Much like the Harry Potter movies, I figure that hype is getting big enough for this movie to warrant it's own thread. Use this place to discuss anything about the book series or the upcoming movies. If you can't tell from my current name and avatar change, I am very excited.
Maybe E will come write why she hates the books so much despite still being moderately obsessed.3/5/2012 . Edited by Luna Rapunzel, 9/24/2015 #1
I really enjoyed the books. I felt like book 1 was superb and then books 2 and 3 fell off a little bit for me, but I certainly wanted to plow through and finish them all. (I went out and bought the hardcover trilogy just so I could read all three of them faster )
My favorite theme was the skewering of reality television and celebrity culture -- and how badly these could go wrong if used as a weapon. In a way, they kind of are in today's society, think of the wannabe celebrities who ruin their own lives looking for fame. (sorry to go dark there!)
My mom is teaching middle school English and she is teaching this book to her class at present ;) Lucky ducks! (certainly more enjoyable than Steinbeck :p )3/6/2012 #2
I love you, Wendy!
Okay, so I have multiple problems with these books. [WARNING - I'm going to post spoilers for all three books in the trilogy, so be forewarned if you haven't read them all yet!] God, where even to start. Okay. So part of it is that basically every book I pick up I judge by the standards that I'd judge great literary works, and obviously when you run into genres like YA they're not going to be great-literary-works-quality, so I'm pretty harsh on them/usually really disappointed, especially with something like THG that's garnered so much hype about how it's "the next Harry Potter" and all that (which I also have a problem with, but I'll come to that in a minute). I mean, just to start out talking about the writing style/diction, it reads very... idk, amateurish? to me. It's a quick read, which works well enough for its genre if you consider it for entertainment value and the fact that the action moves fast, but SCollins's writing itself is nothing spectacular. She's not /bad/ or anything--certainly a god in comparison to SMeyer--but there wasn't a single sentence or passage I read in all three books that struck me as particularly well-written, either. Part of it is the fact that it's really difficult to pull off first-person elegantly, part of it is just the simple fact that she's not brilliant with the English language, but either way, I found the writing quality itself disappointing.
And the Harry Potter comparisons I just find blatantly offensive, honestly. I'm biased towards JKR's writing style because I've reread the books so many dozens of times each that every sentence I read rings with familiarity and MY CHILDHOOD and I love it to death, but more objectively speaking, I can recognize that the writing quality of Harry Potter isn't anything brilliant, either. Harry Potter's strength comes from not just the MY CHILDHOOD aspect but largely the fact that JKR was able to create such an intricate world with /so/ many interwoven subplots, /so/ many /incredibly/ well-developed characters, and /such/ deep messages and heart-wrenching development not just of Harry and his classmates as they grew up but also all the series's themes and the fact that the books themselves can be read like a social commentary, what with how JKR's paralleled wizarding history and politics against real-world history and politics, everything she says about LIFE and LOVE and MEANING, etc etc etc etc you get the idea. And SCollins, frankly, doesn't accomplish that. Yes, it's an interesting dystopian universe; yes, the plot is engaging; yes, SCollins makes political commentary--but it's nowhere /near/ as intricately laid out as Harry Potter, and the books' thematic merits are buried so deep beneath all of Katniss's OMG WHICH BOY DO I WANT TO BE WITH crap for which I legitimately want to stab her. When I first read the books, I went on multiple long rants to M (who likes them) about how there's a fucking war going on and all Katniss can do is be all GUYS I'M THE GIRL ON FIRE GUYS I'M THE MOCKINGJAY GUYS I'M SO IMPRESSED WITH CINNA'S DESIGNS LET ME WRITE FOR 50 PAGES ABOUT ALL THIS FRIVOLOUS CAPITOL CRAP THAT I HATE BUT I'M GOING TO THINK ABOUT IT ANYWAY BECAUSE I'M A SELLOUT AND EVEN THOUGH I HATE THIS PLACE ON PRINCIPAL I'M GOING TO GO ON AND ON AND ON ABOUT HOW MUCH I LIKE THE LAMB STEW GUYS I HAVE TO FALL FOR PEETA IN FRONT OF THE CAMERAS SO THAT I'LL GET SPONSORS IN THE ARENA BUT OMG WHAT IS GALE GOING TO THINK AM I GOING TO HURT HIS FEELINGS WE'VE NEVER BEEN ROMANTICALLY INVOLVED BUT MAYBE WE WOULD HAVE ENDED UP TOGETHER IF IT WEREN'T FOR THIS GUYS I DON'T CARE THAT IT'S LIFE OR DEATH OUT HERE I HAVE TOO MANY FEELINGS FOR THAT SHIT GUYS AM I TEAM GALE OR TEAM PEETA GUYS I KISSED PEETA AND IT GAVE ME FEELINGS WHAT IF I ACTUALLY WANT HIM INSTEAD OF GALE GUYS GUYS GUYS I'M THE GIRL ON FIRE WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND MEEEEEE. I thought all the Capitol culture stuff was really hypocritically written, actually, because at the same time as everything in Katniss's narrative was really critical of it (and rightly so), SCollins focused /so/ much on writing about things like Cinna's designs that she glorified that I just thought the whole thing was really hypocritical--it was like Katniss was only pissed off about the Capitol's values when it was convenient for her to be, and then that pissed /me/ off really badly while I was reading.
