Finnick Odair

Visualizing Panem Post-Movies

Now that the entire Hunger Games series has been adapted to film, I’ve been taking stock in how these movies have impacted how I think about the book series. I’ll come right out with it and say it – while I LOVE SO MUCH about the movies, they will never top the books for me. There are some creative choices in the movies that I will adamantly reject forever and try to forget (mainly some parts of The Hunger Games movie and some scenes from the last 25 minutes of Mockingjay Part 2). Hmm, that sounds like fodder for a post, but for a later date.

On the other hand, there are some parts of these movies where everything fell into place and just was so RIGHT that it’s taken over how I visualize certain characters or scenes when I now re-read the books.

Right from the Start: Snow and Coin

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From first casting announcements of both Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore, I felt really good about how these characters would translate to screen. They look the part and inhabit those roles in a way that fits so well with how I’ve imagined the characters. Donald Sutherland owns Snow so much for me now that I get chills when hearing his voiceover work on orange juice or airline commercials. President Snow wants me to drink orange juice. Yes, sir! I remember being surprised how sympathetic Coin was in Mockingjay Part 1, but it seemed very right for the progression of the character, and how she would have been without the framing of Katniss’s “unreliable narrator” perspective.

Oh. My. Finnick

Finnick cfFor those around the fandom in Catching Fire casting days, you remember what a BIG FREAKING DEAL this was. Lots of names thrown around to play Finnick. Lots of fan favorites. And Sam Claflin, a relative unknown (outside of roles in Snow White & the Huntsman and a Pirates of the Caribbean movie) was chosen. We had time to “get to know him” pre-CF. He was delightful on Twitter. Set photos leaked that were very promising. There was that Capitol Portrait with the pirate look. And then we saw him in the movie and YAY, IT WORKED.  He was Finnick. He is how I see Finnick now. Bravo.

Awesome Surprises From Smaller Roles: Paylor and Jackson

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One of the great, wonderful surprises of the Mockingjay movies was the development of these two characters, who I honestly never paid much attention to, at least during my first reading of the books. So Patina Miller and Michelle Forbes had the benefit of a cleaner slate to build these characters. And build them they did. They project authentic power and leadership so well that you don’t question the news that Paylor will be president, or Jackson’s role in Squad 451 in the slightest. When I re-read Mockingjay, I see those actresses in full costume. They ARE those characters now for me, and it’s enriched the reading experience.

An Interesting Mix: Effie and Haymitch

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The overly bright, colorful world of the Capitol in Suzanne Collins books is intentional. You have to admit though, that the Candy-Land-on-acid-type buildings would have been too distracting to deal with on screen so the “Capitol color” is restricted mostly to the people, not buildings. But with the costume, makeup, and hair styling of Effie, the team really nailed it, and Elizabeth Banks surely took charge of making that character her own. I think the decision to add Effie to District 13 was a good decision for Mockingjay Part 1, but still think Book!Effie follows a more realistic path for that character. I love how Elizabeth Banks gave the character more heart, but I don’t see Effie really changing that dramatically so quickly. In terms of how I visualize the character though, it’s all Elizabeth Banks in her full Capitol glory. Kudos to her and the design team for the creativity and transformation.

Then we come to Haymitch, who I always though of as more “Seam” in looks with darker hair and complexion, more damaged, more dirty, more foul, and much more drunk than we see in the movies. Regrettably, the movies give us a PG-version of Haymitch. Sure, you see him drinking, and his mockery and wit is there, but he’s nowhere near the abrasive drunk he is in the books.  I would have loved to see Woody Harrelson given full reign to make the character more rough. All of that being said, when I read the books, my mind sees Woody Harrelson and that blond wig. Somehow, he’s convinced my brain. He is Haymitch. The mind does what it wants. It’s interesting that this happened, considering this next part.

