FANDOM: Some people just don’t get it. Or they get some fandoms, but perhaps not yours. Sometimes it’s just a little faux pas that’s a whole ton of hilarious.
The MTV Movie Awards were pretty uninteresting and uneventful this year despite plenty of Hunger Games WINNING (Jen for Best Female Performance, Josh for Best Male Performance, and Catching Fire for Movie of the Year!) Perhaps the most amusing moment of the night came just after Josh gave his first acceptance speech:
JUST LOOK AT JOSH’S FACE. LOOK AT IT!
Yes, there’s not that much of a difference between The Hunger Games and The Hunter Games. It could have been a slip of the tongue, because we doubt Cameron Diaz lives under a rock THAT big. But it’s not the first time we’ve heard someone say “The Hunter Games”.
There’s a chronic thing among people who just don’t get the series:
They can only manage one of the two words.
Either “Hunger” is replaced with any two syllable word ending in -er, or “Games” is replaced with a kinda sorta rhyming word.
The Hunter Games. The Hunger Dames. The Bunker Games. The Hunger Pains. And these are people genuinely suggesting this is the title. It’s exhausting.
We’re sure you’ve heard some good ones too. Even people who enjoy the series (but aren’t super enthusiastic about it) do this on occasion. It’s like a disease! As fans, we’ve gotten used to this ridiculousness, but perhaps it can be cured.
That’s right: They got a fever and the only cure is more Hunger Games. If we all reach out, maybe we can save them from their embarrassing, grievous misnomers!
Advocating, Annoying… What’s The Difference, Really?
The Girl With The Pearl
We’ve always had a thing for book-to-movie adaptations, particularly in YA. Not all of the adaptations are stellar, but there’s something inexplicably interesting about them. Then again, I don’t consider myself a very critical moviegoer. I recognize the flaws in many adaptations, but I don’t care.
Everyone’s making a huge deal about young adult novels being turned into movies, but really it’s NO DIFFERENT than any other type of adaptation in the sense that things have to be judged on a case by case basis. They’re different stories and visions. But that doesn’t mean they offer no value to the generations. There are people out there who wax poetic about Molly Ringwald movies, then call enjoying current YA adaptations immature. And worn out action movies flop all the time, but nobody’s railing against them. Holy hypocrisy, Batman!
In that spirit, we’re going to talk about YA books we love that will become (in some cases, hopefully become) movies. They range from dystopian to contemporary to fantasy, from “coming out next week” to “recently optioned for film”.
DIVERGENT trilogy by Veronica Roth (Dystopian)
Not gonna lie. We really, really, really did not like the last book in the Divergent trilogy. After reading, I actually referred to screwing up the last book in the series as “pulling an Allegiant”. But we fell in love with the first novel and so far, the clips have looked interesting, bar the occasional hokey line. The first book is fast-paced, emotional, and really intense at times. Our butts will be in the seats next week!
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green (Contemporary)
The following sentence requires a lot of commitment, but I’m going there: TFIOS, as fans lovingly abbreviate it, is my favorite standalone book of all time. At least at this point in my life. Yes, it’s about a terminally ill teen whose quiet existence is turned around after meeting someone who’s willing to connect with her despite it all. Everyone goes “Urgh! Cancer kid novel!” But it’s SO MUCH MORE than that. John Green is one of the most phenomenal writers in existence. TFIOS is smart, honest, and brave. It’s the kind of book that tears you apart and puts you back together again. And the trailer was so freaking good! We expect to laugh and cry and then do it all over again.
THE MAZE RUNNER trilogy by James Dashner (Dystopian)
There’s a lot of back and forth about The Maze Runner, coming out in September, for two reasons:
1) The industry seems to have high hopes for it.
2) There’s a male lead and all but one co-star is also male. Some people believe that this is the reason the industry has high hopes for it.
We call shenanigans! The Maze Runner is a dystopian series, but it’s also a mystery series. You never know what’s going to happen next. Details trickle out only as they’re needed and you can’t help but want more. But you need to know. If the movie keeps that up, we’d certainly forgive the gender discrepancy.
