Jason Reads The Hunger Games

I'm reading The Hunger Games Trilogy for the first time. Laugh at my naivety.
~ Sunday, January 29 ~
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Catching Fire: Chapter 16

Haymitch grips my wrist as if anticipating my next move, but I am as speechless as the Capitol’s torturers have rendered Darius.

Of course Haymitch knows who this is, too! Of course Haymitch is equally affected by Darius becoming an Avox. I wonder what he’s thinking at this moment. Of course, after many years of returning to the Capitol for Games-related stuff, he might be used to seeing people he knows as Avoxes.

But the only time I really feel present is when I purposely knock a dish of peas to the floor and, before anyone can stop me, crouch down to clean them up. Darius is right by me when I send the dish over, and we two are briefly side by side, obscured from view, as we scoop up the peas. For just one moment our hands meet. I can feel his skin, rough under the buttery sauce from the dish. In the tight, desperate clench of our fingers are all the words we will never be able to say.

Haymitch gives me a scowl, then relents. “All right, never mind. Today, in training, you’ve got two jobs. One, stay in love.”

“Obviously,” I say.

“And two, make some friends,” says Haymitch.

Oh man, this ought to be good. Peeta’s a natural, but Katniss, making friends? Recruiting allies? Either way, I’m excited to see who they come up with. I like teams!

Make your own pack if you’d rather. Choose who you like. I’d suggest Chaff and Seeder. Although Finnick’s not to be ignored,” says Haymitch. “Find someone to team up with who might be of some use to you. Remember, you’re not in a ring full of trembling children anymore. These people are all experienced killers, no matter what shape they appear to be in.”

Am I the only one who rolled his eyes when Haymitch suggested, oh, I don’t know, just two random people off the top of my head, how about Chaff and Seeder, the two with whom I’ve become the closest of friends? I mean maybe they would be their best bet, but for some reason I yawned a bit when Haymitch said it.

Enobaria looks to be about thirty and all I can remember about her is that, in hand-to-hand combat, she killed one tribute by ripping open his throat with her teeth. She became so famous for this act that, after she was a victor, she had her teeth cosmetically altered so each one ends in a sharp point like a fang and is inlaid with gold. She has no shortage of admirers in the Capitol.

I WANNA SEE YA GRILL, YA, YA, YA GRILL.

I’d be content to spend the morning alone with him, but after about an hour and a half, someone puts his arms around me from behind, his fingers easily finishing the complicated knot I’ve been sweating over. Of course it’s Finnick, who seems to have spent his childhood doing nothing but wielding tridents and manipulating ropes into fancy knots for nets, I guess. I watch for a minute while he picks up a length of rope, makes a noose, and then pretends to hang himself for my amusement.

The woman, Wiress, is probably around my mother’s age and speaks in a quiet, intelligent voice. But right away I notice she has a habit of dropping off her words in mid-sentence, as if she’s forgotten you’re there. Beetee, the man, is older and somewhat fidgety. He wears glasses but spends a lot of time looking under them. They’re a little strange, but I’m pretty sure neither of them is going to try to make me uncomfortable by stripping naked. And they’re from District 3. Maybe they can even confirm my suspicions of an uprising there.

Hmmm, suddenly these people seem like potential allies. I think either way, they’re going to have to team up with at least one old person. Might as well be them.

I glance around the Training Center. Peeta is at the center of a ribald circle of knife throwers. The morphlings from District 6 are in the camouflage station, painting each other’s faces with bright pink swirls. The male tribute from District 5 is vomiting wine on the sword-fighting floor. Finnick and the old woman from his district are using the archery station. Johanna Mason is naked again and oiling her skin down for a wrestling lesson. I decide to stay put.

Nice, classic, high school cafeteria-style walkthrough of the tributes in the training center. But seriously what is that girl’s PROBLEM?

“The strength of the thread,” Beetee finishes explaining. “Automatically. It rules out human error.” Then he talks about his recent success creating a musical chip that’s tiny enough to be concealed in a flake of glitter but can hold hours of songs. I remember Octavia talking about this during the wedding shoot, and I see a possible chance to allude to the uprising.

“Oh, yeah. My prep team was all upset a few months ago, I think, because they couldn’t get hold of that,” I say casually. “I guess a lot of orders from District Three were getting backed up.”

Beetee examines me under his glasses. “Yes. Did you have any similar backups in coal production, this year?” he asks.

“No. Well, we lost a couple of weeks when they brought in a new Head Peacekeeper and his crew, but nothing major,” I say. “To production, I mean. Two weeks sitting around your house doing nothing just means two weeks of being hungry for most people.”

I think they understand what I’m trying to say. That we’ve had no uprising.

“Oh. That’s a shame,” says Wiress in a slightly disappointed voice. “I found your district very …” She trails off, distracted by something in her head.

“Interesting,” fills in Beetee. “We both did.”

I feel bad, knowing that their district must have suffered much worse than ours. I feel I have to defend my people. “Well, there aren’t very many of us in Twelve,” I say. “Not that you’d know it nowadays by the size of the Peacekeeping force. But I guess we’re interesting enough.”

