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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 420

One major theme of The Snow Queen is that the indiscriminate pursuit and use of technology is immoral and can be disastrous. The other major theme is that wanton slaughter of any creature diminishes all humans and can also be disastrous. At the beginning of the book, Arienrhod subverts Hegemony technology to obtain an illegal clone of herself. Her goal is to use the clone to continue her own life once the fountain-of-youth elixir ceases to work on her original body. Arienrhod is also determined to make sure Tiamat becomes and remains a self-sufficient high tech world, a goal the Hegemony is equally determined to thwart since its rulers are dependent on the fountain-of-youth elixir. To obtain her goal, Arienrhod also plans to defy the traditions of her world as well as its natural laws. Tiamat's orbit between twin suns and a black hole causes major climatic changes every century and a half. When the planet is in winter phase, the black hole can be used by Hegemony traders as a gateway to Tiamat. During winter phase, Tiamat is ruled by the Winter People and enjoys a high tech lifestyle centered on its main city. Carbuncle. During summer phase, the black hole is unusable as a gateway, and the planet reverts to a low tech lifestyle ruled by the Summer People. At the juncture of the two phases Carnival is celebrated. The Winter queen goes voluntarily to her death, and a new queen is chosen from the Summer People. Arienrhod is determined not to die, but to live on in the body of her clone. She also plans to use a genetically engineered virus to kill off the Summer People. To maintain her high tech city, Arienrhod has been stockpiling high tech goodies which she obtains by selling the elixir to the Hegemony. To keep the elixir flowing, she encourages the slaughter of the mers despite objections by many who have begun to suspect that the mers are not animals but sentient beings. Ironically, Arienrhod does not know that the mers are genetically engineered sentient beings that are the one link to the knowledge of the ancient rulers of the universe, knowledge that would change Tiamat to just the sort of world she desires. Arienrhod's indiscriminate slaughter of the mers could damage the entire universe. Ultimately, Arienrhod is killed, and her plans are thwarted by her own clone, Moon Dawntreader who understands the relationship between the mers and the ancient knowledge — which will give Tiamat high tech without the Hegemony.

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