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Bringing Up Katniss Everdeen

We reviewed The Murder Complex on Tuesday, a book which features a rough n’ tough heroine, Meadow. Why is Meadow is so gritty, you ask? Because she was raised and nurtured through her rough dystopian world by a hunting, scavenging survivalist dad. She’s a little less emotional and a little more tactical than Katniss, but maybe that one difference in upbringing is ALL the difference.

The family photo that never was

The family photo that never was

Katniss’ dad is also the survivalist type. He doesn’t seem as ruthless as Meadow’s dad, but he taught Katniss quite a few tricks of the trade by a young age: hunting, skinning, and cooking animals, for one. She’s also got some better-than-average physical skills, some of which saved her in the arena later on, and she knows her way around a bow and arrow. Even though it was not her father’s intention to have Katniss kill people, her weapons training gave her the ability to do so. He also planted the first seeds of rebellion in her mind with his lessons in morality and old folk songs that went directly against the regime under which they lived.

Katniss absorbed all this and it transformed her life in major ways, all before he died when she was 11. Which makes us wonder: In a world where Mr. Everdeen had lived, would we be seeing a much less reluctant, much more rough n tough Katniss?

We’re not saying she’d be a super soldier or anything, because nothing in the story indicates that her father wanted her to be one. But it seems Mr. Everdeen had a lot of political ideals and perhaps special training (because how did HE know how to do all the things he taught Katniss?) that he didn’t pass down quite yet because her daughters were still young. Children mature exponentially between the ages of 11 and 16, so it’s likely Mr. Everdeen would have more obviously worked to instill any ideas about the issues in Panem’s government and perhaps even revolution once he felt Katniss was old enough to really confide in.

A citizen or a revolutionary?

A citizen or a revolutionary?

To dig into this even more, what if the roles were reversed and Mr. Everdeen was the single parent after some horrible twist of fate claimed the life of his wife? The flashback in which Mrs. Everdeen nearly has a heart attack after she hears the girls singing ‘The Hanging Tree’ shows that she played an integral role keeping the childrens’ exposure to anti-Panem messaging low. Without that filter, would Katniss have a more vocal, less reluctant opinion about overthrowing the government? Would she have the same zeal as Gale? It seemed Katniss’ father was a subtle, quiet type, but we only see him through the memories of an unreliable narrator: A teenage girl who thinks back on her deceased father as an almost faultless being.

It’s funny how a detail or two can change a whole story. We have no proof, of course, but if some of the most formative years of Katniss Everdeen’s life were left in the hands of her father instead of her mother, our Mockingjay would be completely different!

Oh Hai, Father’s Day Is Right Around The Corner!
The Girl With The Pearl

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The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, and… The Hanging Tree?

Yesterday, there was a lot of talk of bunnies in my family. Particularly, a giant one that hide eggs and leaves candy for children. Yup, this guy:

happy_easter_bunny_wallpaper

A little creepy, tbh…

As if that wasn’t enough, one of the kids lost a tooth in the midst of all this bunny talk. Suddenly, the conversation switches to “TOOTH FAIRY!”

Couldn't help myself...

Couldn’t help myself…

While these particular mythical beings aren’t popular everywhere in the world, you know what is? Beings of mythical proportion. Think the Greek or Roman Gods, sprites, Santa, ghosts, mermaids, urban legends about serial killers lurking anywhere a teenager would even think about rounding second base… the list could go on forever!

Except, of course, in Panem.

It’s not that there’s no myths or legends at all. It’s just that the ones we’re introduced to are very much routed in reality. Perhaps the closest we get to myth is “The Hanging Tree”, because it’s told from the perspective of a dead man. A spirit or a ghost, perhaps. But even so, they don’t address it as such.

Panem takes itself pretty seriously, especially Katniss, so maybe there’s just no need for myths in the story. Maybe they’d just take away from the stark reality too much. “Don’t worry about the Bogeyman, kid! If anyone’s going to kill you, it’s the government!”

