|Universe||V for Vendetta (comic)|
V for Vendetta (film)
List of members
|Colours||Black and white (comic)|
Black and red (film)
Norsefire is the fictional Nordic supremacist and neo-fascist political party ruling the United Kingdom in Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V for Vendetta comic book/graphic novel series.
The organization gained power promising stability and a restoration of the United Kingdom after a worldwide nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union decimates the Earth. The United Kingdom and Ireland survive due to their geographic isolation and the decommissioning of Britain's nuclear arsenal, but suffer widespread damage leading to societal instability, which is a catalyst for the rise of Norsefire.
Due to the chaotic state of the world outside of the United Kingdom, the party gained power by promising order and security among the population. However, while the Norsefire regime did indeed bring order back to the country, this order came at a cost. Political opponents along with religious and ethnic minorities were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. With their potential enemies all removed within a short space of time, Norsefire began consolidating their power over the country.
In public, the party portrays itself as a Christian fascist party supportive of the Anglican Communion. In private, the party leaders are apathetic on the subject, and allow higher-ranking members to not follow Christian morality or Christianity in private as long as such activities do not threaten the party's power. For instance, propagandist Lewis Prothero takes illicit drugs, Bishop Lilliman sexually abuses children, and three Fingermen attempt to rape Evey Hammond when they apprehend her. The head of the party, Leader Adam Susan, actually worships Fate, the super-computer surveillance system that surveys the nation, and considers himself and his creation God. While this is not explored in the film, both novel and film imply that Susan/Sutler is not a fervent Christian so much as a person who values security and order, which he maintains by eliminating political opponents and cultural minorities. Similarly, the Islamophobia that Norsefire exhibits in the film is likely not the result of a hatred of Islam so much as a consequence of their perception of Muslims as terrorists, as well as that many Muslims are Arabs and thus violate Norsefire's standards for racial purity.
In the story, the party is presented as rising during 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. 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. After seizing control of the country, the party gained complete control over the Anglican Church and other influential organizations to promote doctrines favorable to Norsefire. 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 direct reference is made to the monarchy in the film, though "God Save the King" is played during a television comedy sketch to greet an actor playing Chancellor Sutler.
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. 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.
In the 2005 film adaptation, members of what would later become Norsefire launch a plan to seize power by releasing a virus on the British populace and blaming it on their enemies. After the virus devastates Britain, the party wins an overwhelming victory in that year's general election and subsequently markets a cure through a pharmaceutical company under the control of its top-ranking members, who become extremely wealthy as a result.
In the film, in addition to its white supremacist and Christian fascist views, Norsefire also expresses Anti-Americanism, shown when Prothero mocks the United States (which is said to be devastated by the virus and a second civil war), calling it the "Ulcered Sphincter of Arse-erica". He gloats the current state of the country, and suggests that cargo coming from America in a bid for aid be dumped as revenge for the Boston Tea Party. Prothero then claims that the United States has fallen as "judgement" for "godlessnes". It is later shown that the United States fought a disastrous war in the Middle East, which may have contributed to Anti-American sentiment in the United Kingdom.
The party is also shown to be extremely anti-Muslim and intolerant of any criticism of its top leadership. Popular talk show host Gordon Deitrich is arrested for airing a sketch that mocks Adam Sutler, the leader of Norsefire in the film, and is subsequently executed after a copy of the Quran is found at his home.
Anti-Irish sentiment is implied to be an element of party policy in the film, Prothero mocks a member of the technical staff on his show as "that Paddy" and Creedy views Finch with suspicion on the grounds that Finch's mother was Irish and then gloats about the death toll in Ireland from the "St. Mary's Virus", although the outbreak in Ireland may have been an unintended result of infected British citizens travelling to the Irish Republic.
In the film, V, after killing Prothero and other high-ranking party officials, persuades Creedy to betray Sutler in exchange for him surrendering. Creedy kidnaps and executes Sutler, only for V to subsequently kill him and his entire team, though he is fatally wounded in the process. Evey places his body inside a train loaded with explosives, which V intended to use to bomb Parliament. Finch arrives, only to let her activate the train, having grown disillusioned and disgusted with Norsefire. The bomb-filled train explodes, destroying Parliament (and presumably the party along with it) as hundreds of V's supporters watch.
A common recurring motto is "Strength Through Purity, Purity Through Faith" (or in the film, "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.
In the film, the Norsefire symbol is the Cross of Saint George combined with a Nordic cross in red and black, with the black possibly taken from the flag of Saint David and the Nordic cross representing Scotland. The symbol is shown on flags, police badges, coat of arms, government vehicles, 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.
Notes and references
- Moore, Alan, Introduction. V for Vendetta. New York: DC Comics, 1990.
- Shantz, Jeff (2015). Specters of Anarchy: Literature and the Anarchist Imagination. Algora Publishing. p. 223. ISBN 978-1628941418.
[Norsefire's] goal is to lead the country that I love out of the Twentieth century. I believe in survival. In the destiny of the Nordic race.
- Keller, James (2008). V for Vendetta as Cultural Pastiche. McFarland & Company. p. 113. ISBN 978-0786434671.
The Norsefire regime is obviously based upon the Nazi party (including the Nordic nationalistic implications of the name), Sutler upon Hitler, and the Larkhill International Facility on the Nazi death camps.