See, everyone expects District 12 to be like the leaders of the uprising, and they haven’t been able to do anything! But during these games, or after, something will happen. Something has to happen. Gale will organize a rebellion, definitely. Maybe during the games while everyone’s distracted? I don’t know but the suspense is killing me!

I take a tray and start making my way around the food-laden carts that ring the room. Peeta catches up with me at the stew. “How’s it going?”

“Good. Fine. I like the District Three victors,” I say. “Wiress and Beetee.”

“Really?” he asks. “They’re something of a joke to the others.”

“Why does that not surprise me?” I say. I think of how Peeta was always surrounded at school by a crowd of friends. It’s amazing, really, that he ever took any notice of me except to think I was odd.

“Johanna’s nicknamed them Nuts and Volts,” he says. “I think she’s Nuts and he’s Volts.”

“And so I’m stupid for thinking they might be useful. Because of something Johanna Mason said while she was oiling up her breasts for wrestling,” I retort.

“Actually I think the nickname’s been around for years. And I didn’t mean that as an insult. I’m just sharing information,” he says.

“Well, Wiress and Beetee are smart. They invent things. They could tell by sight that a force field had been put up between us and the Gamemakers. And if we have to have allies, I want them.”

I feel like it’d be just like Katniss to make a team of outcasts. Like, the fact that everyone seems to dislike Wiress and Beetee would probably make her want them even more. But I guess it’s still too early to tell who they’re going to team up with.

Cashmere and Gloss, the sister and brother from District 1, invite me over and we make hammocks for a while. They’re polite but cool, and I spend the whole time thinking about how I killed both the tributes from their district, Glimmer and Marvel, last year, and that they probably knew them and might even have been their mentors.

LOL CASHMERE AND GLOSS, I CAN’T.

Also, I guess they’re not too upset about Glimmer and Marvel (lol) if they invited Katniss over to their station. Unless it’s to draw her in and lull her into a false sense of security so they can avenge Glimmer and Marvel (lol) by killing her in the arena? I don’t know why do I even bother trying to predict this shit?

After a while I tune out the trainer and simply try to copy whatever Mags does. When I make a pretty good hook out of a bent nail and fasten it to some strands of my hair, she gives me a toothless smile and an unintelligible comment I think might be praise. Suddenly I remember how she volunteered to replace the young, hysterical woman in her district. It couldn’t be because she thought she had any chance of winning. She did it to save the girl, just like I volunteered last year to save Prim. And I decide I want her on my team.

Great. Now I have to go back and tell Haymitch I want an eighty-year-old and Nuts and Volts for my allies. He’ll love that.

Dream team right here. I still want to learn more about Mags though.

I forget the rest of the gym and the victors and how miserable I am and lose myself in the shooting. When I manage to take down five birds in one round, I realize it’s so quiet I can hear each one hit the floor. I turn and see the majority of the victors have stopped to watch me. Their faces show everything from envy to hatred to admiration.

That’s how you do it, bitch.

And the more I come to know these people, the worse it is. Because, on the whole, I don’t hate them. And some I like. And a lot of them are so damaged that my natural instinct would be to protect them. But all of them must die if I’m to save Peeta.

And that is what the Hunger Games are all about. I kind of want to see all the tributes just have a big sit-in when the Games begin, like an Occupy The Hunger Games. When the gong sounds or whatever, instead of running around killing each other, they just walk up to the Cornucopia and sit in a circle, sharing the food and burning all the weapons in the middle while singing “Kumbaya.”

There’s a lot of kidding about it at lunch. What we might do. Sing, dance, strip, tell jokes. Mags, who I can understand a little better now, decides she’s just going to take a nap.

Hahaha, old people.

We sit in silence awhile and then I blurt out the thing that’s on both our minds. “How are we going to kill these people, Peeta?”

That is what sucks about alliances. No matter how many people you have, how good they are, how much you like each other, at some point you’re going to have to kill each other. It’s its own form of turture that the Gamemakers didn’t even have to create. The tributes do it to themselves. Not that they have much of a choice.

When I go in, I smell the sharp odor of cleaner and notice that one of the mats has been dragged to the center of the room. The mood is very different from last year’s, when the Gamemakers were half drunk and distractedly picking at tidbits from the banquet table. They whisper among themselves, looking somewhat annoyed. What did Peeta do? Something to upset them?

Peeta need I remind you that we’re all here to try to keep YOU alive? So don’t fuck it up!

Suddenly I know just what I’m going to do. Something that will blow anything Peeta did right out of the water. I go over to the knot-tying station and get a length of rope. I start to manipulate it, but it’s hard because I’ve never made this actual knot myself. I’ve only watched Finnick’s clever fingers, and they moved so fast. After about ten minutes, I’ve come up with a respectable noose. I drag one of the target dummies out into the middle of the room and, using some chinning bars, hang it so it dangles by the neck. Tying its hands behind its back would be a nice touch, but I think I might be running out of time. I hurry over to the camouflage station, where some of the other tributes, undoubtedly the morphlings, have made a colossal mess. But I find a partial container of bloodred berry juice that will serve my needs. The flesh-colored fabric of the dummy’s skin makes a good, absorbent canvas. I carefully finger paint the words on its body, concealing them from view. Then I step away quickly to watch the reaction on the Gamemakers’ faces as they read the name on the dummy.