The Big Three: Love You Guys SO MUCH, but…

What about Katniss, Peeta and Gale? Jennifer Lawrence did a phenomenal job with Katniss. She grabbed hold of that character and owned the performance throughout the four movies. So much so that her voice is very much Katniss’s voice to me. I feel the same way about Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth (well at least 90% for Liam, but he got better as the movies went along). For all the wonderful ways they inhabited these roles, my mind still can’t (or won’t) adapt. The way I perceive these three in my mind’s eye when reading the books is much different. The cast is perhaps too physically beautiful, too Hollywood, and for Katniss and Gale, yes, too much of northwestern European ancestry to cancel out how I’ve always imagined the three. It’s nothing against the actors, because those are things they can’t change and these were movies with certain expectations of super-Hollywood-esque attractiveness from the leads.  Katniss and Peeta especially remain murky visual concepts in my head, and I’m fine with that. It’s probably better that way for the two characters who I love the most.

Movies – they mess with your head in unexpected ways.

JJ

 

Mockingjay Movie Moments That Mattered

Back in our post about spoilers, we talked about how moments specific movie moments are important and have their own unique value. Now we’re going to talk about the special movie-only instances that caught our eye!

We should mention that a great one was already mentioned in JJ’s latest post: Castor and Pollux in the sewers, pooling their strength and solidarity to make it through a tough scenario.

“Plucked!”

President Snow’s need for control is so immense, he feels the need to correct President Coin when she misquotes him. No one can hear him and the rebellion is knocking at his door, but it doesn’t matter because dammit, Coin was misrepresenting him!

Those eyebrows though.

Those eyebrows though.

Leeg’s Last Stand

This isn’t what happened in the books, but we might have liked this better. Rather than Leeg 1 and Leeg 2 dying in completely separate instances, they take a final stand together. One is immobile, but the other stays by her side, knowing the inevitable outcome. There’s a really harrowing shot of the twins hunkering down and aiming their guns toward the stairs, where they expect the Peacekeepers to storm in at any minute.

Finnick’s smile during The Capitol’s tribute to his “death”

The Capitol tries to capitalize on the destruction of Squad 451 almost immediately, flashing a Hunger Games-style tribute to them with the anthem blaring in the background. No one is more amused than Finnick, who’s on hand when a mega-watt smile. It would be adorable… if you didn’t then remember that Finnick was minutes away from death, thus crushing your soul.

It's like this smirk but later away from Annie and... *lip quiver*

It’s like this smirk but later away from Annie and… *lip quiver*

F^%&KING MUTTS!

Yes, we knew they were coming. But the build up was so tense! Damn it all if we didn’t freak right the fuck out in the moment that the first lizard mutt jumped out. There’s a stark difference between reading about these thing and having them leap into your vision after being strung out by shadows and blurs for the three minutes prior. Jump scares get us every time, so frankly we’re just lucky we didn’t pee ourselves a little!

Plutarch’s Letter

We saw the stills from this scene, but we didn’t realize exactly what it was. Haymitch is reading Plutarch’s final words– or rather, Woody Harrelson was delivering them in the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. The speech is bittersweet to begin with, but read in this fashion, your heart sinks and you give it all a little more consideration. Not the best pick-me-up, but a really solid scene!

The Hayffie Kiss

Guys. GUYS. WHAT EVEN. Up until a couple weeks ago, Hayffie was a moderately popular bit of fanon supported by Elizabeth Banks. It always seemed to be an inside joke, but then they were kissing in the movie! Not a first-time passionate kiss, a “We’ve been at it for months while you were too busy looking elsewhere” kiss! It’s not quite Greedo shooting first (if compare book-to-movie against movie-to-“remastered”-movie), but it definitely affects opinion in the fandom going forward!

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This is way adaptations are a big deal from fandoms. Books are incredible, the life force behind most fandom. The screen adaptations add new layers of quirk, heartache, fear, and everything in between!

So Many Feels To Revisit…
The Girl With The Pearl

We See Soon-To-Be Dead People

The polls keep on coming, and with it more picture reveals of our favorite characters. The trend of the fandom’s choices was a bit depressing for a while. Cause we kept voting for characters that don’t make it to the end of the story!

Yes, the back-half of Mockingjay is brutal. And whoever is in charge of picking these character pictures is very subtly choosing interestingly painful moments to share.

