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
Oh, those Hemsworth boys! Let’s take a moment to gaze at the aesthetics:
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…
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
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!
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:
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:
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
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:
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!
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
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
We know that the Holidays aren’t always fun and games, so we’re holding not one but TWO holiday contests to bring on the cheer!
CONTEST #1 – HOLIDAY CARD CONTEST
Gather up all your photoshopping/paint skillz to create a humorous, virtual holiday “postcard”. You don’t have to be a graphic design expert, just someone with a fantastic sense of humor!
All holiday postcards submitted will be featured on Victor’s Village. On top of that, we’re giving away an awesome prize to the creator of our favorite design!
1. BE FUNNY!
2. You can theme your holiday card after ANY winter holiday (including one you just made up, if you wish) or in just a general “Happy Holidays” format.
3. If you include photos of specific characters that have already been cast in the films, you must use the actor cast as the character! We get it: You wanted someone else to play Katniss or Peeta or Peacekeeper #56. But they’re not, so deal.
4. To keep things from getting too big and crazy, keep all holiday cards 600w x 350h or smaller!
5. All entries must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Monday, December 23! The Victor’s Village staff will pick our favorites and announce the grand prize winner soon after!
- Catching Fire Fan Camp poster signed by Willow Shields
- One copy of The Panem Companion by V. Arrow
- Mellark Bakery poster by Blueleaf Creative
CONTEST #2 – DISTRICT PHOTO CONTEST
No matter where you live, you’ve probably seen glimpses of Districts! We want you to take a photo of the “district views” in your neck of the woods and let the world see how you view the districts or The Capitol!
1. The photo must be an original taken by you. Anything else will be disqualified.
2. No Photoshop! If you want to get creative, stick to the Holiday Card Contest!
3. The photo does not have to represent the District you live in, according to the books. So if you live in Europe and take a photo of something that reminds you of District 12, enter it!
4. All entries must be sent to email@example.com no later than Friday, December 27! The photos will be voted on by the viewers starting December 28. The winner will be announced December 31!
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
Yesterday morning, Victor’s Village and a whole bunch of fansite friends got the chance to interview Sam Claflin and Jena Malone via phone!
If you’ve ever questioned these two in their roles, we can officially tell you not to worry about it. Sam Claflin is beyond charming. He talked about the love of his life so much that our hearts melted. Srsly quise, it was adorbs. And it was so very Finnick Odair! Jena Malone is small and cute, but there’s also a fierce passion in her that lets us know she’ll bring out the best (and by “best”, we may mean “worst”) parts of Johanna Mason.
They were unbelievably sweet, especially considering that they were probably woken up at the crack of dawn to get ready for the Philadelphia stop of the Victory Tour and 7 out of 10 sites asked them how they were because it’s habit and it’s the polite thing to do, okay?! The interview itself ran a little long, so each site only had a chance for one question. But in the post-interview downtime, Sam and Jena sang “Happy Birthday” to Samantha from Panem Propaganda, because her birthday was Saturday and hey, they could. Yeah, we’re kinda TOTALLY smitten.
So now that they gushing is done, on to the interview! Please note that a large portion of the interview is under the READ MORE link!
Sam, fans have followed the casting with a lot of attention to detail, and Annie Cresta was not cast until you guys had wrapped Catching Fire, so without an actress in that role, did you find it difficult to draw from Finnick’s relationship with her in the Catching Fire arena and if so how did you overcome that?
Sam: I definitely see where you are coming from. No, but I don’t feel like without a picture in my head, as an actor I necesarily needed that to draw from, if you know what I mean. Obviously from personal experience, I am married and there for my wife was my kind of experience that I could draw from. You know, the love of my life and all that. So I didn’t necessarily need an actress or an image of a person to emotionally inform me, if that makes sense. Definitely I am very excited to get started with Steph Dawson, who is playing Annie Cresta. Finnick spends so much time in the arena, away from her, focusing on mainly protecting Katniss. I don’t feel that it affected my performance necessarily during Catching Fire.
#2 HG Movie Site
When you become part of the cast for a franchise as big as the Hunger Games, with such a big fanbase is there a pressure to please a lot of people or do you find that it’s easier when there is already millions of people that love it?
