Peeta Mellark

#DistrictVoices – Adding Insult to Peeta Injury

The Capitol has gone too far in its attempts to pacify the nation with its vile propaganda! We’ve already witnessed a glimpse at the horrible toll the Capitol and President Snow’s regime has taken on Peeta this week through secretly released footage. And then yesterday comes the newest District Voices video – filmed to “HONOR PEETA MELLARK” by showing us how to bake a family recipe?!?! Only we know it was filled with Capitol lies!

And throughout the video, the lies that our friends at Feast of Fiction are forced to say, no doubt at the pain of their own death (and probably the death of their families) that Peeta Mellark is “now special counsel to President Snow.” Uh, from the latest footage, it’s quite obvious that Peeta is getting anything but special treatment. Did you think we would miss the bruising, his expression, the tear? This is not how any “special counsel” is treated. The gig is up – don’t insult our intelligence this way, Capitol propagandists.

It’s clear that Feast of Fiction were coerced into saying these words. Before Movie!Gale goes and gets all judgy about it with his “I’d rather die than say what he said” speech, he should take a look at the image below. I hope Jimmy Wong is in a safe place right now, because we cheered at his subtle show of support to the Mockingjay. Stay strong, friend. We know you’re in a very difficult situation.

Mockingjay flour

YESSSSS!

 

Can you imagine if they had been forced to make cheesebuns? NO NO NO NO.

JJ

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Mockingjay Spots and PEETAAAAA Feels

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS!

For months and months, we waited, practically begging and pleading for some Mockingjay news. This week, we have Mockingjay news in droves. So much that we’re totally. freakin’. out as we try to take it in all at once, but in a good way!

We know some people don’t want the extra footage and the spoilery clips and all, but we do. OH, WE DO. So imagine our sheer, boundless joy when not one but two TV spots featuring featuring new footage hit the interwebz.

OBSERVE.

We’re not gonna lie– We probably liked these more TV spots more than we liked the trailer. Yes, they’re shorter, but they also pack way more punch. The trailer had a lot of exposition shots to set up the movie. With that over with, the TV spots had room for more tearjerker moments, more action, a more feverish sense of war all around.

Basically, it all comes down to one thing… PEETA FEELS. Both of them left us having a panicked Katniss moment.
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NO, PEETA. NO, WE ARE NOT OKAY. WE WILL NEVER BE OKAY AGAIN.

Also, we need a little sound effect of Katniss screaming “PEETAAAAA!” for this post more than we’ve ever needed anything.

Katniss watching in horror as Peeta speaks out against war, the bruises clear on his face despite all the makeup (and we assume this is when he warns Katniss about the bombs). Our first good look at Peeta saved from the Capitol, tears in his eyes and a CT scan in the background (and we’re almost positive this is about 5 seconds before a choking). The brilliant reminder/tagline that “THEIR FREEDOM BEGINS WITH HIS.”

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We can barely handle it! We worry more about these fictional characters than we do some actual people and we’re pretty certain that’s not healthy behavior. And on top of that, these TV spots are featuring all the epic quotage:

“Whoever you are, whatever it is you’re doing, you are going to want to witness this.”

“Everyone has a choice, Katniss. And I’d rather die than say what he just said.”

“When you love somebody, you don’t leave them behind.”

“Everyone’s either going to want to kiss you, kill you, or be you.”

“What have they done to you?”

It seems like everyone has at least one really terrific line here. We never doubted Danny Strong as his track record speaks for itself, but now we kinda want him to be our new best friend. Because without copying things word-for-word from the book, he absolutely captures its essence from what we’ve seen so far.

Though we must ask– if there were a richter scale for asshole behavior, how far are we pushing Gale here? We all know that his serious hatred of the Capitol, but releasing such a heavy-handed quote in promos suggesting that Gale thinks Peeta should have died instead of spoke publicly to not be murdered shows us that audiences will probably be given some reasons to dislike Gale pretty early in the overall Mockingjay story arc. We just hope its a more subtle change, because he is obsessed with war and defeating the entire Capitol ideology that it turns out to be his downfall in many ways, it’s seen more through his actions in the last book than from him being like “GRRRRRR! I’M A FIERY RAGEBALL OF LOATHING!”

Naturally, we’re hoping that somehow TV spots featuring new goodies are also released by Mazda and Whole Foods, the other major American sponsors. After all these two TV spots we have now were originally supposed to be spread out more, as the Samsung one says TICKETS ON SALE NOW and that’s not til next Wednesday. Our theory is that they’re trying to distract everyone from the horrendously disappointing soundtrack list.

But That’s A Different Post For A Different Day,

The Girl With The Pearl

Violence, Lies, and Videotape– The Parallels Between Panem and Ricegate

The good news: We’ve got a guest post today!

But there’s some important notes about this post: The subject is heavy and possibly triggering for some people. The opinions are those of the writer and they ain’t rainbows and kittens.

With that said… Take it away, Satsuma!

_______________________________________________________________

NOTE: The following contains, toward the end, spoilers (though vague) for Game of Thrones Season 4, and another vague spoiler for (the original) Dr. Who.

First of all, let me apologize for not exactly bringing the funny in this post, because I just couldn’t figure out a way to do it.

Most of you likely know of, or perhaps even seen, the infamous video featuring the talented Mr. Rice, formerly an employee of the Baltimore Ravens, punching his then-fiancee (now wife) so hard she was knocked unconscious. Now, I have always been fascinated by the many parallels between Panem and the real world, but I must admit I didn’t notice any here, until I read the timely post by JJ regarding Josh Hutcherson revealing that Peeta is shown saving Katniss after she’s set on fire by the parachute bombs, and her comment that: “It may also help buy back some goodwill from the purely movie-going audience for all the times he *gulp* tries to hurt her in hijacked rage.”

And then I realized, that there IS a parallel between the Ray Rice video and Mockingjay. A pivotal MJ scene also features a video of a celebrated male contestant in a game known for violence, attacking his fiancee. Not only that, this incident is important in MJ not really because Peeta attacks Katniss, which he has before this point, but because, when he actually watches his actions on video, Peeta is shocked and horrified at himself, to the point of suicidality. The idea that SEEING something makes a unique impact on people, certainly seems to be the case in how quickly public outrage mounted after the Rice video was released, forcing powerful entities such as the NFL to make an about-face, and how even Rice’s defenders, who claimed earlier that “no one really knows what happened in that elevator”, were forced to as well.

Not that video footage is required for shock and outrage, of course; just see what happened in Ferguson, MO. And just because people see images of violence or its effects, doesn’t mean they’ll reject it; many of Adrian Peterson’s defenders admit to seeing the graphic pictures of the injuries he inflicted on his son, but still state that what he did was acceptable discipline. And certainly, what seems to be damning video can be edited or taken out of context, as the torturers do with the Katniss videos they show Peeta; Ray Rice is now claiming as much, as he appeals his indefinite suspension.

And then there's this in Part 2...

And then there’s this in Part 2…

But in general, it does seem images have an impact on people that the written word just doesn’t have. And now we get to JJ’s point about movie-only fans, and the idea that perhaps adding more positive Peeta-Katniss interaction in MJ might counter-balance the impact of seeing Peeta physically attack Katniss. I suspect that even for book readers who know what happened, actually SEEING him try to strangle her, as opposed to the brief, fade-to-black one-liner we get in the book, will have a quite different kind of impact. In general, the only fandom players I have really seen hate on Peeta, are anti-Everlakers who’d prefer Katniss wind up with Gale, Haymitch, Finnick, etc. Indeed, it’s KATNISS who seems to get most of the vitriol for her reactions to hijacked Peeta. But will this change when we actually SEE what he does?

Now, even before Ricegate raised the general awareness of intimate partner violence, I have thought that the MJ film runs a risk of coming across as condoning or excusing violence in relationships. Now, certainly, as far as we know, nobody gave Ray Rice toxic hallucinogens, BUT it’s certainly plausible he may have had alcohol in his system, or even that the hits he’s received on the field have affected his brain. Yet, the conventional wisdom about what he did now seems to be, “There is never ANY excuse for a man to hit the woman he claims to love”. So, what will the casual movie fan, think about Peeta’s actions? And what will they think of Katniss? Note that the public hasn’t exactly been THAT supportive of Mrs. Rice, either; many people have sighed at yet another example of a woman standing by a man who doesn’t deserve it, or even cynically suggested that she finds the occasional KO a reasonable price for the fame and fortune she can access through her husband.

Certainly, there are many incidents of male – on – female violence in the story so far in the context of the Games, but fans seem to have accepted that there is nothing specifically “gendered” about, say, Thresh killing Clove, or Marvel killing Rue; it was fairly obvious that they would have handled a male tribute in the same position, no better or worse. And some fans argue that Peeta’s acted out of perceived self defense, and that this motivation is MUCH different than that of an abuser. But there’s also the take that, as JJ stated, Peeta acted out of “hijacked rage” and vengeance, not just self-defense, which comes a lot closer, uncomfortably closer, to real-life stories of spurned suitors turning violent.

IMHO, many people who commit acts of domestic violence are NOT inhuman monsters who we can safely consign to the “Other” category; Adrian Peterson seemed honestly perplexed as to why anyone would label him an abuser, and he very well might NOT have beat his son to satisfy some twisted sadistic urge; many of his defenders seem to honestly think harsh “discipline” is the only way to prevent their kids, especially in tough neighborhoods, from becoming juvenile delinquents. But then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if, say, Mrs. Mellark reacted the same way to an abuse allegation. “How dare you call me an abuser? I’m just trying to show my sons how to survive in this cold, hard world, and if I have to be a little harsh to make my point, so be it. Would you rather they get a few swats from me, or be whipped in the public square?”

So, just because Peeta is not a monster (even though he actually calls himself one), does that make his actions acceptable? I’m not talking about legal prosecution, certainly he’d likely qualify for an insanity defense. The issue is, will people who actually see visual images of him attempting to strangle Katniss to death, then later attempt to beat her head in with a rifle butt, find these actions forgiveable? Will they find the eventual Peeta-Katniss ending to be acceptable, or send some kind of dangerous message to women that “if the man in your life was mentally ill at the time he attacked you, you should forgive him, marry him, and have his kids”? Or will the casual fan conclude, “See, I told you this was just another Twilight. Why do those silly teenage girls lap up this nonsense that there’s something noble about loving a man who has insidious urges to kill you?”

And here’s another interesting example (beware, GOT S4 spoilers ahead) of fictional scenes that stir up controversy about real life issues.

Remember the tremendous controversy around a scene in GOT S4, that most show-only fans interpreted as an obvious rape? The source scene from the book, which is notably in the POV of the more sexually aggressive partner, is more ambiguous, and GRRM himself denied that he meant to write a rape scene. But one interesting fan debate that took place was this; are the showrunners at fault for misinterpreting canon and writing a rape scene without realizing it? Or, does a close reading of the original book scene, reveal that it was GRRM himself who did so, it only became apparent that he did when we actually got to SEE the scene, not just read about it?

So, I am very curious as to whether the movie WILL manage to redeem Peeta, and the P-K ship, or whether movie-only fans will wind up with a far different take on whether an Everlark ending casts a ray of hope, or just adds to the tragedy of war. I have wondered myself if Peeta and Katniss really were capable of raising well-adjusted children, or if they were doomed to repeat their respective cycles of family dysfunction. And since Peeta’s mental state certainly seems to be based in part on real PTSD sufferers, flashbacks and all, I wonder if the wider fandom wind up debating, whether SC wrote an apologia for acts of domestic violence committed by military veterans and other PTSD sufferers against their families, without realizing it.

Of course, as I have noted before, the idea that Peeta CONTINUED to be violent toward Katniss during flashbacks post-war, despite his treatment, is fanon, not canon. Also, SC never claimed that she was trying to provide her readers with models for healthy romantic relationships. But neither did GRRM, yet that didn’t quite shield him from criticism.

(And now my Who spoiler):

On the other hand, the original Dr. Who program managed to show the Doctor almost strangling a woman while in a temporarily insane state, without apparently detracting from his hero status; and that was when Dr. Who was still considered a safe kiddie show. IMHO, the Doctor post-reboot is NOT really that much darker than his pre-Time-War self, though he apparently received a testosterone infusion during his hiatus. (Okay, I finally managed to bring in some humor).

I suppose only time will tell.
Satsuma

Will Mockingjay Part 1 Promo Keep Peeta’s “Secret?”

During our Mockingjay Trailer Reaction Post, I was surprised that my fellow VV ladies thought that the Mockingjay Part 1 promotion might try to keep Peeta’s hijacking a secret. I had never imagined that they would actually try to pull it off, because look at that sentence before – I just spoiled the secret! It’s so hard to live spoiler-free and when we’re talking major book adaptations, it’s even more difficult.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try. I’m intrigued by this now.

peeta capitolSo in this scenario, what we continue to see is white-suited Capitol PR Peeta throughout the next two months. Any Peeta stills or new footage in tv clips are of this polished Peeta. This is certainly achievable, but this is the one thing that Lionsgate can control.