Still, we don’t think that legends could story manifesting in ANY world. Because that would mean people have stopped making up elaborate stories. Could that ever happen? We don’t think so. There’s always going to be that creature in the woods/lake/closet or the invisible bringer of good fortune. No matter what you call it or what story you build up around it, it’s there.

You may say legends got stopped out in the same way religion clearly was in Panem (and has been attempted in our world at various points), but we have our doubts. Religion, to a government that wants to be all powerful, poses a threat. So maybe we stomp out the ones vaguely tied to religion. Children’s stories do not. In fact, many of these beings work as cautionary tales that help keep kids in line.

More than anything, it’s probably a case of Katniss Everdeen growing up too fast to care one bit about childish stories, but we gotta admit, that makes us a little sad. Everyone needs a good dose of fantasy to offset their reality.

Our Imagination Still Runs Wild,
The Girl With The Pearl

The Hunger Games Name Drop

Totally expected.

Totally expected.

The Hunger Games is kinda a thing nowadays, if you haven’t noticed! As such, you expect it to make its rounds through pop culture. Like the string of awful parodies and the joke Ellen made at The Oscars.

But some references are more ridiculous and hilarious than others! For instance, the latest song from rapper Drake, “Draft Day”:

On some Hunger Games shit I would die for my district
Jennifer Lawrence you can really get it
I mean forreal, girl you know I had to do it for yah

You can listen to the whole song here. We’ll wait. *blocks ears because once is enough*

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WE CANNOT EVEN! REALLY?!

Though this is just more evidence showing how popular The Hunger Games and Jennifer Lawrence really are, it is pretty random in the middle of a fairly tough rap number (though Drake comes from a middle class background and once starred in DeGrassi, so no one’s really calling him hardcore.) It’s all bitches, fuck this and that, and n-bombs… and hey, Jennifer Lawrence!

Love at first rhyme

Naming your celebrity crush in the song IS pretty slick…

Aaaaaand when exactly do we hit the wall with The Hunger Games references? When do we say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”? Neverrrr! The song is bad, but this reference is so awesomely bad that it’s actually good!

For Drake’s next single, we’ve got some phat Hunger Games rhymes to suggest:

“I’m so fly I’d survive The Hunger Games arena,
Got more dough than Josh Hutcherson as Peeta”

“I’m a killah, I don’t fail
Droppin’ bombs, just call me Gale”

“Rappers be so obsessed with all the fame and riches,
Strutting around like they Snow’s Capitol bitches.”

*cough* Check my flow, y’all!

Forreal girl,
The Girl With The Pearl

The Mockingjay Extras Edge

OMG GUYS! STUFF TO SPECULATE ABOUT! WE’RE TOTES GONNA DO THAT NOW!

*cough* Sorry. We get really excited about the little things during slow news periods. But you probably want to know what we’re talking about soooo moving on…

clc

These guys!

We all know that Catrett Locke Casting is responsible for all Hunger Games extras casting. It’s supposed to be semi-secret, but at this point everyone’s figured out who to email for their shot at roughly two seconds of on-screen immortalization (which my friend Max managed AGAIN in Catching Fire and I am super jealous, but that is another post). Even CLC’s calls are essentially like “Yeah, we’re fucking awesome because we’re working on Mockingjay! Try your luck, suckaaaaahs!”

Just recently, they put up a new call for a few things. The first is obviously Peacekeepers, as the advertise for tall, very muscular who like to “keep the peace.” See last sentence of previous paragraph.

The next is a little more confusing. They’re looking for a blonde haired, blue eyed woman. Which is to say a bleached haired, blue eyed woman, because no adult blonde is really THAT blonde. Will you take a dirty blonde haired, gray/green eyed short chick, CLC? If so, I’M YOUR GIRL. But what is this for, again? Why do we need a random blonde woman? Why are her blondness and blueness important? We cannot compute! The production is probably in need of District 13 extras and some fleeing Capitol citizens, but that wouldn’t require a specific look. Chances are you’re looking for someone with striking features, but do they really have to be those features? Will we even know why said look was chosen when the movie comes out? So many questions!

