Author: The Girl With The Pearl

MockingHate: Negativity, Click Bait, and Media Strategy

District 13 isn’t the only one coming up with a plan when it comes to Mockingjay Part 1.

If you’re on the Internet on a regular basis, you’ve probably heard the term “click bait”. It’s when a headline or even an entire article is designed to be somewhat controversial in order to draw people in to either agree with or defend the topic at hand. It’s mainly useless pieces on popular subjects without much in terms of real depth, even if provided in essay form.

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Fishing For Hits!

And Mockingjay Part 1, dear friends, has been a serious victim of click bait.

The media has been saying just about anything they can to get our attention and let’s face it, most of it is negative. Why? The fandom is massive and enthusiastic and not afraid to run to the film’s defense, but there’s also plenty of “Academy Award winners only, please” types who will gladly agree with them on anything that demerits the franchise. Therefore, they get ALL THE CLICKS.

Though this happen with lots of series and has happened to The Hunger Games in the past, the horrendous articles meant to induce click bait have really hit new heights. So let’s go through these atrocious claims and set some things straight.

1) MOCKINGJAY PART 1 IS A FAILURE!
Mockingjay Part 1 is estimated to finish at $123 million for the weekend, making it the highest opening weekend of the otherwise lackluster year. It will almost definitely be the highest grossing movie of 2014, seeing as the current highest (Guardians of the Galaxy) reached $331 million over the course of its entire run. Mockingjay earned a third of the #1 movie’s entire run total in one damn weekend. Yes, $123 million is less than Catching Fire’s opening weekend and short of estimates, but as Variety points out excellently– it’s actually quite common for opening weekend and overall totals to fluctuate for a franchise and box office estimates are a hugely inaccurate system. Also, that’s only in the US. Mockingjay Part 1 is actually doing better than Catching Fire overseas. So this “Oh noes! The movie made less so the franchise is a sinking ship now!” approach the media is taking is ridiculousness to the nth power.

YEP.

YEP.

2) NO CRITIC LIKES IT, EITHER.
If you read enough negative reviews of MJ 1 (for which the reviews are still largely positive), you’ll realize that very few people seem to be reviewing the actual movie. They’re reviewing the fact that it’s Part 1 of a two-part finale, a trend that critics just don’t like. JJ already responded to that beautifully. Entertainment Weekly went so far as to claim that Mockingjay Part 1 may not actually be a movie, saying it didn’t have a concise beginning, middle, or end, leaving us to wonder if they watched the same movie we did. If so, what the hell were they smoking? That must be some good shit! Or maybe they’re just high off that movie critic ego. The movie is not all action, as we’ve mentioned before, but to say it essentially has no point or value other than to set up the end is a pathetic attempt at pretending you know best. We can name plenty of films that we about a thousand times slower or less meaningful than this one. Really, this just feels like media outlets jumping on the Hipster Express as the uber critical types begin to label the popular franchise as “overrated”, which they’d do no matter what the subject.

3) OH AND FANS AGREE WITH US!
These are our favorite. Articles in which fans’ negative social media statuses or random tweets are displayed as the end-all-be-all of the franchise and the guarantee that we’re all in on the lambasting too. So what constitutes a “fan”? Anyone who has seen the movie, apparently. I saw Dude, Where’s My Car? when I was like 12. Does that make me a fan? Also, there’s a widespread assumption that these fans expressing disappointment in certain parts of the film means they hated all of it all day every day. THR even wrote an obvious click bait article about common “fandom gripes” throughout the history of the films, portraying us all as racists who hated that Rue was black and sexists who hate Peeta for not being masculine enough. “Offensive to fans” doesn’t even begin to cover it, but they’re getting lots of views from stirring up old, nasty comments from a few outliers that in no way represent the fandom as a whole, as if we all feel this way.

