Marissa Meyer

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Cinder: Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

As Cinder travels back to the palace, she remembers Dr. Erland’s warnings about Queen Levana, but she feels she has to deliver Nainsi back to Kai. On the road to the palace, she sees a crowd protesting against Levana’s presence on Earth, some with signs asserting that war is better than slavery. Cinder approaches the door with Nainsi—the guard allows Nainsi in, but Cinder doesn’t have a pass. Nainsi says that she’ll inform Prince Kai that Cinder would like to see him. As Nainsi leaves, Cinder realizes that she doesn’t have to see Kai—she simply wants to.
Earthens seem to generally dislike Queen Levana, just as Prince Kai does. They recognize that Queen Levana’s manipulation is akin to a mental slavery, in which they are constantly being manipulated, again illustrating the self-defeating nature of the Lunar glamour on Earth. The fear of being brainwashed makes them more resistant to the Lunars, not less. These protests will likely also help Kai recognize what his citizens want, so his actions can benefit the society as a whole.
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Suddenly, the crowd stops chanting, and Queen Levana appears on the balcony. Cinder starts to back away, until she realizes that Queen Levana is warm, welcoming, and generous. But as the little orange light blinks in Cinder’s retina, she knows that Queen Levana’s effect is a lie—she’s brainwashing the crowd—and Cinder snaps out of it. As Cinder steps back and collides with someone, the queen looks at her. Levana is surprised and then disgusted, and she turns back into the palace. After the queen leaves, the crowd departs in a daze. Cinder thinks that she is not entirely immune to the glamour, the way that shells are supposed to be—and worse, the Queen saw her.
Here, Cinder feels Queen Levana’s brainwashing firsthand—and she, like Kai, resents the fact that her thoughts are being manipulated. Cinder’s susceptibility to Levana’s glamour also hints at the fact that Dr. Erland wasn’t fully open with Cinder about her identity—a fact that puts her in grave danger, since it seems that Levana may be able to take advantage of Cinder after all. This speaks to the pitfalls of deception, as it can often cause harm even when someone, like Dr. Erland, is trying to protect another person. At the same time, the fact that Cinder is a cyborg also helps her rather than hinders her here: the little orange light on her interface helps her recognize that Queen Levana is lying, which makes her less susceptible to manipulation. Even though others discriminate against Cinder for being a cyborg, this aspect of her identity is also a positive thing.
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