In 1984, Room 101 is where people are taken to meet their worst fears.

In V for Vendetta, room 5 is the room that V is kept in at Larkhill. Since it is labeled with the Roman numeral "V", it is suggested in the book that this is where he took his new name from.

Given the large numbers of literary allusions throughout the book**, and the obvious thematic connections between the two, my question is whether the latter might be a conscious reference to the former.

A few reasons to think it might be:

  • Both books deal with a totalitarian government that seeks to set itself up as a godlike force and strip its people of almost all freedom (including freedom of thought).

  • Not only are both rooms associated with highly traumatic experiences (for Winston and V respectively), but the characters have almost exactly opposite reactions to this trauma (with Winston surrendering to the party, and V vowing to overthrow it), perhaps suggesting a deliberate contrast.

  • There is a direct reference to Beethoven's fifth symphony, and how this spells out "V" in Morse code. Once we start looking for patterns of this sort, it's easy to note that 5 in binary is 101, making the room literally "Room 101".

  • It is (arguably) implied by V's later treatment of Evey that he believes he lost his fear by being forced to face his worst fears. For the most part, this transformation seems to have occured while he was locked in room 5. This, coupled with the points above, means that the character of V can be considered to have faced his worst fears while locked in a room which could - in theory - be referred to as "Room 101".

However, I think it's often far to easy to get carried away and read meanings into works where the writers never intended (or at least were not conscious of) them, so my question is: what evidence is there, if any, that this association was made consciously by the creators of the comic, and/or that the reader is encouraged to interpret the story in this way?

** Note that I don't necessarily consider the large number of allusions in the book to be evidence in favour of this. It probably makes it more likely, but it's also possible that the story was deliberately sprinkled with "obvious" allusions so as to encourage readers to look for less obvious ones, whether they're there or not, and thus give the book the illusion of greater depth.

  • To your first remark on your third bullet point: the fact that v in Morse code is dit dit dit dah is neither remarkable nor mysterious, the symphony simply came first and therefore doesn't really spell out "V", the code for "V" was specifically chosen to sound like the Fifth. You can't suddenly discover that a nautical mile is a minute of latitude and call that a pattern: that's simply how it was defined.
    – BMWurm
    Sep 23, 2018 at 9:17

3 Answers 3


I've just finished reading V for Vendetta in its collected trade paperback edition. At the end, there is a short essay by Alan Moore, titled "Behind the Painted Smile", which explains the creative process behind the book - how it was conceived and how it was executed.

Initially, Alan Moore wanted to write a similarly themed comic about a guy called "The Doll", who would be fighting a totalitarian state in 1980s. This early idea was rejected by DC.

However, later Alan Moore came together with David Lloyd (the artist of V for Vendetta) and gave him the draft of "The Doll". They decided to make this comic, with the protagonist being called "Vendetta" at first. This title, however, was called "too Italian".

It were Dez Skinn and Graham Marsh that came up with the title "V for Vendetta", and Alan Moore and David Lloyd liked it so much it gave them new incentive to work.

So my understanding is that the name "V" came first, and the contents of the work were later adapted to suit that name. This is why multiple explanations of V's name exist, such as

  1. Room V
  2. Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici
  3. Evey (E. V.)
  4. Valerie (the gay woman in room IV)
  5. Victory station, where V built his base of operation.
  6. Probably a nod to the circled-A anarchist symbol, flipped upside-down.

Therefore I don't think that this was an intentional conscious reference to Orwell.


I don't think there's stronger evidence than the reasons you lay out; I'm not sure of an interview where Moore explicitly lays out this connection though I don't think he's the kind of author to do so.

He's the kind of author to plaster his works with hidden and not so hidden references, homages and the like; I don't think there's a danger of seeing things which aren't purposely put there with Moore. His League of Extraordinary Gentlemen features a strong link to 1984 in The Black Dossier, which suggests he's a fan and recognises the influence of Orwell's work.

Strong concrete evidence probably doesn't exist, but that doesn't make you wrong!


I can't believe Moore wasn't aware of the fact that 5 = 101 in binary; and obviously 1984 would have been an influence on his work.

I suspect this is an example of synchronicity; once you make a connection between things, other surprising connections follow.

  • "other surprising connections follow" - like what? Right now your answer seems to be pure conjecture, pointing out what could be merely a coincidence Feb 1, 2019 at 20:02
  • It was Moore's editor at the time, Dez Skinn, who came up with the name "V for Vendetta." V is the Roman numeral for the number 5; hence, Room 5. The fact that 5=101 in binary and that connects with 1984 is probably a lucky happenstance, Western literature can't ALL have been coordinated in advance.
    – El Cadejo
    Feb 13, 2019 at 16:46

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