever worked at Larkhill Camp. One by one, over the past four years... he's killed the bloody lot of 'em...
Dominic Stone: But you don't know that, Sir. Some of them could be accidental deaths...natural deaths...
Mr. Finch: Or something that looks very much like natural death. For Christ's sake, Dominic, look at it! We had it all wrong. We thought he appeared out of the blue two months ago...and all this time...Oh God, all those people. That's monstrous. That's pure bloody evil.

[Mr. Finch is explaining how V killed Archbishop Tony Lilliman]
Mr. Finch: There's something that sounds like "Kill me sentiment"... just gibberish... and then they talk about Communion and the Communion Wafer...There's the word "Transubstantiation": That's the miracle of Transubstantiation when the wafer transforms into the Body of Christ. Catholic concept originally. There, now listen to this...
V (on tape): And at the moment this enters your mouth it becomes the flesh of the Saviour?
Archbishop Lilliman (on tape): Yes. Yes. Look, please...
V (on tape): And whatever it is made of now, it will become the Body of Christ?
Archbishop Lilliman (on tape): Yes. Whatever it is now. Whatever.
V (on tape): I want you to swallow it.
Mr. Finch: And then there's a funny little human noise. And then there's just Beethoven's Fifth. End of tape. We've just had the Path reports through. The Bishop was poisoned. The Host was full of cyanide. And do you know what? When it reached his abdomen it was still cyanide.

Evey: All this riot and uproar, V... is this Anarchy? Is this the Land of Do-As-You-Please?
V: No. This is only the land of take-what-you-want. Anarchy means "without leaders", not "without order". With anarchy comes an age of ordnung, of true order, which is to say voluntary order... this age of ordung will begin when the mad and incoherent cycle of verwirrung that these bulletins reveal has run its course... This is not anarchy, Eve. This is chaos.

V: You and me Evey. You and me against the world! Ha ha ha ha! Melodrama, Evey! Isn't it strange how life turns into melodrama?
Evey: That's very important to you, isn't it? All that theatrical stuff.
V: It's everything, Evey. The perfect entrance, the grand illusion. It's everything. And I'm going to bring the house down.

About V for Vendetta[edit]

  • At the time when I wrote it, it was of course for an English alternative comic magazine around about 1981. Margaret Thatcher had been in power for two or three years. She was facing the first crisis of her, by then, very unpopular government. There were riots all over Britain in places that hadn't seen riots for hundreds of years. There were fascists groups, the National Front, the British National party, who were flexing their muscles and sort of trying to make political capital out of what were fairly depressed and jobless times. It seemed to me that with the kind of Reagan/Thatcher axis that existed across the Atlantic, it looked like Western society was taking somewhat a turn for the worse. There were ugly fascist stains starting to reassert themselves that we might have thought had been eradicated back in the '30s. But they were reasserting themselves with a different spin. They were talking less about annihilating whichever minority they happened to find disfavor with and talking more about free market forces and market choice and all of these other kind of glib terms, which tended to have the same results as an awful lot of the kind of Fascist causes back in the 1930s but with a bit more spin put upon them The friendly face of fascism.
So V for Vendetta originally came out of the fact I'd been asked to write a strip for David Lloyd to illustrate. We'd originally been talking about doing a 1930's noir strip and Dave had bolted that because I think he'd had enough of digging out '30's reference. We thought maybe we could get the same effect by rather than setting it in the near past, to set it in the near future. So it all evolved from several different sources, but it was playing into the fact that over here in England we've got quite a good tradition of villains and sociopaths as heroes. Like Robin Hood, Guy Fawkes and all the rest of them. And in our fiction, in British children's comics, there were as many sociopathic villains who'd got their own comic strips as there were heroes. Possibly more. The British have always had sympathy with a dashing villain.
I actually don't think it's right to kill people. So I made it very, very morally ambiguous. And the central question is, is this guy right? Or is he mad? What do you, the reader, think about this? Which struck me as a properly anarchist solution. I didn't want to tell people what to think, I just wanted to tell people to think, and consider some of these admittedly extreme little elements, which nevertheless do recur fairly regularly throughout human history. I was very pleased with how it came together. And it was a book that was very, very close to my heart.

External links[edit]

Encyclopedic article on V for Vendetta at Wikipedia
Media related to V for Vendetta at Wikimedia Commons

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  Alan Moore  ·  Graphic Novel  ·  Film