First, there’s this still of Finnick, in black battle gear, serious expression, with his face partially in shadow. If they were trying for ominous with a simple character image, message received.

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Then on to Coin. Looking quite fab and proud of herself at what we presume is the Snow “execution” scene. Sorry, lady, someone’s about to have the shock of her life.

coin

Then, the pic that was a big surprise – because for the first time they show Prim out wearing a protective vest. We can guess she’s in the Capitol, and what is coming for her very soon. A very effective image that stirred more emotion in us than that whole “For Prim” video.

prim

Finally after four days of revealing characters that will die (Messalla was the first reveal), we got a little relief with Haymitch. With all the stills released previously in this gold, seemingly ornate room, we feel pretty confident this is the scene where the victors vote on holding another Hunger Games. Cue Haymitch’s “strategy face.”

haymitch

Today is the choice of brother vs. brother.

At this point Pollux has a big lead. We don’t like to think about how they’ll make us sad with this one.

No Peeta vs. Gale yet, but there’s still time for that mess to go down.

JJ

Polling for New Pics

Several weeks ago, Twitter launched a new feature – polls. We noticed that Lionsgate tried it out with The Last Witch Hunter right away, so we figured it was only a matter of time before we got Mockingjay polls.

This week it begins. Poll-o-Rama. But they smartly added a little carrot to these polls. Something WE ALWAYS WANT…

NEW PICTURES. YAAAAAAAS.

Monday, they started out with a choice between the more fringe characters, Messalla or the Leeg twins. And Messalla came out on top.

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Looks like he’s in the Capitol there.

Today’s choice has a bit more fan interest.

The question is pretty moot, cause fans are voting for who they want to SEE, not their skills, but whatevs. These seem like they’ll be the official actor/character images on the Mockingjay Part 2 website, so we’ll see them all soon anyway.

The big, cringeworthy question awaits – do you think they’ll dare do a Peeta/Gale poll?

We’re laughing already at the disdain that would cause in the fandom.

JJ

Breaking Down That New Clip

Among all the many presents dropped on October 1 to entice us to buy Mockingjay Part 2 tickets, was A MOVIE CLIP. A pretty nice sized one too! We loved the clip – it showed Squad 451 as Boggs explained the mission. This clip is a good way for the uninitiated to get a sense for what Katniss & Co will be doing in the Capitol. We waited until today to post this because technically you were only supposed to see this clip if you purchased tickets on Fandango. But the fandom said, “Fuck that, here’s my link guys – enjoy.” But now that Fandango’s hold on it is over, hello YouTube!

First things first, Finnick’s here! We love Finnick and Katniss’s friendship but Katniss’s line about him having a “short honeymoon” made us need a hug too.

katniss finnick hugs

Then Boggs introduces the team (hi Jackson) and lays out the mission.

boggs laying down the mission

Katniss doesn’t have much to do in this clip other than listen and look worried, but that’s ok. We’ve seen plenty of ACTION KATNISS in the trailers.

katniss listening

Then, (ohhh we love this part) Gale has to get all huffy that since they’re the “star squad” they’re “not going to fight.” AND BOGGS SHUTS HIM DOWN and tells him to do as he’s told. Jackson’s face in this shot is GREAT too.

boggs takes gale down a notch

Sorry, sorry. Yes, Gale. Dial it back.

gale backs down

Then, there’s the holo that shows very prettily the places of things that promise horrible death.

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For the finale, Finnick, and his on point WELCOME TO THE 76TH HUNGER GAMES.

finnick 76th

So, a great clip to start us off, and it gives us further confidence about the look and tone of the film.

More please, but maybe spread it out to multiple days?

JJ

What Those Mockingjay Part 2 Stills Are Really Saying

For so long, we sat at our computers bemoaning the total lack of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 promotion, begging Lionsgate to “just give us something!”

