Born from Nuclear Winter following World War III, Norsefire quickly became the ruling party of the United Kingdom. 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 had a knock-on effect on the British economy, and mass riots broke out. The government quickly collapsed and chaos overran the country.
The situation quickly turned. From the madness of the violence came the Norsefire regime, a group of fascists that united with surviving large companies and businesses, giving them the appearance of wealth and stability. However, while the Norsefire regime did indeed bring order back to the country, this order came at a terrible cost.
Minorities such as black people, Indians, Chinese and Pakistanis were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Other groups such as Jews, homosexuals and political leftists were also persecuted. With their potential enemies all removed within a short space of time, Norsefire began consolidating their power over the country. They began to sink their influence into the Church of England, 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 which would allow for a closely-monitored society, including closed circuit television cameras. It is shown, however, that they allowed the monarchy to continue their existence (although perhaps they only do so in the role of a figurehead).
The Head represented the highest authoritative body of Norsefire. Located in an underground facility, Leader Adam Susan could monitor the progress of all other detachments by way of a super-computer known as Fate. By the late 1990s however, the Head began to lose its authoritative control over the other sectors as Susan became more and more despondent and reclusive. The Chancellor operated in a fairly superficial capacity, regarded more as a figurehead than an actual leader. Peter Creedy of the Finger recognized Susan's apathy and began to slowly subvert power from the Leader's domain. Armed with his secret police, Creedy eventually became the true puppeteer behind the Head. The Head's main base of operations is located at 10 Downing St (the real life address of the Prime Minister of England's office and residence). Near the end of the comic, Evey, in the guise of V (who is at this point dead), uses V's "Viking Funneral" train to destroy the Head, putting an end to Norsefire's regieme.
The Finger functioned as Norsefire's Gestapo. Led by director Derek Almond and later Peter Creedy, the Fingermen patrolled the streets of London, enforcing curfew and making sure that the general populace rigidly followed all rules of law.
The Mouth was Norsefire's propaganda division headed by Roger Dascombe. The Mouth's headquarters was at Jordan Tower, it was mainly charged with running the television networks and put a spin on news to scare the public in submission and conformity. Shows absorbed by the Mouth were those of Gordon Deitrich and Lewis Prothero. Eventually the Mouth was destroyed when V destroyed it with a bomb.
The Eye was the visual surveillance division of Norsefire. The Eye was lead by Conrad Heyer. The Eye's headquarters was at Jordan Tower along with that of the Mouth. The Eye was mainly dispatched to work alongside the Ear so that senior departments like the Head and the Finger could maintain their grip on power and the people of Britain. Eventually the Eye was destroyed when V destroyed it with a bomb.
The Ear was the audio surveillance division of Norsefire, it was lead by Brian Etheridge. The Ear's headquarters was at the London post office. The Ear was dispatched to work alongside The Eye in the Chancellor's quest for power and to hold his grip over the public. Eventually the Ear was destroyed when V destroyed it with a bomb.
The Nose was the Investigational division and New Scotland Yard. It mainly consisted of the rebranded police force which was headed by Chief Inspector Eric Finch. The Nose was charged with finding criminals such as V, however as the investigation was more personal to the Chancellor he ordered the Finger to take superior control of the investigation
Equipment: Fate Computer, Interlink, Surveillance cameras, Surveillance audio feeds,
Transportation: Limousine (Adam Susan), Norsefire Communication Vans (Ears), Police Cars (Nose)
- The concept of Norsefire was created by writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd. It is exclusive to the continuity of the V for Vendetta comic strip and does not exist within the environment of the mainstream DC Universe.
- A common recurring motto is "Strength Through Purity, Purity Through Faith" (or in the movie, "Strength Through Unity, Unity Through Faith".) This could well have been inspired by the Motto of Ingsoc in George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength". Another maxim would be "England Prevails" which could be a take on Nazi greeting, "Sieg Heil", which literally means "For the Win"/"Hail Victory".
