Chapters 8–11

Summary: Chapter 8: Vultures

Conrad Heyer receives a video from V showing Helen’s betrayal with Harper. At Helen Heyer’s request, Harper kills Peter Creedy, now the Emergency Commander, as a broadcast informs London that the terrorist insurrection is over. V, bleeding profusely, returns to Evey and tells her the people’s new task is to rule themselves. As V dies in Evey’s arms, he tells Evey he loves her and gives her an enigmatic mission to simultaneously discover whose face was behind his mask but to never know his face.

Summary: Chapter 9: The Vigil

Evey considers V’s final words and again wonders if he might have been her father. After she ultimately decides to unmask him, she looks at herself in the mirror and feels she knows “who V must be.” 

Summary: Chapter 10: The Volcano

Conard Heyer and Alistair Harper fight in the Heyers’ home. Harper dies but seriously wounds Conrad, who begs Helen to call a doctor. Instead, enraged that her plan to install Conrad as her puppet dictator has failed, Helen plugs their bedroom’s camera into their TV so Conrad can watch himself die. As crowds continue to riot in London, Evey, now dressed in V’s attire, appears on a rooftop. She tells citizens that they can now choose freedom over chains. 

Summary: Chapter 11: Valhalla

To honor V’s wish, Evey puts his corpse in an underground train car loaded with explosive fertilizer that blows up Downing Street above. In the Shadow Gallery, Evey cares for a man who was injured in the riots and who will presumably become her protégé. Finch encounters a desperate and now-homeless Helen Heyer, who pleads with him to combine forces to restore order. He refuses, and sets off alone down a darkened roadway leading to Hatfield and the North.

Analysis: Chapters 8–11

The further precariousness of V’s vision is demonstrated by the reports of V’s death, as reported to the authorities by Finch. By announcing that V is dead, the government attempts to quell the riots and the disorder by removing the figurehead and supposed leader of the rebellion. It seems to work to a degree, with most people stopping in their tracks, waiting to be told what they should do next. This announcement is juxtaposed with Evey witnessing and processing V's death, while slowly understanding the point of her education under V's tutelage. When she appears to the people in the street with the Guy Fawkes mask, she is taking up the mantle of V's mission, to spur change and hopefully a new conception of society. Her plea to those assembled is stirring and optimistically mobilizing toward a better future. The question the novel leaves readers with is whether that future can come to fruition in the absence of a rallying figure for those who are, for the first time, learning what they care about and are truly capable of. It is a gamble, one that the novel insists is worthy of a chance, because the effects of a victory have the power to make the world better for everyone.

Ultimately, the novel functions in the same way the character of V does as a talisman: an object possessing the power the holder gives it. The novel, like V, doesn't tell the reader what to do. It doesn't want to. Instead, the novel does what many works of art do: holds the mirror up to the world in which it was created and insists that things can be better. The hope is to fight the repugnant forces of fascism where they rear their heads, but beyond that, the book suggests, the future is up to the readers to do with it what they will. The idea is revolutionary, dangerous, and perhaps even naïve, but the lesson of V, in defiance of a line spoken by Rosemary, is that we are capable of much more than mere survival. We have, within us and with the cooperation of others working toward the same goal, the capacity to thrive.