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE trilogy by Laini Taylor (Fantasy)
DOSAB is in the very, very early stages. It’s only got a director, as of right now. The books are worth it anyway. Laini Taylor has this lyrical quality about her writing that makes it easy to flit between modern day Prague and another realm with Karou, a seemingly normal girl who just happens to serve as a currier for otherworldly creatures. The films are going to require some serious CGI, so let’s hope for an amazing technical team!
SHADOW AND BONE (Grisha) trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (Fantasy)
This project was optioned by producer David Heyman of Harry Potter fame and it’s easy to see why. This series is BADASS! Leigh Bardugo has such a creative take on her world and a keen skill for molding stunning characters. The books are quite dark and intense, but there’s some amazing moments of levity in there too. They take on both whimsical and gothic elements of fantasy so effortlessly. If translated onto screen well, the films will be stellar!
PANIC by Lauren Oliver (Contemporary)
Panic came out last week, but it was optioned by Universal months ago. You’ve probably heard people say it sounds exactly like The Hunger Games, but other than the competition element, these people are full of it. Panic is a contemporary based in the impoverished fictional small town of Carp, New York, where students pay into a pot throughout high school and after graduation, they can choose to compete in a deadly competition of dares to win the money. There are two narrators: Heather enters because she’s trying to outrun herself– she thinks she could be a better, more likable, even prettier person if she could just leave Carp– and Dodge desperately wants revenge, even if it means murder. Important note: THEY DO NOT FALL IN LOVE. THX.
Hopefully, this list will do you some good if you’re adaptation junkies like us!
The Girl With The Pearl
This post actually comes after a request! Carrie emailed us to see what we thought of The Capitol’s perception of Peeta, which is a damn good question. She also said she didn’t feel comfortable writing a post because she’s not “a Hunger Games scholar” (implying that we are, which is both adorable and HILARIOUS).
Let’s start off by saying this: There is noooooo easy answer. Capitol views of Peeta are both positive and negative, depending on the time and the circumstances and the people involved.
In the beginning, it’s easy for everyone in the Capitol to love Peeta. He’s sweet, quick-witted, and appears to be a hopeless romantic. The star-crossed lovers routine he masterminded is insanely popular, so even Snow and the Gamemakers appreciate him. There’s a temporary usefulness they see in him, because citizens would be saddened by his death, but they weren’t going to turn around and overrun the games because of it. His death probably wouldn’t have even caused a Rue-like uprising, just a collective “Oh, that’s a bummer!” He’s a convenient element of the show. That is, until the berries. The Capitol audiences love him even more– What a special ending! What romance! What showmanship!– but Snow certainly ain’t drinking that kool-aid!
Peeta takes part in that berries ploy, too, but it wasn’t his idea. He’s got Snow’s attention just as much as Katniss, but he’s not seen as the threat. Snow sees straight through both Katniss and Peeta’s different intentions, sees Peeta’s genuine affection for Katniss and his almost comfortable life in District 12 that he probably doesn’t want to lose, and thinks “How can I use this?” Note that Peeta isn’t the one Snow needs to threaten into compliance before the Victory Tour.
We’ve said before that Peeta has a gift for words, but Katniss has a gift for action. Great speakers have really positive effects on people. The Capitol wants to live vicariously through his words. They want to understand him. They want to believe in what he has to say. But action really gets attention. While the Capitol is really fond of Peeta, it’s the “DAMN! Did you just see that?! I LOVE HER!” response to Katniss Everdeen that really catches their attention and poses a threat to Snow. Words can be reshaped and spun in ways bold actions cannot. Though Peeta causes some trouble with his public speaking engagements in Catching Fire, stirring the districts into uprising and getting Capitol audiences to finally take some issue with The Quarter Quell, it’s nothing that can’t be contained. In fact, his speeches are ultimately what saves his life.
