The question of exactly what is the village guardian-Rover can never be answered in a trice.... It's nothing more than a simple weather balloon! There you have it in a nut shell. satisfied, no of course you're not, no one ever is!
So perhaps there is more to this white chalk, helium filled balloon that at first meets the eye. On the symbolism front, some see it as a representative of the suffocating bureaucracy which our everyday lives are confronted with. A representation of our own fears, our worst nightmare perhaps!
On the actual 'being alive' front, the best way to describe the Village Guardian is as a 'thing!' Possibly a genetically engineered 'thing' made from membrane, and held in a containment area somewhere at the bottom of the sea. Its probably still there, fighting with itself, perpetually shifting its shape, from long streaks to large and small globules, as the wax contained in a Astro, or lava lamp, somewhere still in the containment area at the bottom of the sea. There it waits, this 'thing', to be released on the command of 'Orange Alert', a command which is unlikely ever to be given again. But perhaps as the village was not completely destroyed, come to think of it I don't recall any of the village being destroyed, only evacuated. So it is quite plausible that the citizens who ran away on foot, along the beach for example, actually returned to the village. In that case perhaps there is hope for the village guardian 'Rover' after all.
It has been written that 'Rover' is able to distinguish between prey, well it made a right pigs ear toward the end of ‘The Schizoid Man,’ it wasn't so clever to distinguish between No.6 and No.12-Curtis. But then the password Schizoid Man was given with more authority by No.6 than by Curtis, who was certainly afraid of 'Rover', as the lack of authority and strength of character in his voice demonstrated, giving the password over and over. This quickly turned into fear, and caused the man to run! But he could not run so far or so quickly, as 'Rover' had made its choice, the wrong choice as it happened, but the right choice for the villages administration. For what price might No.2 have had to pay if the village guardian had actually made the correct distinction between No.6 and Curtis? There would certainly be hell to pay, as No.6, in the guise of Curtis, once suggested to No.2.
There is one aspect to the white membranic mass of the Village Guardian which I have not touched upon, and that is this. The possibility that 'Rover', in the same way as a shark, is attracted to movement! That would explain the reason behind two occurrences. The first being in ‘Arrival,’ when soon after the Prisoner has made his way onto the Piazza No.2 gives the order "Be Still!" And everyone does stand still, save for the poor sad soul who dashes about in circles, and it appears that the movement of this certain individual is detected by 'Rover', who is then upon the man in an instant! Suffocating its victim, to either unconsciousness, or the grave!
This 'standing still' whilst 'Rover' is about is again demonstrated early on in the episode of Checkmate. The chilling roar of the village guardian can be heard, and just as it comes rolling and bounding along the road, the citizens step to the side of the road. Cyclists dismount their bicycles, and also stand stock still at the side of the road until 'Rover' has passed by. The good citizens of the community go on their way and about their business.
But then that theory about 'Rover' being attracted to movement doesn't take into account No.14-the chess champion and rumoured ex-count! As the village guardian bounds past, No.14 hobbles along with his walking stick in apparent defiance of the Guardian, which takes no action against him. This action is quite inexplicable, so too is how the village guardian knows its intended prey when a segment is released during an 'Orange Alert'. In No.6's case its easy, because No,6 is ready to 'have a go' himself!
And sometimes there is more than one membranic guardian released from the containment area. There are two occasions when there are actually three 'Rover's in extremely close proximity. One large, and two smaller guardians, working together to return No.8-Nadia to the beach during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ after her attempted escape by 'swimming for it!" And in much the same vein during the election period of Free For All. This after No.6 has a close encounter with 'Rover' before diving overboard into the water. He like Nadia before him, is returned to the beach by 3 membranic guardians working together.
Does this mean that the released segments of the white membranic guardian is capable of free thought? Or is there a 'collective thought pattern' of the guardian, like
ESP emanating between that which is still contained, and that of the released segments of the Village Guardian known as Rover?
That's a new one which is something to consider, haven't thought of that before! What do you think?