Fake It ‘Til You Make It: The Hunger Games

Guys, we need to talk about The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Are you ready?! It is so close I can taste it (tastes like fresh baked bread)! Spoilers ahead, so if you are planning on reading The Hunger Games or seeing the first movie before you see the second, TURN BACK NOW….. and also where the heck have you been?! Seriously, get on it, the books are outstanding and the whole trilogy will take you like a week. But if are headed to the theater for the premier with your crazy friend dressed like Effie Trinket or you just need a quick refresher, read on!

Like the circle of life, so is the world of young adult fiction. It seems like every time a trilogy ends, another takes its place. So as the saga of Bella and Edward in Twilight was wrapping up, we got The Hunger Games. And then we got the movie of The Hunger Games. And the world was saved from moping teen vampires!

The Hunger Games is the story of Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl in a dystopian future that volunteers to take her sister’s place in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death between a boy and a girl from each of the 12 districts of Panem.  She, along with a baker’s son, Peeta Mellark, are the district 12 tributes. A romance develops between the two, at first as a way to manipulate the audience and then, it seems in earnest, as the two fight their way through the Hunger Games arena together. The country falls in love with the couple and they are both spared at the end of games. That is the first book/movie.

The second book/movie picks up as Peeta and Katniss make a victory tour around Panem and settle into their new lives as “victors”.  There’s a lot of unrest at home as Katniss’ BFF, the hunky Gale, gets jealous of she and Peeta’s romance. And there is unrest in the country as many citizens hold Peeta and especially Katniss up as symbols of a new rebellion. So basically the President of Panem sets up the 75th Annual Hunger Games or The 3rd Quarter Quell as a ploy to get Katniss and Peeta killed; he has the tributes selected from former victors.  So Katniss and Peeta have to go back into the fighting arena, but this time with experienced killers from the past 74 Hunger Games. And then sh*t gets real as the victor/tributes start to form an alliance that could ruin everything.

Now that you are a little up to speed on the plots, here are 8 things to say to a Tribute (diehard Hunger Games fan) that will spawn passionate discussion.

1. They left so much out of the beginning of the first movie, I wonder what isn’t going to make it into Catching Fire.

The biggest conversation starter of them all: differences between the book and the movie. In the first Hunger Games film, a lot of the beginning was cut and rearranged. The biggest difference being how Katniss gets her mockingjay pin that eventually becomes a symbol of revolution. In the book, she gets in from her only female friend, the mayor’s daughter, Madge Undersee. Since Madge is rich, the likelihood of her becoming a tribute is quite low, but for someone like Katniss , who trades in the number of times their name is in the tribute drawing for rations of food, the odds are NOT in their favor.  In the movie, Katniss gets the pin from a woman in the market where she trades the spoils of her and Gale’s illegal hunting expeditions.

2. I’m not even sure why there is a Team Gale, Peeta is the one for Katniss .

Full disclosure: I was Team Jacob. I am just a sucker for the best friend getting the girl. I also rooted for Ducky in Pretty in Pink and When Harry Met Sally is my favorite movie. Besides who wants a pale, dead, cold vampire when you can have a hot, alive, ripped werewolf?  But, when two people have gone through what Katniss and Peeta have gone through together, there is no contest. Gale can’t understand it. He is her past and Peeta is her future. There shouldn’t even be a discussion.

3. I still don’t get the big deal about Rue being African American, wasn’t it pretty clear in the book?

In the first book/movie, one of the tributes from district 11 is a small, 12-year-old girl named Rue. In the book she is described as having dark brown skin, thick black hair and golden eyes, but when an African American girl was cast, it was a big controversy.  Rue and Katniss form an alliance in the arena and devise a plan to trick the “careers”, what they call the kids from richer districts that spend their lives training for The Hunger Games. But then, Rue is killed. As she is dying, Katniss sings to her and covers her in flowers. This death is key in Catching Fire as well. Rue’s death and Katniss’s reaction to it are what spark the rebellion that builds throughout the book. It will be interesting to see how much of Rue is carried into the second movie.

4. I don’t know how I feel about Jena Malone playing Johanna, I always thought she should be in her 40’s

I have no concept for how old people are in real life, but when I was reading Catching Fire, I envisioned Johanna Mason, the victor/tribute from District 7,  as a hardened woman in her 40’s. Whenever I see Jena Malone, all I can think of is her crying with Julia Roberts in Stepmom. Personally, I would like to have seen someone like Winona Ryder or Robin Wright.

5. Speaking of casting, is Sam Claflin hot enough to play Finnick Odair?

If there is another candidate for biggest crush in Hunger Games: Catching Fire it is the stunningly handsome and cocky Finnick Odair, the tribute/victor from District 4. But don’t let his cool exterior fool you, his past is dark and sad, like many of the other tribute/victors in the 75th Annual Hunger Games. The casting of Sam Claflin, a British actor, was a little controversial in the world of the rabid Hunger Games fandom. I think mainly because of the way Finnick is described in the book, he is so handsome it almost hurts to look at him. The only man that does that to me is John Hamm and he’s too old to play Finnick.

6. The fact that The Hunger Games cast is filled with Oscar winners and nominees only goes to show how important YA novels have become.

Or the budgets are big enough and they can afford to pay Oscar winning actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci and  Julianne Moore (who won’t appear until the 3rd movie). I mean the film’s star has an Oscar under her belt as well! The point is we don’t live in a Twilight-lip-biting-as-acting world anymore. It is clear that from now on when YA novels are made into films, good actors will want to be a part of them.

7. Divergent is the next Hunger Games.

For anyone who follows the YA world, this is obvious, since the Divergent movie comes out March 2014. But if you liked The Hunger Games or read this article and thought you might like it, you will enjoy Divergent. Its got a dystopian future, a strong female lead and a love story. And Oscar winner Kate Winslet as the film’s antagonist.

8. I don’t care what people say, I like Jennifer Lawrence’s new hair cut.

Jennifer Lawrence sported a blonde pixie cut at the London premier of Catching Fire and fans went nuts!The fact that all the fans are up in arms over this is insane to me. They know she’s not actually Katniss, right? Plus, who cares what her hair looks like when she is amazing and treats her fans like this.

But, if all else fails in conversation, you can always plan how you would win The Hunger Games.


Ready to become a tribute yourself? Read the books, watch the movies….and visit these fan sites.

The Hunger Games Trilogy – This has all Hunger Games related everything – news, character and plot breakdowns, and fan fiction.

Mockingjay.net – All movie fan news and gossip

The Hob – For adult fans of the trilogy

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