- 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.
- Muise, Chris (2011). Quicklet On V for Vendetta By Alan Moore. Hyperink, Inc. pp. 1–10. ISBN 161464084X.
Britain, however, survives under the cold, watchful eye of the Norsefire government, a fascist regime that took control amidst the chaos and confusion after the war.
- Gerbaudo, Paolo (2017). The Mask and the Flag: Populism, Citizenism, and Global Protest. Oxford University Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0190491567.
It is not by chance that the most popular sequence is the final revolution scene, an almost hypnotic act, in which a mass of people wearing Guy Fawkes masks and costumes flood the streets of London, converging on the Houses of Parliament to overthrow the regime of the fascist Norsefire party.
- 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. Archived from the original on 2008-05-14. 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."
- Moore, Alan (1981). V for Vendetta, Book One: Europe After the Reign. Vertigo (DC Comics). pp. 37–39. ISBN 0-930289-52-8.
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 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.
- Bell, Deborah (2014). Masquerade: Essays on Tradition and Innovation Worldwide. McFarland & Company. p. 168. ISBN 978-0786476466.
Nuclear war has ravaged the world. From the ashes of English society the Norsefire regime creates a sense of order. This fascist order resonates with images of Nazi Germany. Anyone who deviates racially, ethnically, or sexually from the Norsefire norm is placed in prison or a concentration camp-style facility.
- Combe, Kirk (2013). Masculinity and Monstrosity in Contemporary Hollywood Films. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 160. ISBN 978-1137360809.
Here, Creedy not only bullies but delights in reminding Finch of his marginalized status as a mongrel according to long-standing English prejudice against the Irish, as well as Norsefirean standards for racial purity. Chillingly, in this small exchange, we also discover that Norsefire chose to release its deadly virus on Ireland, no doubt yet one more effort by an English ruling class to pacify that uncooperative island.
- Keller, James (2008). V for Vendetta as Cultural Pastiche: A Critical Study of the Graphic Novel. McFarland & Company. p. 91. ISBN 978-0786434671.
- Vaughn, Justin (2016). Political SciFi: An Introduction to Political Science Through Science Fiction. United Kingdom: Routledge. p. 179. ISBN 978-1138639775.
However, it is important to note that high-ranking members of the party often engaged in immoral behavior but were exempt from punishment.
- * Alan Bullock; Hitler: a Study in Tyranny; Harper Perennial Edition 1991; p. 219: "Hitler had been brought up a Catholic and was impressed by the organisation and power of the Church... [but] to its teachings he showed only the sharpest hostility... he detested [Christianity]'s ethics in particular"
- Ian Kershaw; Hitler: a Biography; Norton; 2008 ed; pp. 295–297: "In early 1937 [Hitler] was declaring that 'Christianity was ripe for destruction', and that the Churches must yield to the 'primacy of the state', railing against any compromise with 'the most horrible institution imaginable'"
- Richard J. Evans; The Third Reich at War; Penguin Press; New York 2009, p. 547: Evans wrote that Hitler believed Germany could not tolerate the intervention of foreign influences such as the Pope and "Priests, he said, were 'black bugs', 'abortions in black cassocks'". Evans noted that Hitler saw Christianity as "indelibly Jewish in origin and character" and a "prototype of Bolshevism", which "violated the law of natural selection".
- Richard Overy: The Dictators Hitler's Germany Stalin's Russia; Allen Lane/Penguin; 2004.p 281: "[Hitler's] few private remarks on Christianity betray a profound contempt and indifference".
- A. N. Wilson; Hitler a Short Biography; Harper Press; 2012, p. 71.: "Much is sometimes made of the Catholic upbringing of Hitler... it was something to which Hitler himself often made allusion, and he was nearly always violently hostile. 'The biretta! The mere sight of these abortions in cassocks makes me wild!'"
- Laurence Rees; The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler; Ebury Press; 2012; p. 135.; "There is no evidence that Hitler himself, in his personal life, ever expressed any individual belief in the basic tenets of the Christian church"
- Derek Hastings (2010). Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 181 : Hastings considers it plausible that Hitler was a Catholic as late as his trial in 1924, but writes that "there is little doubt that Hitler was a staunch opponent of Christianity throughout the duration of the Third Reich."
- Joseph Goebbels (Fred Taylor Translation); The Goebbels Diaries 1939–41; Hamish Hamilton Ltd; London; 1982; ISBN 0-241-10893-4 : In his entry for 29 April 1941, Goebbels noted long discussions about the Vatican and Christianity, and wrote: "The Fuhrer is a fierce opponent of all that humbug".
- Albert Speer; Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs; Translation by Richard and Clara Winston; Macmillan; New York; 1970; p.123: "Once I have settled my other problem," [Hitler] occasionally declared, "I'll have my reckoning with the church. I'll have it reeling on the ropes." But Bormann did not want this reckoning postponed [...] he would take out a document from his pocket and begin reading passages from a defiant sermon or pastoral letter. Frequently Hitler would become so worked up... and vowed to punish the offending clergyman eventually... That he could not immediately retaliate raised him to a white heat..."
- Hitler's Table Talk: "The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that's left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity."