The Girl on Fire, Made of Wax

Her face has been everywhere the past few years for the movie promotion, but yesterday marked another milestone in the cultural life of Katniss Everdeen. Yes, she has made it to another level now. Wax.  She’s a popular enough character that Madame Tussaud’s has made Katniss Everdeen wax figures for its London, NYC, and LA locations.

Here they are:

London Katniss

London Katniss

Katniss in NY (top) and LA (bottom)

Katniss in NY (top) and LA (bottom)

The likeness to Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss is pretty incredible. And we like the choice to have District 12/Catching Fire Katniss in two of the locations. This isn’t Katniss all glammed up for the Capitol in her fire dresses (although when you’re modeled after Jennifer Lawrence, you’re going to be gorgeous no matter what). This is Katniss in the woods (or in the woods of the first Hunger Games). She’s frowning. She’s concerned. She’s sad. She’s not fake smiling for the audience.

We’re happy they chose to immortalize this version of Katniss, and not “The Mockingjay.” Potential promotional partners, take note.

But while we really do like the serious take on Katniss, we wouldn’t mind if Jennifer Lawrence paid a visit and did some Jon Hamm/Don Draper type silliness.

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THAT, we think, would burn down the internet.

JJ

Victor’s Village Holiday Giveaway 2014!

It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the year!

Well, kinda. We mean, Mockingjay Part 1 hype is mostly over and there’s roughly 8,000 things to do and everyone’s finances are pretty bleak… BUT we’re going to put a little pep in your step this holiday season with a chance to win some incredible Hunger Games themed prizes!

There’s no major tasks or hoops to jump through this year, mainly because we totally procrastinated on this sucker. You’re welcome!

So let’s look at the stellar prizes, shall we?

Custom Hanging Tree Lyrics Mug by CuppaCharisma

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As if winning this gorgeous mug with some poignant Hunger Games lyrics on it wasn’t enough, CuppaCharisma is going to customize the back of the mug with a bare tree and the winner’s first name!

Mockingjay Shot Glass Set by CosplayKreations

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A set of 3 of these etched 1.5oz beauties could also be yours! Glassware is a great way to show off fandom without getting too flashy and… what can we say? We like shots!

Catching Fire Best Buy Steelbook Edition
The Hunger Games/Catching Fire Wal-Mart DVD Combo Pack

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Looking to collect ALL the Catching Fire DVD editions or know someone who is? You’re in luck! Two runners up will receive either a Catching Fire Best Buy Steelbook edition or The Hunger Games/Catching Fire Wal-Mart DVD Combo Pack!

ENTER THE HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY HERE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our holiday contest is open internationally. Contest ends on December 27th. Winners will be contacted on December 28th.

No matter what you celebrate, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Hunger Games Anniversaries

We’re getting a little nostalgic at Victor’s Village lately. The third movie is out, and there’s only one more to go. And four years ago, talk of the impending first movie going into production was swirling about. Personally, this time of year makes me remember that fateful day four years ago when I was really bored and thought “what the hell?” and downloaded the book to my Kindle. AND MY WORLD CHANGED FOREVER.

Yes Katniss, I was an idiot. I deserve it.

Yes Katniss, I was an idiot. I deserve it.

Not, the best or sweetest anecdote, but the odds were not in The Hunger Games‘s favor that I would read it. In December 2010 I was an MBA student, which meant I spent so much time reading business cases and articles that I really didn’t read for pleasure anymore. I’d heard plenty about the books and knew they were bestsellers but I didn’t read anything so silly as YOUNG ADULT books. Because young adult books to me were Twilight, a movie that I watched once when I was drunk. And The Hunger Games sounded really violent and I told myself I didn’t like stories with too much violence.

Ok, feel free to despise 2010 me for being the judgmental, close-minded kind of person that I complain about now. But at least fate intervened, and I learned my lesson. Which is why I tend to harass people who are doubters to read the book because I swear to them that IT WILL SURPRISE YOU in so many wonderful ways. And that they will still be so engaged in the story that four years later they will happily write things about it twice a week. Oh, wait that’s me.

It’s funny the little things in life that point you in new directions. Because my decision making process to read the book was so mundane. I was bored since my finals were done and my flight home wasn’t for a few days. While lazing on my couch, I read this little blurb in Entertainment Weekly about Gary Ross being selected to direct the movie and figured I’d finally give the book a chance. I guess I owe a lot to Entertainment Weekly for giving me that final nudge? Wow, it feels uncomfortable saying that.

Within a few pages I knew I had made the right decision. I knew because I loved Katniss. I felt like I understood her and understood how she viewed the world, which is incredibly bizarre to say since I’d experienced 0.01% of the trauma in my life that Katniss had at even the beginning of the book. Yet I still felt a kinship with her from those first few pages that only grew as it went along.  I was so surprised how Suzanne Collins skewered all the things that worried me about our culture, how RELEVANT it all was. I was not expecting that. I was not expecting that at all from a book about “kids killing kids.” I got so into it that I yelled out a lot, I punched my couch a lot, I had to get up and jump around to release all my nervous energy because the book gets so intense. And I got so attached to Peeta midway (before the announcement of the 2 winner possibility) that I had to go to Wikipedia and spoil myself a little bit to know that he did not die at the end of the book (I figured Katniss would win, I knew there were 2 more books and didn’t figure Suzanne Collins quite for the George RR Martin type). I couldn’t bear to keep going if he died. Suzanne Collins made me love him just too much. Overall she made me feel too much. So by about 8pm that night I was done and buzzing with excitement. I couldn’t believe what an incredible book I’d just read.

Maybe it’s the surprise of falling in love with a story out of the blue, of realizing you were so utterly wrong about something, but December 17, 2010 is an important day for me. Reading THG made me realize, like so many others, that the “Young Adult” stigma was keeping me from a lot of great stories. While I have yet to find a “YA” book that I love as much as THG, I’ve learned that no matter what age group they are primarily marketed to, good books are good books. So tomorrow I’ll probably mark the day by picking up the book and reliving it again.

 What made you decide to pick up The Hunger Games?

JJ

Remember When? Let’s Reminisce About Katniss Casting!

Believe it or not, casting for The Hunger Games was announced 3 1/2 years ago in March 2011. Recently, we got to remember the speculative casting madness that came before it, including rumors, hopeful press interviews, “Katniss” selfies, studio meetings, and more. It was cray cray, but it’s fun to look back.

It all started because of a remix of The Hanging Tree. No, not THE awful radio remix. A different one by Tyler Ward and Alyson Stoner that’s more of a really interesting original song that randomly uses The Hanging Tree as a chorus:

While discussing it with other fansite friends, Theresa from Down With The Capitol mentioned that she almost didn’t recognize the former Disney star who auditioned for Katniss under all that makeup.

Huh? She auditioned for Katniss???

Yep. Alyson Stoner was a huge book fan and how campaigned for the role HARD on social media, complete with some Katniss selfies:

Alyson-Stoner

And she was pretty (playfully) competitive too:
Alyson Stoner tweets battle

So what thought about it. Yes, there’s was Woodley and Breslin and Moretz and other big names considered. But who else are we forgetting?!

Here are some other Katniss hopefuls you may have forgotten!

Jodelle Ferland

Joelle Ferland Katniss

Jodelle’s been acting in lots of small parts since she was a young’un, but Katniss was a role she really, really rallied for. She too resorted to Katniss selfies. This was NOT the way to win over the casting director, though!

We remember thinking so had the look if Katniss was going to be on the young side, but we still haven’t seen enough of her acting to confirm her chops. She continues to take on the indie movie scene.

Emily Browning

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After famously turning down the role of Bella Swan in Twilight when Stephenie Meyer practically tried to hand her the role on a silver platter (Thank this one for Kristen Stewart’s career [/sarcasm]), Browning smartened up and didn’t miss the opportunity for the next big franchise for which she received the script. Aaaaaaaaand it didn’t work!

She got the chance to make it up to Stephenie Meyer by making a cameo in her other movie, The Host, and most recently got half-naked with Kit Harington in Pompeii, among other projects. Not too bad!

Kaya Scodelario

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She’s since gotten her comeuppance as the female lead in The Maze Runner, but Kaya Scodelario was best known for her role on the British TV show Skins. Our skepticism was pretty high, but Kaya was sent the script and met with Gary Ross, so she was clearly a viable candidate. Still, the odds were not in her favor.

S’alright, Kaya! You’ve got yourself a shiny new franchise to enjoy for about another year until fans begin to hate on your character’s questionable choices and love another female character instead. In all fairness, I’ve always had Teresa’s back!

Lyndsy Fonseca

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Call her “bedroom eyes Katniss”.

The star of Nikita had some pretty outspoken supporters when she hinted at her Hunger Games audition. In fact, her supporters were SO invested that she kinda had to douse their fiery rage when the role went to Jen instead. Lyndsy was a little too old for the role from the get-go (she’s now a few weeks shy of 28), so we were never really feeling her in the role.

Lyndsy hasn’t suffered from the loss, though. She’s been in a few movies and is now playing Peggy Carter’s best friend on Marvel’s Agent Carter, which begins airing in January.

All this brings us back to our first rule of getting cast in The Hunger Games franchise: Don’t TALK about wanting to get cast in The Hunger Games franchise!

Man, We’re Glad Casting Madness Is Over!
The Girl With The Pearl

Undercutting Finnick’s Secrets

There were some great comments to the post on some of the best and worst moments in Mockingjay. Thank you commenters (well the 99% of you who are polite and cool with us actually having opinions, even if they differ from yours). Anyway, I thought the discussion of Finnick’s propo was worthy of a post all on its own.

As mentioned in the best of/worst of post, I have mixed feelings about the whole rescue scene.  I was glad to have it added to the movie, but I felt it didn’t really show us enough of the Capitol and dragged on a bit too long. The sequence was mixed with the rebels’ “distraction” – Finnick revealing some of his greatest secrets about Snow to Panem.

finnick propoThe comments mentioned how cutting his secrets propo in with the rescue footage lessened the impact of what Finnick was saying, and I agree.  He’s being used as a distraction here, and as the movie audience we are wondering more about what will happen during the rescue than what Finnick was saying. He’s being asked to just talk for as long as possible to clutter the airwaves. His message isn’t as important to the cause here. I wouldn’t doubt that some non-book readers might miss a lot of those “secrets” because they are caught up in whether the rescue will succeed. And that’s a shame, because it’s a very powerful part of the book that helps us to connect and sympathize with Finnick.

Reducing the attention on what Finnick is saying may have helped filmmakers with any PG-13 rating worries about a man talking about being a sex slave. PG-13 tends to be very accepting to a whole lot of violence as long as it’s not too bloody, but sex, nudity, sex crimes, or the word “fuck” get you up to an R really quickly. And from a movie pacing perspective, mixing the two scenes together allowed them to use screen time effectively. Instead of having one stand-alone Finnick propo scene we get it with the bonus rescue scene.

The moments we did see were very well acted and tugged at my heart as it should. Do I wish it would have been allowed more time and attention? Yes, because I would love to see Finnick’s character further developed in these movies. Finnick’s role in Mockingjay Part 1 seemed smaller than in the book, but really, a lot of characters had short screen time, so it was probably proportional to many others. Who knows, they may address it again in Mockingjay Part 2, but my hunch is this is the last we’ll hear of Finnick’s secrets.

We’ll have other things to cry about concerning Finnick next time.

JJ

Mockingjay Meta Fiction Friction

Earlier this week, JJ made an excellent post about the best and worst moments in Mockingjay. It did a great job covering the bases, but I’ve still got a bit of a quibble that’s become pretty controversial among fans.

THE END OF THAT DAMN PROPO

The screening of the first propo was pretty brilliant, at first. We saw Katniss’ fierceness through the lenses of Castor and Pollux’s cameras, how District 13 cut and played upon her words for the ultimate effect. Then things got reallllllly familiar: A burning Mockingjay pin with outstretched wings, title treatment font, and Rue’s whistle, musically engineered to sound exactly like every Hunger Games movie promo in existence and the slew of popular ringtones.

THIS... Except with different words. Yep.

THIS… Except with different words. Yep.

Urghhhh.

We’ve talked to friends and fans alike about the decision and the results are pretty mixed. In fact, some people think it’s brilliant, that putting the movie advertising images in almost their exact form straight into the movie was a great nod to the audience and adverts alike. They consider it a tie-in of sorts. And truly, we’re glad they liked it.

