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|James Bond character|
Eva Green as Vesper Lynd
|First appearance||Casino Royale (1953 novel)|
|Last appearance||Casino Royale (2006 film)|
|Created by||Ian Fleming|
|Portrayed by||Ursula Andress (1967 James Bond parody)|
Eva Green (2006)
Vesper Lynd is a fictional character featured in Ian Fleming's 1953 James Bond novel Casino Royale. She was portrayed by Ursula Andress in the 1967 James Bond parody, which is only slightly based on the novel, and by Eva Green in the 2006 adaptation.
In the novel, the character explains that she was born "on a very stormy evening", and that her parents named her "Vesper", Latin for "evening". Fleming created a cocktail recipe in the novel that Bond names after her. The "Vesper martini" became very popular after the novel's publication, and gave rise to the famous "shaken, not stirred" catchphrase immortalised in the Bond films. The actual name for the drink (as well as its complete recipe) was mentioned on screen for the first time in the 2006 adaptation of Casino Royale.
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Vesper works at MI6 headquarters as personal assistant to Head of section S. She is lent to Bond, much to his irritation, to assist him in his mission to bankrupt Le Chiffre, the paymaster of a SMERSH-controlled trade union. She poses as a radio seller, working with Rene Mathis, and later as Bond's companion to infiltrate the casino in Royale-les-Eaux, in which Le Chiffre frequently gambles. After Bond takes all of Le Chiffre's money in a high-stakes game of baccarat, Vesper is abducted by Le Chiffre's thugs, who also nab Bond when he tries to rescue her. Both are rescued after Le Chiffre is murdered by a SMERSH agent, but only after Bond has been tortured.
Vesper visits Bond every day in the hospital, and the two grow very close; much to his own surprise, Bond develops genuine feelings for her, and even dreams of leaving the service and marrying her. After he is released from the hospital, they go on a holiday together and eventually become lovers.
Vesper has a terrible secret, however: She is a double agent working for Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) and only worked with Bond because she was ordered to see that he did not escape Le Chiffre. (Her kidnapping was staged to lure Bond into Le Chiffre's clutches.) Before she met Bond, she had been romantically involved with a Polish RAF operative. This man had been captured by SMERSH, and revealed information about Vesper under torture. Hence, SMERSH was using this operative to blackmail Vesper into helping them. After Le Chiffre's death, she is initially hopeful that she can have a fresh start with Bond, but she realizes this is impossible when she sees a SMERSH operative with an eye patch, Adolph Gettler, tracking her and Bond's movements. Consumed with guilt and certain that SMERSH will find and kill both of them, she commits suicide, leaving a note admitting her treachery and pledging her love to Bond.
Bond copes with the loss by renouncing her as a traitor and going back to work as though nothing has happened. He phones his superiors and informs them of Vesper's treason and death, coldly saying "The bitch is dead."
Bond's feelings for Vesper are not totally extinguished; Fleming's tenth novel, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, reveals that he makes an annual pilgrimage to Royale-les-Eaux to visit her grave. In Diamonds Are Forever, Bond skips the song "La Vie En Rose" in Tiffany Case's hotel room "because it has memories for him"; this is a song closely associated with Vesper in Casino Royale. Furthermore, in the novel Goldfinger, when a drugged Bond believes that he has died and is preparing to enter heaven, he worries about how to introduce Tilly Masterton, who he believes has died along with him, to Vesper.
In this version, which bore little resemblance to the novel, Vesper is depicted as a former secret agent who has since become a multi-millionaire with a penchant for wearing ridiculously extravagant outfits at her office ("because if I wore it in the street people might stare"). Bond (played by David Niven), now in the position of M at MI6, uses a discount for her past due taxes to bribe her into becoming another 007 agent, and to recruit baccarat expert Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers) into stopping Le Chiffre (played by Orson Welles).
Vesper and Tremble have an affair during which she eliminates an enemy agent sent to seduce Tremble ("Miss Goodthighs"). Ultimately, however, she betrays Tremble to Le Chiffre and SMERSH, declaring to Tremble, "Never trust a rich spy" before killing him with a machine gun hidden inside a bagpipe. She presumably does this for the same reason she does in the novel, as she remarks that it isn't for money but for love. Though her ultimate fate is not revealed in the film, in the closing credits she is shown as an angel playing a harp, showing her to be one of the "seven James Bonds at Casino Royale" killed by an atomic explosion.