Jena: Well it’s kind of a give and take. I think luckily Sam and I – Sam if I could just speak for you – we were both such fans of the series anyway, that coming in with such love and appreciation for the project, such passion for a project it only propels you forward knowing that there is 100,000 people out there that has the same love and passion. Of course it’s a little terrifying in the morning when you want to make sure that you are getting it right. But fortunately books are two dimensional beings and films are a three dimensional format. We were building things in a whole new way. So there is no way to get it like the book in every way, because books are two dimensional. We are building blood and love and sweat. We’re breathing life into these characters and so I think that they are always going to be better than the books ever imagined them.
#3 Hunger Games Fireside Chat
Over the course of filming, you’ve obviously gotten to spend a lot of time with other members of the cast. Who did you really enjoy hanging out with off set, and are there any close bonds you formed that you think will go beyond the films many years into the future?
Jena: The entire cast is so rad, it’s hard to pick one person. We’ve become such a tight-knit family. I kind of fangirled out over Philip Seymour Hoffman, just a little bit. I mean, he’s been one of my favorites, I don’t know.
Sam: Yeah, we all sort of ended up socializing off set as much as we did on set, and there was a lot of fun to be had. And that all kind of spans back to the fact that Francis was very open to ideas and it made it much more of a collaborative family experience, if that makes sense. There was a lot of misbehaving and mischief caused, but, you know, in a very fun way, and we were all able to kind of focus on the job at hand when we needed to. But yeah, I don’t think there was one person I disliked, and if I did, I’d be sure to tell you! (laughter) Actually, I’m not a big fan of Jena, Jena Malone.
Jena: …Jina Mahone or something? She’s a crazer.
Sam: But we all got along like a house on fire. You can’t help but really admire an experience like that really.
Read the rest of this entry
This week has brought us FOUR new Catching Fire stills. Kinda.
See, the stills already came out ages ago, because they were part of the NECA calendar released back in July. The images were treated as embargoed from the Internet, despite being readily available elsewhere. It was very confusing. But now they’re here and they’re HQ, courtesy of Panem Propaganda!
Of the four, we’re talking about TWO today. The one’s we aren’t talking about are:
1) Effie looking Capitol. Because we don’t have much more to say than “Effie looks Capitol!”
2) Katniss and Cinna, pre-Games, because it’s the moment before THE MOMENT. We may spontaneously burst into tears and turn into an utter mess because OH MY GOODNESS! WHY DID IT HAVE TO HAPPEN?!
Instead, we’ll focus on the two photos that juxtapose each other kind of brilliantly and give fans a sense of the ch-ch-changes brought about in Catching Fire via a fine display of Emo kid faces!
Example Numero Uno:
Katniss and Peeta at The Victory Tour, throwing on those ultra fake smiles in the hope of saving Panem. Peeta is in front of the microphone, because we all know he’s the designated speaker of the two. It’s possible that this is post-District 11, as he’s got cue cards in hand and that’s the point at which our Victors KNOW they can’t screw around. The look on their faces shows AND tells, people! They’re in way over their heads. Neither of them is looking mighty comfortable. They’re not concerned about each other, either. There’s greater forces working here and no one has control.
Example Numero Dos:
Katniss and Gale in District 12, busting out ALL the Emo faces that they really feel, because the world is slowly turning upside-down since Katniss’ win (and there are likely Peacekeepers creepin’ on their turf). Katniss describes Gale as the one person she can turn to in Catching Fire, mainly because they’re both going through a time where they hate everything. But Gale is yet in the clutches of the Capitol and– despite his emerald green Grandpa button-up– looks like a man in control. Katniss is unhappy, but Gale is furious. He looks like someone about to jump into action. And OH HAI Cinna’s fingerless gloves!
Side by side, the two photos are an interesting look at the effects of the Capitol. It’s eating at Katniss, plain and simple. This is a perfect example of why we all hate love triangle talk. She can’t be happy anywhere, whether it’s home or away, with Peeta or with Gale. This is a story of Katniss, who’s not busy pining over anyone. She’s working with Peeta in an effort to save the nation’s collective skin (and failing.) She’s trying to be best friends with Gale again, but she’s been through things that he’ll never understand and they’re slowly divided by it. This ain’t no love story! It’s a war story! And a freaking sad one, at that!
Side note: Either Pajama Jeans or incredibly high-waisted pants are all the rage in Panem, because both Peeta and Gale’s pants have no zippers! Or perhaps they’re so busy enjoying the spoils from the Capitol with Katniss that they gained some weight and needed to invest some some good elastic-banded trousers!
We Hope It’s Pajama Jeans!
The Girl With The Pearl