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Applicability, Schapplicability: More Mockingjay Musings

We’ve got BONUS guest posts for you this week! Check out another Mockingjay musing from Satsuma, who sees plenty of opportunity of historical parallels in the final two films!

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Here I am, trying to make more predictions about the MJ movies. My last post dealt with their possible approach to romance. This one focuses more on the politics. Specifically, whether the movies will continue to make references to historical political events that have parallels to what happens in Panem.

Sometimes we forget that people actually LIVED here

Sometimes we forget that people actually LIVED here

I say “continue to”, because both THG and CF seemed to make a directed effort to make viewers consider the parallels, in many subtle ways. Maybe it’s just me, but the “Capitol = Rome” set-up SC created seems to have actually taken a back seat, with more modern examples of tyranny and oppression being focused on more. We have the Capitol set design from THG, inspired by “brutalist” architecture used by the Nazi’s, as well as Tianamen Square; and the use of Henry River Mill village, a real life “company town” (though for a different industry than coal) for the Seam.

And while this isn’t expressly political, I was also quite struck by the Capitol equivalent of a sports book that was showcased in that movie, especially as we see gambling in all forms becoming more and more socially acceptable these days in the US, and states trying to get a cut of the action; not just the state lotteries, but, for example, how Governor Christie of New Jersey recently attempted to legalize sports gambling in his state). And while FYI I admit I never “got” the whole allure of gambling, certainly one can argue that it’s yet another way that the “powers that be” can distract citizens from more serious issues.

In CF, the D11 design actually tweaked aspects of canon, such as showing workers picking cotton instead of fruit as they did in the book, to drive the “D11 = Deep South”, not just geographically but culturally as well, to the extent of giving the Peacekeepers attack dogs that I bet Bull Connor would have loved to own. (Brief history lesson: Connor was a notorious segregationist “Commissioner of Public Safety” in Birmingham, AL, who cracked down harshly on civil rights protestors in the 1960s. I’ve even wondered if Connor’s deceptively benign job title, helped inspire the “Peacekeeper” moniker.)

And not only did CF harken back to the 1960’s, it also showed “rebellion” footage that seemed straight out of the Arab Spring. I’m sure that was no co-incidence.

Bull Connor

Bull Connor

Especially knowing that Danny Strong wrote the first scripts, I’m sure that MJ will continue to showcase these historical and political parallels. (Note that, as has been mentioned on this blog before, “Game Change” actually has a lot of similarities to MJ even though Sarah Palin is VERY different from Katniss in many ways, both feature a female character “campaigning” for a cause and frequently “going rogue” and disregarding the scripts their handlers want them to follow.)

Note that the MJ marketing again touched on the idea of “Panem field hands = African Americans”, considering the race of the woman chosen to represent the Grain district (even though she likely hailed from the Midwest, not as strongly associated with the African American civil rights struggle as the Deep South, though certainly the North had/has its own issues with racism as well.)

Unfortunately, it’s likely too late for the MJ movies to draw the obvious parallels between the MJ rebellion and what’s happening at the Ukraine-Russia border these days, right down to innocent civilians being caught in the cross-fire, with each side pointing the finger at the other as the culprit for a wartime atrocity. Much as in MJ, I wonder if we’ll ever find out the REAL story about who shot down that airliner. (On the other hand, there’s still almost two years worth of marketing to go…)

But we know that the Iraq war helped to inspire SC to write this story, as did her father’s experiences as a soldier in Vietnam. I can certainly see, for example, a shot of rebels dragging down a statue of Snow, much as Saddam Hussein’s statue bit the dust. Or perhaps we’ll see a shot of Snow being dragged out of a bunker somewhere. And while Julianne Moore’s description of D13 seems more consistent with “Jericho” and other post-apocalyptic societies than the historical Soviet Union, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some reference to the idea of “Capitol = US, D13 = USSR”; perhaps a nod to classic Cold War era movies such as “Dr. Strangelove” (which itself based the not-so-good Doctor partly on Werner von Brown, who managed to jump from serving the Nazis in WWII to directing NASA in the 1960s; hmm, that sounds almost like what Plutarch did, actually).

Finally, the reason I titled this post “Applicability”, is that the current events in Crimea really did impress me with how applicable this series is to the Ukraine/Russia conflict, even though SC wrote the books years before this conflict flared up. In both, we have rebels who want to break away from one problematic regime, yet are backed by another regime that has many problematic aspects as well. This is one reason I think this series may remain relevant for a while, even after the last MJ movie.