Futuristic council meets in... No wait, this is a concept sketch for a new UN building!

Futuristic council meets in… No wait, this is a concept sketch for a new UN building!

Then there’s our “council members” call. They’re either Capitol or District 13 council, though we’re guessing District 13 since the call specifically states that anyone applying should be pale. They ask that everyone be Caucasian as well, which we don’t love. But it makes us wonder if the film is trying to give this council a creepy Aryan sort of feel.

The last call also asks for “character faces”, which kills us every time. They try to make it sound like a compliment. Let’s just be honest! Say the company wants people who look a little offbeat, so they’ll stick out in a crowd. It’s like when we used to watch America’s Next Top Model way back in the day and Tyra Banks told contestants “You have such an interesting face! Such big eyes and such awkward angles!” Uhhhh… what?

We knew there would be some additions with Mockingjay being split in two, so at least this is gives us a better idea. Now create an extra role we would be good for, dammit!

CLC Probably Has Us On A Special Super Secret Blacklist,
The Girl With The Pearl

How Peeta Mellark Won The Capitol (Sort Of)

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).

Winning Capitol hearts...

Winning Capitol hearts…

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.

... Aaaaand then crumbling the constructs of their society. NBD.

… Aaaaand then slowly breaking down the constructs of their society. NBD.

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

Suzanne Collins, We’re Going Down With Your ‘Ship

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!

Still my OTP 4eva! NO! 5eva!

Still my OTP 4eva! NO! 5eva!

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.

True of 99% of All Canon Ships

True of 99% of All Canon Ships

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

The Hemsy Boys

Oh, those Hemsworth boys! Let’s take a moment to gaze at the aesthetics:

Hemsworths1

Now that we’ve gotten the fact that they’re both hotties out of the way– Liam and his older brother, Chris, are both actors. They look very much alike (though they do have an older brother who barely looks related) and they seem to have quite a bit in common. But know what they are not? Interchangeable.

For instance, we knew Liam had auditioned for his brother’s role in Thor but until earlier this month, we learned just how close he was to getting it. Chris revealed that Liam was originally favored for the role, down to the last five candidates. However, there was “something missing” from the final five and through Liam making it so far along, Chris’ agent was able to get him a second audition.

To which our reaction was…

whatthewhat

We love Liam as Gale, but we can’t possibly imagine him as Thor! If one thing definitely differs between the two brothers, it’s their acting style. Chris is grittier with a hint of schmoozing charm while Liam has a wide-eyed, genuine approach. One works for a superhero, one works for Gale Hawthorne.

Don’t get us wrong! We think both of these boys can take on varying rich, complex roles. We just don’t think they should be going for the same roles. We’ve talked before about how Liam needs to broaden his horizons outside the action adventure genre, but it’s more than that. Chris and Liam are brothers, but they’re not the same guy, they wouldn’t work in the same roles. Is it a bad thing? Nope! They’re just different.

Frankly, we’re glad Liam didn’t make a good Thor, because then he was able to portray Gale well. It’s funny how Hollywood works out sometimes.

We Couldn’t Refer To Liam Simply As “Hemsy” Here. For Shame!
The Girl With The Pearl

Locks of Mockingjay Love

Something really exciting happened at the Screen Actors Guild last night!

No, it wasn’t Jennifer Lawrence coining the term “Armpit Vagina” (aka that cease under your armpit that forms when you wear a tube top that’s too tight). Last night, it was all about the hair. Ooooooh yeah!

Seriously, who decided that was passable?!

Seriously, who decided that was passable?!