And a lot of that isn't necessarily that Katniss is as fucking stupid as I'm making her out to be but that SCollins does a terrible job (in my opinion) of characterizing her--it's perfectly legitimate to still be having feelings about your love life and whatnot even if you're in a battle to the death, but a lot of the time I felt like she was so completely preoccupied with feelings shit and fixated so much on /that/ that she wouldn't even stop for five seconds to care about the fact that people were dying. I mean, sure she was all I SHOULDN'T BEFRIEND PEETA BECAUSE THEN HE'LL JUST USE IT TO KILL ME or whatever, but for the entire first and second book, I felt like she had close to no emotional response to the fact that /children were killing each other all around her, herself included/, and if she were realistically characterized, even if she does tend to be the strong/fearless type or whatever, I think SCollins at least could've a) made Katniss care a hell of a lot more than she actually did about the horror of that, b) if Katniss was going to fixate so much on boys at /least/ have a little realistically-characterized self-loathing over the fact that she was thinking about boys instead of oh I don't know LIFE AND DEATH ISSUES, or c) if she honestly wasn't very emotionally affected by being in the arena, at least characterize her to give a believable rationale for it instead of just expecting us to buy it. I mean sure she was upset when Rue died and everything, but Katniss only even focused on it for all of a few pages before she was back to worrying about whether or not she was in love with Peeta--if it were me, I'd either care quite a bit more about Rue's death than Peeta's affections, or else really fucking hate/judge myself for the fact that Rue had just died and all I could think about was how kissable Peeta was. I just felt like Katniss's priorities were all mixed up and unrealistic there and that it was the result of really fucking bad characterization on SCollins's part. AND THEN you get to Catching Fire and for the entire book Katniss is all WHAT I NEVER MEANT TO REBEL AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT I JUST WANT TO GO BACK TO POACHING GAME AND THINKING ABOUT BOYS GUYS WHY ARE YOU PINNING THE THREAT OF A WAR ON ME BOYS I LIKE BOYS MAKE LOVE NOT WAR, and then in Mockingjay she's all GUYS I'M THE GIRL ON FIRE I DON'T WANT TO BE THE MOCKINGJAY I DON'T WANT TO BE A SYMBOL OR PROPONENT OF THE REBELLION GUYS I NEVER MEANT FOR THIS TO HAPPEN I DON'T HAVE A BEEF WITH THE CAPITOL EVEN THOUGH IT RUINED MY LIFE WAHHHHHH. Obviously I'm exaggerating for comic effect here, but seriously now come /on/.
Which kind of leads into my beef about SCollins's overall characterization techniques, which is to say that she doesn't have any good ones. A lot of the time I feel like the only reason we know that the characters have distinct personality is from what Katniss tells us about what they're like in her narrative voice--it's half obvious stuff where like on the train right after getting picked as tributes Peeta was doing nice stuff for her and Katniss was all PEETA IS BEING NICE TO ME LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT HOW HE'S THE BOY WITH THE BREAD AND PEETA IS A KIND PERSON I SAID /KIND PEETA = KIND DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME/ and beating you over the head with it, and then the other half of the time time I feel like SCollins doesn't know how to make her characters' actions, dialogue, mannerisms, etc. reflect their personalities so everything we know about them is just what Katniss tells us. This especially bothered me when Katniss was talking about how Prim is /so/ sweet and innocent and cute and kind and perfect and everyone in District 12 just /loves/ her because she's such a sweetheart, and then contrasting that with how everyone in District 12 just kind of puts up with Katniss herself because she's so abrasive and not charming/charismatic or whatever--just personally speaking, I didn't get a sense of any of that just by observing Katniss or Prim's behavior, I felt like Katniss was just telling us to believe it by saying it explicitly in first-person narrative and that that's the only way we have of knowing these things about them. (I also think that Prim is a fucking twerpy little Mary-Sue and I hate her for being portrayed with no flaws, but. It would be one thing if Prim /had/ flaws but Katniss idolized her so she didn't explicitly think about them but you could tell from other context clues that this was just a symbol of the dynamic of their relationship and not just Prim being perfect, but SCollins writes it like Prim is legitimately perfect, which makes me want to stab things.) Gale, too--he appeared in the flesh next to no times in the first two books in particular, so everything we know about his personality is just Katniss screaming at us about what he's like, and we don't have anything to actually back that up until we get to Mockingjay, where he proceeds to demonstrate his harsh personality or whatever with completely fucking heartless opinions about how to proceed with the war, and idk I didn't think that SCollins put /nearly/ enough effort into his characterization to get inside his head and justify why he is the way he is with that stuff, so it made his character really hard for me to believe and felt like SCollins was trying too hard to characterize him when really the whole thing was just clumsy and overdone.
On a related side note, I also have a problem with the way Katniss's mother is written. In THG Katniss is just all like AFTER MY FATHER DIED MY MOTHER GOT CLINICALLY DEPRESSED AND I HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR HER AND HATE HER AND THINK THAT SHE IS A TERRIBLE MOTHER AND PERSON AND AM NO LONGER INVESTED IN HAVING A RELATIONSHIP WITH HER BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS ALL ABOUT MY SISTER AND HOW COULD SHE ABANDON PRIM LIKE THAT I HAD TO STEP UP AND BE THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY BECAUSE MY MOTHER DIDN'T HAVE THE BALLS TO SUCK IT UP AND WILLPOWER HERSELF OUT OF HER MENTAL CONDITION HOW DARE SHE I HATE HER I WILL NEVER FORGIVE HER, and once again, we're not shown any context outside of Katniss's thoughts, so we're just expected to believe that it's perfectly rational and legitimate for Katniss to think this way about her mother. a) I have a problem with this because I'm bipolar and I know from personal experience that you can't just snap yourself out of that shit, so even though it wasn't cool of her mom to not support her family until the point that her children were in danger of STARVING, her head must have been an incredibly dark place at the time and you better believe that she probably never forgave herself for that but just didn't know /how/ to step up and be a better mother and just because she did something /wrong/ doesn't mean that she deserves no pity. But then b) Katniss refuses to recognize that the world's not black-and-white and her mother deserves a second chance now that she's, hello, on medication and capable of doing a better job, and in turn the readers are expected to stand by Katniss's resentment of her mother because /nowhere/ anyplace in the first book is /anything/ that explores /why/ Katniss was so quick to judge her mother for what she did. Sure, it's understandable for a child, now mostly grown up, to resent her mother for sucking at parenthood, but SCollins never delved into the relationship between Katniss and her mom to explore /why/ Katniss resented her; all we ever saw was, again, Katniss's narrative about it, and Katniss's narrative was basically just MY MOTHER IS A FUCKING HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING AND I WILL NEVER CARE ABOUT HAVING A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH HER BECAUSE SHE HAS UNFORGIVABLY FAILED ME. And it's /not/ that black-and-white, because both Katniss's mother and the relationship are a lot more complicated than that, and SCollins didn't explore either of those things, and I just thought she did a really poor job characterizing 1) Katniss's mom but also 2) Katniss, in that she never got into the reasons for why and how Katniss came to feel this way about her mother and how the dynamic of the relationship before the depression and/or Katniss's personality and/or her mom's parenting affected the relationship when the depression happened. And then you get to Catching Fire and Katniss is just magically like I'M TRYING HARDER NOT TO JUDGE MY MOTHER ANYMORE NOW THAT I ACTUALLY LIVED THROUGH THE HUNGER GAMES and it's like, great, you don't think your mother is a pathetic waste of space anymore, but we're never given a believable reason for the change of heart, either, and the whole thing was just really poorly done and an archetypical example of why SCollins makes me rage.
