Book Three: The Land of Do-As-You-Please

Prologue & Chapters 1–3

Summary: Prologue

Book Three’s prologue begins on November 5, 1998, precisely one year after Book One’s opening. V tells Evey that the end of their story is near and has already been decided. He later blows up critical state infrastructure and shuts down surveillance systems. Speaking as The Voice of Fate, he tells London’s citizens that they won’t be watched or listened to for three days and they are free to do what they want. Leader Susan falters mentally and looks to Fate’s supercomputer for love, as if it were a person. 

Summary: Chapter 1: Vox Populi

London’s streets are consumed with chaos. Susan orders looters to be shot. V tells Evey that this stage, Verwirrung, will ultimately lead to one of voluntary order, or Ordnung, and true anarchy, a condition without leaders. 

Summary: Chapter 2: Verwirrung

Susan watches the chaos unfold on Fate’s screens, including a hanging and cruel treatment of Asian women. V tells Evey that authoritarian power is fragile and, without freedom and liberty, cannot last. Helen Heyer plots to have her husband, Conrad, take over as Leader so she can run the government from behind the scenes.

Summary: Chapter 3: Various Valentines

Peter Creedy meets with crime boss Alistair Harper, who is now employed to provide extra muscle for the state. Helen Heyer later meets secretly with Harper, offering him more money to double-cross Creedy and work for her. Still a burlesque dancer, Rosemary Almond thinks about her life with her husband, Derek, and recalls that they did nothing to intervene when the government took away their neighbor, Mrs. Rana, and her children, presumably to be killed. Susan realizes that V is now controlling Fate’s supercomputer and causing blackouts and food riots.

Analysis: Prologue & Chapters 1–3

The novel’s distrust of technology comes to a head here. It is revealed that V has had access to the supercomputer known in the book as Fate for some time, perhaps since the beginning of the story. This revelation reinforces the idea that technology, in the hands of evildoers, can be deployed in the service of oppression and control. This is not a new idea—Orwell's 1984 is a prime example of the oppressiveness of technology—but it illustrates the true weakness of those who rely wholly on technology to give them power. In the absence of that technology, the tenuous grip that despots hold can be broken. If people who feel constantly watched understand that the all-seeing eye has blinked, even for a moment, they understand that the world has radically changed. They now understand that they can reclaim the power that has been taken from them if they choose. 

The introduction of the concepts of "Ordnung" and "Verwirrung" is an important stage being set for the book's last act. "Ordnung" is German for "order" and "Verwirrung" means "confusion or chaos." V's control over the surveillance apparatus signals the beginning of the end of the rule of the fascist state. However, V’s newly gained control does not mean that the transition from draconian fascism to the anarchist freedom that V envisions is a clean, straight line. In the novel, people can only come to self-rule by deciding to do so. Any attempt to coerce them into it will result in a false peace at best, or the fascistic rule that those in the story have been living under as a worst-case scenario. This order can only be found by moving through, and beyond, the confusion and chaos that will inevitably, and necessarily, occur when a populace is freed to make its own decisions about the future it wants to build together.