This week on Bad Books, Good Times, we’re taking an intermission to read The Hunger Games. Longer explanation in the first post.
Interestingly enough, the first trailer for the next Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, came out when we started doing Hunger Games posts on this blog. We’re gonna pretend we did that on purpose.
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Ready to continue our overly-critical reading of The Hunger Games? Because I so am.
So to remind you what I’m doing here, this series of blog posts is me writing, chapter by chapter, my thoughts on The Hunger Games, which will range from in tone from “analytical and legitimately insightful” to “smartass”, bearing in mind that I’ve never read this before, nor have any idea who any of the characters are or much more beyond the basic premise. Save for everything that happened in Part One, of course.
So are we ready for more children being forced to murder other children? Good, let’s go!
Part One ends with Peeta’s big reveal about his feelings for Katniss, whom he might have to kill in the upcoming competition. Part Two begins with his elaboration:
“It’s not good,” agrees Peeta.
Oh, Peeta. You’re cute. But no, seriously, whether that was calculated or genuine (probs the later because young adult fiction), I can assure you Katniss is going to go back and forth on the matter a billion more times before this novel ends.
When would I not be in his debt?
MAYBE WHEN HE IS IN YOUR, UM… HEART.
But seriously, Peeta’s next big moment comes pretty much immediately after, with his confessions on wanting to die as himself. Katniss, the oblivious narrator, doesn’t understand what he means, and come ON Katniss, you live in an Orwellian dystopia PAY ATTENTION. I really like that this idea was introduced before the games actually begin, because I’m guessing we’re not going to get through a whole young adult dystopian novel without some sort of rebellion. What form that’s going to be, I have no idea. I literally have no idea what happens after this point in the novel. Because this is the point where the commercials for the film end.
On a completely different note, my cannibalism question has finally been answered, and it’s frowned upon, so I’m guessing little to no cannibalism in the upcoming chapters. Oh well, no more cannibalism jokes for me.
Oh, SNAP, is Peeta no longer cute?!?! I mean, the twist makes a lot of sense. For all we know he’s been acting the entire time and we just have no idea who the real Peeta is. For the most part. I’m still thinking the “I won’t let them change me” speech wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t mean it, so I’m curious when he’s going to turn on the other Career Tributes. But I’m sure Katniss isn’t going to piece any of this together anytime soon. Poor Katniss. But, really, I’m wondering how exactly this whole love triangle is going to work, since in theory we just left Gale behind forever nine chapters ago and now Peeta’s trying to kill her (maybe).
But what I find infinitely more interesting than the villainizing of Peeta (maybe) is this business with the cannon not going off with the new death. It’s possible it’s nothing, but if that’s the case I will be super angry because there is so much potential here, because this suggests that:
- someone found a way to cheat
- there are more people here than the tributes
Personally I think the last one would be the most interesting because it would mean maybe we actually see one third of the love triangle again hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm????????
Nope. Peeta comes back having killed the girl and the cannon goes off and amazing potential is lost forever. Turns out the whole scene was just to offer further confusion over what Peeta’s plan might be. The other Career Tributes seem to underestimate him. It’s gonna be fascinating when they begin to turn on each other.
After a chapter of Katniss slowly starting to die of thirst before finding water, we have an entire chapter of Katniss running away from fire. Mixing things up, I suppose. She now has the first of what I can only assume are going to be many serious injuries, and ends the chapter hiding in a tree out of the reach of the pack of Career Tributes (and boy #2). This doesn’t make any sense to me. She’s hiding at the top of a tree. The chapter began with a raging inferno. Can anybody else think of a very easy way the Career Tributes can turn Katniss’s hiding in a tree into a very significant disadvantage for Katniss? Because apparently they can’t.
Okay, in case you were curious when shit was gonna get real during the actual Hunger Games part of The Hunger Games, well, shit just got real. Katniss finds a nest of what has to be the stupidest named thing we’ve encountered so far (even more so than Peeta), so I’m just calling them acid trip killer wasps. For your benefit. Anyway, Katniss cuts down a nest of acid trip killer wasps onto the Career Tributes, and gets three acid trip stings but two of the Career Tributes got waaaayyyyyyy more and maybe swelled up until their bodies dissolved due to their acid trip stings but we can’t totally be sure how much Katniss was hallucinating because of, again, the acid trip stings. In case I haven’t made myself clear yet, shit gets crazy and I totally approve.
Oh and Peeta may not be evil after all but PFFFFFF who didn’t know that? Oh, right, it was Katniss. Katniss didn’t know that. Come on, Katniss. Get with it.
Before I say anything, can I just point out how hilarious this line is in the first paragraph of this chapter?
It’s only the beginning of a new chapter of torture.
Because it is! Haha, but, no, Katniss wakes up with a combination of physical pain, mental anguish, and complete loss of all sense of time usually reserved for people who wake up in Amsterdam, and then she starts thinking about her boys.
…for some reason Gale and Peeta do not coexist well together in my thoughts.
Because you can only have one, Katniss.
Also, now Katniss is friends with Rue and as much as I don’t want to see Katniss get too close to anybody in here since only one can live, her having a real friend is definitely something she needs right now. As opposed to the maybe friend maybe love interest Peeta who is back to being super mysterious and perhaps desirable???
But just the fact that [Peeta] was sparkling leads me to doubt everything that happened.
Okay, so I’ve been making a ton of jokes about how this is maybe the new Twilight, but… is the novel making its own jokes now?
