And Now, Hufflepuff House: Insurgent Chapters 1 and 2

We just finished reading Divergent, which means we’re reading the books in this series that people actually don’t like! Get excited for book two: Insurgent, the name of which I couldn’t remember and just referred to it as Bivergent.

Haha. Choice. Nice try, BOOK.
Haha. Choice. Nice try, BOOK. We read you!

Chapter 1

Insurgent starts off right where Divergent ended, on a train with Tris, Tobias, and only the first novel’s finest secondary antagonists – Marcus, Peter, and Caleb. Separated from friends recovering from the mind control in situations unknown and forced to seek refuge with two cartoon manifestations of evil and her brother who’s still sort of a jerk, it is truly a dire situation for Tris.

I wake with his name in my mouth.
Before I open my eyes, I watch him crumple to the pavement again. Dead.
My doing.

No, seriously, I like how this novel’s actually starting in an interesting, “shit hit the fan” place with Tris tortured by her surroundings and her own recent actions. We’re off to a way more promising start than the “we last left our heroes where my hand got kinda tired of writing” sequels of Fifty Shades or House of Night. Don’t worry; I’ll start being critical in like two seconds.

Tris and Tobias traveling on a train – which for some reason Erudite hasn’t shut down – to the Amity camp – where for some reason Erudite isn’t trying to intercept them – which is located outside the gated-off city – because for some reason, oh, fuck everything.

We [approach] the fence, several yards away from the worn path that the Amity trucks travel to deliver food to the city, and the gate that lets them out – the gate that is currently shut, locking us in.

Ah, so I see we’re going to be a little less subtle about this “locked in or locked out” theme even though we haven’t actually learned about anything untoward yet about the overarching reason why there’s…

“I worked in the Dauntless control room, monitoring the security system. We only change the codes twice a year,” Tobias says. […] “I wanted to make sure I could get out.”
The way he talks about getting out – it’s like he thinks we’re trapped.

…Or a lot less subtle. About something we haven’t begun to-

I never thought about it that way before


They reach the Amity camp where they plan to seek refuge from people who descriminate against people based on broad stereotypes.

I would be shocked by the lack of security if we were not at Amity headquarters. They often straddle the line between trust and stupidity.

You know, the ones who are not the protagonists.

They meet the Amity representative Johanna Reyes, who is notable because she has a scar. It’s mentioned quite a lot, so get ready for the backstory of Johanna Reyes’ scar eventually, maybe? She allows them all to stay the night, but the decision of whether they can stay there afterwards will be decided by the community in the morning. Because they are a peaceful faction, they request that they hand over all their weapons, but Tobias subtly makes Tris keep her concealed handgun. Marcus begins to introduce the group, but Tobias cuts him off and introduces himself as Four, because these summaries are really awesome to write when everybody calls a main character something different.

What, like "Four" is less stupid?
What, like “Four” is less stupid?

Chapter 2

During her sleep, Tris continues to be haunted about being forced to kill the brainwashed Will and conveniently not the brainwashed Tobias.

For a moment I see Will standing before me, both our guns between us – his hand, I could have shot his hand, why didn’t I, why?

I’m really glad we’re acknowledging this in this book, because it kind of made the last book come off as really shitty. It’s a little late, but, eh, I’ll chalk it up to character development:

I shove the gun beneath [the mattress]. Once it is out of sight and no longer pressed to my skin, my head feels clearer.

I’ll let the book have this one. That, uh, its main character was forced to murder her friend. You’re welcome, book?

On [the hard drive I put under the pillow] is the simulation data that controlled the Dauntless, and the record of what the Erudite did.

Ok, even if we ignore how unbelievable it is that people apparently don’t back up important programs on multiple hard drives or, like, the cloud or whatever, I am befuddled how this is the only record of what the Erudite did. I guess it’s the only proof, but Tris specifically says “record”. Many times.

It contains the only record of my parents’ deaths

Aside from… you know… their dead bodies…

too soon

Insurgent does the old “we can’t be melodramatic if we’re self-aware” trick:

“The Amity are meeting in a half hour.” [Tobias] quirks his eyebrows and adds, with a touch of melodrama, “To decide our fate.

There’s a nice moment between Tris and Tobias where Tobias tries to ask Tris how she’s doing with her parents’ deaths, and neither of them can say anything, but just realize that both of them have lost parents. Then there’s a weird moment between Tris and Susan, the Abnegation girl who was in Divergent for three pages, where Susan helps her brush her hair. That’s not the weird part.

“It’s a shame this happened when it did,” Susan says. “Our leaders were about to do something wonderful.”
“Really? What?”
“I don’t know.” Susan blushes. “I just knew that something was happening. I didn’t mean to be curious”

Well, this obviously wouldn’t have been mentioned if we weren’t going to eventually learn about it, so does anyone have any guesses? Because I’m seriously struggling to even come up with sarcastic guesses for what would be “something wonderful” by Abnegation standards. Maybe they were going to loosen up the ban on muffins.

