Citizens of the Kingdom of Norta lead drastically different lives, depending on the color of their blood. Blood thus represents not only life and death but also social stratification. Those with silver blood have special talents of manipulating elements, and they use their power to denigrate and oppress those with red blood. Silvers live in the lap of luxury, and Reds live in extreme poverty. Mare Barrow is a Red who, as the novel’s plot unfolds, must come to masquerade as a Silver, and her life depends on concealing her true identity. This means that bleeding, or even a blush, could give her away. Her source of life, blood, thus becomes also a threat to her life.
Over the course of the novel, Mare discovers her own talent of manipulating and even generating electricity—a power that supposedly would be impossible for someone with red blood. As her case shows, blood is far more complicated than anyone in Norta thought, and there might be an entire subset of Reds with special abilities to overpower those of the Silvers. Paradoxically, then, Mare’s blood is both highly determinative of her life and not at all determinative of who she actually is as a person. Socially it has decided how she is viewed and treated by others, but biologically it hasn’t decided anything about her.
The discoveries Mare makes about her blood are illuminating to her and play an important part of her journey to understanding her own identity. However, even though the generally accepted truths about blood prove to be scientifically false, powerful authorities have colluded in order to conceal from the public that Reds might be just as powerful as Silvers. Mare might understand individually that her Red blood does not make her a lesser being than a Silver, but the rest of the world continues to operate under the false assumption that it does. Blood’s role in the novel thus demonstrates that power often depends on the manipulation and concealment of information. Even science is subject to political manipulation.
Blood Quotes in Red Queen
Families can go years without hearing a thing, only to find their sons and daughters waiting on the front doorstep, home on leave or sometimes blissfully discharged. But usually you receive a letter made of heavy paper, stamped with the king’s crown seal below a short thank-you for your child’s life. Maybe you even get a few buttons from their torn, obliterated uniforms.
As more and more footage rolls, showing the marble façade of the courthouse explode into dust or a diamondglass wall withstanding a fireball, part of me feels happy. The Silvers are not invincible. They have enemies, enemies who can hurt them, and for once, they aren’t hiding behind a Red shield.
Remember the person you’re supposed to be, and remember well…You are pretending to be raised Red, but you’re Silver by blood. You are now Red in the head, Silver in the heart….From now until the end of your days, you must lie. Your life depends on it, little lightning girl.
Thinking all Silvers are evil is just as wrong as thinking all Reds are inferior….What my people are doing to you and yours is wrong to the deepest levels of humanity. Oppressing you, trapping you in an endless cycle of poverty and death, just because we think you are different from us? That is not right. And as any student of history can tell you, it will end poorly.
My legs move on their own, swinging out in a maneuver I’ve used in the back alleys of the Stilts a hundred times. Even on Kilorn once or twice. My foot connects with her leg, sweeping it out from under her, and she crashes to the floor next to me. I’m on her in a second, despite the exploding pain in my back. My hands crackle with hot energy, even as they collide against her face. Pain sears through my knuckle-bones but I keep going, wanting to see sweet silverblood.
The king’s corpse lands with a thud, his head rolling to a stop a few feet away. Silverblood splashes across the floor in a mirrored puddle, lapping at Cal’s toes. He drops the melting sword, letting it clang against stone, before falling to his knees, his head in his hands. The crown clatters across the floor, circling through the blood, until it stops to rest at Maven’s feet, sharp points bright with liquid silver.