Now they’re giving us ALL THE THINGS. Right now. At the same damn time as all the other things. Yesterday, we got a poster. Today, tickets went on sale and Fandango users will get a new clip if they purchase when 24 hours (if you’re in a prominently MovieTickets.com region like us, look to the inevitable piracy). Entertainment Weekly also released a still cover featuring photoshop-y Katniss, Peeta, and Gale from Tim Palen’s upcoming book o’ portrait wonders and eight new stills. Tomorrow, the final trailer hits… but only at Best Buy. Again.

Clearly, that’s a lot to talk about. AND WE WILL. But today, we’re gonna focus in on those stills. You may not realize it, but there’s a message in each character’s eyes. There’s some serious thought there that they’re trying to get out. We’ll translate for you.

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“Urghh… It looks like we’re still committed to playing out the love triangle that nobody wants. Seriously, it’s giving me a migraine…”

 

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“Da na na na, da na na na, da na na na, da na na na… CROSSBOW! The weapon for guys who want to impress chicks but don’t have any real skill!”

 

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“We’re all pretty psyched about confronting the enemy! ..Except Peeta. He still doesn’t know what the fuck to do with his gun.”

 

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“I’m just the basic bitch behind the camera, so Imma sit back and encourage the real badass to do all the killing despise her worst fears blooming to life before her eyes. How else do you think I keep my hair firmly to one side?”

 

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“And then those freaking mutts showed up and I was like… tumblr_mvhy9xAFC41s822dfo1_250

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“Why are we in The Hunger Games franchise playing bad cop/reluctant cop, again? We were born to play Legolas’ twin sisters in Lord of the Rings, thank you very much!”

 

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“Look, Katniss, it’s not that I’m not saddened by your sister’s death. It’s just that.. if I’m going to drop you off in District 12 in place of Plutarch and mourn with you for a moment, I’m gonna look fly as fuck as I do it. Plzkthx.”

 

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“You thought you had your shit together by this point in the movie, didn’t you? THINK AGAIN, WOMAN!

That’s Our Story And We’re Stickin’ To It,
The Girl With The Pearl

REACTION POST: MockingJay Part 2 Trailer #2

We have another trailer, so you know what that means! It’s time for a Victor’s Village reaction post!

This one starts off on a bit of a sad note– You’ll notice that Them There Eyes is no longer with us. She’s stepped away from the Internet for a while to focus on some real life commitments, but we still love her to death and wish her all the best!

As for JJ and The Girl With The Pearl, We March Together with you through the glorious battlefield of fandom (See what we did there?!) And so, the reaction post goes on!

Be aware that this baby contains spoilers if you haven’t read the books! Also, there’s lots to it, so be sure to hit the “READ MORE” link if you’re viewing from the main page!

WHY ARE WE MARCHING?!

The Girl With The Pearl: Let’s start with this: The trailer has a name, which is not always something we’ve seen in the past. What do you think of We March Together?

Are we referring to this *cough* TOTALLY NATURAL marching scene?

Are we referring to this *cough* TOTALLY NATURAL marching scene?

JJ: Eh, it’s got that revolution vibe, which is good. And there is that scene of Katniss strutting down to “get” Snow. But… is does it add much to the actual trailer? Not sure. It feels like something they did to track views better online actually.

TGWTP: Being the picky bastard that I am, I couldn’t help but think about how they NEVER march together

JJ: Lol. But Paylor wants them too.

TGWTP: All these District are essentially using the same guerilla warfare tactics. No marching! Katniss sure never marched anywhere with anyone

JJ: Katniss doesn’t march with anyone, you’re right. It’s more of an afterthought of something that sounds good for trailer title.

TGWTP: It should be called We Want To March Together, then! Though it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

JJ: Marching together is for winners!

THE SNOW-DOWN

The greenhouse! The mansion in the distance! Hoooooly....

The greenhouse! The mansion in the distance! Hoooooly….

TGWTP: But I suppose the title doesn’t matter, because man… did this start with Snow’s final conversation with Katniss?!

JJ: Yes, I think they did. That’s one of the amazing thing about both the teaser and this trailer. They mush the timeline all around, yet it presents the story beautifully!