And before the book gets kinda dumb again, there’s a really nice/sad moment where Tris just mourns her mother’s memory.

I keep staring [at the mirror], but I don’t see myself. I can still feel her fingers brushing the back of my neck, so much like my mother’s fingers, the last morning I spent with her. My eyes wet with tears, I rock back and forth on the stool, trying to push the memory from my mind.

Tris gives herself a short haircut or something to change things up. Caleb gets older brothery, asking Tobias if he isn’t too old to be with his sister. And then it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: learning more about Amity!


We begin our thrilling discovery of the Amity by learning that they recognize no official leader, and make all their decisions by talking until they come to a near-unanimous decision.

Every Amity in the room turns to the person next to him or her and starts talking.
“How do they get anything done?” I say, as the minutes of chatter wear on.
“They don’t care about efficiency,” Tobias says.

old entish

Amity eventually comes to decision, which is also really dumb.

“We feel that the only way to preserve our relationships with both [Abnegation and Erudite] is to remain impartial and uninvolved,” she continues.

Oh, wow, there are so many problems with this, the most glaringly obvious one being that you kind of can’t be impartial when one fifth of your civilization systematically murders another fifth? You can’t be neutral on a moving train that murdered 20% of everyone you know.

They then announce that Amity headquarters will function as a safe house for members of all factions, so long as they abide by their rules of nonviolence and zero conflict. And that is the solution they found.


Tris and Tobias realize they won’t be staying there long. Thank God.

Question of the Day! Which was your favorite Harry Potter novel? Because reading all this Divergent, I’m spending a lot of time thinking about YA that’s actually good.



  1. butterbll Reply

    I don’t know if you’re still doing The Room, but there is a cinemasins on it and it’s pretty great.

    • matthewjulius Reply

      I had to put it on a hiatus because I got too busy with other things. I’m thinking about when to start it up again.
      I love Cinemasins! I actually picked up a few things I never noticed from watching it!

  2. Kristin Reply

    I am almost ashamed to admit this, but I have never read a Harry Potter book nor seen any of the movies. So honestly, a lot of this post was lost on me, lol.

  3. Dana Reply

    I feel like I need to reread the HP books to give an informed opinion on the matter, but I was one of those weird people who really liked the sixth book a lot for whatever reason. However, I only read that one once several years ago, so maybe my feelings have changed since then. I actually didn’t like the fifth book that much the first time I read it (I liked it, but I was annoyed by Harry’s mood swings and the fact that it took around 200 pages to get to Hogwarts), but I definitely enjoyed it a lot more the second time.

    • matthewjulius Reply

      I absolutely love the sixth book. It might be my favorite. I feel like it’s a perfect balance of the Voldemort stuff, the Wizarding world, and the teenagers in school being goddamn teenagers in school.

      • Dana Reply

        So many people cite it as their least favorite! But, I don’t know, I just remember completely loving it and not being able to put down.

  4. Bellomy Reply

    Book 6 was a little slow for my taste, and was saved by the killer twist ending.

    The best book in the series, objectively, is probably 3. It was the point where Rowling’s writing style had fully matured and editors still had the balls to cut her work, and it got darker without completely changing the tone of the series, which put the later books at weird odds with the earlier ones.

    This isn’t to say, mind you, that 4-6 were worse than 1-3. The whole series is very good, though by looking black I can fondly see flaws. Still, it’s really a legitimately good series.

    The problems with 4-6 are that they twist the logic of the universe. We’ve established early on that Dumby is the type of guy who will let first years attempt to make their way through a series of traps designed to capture the most dangerous wizard of all time, in order to confront said wizard. This makes no sense if you try to parse it out seriously but it perfectly logical if you’re actually a child reading the book. But then we hit book 4 and all of a sudden we’re supposed to act like that whole thing made sense.

    That’s why book 3 is the pinnacle of the series. It’s edited well, was written when Rowling’s style had matured, and made the series darker without asking us to make any ridiculous leaps of logic. Books 4-7 were all good in their own right, but in context with books 1 and 2 they just don’t make sense. And her plots got too convoluted for her own good (it should be well known by now that book 4 was ludicrously convoluted for no good reason, since we learn that there is literally a one word spell that can be performed by a single wizard that can be used to make a portkey)..

  5. bookbaron Reply

    My favorite will always be the chamber of secrets. It was simple, straight forward, little creepy and had Gilderoy Lockhart. Enough said. 🙂

    I love the other books in the series too. But the second book remains my absolute favorite.

  6. Jena Reply

    Like Bellomy, I think 3 is my favorite. I also have a huge soft spot for book 5, even though it’s much broodier than the other books.

  7. graceless Reply

    I always really liked Goblet of Fire and The Deathly Hallows out of the entire series personally. I recently saw this headcanon about why the portkey that Harry took to the graveyard took him back to Hogwarts when he got hold of it again that I’m now accepting as canon because it just made a lot of sense really but yeah.

    I thought Insurgent had a lot of unnecessary violence, but it’s okay compared to how stupid Allegiant was.


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