Satsuma

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Compare and Contrast: The Hunger Games and Catching Fire

Our latest guest post comes from the hilariously tag-named Caesar’s Scrunchy, who has a few awesome points about the relationship between Katniss and Peeta (with visuals!)

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You know you’re desperate for more “Mockingjay” action when you’re willing to do a school writing assignment in the summertime, which wasn’t assigned and will never be graded! But we’ve got to do something to pass the time waiting for the next propo, right?

So I’ve done a “compare and contrast” assignment just like in school, where we take two different things – two poems, two books, two films, etc. – and see what is different and what is similar about them. These assignments aren’t always fun, but when we do them, we can learn a lot more about each one by looking more closely at them. And it can be especially fun if you compare “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire” movies (because what else are we going to do
besides watch these two fave movies, amiright?!) The books have these parallels as well, but that REALLY feels like a school assignment, and doing it this way, I got to watch the movies again as “research.”

In some cases, the exact opposite from what happened in HG happened in CF (I noted those with the arrows). I used to think the first two books were a bit similar, but the more I worked on this, I appreciated how hard the filmmakers worked to give us an amazing number of little details that created great symmetry between the two movies. Or, to quote Haymitch, “Genius!” When you look at the comparisons, I hope you agree.

If you like this, feel free to watch the movies again (as if anyone needs an invitation?) and see if you can find more contrasts and comparisons. I wonder what would happen if we added Gale to the mix? Or compared Seneca Crane vs. Plutarch? Or HG Buttercup vs. CF Buttercup? J

PS – I own none of the images here, they are just for illustration purposes to show each point. AND: this is the first thing I’ve ever written for VictorsVillage.com, and I hope you like it.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST: THE HUNGER GAMES AND CATCHING FIRE
Katniss Peeta Chart 1
THE BALANCE BETWEEN THEM

Katniss Peeta Chart 2

Caesar’s Scrunchy

A Real Life District 12?

It’s time for the first entry in our latest series of guest posts! Kait is in full-on wedding mode so you’ll be hearing from special guest writer over the course of the next few weeks. Remember, you can submit a guest post to thevictorsvillage@gmail.com anytime!

Our first entry comes from Justin, who thinks District 12 seems awfully familiar. Enjoy!

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Hello! I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the curious parallels between the place where I am from and District 12. As the books state, Katniss hails from the region today known as Appalachia in the Eastern United States. I, however, am from the Forest of Dean District. It makes up the western portion of the county of Gloucestershire in south-west England. (Everdeen/evergreen/Dean? Get it?) Up until the mid 20th Century the area’s main local industries were coal and iron ore mining.

Forest of Dean: Harry Potter wuz here too!

Forest of Dean: Harry Potter wuz here too!

One of the two main towns of the district is called Cinderford (pop: 8,116) which is right on the edge of the forest itself. You can walk straight out of it into the woods just as Katniss does when she goes hunting. And, of course, District 12 gets reduced to cinders. The other town is called Coleford, but ‘cole’ is derived from the Latin for ‘cabbage’, apparently. I guess The Capitol didn’t care enough about the Districts to recognize proper names for their individual settlements.

I have saved the best for last. For hundreds of years in the Forest of Dean there has been a tradition known as Freemining whereby private individuals can claim a parcel of land to mine for themselves. These personal plots are known as ‘gales‘. No, really.

This is an extract from the Dean Forest (Mines) Act 1838:

“All male persons born or hereafter to be born and abiding within the said Hundred of St Briavels, of the age of twenty one years and upwards, who shall have worked a year and a day in a coal or iron mine within the said Hundred of St Briavels, shall be deemed and taken to be Free Miners.”

(There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on whether it is ‘Freeminers’ or ‘Free Miners’.)

Gale approved!

Gale approved!

I think there are some more links between the HG character of Gale and the FoD Freeminers:

“Amongst other places, Free Miners were frequently requested to fight in France and fought throughout the Hundred Years War, most famously at the famous battles at Crecy (1346) and Agincourt (1415). Miners became used to being an essential part of the King’s armoury, Dean miners were sometimes called ‘The King’s Miners’ and ‘King’s Pyoneers’, known generally as ‘Sappers’ they undermined fortifications, created earthworks, trenches, building timber structures, installing stakes etc. As well as their renowned mining skills, the miners were also excellent archers and ferocious in hand to hand combat; they were hard men, used to operating in harsh conditions. By law from 1363 all English males from 7 – 60 years old were required to practise archery for at least two hours on Sundays and festival days…” Source.