Most definitely started out at a click bait media outlet.. except not really

Most definitely started out at a click bait media outlet.. except not really

4) NO WAIT– EVERYTHING IS AWESOME ALWAYS AND FOREVER!
This is the type of click bait we tend to be more agreeable to because it works in our favor, but we need to acknowledge this too. Because it happens. Like basically everything on BuzzFeed. We can’t say for sure that some of these sites are getting paid to advertise via positive articles, but we know that method absolutely exists. You’re more likely to want something when someone writes an article saying “This Is My Favorite!” than if you just saw a graphic on a sidebar. Again, we know so much nothing that Jon Snow would be proud, but we know it happens in advertising in general. But it could also just be these sites playing off how enthusiastic fans are, knowing they’ll click because the articles validate the things they love.

In between the cracks you can find articles that at least try to find a balance. But overall– and maybe it’s just us– but isn’t it just better to ignore the media and like what you like? We’ve all probably enjoyed some movies that the media had some gripes with or largely ignored or even HATED, but then you remember that you really don’t give a fuck what they think, because you liked it for your own personal reasons.

As for all that really obvious click bait?

Well… DON’T CLICK IT.
The Girl With The Pearl

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REVIEW: Mockingjay Part 1 Is The Ultimate Game Changer

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** THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE!**

The Hunger Games Franchise: Come for the action. Stay for the bigger, more important message.

KATNISSIf you’ve been following reviews for Mockingjay Part 1 so far, you’ve probably noticed some media outlets griping about the change of pace or fewer action sequences or the lack of the games. But The Hunger Games has always been about more than just the games. The first two films did an excellent job conveying the danger and inequality in Panem through the games, but the story cannot simply be the games, otherwise the whole message Suzanne Collins intended for her audience is lost. The franchise is about the tragedies of war but also the need to question society’s parameters and to fight against injustice, even if it comes at a personal cost. That’s right, folks– We’re moving past the “Whoa, all these people are in a bubble trying to kill each other!” pull and into legitimate political thriller territory.

Mockingjay Part 1 is a tantalizing slow burn. Its pacing, emotion, and action are different from the other films, but in the best way possible. It starts out dark, ends pitch black, and finds moments of levity, anger, sadness, and just about everything else in between. As Katniss attempts to adjust to life in District 13 and reluctantly accepts her role as the voice of the rebellion, a new story element unfolds into something much deeper. Katniss and District 13 go back and forth in the ultimate game of cat and mouse with President Snow, one in which everyone they know is a pawn. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone supporting her in District 13 is really truly on her side, either. The result is a harrowing journey to incite a revolution, one that featured fewer action sequences but kept us more emotionally invested than any Hunger Games movie before it.

Mockingjay-Part-1-Phillip-Seymour-Hoffman-and-Julianne-MooreThere’s a stunning tension created throughout the film by the entire cast. Jennifer Lawrence proved herself as our Katniss long ago, but earns new respect as she handles Katniss’ fragile emotional state with realism and care. Donald Sutherland is an absolute maniacal genius now that he has a chance to flex those baddie muscles. Julianne Moore is a smart, welcome addition as President Coin, who plays beautifully off the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee. The decision to keep Effie in the story was a stellar one and Elizabeth Banks is more perfectly Effie than ever before. Liam Hemsworth plays Gale with much more vulnerability and depth than recent promos have suggested– the rage scene is definitely there, but many others prior to that make it easy to see just how truly torn he is. However, if there’s a “Stepping Up To The Plate” award for this movie, it goes to Josh Hutcherson. Peeta’s transformation is gut-wrenching and visceral, the stuff that makes your breath catch in your throat every time he comes on screen because the agony and instability feels so real. It’s the first time in the series Josh has really been asked to be something beyond the caring, careful version of Peeta we all know so well and he exceeds expectations.

There is still action in this film but it isn’t scene-to-scene as it was when Katniss fought off danger after danger in the arenas. However, please don’t confuse less action with a plodding pace. This movie’s action sticks in your brain and feels much more warranted than in previous films. It is not, as the games were, for anyone’s entertainment. Even in the scenes without explosions and hovercrafts and arrows flying, there’s still plenty of things happening and for us, the entire film felt like it moved very quickly, faster than its actual run time.

mockingjay-part-1-peeta-beatenBecause this movie is a Part 1, you’re not going to get instant gratification around every turn (another sticking point for critics, it seems). But ask yourself– Did you really with The Hunger Games or Catching Fire, either? Francis Lawrence, Danny Strong, and Peter Craig used the opportunity to get more in depth with the story very wisely. Rather than being thrust into District 13, there’s a world-building that you don’t always get in film. President Snow and Plutarch in particular benefit from the books expansion into two parts, in terms of both screen time and character development. Boggs, Cressida, and the film crew are also rewarded a richer understanding than we’d expected. Random gushing: Elden Henson as Pollux was easily our favorite part of the film crew without saying a word, though everyone else played their part very well too.

For all the guessing in the world at the ending, we will only tell you this: You know the ending, but you don’t. You’ll leave the theater feeling charged up and overwhelmed, already eager for the final film.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the film is perfect. We have a few gripes but realize that in the grand scheme of things, they’re pretty minor. We’ll nitpick at a later date because to do so would be to spoil everyone. Even so, we know that Lawrence Squared and the rest of the team have delivered us a stellar film that is sharp and thought-provoking.

We can’t wait to discuss it with all of you!

Gale or Not Gale? Mockingjay Part 1 and RAAAAAAAGE

When we saw the first promo spot that featured Gale talking smack about Peeta, there was a sense of foreboding. We actually asked “If there were a richter scale for asshole behavior, how far are we pushing Gale here?”

Gale is angry at ALL OF Y'ALL!

Gale is angry at ALL OF Y’ALL!

The answer? Pretty damn far, it seems.

First, let’s establish something. On the whole, Gale was never incredibly nice in Mockingjay. His thoughts on warfare were full-on destructive and awful like…

“If I could hit a button and kill every living soul working for the Capitol, I would do it. Without Hesitation.”

Or this gem regarding his plan to implode The Nut, block off the only exit, and let the people inside, including many innocents, slowly suffocate:

“Is that everyone’s problem? That our enemies might have a few hour to reflect on the fact that they’re dying, instead of just blowing them to bits?”

Or ya know… developing a double-exploding bomb identical to the one that killed Prim meant to target rescue workers, though those bombs that fell on THE DAY may or may not have been his.

Gale has some rage. He’s a fiery one, as Suzanne Collins pointed out on a number of occasions in the novels. BUT Book!Gale usually has a halting point: Katniss, namely in discussing her relationship with Peeta.

As long as he doesn't turn into this, plzkthx

As long as he doesn’t turn into this, plzkthx

In the beginning of Mockingjay, Gale is surprisingly patient with Katniss. He wants her to be the Mockingjay as much as everyone else, but he knows the method isn’t peer pressure and constantly prodding her. It may be manipulative underneath at all, but he does come off like he’s trying to be supportive. After the Peeta videos, he has his infamous “He’s still trying to protect you” line and generally seems sympathetic to Peeta’s plight.

Movie!Gale’s hate, thusfar, seems mainly directed toward Peeta. All that stuff about how he’d rather Peeta die than do what he did? Those veiled accusations of betrayal? IT’S NOT COOL. After everything he’s been through, Gale does have the right to be angry about a lot of things. The idea that he’d project that anger toward Peeta’s forced attempts to “support” The Capitol isn’t even all that implausible, if it was one outburst. We’ve only seen a couple instances, but when that’s all your see of Gale, it comes off like he’s just one uber-jealous mofo.

My least favorite book of 2014 (lest I should read something worst in the next six weeks or so) was one that solved a half-baked love triangle by having one character suddenly become a crazed verbally-abusive control freak in order to make the other more favorable. The sudden change was totally out of character and left me angry, hating the book and all its lazy, convenient writing. We just never ever ever want to feel that way about Mockingjay. We don’t want Gale to become some ANGRY RAAAAAAGE MONSTER that the audience is quick to hate.