Plus Katniss is really fucking stupid a lot of the time and it makes me rage. Like that whole thing in THG when Peeta was like "she has no idea the effect she has on people" and Katniss was legitimately stumped as to what he could possibly mean. HELLO, HALF A SECOND AGO HE WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW EVERYONE IN PANEM THINKS YOU'RE ATTRACTIVE, IT'S NOT THAT DIFFICULT TO PUT TOGETHER but instead Katniss spent half the book wondering wtf Peeta was on about and it's just infuriating to me because I feel like Katniss beats us over the head with her narration and that it's a really poor way to characterize and the writing style isn't even that good and the characters wouldn't have personalities if it weren't for Katniss screaming all of their character traits at us every five minutes and fml I hate these books.
And then debatably THE WORST part is that the themes of these books have /so/ much potential but they just completely fell short for me because they got buried underneath of all the above drivel when I was reading. THG Trilogy could have been an amazing sociopolitical commentary, but Katniss spent so much time dwelling on insignificant shit and wishing that she'd never had anything to do with the rebellion that I was completely let down, thematically speaking. I mean, if Katniss is going to be that slow to get attached to the war/rebellion against the Capitol, at /least/ write it into Katniss's characterization /why/ she was so reluctant to give a shit about politics, but SCollins didn't bother--and she could have so easily characterized Katniss and given her mixed feelings about the rebellion where a) she hated the Capitol and wanted to see the people trying to do something about their circumstances but b) after having lived her whole live in poverty didn't believe that it would be /possible/ to overthrow it--I mean, that would have made perfect sense in the context of the books, but SCollins never wrote anything to allude to that, didn't even so much as throw her readers a bone about it, and it just really irritates me omg. Oh, and a Japanese author wrote this novel (Battle Royale) ten years before The Hunger Games was published and I read the English translation when I was in high school, and the writing quality wasn't stellar or anything (it was a translation so you couldn't expect it to be anyway), but the characterizations and themes were crazy deep and I loved it so much and the basic premise of it was almost identical to THG--he did a lot differently (read: better), but it was the same general concept of kids being thrown into an isolated location and being forced to kill each other with only one winner that evolved into a political commentary and an attempt to overthrow the government. And then to see SCollins take the same exact concept ten years later and /completely/ butcher it in comparison made me angry and sad but mostly angry and this is why I hate these books. The badlydrawnhungergames Tumblr blog is like my favorite thing ever because I think it's a hilarious parody of it, and I can appreciate that THG isn't complete drivel like Twilight and that it has enough entertainment value to be enjoyable (I read the whole series in the space of a couple of days, and it's not like I was just raging the entire time, it was a quick and entertaining read), which I guess makes me a bit of a hypocrite, but I'm not saying that THG is painful to read and complete crap, I'm saying that it has entertainment value but SUCKS as a literary piece and that this made me angry even while I was reading it (but I read books I hate all the time because I get emotionally attached to the characters early on and need to know what happens to them, even if I hate the way the author executed the book, so this is normal for me).
|The Bitter Kitten
Holy Jesus Ehwies. :P
I agree with pretty much everything you said.
I don't hate the books though; in fact I rather enjoyed them. I certainly don't think that they're the next Harry Potter, and they have flaws for days, but I don't regret reading them (that said, I've only read them once). I generally don't hold YA up to a super high standard, and I think the new trend of treating YA like adult lit isn't good for either genres. While there are authors who can transcend their chosen genre and make something like HP, the vast majority won't and it's usually comparing fast food to haute cuisine or even chain restaurants. They're just not on the same level and going in expecting them to be is setting yourself up for disappointment. We could get into a whole other discussion over whether we should hold YA up to higher standards. :p
I thought that SCollins' prose got the cadence and thought pattern of a myopic, bitter 16/17 year old down pretty well. The 'unreliable narrator' conceit springs to mind, especially with regards to Prim and her relationships, and I can see a teen clinging to certain (shallow to others) things and being nearly willfullly obtuse about other things. I think SCollins might have had a better go of it if she wrote in 3rd person. Maybe I'm giving her too much credit. Idk.
One of the biggest problems I had was how little she sketched in most of the world. It makes it good fodder for fanfiction, since then it's up to the writer, but I'll admit I was over the Gale/Peeta triangle by halfway through the first book and wished she dealt more with other things.3/6/2012 #4
On YA: I think it's fair that YA isn't on the same plane as higher literary works and /maybe/ that because of this it shouldn't be held to higher standards, but with the exception of children's literature (which is personally how I classify HP, since JKR has stated explicitly that it's meant for a child audience), I tend to think that all books should be held to relatively high standards that THG didn't even close to live up to. Unfortunately, almost all of the contemporary books that I've been reading don't live up to the standards that I think any published book should meet, which sucks for me lol.
