In dystopian societies, those who control the power will go to all extremes to make sure societal entrenchment, oppression, and fear remain true. In Red Queen, the perception of the strength and power of the ruling class is the foundation of how they maintain their wealth and opulence. In Mare’s (the narrator) world, there are two kinds of people: Silvers and Reds.
Since she was born, Mare had been indoctrinated in every aspect of life to believe that Silvers, the ruling class, are inherently better than the impoverished Reds. Their silver blood gives Silvers supernatural abilities and thus the “right” to rule over the normal and crimson blooded Reds. The perception of the Silvers’ strength and power is all that is needed to suppress Red crimes and uprisings against Silver rule and the royal crown.
The largest building in every Red village is a massive area. On the first Friday of every month, all Reds are required to attend a series of showcased fights. The “Feats” are battles between Silvers – not for Red entertainment, but to send a message, and to show off the strength and power of Silvers. Mare tells the reader, “Only Silvers can fight in the arenas because only a Silver can survive the arena. They fight to show us their strength and power. You are no match for us. We are your betters. We are gods” (Aveyard 6). The Feats are a way to intimidate the Reds, to repeatedly show and tell them that rebellion against the crown will not be tolerated, and will not stand a chance. Unlike Reds, Silvers have abilities and they fight and train for sport. The Silvers do it for a good reason too, it has been repeatedly shown that arena cities have recorded a reduction in Red crimes, rebellions, and unrest (Aveyard 7).
Through a series of unlikely events, Mare is thrown into the middle of the royal family’s court politics where she quickly learns that everything she’s known about the Silvers is not true. There is a social hierarchy among silvers and the royal families, and those on top will do anything to maintain the image that they are powerful and better than the rest. In their world, perception is reality and “to look powerful is to be powerful” (Aveyard 97). Mare learns that hard way, that “the truth doesn’t matter. It only matters what people believe” (Aveyard 342). And this is the inherent problem with all dystopias and widespread propaganda. If the lower classes actually knew that their perception was actually false, that the ruling class did not have it all together, that there was no need to fear, then rebellion and dissent would be rampant.
Propaganda is an adept tactic for feeding lies to the masses and reinforcing false truths, but the problem with building your society on lies and deceit is the same as building your house on the sand. All it takes is for a storm to come, and one wave to knock the foundation right out from under you. In the Silvers’ perfect world of opulence and rule over the inferior Reds, that wave is Mare Barrow – the Red girl with crimson blood and Silver abilities.
Aveyard, Victoria. Red Queen. New York, HarperCollins.
“Red Queen — Silvers Have Nothing to Fear from Us Reds.” Pinterst, s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/05/fa/a7/05faa776d2add665e85f41bf53d8de2e.jpg.