In Mockingjay, Gale Hawthorne, the miner who wanted to be free, has a big hand in undermining the fortification known as the Nut. (Although, the Free Miners were, themselves, very much part of the establishment.)

So, if any of you out there gets an opportunity to talk with Suzanne Collins, do please ask her if there actually are any connections between The Hunger Games and the Forest of Dean.

Justin

Share Your Hunger Games Thoughts at Victor’s Village!

Mockingjay-Background

Guess what, guys? There’s tons of amazing things going on in the fandom right now and we want YOUR opinion on it! Why, you ask? Because we love to have what you have to say (and because I’m getting married in 16 days and staring at a to-do list that is FOREVER GROWING)!

SEND US YOUR GUEST POSTS IF YOU DARE!

We’re seeking out some stellar guest posts because, believe it or not, we know that our opinions aren’t the only ones that matter!

If you’ve got ANYTHING to say about The Hunger Games books, movies, merchandise, actors, fandom, that new teaser and the occasionally obnoxious reactions to it, etc. that you’d like to share with tons of members of the fandom, write it up and send it to thevictorsvillage@gmail.com! Wit preferred, but not required. As long as your writing isn’t a hot mess (we have faith in you!), we’ll post it up to be shared with other fans!

Send in your posts by Thursday, July 3 at 5pm EST and we’ll love you forever!

From Sparks to Catching (Wild)Fire

We’ll be back soon, lovelies! In the meantime, check out Uli’s fabulous analysis of the Catching Fire marketing!

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The triad of Josh, Jen and Liam blazing their way through red carpets all around the world can only mean one thing. The day we’ve all been eagerly waiting for is finally upon us. Who would have thought that a year ago, huh? 500+ days of a countdown sure don’t pass by all too quickly, but Lionsgate did their best to keep us all on our toes and excited throughout. And with the movie now being shown to not only media representatives but the general public as well, I thought it time to do a little recap of how well the marketing machinery of Lionsgate worked this time around.

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Did #TheSpark spark fan interest?

After months and months of watching The Hunger Games multiple times to pass time, something was finally happening. #TheSpark was sent flying to ignite all those Tributes in hibernation and get them excited for the second installment of the franchise. And ignite it did.

First, stills from the movie were being revealed that, again, had to be unlocked by fans through tweeting a certain hashtag. It felt almost like we were back in the days of “The Hunger Games” marketing campaign when all was about tweeting, revealing and unlocking. But for “Catching Fire” it stopped suddenly and instead of being a part, becoming a part of #TheSpark, we were asked to stand aside and watch. And wait. Wait until Lionsgate decided it was time to reveal something new. The whole “Tick Tock” concept was all about tweeting and joining to win, not tweeting and joining to unlock. And that, in general, reflected what a grand part of the Catching Fire marketing campaign was about.

My recollection of the whole campaign might not be detailed, but I sure remember the overall feeling I’ve gotten from it was us, the fans, were being degraded to viewers as opposed to the players we all had been throughout The Hunger Games campaign leading up to the movie. We “played” to unlock TheCapitol.pn site, played to unlock our DIPs, played to puzzle together the first official movie poster. Everyone had a part in it. And this time around, especially with all give aways or competitions being restricted to only the US and Canada, most of those players were forced to sit down and watch as the game went on without them. And I, personally, found that saddening. It’s more exciting being a part than watching (except, of course, when we’re talking about the Hunger Games. The actual ones).

Now, I am not saying that Lionsgate didn’t do a good job. It was solid, just enough to keep the level of excitement boiling. But Catching Fire’s marketing campaign was just missing that little extra that would have taken #TheSpark from its initial, big-enough-to-make-smores campfire to a full-blown wildfire like the one Katniss is escaping from in the first book. Something engaging and captivating the fans, allowing them to become a part of Panem rather than just citizens of the Capitol. Net-a-Porter anyone?

Uli

Hunger Games Companion Book Review: Katniss the Cattail

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!

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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.

Click here to check it out!

Click here to check it out!

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

Those Crazy Tumblr Kids and Their Real Life Ships

It’s official! We’re off to the US premiere of Catching Fire!

In the meantime, we’ve lined up some stellar guest posts for you to enjoy! First up is Emese, whose a little disturbed (and rightfully so) by a trend she’s noticed among members of The Hunger Games fandom on tumblr.

Take it away, Emese!

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For an outsider Tumblr might seem like a pretty crazy place. And it is! It’s filled with all these gibberish text posts, shiny fan arts, RP-ers and regular bloggers, social activists and trolls, hipster blogs and cat picture blogs and food blogs and of course: fandom blogs.

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You see, it’s never dull there. People always have a lot of ‘FEELS‘ to talk about, they use taglines like ‘AKFSJGSGADKHJGSDAFLJKSAFHKJSA‘ to express excitement, and have separate folders on their computers where they store all the GIF files they might use as reactions to a post.

Pretty graphics can be called ‘color porn‘ and ‘scenery porn‘ and ‘hair porn‘ without having any kind of adult content and the concept of ‘shipping‘ was completely re-defined by these folks and the general fandoms. It’s not just for your OTP (=One True Pairing) anymore, you can have as many ships as possible for one single person by ‘multishipping‘ them. You can ‘go down with a ship‘ even if it’s about two characters who only interacted that one single time. Heck, they might not even met! And sometimes you can ship two people without actually wanting them to get together, and call them your ‘brotp‘. Really, it’s gotten to a point where you can ship someone with an inanimate object without seeming like a weirdo.

Perhaps that’s why I don’t feel like twitching and screaming whenever I see a a photoset out there of two Hunger Games co-stars tagged as #i ship it. Because I know that that same person might just have a gifset reblogged of the Doctor and his screwdriver (no, that’s not an euphemism, pull your mind out of the gutter and start watching some Doctor Who! God!) with that same tagline.

No, but seriously. #i ship it

No, but seriously. #i ship it

Still, ‘real life shipping’ in itself is in fact an existing separate phenomenon and is something that we all encountered in our lives. It can be derived from people identifying actors with the characters they play, or just an idea to put two celebrities you like together. In many cases though, real life shipping is simply just an act of appreciation of an existing relationship between two people, whether it’s romantic or not. Unfortunately, that’s not where it all stops. It’s just where it all starts to get disturbing.

Like guys, there are fanfictions out there! Fanfictions! It’s crazy! Think about it, these are not fictional characters, these are real actual human beings who could possibly read those! But that’s not even the honest-to-God-real problem – I mean yeah, I feel pretty uneasy whenever I come across those writings, but I also know people who merely find them fun and entertaining in a totally-not-taking-this-seriously sense. What worries me more are these mile-long text posts I have to scroll through day-by-day, describing why X and Y are not really in love but X and Z are like meant to be together. Like look at those pictures the user just posted, they tell you everything you need to know! Obviously, the poster totally knows these peoples’ feelings much better than the people in question. “Seriously, X and Y need to break up, stat!” That’s like a legit thing to write on a public forum about two very real people who you know nothing about.

Wow.

Again, we are talking about real people. Not fictional characters.

And guys trust me, I’m not making this up. These posts actually happen. In this fandom. And those posting them are absolutely serious about them. And people agree with them.

The question is, how is that better than any sort of shitty celebrity journalism making up crap about well-known public figures just to sell themselves? And even more so: how is that different from the Capitol’s obsession with Peeta and Katniss’ romance?

The answer is: it’s not. It’s actually worse. Because you’re a fan, and you should know better.

You see generally, this whole idea is not a new trend. People were obsessed with the personal life of their favorite stars 50 years ago as well; it’s why trashy magazines and celebrity journalism exist in the first place. Thanks to the internet however, there’s some rapid growth that happened on that front, which means more accessibility, more paparazzi pictures for the public and obviously much more intrusion into these people’s lives. It’s one of those disturbing points where the fictional world of the Capitol meets our present day entertainment industry.

Even so, sometimes I feel that while Tumblr is in many ways perpetuating that kind of behavior, occasionally it also adds some kind of fun spin to this whole craziness instead of embracing it. Again, we’re talking about fans here, and many of them might even understand the situation as a whole, and so they try to maintain a certain level of respect for their idols and their need for privacy. I personally feel like the Hunger Games fandom in general is very self-aware in that regard, especially since the books are full of criticism toward the subject.

That doesn’t mean though that I don’t feel uncomfortable whenever it happens in any way. Our cast is generally very private about their personal lives, and I feel that getting involved in their relationships like that is very disrespectful for them. There are parts of their lives that they choose to indulge us in, but there are also parts that they’re desperate to keep to themselves. And while enjoying a certain relationship that we get to see through channels that they choose to open, such as in interviews, is fine, I find that discussions above that are always problematic and very much Capitol-y.

What more could you possibly ask for?!

What more could you possibly ask for?!

I’m proud to say that most of the fandom – outside the madness that is social media – respects that. We might be aware of our cast members’ relationship statuses, but we do not talk about it – because they don’t. Unless of course it’s Sam Claflin’s adorable relationship with his wife, which we can unabashedly fawn over thanks to his openness about it.

I imagine of course that many of the weirdos who are taking this all to the extremes are either pre-teenage fangirls and boys, who haven’t yet thought over these issues, or people who might not even be actual fans of the books and movies themselves. Well, I’m here to tell you that your age is not necessarily an excuse to be a disrespectful prick to your own idols. Heck, I don’t even care if you’re not a Hunger Games fan: if you come into our party, you play by our rules.

Team Just Leave These Guys The Hell Alone A.K.A. Who Cares If It’s Real Or Not Real?
(E)m(e)se

Give Us Your Guest Posts!

Premiere madness is upon us! If you missed all the fandemonium of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire premiere in London, view it here!

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In other news …Oh man! Premiere madness is upon us! That means that in a few days time, the whole Victor’s Village staff will be traveling around Los Angeles with little Internet access! We could write some posts on our cell phones, but that’s about as fun as grinding down your teeth with a nail file.

You know what that means!

WE NEED YOUR GUEST POSTS!

And we ain’t too proud to beg.

We’re seeking out some stellar guest posts because, believe it or not, we know that our opinions aren’t the only ones that matter!

If you’ve got ANYTHING to say about The Hunger Games books, movies, merchandise, actors, fandom, etc. that you’d like to share with tons of members of the fandom, write it up and send it to thevictorsvillage@gmail.com! Wit preferred, but not required. As long as your writing isn’t a hot mess (we have faith in you!), we’ll post it up to be shared with other fans!

Send in your posts by Friday, Nomveber 15 at 5pm EST and we’ll love you forever!

Carry Your Woooooorllllld!

Sometimes you ask for guest posts, sometimes they fall into your lap as a gift from devoted readers! The following falls in the latter category, brought to us by the ever enthusiastic mse! Enjoy!
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Still prettier than my own handwriting

Still prettier than my own handwriting

I’m a huge Coldplay geek in addition to being an enthusiastic Tribute, and I know I’m not alone. I’m not gonna use words like ‘OMG I’m the biggest fan of the band ever’ because yeah, I don’t even have an authentic lyric sheet handwritten by Chris Martin and we all know that that’s the only sign of a true fan – well that and the ability to rotate air. Alas as it turns out you can become one now by entering this contest here, so good luck! Tell me when you learned how to ventilate so I can give you a call on a warmer than usual autumn day.

Back to our topic, as you can guess I was obviously very excited when I learned that Coldplay is going to contribute to the Catching Fire soundtrack, and was eagerly anticipating the release of the song. By that time we already had the lyrics Chris shared via Twitter and we all brushed up on our Greek mythology and knew that the title ‘Atlas’ referred to the Titan who was sentenced to literally carry the world on his shoulders. But we still needed the song itself to truly appreciate the power of that metaphor , and as it turns out, we also needed a beautifully designed lyrics video to get fully obsessed.

I know that saying that this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is a gross overreaction but guys, THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING THAT I’VE SEEN. EVER.

Okay, so let’s first talk about the song itself. Now, this is probably going to be a subjective opinion, but I totally had a flashback of the Coldplay’s first album, Parachutes while listening to it. For those of you who are not as obsessed with the band as the rest of us, here’s some recap:

Coldplay had 5 big studio albums out in the last 13 years, and while they all had a very Coldplay-ish sound, they also had their distinguished characteristics that made the songs on a specific album stand out and separate them from the music on any of the others.

For example A Rush Of Blood To The Head had this very clean, sleek sound with lots of piano. That album probably also has the most memorable melodies, because the songs were just simply great – the intro to Clocks is possibly the most recognizable Coldplay melody ever, even though it really is nothing special from a musical stand point (although it might make your hands pretty sore by the end if you attempt to actually play it on your piano at home, especially if you have such a horrible wrist movement like me). On the other hand, Viva la Vida or Death and All Of His Friends was this epic journey that I personally like to refer to as the “Coldplay opera” . There’s a very complex sonority to it, the songs don’t always follow a typical structure, and this is that one album that you feel like you just have to listen to from beginning to end.

Atlas however… Atlas feels like modern day Coldplay Parachutes song to me. There’s a bit of back to basic feel to it, yes, but that’s not just it. Parachutes was a very early album for the band, they didn’t use a whole lot of fancy electronic stuff back then, but there was also some naivety and some interesting dissonant melodies which you might notice in Atlas as well. Basically: Parachutes is the angsty teenager of Coldplay albums. Or at least as angsty and teenagery as Coldplay can get.

Seriously, even the art work looks like a frickin atlas

Seriously, even the art work looks like a frickin atlas!

Now, I’m not saying that Atlas is a definite addition to that album, and there’s a lot of maturity and a more modern sound in this song. Actually I’d say that it’s more like a blend between Parachutes and Viva la Vida, which also had a revolutionary theme beside all the things I mentioned before. And now that I think about it, it might actually be more of a Viva la Vida song after all. But the dissonance in that piano melody gives it a sense of unrest, there’s a clear underlying anxiety – until the chorus resolves it all by promising that it’ll ‘carry your world’ and also ‘all your hurt’.

I also think that this structure, the way the song makes a translation from angsty to something more hopeful and uplifting, makes Atlas a perfect first credits song. I’m mentioning this not just because the choice of a first credits song is important in the sense that it contributes to the whole impression a movie has left on you – but because in addition to being a Coldplay geek and a Hunger Games fan I’m also someone who’s very interested in movie awards and Oscars and all that jazz.

Of course you might ask now, what does this all has to do with the Oscars? Here’s the thing: some of the most prestigious film award ceremonies have a category called “Original Song” to them, however the definition of what can be considered part of that is kind of fuzzy. The Globes are more flexible with all this as you can expect, however the Oscars have this crazy rule that only songs that were playing during the movie or as a first credit song can contend. RUDE! That means if I put 51 songs at the end of my movie only one of those will be considered. Pfft! (This is also the reason why Safe & Sound was never going to get an Original Song nomination at the Oscars, in case you didn’t know.)

So yep, Atlas being the first credits song and the song of a universally well-liked popular band and this being their first ever contribution to a movie’s soundtrack increases the chances for an Academy Award shout out about 500%.

“But… why do we always have to bring up the Oscars?” I’m sorry, but this is what happens when your lead actor is an effing double Oscar nominee and a fresh Best Actress winner. People are probably gonna talk about the movie’s Oscar chances in costumes and hair and make-up and visuals and music and all that as we approach award season, so get used to it. And wouldn’t it be just plain cool to read the words “Nominated for X Oscars” on Catching Fire’s IMDb page? Don’t lie to me, you wanna see that just as much as I do.

I gasped.

I gasped.

Before I’d finish this up, we need to talk about that lyrics video though. Because that is just abso-freaking-lutely STUNNING. That’s not just a lyrics video guys, that qualifies as an actual music video if you ask me, and those animations… Wow. It’s simple but effective, and the whole constellation concept is really clever, because obviously there’s no cooler archery symbol than the Sagittarius itself, but it also gives off a sort of mythologic vibe which is obviously a reference to the lyrics themselves and the inspiration behind them.

I also spent a lot of time thinking about the meaning behind the 7 lines that start off and finish the video, and I’m kind of convinced that it refers to the 7 members of Peeta and Katniss’ alliance: Finnick, Mags, Beetee, Wiress, Johanna and Katniss and Peeta themselves. Of course that doesn’t include people like Woof or even the morphlings who were obviously supposed to have been part of that alliance but I stand by my theory.

Now excuse me, but I gotta get back to listening to this song for the 1002th time,
E(m)e(s)e

And They All Look Just The Same

Them There Eyes is off exploring the wilderness this week, which means one thing: GUEST POSTS!

We’ve got a couple of goodies for you, starting off with this one from first time guest writer Fefe! She’s introducing us to a new term and talking about why resemblance isn’t a deciding factor for the characters she loves.

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In completely unrelated (but totally related) fandom news, the answer to “Who is the 12th Doctor?” has been answered, and he looks nothing like, well, me. Whovians all over the world have been weighing in on what they wanted from a new Doctor (“a person of color”,” a woman”, “A GINGER!”) all summer and now that the role has been filled we can get to the part I’ve been dreading: the backlash from the unsatisfied.

Ambiguous characters: Easier with cartoons

Ambiguous characters: Easier with animations

The hoopla over the next Doctor reminds me of another group of fans we all know and (usually) love; fans of The Hunger Games. See, I told you it was kind of related. Remember when Jennifer and Liam weren’t the exact skin tone we imagined Katniss and Gale would be? Remember when Cinna was (*gasp*) tapped to be played by a black actor? Remember when that all happened again this year when the Catching Fire cast was announced by Lionsgate? There were people who were angry yet again because the actors did not look the way they’d imagined, these critics were those who didn’t think there were enough people of color hired to be a part of the cast.

The opposing fans argued that the looks of the actors tapped to play the characters they had grown to love when reading the series is: “They don’t look like me and I want to be able to see myself in this character I love.” I have a question for you, why? While I can understand occasionally wanting to see oneself represented on screen, I cannot understand why that has to be the case with every TV show or film one watches. I have had many spirited debates with friends about this when discussing the likes of shows on The CW or ABC Family as well as The Hunger Games saga and I never quite get it.

I am black, I am female, and I date women, but I don’t need every character in everything watch to also be a gay black woman for me to enjoy watching them. Some would call me a “Blerd”; a black nerd. I swear I did not just make that word up and it is actually a thing; Google it if you don’t believe me. I am also friends with a lot of Blerds and, as much as I love them, I am constantly frustrated by some of their points of view. They tend to get up in arms the “feel left out” and because they don’t think there are enough representations of them on shows and in films they watch. I in turn get frustrated trying to argue that sometimes even characters resembling me tend to be the characters I like least. For the record, the lesbian women of color, like me, on True Blood and Pretty Little Liars, to me are unlikable and I sometimes mute the telly when they are on screen. Should I enjoy a character more by virtue of a shared resemblance? A character’s race, gender, and sexual orientation have little to with my identifying with a character as I am more about the depth of that character than the surface qualities.

We love ALL THE NERDS.

We love ALL THE NERDS.

While reading The Hunger Games series I liked to imagine I could have been Katniss Everdeen or Johanna Mason. I wanted to believe that I could be the face of a rebellion and that there could be something that I believed in so strongly about that I would be brave enough to risk everything, including my life for. When the actresses hired to play the parts of these characters who from their book descriptions could have been a person of color turned out to be white women, I lost no love or respect for them or what they did in the books and did not admire them any less because the actress playing the part didn’t look like me. My friends argued that Collins’ description of Katniss meant she could have been played by an African-American or Native American and casting Jennifer Lawrence left some fans disappointed that she was another case of Hollywood whitewashing. They felt hurt that because Katniss/Collins did not specifically say I am black or I am Latina that meant by default she was to be played by a white actress.

It comes down to this: Katniss had to be played by someone and that someone turned out to be a great actress. Ultimately, these friends of mine accepted Jennifer Lawrence because hey, who doesn’t love Jennifer? (For the record if you don’t love her, I wouldn’t admit it out loud or on Twitter, talk about backlash.) I asked my fellow Blerds if they were pleased when Jeffrey Wright and Maria Howell were picked to play Tributes in the 75th Hunger Games and they were. They were pleased they were going to see themselves represented and even happier because unlike the stereotypical move in a movie, Beetee and Seeder don’t die right away. Oh well, at least there’s that I told them. Boring old that, because how uninteresting to only watch things that have characters just like you living their lives just like you (well, if you lived in a dystopian future and were on a nationally televised reality show where you had to kill to live)? I am a self-proclaimed TV & film addict, and if I only watched shows featuring a chick that goes to classes, writes papers, and spends most her time at her call center job I’d be bored, like, Episode One bored

Personally, I am most looking forward to Catching Fire to see my favorite character, Johanna, from the series come to life on screen, and I could not care less that Jena Malone does not look just like me. I just want to see her sashay into that elevator and swing that axe because those are actions I most want to try in real life.

Fefe

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