And I think you bring up an interesting point about unreliable narrators--I think that /could/ have worked really well, actually, it's just that SCollins didn't give us any reason to believe that Katniss's narration was meant to be read as unreliable; like you mentioned with Prim, anytime she was mentioned in the books ever, I felt like SCollins's intention was for us to adore the girl just as much as Katniss does, not to question Katniss's view of her--because it's not just Katniss who thinks she's sweet and lovely and perfect; not /once/ does a /single/ character (that I can recall, anyway) say a /single/ negative statement about the girl, and it was just kind of actually really extremely frustrating for me and yes. Another example of how THG didn't develop something properly that /could/ have been really interesting/well-done if only SCollins didn't suck at characterization and writing in general.3/6/2012 #5
|The Bitter Kitten
moving to randomness thread :)
Enjoyable as it was, there was definitely room for improvement with THG.
I -am- excited to see how they create the world in the movies.3/6/2012 #6
*comes up from E's post gasping for air*
Wow, E! You've definately brought up some important points about the book.
When reading the first book in the trilogy, I actually enjoyed it. There were points about Katniss that really annoyed me (like her attitude toward her mother) but, overall, the book was a nice, easy read. It turned out to be the kind of book that I'd pick up if I wanted to read something that required very little brain power.
But then I read Catching Fire. And then Mockingjay. I really disliked both of them. The excitement of the Games in the first book just didn't carry over to the second. I found it overwhelmingly dull, actually, and that was really disappointing.
Basically, I agree that this series had a lot of potential that was never explored. But it is still a pretty enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to the movie.3/7/2012 #7
|Hope the Ghost Writer
ASDFGANKTEJNDFKGHIUEVNI. The Hunger Games is my life. Already have tickets to see it on March 23rd at midnight. Skipping school the 23rd just so I can go. Got a mockingjay pin and a tee with "Rue's Lullaby" on it for Christmas. Haven't even taken the pin out of its wrappings yet. Waiting until the 23rd to wear it (or the 22nd; I might wear it to school that day and go around saying "Happy Hunger Games" to everyone ;D). DEDICATION.
We-we-we so excited. :D3/8/2012 #8
I am so getting a Haymitch t shirt for the movie.
Haymitch is my obssession. XD3/9/2012 #9
I am so getting a Haymitch t shirt for the movie.
Haymitch is my obssession. XD
Loooooove Haymitch. Woody Harrelson's casting is pure 100% win with baby unicorns flying around it.
I can't wait. I have to start looking for a babysitter for the first weekend of the Hunger Games ;)3/11/2012 . Edited 3/11/2012 #10
Overall, I really like the books. It's a simple mathematical formula: (Battle Royale - Japan) + (Twilight - Suckiness) + Implied post-apocalyptic world + social commentary = hells yeah, rock and roll.
An open letter to Katniss
The thing I really disliked was that the author made things WAY too easy for you. Everything twists to go your way. You get the best score from the Judges for being sassy and independent; you capture the hearts of the Capitolites without really trying; when you team up with Rue, the wee one is killed off by a Career before she has to deal with the fact that they'll be required to kill each other. What if, for example, you had managed to save Rue through the whole game? And it's just you, Peeta, and her left at the end? What would you do, force feed her poison berries? Slit her throat? Make a suicide pact with Peeta so that the wee one can go home?
See that? That, right there? That's conflict. That's the stuff that makes stories worth reading. It's less interesting if the plot steps in to help you every time a potential problem pops up.
Plus, you really do get a moral "Get out of jail free" card from the author constantly. When the Careers kill someone to win the Hunger Games, they're evil incarnate. When you kill someone to win the Hunger Games, you're the hero. Yes, I get that the Careers are Capitol stooges who have been training for it, blah di blah. The fact remains that you're choosing to kill to keep from dying. That's reasonable, but don't pretend like you're different from them. You're not. The only difference is they were prepared and you weren't.
Also? When a boy who's obviously been in love with you since childhood declares on national TV that he's in love with you, and keeps up the act even when you're both alone, HE'S IN LOVE WITH YOU. Don't play coy, damn it. Pretending you have no idea why Peeta is acting that way makes you look either terminally stupid or blatantly manipulative. And we both know you're not stupid.
Still, when you went all Navy SEAL on us in the third book, it was pretty awesome. In fact, in my opinion, Mockingjay is the best of the three, simply because you had to deal with actual unsolvable problems. The realities of war were brought home to you, and you couldn't handle it. Well done, you! You grew as a character and faced the fact that you were acting like a gosh darned sociopath all the time. And then you shot President Coin, I felt tears of pride swell up in my eyes. Not because it was the right decision, necessarily, but because you had a motivation and acted on it, like a proper character.3/11/2012 . Edited 3/11/2012 #11
Okay, I'm going to say something that I might be the only person to agree with, but here I go.
I like Katniss Everdeen. I do, NOT because she is endearing - I wanted to slap her more than once - but because it was refreshing to see a female teen character who wasn't driven by hormones. To me, Katniss seemed asexual, and I found that a very novel thing in a YA novel. (Oh, I think I just said novel twice. Teehee.) I don't know, maybe you can attribute that to S.Collin's lack of writing skill, as E asserts, but it was nice to not have another Bella Swan.
I'm not saying the books are perfect because they aren't. The ending was just terrible and a major cop-out for me. However, I also enjoyed them immensely.3/11/2012 #12
If I knew Katniss in real life, I'd hate her guts. Because she's able to draw such a reaction out of me, I think she's a good character.3/11/2012 #13
And now to respond to the lovely E's post!
/so/ many /incredibly/ well-developed characters,
Maybe I've just become disenchanted with the Harry Potter series, but I'm disinclined to agree. Harry Potter had some great main characters, but most of the minor characters fell lacking to me. They were either incredibly one-dimensional (the Hufflepuffs), or else their personalities were twisted book to book based on what Rowling needed to happen (Cho Chang, y'all). But I guess this is THG thread, so I'll save this rant for another time.
(I also have to point out that Harry Potter was seven books long, and by the third book we didn't have the intricacies quite yet.)
about how there's a fucking war going on and all Katniss can do is be all GUYS I'M THE GIRL ON FIRE GUYS I'M THE MOCKINGJAY GUYS I'M SO IMPRESSED WITH CINNA'S DESIGNS LET ME WRITE FOR 50 PAGES ABOUT ALL THIS FRIVOLOUS CAPITOL CRAP THAT I HATE BUT I'M GOING TO THINK ABOUT IT ANYWAY BECAUSE I'M A SELLOUT AND EVEN THOUGH I HATE THIS PLACE ON PRINCIPAL I'M GOING TO GO ON AND ON AND ON ABOUT HOW MUCH I LIKE THE LAMB STEW GUYS I HAVE TO FALL FOR PEETA IN FRONT OF THE CAMERAS SO THAT I'LL GET SPONSORS IN THE ARENA BUT OMG WHAT IS GALE GOING TO THINK AM I GOING TO HURT HIS FEELINGS WE'VE NEVER BEEN ROMANTICALLY INVOLVED BUT MAYBE WE WOULD HAVE ENDED UP TOGETHER IF IT WEREN'T FOR THIS GUYS I DON'T CARE THAT IT'S LIFE OR DEATH OUT HERE I HAVE TOO MANY FEELINGS FOR THAT SHIT GUYS AM I TEAM GALE OR TEAM PEETA GUYS I KISSED PEETA AND IT GAVE ME FEELINGS WHAT IF I ACTUALLY WANT HIM INSTEAD OF GALE GUYS GUYS GUYS I'M THE GIRL ON FIRE WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND MEEEEEE.
...she's also a teenager, and I thought it was a very realistic showing of that. IShe doesn't have the same perspective that we do. We read the book knowing that it's another world and that we live in a better one. It's easy for us to go, "Oh wow, why is she focusing on the stew when there are more important things going on?" We have better food than that all the time. We know inherently that the Capitol is bad. Katniss, on the other hand, grew up in this world. At that point in the book, especially, she hasn't fully developed her critical eye. She's been poor and hungry and is still amazed by good food. Wouldn't it be weird if she DIDN'T react to the luxury when it's in stark contrast to her own? She doesn't have the critical eye, especially in the beginning. Heck, even when we get to the revolution, it's pretty clear that she doesn't have the same fervor that others do. She never pretends to be in it for the principle - it's about Peeta and saving his life. It's what I like about it, actually. She's a hero but a very human one at that.
And as to the whole love triangle thing, I think it's actually very realistic for a teenager to still be going through that stuff.
felt like she had close to no emotional response to the fact that /children were killing each other all around her, herself included/, and if she were realistically characterized, even if she does tend to be the strong/fearless type or whatever, I think SCollins at least could've a) made Katniss care a hell of a lot more than she actually did about the horror of that, b) if Katniss was going to fixate so much on boys at /least/ have a little realistically-characterized self-loathing over the fact that she was thinking about boys instead of oh I don't know LIFE AND DEATH ISSUES, or c) if she honestly wasn't very emotionally affected by being in the arena, at least characterize her to give a believable rationale for it instead of just expecting us to buy it.
Once again, you have to remember the context she lived in. It's shocking to us - and it should be - because we have no such thing as the games. But Katniss is like all the other citizens; she's lived her entire live with this happening, and it's all she knows. I mean, it's not unlike war that happens now. Soldiers go into battle and keep it together during the fighting, keep their distance from seeing horrible things happen to innocent people. Of course, it eventually catches up with them, just as it did with Katniss. Did she not stay haunted by images of the other tributes in her dreams?
This especially bothered me when Katniss was talking about how Prim is /so/ sweet and innocent and cute and kind and perfect and everyone in District 12 just /loves/ her because she's such a sweetheart, and then contrasting that with how everyone in District 12 just kind of puts up with Katniss herself because she's so abrasive and not charming/charismatic or whatever--just personally speaking, I didn't get a sense of any of that just by observing Katniss or Prim's behavior, I felt like Katniss was just telling us to believe it by saying it explicitly in first-person narrative and that that's the only way we have of knowing these things about them.
Yeah, I can see this. This is why I never write in the first person - too damn hard.
a) I have a problem with this because I'm bipolar and I know from personal experience that you can't just snap yourself out of that shit, so even though it wasn't cool of her mom to not support her family until the point that her children were in danger of STARVING, her head must have been an incredibly dark place at the time and you better believe that she probably never forgave herself for that but just didn't know /how/ to step up and be a better mother and just because she did something /wrong/ doesn't mean that she deserves no pity. But then b) Katniss refuses to recognize that the world's not black-and-white and her mother deserves a second chance now that she's, hello, on medication and capable of doing a better job, and in turn the readers are expected to stand by Katniss's resentment of her mother because /nowhere/ anyplace in the first book is /anything/ that explores /why/ Katniss was so quick to judge her mother for what she did. Sure, it's understandable for a child, now mostly grown up, to resent her mother for sucking at parenthood, but SCollins never delved into the relationship between Katniss and her mom to explore /why/ Katniss resented her; all we ever saw was, again, Katniss's narrative about it, and Katniss's narrative was basically just MY MOTHER IS A FUCKING HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING AND I WILL NEVER CARE ABOUT HAVING A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH HER BECAUSE SHE HAS UNFORGIVABLY FAILED ME.
I can't quote anything, but I walked away with the sense that Katniss did feel bad about how she treated her mother. I love you, E, and this is no judgement upon you, but I can understand where Katniss is coming from, at the very least. Depression is a terrible thing, and you're right, you can't just snap out of it, but at the same time, when you choose to have children, you choose to take responsibility. Her mother was not the only one going through the trauma of losing a family member, and although you might just call it "not cool," I think it's pretty terrible to pull away like that and let your children potentially starve. (I mean, I know you're over-exaggerating and whatsnot, so that sounds a little harsh when it's not suppose to at all). Maybe I'm too close to it - my own father has issues with a mother who chose to care more about her own shit than take care of her children - but like I said, I can understand where Katniss was coming from. And there was the fact that Katniss's mother didn't even come to be with her after she killed Snow. I digress. I do see what you mean about only having Katniss's perspective, but that's what happens when you write a first-person narrative; you only get that person's context. However, I don't think that just because that's the only perspective we get means, necessarily, that S.Collins agrees with the characterization or choices, or that she expects us to buy everything Katniss says. When I read the book, I wasn't surprised by Katniss's attitude because she's a pretty emotionally closed off person who doesn't forgive. Considering that her tirades against her mother come BEFORE she enters the games makes me believe so even more than it was a characteristically believable reaction. At that time she hasn't changed.
like I'M TRYING HARDER NOT TO JUDGE MY MOTHER ANYMORE NOW THAT I ACTUALLY LIVED THROUGH THE HUNGER GAMES and it's like, great, you don't think your mother is a pathetic waste of space anymore, but we're never given a believable reason for the change of heart, either, and the whole thing was just really poorly done and an archetypical example of why SCollins makes me rage.
...I kind of thought the whole "I lived through the game and watched others die and realized how important the people who surround me are" experience was the reason. It's a first person novel. Things aren't always spelled out clearly because we often don't understand ourselves.
Plus Katniss is really fucking stupid a lot of the time and it makes me rage. Like that whole thing in THG when Peeta was like "she has no idea the effect she has on people" and Katniss was legitimately stumped as to what he could possibly mean. HELLO, HALF A SECOND AGO HE WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW EVERYONE IN PANEM THINKS YOU'RE ATTRACTIVE, IT'S NOT THAT DIFFICULT TO PUT TOGETHER but instead Katniss spent half the book wondering wtf Peeta was on about
Ugh, so this. This is probably by biggest complaint. It's like in Catching Fire when she sees the watch - I GOT IT RIGHT AWAY, but it took Katniss the ENTIRE BOOK to get it, even after the major hint she/we got when those two runaways (I forget their names) show her their cookie with the Mockingjay on it. And yeah, I have a different context - I've read enough books to know how plot development and story arcs work but to Katniss it's just real life. So yeah, I could deal with her stupidity if it was consistent, but it's not. She's so stupid at times, but then other times she's a genius - like when she figures out that "tick tock" means the arena is a clock. Or how she sort of just knows what Haymitch's messages mean in the arena. You know?
THG Trilogy could have been an amazing sociopolitical commentary, but Katniss spent so much time dwelling on insignificant shit and wishing that she'd never had anything to do with the rebellion that I was completely let down, thematically speaking.
I guess I took it another way, but of course I can't assume what S.Collin's was going for. To me, it showed what happened in rebellions in real life because real life isn't like a book and people aren't really heroes, not most anyway. Like, to be honest, if I was in Katniss's situation, I wouldn't be brave and gung ho. I'd probably be more selfish than she was. I give her credit for recognizing that the people leading the rebellion weren't as perfect as they said they were, just like Katniss isn't perfect. Gah. I can't explain what I'm trying to say, but maybe it's that what I took away, thematically, is that we aren't perfect and the perfect hero doesn't exist. People are still selfish, like Katniss, or willing to kill innocent people on either side, like Gale, or can get twisted up with the promise of power, like Coin.
/long post3/11/2012 #14
What E said. I agree with pretty much all of that, but I don't think I'm quite so bothered by the middling quality of the books.
Anyway, I just finished Mockingjay last night. I enjoyed the series. Catching Fire was my favourite because the plot actually developed some density. But I was disappointed by the ending [and the completely unnecessary epilogue]. SCollins is the master of deux ex machina - whether through the parachutes in the arena, or the fact that anytime a situation gets too intense in the later novels, Katniss is injured to the point of blacking out and wakes up in a hospital three days later hopped up on morphling with another character conveniently by her bedside waiting to tell her what went down. The Peeta/Katniss relationship never resonated with me...Gale seemed like such a more obvious choice for a romantic interest since, you know, the pair actually KNEW each other. But then it the last book Katniss is like "nope Gale's too much of a meanie guess that leaves Peeta".
And now for my wall of text, here are my initial thoughts on the first book as retold to my bestie who read it with me:
The concept is OUT OF THIS WORLD cool. The dystopian future scenario had a very 1984-ish feel to it that I liked. I loved the whole culture of Panem - the separate districts, the ceremonial nature of the reaping (great word choice with that by the way - could have just as easily been "harvest" but that's far too cheerful), being FORCED to watch the Hunger Games, the whole reason for the Games existing in the first place. However, I was moderately disappointed with the execution. Namely, halfway through the whole thing becomes center around this semi-fabricated romance between Katniss and Peeta. One problem with this was the fact that it made Katniss into WAY more of a Mary Sue than she already was. Anyway, Katniss is about three steps up from a Mary Sue because she has some legitimate flaws. In Katniss case, she's surly and stubborn and untrusting, which all make sense in light of her rough childhood on the Seam. So, that's fine. And even though her archery, tracking and hunting skills are a little too convenient for her survival, at least their explained in a reasonable way. But then despite the fact that she pretty much seems like a cold hearted bitch, everyone LOOOOOOOOOVES her. Especially Peeta. Who didn't really strike me as an idiot at first but then when he starts professing that he's loved Katniss since they were five I start to throw up a little. It's so unrealistic. What the hell does he even see in her? What did he see in her when he was FIVE?! And then Katniss is all "LOL we're just pretending to be in luuuuuuuv so we can win tha Games!!!!111!!!1!!" And then she's all "LOLwut you really luv me??????" And it's like...Katniss, you're a stupid idiot. So, that's bad in it's own right, but the thing that REALLY bothered me is these people are locked into an Arena where they have to fight 23 other people TO THE DEATH. This is a great start for a story. You know how fiction writing advice is always like "MAKE YOUR PROTAGONIST SUFFER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE"? Well...what better opportunity does Collins have than this? By throwing unimaginable horrors at your characters we get to see them at their rawest - see what they're really made of. I shouldn't compare, because really GRRM nearly every author ever, but take Game of Thrones as an example. We get about TWO PARAGRAPHS were we see Sansa is obedient and likes to sew and that Arya is much less disciplined and then suddenly shit starts going down and these girls have to deal with [spoilers omitted - essentially ALL THE HARDSHIPS]. They maintain their characters throughout, but they become more resilient. Conversely, Peeta and Katniss are locked in a battle to the death and both of them are too busy trying to work out their feelings for each other. I know it was supposed to be "for the cameras", and I did like that detail because it made the scenario INFINITELY more believable. At the same time, I feel like if I was in their place I would NOT be concerned with giving Peeta as many kisses as possible. This whole plot line saves face because technically this "romance" is keeping them alive, but I think it's a thinly veiled device to make the book into a love story. It starts reading in a very Twilight-esque way at this point - right down to the first person narrative which I'll get to in the next section. I thought the whole "rule change" and then "LOL new rule revoked" was a pretty easy out, too. It would have been more interesting to see them really have to fight to the death and decide if their feelings were stronger than their desire to survive. If they came to that conclusion on their own, I think the whole romance would have been much more compelling.
And at the end of the story, their are hints that the Capitol is mad at Katniss and waaahhhh maybe there is going to be some kind of uprising but more than anything I get the feeling that the end of the book was setting up for their to be loads of tension between Gale and Peeta in the next installment with whatever political stuff that results just serving as a back drop. I guess I just wish the focus was shifted. But hey, the woman is just trying to sell her books.
I know we said we weren't going to be snobs, so I'm going to try not to nitpick too much. In fact, I ended up thinking the present tense was really effective for this story because it made everything much more immediate and uncertain. However, it takes skill to do first person narratives well, and I don't think Collins quite hit the mark here. I think third person limited would have been a more effective choice. Here, there are moments when Katniss' thoughts/internalizations are a bit much, as you said. She slips out of character or conveniently inserts a description of her history or the history of Panem when it's easy. Collins needs to work on the old "show, don't tell" thing. The writing is thin, like you said. There is nothing for me to figure out. No secrets, no mystery to solve. [Except maybe "OMG does Peeta luv me?! OMG DO I LUV PITA?!!?!?! ...of course I love pita, I am starving and bread is delicious."] So in that regard, I think I was a little unsatisfied. My major complaint is that the writing reminded me WAY too much of Twilight, and Twilight reminds me WAY too much of mediocre fan fiction. This is another one of those books that gives me confidence that WE will be published someday. It's an interesting question: if your story is good enough, does the writing not matter as much? And what about the reverse? If you have great writing with a slightly less original idea, will that sell too? And then if you're GRRM and are just a master of both everyone else should just put down their pens, close their laptops and find something else to do with their lives.
Perhaps I'm just out-growing YA. But having experienced (and continuing to experience) profound love, the relationships between Collins' characters doesn't even come close to resonating with me, with the exception of between Rue and Katniss. Rue was the highlight of the entire book for me. I didn't care about any of the other characters HALF as much as I cared about her. I'm interested to read the next two books because I will admit, I found this story perfectly entertaining. But something about it is nagging at me and leaving me unsatisfied, and I think it's the "romantic twist". I am also a huge hipster, because my roommate and the friend I borrowed the book from CANNOT stop gushing over the series. "Oh, it's SO GOOD. You won't be able to put it down! Don't you think it's SO GOOD?!" and I'm like...well, I'm /enjoying/ it. But I enjoy watching reality shows in which four brides compete for the best wedding to win a honeymoon. So...I love it in the way I love reality TV. Brain candy. But no, it's not SO GOOD. At the same time, I feel like if IIIIIII had been the one to discover it, I'd be much less critical and probably be touting its praises just like they are. So who knows. Our culture of intellectual superiority is an interesting one.
Finally finally - I'm excited for the movie [going to the midnight premier with E!] - because I think the first book in particular will translate really well to the screen.3/12/2012 . Edited 3/12/2012 #15
But I enjoy watching reality shows in which four brides compete for the best wedding to win a honeymoon.
Four Weddings? Love that show.
I definitely see what you mean, and I'll admit that when I read books - especially YA books - I take what I've called the Twilight approach. When I first read Twilight, I devoured them. I enjoyed them. It was only after I'd been away from the series for awhile that I could look back and realize how BAD they are and how much the characters irritated me. So I could easily be going through that. I am a Peeta fan, though, because I think Katniss put it best why she doesn't work with Gale. They both have too much fire in them to be romantic partners. Peeta complements her so well, though.
The ending was just terrible, though, so I definitely agree with that. It's like S.Collins got really lazy and just slapped on an epilogue. It really pissed me off, actually. Terrible writing. And yeah, she really is the queen of deux ex machina, ESPECIALLY in the third book. That really bothered me, too. I don't know, I think the third book just really ruined the reputation of the entire series, at least writing-wise. To me, the third book is the weakest.
I like your thoughts that maybe if you'd been the first one to find it, you'd like it more.3/12/2012 #16
Four Weddings? Love that show.
Yes! Me too. :D
I don't hate Peeta. I found him most irritating in the first book when he just kind of blindly loved Katniss for no reason. [Which I suppose is a fairly typical pre-teen/teenage thing to do. I had my fair share of crushes on totally random boys in my class back in the day.] Because of Peeta's unwavering affection [through HG, anyway], and then Gale's jealousy on top of that, Katniss really starts to suffer from Bella Swan syndrome in which "OMG everyone luuuuuurves me but lolwhy I'm so not worth loving". That being said, this triology [much much greater than] Twilight on pretty much all levels.3/12/2012 #17
Ah ha ha, I also love Four Weddings ;)
Have you seen the 2nd trailer yet? *bouncing in chair*3/13/2012 #18
I haven't seen any of the trailers! I've seen plenty of pictures on Tumblr, and I /did/ catch the tail end of one trailer on TV, but otherwise I'm not actively seeking them out. I want to be as surprised as possible. :]3/13/2012 #19
going to the midnight premier with E!] Bit off topic, but a lot of you seem to know each other in the 'real world'...3/13/2012 #20
Lala and Jessie know each other irl and Lala brought her on here, and then Emily and I actually met on this forum and I figured out that we go to the same school and we met up irl and now we hang out on campus. :D Off the top of my head I don't think anybody else has met up irl before, though.
/random, coming back here later today to make a long!post in response to all the things3/13/2012 #21
I figured out that we go to the same school
...actually, I was the one who pointed out that she was from your city and MIGHT go to the same college as you. ;-)3/13/2012 #22
well yes that too ;D3/13/2012 #23
I've made several close RL friends online, and when people ask how we met I say"iVillage" and they're like "Seriously?" and I say "Yeah, ten years ago!" ;)
///veering back to the topic of Hunger Games
I'm pretty excited about the soundtrack too. I'll probably download that as soon as it comes out. I am in love with the Decemberists, they're my new favorite band.3/14/2012 #24
It would be weird to find out that someone on RL went to my school. If I were to meet one of you guys in real life, I'd probably call you by your screen name out of habit. XD
Decemberists? Never heard of them. *is going to youtube right now*
Though it might be because I'm a classic rock and metal junkie...3/15/2012 #25
Copied from my tumblr cause I'm laaaaaaaazy and feel weird, BUT:
This is the first time I've seen a book-to-film adaptation in which the movie was better than the book. Significantly better. A story as straightforward, fast-paced and emotional as the Hunger Games is much better suited for the screen than the page, in my opinion, and they executed it brilliantly. Broadening the story beyond the first-person narrative of the books did wonders for the depth and clarity of the plot. The characters became dynamic. I was really, really impressed with this film.
Also, ALL THE CRYING.3/23/2012 #26
So, I've finally seen the movie now....
First of all, my initial reaction was that the movie was much better than I thought it would be. The fact that we weren't restricted to a single POV really improved the story. There was a lot of cutting from the Capital to the arena to the districts and that really helped to tie everything together. It really makes me wonder how the book would have been if it had been written in third person. Everything becomes so much clearer because we aren't restricted to a single POV. I can't stress that fact enough.
Casting. For the most part, I was really impressed with the casting. Especially Caesar Flickerman and Seneca Crane. I absolutely loved Seneca's beard! : D However, President Snow was a major disappointment. He seemed more like a stern grandfatherly figure than the character that I've come to imagine from the books. He didn't have to be downright sinister but we really didn't get anything on his character and that was a real let down. I also reallly wish that Cinna had been given a bigger role because his death later on won't have the same emotional effect if he's not properly introduced and shown as the great character he is. (I've always loved Cinna...)
The costumes were a major disappointment, I thought. I was expecting a lot more than we got, especially with the interview dress. But the general wardrobe of the Capital residents was pretty well done and believable.
My main problem with the movie is the fact that there are a lot of things that would be difficult to understand without having read the book. They do touch on many aspects of the book, even down to individual lines, but the whole thing is rushed. I really wish that they had split this into two movies in order to establish relationships, especially between Katniss and Gale and then Katniss and Peeta. There simple wasn't enough time to show the audience why they should care about these people.
Overall, I did enjoy the movie. There are very few movies that can make me go through such an emotional roller coaster. Crying one minute, laughing the next, and jumping out of my skin a few moments later. Did anyone else nearly fall out of their seat when the Mutts appeared in the forest? I could have kicked myself for that, especially since I knew it was coming....lol3/28/2012 #27
Lol, I FREAKED when the Mutts came out. My mom did to. The whole theatre was like O.O
Haymitch was like, the best. No joke. And my favorite quote from the movie?
"That's mahogony!'"3/29/2012 #28
I don't even know where to start really.
I read the books just over a year ago and I loved them. I loved the ideas of the games and the contrast between Capitol and Districts.
I admit they are no Shakespeare, there is no elaborate great tragedy. There is tragedy but it isn't heart wrenching. I have a good disconnect when it comes to things like this, I try not to compare books and movies otherwise I could goon for days as I notice the smallest things.
The books themselves are by no great stretch perfect. I don't expect them to be just like if someone tries to argue with me about HP and they say "They are not written that well." I can accept it because I know it to be true. The point is that the story and the characters surpass JKRowling's writing skill and make the story better. In certain parts of the Hunger Games this is the case as well. Her writing isn't perfect but during the actual games my eyes don't leave the page for anything. I think she is a better action writer rather than the build up.
I also think she should have done it third person but that is personal preference. It would have been nice to see the Careers and what they were like when they were not surrounded by those in the game. Same for the Reaping. We get told that 1,2 and 4 are Career districts they train and they volunteer. I think that would be interesting as someone said on tumblr the other day. "The only choice the Careers had was the choice to volunteer." Now in my head that isn't true. If you have trained for years and your district wants pride and honor brought to them the pressure would be unbearable. You would feel the need volunteer. Harry Potter focuses on three for all Seven books and then there are all the other characters you get a glimpse of. They have personalities. I would have loved to see more to Glimmer than pretty and more to Clove that vicious. Gale is painted as an awful character for doing what? For doing what was needed in a war. Yes it is easy to sit here and say what he did was brutal, he killed her sister. Sorry but it was fight or go back to the Games. Loss of that life while horrible for Katniss and I know understand why she wouldn't have been able to be with him after that but in the Third Person the reader would have had better understanding of his character and why he did it. He didn't do it to impress Katniss, it was what needed to be done. As I said though all of that was down to the fact I have a personal preference for Third person.
I don't compare books to each other which I think is why I can read anything and love it for what it is and not what is isn't.
On the note of Battle Royale, I think that even though the basic concept was already there. I think the Hunger Games opened it up to a younger audience. I am eighteen and I would never have heard of Battle Royale and in turn the themes of the book which I think are important.
The amount of run on sentences in that ramble is ridiculous but I was on a roll. I think I got everything, I will more than likely think of something later.4/3/2012 #29
I love THG way too much for my own good. E's post did have some good points, but overall it's an amazing book that shows us how desensitized we can be to war.4/24/2012 #30
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