Some others, including myself, found it to be so utterly displeasing. Besides taking you out of the scene by reminding you of the commercials, practically screaming “THIS IS A MOVIE! HOPE YOU WEREN’T TOO WRAPPED UP IN IT!” just after a powerful scene, it seems like an awkward pat on the back. Multiple people decided that their advertising style was so witty and perfect that they’d just add it into the movie itself, assuming District 13 would do the same thing a bunch of modern day PR folks did. We realize that big wigs we love, like Francis Lawrence and Nina Jacobson, were probably in on the decision too, so we’ll try not to judge so harshly. Perhaps it was supposed to be coming full circle, but instead some of us hit the fourth wall HARD and broke right through that sucker.

Mind you. we’re not saying that those elements aren’t good for a commercial or a propo. Both are meant to rile up a crowd, but for very different reasons. Could we have two equally smart but not quite so identical ways of riling up people on their couch considering a movie vs. people in a war torn dystopia considering revolution?

Did this ruin the movie for us? OF COURSE NOT! The movie was still incredible overall, but we all have our hangups and quibbles. it won’t haunt us forever, but my face will likely twitch in some fashion every time I watch that part. And then like two minutes later I’ll be fine because Effie is wittily insulting President Coin’s hair. So is the way of the world.

So what do you think? Was the moment a little TOO meta for you? Or was it just right?

We Approve Of Recycling… Just Not In Our Films,
The Girl With The Pearl

Best and Worst of Mockingjay Part 1 (MOVIE EDITION)

It’s that time of year when Best and Worst of the Year Lists abound. We know the haters gonna hate (and clickbait), so as an antidote, here’s a Mockingjay Part 1 movie version from people who write about Hunger Games stuff just cause we love it.

Stay tuned for a Best and Worst of the Mockingjay Part 1 marketing campaign later in the week (heh heh, so fun).

WHAT WE LOVED

Peeta’s Interview Scenes

We’re Peeta fans for life at Victor’s Village, so we tend to love ALL Peeta scenes (in the Francis Lawrence era movies at least). We knew that Peeta time would be scarce in this one, even with that bonus “Stay With Me – Always” Catching Fire scene redux.  Peeta’s progression from healthy to emaciated, shaking ball of pain was done so well it hurt even more than we imagined. From Josh’s acting, to the wardrobe choices, and that CGI, it was so well done.

mockingjay-part-1-peeta-beatenHijacked Peeta

Yes, this gets its own call out. Josh said that he went for it, and YEAH HE REALLY DID. And it made the strangling scene all the more disturbing, as well as the final scene of the film which has haunted us every day since opening night. Great job bringing that to life, we’re scared (in the best way) to see more of this transformation.

Effie Winning our Hearts, and Bringing Some Much Needed Comic Relief

Effie’s character development in the movies, and what Elizabeth Banks has done with the role has added so much to these movies. THANK YOU, thank you for making a change from the book to include Effie in District 13. She brought comic relief and her growing relationship with Katniss was touching to see. We don’t mind changes from the book when they’re so lovingly and purposefully done.

cf vs mj previewDistrict 12’s Horror Brought to Life

The devastation of the firebombs on District 12 was brought to life in such staggering scale. In my limited mind it wasn’t quite so awful. Now I see things more realistically, and the evil of Snow is that more evident.

If You Thought Snow Was a Bad Dude Before…

All around, this movie franchise is blessed with actors who have done a stellar job bringing the characters to life. I’ve already mentioned two in just this post. Donald Sutherland has upped the ante with Snow in this chapter. In the hands of a different actor the level of callousness and evil could verge on campy or ridiculously monstrous. Sutherland’s Snow radiates power and resolve to maintain his order at any cost, and you don’t hesitate to believe it.

District 7 Rebels

We made fun of it a bit when we saw the fast climbing lumberjacks in the teaser trailer. But hey, that scene as a whole delivered for me. When the rebels blew the peacekeepers to bits, I was cheering along with them.

Bonding Time Between Katniss and that Damn Cat

Earlier in the year, we were excited that the crazy cat scene would be included in the film. That’s not the scene I’m talking about here. What I loved was when Katniss found Buttercup crawling through the window of her Victor’s Village home. Again, some much needed levity in a very dark scene. Well timed meows and lots of disdain from Katniss. Perfect.

The Hanging Tree Sequence

It’s not just the song, or just the arrangement, it’s how the sequence was all put together to start as a solemn end to the trip back to District 12, to the rebel attack on the District 5 dam. Including this song was a risky move, it could have driven the movie to a halt and felt very out of place in a whut when did this become a musical bout of confusion but it was woven into the story so well that there would be a gaping hole within the movie without it now.

Every Second of Jennifer Lawrence

Sure, tell the fun BTS stories of how she’s so jokey on set. But at the end of the day, the moments that Francis Lawrence captured of her on film are pure Katniss. She owns this role. For those 2 hours she is completely Katniss Everdeen.

WHAT WE DIDN’T LOVE

primPrim Going After the Damn Cat

Listen, we all have affection for that cat. I loved Katniss’s interaction with Buttercup in Victor’s Village. But I don’t like the scene of Prim going after her cat during the air raid from the book and it’s my least favorite part of the movie. I know Prim is only 13, has lost a lot, and she’s very attached to the cat, but it’s just so cliche that it makes me groan every time. I know plenty of people who would risk life and limb for their pets, but it feels out of place in both the book and movie. And the whole countdown  “oops Gale barely made it through the doors before it crushed him” sense of urgency is a bit too heavy on the “made it just in time” trope.

The Prolonged Rescue Scene that Showed Us Too Little

I’m happy we got the rescue scene in the film. Extra scenes from the book are a fun movie bonus. And arguably the night-vision and the gas bombs help to create an accurate representation of the visual confusion of being there and help build tension. But I would’ve liked to see more from those sequences. We basically saw some stairwells, creepy test tubes and syringes, and then some empty cells. The sequence went on far too long in comparison to what they actually showed us. COME ON SHOW US MORE.

Lastly, Not Enough Peeta. Or Johanna. Or Annie.

Cheap shot, sure! And unavoidable unless they were going to add more Capitol scenes. BUT TRUE. There’s a Peeta/Snow scene that may make the DVD features, but overall, I do wish we saw a little bit of them in the Capitol.

Are you mad at me for saying Prim should’ve abandoned the cat? Buttercup would’ve been fine anyway. That thing’s indestructible.

JJ

 

The Ladies Of Mockingjay Get Badass

Interviews with actors are always great, but it never feels all that authentic. Reporters all have the same questions to which the actors have the same answers. There’s always a thin level of discomfort, even when things are very silly and fun.

That is why we are currently LOVING Elizabeth Banks’ ASK A BADASS segments.

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See, Elizabeth Banks is actually really friends with the other Hunger Games actors. So she knows their story, their lives, the funny things they wanna talk about. There doesn’t seem to be any intimidation or fear that something uncomfortable was going to be asked. And you know what? The actors she interviews really open up to her fun, cheery chat.

First, we got a much heralded spot with Jennifer Lawrence.

Jennifer Lawrence is always light in interviews, but she had a lot of genuine fun here. She even opened up about her own meekness, something fans generally don’t see. And the reference to Aqua’s “I’m A Barbie Girl”? Well, let’s say I once owned that CD (and I was like 9).

We also learned that Elizabeth Banks handles her career like a total no-holds-barred boss, as told by JLaw. Color us impressed!

But even better than Jen’s segment, in our opinions, is Julianne Moore’s.

Julianne is usually very calm and professional during interviews. She’s got some great insights and we’re happy to hear them, but it’s really refreshing to see her get silly talking about old guys’ somewhat creepy love of Boogie Nights and her massive collection of Birkenstocks.

Mostly, we love these segments because they remind us that the whole cast is wonderfully close. It’s not just us gushing about them. They gush about each other! It’s fun to hear little fun details shared between friends and we’re seriously hoping there’s more with the rest of the cast.

Because EVERYONE In That Cast Is A Badass,
The Girl With The Pearl

That Tone-Deaf Hanging Tree Remix

Remember when we saw the movie and LOVED The Hanging Tree sequence? How we bought the Mockingjay musical score and listened to James Newton Howard’s rendition over and over? How thrilled we were to see it rise to #2 on the iTunes charts (and #1 in many other countries)? How it debuted at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100?

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Katniss singing the next Capitol club hit? We don’t think so.

Well someone decided to fuck it all up with an upbeat remix that kills the emotion and message of the song. If you’ve been online the past day, you’ve probably seen a link to it, or heard it.  If you haven’t heard it yet, you may just want to sit it out. Our friends at Jabberjays.net and Hunger Games DWTC have great editorials about why this remix is just so wrong, and we agree wholeheartedly that it needs to be pulled. The original version is what made the song a hit, it didn’t need its entire heart and soul ripped out to play on radio. It just needed enough people to like it and request it. If you want to shorten the arrangement, cool. But change the WHOLE MOOD OF THE SONG INTO SOME KIND OF CAPITOL PARODY? This move was clearly led and made by people who don’t care about the message of the song, and had no clue about why we love it.

But they did it. And it’s a major bummer that something we were so happy about was bastardized and could be played to the masses as if it were the real Hanging Tree track. We’ve noticed that the song has disappeared from the soundcloud and YouTube sources, so that gives us hope this remix might get buried. But in case it doesn’t, what can we do? Well, we can ask radio stations to play the original version instead. Tell Republic Records. Buy the original track from the movie. Watch the original version on YouTube.

No remixes needed, thanks.

If I hear that remix on the radio, I’m changing the station, and then tweeting them to play the original version.

JJ

Victor’s Village Hunger Games Holiday Gift Guide 2014

It’s that time of year again!

We’re back with the official Victor’s Village guide to a happy Hunger Games holiday! We’ve searched the Internet for some great Hunger Games finds that we love. Maybe you’ll find them handy when shopping for the Hunger Games lovers in your life or even something you want to nab for yourself!

Here’s hoping we make The Hunger Games fun in your holiday of choice a little easier!

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 DVD OR BLU-RAY PRE-ORDER

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Yep. You can do that already.

This is the UK DVD cover, as an official US cover has not been released yet. Still, you can pre-order the film on Blu-ray or DVD right now. Of course, that’s essentially handing someone an IOU as the movie is still in theaters, which maaaaay not put the odds in your favor. Hint heavily for approval before buying!

THE HUNGER GAMES FOIL EDITION BOX SET

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If you or someone you know wants to collect all the editions, check out this shiny new foil edition box set now available! These babies just came out on September 30th. It’s a bit of relief to see bright, colorful US collector’s editions, as we think the previous US collector’s editions weren’t nearly as nice as the ones you’ll find in other countries.

THEMED PAJAMAS

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We will probably not wear a Mockingjay shirt or sweater out and about. We definitely will not feature an actor’s face on our boobs. However, we will abso-freaking-lutely rock Hunger Games pajamas. They’re lots of fangirl fun for those of us who often have to keep our obsessions under wraps outside the comfort of our own home!

MOCKINGJAY WALL POCKET

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Because we’re all looking for more storage, right? Soooo let’s casually turn a Mockingjay book into a small, adorable storage unit! The Mockingjay wall pocket is a small decoration, but one that subtly displays your love of the fandom

There’s a warning here, though: Make sure your recipient is okay with what some fans refer to as “book murder”, aka the destruction of books for artistic purposes.

BOOK PAGE SWITCH PLATE

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Apparently, we are okay with book murder, because we love the idea of this book page switch plate. Know the fan in your life has a favorite passage? It can be created into a memory for them, set on the wall as a reminder. Sure, they won’t be able to read it the whole way through, but the feels will still be there!

WATERCOLOR WALL ART

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There’s lots of Hunger Games wall art out there. Designs, quotes, portraits.. LOTS OF IT. But nothing caught our eye quite like that amazing watercolor wall art print. If you’re going to put something on your wall, you want something that The funky, flashy design might be better suited for a teenage fan, but we think anyone could appreciate it!

DANDELION NECKLACE

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We may have posted this before but we’re doing it again!

The “dandelion in the spring” quote from Mockingjay is already a big deal and will get EVEN MORE attention once the final movie hits theaters next year. This beautiful dandelion necklace perfectly captures that mood without being too obvious. Quote aside, it’s just really freaking pretty!

RUE’S WHISTLE MUG

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And a little something for the musical types! Rue’s whistle mapped out on a mug! Clearly, our gifts aren’t so much about throwing The Hunger Games directly in your face so much as fun pieces that let people know you’re in on the fandom with them. Plus, this is a fun little conversation starter!

Happy Holidays!