Red Queen

by

Victoria Aveyard

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Red Queen: Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Mare goes back to her room and wonders how she will save Kilorn. She thinks of Julian. She goes to him and pleads with him to help stage the prisoners’ escape. He is unsympathetic with the prisoners, who he bluntly calls terrorists, until Mare tells him that she was part of the plan. She calls the bomb “unexpected” but reflects internally that it was “a horror.”
Mare, who feels extremely isolated and distrustful, must be desperate for help if she is willing to confess to Julian her involvement in the assassination plot. Her admission also demonstrates that of all her acquaintances, Julian seems to her the most trustworthy. Mare makes herself vulnerable by telling him not only of her involvement but also of how she lost control over the plan.
Themes
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Julian is horrified that Mare is implicated in this scheme. Julian knows that the queen will pluck out his eyes to prevent his ever reading again should he get involved too. Still, Julian decides that helping Mare will be a good place to start his revenge for Queen Coriane’s death, which Elara and others falsely claimed to be a suicide.
Julian is willing to risk the loss of reading, which he has characterized as a substitute for human companionship, in order to help Mare. However, he is motivated not solely by a desire to help her, but also a desire to avenge his sister’s death. This demonstrates that while individuals’ objectives might line up, rarely do two people share exactly the same motivations. Should the situation change, Julian might be persuaded to work against Mare.
Themes
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Back in her room, Mare convinces Lucas to accompany her to the kitchen, because dinner never happened in the aftermath of the bomb. She feels bad using him but cannot think of a better plan. Mare shuts off the cameras in the hall. Julian, who lies in wait, uses his power as a singer to convince Lucas to lead them to the prisoners. Julian and Mare continue to use their powers as they pass cameras and guards. Mare convinces the guards outside the cell to let them past by insinuating that she and Julian want to torture the prisoners, unsupervised.
Mare is uncomfortable with the idea of using someone who has not wronged her in order to achieve her objectives, but she is not uncomfortable enough not to use Lucas as a pawn. Mare is beginning to operate like the aristocrats at the court who have used her in the service of their broader schemes. She thus blurs the boundaries between Silvers and Reds not by valorizing Reds but by using the same rubric of dubious morality that Silvers have used in the past.
Themes
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Alone with the prisoners, Mare and Julian ask them about the bomb. Farley swears that it was not the Scarlet Guard’s doing and that the Guard does not kill senselessly. Besides, as Kilorn tells Mare, it would have been a bad idea to kill “our greatest hope,” which Mare interprets to mean her. At Mare’s urging, Julian uses his power to get Lucas to bend the bars of the cell open to allow the prisoners to escape. Julian then manipulates the sentinel so that she will not remember seeing anyone help the prisoners out of the cell.
Given that she and Julian are manipulating Lucas to do what they need him to do, Mare has no real reason to trust that she represents anything to the Scarlet Guard or even to Kilorn beyond their “greatest hope” for revolution. Her personhood might very well be irrelevant to them. Still, if she can continue to promise them hope, she can keep them on her side.
Themes
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Revolution vs. Stability Theme Icon
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Julian must also manipulate the memories of the other sentinels who saw him, Mare, and Lucas go down to the cell. His gift is not strong enough to handle two sentinels at once, so Mare tries to intervene by acting the part of a commanding lady, as she has seen Evangeline do. One of the sentinels becomes suspicious and shoots Mare in the stomach just as she sends a bolt of lightning at him. A bullet from the other sentinel nearly misses Mare. She knocks out both sentinels with a ball of sparks, then she falls into Kilorn’s arms. She notices his green eyes.
Mare attempts to weaponize the performance skills she has been forced to use for her survival. She does better in the conflict with the sentinels when she drops the performance and takes ownership over her powers. When Kilorn catches Mare, he is physically there for her in a time of distress. She cannot depend on many people in this way. The fact that Mare notices Kilorn’s eyes suggests that she is pulled in a third romantic direction.
Themes
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Julian snaps to attention, using his gift to order one of the sentinels, a skin healer, to wake up. He has the skin healer heal Mare and Farley, who has a dislocated shoulder. Julian tells the prisoners that they have a few hours before the sentinels wake up. Mare, Lucas, and Julian lead the party to Cal’s garage, where Walsh hugs Mare and tells her that she hopes she will be the Red queen one day. Farley says they will meet again soon, and Kilorn hopelessly pleads with Mare to come with him. She refuses, saying the cause needs her at the palace. As the escapees leave, Kilorn tells Mare, “Red queen. Has a nice ring to it.”
Mare is exploiting not only Lucas but also the trust Cal has placed in her by showing her the garage. She does so in order to help the prisoners, to whom she also feels a loyalty. She is thus forced into betrayal by conflicting loyalties. Walsh and Kilorn are the first to speak the phrase “Red Queen,” showing that they are beginning to look to Mare as a possible leader. The phrase echoes the title of the novel and suggests that Mare will one day ascend to the throne.
Themes
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
Revolution vs. Stability Theme Icon
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