In interviews, they can control some of the things being asked but I can’t imagine they could keep the hijacked Peeta questions completely at bay. It’s too damn tempting. The media may hold off from overtly spoiling the surprise and instead ask softball questions like, “Peeta’s character goes to a very dark place in this movie. Did you find that challenging?” Still though, I think direct hijacking questions will happen. I think the hijacking will come up in movie reviews. So keeping Peeta’s storyline completely a secret to those non-book readers? I’m skeptical it will work unless you’re a very “unplugged” type of person who basically shows up to movies after seeing the trailer or tv spots and nothing else.

So why go to the trouble? Well, even though it’s hard for me to imagine that kind of lifestyle, there are a lot of unplugged type of moviegoers who just show up without much pre-knowledge.  I work with lots of them and they were BLOWN THE EFF AWAY by the Catching Fire surprises.

And for the rest of us, even if we know what will happen, I imagine seeing tortured/hijacked Peeta for the first time in the movie itself (with no stills, no video tease to prepare you, nothing) would be all the more jarring.  The NFL learned in the past few weeks that the public responds differently to knowing about something terrible versus actually seeing it happen. Image and sound add an extra element of powerful realness to horrible things.

If hijacked Peeta is kept officially under wraps until showtime, then we also wonder if they’re ending it at the strangling scene. Again, I’ve always thought no way. It’s too traumatizing to be left for a year on that, right? I figured they would end it with her going to District 2, or in District 2. Would they actually dare to end this movie with Peeta strangling Katniss? WOULD THEY REALLY DO THIS? Well,they weren’t afraid to end Catching Fire on “there is no District 12,” so they aren’t afraid of big cliffhangers.

I’m scared and excited and don’t know what else I’m feeling but it’s a lot of things. 

JJ

Reaction Post: Mockingjay Part 1 Trailer

It’s that time again, that time where the bloggers of Victor’s Village sit down at our respective computers, and chew the fat about the trailers, and in this case it’s the final trailer for Mockingjay Part 1! Yep, the one we’ve been waiting for for about four months!

 

WHERE SOUND OF MUSIC REFERENCES ARE MADE WITHOUT SHAME OR IRONY
The Girl With The Pearl
: Okay, let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to staaaaaart!)

Them There Eyes: Sew… a needle pulling Katniss around like a marionette!

JJ: Katniss’s line is fantastic.

TGWTP: Katniss is talking, and there’s these nice shots of her and Prim and Gale… and then you realize she’s pretty much face-timing with President Snow?

JJ: A big new addition to the screenplay! Snow looks so fiendish there. It’s so unnerving.

TTE: Also Jennifer Lawrence has a Sexy Lauren Bacall voice, which is über important to note.

TGWTP: I’m not sure if I like them chatting. Doubt it will ruin the movie, but it felt weeeeeird. Though the Lauren Bacall voice IS lovely. (more…)

Did Somebody Say Peeta?

Josh Hutcherson has been in Toronto this week promoting Escobar: Paradise Lost and we’ve gotten the lovely benefit of some press asking questions about his filming during the Hunger Games series.This is one time where we say GOOD JOB MEDIA, ASK AWAY!

A still from Escobar: Paradise Lost that is very relevant to this post

A still from Escobar: Paradise Lost that is very relevant to this post

Josh totally won our hearts when he revealed that one memento he took from filming was Peeta’s locket!

I actually took the pendant that I gave Katniss — the one that opens and has the picture of her family, from that scene on the beach. I took that. It’s my one memento.

It’s in my house in my desk drawer. I’m going to try to purposefully lose it — but in a way that I know I will find it in the future.

The whole “purposefully losing it” sounds a bit risky, but can’t you imagine, 10 years from now he’s digging through something and then he comes across the locket? And oh, the memories of that crazy time he played such a very beloved character. Sigh.

The bigger reveal to our hearts was about the last scene he shot for Mockingjay Part 2. It’s a bit sad since it was just him in the scene throwing a blanket over the camera, but OH WAIT WHY WAS HE THROWING A BLANKET OVER THE CAMERA?

It’s me putting Katniss out when she’s on fire.

OH MY OH MY OH MY. So the “camera” is Katniss. Because he’s placing a blanket on her to put out the flames from the parachute bombs.

I need a moment.

There is no explicit mention of Peeta coming to Katniss’s aid in this scene of the book. Katniss, as our narrator, is a little too distracted by being on fire to notice who is helping her. But the idea that Peeta comes to her aid in this way is a beautiful thing. After she executes Coin, we know he prevents her from killing herself, but having him take this extra step shows an additional progression to his recovery. It may also help buy back some goodwill from the purely movie-going audience for all the times he *gulp* tries to hurt her in hijacked rage. The mention of this scene is just another reminder of ALL THE FEELINGS we are going to have during this movie. And there’s another 14 months until this one!

Keep asking those questions. We can never get too much Peeta-related information.

JJ

Mockingjay Product Campaigns: (Fictional) Worst Case Scenarios

Today, we’re going to be positive and grateful. For what, you ask?

Though we’re still confused about why the Katniss ad for Always exists, today we will show our thanks that some other character-specific ad campaigns DON’T exist, even though they’re surprisingly more relevant to the story than tampons.

At least we’ve not yet seen…

INSERT PEETA'S FACE HERE. (Because Photoshop is not cooperating!)

INSERT PEETA’S FACE HERE. (Because Photoshop is not cooperating!)

Peeta’s Pastries - Not the fresh yum yum shop pastries at Comic-Con (even though they totally stole the Effie cupcakes design). We’re talkin’ prepackaged, dry cakes with a frosting filler served en masse! All covered in icing Mockingjays, arrows, arena obstacles, and more! Just like out of Mellark bakery (except with more sugar and artificial preservatives!)

Haymitch’s Liquor - Though we would most definitely name a little homebrew project after Haymitch, could you imagine an actual liquor brand releasing commercials with Katniss’ mentor drunkenly attesting to its level of awesome? Or creating unique labeling with Hunger Games fans in mind using Haymitch? Spit take worthy, possibly hilarious, yet sadly 100% inappropriate. But most fans are old enough to drink anyway, so why not?!

Gale’s Hunting Bows - What product does The Hunger Games show off more than anything? WEAPONS. So why not sell some badass hunting gear?! Promoted by a male character, of course, so that men don’t have to feel shame and outrage because a woman like Katniss can handle a weapon just as well as them!

Johanna’s Body Lotion - If you’re often naked or scantily clad in low cut outfits, you NEED a moisturizer that leaves your skin looking beautiful! Johanna knows the secret to soft, supple skin, even on a recently shaved head!

INSERT FINNICK'S FACE HERE.

INSERT FINNICK’S FACE HERE.

Finnick’s Manscaping Products - Hair gel, chest wax, self tanner, and more! Finicky probably uses it all. Now he can share his methods with the modern male population so they can ALL be studly! Or maybe just throw him into an Axe body spray campaign, because anyone who looks that good MUST smell good, despite the sweat from continuous workouts!

Aren’t you glad these things DON’T exist? Don’t you feel better?

This doesn’t make every product partnership that’s been associated with the film good (most aren’t), but sometimes we gotta be happy that there’s only one product tie-in tweet we’d categorize as utterly ridiculous.

Of course, we also want to show that specific character tie-ins are tough to pull off for this franchise. The only one we could see so far is Samsung possibly using Beetee to tie in with their technologies, but that hasn’t happened yet. Advertising can be fun, but we just gotta make sure everyone knows THERE’S A LINE!

If You Want To Sell Brands, Maybe Start With A Story That Isn’t About Poverty?
The Girl With The Pearl

Cinna’s Subliminal Design Clues

Caesar’s Scrunchy is back once again with EVEN MOAR visual beauty! Today, she’s talking about how Catching Fire portrayed the way Cinna left his mark on more than just The Mockingjay!

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I decided to fill the time waiting for “Mockingjay” by watching “Catching Fire” again, and noticed that Effie Trinkett was wearing a necklace (in Katniss’ wedding dress/Mockingjay dress scene) that looked like arrowheads. Then I noticed Katniss’ earrings when her dress transforms become arrowheads too, and then… there were arrowheads (triangles) ALL OVER the movie!

And they were worn only by Katniss’ allies, whether she knew they were her allies or not.

Then I decided that because, as Effie says, Cinna is the most influential designer in the Capitol, it makes sense that he would put these arrowheads subliminally in his designs, and that others would copy him.

Check it out – these pages show Cinna’s influence, with tons of arrowheads (triangles) throughout. I found these images from basic Google web searches (I don’t own any of the photos or anything else– it all belongs to Lionsgate and Suzanne Collins, ok?)

KATNISS

2 Katniss 1b

4 Katniss 2b

PEETA

6 Peeta b

VICTORY TOUR COSTUMING

8 Victory Tour b

JOHANNA

14 Johanna b

HAYMITCH

10 Haymitch b

FINNICK

12 Finnick b

BEETEE

16 BeeTee b

PLUTARCH
18 Plutarch b
PRESIDENT SNOW AND HIS FOLLOWERS

19 Snow
20 Capitol Folk

GALE

21 Gale

EFFIE

22 Effie

OTHER ARROWHEADS

23 Whole Cast

24 Arena

But trust me: it’s tons of fun watching “Catching Fire” again, and seeing if you can find who else wears the arrowheads…and who doesn’t!

Sincerely,

Caesar’s Scrunchy

The Rebels Are At It

The Rebels are at it again, and the famdom is buzzing with anticipation for something, anything– seriously, give us something! This is our natural state of being though, playing the waiting game until we’re about to burst forth and have kittens, or just go full on troll-under-the-bridge (you know who you are!).

The rebels have hacked thecapitol.pn’s Twitter as well as left a snazzy hidden message on Thecapitol.pn website, and not only have they done it once– nope they’ve done it twice in the last two days, and that can mean only a few things: We’re about to get more viral marketing promotional material thrown at us at odd times of the day, and well– I think that’s about it. But what ever could it be? I know what I want it to be, I know what a few of my friends want it to be, and I think I know whathacked_by_xxdigipxx-d4ozzco every other Hunger Games fan on the planet wants it to be.

Like the last propo address from the illustrious President Snow showed us the Rebels are highly capable of dropping a nice, shiny surprise on us. If only for a matter of a few short seconds. But that’s what we live for, right? Those ever so brief moments of excitement when a familiar, and beloved character’s face takes up residence on our screen, big and little. We’re over the moon seeing Peeta, and his pants– of course his pants. And we’re tickled to see Johanna in her gravity defying gown, and yes– we’re even pleased seeing President Snow on his thrown, playing the resolute, and distinguished dictator. I think we’re chilled to the bone though when we see glimpses of District 13 however, Beetee better yet. Because even if you’re not a fan of the story, or the over all delivery of the novel Mockingjay, you have to admit on some level that when you read it initially you thought it would make a killer film, if it ever was made into one that is. And look at us now, a fandom so big, so vast, and so ready to see not one, but two films made out of the novel so many of us have been up in arms about. We’re ready though, we’re ready for more than Beetee flicker across our screens, so ready to relish in more than the ridiculousness of Peeta’s pants, or the sassy stance of one of our favorite victors.

By all means give us The Mockingjay, by all means.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Them There Eyes

The Real Big “R” Question for Mockingjay – Not Ratings, but Romance

Today we have a great guest post by Satsuma on a topic that brings out a lot of passion in the fandom.


Okay, first things first.  I confess that it wasn’t just the (rather scanty) Mockingjay news so far that brought this question to my mind.

No, I must credit the inspiration for this topic, of how much romance is appropriate for a sci-fi, action-packed “young adult” tale to, of all things, LEGOs — the LEGO ninjas who star in the Cartoon Network show, “Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu”. Think LEGO Star Wars mixed with kung-fu.  For a series of 22-minute LEGO commercials, the show can be surprisingly deep; there is one Big Bad Palpatine/Sauron-like villain, but other antagonists are quite humanized, including Darth -er, Lord Garmadon, or the snake-like Serpentine clans, who actually have legitimate reasons to be angry at mankind.

The show is targeted mostly at young boys, and the 4 ninjas (Kai, Jay, Zane, and Cole)  are all male, as is the Chosen One, Lloyd. But there is one significant female character; Nya, Kai’s sister. Nya is a mecha wiz who dresses up in a robo-Samurai-suit to fight evil, and often bests the boys at their game.

Seasons 1 and 2 of the show had a touch of innocent romance between Nya and Jay, but this was far from the focus.  But suddenly, in season 3, Nya wound up in a love triangle between Jay and fellow ninja Cole.  A love interest appeared for Zane as well, and it even turned out that Lord Garmadon and his brother, Sensei Wu, had both wooed Padm – er, Misako in the past.

Well, the fan reaction to all this romance, was, essentially, “ewwww”!  Not just from the young boys, but the tween girls who were the likely target of it. Many female fans of the show were annoyed that Nya was turned into yet another Bella-like ingenue torn between two suitors, as opposed to a heroine in her own right who just happened to be dating another ensemble character.

And so this brings me to Mockingjay, and the debates over how much romance will, and should, be in the films.  It seems the fan consensus for THG was that one of the film’s major flaws was how the K/P ship was not only downplayed, but done so in a way that shorted Peeta as a character.  For the CF movie, I was mostly satisfied both with the “balance” between K/P and K/G and the overall amount of romance , but I certainly recall some Everlarkers griping “no plant book scene”, “no rooftop scene”, or “that beach kiss was NOT passionate enough” (I actually agree with the last one; it was cute, but not one that made me think Katniss was having sexy feelings down below, the way the book scene certainly did.)

How much of this will we see in Mockingjay Part 2? (Source: tigriss92.tumblr.com)

How much of this will we see in Mockingjay Part 2? (Source: tigriss92.tumblr.com)

What will we see in the MJ films, though?  Certainly, two films give the film-makers extra time for romance, but that doesn’t mean all the book scenes will make it in. Some of the extra time will be given to added scenes, such as battles, or exposition scenes between Snow and his new adviser, Antonius, and we’ll likely get a peek at Coin’s machinations as well.  So in keeping with the general trends, I forecast some romantic scenes being edited, cut down, or merged with others.

Again, the “balance” between K/P and K/G will be crucial, especially given Peeta’s absence in most of Part 1, and the difficulty even SC herself had with sinking K/G not only as a romance, but as a friendship as well (I refer, again, to the many “post-MJ” fanfics that feature a K/G reconciliation at least as friends.)

What I think fans also should keep in mind, is that the MJ book itself was a much less “romantic” a book than certainly CF, or even THG. To me, even before Peeta reappeared, MJ made it obvious that the only potential K/G had, even without the clashes in values, was a “lifeboat camaraderie” type friendship with some  “hurt/comfort” thrown in.  (And to be fair, K/P has these aspects as well, but goes beyond it in a way K/G didn’t.)  Note that SC herself had to be nudged by her editor into writing “more of the Peeta-Katniss-Gale love triangle”.  (Source)

Now, this little tidbit makes me highly suspect that the very Twilight-ish “who will she choose” scene between Peeta and Gale in Tigris’s shop was added on by SC in response to her editor’s suggestions.  Considering how the films so far have tended to cut out the “cheesier” romantic scenes and lines, I think that if we do see the scene, it will be quite cut down, though Gale’s “she’ll choose who she can’t survive without” comment may be left in.   And it certainly may, as Katniss’s later musings about “what I need to survive” show much about the characters of all Love Triangle Trio members. Also, in the books, Katniss only reflects on this comment internally.  Certainly, book!Katniss actually verbalizing her complicated feelings to Peeta (or to Gale) would have been quite OOC.  But movie!Katniss is not quite as introverted (a change I certainly prefer to cheesy voice-overs), and it will be interesting to see how the movie converts her thoughts to actual dialogue.  In this way, I can see the MJ movies having a more “romantic” component than the books.

My own take on the series is that, romance is certainly a large component of it; certainly more than the Y-7 rated Ninjago.  Not only do we have the central love triangle, we also have Mr. M, Mrs. E and Mr. E, Annie and Finnick, and so on.  I certainly don’t agree with the extreme anti-romance “Katniss was incapable of loving anyone but Prim, she just chose Peeta because she was stuck with him and did what she could to survive” theory.  But in the end, it is NOT a romance in terms of the genre.  So I’m not personally going to wait with baited breath for each book kiss to appear on the scene.

I think SC meant for the romance to take a back seat in MJ, and only be established towards the end, in the context of not only two hot bodies going at it, but a long-lasting relationship that produces children, to provide a ray of hope at the end.   I also hope the films convey the idea that the “choice” between Peeta and Gale wasn’t just a choice between two men (unlike Nya’s choice, as her suitors are both “good guys” who pretty much look the same except for wig and costume) but one between two different ways of life.  Can movie!Katniss become one of the few pop culture heroines who isn’t JUST a “romantic” or “action” heroine, but transcends both?

One can only hope.

-Satsuma