Snow knows that The Capitol still has a very favorable opinion of the star-crossed lovers from District 12 after the clock arena’s destruction. With the acquisition of Peeta, Snow can leverage Peeta’s feelings for Katniss and loyalty to others involved in The Rebellion to get what he wants. Peeta is forced to spin the story in The Capitol’s favor in propaganda across Panem, talking about how Katniss has been brainwashed and Rebellion is not worth it. Snow gets comfortable in the concept that Peeta would never become a threat. He’s more of a puppet. Of course, we know Snow is wrong for two reasons:
1) Peeta does what Snow says, but only after being ruthlessly beaten. He makes his shaken state obvious throughout his segments, giving audiences the subtle message that all is not as it seems.
2) When he realizes that Snow is out to kill the others no matter what he does, Peeta busts open his plan on national television to save the lives of the people in District 13. His thanks is a good ol’ hijacking.
Snow and The Capitol continuously underestimate Peeta. They think he’s the weak link and maybe, at first, he is softer than Katniss. What they don’t count on is the different kind of strength he possesses. He stands up to the Capitol in systematical ways that convince people that the government is deceptive without putting on a big show. He recovers from a brainwashing most people never do because he’s got some serious mental fortitude. And even in the end, when Katniss Everdeen has been labeled a deeply disturbed byproduct of war, the truth of Peeta Mellark’s troubles remains mostly under wraps and it’s likely Panem audiences are still quite smitten with him.
Snow never even saw it coming.
Essentially, Peeta Wins The “Most Popular” Superlative In The Capitol Yearbook,
The Girl With The Pearl
Oh, the Olympics! When several countries from across the globe come together to settle who’s better once and for all. At least as far as certain bouts of athleticism go!
And this year, things seem very Hunger Games-y. With a fine sprinkling of Rocky IV in the margins, because who can resist a good Ivan Drago reference? Seriously, though!
Exhibit A: The Tribute Olympic Parade Escorts
Who knew Effie had so many co-workers?!
Between the giant decorative headpieces and the torso accessories, these women are clearly straight out of the Capitol. Not to mention how smiley they are as they escort most of these athletes toward likely defeat!
Exhibit B: The Stylist Waz Here
Yes, the Olympic games always involved countries entering in their own unique outfits. But every time, they seem to get more and more outrageous. Some countries were normal, but the USA went for that kitsch “panel sweater knitted by Great Grandma” look while Russia looked like one of those Santa Claus themed charity runs people do around the holidays. Also, Bermuda showed up on blazers and Bermuda shorts because DUH! THE NAME HAS BERMUDA IN IT and we just… can’t even… WHY? *facepalm*
Exhibit C: The Welcome
Let’s face it, Vladimir Putin didn’t look particularly happy to be hosting this shindig.
Exhibit D: Sponsorship
There are A LOT of people who have a lot of money invested in the Olympic games. While some governments do produce financial backing to help their athletes attend the games and the competitions leading up to them, many countries including the United States leave their athletes dependent on corporate sponsorship (unless they come from very wealthy families). If they want to compete, they have to win over the sponsors by emulating their perfect little competitor. Someone fierce yet lovable with an excellent shot at winning.
So you know how you get really, really sick of seeing athletes in ridiculous amounts of commercials surrounding the Olympics? They’re sick of it too! We all have something in common!
Exhibit E: The Careers
While it’s not true of all athletes, it seems quite a few were born into their sport. Why do you think so many siblings compete together? Their parents had this life planned out for them since they were in the womb. They trained relentlessly, starting at a very young age. It was a full time job even then. They were raised believing that Olympic gold was the major goal of their lifetime. These aren’t just people who want to win, these are people who have kind of been trained to believe they’ve failed their country if they don’t win. (Here’s a great article by former luge competitor Samantha Retrosi on this.)
On The Upside, There’s No Murder!
The Girl With The Pearl
Thank you for being you, Suzanne Collins! For writing The Hunger Games series, of course, but also for allowing it to be loved for what it is.
Yes, we’ve talked about how we wished you were more actively involved in the fandom and that still stands. But at the same time, your lack of chatter regarding the series helps maintain the mystery and the purity and just recently, we’ve realized just how much we appreciate that!
As you’ve probably heard, JK Rowling recently put the Harry Potter fandom in an absolute tizzy when she recently described Ron and Hermione, one of the most popular relationships in literature, as “wish fulfillment” and a stubborn choice to stick to her original plans for the series even though it was “not for reasons of credibility”. It doesn’t help that these quotes have been sensationalized by media sources saying she regrets writing the relationship and that Hermione should have ended up with Harry (which would directly contradict many of her earlier interviews and was actually implied by Emma Watson, not JKR, during the interview in question.) Unfortunately, it was super easy for the media to imply all these things because JKR sliced that can of worms wide open, seven freaking years after the end of the series. Fans who understand exactly why Ron and Hermione worked as a couple (like us!) are outraged and Harry/Hermione shippers, would Jo once playful agreed were delusional for ignoring “anvil-sized hints” to the contrary, are simultaneously rejoicing and demanding an apology. Despite the full interview explaining the situation with a little more depth to show JKR is not anti-R/Hr and the fact that none if this changes the ending to the Harry Potter books or movies, the whole fandom is a complete clusterfuck.
Now imagine if Suzanne Collins did something similar? What if several years from now, she tells the media that in hindsight, Katniss probably should have ended up with Gale. Because they came from the same type of background and they presented each other with fewer challenges to see the world differently than they already did. That it just would have made more sense if she stuck with the totally stagnant cliche in which the hero falls for their best friend, suggesting that was the more credible option than what her intuition originally convinced her to write.
We’re pretty sure we’d rip all our hair out.
Relationships are not the only thing this could happen with, of course. New details on Panem’s infrastructure? The actual names of Katniss and Peeta’s children? Suzanne’s doubts about killing so-and-so or the severity of so-and-so’s attitude in Chapter X? Even these minor things would drive this fandom crazy!
Do we want to know every single detail, even the ones we don’t need? Sure! Do we need them? Prooooobably not! Sometimes it is better to wonder than hear all the answers and revelations, because as JK Rowling has proven– all the answers and the revelations can certainly take away from the magic and the mystery.
Live and let live (in a fictional plane of existence as originally concluded at the end of the final book.)
The Rest Is Up To Fan Fiction,
The Girl With The Pearl
Because it ain’t over til the last interview is over, we shall not discuss the BEST TOPIC EVER tonight!
Instead, here’s some fun for the regulars that we usually bring you earlier in the year, but Joan Rivers wouldn’t shut up then awards show season and shit got weird. ANYWAY… it’s time for the Year In Review, where we give you all the stats on the awesomeness of you, our readers!
But first, let’s start in a bittersweet note: 2014 is the year we say goodbye to our dear Twiffidy as she moves on to focus on other endeavors. She has been an amazing part of this site and we couldn’t be more thankful for her! Wishing you the best, Twiffidy!
On a happier note, this has given us the chance to take on a new writer here at VV! We’ve already seen her fresh perspective in her guest posts, including predicting a behind the scenes look at The Capitol in Mockingjay and calling out shipping gone bad.
WELCOME TO VICTOR’S VILLAGE, JJ!
We hope you guys are ready, because JJ starts bringing the noise tomorrow! *pops champagne cork*
As for those stats, let’s take a looksy, shall we?
188 COUNTRIES. Our minds = BLOWN. We’re still shocked by the regular readers who participate, but to see that people have been lead to this site from all over the world is enormous.
The only downside the those 188 countries is that many of those folks were probably looking up trusty search term #1. Which, funnily enough, leads them to a post that makes fun of people searching for that and similar terms!
Note the highlight! Only one post about Katniss’ much-coveted cowl is actually from this year, but another of our top 5 posts is actually a fanfic-style guest post from late 2012 by Hunger Games Bookclub! Kudos, HGBC!
Some of our regulars caught fire (Get it?! *nudge nudge*) as they chimed in on all things Hunger Games this year. It can be a messy task, but we’re glad you’re out there doing it!
So what we really mean to say is THANK YOU for a great year!
Let’s do it again in 2014, PLZKTHX!
The Girl With The Pearl
Did you know you can reserve Catching Fire on DVD right now, while it’s still in theaters?
While attempting to finish Christmas shopping, my local “doomed to close because we mostly sell current music” store asked me if I want to reserve my copy now. I don’t think the cashier was ready for my truth bomb about how you can’t just reserve any old version of the DVD when there will be so many editions to choose from. Buuuut anyway…
Between gift buying and Catching Fire talk, we got to thinking about what the best gifts would be for these characters after Catching Fire ended. Thinking forward to Mockingjay, there are a few things to come to mind!
Katniss Everdeen – A Really Snazzy Diary, Perhaps with a Shiny Little Mockingjay Design on It, and a Punching Bag
We know nothing about dealing with the complexities of PTSD. But we DO know a few good things to help a 16-year-old girl to throw down some feels!
Gale Hawthorne – P90X
Because model soldiers aren’t built overnight, you know! Try 90 days!
Haymitch Abernathy – Pure, unfiltered alcohol followed by a metric ton of coffee
Time for Haymitch to figure out the alcohol to coffee ratio that makes him useful without making him mean!
Peeta Mellark and Johanna Mason – Three paper clips, a pen, duct tape, air freshener and every episode of MacGyver (and a TV/DVD Player combo, obviously)
The ultimate escape plan! They can then decide if they want to share with Enobaria.
Alma Coin – A ridiculously big, fluffy stuffed animal
This lady needs someone to hug! And there don’t seem to be too many willing human participants sooooo….
Prim Everdeen – Percy Jackson books, a bag of sweets, and an iPod filled with pop tunes
We tend to forget she’s only 13. We want her to get to BE 13!
Buttercup – Catnip
That cat just went on a journey that even the entrails Katniss sometimes feeds him can’t make up for!
Boggs – A Heavy Duty Poncho Fashioned for Combat
Boggs goes through a lot, but we thought we’d do him a small favor by helping him avoid that moment when Katniss pukes all over him.
Get Your Holiday Cheer On, Y’all!
The Girl With The Pearl
Ever see something simple and innocent that your mind melds into a ridiculous idea?
That’s what happened earlier this week when Them There Eyes wrote about Mockingjay screenwriter Danny Strong writing a screen adaptation of the musical Guys and Dolls, I saw “Mockingjay” and “musical” and wondered.. What would THAT be like?
ICYMI, there is a legit Hunger Games musical out there that played during Victory Tour (though sadly, it was never staged in front of an audience). It was of a serious storytelling nature, but let’s face facts: If we did a musical, it would not be serious. It would be a parody, ridiculous and borderline nonsensical.
In that spirit, we introduced the track list for MOCKINGJAY: THE MUSICAL!
“I Just Have These Feelings, OKAY?!” – Katniss Everdeen
Angsty and angry, Katniss is getting all of her feelings about recent events out in the open. And to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it!
“Down in District 13″ – President Coin and the District 13 Residents
In which President Coin lets that District 12 refugees know how things roll in District 13. Talks of the pox and Coin’s shout of “I AM THE LAW!” included.
“F*#% Sober” – Haymitch Abernathy
The chronicles of Haymitch trying anything and everything to not be sober once District 13 takes away his alcohol. Antics ensue!
“Propo Panache” – Group Ensemble
Both in District 13 and The Capitol, propos shoot back and forth across the airwaves. District 8! Katniss! Finnick’s big admission! Peeta under duress! Beetee’s hacking! It’s all here.
“This is the Bomb (Shelter)” – Primrose Everdeen
While staying safe from attacks above, Prim tells Katniss all about her love for the District 13 life and dreams of becoming a doctor. There’s a crazy cat breakdown, naturally!
“How Tight Are My Pants? (The Capitol Rescue)” – Gale Hawthorne, Boggs
Inspired by the only bit of filming we’ve seen so far, Gale and Boggs kick ass in the Capitol while singing a badass duet about how the right clothes make or break a rescue mission.
“Hijacked!” – Peeta Mellark
Seeing it for Katniss POV is shocking, but we’ve gonna let Peeta get everyone up to speed on his hijacking and explain his state of mind. Because he thinks he’s right, dammit!
“A Kick in The Nut” – Katniss Everdeen, Gale Hawthorne, Lyme
Taking down District 2′s defenses isn’t as easy as in seems! As the plan unfolds, these three characters sing about what its destruction means for Panem and for them personally. Who’s doubting what now?!
“Real or Not Real?” – Peeta Mellark and Star Squad 451
The Star Squad is in the Capitol and soon, Peeta is with them! Time to chronicle his slow climb back to sanity, complete with Katniss’ discomfort, guessing games, the “You’re a painter, you’re a baker” spell and general distrust all around!
“WELL THIS WAS UNEXPECTED.” – Star Squad 451 Ensemble
Pods, mutts, sewers, and faux fur panties are the focal point of this long, zany tune from the moment the first pod goes off all the way to Capitol Square. Because you can’t focus too hard on the crying moments in a parody.
“Arrows of Fury” – Katniss Everdeen, Gale Hawthorne, President Snow
It’s time to confront Gale, confront Snow, and REALLY confront Coin as Katniss tries to come to terms with Prim’s death and finally unleashes those feelings out on the world.
“(Prim)Roses” – Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark
This song starts during Katniss’ isolation in the Capitol, follows her into District 12, and finally hits its crescendo when she finally reunites with mostly cured Peeta. The two then recap their tale and decide that shit can’t possibly get any worse. Time to lead a semi-positive life, maybe?
This Is Why We’re Not Playwrights,
The Girl With The Pearl
We’d love to pretend that everyone who ends up on this site is looking for comedy, opinions, and inspirations revolving around The Hunger Games… but we also know that isn’t always the case!
Every once in a while, we break down the searches that have lead people to our site. What we typically find is an unfiltered boatload of pure CRAZY. The times have changed with the release of Catching Fire, but the number of fans who probably need some sort of mental evaluation has not!
To repeat, people have actually searched these phrases and found their way to Victor’s Village within the last 7 days.
katniss everdeen’s pregnancy pictures - AKA let’s photoshop Jennifer Lawrence’s face onto the bodies of pregnant women because THAT’S NOT FREAKING CREEPY!
what would finnick name his daughter - He doesn’t have one. But if he did, he would call her Marjorie. DUH.
jack hutcherson - This world be the parents of the world trying to keep up with actors their kids like. Bless your heart for trying!
slag heap hunger games - Anyone who knows the books knows they person was probably looking for dirty fanfiction, but we’ve gotta give them credit for attempting to be subtle! Compared to search terms like “Katniss Peeta kinky sex”, this person is a lady/gentleman.
obama president snow - No matter what problems you may have with the current president (or any president throughout history, really), NO LEADER in the US is at President Snow’s level. Slow your roll.
johanna mason naked wrestling - The most nudity you see out of Jena Malone in Catching Fire is her exposed back, yet quite a few people (via various similar search terms) seem to think there’s a secret corner of the internet where she’s flaunting at all for the camera, sometimes while wrestling other naked people. But is it Jell-o wrestling? Otherwise, we’re not down.
hammer catfights - WHAT? What does this even consist of?! Two chicks fighting with hammers?!
do the victors in catching fire have talents? - They do! Several, actually. One of them is called “Reading”. You should try it!
peeta gay - Yup. Because if a man is compassionate, sensitive, and understanding, he must also want to be with other dudes. Way to subvert those gender stereotypes! Your parents must be proud!
how does katniss react to prims death.org - One of many in our “Give me the answers to my homework!” category. It’s the random .org at the end that kills us! DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND READ THE DAMN BOOKS, KID! THEY’RE FUCKING AWESOME.
scarf thingy that can be a dress from the movie - You think you can also wear that thing as a dress?! It has no bottom half. You go upstairs and change this instant, young lady!
what is the correlation between cats and the hunger games – Secretly, cats are the evil overlords controlling Snow and running The Hunger Games. They rigged the reaping ball to pick Prim’s name to get back at their one defector, Buttercup. Meow, bitches!
discounted cardboard cutout of jennifer lawrence bikini - General character cutouts are expected searches. Even general actor cutouts. But Jen in a bikini? This is a prop request for a sad, sad person who spends a lot of time alone in their room.
mockingjay attractive hijacked peeta - We’re sorry… you think Peeta is attractive after he gets hijacked? And you want more information on that? WE CAN’T EVEN.
There Is No Hope For You, Internet. We Love You Anyway.
The Girl With The Pearl
Welcome to another pre-premiere guest posts!
Companion books are a much debated part of The Hunger Games fandom, so wouldn’t you love a like help deciding whether or not a certain companion is for you? The fantastic HGBC is here today to do just that!
A little bit of salt goes a long way.
Reading ‘Katniss the Cattail: An Unauthorized Guide to Names and Symbols in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games’ by Valerie Estelle Frankel is like adding a little bit of salt to your Hunger Games experience.
It’s a simple book. It dips its foot into the literary criticism genre without being pretentious or super scholarly. ‘Katniss the Cattail’ is a reference guide intended to be used over and over again to make connections between characters, name meanings, and historical figures.
A little bit of salt brings out the flavor. You see, you could read ‘The Hunger Games’ just for the plot, or maybe because you enjoy a little romance in-between intense action scenes. But ‘The Hunger Games’ has many layers – a complexity to it that needs to be unveiled. That is where ‘Katniss the Cattail’ comes in…
Until I read ‘Katniss the Cattail’, I didn’t understand the degree to which Suzanne Collins built this world of Panem. Most of the names of characters that come from the Districts are derived from botanical sources: Katniss (a plant commonly known as arrowhead or duck-potato), Prim (as in primrose), Rue (sometimes called a “death herb”), Buttercup, the Hawthorne family, etc. On the other hand, the majority of the names of characters in the Capitol have Roman names. Not only can we learn about these Roman figures from historical sources – such as ‘Plutarch’s Lives – but most are featured in Shakespeare’s plays, such as ‘Julius Caesar’, ‘Coriolanus’, and ‘Troilus and Cressida’. I recognized some of these Roman names when reading through ‘The Hunger Games’, but had no idea the scope or the historical background until perusing this little guide.
Some names have these connections to history, while others require more speculation to the meaning behind Collins’ choice for that particular name. For example, I found it fascinating to learn that “the hawthorn root-wood makes the hottest wood-fire known (Grieve). Gale’s fire for survival, and especially for revolution, indeed burns hotter and stabs more sharply than everyone around him” (Katniss the Cattail, pg 19). Each name or symbol is mentioned briefly to give you inspiration or a starting place for more research. Frankel has written other books that go into more depth on some of these topics: ‘The Many Faces of Katniss Everdeen’, ‘The Heroine’s Journey through Myth and Legend’, and ‘From Girl to Goddess’, to mention a few. Overall, I found this book to be well researched and thought provoking. Though the title’s alliteration was catchy, I disagreed with the cattail part, finding Frankel’s description of the duck-potato as the katniss plant to be more accurate.
‘Katniss the Cattail’ describes many of the symbols in ‘The Hunger Games’ such as bread, ‘The Hanging Tree’ song, the nickname of Katniss – The Girl Who Was on Fire, the pearl, President Snow’s rose, etc. Learning more about these symbols deepens the experience of watching the movie (soon to be plural!) or re-reading the trilogy. Frankel digs briefly into some of the over-arching themes of war, reality television, Greek myths, and more.
Here’s the thing, folks… nobody wants to eat just salt! Salt is meant to enhance another food. And ‘Katniss the Cattail’ is meant to enhance your understanding of ‘The Hunger Games’ – to take your thoughts in a new direction or see characters in a new light. So, dear readers, may you savor your literary food and, of course, “may the odds be ever in your favor”.
Hunger Games Bookclub