In the 2006 film version of Casino Royale, Vesper Lynd is a foreign liaison agent from the HM Treasury's Financial Action Task Force assigned to make sure that Bond adequately manages the funds provided by MI6. Vesper is initially skeptical about Bond's ego and at first is unwilling to be his trophy at the poker tournament with Le Chiffre. However, she assists Bond when Lord's Resistance Army leader Steven Obanno attacks him, knocking away a gun out of Obanno's hand and giving Bond the chance to kill him. She afterwards retreats to the shower, feeling that she has blood on her hands from helping to kill Obanno. Bond kisses the "blood" off her hands to comfort her, and they return to the casino. His kindness does not prevent her from doing her job, however; she refuses to bankroll him after he goes bankrupt on an early hand. Shortly afterwards, she saves Bond's life. Poisoned by Le Chiffre's girlfriend, Valenka, Bond struggles unsuccessfully to connect a key wire to his automatic external defibrillator, but Vesper arrives and makes the proper connection, allowing the machine to revive him.
After Bond wins the tournament, Le Chiffre kidnaps Vesper, and Bond gives chase. They fall into Le Chiffre's trap, but both are saved by Quantum henchman Mr. White, who shoots and kills Le Chiffre for misappropriating the organisation's funds.
While both are in a hospital to recover from torture, Bond and Vesper fall deeply in love, and Bond plans to resign from the service to be with her. As in the novel, Bond and Vesper go on vacation to Venice, both of them hoping to start a new life. Unknown to Bond, however, Vesper embezzles the money and delivers it to a gang of Quantum henchmen. Leading the group is Adolph Gettler, who (like his novel counterpart) had been spying on the two agents since they arrived in the city and was spotted by Vesper, much to her visible dismay. When Bond realizes (thanks to timely phone call from his superior) what has happened and goes after Vesper, Gettler takes her hostage and locks her in an elevator while he and his fellow thugs do battle with him. Bond eliminates all of them, including Gettler, but in the process causes the building to flood and start sinking. Vesper resigns herself to death and (after apologizing to her partner) locks herself in, even as Bond frantically tries to open the elevator. In a final gesture, she kisses Bond's hands to clear him of guilt; she then commits suicide by opening her mouth and drowning herself. Bond finally extricates her and tries to revive her using CPR, to no avail.
As in the novel, Bond copes with his lover's death by renouncing her, saying "The job's done and the bitch is dead." M chastises him, assuming that Vesper had cut a deal with her blackmailers to spare him in return for the money as well the fact her boyfriend Yusef was kidnapped by the Organisation Le Chiffre was associated with. When Bond opens Vesper's mobile phone afterwards, he finds that she has left Mr. White's phone number; this enables Bond to track down and confront him at the movie's end.
At the end of the 2008 film Quantum of Solace, Yusef is revealed to be an agent working for Quantum, asked to seduce high-ranking women in the world's intelligence agencies. He is then "kidnapped" by Quantum, and the women are forced to become double agents in the hope of securing his freedom. This information vindicates Vesper in Bond's eyes, making him finally see that her "betrayal" was not her fault. He does not kill Yusef, but leaves him to MI6 and tells M that she was right about Vesper. As he walks away, he drops Vesper's necklace in the snow.
In the 2015 film Spectre, Bond finds a video tape in Mr. White's hotel room in Morocco titled "Vesper Lynd Interrogation". Ernst Stavro Blofeld, whose Spectre organization is the power behind Quantum, taunts Bond by taking credit for Vesper's death as part of his personal vendetta against him.
The character of Vesper Lynd does not appear in the 1954 television adaptation of Casino Royale. Instead, the character was replaced by a new character named Valerie Mathis, played by Linda Christian, who is depicted as an American. She also betrays Bond (played by Barry Nelson), but comes to his rescue after he is shot by Le Chiffre (played by Peter Lorre). Valerie does not die in this adaptation.
- McCormick, Donald (1993). The Life of Ian Fleming. Peter Owen Publishers. p. 151.
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