In the novel the Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard, there are two classes that coexist in a modernized world. One rules with wizardry and fear, with silver blood that makes them special. The other, much greater in size, consists of normal citizens with red blood running through their veins. But, as in a typical dystopia, numbers mean nothing against such a strong totalitarian government. The superior power of the Silver elite allows for control of all technology, including the media. Television and news channels repeat the glory and fortunes of the empire while simultaneously crushing the hopes of millions of Reds that live in poverty.
With all this tension comes the rise of the Scarlet Guard, a group of rebel fighters tasked with taking down the existing rulers. Their path towards freedom is an arduous journey, but the group had gained momentum in recent times. They spread the seeds of rebellion in a quiet way. Eventually, there came a day when one girl, born of red blood, had powers that rivaled the strongest Silver. Mare Barrow’s ordinary, albeit horrible and suppressed, life is flipped upside down when she revealed her ability to control lightning. Captured by the government and subjected to unique torture, she was forced to become a pawn in the government’s plan to take down the Scarlet Guard.
Mare became the keystone piece for the totalitarian Silvers in order to discredit the Red opposition. She was at the forefront of every news update, discrediting the rebels at every turn. She gave speeches on the prosperous state of the empire. She marveled at the generosity and benevolence of every Silver in the palace. But while all this was going on, Mare was being used. The relationship between her and her captors was based on cruelty and deceit. She despised all the Silvers, and was forced to speak against her beliefs else her family suffer a horrible fate. Everything she said was a lie, fed to her by the ruthless rulers of the country.
The Silver government went through an enormous amount of effort in order to influence the public. They relieved Mare’s family from duty in a war, reworked her entire identity, and lied to both Silvers and Reds alike in order to create an image for the poverty stricken citizens to believe in. Keeping the masses complacent on the eve of a rebellion relied heavily on the actions of the media to promote a message of supposed peace throughout the empire. In turn, this would ease anger and tensions, uniting the plentiful poor in another cycle of false hope. The media acts in such a way that it shoves a message of prosperity down the throats of all who view it. Despite the fact that the benefits are only gained by a select few, the propaganda clouds the better judgement of those watching. And it is devastatingly successful when applied correctly. But, as Mare reveals, utilizing the media for your own devices can also spread a message that can incite a revolution.
1. Aveyard, Victoria. Red queen. HarperTeen, 2015.
2. “Cover Reveal: King’s Cage By Victoria Aveyard.” Reads and Reels, 15 Nov. 2016, readsandreels.com/2016/11/.
3. Brittdraws. “Mare Barrow.” DeviantArt, 15 July 2015, brittdraws.deviantart.com/art/Mare-Barrow-546512899.