I have just finished a three-day reading spree of The Hunger Games. I finally found the joy of reading again… until the last fifty pages. Now, I wish the books had never crossed my path. They repel me.
I put off the reading of the series for two reasons. 1. I was overwhelmed by school and had plenty of other distractions. 2. I got to the second chapter and couldn’t deal with the thought of losing my sister. (Katniss and Prim are the same age difference as my sister and I.) My Mom had lost her only sibling less than a year before.
Anyway, I decided to read the series this summer. I was so drawn into the world. I already knew a few things from the movie and some things from just accidentally being told things. (Peeta winning in the end, Gale did something terrible, Primrose dying).
I realized that there was more similarities between Katniss/Primrose and me/my sister. The year the book was published, I was the same age as Katniss and thus Primrose was as old as my sister. Prim wanted to be a doctor and so does my sister. Even though my sister would do better in the arena, I could never let her go into the Hunger Games while I could stop it.
I prepared myself for Primrose to die. I tried to. How she died, somewhat by Gale’s hand, made me ill.
That, to me, isn’t what made me loathe the series. I knew that people had to die. It is a dystopian novel after all. No, it is something I have been raised on: Do right until the stars fall down.
In this world of “do wrong for a chance to do right” it is rare to find someone who follows a consistent set of rules, even among villains. I liked Katniss because, even though she was not a purely “good” character, she was consistent (far better than Mr. Potter, thank you very much). She wanted her family to survive. She wanted Gale and his family to survive. She wanted Peeta to survive. She hated the Games and did not want anyone to go through it.
Then, she voted yes (after Prim died) to put the Game Makers children into one “final” game. (We all know how “final” punishments go.)
I don’t know how I haven’t vomited yet. I know that she was angry. I know that she wanted to avenge Prim’s death. It just SCREAMS WRONG in her character.
I could be an idiot and reading her reaction wrong. It would not be the first time.
After that decision, I really wish someone would shoot her in the head and make her die a miserable death. She had become just as bad as President Snow and all the other Game Makers.
I refuse to be that person. I refuse to be Katniss Everdeen. God help me, let me be a Samwise Gamgee, not clever, but loyal and good. I want to be Neville Longbottom who stands up for good and against the bad, even if his friends are doing those bad things. I want to be the person who will stand against. If being “the hero” means I do despicable things (telling children to die for the sins of their fathers, for example) I do not want to be “the hero”. I want to be a “minor” character who always fights for good. Maybe Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight was right. “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Katniss lived to long. She became the villain.
SEVERAL HOURS OF MINIMAL SLEEP AND LOTS OF RESEARCH AND A RE-READING OF THE SECTION IN QUESTION LATER
I read a review on Amazon and it gave the theory that Katniss used the vote to gain Coin’s trust. I can deal with that. However, I have also found out from TVTropes YMMV section of the series that I am not the only one to think this about Katniss and that this has not been addressed well enough.
There are four possibilities. 1. Katniss is a monster. 2. Katniss was trying to gain President Coin’s trust because Katniss knew that Coin would kill her immediately if she did not agree and Haymitch knew to follow along. 3. This is a litmus test by the author (glass half-full/half-empty) to see how cynical (Katniss = villian) or optimistic (Katniss = clever) the reader is. 4. (The most likely option.) Suzanne Collins is a bad writer who just wants to take our money and does not care about the moral implications of the rushed job that happened during parts of Catching Fire and much of Mockingjay. She is not the great writer everyone makes her out to be, just one that knows how to make money.
If anything but the second, I cannot recommend this book to anyone.
And just so you know, I do agree with one thing: We are Panem and we are citizens of the Capitol watching other people’s children die for our entertainment while we feast and they starve.
Welcome to the Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favor, citizens of the Capitol.
Until Our Next Meeting,
The Lost Writer of Rohan
P. S. The ending was rushed. That is my final complaint. It was good it was short though because I would have thrown up if I had to continue caring for these characters. In all honesty, she would need another book to cover all that she covered in the last ten pages or so.