Lighting the Spark

Posted: January 27, 2013 in On Novels

“With all that alcohol in him, it’s probably not advisable to have him around an open flame.“

Well, boys and girls, it happened. The spark was lit, the fire kindled, the revolution started. I have officially finished reading Catching Fire and have begun to read Mockingjay. I have actors in my head picked out for characters in future films, I have had to defend the novels from the scrutiny of friends, and I am eagerly awaiting the remaining movies in anticipation. Yup, it’s official. The Hunger Games has hooked me.

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The second novel roped me in and kept me there much easier than the first one had. So far, the second one definitely has to be my favorite; it has everything I felt that the first one was lacking! More gratuitous violence, more vicious of a Capitol, more fleshed out tributes, and less “oh mai gawd he likes me?!?!” obliviousness from Katniss. So, imagine my surprise when I find out there are people out there who loved the first and hated this one. “Too graphic”? What kind of complaint is that? These people are fighting to the !@#$ing death, what are you expecting? Rainbows and sunshine to pour from their open wounds? I bet these are the same people who read all of the novels like A Child Called It and cried their bloody eyes out. Suck it up, buttercup – life is rough, and it’s about to get a whole ‘lot rougher for the citizens of Panem.

So what’s going on?

For those of you who haven’t read The Hunger Games (and if you haven’t, why not? It was required reading for the first week!), the novels follow the story of one Katniss Everdeen, a girl (and master huntsman. or is it huntswoman?) who gets roped into a contest by a tyrannical Capitol where she fights to the death with 23 other people for the sake of fame, glory, and not starving to death. Not only does she win the competition (omg spoilerz) but her and other victor Peeta Mellark  spit in the Capitol’s face by threatening to commit suicide and leave The Hunger Games with no victor.

SO, fast forward to Catching Fire – Peeta and Katniss must go on a Victory Tour around Panem, being paraded around. One President Snow (aka Donald Sutherland) has tasked Katniss with quelling the growing rebellion in the 12 different districts that she inadvertantly caused by forcing the Capitol to declare two winners. Still following me here? Most of you have read this, you already know what’s what. Katniss’s attempts to quell rebellion fail, and since it’s the 75th anniversary of the first Hunger Games, President Snow announces that this batch of tributes will be selected from past winners.. seemingly while rubbing his hands together and grinning devilishly.

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Book v. Film

Given the liberties the first film took with some of the more important plot points, I wonder how what kind of shennanigans they’re going to pull off with this one. Madge and her father are relatively important characters in the first novel (Katniss getting her pin from Prim does make sense, I suppose), but they’re completely left out of the first film. Are they going to be introduced in the second one at all? Are the parts at the Mayor’s home even going to be included? I’m also wondering how they’re going to compensate for some of the more graphic portions; people being devoured by killer fog, throats being slit, and tridents to the gut not withstanding, or the parts where one Johanna feels the need to strip down to her birthday suit. What kind of butchering are they going to have to do to the story to make this all fit in a PG-13 setting? I am excited to see Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch be more of a badass, though. Not to mention, with all the fleshing out they did of President Snow in the first film, he’s bound to go full-blown evil mastermind in the second.

Though, I will say again for repetition’s sake, the fact that they’re making Mockingjay into two films is pure idiocy. Apparently every director ever has decided that 3 to 7 billion-dollar-grossing movies isn’t enough. No, instead, they’re going to ride the cash cow all the way to the slaughterhouse.

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Verdict:

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a huge fan of Catching Fire. We don’t spend too much time in the arena, nor too much on the Victory Tour. All of our characters are given some decent fleshing out, everyone from Mrs. Everdeen to Katniss’s team of stylists are given little moments that make them seem more like people and less like cardboard cutouts (like those that COMPLETELY OCCUPY SOME OTHER NOVELS). I’m a couple chapters into Mockingjay, and everyone so far has told me that it’s good, but it’s boring.

Respectfully to the opinion of others, what the hell does that mean? How can something be both good but boring? Either you’re entertained, or you’re not. If it was good, you were entertained, and you’re trying to say something like “it’s slow to get going”. If it’s just flat boring, than it wasn’t good. Pick one. So far, I think it’s just as good as the others. Katniss has evolved from hardened teenager to seasoned killer to reluctant leader. Boom. Dynamic characters. What up? Mic drop. I’m outtie. See you next week.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

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Comments
  1. Love your perspective and insight on the HG series and movie. I am a newly obsessed HG fan, too; I cannot wait for the movie to come out…it’s too bad we have to wait eleven months!

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