Books

Snapping The Mockingjay

Yes, we’ve already complained about how we’re already over the SnapChat element of the Mockingjay Part 2 campaign. And honestly, that still stands! We will take one website reveal of images over twenty 10-second snaps ANY DAY. But today was kind of an exception!

Over the course of the week, the MockingjayPt2 Snapchat has been running various contests to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Mockingjay novel. Today, fans were tasked with drawing their own version of the Mockingjay cover.

This contest proved something we already knew: The world has waaaayyyy too much time on its hands!

But also, somebody get these kiddos a real art-based program to mess around on, because some of them are pretty good!

CNbiJ3BWoAABAMR CNcS1QfWgAA_ssX unnamed (1)

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We’re Snapchat amateurs, at best. We can barely manage to add short spurts of text to our snaps. Our drawn in hearts and smiley faces are lopsided like it’s nobody’s business. Yet these damn users created in tact shapes and shading!

Seriously, how long do you have to spend drawing with one finger to get that good at it?! Maybe they just have natural skillz that we don’t. Let’s hope it’s that and not the rabid dependency on the app!

My Mockingjay Would Look Like Tic-Tac-Toe Gone Wrong,
The Girl With The Pearl

Going Back For The Cat (Or Dog)

So today we’re going to get serious because we work out all our feelings by relating them to books!

This is an apology to a fictional character– more specifically, Primrose Everdeen.

At the Mockingjay Part 2 panel at Comic-Con, Conan O’Brien joked with Willow Shields, saying “I was so mad at you when you went back for the cat!” And mostly, our reaction was “Well.. duh.” It was a rash, irresponsible move made by a young girl who’s almost too sensitive for this world. Buttercup was an adult cat and hell, cats don’t even live that long. Why would anyone risk anything for a cat?! Katniss, while we loves her sister, thinks she’s an overly sentimental piece of work when it comes to this issue and audiences kinda do too.

Well, I’m sorry, Prim. It’s unfair to judge you because I really do understand.

unnamed

This picture is roughly 17 years, 8 months old. I’m 10-years-old– hence the bad hair, fashion, etc. The puppy here is Jake, my family’s Jack Russell Terrier who died of old age this past Sunday, four days before my 28th birthday. He was the best dog ever… though perhaps I’m biased.

And truthfully, I totally would’ve gone back from him in an emergency situation.

It’s not that uncommon. In scary situations, people rescue their pets. They sometimes get injured or even die themselves in the attempt. To some, that just sounds crazy, but not to me. I don’t consider myself all too sentimental, but pets become an important part of your life in a way that most humans don’t even. They’re a furry ball of friendship, playfulness, and companionship without an ounce of judgment. And dammit, we all need some of that! So risking it all for our animal friends makes sense.

It’s silly to think of the continuum of the story after the final chapter (but before the epilogue) because everything is just head canon from that point on, but we can’t even imagine how Katniss felt when Buttercup finally went. We see the two forming a bond over the loss of Prim at the end of Mockingjay, and I’d like to believe that they stuck together and learned to love each other. That means that things would be rough for Katniss not just because she lost a pet, but because that pet was one of the few things she had that linked back to her sister. And urgh… we can’t even.

Though the most minor of minor characters in The Hunger Games, Buttercup makes a major impact on the plot and the characters’ emotional wellbeing, which says something big. So we get it, Prim. And really, you’re awesome for doing it.

And Without That, There’d Be No Buttercup: Evil Overlord Fanon Memes,
The Girl With The Pearl

Is Trailer Peeta the REAL Peeta?

One subject that’s been debated in the fandom since the theatrical trailer release has been… Peeta. Because we will always want to talk about Peeta, and analyze every last detail about this character. It’s what we do. Relating to this particular debate is whether Peeta’s speech in the trailer is out of character for him (Thanks to Satsumarena for bringing this up in our Trailer Reaction post comments).

Peeta says,

Our lives were never ours. They belong to Snow and our deaths too. But if you kill him, Katniss, if you end all of this, all those deaths…they mean something.

peeta trailer 2I think the main question is whether we think Peeta would be encouraging Katniss to kill Snow at this point in the plot. Or even broader, if he would ever encourage killing Snow. Considering the blurry objects in the background, I’m assuming this is in Tigris’s basement. At this point, Peeta has struggled with the deaths that his hijacking episode helped provoke, but felt real remorse and sorrow at it. He was suicidal after this happened. This is after the “Stay with me. Always” kiss in the sewers. All of his energy is being taken up with staying in control so he doesn’t hurt any more people. He’s fighting to get back to his “Real” self in the most stressful of circumstances, but you can see the real Peeta is slowly winning that battle.

Book!Peeta tells Katniss this in Tigris’s basement

I think…you still have no idea. The effect you can have… None of the people we lost were idiots. They knew what they were doing. They followed you because they believed you really could kill Snow.

We know Francis & Co have put book quotes in the movie whenever possible. So why the change? What is it about this reworked version that’s more evocative? And does it make sense for Peeta to say?

Well, first of all, I think Trailer!Peeta’s speech fits better for a trailer, and I think it will work well in the film. And Trailer!Peeta is raising the personal stakes here a bit. When he says OUR lives, I interpret that as his and Katniss’s lives, how their lives and deaths belonged to Snow from the reaping on. And when Peeta speaks of all those deaths, there’s a cut to Finnick fighting the lizard mutts (SO heartbreakingly good there). The reworked version flows so well.

Although worded more strongly in favor of killing Snow in the movie, from the book quote above, Peeta is telling Katniss she should kill Snow for all those who have been lost. And Katniss gets it. She thinks to herself

I don’t know why his voice reaches me when no one else’s can. But if he’s right, and I think he is, I owe the others a debt that can only be repaid in one way.

And then she makes plans to kill Snow.

So what we have here is some nice reworking of the book to help us more clearly see what both Peeta and Katniss are thinking very quickly. Well done.

Movie Peeta is Real Peeta. And we can relax.

JJ

 

The Sight That Made Our Mockingjay-Loving Souls Weep

Finally, things are happening in the fandom! FINALLLLLLLY!

There are brand spankin’ new Mockingjay Part 2 stills that we’ll be talking about soon– but they’re still coming so we’ll wait a little while longer.

Instead, we’re gonna soak in all our really, really intense fandom feels, thanks to Nina Jacobson:

There are two thoughts that came to mind as we saw this:
1) OMG THEY’RE FINALLY DOING THE EPILOGUE AND IT’S GOOD! The setting is beautiful, Jen and Josh are doing their Everlark thing, and it’s all coming full circle. And despite some division among the fans, we freakin’ love the epilogue.
2) OMG THEY’RE FINALLY DOING THE EPILOGUE AND IT’S SO VERY PAINFUL! This means that in just a couple days, filming is over. This is the last time Katniss and Peeta are happening on screen (bar an awful remake in 20 years or so), everyone else is donezo, and in a few short months, all we’ll have is the memory of fandom anticipation. THE END IS NIGH.

Either way, we kind of want to collapse into a ball and cry, rocking ever so slightly as we cradle this image in our arms. We’re pretty sure Nina Jacobson was trying to kill us (but not really).

Hell, the overall feel of the scene is just so enormous that it’s making us nostalgic and downright sappy. And then… What is Katniss holding?! Is that a baby? And is that another tot standing off to the side? Jen’s nephews, nonetheless! WE CAN’T EVEN HANDLE IT!

So are you prepared to be a bucket of outrageous feelings for the next several months? Because I’m pretty sure that’s where all this is headed!

Off To Listen To Sad Music And Contemplate Existence…
The Girl With The Pearl

Here’s Effie. Kind of.

Today, another image from Tim Palen’s upcoming bookTIM PALEN: Photographs from the Hunger Games, was released via Entertainment Weekly. This time, we got a look at District 13-era Effie.

effie-trinket

Wait, is that even Effie? Of course we recognize her from the inventive use of the bandana and some signature accessories she was able to swipe on her way out of the Capitol, but her face looks a bit different. Maybe it’s that Effie dug heavily into the makeup stash used during Katniss’s first failed Mockingjay transformation. Or maybe someone went a little Photoshop happy.

The photograph itself is quite lovely, and the posing very much in Effie’s character. I suppose if we imagine that Effie commissioned this piece and wanted her face to have all that extra…work to make the “best impression” possible, then, ok, we get it.

Really though, we think someone just really enjoys using Photoshop.

JJ

Creating a Fun-Filled Panem, in Dubai?

There were lots of funny pranks pulled throughout the fandom last week in celebration of April Fools, however there was one legit piece of news that was real, but it ALMOST sounded like a joke.  The Hunger Games Theme Park Attraction – It’s happening. In Dubai.

dubaiWhen the news came out on March 31, we knew it wasn’t a joke, because Lionsgate executives have said on multiple occasions that they were exploring opportunities to add the Hunger Games as a theme park attraction. It will be a part of a larger Hollywood theme park, Motiongate Dubai. According to the press release, it will “feature state-of-the-art theme park attractions and a retail facility inspired by … The Hunger Games franchise.” Not much in the way of details beyond that were released, other than it would be located in Dubai and another Lionsgate movie property, Step Up, will also be a part of the attractions when it opens in October 2016.

We’ve been very wary of this theme park idea all along and nothing about the announcement has changed our perspective on it. The Hunger Games costume exhibitions and the upcoming touring Exhibition starting this summer in New York have focused on showing how the books have been turned into movies. They’re basically extensions of the behind the scenes goodies of a Blu-ray, and we like that. The word “theme park attraction” invites broader world-building that could be problematic if not handled with care. So what are they going to do? Will this be some amped up version of the Samsung-sponsored Comic Con event last year, complete with Capitol Gallery and a Capitolized Peeta’s Bakery? District 12 themed rides? An arena?????

Ok, we need to stop thinking of the possibilities cause this is just getting dark and we’re probably just thinking of the worst possible scenarios. After all, remember this passage from The Hunger Games when Katniss is about to enter the arena?

Arenas

They wouldn’t do that, right? No. No, they couldn’t. THEY WOULD NOT DO THAT. True, these books/movies are just stories, so if they created an arena attraction no one would have truly died there. But it would definitely be creepy and way too “Capitol” for us to fathom.

Even if they don’t make the “attraction” an arena, placed in the context of the super-wealth of Dubai, there’s a lot of ways for this to be way too Capitol for our tastes. But then again, us three American women of Victor’s Village are clearly not the intended visitors for this attraction. I spent a week in Dubai in 2011, and while it was a fascinating experience, I’m certainly not taking that long of a journey again simply to go to a theme park when there are plenty of other places still to visit in the big, beautiful world. The Hunger Games attractions will draw in people who live closer to the geographic area, people who were planning to visit Dubai anyway for the larger theme park experience, or people visiting to gawk at the fabulous buildings and ski slope inside a mall.

We just hope they keep the story’s themes top of mind when putting this all together, otherwise it’s going to be really awkward and gross.

We really don’t want this to get awkward and gross.

JJ

Josh and Franco

While we’ve been toiling away wishing for more Mockingjay Part 2 news, the principle cast of our favorite franchise have all gone off and got them selves some fancy new gigs. Now this is where I’d usually wax on and on about Jen working with David O. Russell again, but not today! Today it’s all about James Franco. Yes, you read me right– JAMES FRANCO, shout-y letters and all. Our beloved Peeta is currently filming a film with James Franco, the man who collects advanced degrees, and makes memes out of himself on Instagram, has about 80 different jobs at once, is starring and directing. Awkward runs on sentences aside, this is pretty interesting news! Why? ‘Cause the film is an adaptation of one of John Steinbeck’s lesser known novels, In Dubious Battle. Steinbeck of course is the American fiction writer best known for novels like East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row, and a collection of short stories including The Red Pony.

This is the second Steinbeck adaptation I have heard anything about in the last twenty years. The last was oddly enough Gary Ross’s announcement that he’d like to try his hand at a two part adaptation of East of Eden, starring Jennifer Lawrence no less. However, instead of our dear Jen stepping into a role created by Mr. Steinbeck– it’s Josh. I gotta say I like this development.

Now everyone stare at Josh in Great Depression Era clothes, and not think “District 12 is calling for its clothing back!”

Check out that pageboy cap!

Check out that pageboy cap!

Yes, that's Selena Gomez.

Yes, that’s Selena Gomez.

All right, that’s enough! Now everyone go read In Dubious Battle!

Them There Eyes

Why We Come Back to The Hunger Games

Mockingjay Part 1 DVDs should all be in our hot little hands now, and our DVD or Blu-ray players should be whirling away as we watch every last tidbit. Or, um– maybe you’re like me and work too much, and instead of being the good Hunger Games fan, you fall into bed every night, and in place of having a re-watch of your favorite scenes, you pick up a book that has nothing to do with the Hunger Games, perhaps the book even takes place on another planet, continent, in an other century, and in the end are able to only read a handful of pages at a time– because you’re just that tired.

Hi, I’m a Hunger Games fan who hasn’t done much Hunger Games fan-ing in a while. Some of us live our fandom lives like there’s no tomorrow, they have Tumblr’s, and Etsy shops, they host fandom meet ups, and make manips, and write fan fiction, others only delve into them when the timing is right. Drinking Games, re-watches with enthusiastic, but fandom-ignorant family members, excitement over the beginning of promotional materials for the last and final installment of the film series be damned– fandom is an ephemeral thing that for many can only be sustainable for short bursts

OMG it's 19th century Peeta! No... it's Oliver Twist.

OMG it’s 19th century Peeta! No… it’s Oliver Twist.

of time over a smattering of years, because seriously– if we stayed at the excitement level we’re at when Peeta goes Hijacked!Peeta on us– we might all be dead.

I burn for the days when every last scrap of Hunger Games gossip, and minimal legitimate material was enough to keep us going for weeks, hell– months on end. Philosophical blithering aside, I question almost constantly why we keep coming back for more?

Are we gluttons, are we masochist? Or is fandom something else entirely?

Stepping Out On The Hunger Games

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I have a confession to make. I’ve been stepping out on The Hunger Games, meaning I’ve been cheating on it. So loudly, and proudly I’d like to declare it here and now that I’ve cheated on The Hunger Games trilogy with Diana Gabaldon’s epic Outlander series, or as she calls it sometimes “the big books”. Don’t be mad, or be mad, it’s your prerogative– but as my need for new and exciting, and unknown outcomes, and characterization up the wazoo, I fell into the swirling, faceted story that is Claire Randal’s amazing Technicolor world.

I love The Hunger Games, I’m a crazy ass THG fan, that’s why I’ve written for this fantastic blog for over two years now. Although I must acknowledge that I’ve been absent for several months due to familial obligations that have made writing twice a week, or anything beyond text messages– next to impossible. It’s a long story, a boring one actually, let’s just leave it at this– broken bones, not mine. The Hunger Games though is like a little baby that I found on the side of the road, and now it’s all grown up, and is making billions of dollars in the foreign markets, and I’m left at home knitting, saying “I remember when!” in a haggard, world-weary voice. The Hunger Games has become nostalgic for me, kind of like The X-Files (my oldest, truest, and longest fan obsession). I like to visit it, pick up my copies off my book shelf, thumb through the pages, find passages again, and relish in the memories, the feelings. But I’m a big fat cheater now, because I do almost the same thing with the Outlander books, as well as the television series.

Before I get comments flung at me saying things like “Outlander is a romance novel series! Ew!” I’m going to preemptively defend the stance that it’s not. It’s a science fiction fantasy, and historical drama, that also has an intense, complicated, heated love story weaving through its probably more than a million pages. If I was going to compare Outlander to anything though, I’d say that it reminds me of Battlestar Galactica in its scope, its drama, its humor, its world building, and its characterization. And coincidentally the executive producer of the Starz adaptation of the book series is the executive producer of Battlestar Galactica. Go figure!

Things that Outlander and The Hunger Games have in common: The lead character is a strong, capable, willful, opinionated female. That said character, just like Katniss is thrust into an impossible situation and has to make due with her wits, and the skills she possesses. Sensitive, brave, and charming male counterparts, that are equal in characterization to the female lead. Bad things happen, really bad things, like death, and limbs being lost, also sea sickness. Epic story that spans years, locations, and there’s surprisingly a lot of fashion talk. A love triangle, a really really complicated love triangle. Livestock.

I’m a cheater, and I admit it– but Jamie Fraser made me do it, and it was so worth it. Sorry Peeta.

James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser... er Sam Heughan

James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser… er Sam Heughan

Homeless Peeta

Mockingjay Part 1 had some significant changes from the book. The biggest is Effie in District Thirteen, and I think we all love that.  There was another change that’s insignificant in Part 1 but raises some questions for the ending of Part 2.

The Capitol destroyed Peeta’s house!

Movie Catching Fire already changed where Peeta’s house was a little – making him live directly across from Katniss instead of “three houses away.” The closer proximity made for a more cinematic snow kiss reunion scene, so that makes sense.

It’s clear from the short scene in Mockingjay Part 1 when Katniss returns to District 12 that the houses across the way from Katniss’s home are destroyed. This is another change from the book, where “the grass has been scorched and the gray snow fell here as well, but the twelve fine houses of Victor’s Village are unscathed.”

Sorry, Peeta. In the movie you not only lose your mind and your family, but you lose your house too (on the bright side, you got to keep your leg!)

VV MJP1

As mentioned, this change has no bearing on Mockingjay Part 1, but it does raise questions about the ending of Part 2 when Peeta returns to District 12. Does he live with Haymitch first? I can’t really imagine him planting the Primroses and then saying to Katniss, “I planted them for her. Can we shack up now?” Nah, that’s got to take a little more time.

The nearly total destruction of the Victor’s Village could indicate that they’re going to make the ending stray even more from the books, but I don’t really want to wrap my mind around that possibility yet. For now, I’m just going to assume that Peeta stays with Haymitch for a while, continuing to recover, as Katniss and Peeta “grow back together” and then shack up, maybe even in a new house eventually. Because in the end, I can’t imagine Katniss and Peeta choosing to live in a house given to them by “winning” the Hunger Games if they could live anywhere else. I think they would want to start fresh in a different home as soon as they were able to get out of there.

I hope Haymitch’s oven is still working. Boy’s gotta bake.

JJ