The Hunger Games’ hair and makeup may have seen their last legitimate chance at an Academy Award pass when Catching Fire wasn’t nominated, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few gems for them to focus on in Mockingjay. Besides the few unintentionally hilarious fans who have suggested that Mockingjay can’t be filmed because Jennifer Lawrence cut her hair (*gigglesnort*), we all know they’ll be working on the Katniss wig situation throughout filming. We have faith in these guys to avoid a disaster like the third Twilight movie, where Kristen Stewart’s wig was practically connected to her eyebrows at certain points in the film.

But that not even the hair and makeup we’re talking about! The prep team and Plutarch Heavensbee’s band of Capitol defectors will still be sticking to their Capitol style roots while down in District 13. We know this for a FACT, because Natalie Dormer, our Cressida, rocked this on the red carpet:

e4c084c5f2eca84f_split.jpg.xxxlarge

The half shaved head is a trend we usually avoid like the plague (it’s like you started to shave then chickened out), but we’ll make an exception because OMG IT’S FOR MOCKINGJAY!

Dormer gets all the posts for being clearly dedicated to the outrageous side of this role. We bet there’s more than the shaving on set, too! Perhaps some funky colors like Effie? Or an outlandish hairdo on that one side? OR BOTH?

The hair and makeup will only have a few people to have consistent, crazy hair and makeup so they best have a ton of fun with it! Here’s a few ideas for those characters:

The “Lisa Frank Factory Explosion” Approach
side-shave-rainbow

The “Animal Prints are My Bitch” Style
l

The “Effie’s Not Here So Somebody Has to Rock Marie Antoinette’s Look”
download2

Now rock that shit as if we didn’t first notice this hairstyle trend on the likes of Willow Smith, Natalie!

Mockingjay Be Trendy LIKE WHOA,
The Girl With The Pearl

The True Influence of Katniss Everdeen

It’s almost the end of the year! You know what that means… Everyone recapping the year all over the place! Yaaaay! (We’d mock them, but we’ll probably end up doing it too.) Among the recaps so far was TIME’s Most Influential Characters of 2013, which featured the one and only Katniss Everdeen. We’d be excited, but we now realize that we’ve grievously misunderstood this character after seeing what TIME had to say:

The REAL Girl on Fire (Sales)

The REAL Girl on Fire (Sales)

Beyond leading Catching Fire to a gross of $600 million—and counting—the Hunger Games heroine (played by Jennifer Lawrence) is also inspiring several real-world product lines. Among them: the Nerf Rebelle line of guns, quivers and crossbows for girls, Lucas Hugh “Capitol Label” workout clothes, and a makeup line from CoverGirl.

So Katniss Everdeen was influential because Catching Fire made a lot of money and there were a bunch of product lines, most of which were knockoff gimmicks, based on bits of her story? Well, we’ve been wrong all along! See, we thought Katniss Everdeen influenced more than a few shiny new products and a few bucks. Things like literacy, political awareness and advocacy, feminine empowerment, and views on war and violence. Silly us! Jessie J was wrong. It’s all about the price tag!

Just what Katniss was going for, guys!

Just what Katniss was going for, guys!

While she isn’t totally unique, Katniss is pretty special to be considered for her monetary value instead of her many contributions to the way fans think about the world. Most of the characters featured were called out on their ability to make fans think progressively and work to affect change– even the animated dog from Family Guy! But Katniss is way too cool to be recognized for that junk. No matter if her story DOES motivate fans to get involved with charities and community work as well as increase awareness of social issues. Ideals don’t pay the bills!

Personally, we plan to run out and purchase a Nerf Rebelle to atone for our poor judgement. We hope you find your own way to feed the really-not-even-fully-Katniss-related money machine.

If It’s On The Internet, It Must Be So!
The Girl With The Pearl

The Gifts of Catching Fire Christmas

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!

Yeah teenage angst!

Yeah teenage angst!

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.

He manages his way out of EVERYTHING!

He manages his way out of EVERYTHING!

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

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