- In the movie, the symbol of the Norsefire party resembles the Croix de Lorraine, the heraldic symbol of the province of Lorraine in France, which was adopted as the official symbol of General Charles de Gaulle's Free French Forces between 1940 and 1944. It was later used for various Gaullist political parties in France, notably the RPR (Rally for the Republic). It would also be believed to be a cross between the St. George's Cross and the Nordic Cross Flag.
Appearances in Other Media
Norsefire is featured as the primary antagonist organisation in the 2006 feature film V for Vendetta. Although Norsefire still bears their largely repressive policies in the movie adaptation, some differences are worthy of note.
The openly-fascist Norsefire comes to power in the film through the ordinary political process, with an excess of 80% of the vote. The mechanism is elaborated in the film to a much greater extent than was ever discussed in the comic. It is worth noting, however, that much of the following explanation comes from Finch's speculation that the biological attacks were a Reichstag fire ploy. His fears are confirmed by a discussion with one of the "agents involved", but it is later made clear that the agent was 20 years dead and V was manipulating Finch to get to Creedy. However there is nothing to suggest that V was lying to Finch about what really happened at St. Mary's and Three Waters.
In place of the nuclear war of the novel version, biological weapons are used instead. Alan Moore later states in the foreword to the trade paperback edition of V for Vendetta that scientists now felt that even a "limited" nuclear war was not survivable. Thus biological weapons would today be considered more plausible. In the film, Norsefire had staged a plan that would sweep them into full control of the nation: they conducted horrific medical experiments on prisoners in the detention centers to perfect a deadly virus (as well as the cure) in which they then used to stage a terrorist attack by foreign religious extremists.
To maximize its effect, the virus was released in a water treatment plant called Three Waters, a London Underground station, and the St. Mary's Elementary School. The "St. Mary's virus" quickly killed almost 100,000 people in Great Britain, and the populace was gripped by fear. Norsefire then promised to bring back security against the new "terrorist threat". Not long after the biological attack and their ascension to power, the public was informed that a cure was "miraculously discovered" and distributed throughout the country. Upper party members had bought stock in the pharmaceutical companies that would later mass produce it, becoming very rich in the process (Lewis Prothero, who was the major stockholder in Viadoxic pharmaceutical (one of the party companies), earned as little as 20,000,000 pounds if not 40,000,000+ from just the sales of the cure alone). Several "terrorist" scapegoats were tried, found guilty and executed. Adam Sutler (the film version of Adam Susan) was then elected to the new office of High Chancellor.
Norsefire still has the primary government divisions of the graphic novel: the Finger (the secret police division), the Mouth (the propaganda division which runs the BTN station), the Eye (the visual surveillance division), the Ear (the audio surveillance division) and the Nose (the public police department).
The rest of the world is only passingly mentioned, although it is stated in several news reports that at least the United States (referred to as the "former United States," not unlike "the former Soviet Union") has fallen upon desperate times. Early in the movie it is mentioned that the U.S. has become so desperate for medical supplies that it has sent Britain a tremendous amount of grain and tobacco in a bid for aid, and at least by the end of the movie has broken out into its second civil war, perhaps a consequential result of the war the United States led in the Middle East. However, it should be taken into account that the Voice of London (where and by whom (Lewis Prothero being the figurative "Voice of London")) this was reported is a propaganda tool.
The name of the government party, Norsefire, is only used passingly in the film. It is stated in the film that Sutler originally came to power in the Conservative Party (in a flashback of Valerie Page, it was shown that she and Ruth watched a report where Sutler was identified as an undersecretary of defence) but a chart of election results show that Sutler broke away and formed his own party which was Norsefire ("Labour", "Conservative" and "Norsefire" are shown). The computer system "Fate", which played an important role in the graphic novel, is also absent (Although in the novelisation of the film, it is shown that Finch suspects V of hacking Norsefire's systems and using them against them).
Links and References
- Norsefire article at Wikipedia
- V for Vendetta article at Wikipedia
- V for Vendetta (movie) article at Wikipedia
- V article at Wikipedia
- Guy Fawkes article at Wikipedia
- V for Vendetta at Shadow Galaxy
- A for Alan
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