TGWTP: It’s not something non-readers would recognize, but for books fans… OOF! You can hear the raggedness of his voice, plus the image of Katniss approaching the greenhouse…

JJ: If you’ve got Donald Sutherland, use that’s man’s voice for all it’s worth. What a chilling open.

RECITING AND RECYCLING

TGWTP: And then we get Paylor, which is just so welcome. I kinda worry that characters like hers will be written off, but she’s prominent in a trailer!

Pay attention! Paylor knows what's up!

Pay attention! Paylor knows what’s up!

JJ: I love that they are building her up. In the books, we don’t really see her rise because it happens away from Katniss, but I like how they’re really going to show her as a leader. Will make the ending make a lot more sense. And it was a great way to explain the plot of the movie quickly too.

TGWTP: Yes! We saw the tar before, now the people who haven’t read the books know what that’s about. And it establishes Paylor as a tactical leader.

JJ: Just in those few secs of her speech it solidifies her credibility as a leader. Good stuff

TGWTP: I did kinda laugh at the beginning of her speech though, because we get a quick look at Plutarch, Effie, and Haymitch– our only look at all three from this trailer– and it’s THE SAME CUT from the last trailer. We couldn’t find three different shots of those three?!

JJ: Yeah, bah, come on! There were a bunch of those reused shots.

TGWTP: Oh, I get that. We got plenty of recycling of scenes but that was so very obvious because it was a montage-y sequence.

THE FUTURE STARTS WITH REFERENCES OF BOOK LOVERS

JJ: But can we talk about the timing of when she talks about THE FUTURE STARTS TOMORROW.

TGWTP: YES. YES WE CAN. Because we see the future there! *flails*

The moment at which we all squealed!

The moment at which we all squealed!

JJ: That was just for us fans. Thanks to whoever cut that. You could think that was just a natural thing… but WE KNOW. A lot of the trailer has those type of fan-friendly moments. So thanks, guys!

TGWTP: Yes, somebody definitely said “Let’s throw THIS in here real quick for the big fans.”

TGWTP: And there were a couple moments where everything was combined to inflict maximum hurt, so let’s discuss those. Katniss talks about nothing good being safe while Snow is alive as she dances with Prim.

JJ: Yup, another moment taken from the teaser, but understandable since it’s the core of what she’s fighting for. And we need to make that end hurt more.

TGWTP: Gale talking about how Katniss needs to make her one shot count. URGH. That got to me.

JJ: Oooh, I didn’t pick up on that.

Tigris' hair: Cockblocking Gale's lines since last week

Tigris’ hair: Cockblocking Gale’s lines since last week

TGWTP: It’s very quick. She says she only has one shot. He says “Let’s make it count”

JJ: Oh yes, when he’s in Tigris’s shop. I was distracted by Tigris’s hair! But “making it count.” Ugh.

TGWTP: Exactly. Those are probably two different scenes (and yes, it’s Tigris!) but they’re blended for the best effect to reference Coin’s death later.

JJ: Messing with the timeline again! But it works. Then you have Peeta’s part.

TGWTP: I think it’s NO COINCIDENCE that they’re showing lizard mutts while Peeta is talking about Snow owning their deaths and how the deaths matter if Katniss defeats Snow.

JJ: “Our lives were never ours…” *tears* Finnick battling the lizards was a great shot.

TGWTP: That is an incredible line. Screenwriting prowess, ftw!

(more…)

Sam Claflin Lets Us #AskFinnick and It Made Our Friday

Sam Claflin QAWe’re still processing all the amazingness from yesterday’s Mockingjay Part 2 theatrical trailer but a full trailer reaction post will be coming this weekend. In the meantime, we got a treat today thanks to @LionsgateUK and Sam Claflin with a little twitter Q&A. As with any Twitter Q&A with the fandom, there is a lot of spam with people repeatedly asking the same questions (STOP THAT) and the hilariousness of the Lionsgate account tweeting some fan accounts with very “fandom” names.

Here are some of the highlights.

If he could play any other character in the Hunger Games:

Softball question, but we’re with you, Sam.

As for his favorite part of yesterday’s trailer:

Well, he’s certainly being gracious about those lizards, considering they bite off Finnick’s head. But it looks like Finnick will go out heroicly from the way he’s taking them down in the trailer.

What did he think of the Hunger Games Exhibition?

I may have included this response because @cuddlyjoshifer asked it and it makes me smile. But we agree on this one too!

On his training to fight those nasty lizards in Mockingjay Part 2:

Killing lizard mutts with a trident, nbd.

Favorite quote from Finnick:

Moving past the account name asking that one too… A great, meaningful line that has stayed with us from the first reading.

Can he picture Finnick as being the Mockingjay?

Attn: fanfic writers you have a new prompt.

Did he keep anything from set?

Thanks @sassyjoshifer.

How did he injure himself on set THIS TIME (he got hurt filming Catching Fire, but this question seems a little mean lol):

Ouch. Reminder of the pain these actors go through to bring your beloved book characters to life.

On Finnick’s inspiration to fight:

This is incredibly sweet, and we agree.

What district would SAM live in?

We really love this, District 14, cause he lives in the UK!

If he could be a superhero:

Hahaha people, so clever.

On any behavior/character traits of Finnick rubbing of on him:

Things are getting silly now and we’re loving it.

His favorite thing about Finnick:

Now we’re on to more serious matters. That switch from silly to serious & genuine seems to fit both Sam and Finnick well.

And finally, was the wedding scene fun to shoot?

I don’t know, that dancing looked pretty lovely to us.

Just one final question from us… can we have cast/crew Q&A’s every week?

JJ

The Mockingjay Part 2 Trailer Will Blow Your Fandom-Loving Mind

The countdown is over! The trailer is here! IT IS OFFICIALLY TIME TO FLIP OUT!

It’s been two weeks since the first full Mockingjay Part 2 trailer was previewed at Comic-Con (that previous 2 minute preview was considered a “teaser”) and now, the rest of us are finally getting a glimpse of the action. And damn, is there action! We were pretty psyched with the last trailer, but Katniss and her crew have never been more intense than what we’re getting here!

Expect a full trailer breakdown soon. Today we’ll be too busy watching and re-watching to firmly express our thoughts without melting into fangirl mode!

What do you think of this latest trailer?!

We’ve Got Character Posters!

Lionsgate is starting Comic-Con week with a bang with the release of 8 cool character posters for Mockingjay Part 2.

And YESSSSS we like it.

All the posters have the tag UNITE – THE REVOLUTION IS ABOUT ALL OF US, which ties in to the Three Finger Salute billboards from a few weeks ago. And everyone is branded with the sign of the Mockingjay, in red, mimicking warpaint. But everyone has a unique word on the left side to set things apart.

Katniss Peeta SDCC

Katniss is PANEM UNITE which makes sense. Peeta is SONS cause why not? (And what’s with the light eyes? Does hijacking make them finally… blue? Kidding. But not)

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Gale is all about the BROTHERS, though we wish we could’ve seen some of his actual brothers in the movie. And Johanna appropriately brings up the rebels. We can’t tell if she’s really sad here, or just really fucking annoyed to be photographed for these things. Probably both.

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Newly married Finnick represents the husbands (hey the world knows because of the teaser trailer). And Prim gives us sisterhood feels. And the blood-red color on both these faces is even more chilling when you know the ending.

cressida boggs

Finally we have Cressida and Boggs representing the activists and the soldiers.

The black and red of these posters are VERY INTERESTING. They of course set the mood very well, but we also wonder if they fit nicely with a red Mockingjay-suited Katniss propo to come?

One additional thing that we liked, and may have just happened because it worked out like that and no other reason, but it’s still remarkable. Katniss’s poster is not DAUGHTERS UNITE, it’s PANEM UNITE. One of the very few redeeming qualities of Panem is that women have authority in this world as well, and it’s no big deal. It’s just how things are. This will be further enforced in the last saga with Commanders Paylor and Lyme. And Panem’s symbolic leader, the Mockingjay, while a daughter, represents the entire country, so they correctly chose to emphasize that first.

We’re overwhelmed, in a very good way!

JJ