There’s a lot that I really like about this chapter. First, the novel’s making a big deal out of how much Katniss misses the company of people, so I’m guessing that Rue’s going to get killed off sooner rather than later. Somewhat similarly to that, enough of the tributes have been killed off that we’re presumably just about down to the only ones that actually matter and will hopefully become, you know, actual characters. I can’t wait to see that point where it’s just people with strengths and weaknesses and personalities we understand pitted against each other.
As for the actual meat of the chapter, Katniss deciding to take out the Career Tributes’ supplies, figuring out the explosives trap, and seeing the Career Tributes kill off the guy who set up the trap as soon as he stopped being useful to them? All pretty great stuff, right here. I approve!
While I was reading this chapter where Katniss grows increasingly worried about Rue’s absence, I thought that what would make things really interesting would be if the Career Tributes took Rue captive instead of killing her and revealing this fact to Katniss to draw her into some sort of a trap. We would see if Katniss would accept massive risks to save Rue in a rescue attempt and we would have learned a lot about everybody’s characters, and that would have been pretty awesome. But then the chapter ends with Katniss finally finding Rue and then Rue gets speared, so, yeah, that didn’t happen.
This was a pretty quiet chapter aside from, you know, Rue dying. There’s some interesting, small insights into the Hunger Games society between the gift of bread from Rue’s home district to Katniss and then, of course, the new rule at the end. Basically, everybody really loves Katniss and, more importantly, Peeta’s “star-crossed lovers” ploy has worked, and getting the audience to connect to a candidate in a battle royale fight to the death on an emotional level seems like not the easiest thing to do, which makes me wonder what Peeta’s been up to this whole time that suddenly it’s in the Capitol’s best interest to let them both survive. Unless it’s just them manipulating Katniss into picking up the pace for the sake of making things for interesting, but I dunno, the Capitol seem like pretty chill bros so far.
But seriously, I was getting to the point where I was wondering how there could possibly be two sequels to this novel if the Hunger Games themselves are almost over, because I’m pretty sure they’d want to keep both of Katniss’s love interests around for that whole time because, say it with me now, young adult fiction. Except now the rule change that has literally no purpose other than to let both Katniss and Peeta survive has me, ironically, second guessing that. Except I’m still sure that for both of them surviving for the sequels, the odds are, ahem, in their favor, but simply by making that an acceptable possibility before we get into the last third of the novel… I’m concerned that something’s up. Like maybe Peeta’s already lost both his hands or something.
Anyway, since there’s only one part of the book left, I think it’s time for:
Predictions About The Ending of a Book That Came Out Four and a Half Years Ago
Oh my God, is this book really that old? NO. FOCUS. So before the new rule introduced at the end of Part Two, I had this prediction:
0. The novel ends with Peeta killing Katniss.
Which is like whaaaaat, but, honestly, if it weren’t for the sequels, I’d say this is pretty likely. Hell, I don’t know a thing about the sequels, so it could still happen. Maybe each book is told from the point of view of a different character, and the next one is Peeta training the next year’s tribute and he has some super awesome anti-Capitol rebellion planned through this but he’s still wracked with the guilt of having to sacrifice Katniss. Except this is probably rather unlikely now that they’re both allowed to survive, because everybody back home might hate him a little bit. Also because he looooooooooooooves herrrrrrrrrrrrr.
So since that prediction is pretty unlikely now, it’s prediction number zero. Instead, what I’m now thinking is much more likely to happen is:
1. Katniss and Peeta win, but Peeta doesn’t love Katniss.
I know, this is easily the most tragic of all possible endings for this novel, but hear me out for a second. We know that Peeta is really smart and knows how to work public opinion. He came up with the “star crossed lovers” ploy and it has significantly increased his odds of survival, because Katniss can, and will, fight for him now, with the added benefit of not having to die, which is a pretty good incentive. But how deep does the ploy go? What if he never had ANY romantic feelings for Katniss, and the entire thing was a ruse to help him get out of there alive? This way the novel ends with Katniss learning Peeta doesn’t really like her, but she will like him, and, to make things even worse, Gale will be totally super jealous, and she will have no boys.
But that’s not even the worst thing that’s going to happen to Katniss.
2. Prim’s going to die before Katniss makes it back home.
I’m just getting a vibe that if Katniss and Peeta are probably both going to survive to the sequel, the novel’s gotta end with some sort of tragedy to ensure Katniss stays good and pissed off at the dystopian government, and I can’t think of anything that would do that better than her little sister she sacrificed herself to the Hunger Games for dying in the first place accomplishing this. The irony would be maybe the saddest thing ever.
Which doesn’t even lead me anywhere close to my next prediction but here you go:
3. Either Katniss or Peeta will lose, at the very least, a finger.
This shit is violent. There’s no way they’re both getting away unscathed. My guess is that Peeta’s already accumulated a ton of serious injuries we don’t know about yet, but Katniss is gonna get one even worse than any of his individual injuries before this is all over.
Even with all of this, however, I have no idea how there could possibly two sequels to this book, unless the Hunger Games don’t end, but that seems kind of stupid and cheap. And the idea of Katniss or Peeta being selected for the next Hunger Games is ridiculous, and probably not possible. So my best guess is that, in the sequel, Gale is selected for the Hunger Games (because fuck the rules of probability, we’re working off the rules of young adult fiction), and Katniss and Peeta have to train him, and young adult fiction love triangle drama.
Drama, I say! DRAMA.