Revisiting a Series I was Obsessed With: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Almost a year ago, I posted one of these focused on other obsession I had in high school, which was Twilight, but I figured with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes being turned into a movie next month that I would revisit The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. I’m not re-reading the series (though I am in the middle of reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes), but I am discussing various details of the original series and if my thoughts regarding those topics have changed over the years.

The Love Triangle: Peeta vs. Gale

Credit: Hunger Games by Lionsgate

One of the main elements of Hunger Games that was focused on by the fanbase and marketing around this series was the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. To me, I never saw Katniss ever having romantic feelings towards Gale. Sure she cared about him but she was never going to end up in a relationship with him. To her, Gale was more of a brother or family member. That’s not to say he didn’t have feelings for her, as he gets jealous over Peeta and unexpectedly kisses her in the middle of the woods when she’s hunting. At one point Gale tells Katniss “I love you” after she proposes they run away from District 12 and she replies with “I know”, but Gale gets furious when he discovers she means with her family, Peeta, and Haymitch not just the two of them.

Katniss struggles to figure out who she wants to be with, but I never for a second thought she would end up with anyone but Peeta. While she liked Gale, and appreciated what they had. The two of them don’t work together as they want very different things. I’ll get into that later. While Peeta and Katniss have very similar views when it comes to the war. Or at least, their views compliment each other. Not to mention, Katniss needs Peeta after everything the two of them faced in the arenas.

As Katniss puts it:

That what I need to survive is not Gale’s fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.

Collins, Mockingjay, Page 388

Plus, Gale’s actions forever made her unable to face him following the war and as she reflects on their relationship she wonders if they ever would be truly happy had she never ended up in the arena and instead ran away with Gale.

Would they have been happy, out in the wild, or would the dark, twisted sadness between them have grown up even without the Capitol’s help?

Collins, Mockingjay, Page 366

So, even if what Gale did hadn’t happened, the two probably would’ve drifted apart without having a common enemy and starvation keeping them together.

Gale’s Actions at the End of the War

One thing I will never forgive, nor can Katniss, is that he was responsible for the creation of the weapons that killed her little sister, Prim, along with the Capitol children.

What were those weapons?

Supply packages like the ones used in the Hunger Games Arenas that normally contained food, medicine, or supplies during the games. Gale rigged them with explosives. Something that Katniss in part saw him create while in District 13.

While she didn’t originally think the rebels were responsible, she does realize later that the plan was something developed by Gale after talking with President Snow. And even if it was by President Coin’s orders, Coin only got that plan and weapons because of Gale. And we know he’s not afraid to kill innocent people as he was willing to do that in District 2.

Plus, he didn’t visit her in the hospitals afterwards, so I think that speaks well enough to his guilt.

Things I Wish Were in the Books

One thing I don’t think got enough coverage was the discourse between the Capitol and the districts. Mainly, as Katniss didn’t witness the majority of those things. It was one of my favorite things from the movies as we got to see more of those reactions, including when District 11 rebelled against the peacekeepers. I get that with the POV we had, that wasn’t something possible, but it would’ve been great to see. Especially since Katniss was turned into the face of the rebellion, and until the final book, she really had no idea what was going on outside of her family unit.

Yes, Snow tells her that she ignited a possible uprising in the districts and that she has to convince everyone that she is madly in love and it was nothing serious. But other than that, Katniss doesn’t know anything. The Peacekeepers keep her away from the action even when individuals are being killed following their speeches.

We didn’t see any of the things regarding the Gamemakers. We knew that the Gamemaker from the 74th Hunger Games was replaced, but we didn’t see how. It would’ve been nice to see how President Snow dealt with them as we did in the movies. Seriously, normally I’m demanding more of the books to be included in the movies, and in this instance, I find myself wanting things that were shown in the movie to be in the books.

Sure, those things were implied, but I still think some of those scenes would’ve given more depth to the world of Panem.

Things I Wish Were in the Movies

Speaking of the movies, while I think Hunger Games was one of the best book to movie adaptations, there were still things I wished were covered more in the movies. The main two were:

The mutts in the 74th Hunger Games. While they were shown, they weren’t accurate. In the movies they were wolf-like creatures that did not resemble the tributes, but in the books they each were a physical representation of the tributes. To a point where I wouldn’t be surprised that they were the tributes transformed into the grotesque creatures. As Katniss describes them:

I realize what else unsettled me about the mutts. The green eyes glowering at me are unlike any dog or wolf, any canine I’ve ever seen. They are unmistakably human. And that revelation has barely registered when I notice the collar with the number 1 inlaid with jewels and the whole horrible thing hits me. The blonde hair, the green eyes, the number . . . it’s Glimmer.

Collins, Hunger Games, Page 333

The other was how Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch train together for the 75th Hunger Games together. And both Katniss and Haymitch agree that should Peeta be chosen that Haymitch would volunteer in his place, because Peeta already lost his leg (another thing not shown in the movies) and Katniss doesn’t believe he would survive through another round in the arena. But in the event that Haymitch is chosen and Peeta volunteers, Katniss makes Haymitch agrees that Peeta will make it out of the arena alive no matter what happens. This was kind of shown in the movies, but not to the same extent.

Overall, I still think this was a fantastic series. There hasn’t been a dystopian story that I’ve come across that holds up as well as this one did. Divergent came close but the last book really killed the series for me. Where I never found any major issue with any of the books in the Hunger Games. Sure, I thought the love triangle was a little over done in marketing and within the fanbase, but that was outside of the books.

What series (published 10 or more years ago) would you like to see my revisit/discuss in the future?

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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