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History (comic book series)
In the original comic book series, the world experienced a nuclear war between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that nearly destroyed the world. Although the United Kingdom did not suffer any nuclear attacks, in part due to it having decomissioned its nuclear arsenal and its geographic location, 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 or uprisings 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.
Ethnic minorities such as Africans and Asians, as well as religious minorities like Jews and Muslims were persecuted, arrested and eventually killed. Homosexuals and political left-wingers were also demonized. 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).
By the time the series begins, Norsefire has closed down their execution sites and is now in complete control of all of Great Britain. The party, which has been in power for roughly ten years, faces a threat from V, who seeks to destroy Norsefire and free Great Britain from its iron grip. This he does so, killing nearly every single notable member of Norsefire and destroying their infrastructure.
In the 2006 adaptation of V for Vendetta, there was no nuclear war between the United States and the Soviets, due to the fact that the USSR had collapsed fifteen years earlier. Instead, Norsefire was directly responsible for its own rise to power, after planting three self-igniting bioweapons at a London Tube Station, a school and a water treatment plant. These weapons killed eighty thousand Britons, and ignited a great fear amongst the country, which Norsefire blamed on a handful of extremists to cover their tracks. After these 'extremists' were executed, Norsefire was elected to power by a huge landslide.
Once in power, Norsefire followed its comic book counterpart, in destroying everything and everyone that was not them. However, in a departure to the comic books, the fate of the Royal Family is never alluded to; however, on a televised comedy talk show, the British national anthem, "God Save the King/Queen", is played when the host greets an actor playing High Chancellor Sutler. Moreover, the film's Norsefire's ideology includes English ultranationalism, hatred of the United States and hatred of Ireland.
Similarly to the comic books, V's assassinations and bombings lead to the downfall of Sutler's government.
- The Eye: Visual surveillance. Chaired by Conrad Heyer.
- The Ear: Audio surveillance. Chaired by Brian Etheridge.
- The Mouth: Propaganda. Chaired by Roger Dascombe.
- The Nose: Police/Criminal investigation. Chaired by Eric Finch.
- The Finger: Secret military police. Initially chaired by Derek Almond; later chaired by Peter Creedy after Almond's death. Its members are known as Fingermen.
- The Head: Highest level of government. Chaired by Adam Susan (comic books)/Adam Sutler, and consisting of the chairs of the Eye, Ear, Mouth, Nose and Finger.
- Adam Susan/Adam Sutler: Leader/High Chancellor, head of Norsefire, chair of the Head, and ruler of the country. Shot dead by Rosemary Almond (comic books)/shot dead by Peter Creedy (film).
- Peter Creedy: Second chair of the Finger after the death of Derek Almond (comic books)/ordinary chair of the Finger (film), second head of Norsefire, chair of the Head and ruler of the country after the death of Susan (all comic books). Hacked to death with a razor by Alistair Harper (comic books)/strangled to death by V (film).
- Derek Almond: Ordinary chair of the Finger. Killed by V. Only appears in the comic books.
- Conrad Heyer: Chair of the Eye. Stabbed to death with a razor by Alistair Harper (comic books)/fate unknown (film).
- Brian 'Bunny' Etheridge: Chair of the Ear. Blown up by V in the destruction of the Ear's offices (comic books)/fate unknown (film).
- Eric Finch: Chair of the Nose. Survives the downfall of Norsefire and defects to become neutral (both versions), due to V knowing he is a good man.
- Roger Dascombe: Chair of the Mouth. Shot dead by Fingermen (comic books)/fate unknown (film).
- Lewis Prothero: Voice of Fate radio presenter (comic books)/Voice of London TV presenter (film), former Commandant of Larkhill Resettlement Camp (both versions). Driven insane by a combined overdose of the drugs used on V and the destruction of his entire prized doll collection and later locked up (comic books)/killed by V in his own shower cubicle (film).
- Anthony Lilliman: Bishop of London, head of the Church of England, former Chaplain of Larkhill Resettlement Camp, and child molester. Killed himself after being forced to eat poisoned communion bread by V (both versions).
- Doctor Delia Surridge: Forensic pathologist and botanist for the Nose, former medical and scientific officer at Larkhill Resettlement Camp. Dies after being injected with poison by V (both versions), dying painlessly because she was the only one who felt any remorse for her actions.