What we want– No, NEEEEEEED– in this movie is to see that Gale is angry, but his anger is mostly at The Capitol and sometimes misdirected elsewhere. We need to see that underneath it all, he doesn’t hate or blame Peeta for doing what he did and Katniss for feeling what she does.

Thankfully, the full clip Liam Hemsworth has been taking around the late night TV circuit shows that Gale is seriously scarred by everything that went down in District 12 on the day of the firebombing. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that teasers just don’t give you the full picture. Gale could be remorseful or admit to anger issues, we’re just not seeing it in the spots. He can be angry, but it has to be balanced.

So on a scale of 1 to asshole, let’s give Gale another few days before we assign any numbers for sure, okay?

He’s Normally A 6. Way Higher In District 2. But About Peeta? Naaaaaaw!
The Girl With The Pearl

Beware of Hunger Games Premieritis!

Traveling to several countries around the world is everyone’s dream, but most of us don’t intend to do it over the course of ten days or so. You’ve got to hand it to The Hunger Games cast, they take it in stride, especially considering… THE DISEASE!

Maybe it’s that November chill, as it’s only seemed to take hold during Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1 premiere and press seasons took place, but oh, does it hit the cast hard!

Hunger Games Premieritis!

At least that’s what we’re calling it! It’s a combination of various illnesses including colds, the flu, strep throat, stomach viruses, etc. and sheer exhaustion. And simply, we’re in awe of the cast for powering through it like absolute champs!

What's a little strep throat between co-workers?!

What’s a little strep throat among friends?!

Jen and Josh are the main sufferers this year so far, but last year it seemed to have swept through the majority of the cast in its many forms. At last year’s LA fan camp, we were lucky to have Josh, Sam, Jena, and Jeffrey all come out to sign for the fans. However, LA stands as the final leg of the CF and MJ1 press tours and it was clear to see that the cast was ready to crash. They were super friendly and gracious, but they looked utterly exhausted and Josh was bundled up in a big leather jacket and a knit cap on a day where the weather was a bit over 70F. And because we’re all sympathetic human beings, there’s a part of us that says “I feel so freaking bad for them.”

But that right there is why we all need to give this cast a million gold star stickers and lollipops to make them feel better. Surely they don’t enjoy being rushed around the world with various stages of premieritis cramping their style, but you know what? They do it. For us! Because we lap up all of this press and stand in line for days at the premiere venues, they push through it even when they probably just want to cuddle under the covers all day. They go on the red carpets and the tv shows where the occasional pundit will try to shame them for “not looking good” as they try not to cough a lung up, because the fans are also in the same vicinity hoping to see them. And that is fucking dedication!

Might we even call them badasses? We say yes, as Elizabeth Banks hosts a YouTube segment called “Ask A Badass” that an unknown female from the cast recorded with her in the midst of all the insanity. GIF PREVIEW TIME!

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Hopefully those cast members who have been mostly immune to premieritis so far (We’re looking at you, Sam Claflin and Elizabeth Banks!) will remain so and the rest of Mockingjay Part 1 promotion can go on relatively painlessly for the cast. In the meantime, let’s recognize this condition and give the cast a big thumbs up for all they do!

Because We’d End Up Fainting On That Red Carpet, Bro.
The Girl With The Pearl

VICTOR’S VILLAGE STUDENT SERIES: Bread and Circuses in The Hunger Games and the Roman Empire

SURPRISE! We have one more entry in the Victor’s Village student series! This last one is a thought-provoking, meaty article from HGBC’s “assistant fangirl” (aka teaching assistant), peetasgirl!

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In the Roman Empire:

The phrase, “bread and circuses,” was coined during the time of the ancient Roman Empire by Juvenal, a satirical writer. In its original Latin form, the phrase would have been “panem et circenses,” or “bread and games.” This statement has become a common phrase, even in modern political satire. It describes a self-serving government (or emperor) who has done nothing to serve the people, yet is able to maintain popularity by offering state-sponsored “gifts” of food and entertainment. Essentially a bribe, which is unknowingly taken, but which still has the desired effect. It is an underhanded tactic to maintain power and control over a people.

“Panem et circenses” was an actual political strategy, used by the Roman Emperors and Senators to maintain their powerful positions of authority over an ever-increasing span of Empire. These leaders correctly realized that if the general populace – vast in number – were to become dissatisfied with their government, it would be easily overthrown. Later in the Roman Empire, these entitlements had become so popular, that sponsoring the “games” became the peoples’ expectation. Rulers were often judged, not by their effectiveness as public servants, but by the quality of the games/gifts sponsored.

When “panem et circenses” was first penned by Juvenal, he was attempting to awaken the common people to their pathetic attitude of complacency. It was a wake-up call. Juvenal saw himself as a voice to the people, and decried the selfishness and ignorance that he witnessed in the general populace. Roman citizens, who had once proudly participated in their government, had willingly laid aside their civic responsibilities. Instead, they had become satisfied with temporary appeasements from a self-serving government. The citizens had sold their inheritance for a bowl of soup, satisfying the immediate appetites, but at a terrible cost – the loss of their rights in government.

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In The Hunger Games:

The post-apocalyptic nation of Panem draws its name from the first part of Juvenal’s phrase. At first, it seems quite ironic to name a nation “bread,” when its people have so little food. As I think about this, I think it was a brilliant move on the part of the author – it sets up the entire dystopia.

imagesThings are not as they ought to be in Panem. The nation’s name is Panem (bread), which is the one thing that everyone needs in order to survive (food). Naming a nation “bread” implies a land of plenty and promise – provision for all. This is implied in the name. It is a very hopeful name. The government wants to capitalize upon this hope, and BECOME the hope of the people. For this reason, any other source of hope (Katniss) can be dangerous.

The government of Panem made some very calculated moves, in order to be viewed as the sole provider of both bread and hope. There is plenty of bread, but not for everyone. The government (the provider) decides who gets the bread. They use the people’s hope and need as a means of both physical and psychological control. They keep the people hungry, keep them hoping for more, giving grain to the Districts monthly (but never too much), in order to maintain their image as “the provider.” What Panem’s leaders have created is a state of total dependence. By so doing, they ensure that the citizens in the Districts would never rebel against the hand that literally feeds them. The Districts cannot rebel against the Capitol – it is their only hope of survival.

The Capitol itself is another matter. If the citizens in the Capitol were to rebel against the government, there would be upheaval in all of Panem. The Capitol’s citizens live in such close proximity to President Snow and the government agencies, they could easily stage an effective coup. So, it is in the Capitol that we see the Roman Empire’s strategy of “panem et circenses” employed to its fullest extent.

Capitol citizens receive much more than bread – they may have all the food they wish. It is a society where excess has become the status quo. Their entertainment – the “circenses” – is sponsored by the state via The Hunger Games. Tributes fight to the death for the amusement of the Capitol’s citizens, giving them an exciting diversion, and distracting them from the reality of Panem’s national condition.

Crafted by one of HGBC's students

Crafted by one of HGBC’s students

We read about them in the books, living lives of extravagance, and we want to shake them and shout, “Wake up! Can’t you see how all the other Districts in your country are suffering, while you live so luxuriously? It’s not fair!” This is what Juvenal thought about the Romans, and why he made his famous “bread and circuses” statement long ago. Like the citizens of Rome, the citizens of the Capitol are completely ignorant of others’ hardships; they are asleep. The government prefers this, and carefully controls the media to portray the Districts as they see fit.

Capitol citizens are content to never think beyond their own self-centered lives, because they have been appeased by the government, and pacified by the media. They, too, are prisoners of the state of Panem, dependent upon the government as the sole provider of their “bread and circuses.” Unlike the citizens of the Districts, however, the Capitol’s people are completely unaware. They fail to realize their true position.

In Mockingjay, it becomes an especially harsh reality for the Capitol citizens to face, having the thin veneer of “bread and circuses” ripped away. For the first time, they witness what the government – and, unknowingly, themselves – had been carefully orchestrating for 75 years: A volatile nation, filled with governmental corruption and lies, where the wealth of the few weighs heavily upon the shoulders of the poor and starving.

Is it any wonder why Snow works to hard to keep everyone in the dark? To be the only hope?
Peetasgirl

Mockingjay Still-O-Rama Reactions

Mockingjay is less than two weeks away! Besides press tour interviews galore (and the return to the entire cast seemingly getting sick at once), there’s something else coming in droves: NEW STILLS AND BEHIND THE SCENES IMAGES!

Of course, you don’t just see a still. You see it and you have a reaction. Sometimes it’s just a basic “Oh that’s cool!” or “Meh”, but sometimes it’s something much bigger. So let’s share those more substantial reactions:

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Effie’s eyebrows are in a semi-natural state! Now are they gray-ish from years of over-treatment, plucking, etc? Or are we actually supposed to believe that homegirl has naturally light blonde eyebrows? Because as a natural blonde, that does not happen! Wait, what’s Effie’s natural hair color? Does SHE even know?!

District13-5

WIIIIIIIIIG! It’s like “The Mole” scene from Austin Powers for us at certain points. It’s not a bad wig– it’s actually a good one, hairline-wise and all that jazz. But you started thinking about how shiny and perfectly wavy her hair looks and then OH YEAH IT’S A WIG. Because nobody’s real hair ever stays that nice. We mean, Woody has a wig too but his reflects his character, thus is a total mess.

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Is that District 13 schematic just like… their screensaver or something? When they don’t have anything relevant to their missions, is that always just there in the background like “HEY GUYS! THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE!”? We’ve seen a lot of that sucker!

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Paylor in contrast to Katniss, Gale, and the film squad is beautiful. She’s got this very salt-to-the-Earth look that’s we’re digging. She is a part of a grassroot rebel movement. They don’t no stinkin’ armor! Okay, they need it, but they don’t have it and they fight anyway. And that is true badassery.

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Snow’s office is awesome and all, but there are young people lined up in Capitol clothing in the upper right-hand corner of this photo. Why are they there? Are they supporters? Could they be consorts toted around the city like Finnick and Johanna were? What are you doing to them Snow?!

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So you’re telling me that the dude with the cowboy hat and mutton chops is NOT in the movie? DAMMIT! DAMMIT ALL TO HELL! WHY NOT?!

The Mockingjay Clip That Left Us With One Wish

Have you been hiding in an underground bunker recently? If so, you my not know this already, but… THE FIRST MOCKINGJAY CLIP IS HERE! And it’s a heart-wrencher!

OBSERVE!

For people who don’t know the books, this clip is misleading. It almost looks like Peeta is friendly with Caesar Flickerman and possibly even enjoying their conversation. Sure, you can hear the hitch in his voice, but someone might assume it’s because of the tense subject– the surprise ending of the Quarter Quell. His tone could even represent his disappointment in what Katniss did and shiny new alliance with The Capitol. But we also think this clip is meant to be misleading.

Of course, we know better, but think about it: Katniss is really the one person who believes that Peeta isn’t willingly working in conjunction with the Capitol. The audience shouldn’t fully believe that he’s being held against his will, either. We’ll see Katniss advocating his innocence constantly, slowly the audience will start to believe her despite every other character being skeptical because she’s the protagonist, only to see him attempt to murder her somewhere toward the end, and it’ll be a glass case of emotion, Ron Burgundy style.

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I’m imagining that clip wise, we probably won’t see much Peeta outside of this one. Because it sets up that “Wait.. is Peeta a traitor now?” mindset that will make moviegoers eager to solve the mystery. Anything to negate that would be kind of counter-productive. Of course, that doesn’t mean other clips won’t mention Peeta. He’s kind of a big discussion point in this one and scenes discussing what should be done with him will be pretty spoiler-free on the grand scale of the story.

Another thing we’re loving about this? The dialogue is very, very similar to the book. With this script, screenwriters seem to have really taken the time to figure out what quotes from the book really work on film rather than simply trying to rephrase everything. We think it’s a really nice homage to the original story.

Oh, And Our One Wish? MOAR CLIPS!

The Girl With The Pearl

VICTOR’S VILLAGE STUDENT SERIES: Hunger Games History

We’re back with another installment of the Student Series! This time, HGBC’s class is digging into the historic events that likely inspired the series!

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I can hear Caesar Flickerman doing a “Whoo whoo whoo!”

I can hear Caesar Flickerman doing a “Whoo whoo whoo!”

If you haven’t noticed the correlation between ‘The Hunger Games’ and history… well, my friends, you’ve missed some of the whole point of how Suzanne Collins wrote the books. Not only did she intentionally write the reaping as a version of the “Theseus and the Minotaur” Greek myth, and Katniss’ story a reinvention of the real slave-turned-gladiator-turned-rebel Spartacus, but so much of the setting of the books is from your Roman history book. The tributes, the arenas, most of the names of Capitol citizens, and the Capitol’s excess: it all comes from Rome. In the following post, one of my high school students explains the connection of Roman gladiators to ‘The Hunger Games’.

From cactus: When you are first reading or explained the concept of the Hunger Games, the first word that will spring to mind is “Gladiator”. But the Games are even more similar to Roman gladiators than you might think. Here are the examples:

Roman inspired with a twist of sci fi

Roman inspired with a twist of sci fi

The easiest similarity to find (which is mostly based off of stereotypes and assumptions we make about Roman gladiators, which is actually a relatively small part of their culture, concerning their gladiatorial games) is probably the tributes fighting to the death in an enclosed arena.

Best scenario: to be attacked by a Mutt or a lion?

Best scenario: to be attacked by a Mutt or a lion?

What a lot of people don’t know is that the Gladiators were living in poverty, like 90% of the tributes, before they were chosen or forced into the arena. Many of the gladiators were, in fact, prisoners of war, or slaves, which can also be related to the people of the districts. But if and when a gladiator is victorious over his or her opponents, they are showered in riches, much like the victor of the Hunger Games. The only difference is that a lot of the time, even the victorious gladiator is sent back into the arena to fight again for the audience’s amusement, but even then, ‘Catching Fire’ can slightly relate to that when all of the tributes are former victors.

In Rome, they also had people fight animals, like lions for entertainment, or publicly executed Christians or “Pagans” in the arena. So whatever dystopian vibe ‘The Hunger Games’ emits, ancient Rome was far more corrupt and violent.

What about Rome and reality television? Tag, you’re it.
Hunger Games Bookclub

VICTOR’S VILLAGE STUDENT SERIES: No Place For A Girl On Fire

We’re back with Part 2 of our 3-part Student Series! Check out squirrelonfire’s thoughts on the power of repetition in the trilogy. Also, how much do you love that tag name?!

Be sure to comment and tell HGBC and her students what you think!

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One of my favorite things about in-depth re-reads of this trilogy is finding all the little phrases and words that Suzanne Collins used to build these books. For example, she describes Peeta as strong and steady repeatedly in ‘The Hunger Games’. That is one reason why it is so devastating when Peeta becomes… well… not steady. Another favorite repeated word is “owe”. When Haymitch brings home two victors instead of one, she owes him. When Finnick saves Peeta’s life, she owes him. AND SHE HATES OWING ANYONE ANYTHING!

I promise myself I will defeat his plan

I promise myself I will defeat his plan

One of my students goes into depth on this topic…

By squirrelonfire: “Catching Fire” has many themes of repetition, one of which being that Katniss keeps thinking about what she owes everyone (mostly Peeta). Katniss and Haymitch both agree that they owe Peeta, but they have different ideas of what that means. Katniss believe that since Haymitch worked so hard in the last games to keep her alive that it is Peeta’s turn to get saved. And Haymitch thinks that since he helped Katniss last time, Peeta gets to choose what he wants in these games. This is very interesting in how it plays out because Peeta will stop at nothing to save Katniss, while Katniss is trying to save Peeta but still not sure what she wants. Katniss is always changing her mind about what she owes different people. I think that it would be exhausting, but Suzanne Collins uses it as a tactic to write how Katniss thinks about different people and situations.

No place for a girl like me? Just watch me, Snow.

No place for a girl like me? Just watch me, Snow.

One of the other topics that I find interesting is the “Girl on Fire” as the theme of how the public (in the Capitol as well as the districts) views her. In the Capitol, it is just a fascinating fad started by a talented stylist and they love it, but the people in the districts see it as much more. In the districts, it is a spark that will start a fire that is rebellion. And they use her and her mockingjay as a symbol of defiance. “Girl on Fire” isn’t only how the public views Katniss, but also how she views herself. I really like the last sentence of “Catching Fire” Part II where she sees the arena and thinks: This is no place for a girl on fire.

Perhaps you “owe” it to yourself to find your own favorite repetition,

Hunger Games Bookclub

VICTOR’S VILLAGE STUDENT SERIES: Catching Fire Flashback

We’ve got a short but very exciting new series here on Victor’s Village! Our friend Hunger Games Bookclub is now teaching The Hunger Games to our youth as part of her Creative Writing class!

For the next three days, we’ll be posting guest posts from HGBC and her students, gaining unique perspectives on a series that they’ve (understandably) become very enthusiastic about! We’re calling it our “Student Series”. Almost sounds professional, right?!

By all means, please share your thoughts about the posts with HGBC and her teen students!

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*Spoiler Alert*

Flashback to the first time that you read ‘Catching Fire’: the gasp when you realized Peeta had been taken hostage and the chill in your bones at Gale’s words,

“Katniss, there is no District Twelve.”

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Kindergarten Katniss and Peeta? Awwww!

Were you a teenager? Those of us fans that discovered ‘The Hunger Games’ in our adult years sometimes forget that the trilogy was written for the teens. Teaching a high school class on ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy has given me opportunity to look at Katniss’ story again through fresh (much younger!) eyes. The following are excerpts written by several of my students from an assignment on Literary Devices in the books. I hope it reminds you that Suzanne Collins not only wrote an action-packed trilogy, but she also told a layered, complex story in a way that was accessible for young adult readers.

From thereisnodistrict14: A flashback is a literary device used by authors to convey a message to the reader. It is when a character suddenly remembers something from a long time ago in their life. For example, there is a flashback in ‘Catching Fire’ where Peeta and Katniss are outside the train on the tracks during a train malfuntion. Peeta is telling Katniss about when she was in school and he had a secret crush on her and she sang a song in class. The author is using this flashback to convey to the reader that there is a deeper level to Katniss and Peeta’s artificial romance.

On the count of three?

On the count of three?

From dontbeastupidfangirl: Symbolism is… an object that represents something different to give it deeper meaning. Sometimes an action, event, or word can have symbolic value… The Mockingjay is a perfect example of symbolism in ‘The Hunger Games’. It represents the spark of rebellion, the unity of the districts against the Capitol, and the rebellion itself. Another form of symbolism is when Katniss pulls out the poison berries and she and Peeta threaten to kill themselves rather than each other. It symbolizes the districts being fed-up with what the Capitol is forcing them to do. Suzanne Collins did an excellent job with symbolism in ‘The Hunger Games’ series.

From cactus: In ‘The Hunger Games’ the spark was the metaphor for the main plot to be resolved later in the trilogy; the rebellion, and the spark meaning the slow birth of rebellious behavior among the districts. In ‘Catching Fire’, the main plot stems from the “spark” from book one igniting and “catching fire”. This creates uprisings in the districts and sets up the last book to full blown rebellion and war. This is clear symbolism. They even use Katniss’ symbol as the mockingjay to intertwine with the whole catching fire theme, when she twirls and her wedding dress “catches fire” and the fire consumes the dress (another symbol for the Capitol’s strong hold, deciding even what clothes you wear) and transforms it into something new: a mockingjay. I love this scene. It uses three big symbols to tell the story of this entire book in a matter of lines.

Caesar's face says it all!

Caesar’s face says it all!

Take it from my students… don’t you owe yourself a re-read?
Hunger Games Bookclub