Chapters 5–9

Summary: Chapter 5: Versions

Leader Susan praises fascism and the Nordic race. He denounces freedom and individual liberty and speaks of his love of Fate, the supercomputer that runs the state. V speaks to The Old Bailey, a statue meant to symbolize justice. He scorns “Madam Justice” for falling in line with fascists and then blows up the statue. At the Shadow Gallery, V and Evey discuss the power of truth and come up with a way that Evey can help with V’s plans. At Westminster Abbey, Bishop Anthony Lilliman, speaking for the state, warns parishioners about a dark force that’s approaching and reinforces Britain’s “one race, one creed, one hope” stance.

Summary: Chapter 6: The Vision

After church, Derek Almond and his wife, Rosemary, converse with Conrad Heyer and his wife, Helen, about V’s attacks. The Bishop, a serial pedophile aided by the state, takes a teenage girl into his chambers, unaware that his latest victim is Evey, operating under V’s direction. 

Summary: Chapter 7: Virtue Victorious

Evey opens a window, and V slips inside to slay the Bishop. 

Summary: Chapter 8: The Valley

Almond and Finch examine the crime scene, where they find a “V” etched on the Bishop’s wall and a second Violet Carson rose. Later, at the Ear, Finch and Brian Etheridge scan surveillance recordings from the Bishop’s chambers. They learn that the Bishop, before being forced to take communion with a cyanide-laced wafer, realized that V is the prisoner from room V at Larkhill Resettlement Camp. The Bishop also spoke of an unforgettable attack that V carried out at the camp, one that left guards burning and choking on yellow fog.
Days later at New Scotland Yard, Finch learns from Dr. Delia Surridge that the Bishop officially died from a knife wound and then asks her to examine the rose that V left behind.

Summary: Chapter 9: Violence

Evey tells V that she won’t be a part of any future killings. Later, V reads to her about The Land of Do-As-You-Please in the children’s book The Magic Faraway Tree. At the Almonds’ home, Derek strikes Rosemary when she speaks to him about their failing marriage, and he threatens further violence after firing his unloaded gun at her. At the Nose, Eric Finch’s assistant, Dominic Stone, works to uncover V’s identity and finds that resettlement camps labeled rooms with Roman numerals. He and Finch also see that Lewis Prothero and the Bishop both worked at Larkhill. Later, V breaks into Dr. Surridge’s home while she sleeps.

Analysis: Chapters 5–9

While the first five chapters of V for Vendetta introduce the problematic combination of media and propaganda, the last half of the first book mostly concerns itself with the overlap between fascism and religion. Chapter 6 begins with the end of a sermon by Bishop Lilliman, warning of the dangers of stepping outside the limits of the fascist society, likening a challenge to the rule of "one race, one nation, united in thy love" to the work of the devil. For this society, there is no aspect of rule that is outside its influence. The state, the church, and the people must all work in lockstep to maintain the presentation of solidarity and invulnerability. This unified purpose is what makes the work that V has done and will do throughout the book so dangerous. By undermining that sense of invulnerability, any cracks in the façade must inevitably widen.

If the author of V for Vendetta dislikes and distrusts political institutions, he saves his most pointed rebuke for the church. The men in charge of the government are portrayed as sad, paranoid, and greedy, while the portrayal of Bishop Lilliman as a child sex abuser depicts him as the worst of the worst in a society filled with bad men. The novel posits that a man who claims to speak as a vessel of God and then commits rape is the most grotesque example of a hypocrite. The narrative suggests that the intermingling of church and state can only serve to reinforce the most heinous impulses of the two, allowing the grossest crimes to be committed by those who most ardently insist that they speak for both the state and God. It is ironic that after Lilliman's talk of the devil's work undermining the glorious fascism that he gleefully participates in, V uses the first couplet of "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones as a preamble to eventually killing Lilliman.