Red Queen

by

Victoria Aveyard

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Red Queen: Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In the morning, Mare finds a curt note from Elara on her nightstand, detailing her schedule. Maids dress her again. Lucas accompanies Mare to breakfast, where Mare must eat with Elara and Evangeline. Evangeline scoffs that Mare is still going to a class called “Protocol,” but Mare is simply glad to hear that Evangeline will not be in class with her.
Mare is shuffled physically from one place to another by maids, guards, and courtiers. There is a certain irony in the fact that Evangeline, who has been groomed to have perfect manners during social engagements at court, is more outwardly rude at breakfast than Mare is.
Themes
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
Mare is surprised when Elara defends her, telling Evangeline that Mare’s circumstances growing up have left her in need of training in Silver customs. Elara tells Mare and Evangeline that they will take luncheon with the other ladies from Queenstrial, after which they will return with them to the capital at Archeon. This, Mare realizes, will be the moment her new reality entirely replaces the old life to which she can never return.
By defending Mare against Evangeline, Elara creates a tenuous alliance between them. Even if Elara remains an adversary at other times, this scene complicates their relationship. This moment of being defended by the queen foreshadows the way Mare’s relationships will remain unpredictable and will shift throughout the novel.
Themes
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
After breakfast, Lucas tells Mare that she is next to meet with her etiquette trainer, Lady Blonos. Lady Blonos is a blood healer, meaning that anything Mare’s gift does, Lady Blonos will be able to instantly heal herself. Mare enters the empty room to which Lucas has led her. Mare crosses to a window that looks out onto a courtyard. At first, she thinks she is seeing sentinels in training, but then she realizes that it is Cal, Maven, and Evangeline below, playing war games. She realizes that Cal and Maven “are deadly creatures, soldiers” both on the lines and in the palace.
The idea that a Silver etiquette trainer would need to have defenses against Mare’s gift is an indication of how much more powerful Mare is than she thought. However, rather than dwell on her own newfound strength, Mare dwells on how dangerous Cal, Maven, and Evangeline are. There is a sense in which these young Silvers have been sculpted into weapons; they have been dehumanized in a different way from the Reds.
Themes
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
Lady Blonos interrupts Mare’s thoughts. She looks old, but she has artificially altered her face to look younger and prettier. She tells Mare that she is going to save her from acting “like a savage.” Mare reluctantly agrees to the training because she knows she needs it.
The phrase “like a savage” recalls the language of real-world imperialism. European writers have historically referred both to native peoples in colonies and to uneducated people in Europe as “savages,” meaning that they are less sophisticated than “civilized” (meaning white and upper-class) people. The Silvers think of the Reds as inferior because they are uneducated in the ways of upper-class life, but that exclusion has happened at the hands of the same upper class.
Themes
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
Revolution vs. Stability Theme Icon
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After three and a half hours of physical and mental exercises with Lady Blonos, Mare goes to the queen’s luncheon. The Glass Terrace strikes Mare as “beautiful in an artificial way, like everything else in this Silver world.” Mare makes small talk with the other ladies from Queenstrial. One of them introduces Mare to her grandmother, who turns out not to be a kindly old lady but, rather, a former spy. This woman tells Mare that she knew her parents. Mare says she misses them, and must cover when she realizes she is not supposed to remember her parents.
Mare is realizing how difficult it will be to pretend in everyday conversation that she is emotionally invested in Lady Mareena Titanos’s life instead of her own. The stakes of forgetting to do so are high, but the stakes of forgetting her own life story are high as well. Like the Glass Terrace, Mare must learn to be “beautiful in an artificial way.” If she so much as cracks, she will crumble.
Themes
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
Mare survives the luncheon, aided by Evangeline’s willingness to lead the conversation. Mare runs into Maven in the corridor on her way to Lessons. He tells her he will talk to his mother about the spy who was trying to catch Mare in a lie about her parents. Maven offers to show Mare around. She must refuse, and she tells him that she has Lessons, “hoping to soften the blow.” She is not sure why she wants to protect his feelings. He takes her hand for a moment before parting, and she notices that his skin has “a delightful heat.” After a moment, Lucas interrupts Mare’s thoughts to hurry her along.
Mare might prefer to be self-sufficient, but she must rely on Evangeline in order to get through the luncheon. She is thus forced to play into the court dynamic of cultivating relationships with people she does not like or respect. Mare is especially confused by the fact that she actually does feel a certain liking and respect for Maven. Her betrothal to Maven seems to be resulting in some actual romantic interest that Mare does not welcome but nonetheless will need to consider.
Themes
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon