Red Queen

by

Victoria Aveyard

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Red Queen: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Mare tries to get used to her new name, Lady Mareena Titanos, as Red maids dress her and apply makeup to cover the red flush of her skin. She feels like she is “a corpse being dressed for her funeral” because she is sure that some accident will be staged so that she will never actually take the throne. The maids try to take Mare’s earrings, but she refuses to let them.
Pretending to be a long-lost Silver, Mare must immediately get used to being waited upon by Reds for the first time in her life. She feels both powerless in contrast to the royal family and uncomfortably positioned above the Red maids. Mare tries to retain claim to some aspect of her identity by keeping the earrings from her brothers.
Themes
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
Cal stops by Mare’s new room to apologize for getting her involved with the palace. He insists on calling her “Mare.” He suggests that he has arranged for Mare to have a kind guard in Lucas, and he insists that stopping her escape from the palace was in her and her family’s best interest; had he let her go, the queen would have hunted her down. He emphasizes that the queen is Maven’s mother, not his. Cal tells Mare that she must learn to accept her new life and talent, because a slip-up could be her end. He produces sparks and then stops them, “leaving only Cal’s encouraging smile and the humming of cameras hidden somewhere, watching over everything.”
Cal recognizes that Mare is a person in her own right, but his insistence on demonstrating this despite his refusal to help her shows that Cal is not willing to sacrifice much for his convictions. The idea that giving Mare a kind guard is a “favor” emphasizes that Cal is entrenched in an ideology that is fundamentally unjust. Meanwhile, his emphasis that Elara is not his mother shows that Cal is eager to distance himself from the mindset that relishes the power differential between Silvers and Reds. The reader now knows that Mare is attuned to the cameras because of her ability to manipulate electricity. She seems similarly attuned to Cal’s smile.
Themes
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
Revolution vs. Stability Theme Icon
After Cal leaves, Mare’s guards escort her to the Queenstrial feast. Although Lucas is kind enough, Mare can only think of how the guards are there to imprison her “in my own skin, red behind a silver curtain.” Mare rehearses the backstory she has been given. The guards lead her onto an elevator, which is unfamiliar and disconcerting to Mare as it descends.
Mare is at once in an entirely unfamiliar place and expected to behave as though showing up at the court is a kind of homecoming. No matter how kind Lucas is, he is still a guard who represents Mare’s lack of freedom. The elevator represents the ground dropping from beneath Mare’s feet and parallels her fall into the stadium at Queenstrial. Although this falling is uncomfortable to Mare, the elevator functions mechanically and exactly as it is supposed to function.
Themes
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
Queen Elara meets Mare when she gets off the elevator. The queen tells Mare telepathically that the Titanos family were oblivions who could explode objects upon touching them, while Mare’s fictitious Silver mother controlled weather. Mare is to tell people that her control of electricity stems from the union of these abilities. “You are now Red in the head, Silver in the heart,” Elara says. “From now until the end of your days, you must lie. Your life depends on it, little lightning girl.”
Queen Elara is careful to tell Mare not only that she must lie now, but also that she must lie for the rest of her life. Mare is doomed either to a long lifetime of deceiving everyone, including herself, or to a very short life of telling the truth. Mare has departed from her family on strained terms, and now she must betray them by pretending that they are not her family at all.
Themes
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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