Study Guide

Code Name Verity Friendship

By Elizabeth Wein


And the story of how I came to be here starts with Maddie. I don't think I'll ever know how I ended up carrying her National Registration card and pilot's license instead of my own ID when you picked me up, but if I tell you about Maddie you'll understand why we flew here together. (1.8.XI.43.17)

Frankly, this is an odd way to start spilling your guts about state secrets. Let me tell you about my BFF… huh? We wonder what von Linden was thinking when he started reading this.

It's a superficial way to write about myself. I don't have to take myself seriously—or, well, only as seriously as Maddie takes me. (1.11.XI.43.15)

Julie tells as much of her own story as she can through Maddie's eyes. How accurate or reliable do you think this is, considering that she didn't even know Maddie when she starts the story in 1938?

Queenie squeezed Maddie around the waist and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. "Kiss me, Hardy!" Weren't those Nelson's last words at the Battle of Trafalgar? Don't cry. We're still alive and we make a sensational team." (1.11.XI.43.68)

While Maddie and Queenie have already done some impressive things together, the scene in which they take over for two dead antiaircraft gunners and (maybe) shoot down a Messerschmitt 109 is the moment that really cements their friendship. Makes our conversations in coffee shops with our besties seem a bit less cool by comparison.

It's like being in love, discovering your best friend. (1.11.XI.43.68) 

If there's one line that sums up the whole book, this is it. How is platonic friendship like and unlike romantic love?

Oh Maddie.

I am lost. I have lost the thread. I was indulging myself in details as if they were wool blankets or alcohol, escaping wholly back into the early days of our friendship. We made a sensational team. (1.16.XI.43.1-2)

Memories of the good times, and even of the good within the bad times, are getting Julie through her captivity and interrogation by the Ormaie Gestapo. Why does Julie compare her memories of Maddie to wool blankets and alcohol?

Maddie held her lightly, thinking she would let go when her friend stopped crying. But she cried for so long that Maddie fell asleep first. So she didn't ever let go. (1.22.XI.43.169)

Because she's so tough and bold, it's easy to think of Julie as the "strong one" in the friendship, but here we see some of Maddie's strength. How are Julie's and Maddie's emotional strengths different?

Maddie gave a sobbed gasp of laughter. She bent her head to the cold hand on her shoulder and kissed it warmly. The small fingers brushed her cheek, gave her shoulder one last squeeze, and retreated through the bulkhead.

Maddie heard the rear canopy slide open. She felt the faintest dip in the aircraft's balance as the weight shifted. Then she flew alone. (1.25.XI.43.74-75)

This is the moment in the narrative when Julie and Maddie split up—and they won't see each other again until the night Maddie is forced to kill Julie. What do you think of this as a farewell?

I am beginning to think it was one of her less clever ideas to call herself Kitty Hawk in German. Terribly sweet, but not very practical. Though to be fair she wasn't expecting me to come along. (2.2.11)

Now we're seeing Julie from Maddie's point of view. Does the way Maddie describes Julie reinforce or contradict what we already know about Julie from her own narrative?

If Julie is not already dead—if she is not already dead she is counting on me. She is calling me, whispering my name to herself in the dark. What can I do—I can scarcely sleep. I just go around in circles all night trying to think what I can do. WHAT can I do? (2.7.23)

Ugh, helplessness—we hate that feeling even when our best friends aren't being held by the Gestapo. This passage is truer than Maddie knows, though. Julie's narrative is her way of clinging to Maddie to help her get through the worst trial of her life.

Sometimes Julie used to make me jealous—her cleverness, her ease with men, how posh she is—the grouse-shooting and the Swiss school and speaking three languages and being presented to the king in a blue silk ball gown—even her MBE after she caught those spies, like being knighted, and especially her term at Oxford—and I hate myself for ever having thought any of it was worth envying.

Now all I can think of is where she is and how much I love her. And I start to cry again. (2.11.30-31)

Don't feel too bad, Maddie: we're kind of jealous of Julie, too. She's had some awesome opportunities, and she herself is pretty awesome to boot. Jealousy is part of friendship: after all, we probably wouldn't be friends with people if we didn't think they were cool.

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