SENECA CRANE.

Tags: the hunger games jason reads the hunger games catching fire chapter 16 cf16 chapter book trilogy suzanne collins review analysis katniss katniss everdeen peeta peeta mellark gale finnick johanna mason wiress beetee haymitch chaff gloss seeder brutus mags darius hunger games hunger games
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~ Saturday, January 21 ~
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Catching Fire: Chapter 13

I’m cold and wet and winded, but my escape attempt has done nothing to subdue the hysteria rising up inside me. It will drown me unless it’s released. I ball up the front of my shirt, stuff it into my mouth, and begin to scream. How long this continues, I don’t know. But when I stop, my voice is almost gone.

Is it possible that this was really the Quarter Quell written down seventy-five years ago? It seems unlikely. It’s just too perfect an answer for the troubles that face the Capitol today. Getting rid of me and subduing the districts all in one neat little package.

This had to have been intentional. The way President Snow read the card, the cicumstances being what they are. It’s too perfect.

I hurry back into the night and head straight to Haymitch’s house. He’s sitting alone at the kitchen table, a half-emptied bottle of white liquor in one fist, his knife in the other. Drunk as a skunk.

This actually made me tear up. I just thought of Haymitch, who had not just been in the Hunger Games previously, but in the last Quarter Quell. After all that, he clearly has had a huge difficulty coping with it, and now he’s discovered that he has a 50/50 chance of having to do it all over again.

I bite my lip because once he’s said it, I’m afraid that’s what I do want. For Peeta to live, even if it means Haymitch’s death. No, I don’t. He’s dreadful, of course, but Haymitch is my family now.

I can’t entirely blame her for thinking this. The way Haymitch acts, I’m honestly surprised that he hasn’t killed himself before now.

“Peeta’s argument is that since I chose you, I now owe him. Anything he wants. And what he wants is the chance to go in again to protect you,” says Haymitch.

I knew it. In this way, Peeta’s not hard to predict. While I was wallowing around on the floor of that cellar, thinking only of myself, he was here, thinking only of me. Shame isn’t a strong enough word for what I feel.

“You could live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve him, you know,” Haymitch says.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, Katniss! What would anyone else in your position have done? Peeta is the exception. He’s an exceptional boy with a heart of gold, but you are worth it, too. You are a good person to whom bad things have happened. But that does not make you a bad person. You both deserve the best and I just want to give you a big hug but I CAN’T.

There’s something else I want from Haymitch. “Okay, I figured out what I’m asking,” I say. “If it is Peeta and me in the Games, this time we try to keep him alive.”

Something flickers across his bloodshot eyes. Pain.

God, Haymitch, every mention of you in this scene is breaking my heart.

“I’ve poured all the liquor down the drain,” says Peeta.

This seems to jolt Haymitch out of his stupor, and he paws through the box in disbelief. “You what?”

“I tossed the lot,” says Peeta.

“He’ll just buy more,” I say.

“No, he won’t,” says Peeta. “I tracked down Ripper this morning and told her I’d turn her in the second she sold to either of you. I paid her off, too, just for good measure, but I don’t think she’s eager to be back in the Peacekeepers’ custody.”

Haymitch takes a swipe with his knife but Peeta deflects it so easily it’s pathetic. Anger rises up in me. “What business is it of yours what he does?”

“It’s completely my business. However it falls out, two of us are going to be in the arena again with the other as mentor. We can’t afford any drunkards on this team. Especially not you, Katniss,” says Peeta to me.

PEETA MELLARK: HBIC SINCE SOME HUNDREDS OF YEARS IN THE FUTURE.

“The point is that two of us are coming home from the Capitol. One mentor and one victor,” says Peeta. “Effie’s sending me recordings of all the living victors. We’re going to watch their Games and learn everything we can about how they fight. We’re going to put on weight and get strong. We’re going to start acting like Careers. And one of us is going to be victor again whether you two like it or not!” He sweeps out of the room, slamming the front door.

I love Peeta in this scene. Oh wait, I love Peeta in every scene. But anyway, this kind of attitude is exactly what they need! Attitudes influence behavior. Maybe that’s why the Career Tributes always did so well. They put a positive spin on it (or as positive of a spin as you can put on something like this) and because they treated the Games as a chance at glory instead of just trying not to die, they tried harder and were more successful (not to belittle the efforts of the tributes from the other districts; as we know, the Careers don’t win all of them). It’s simple psychology at work!

“You and me. That’s who he plans on coming home,” I say.

“Well, then the joke’s on him,” says Haymitch.

But after a few days, we agree to act like Careers, because this is the best way to get Peeta ready as well.

Aaaand cue training montage!

LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS

TO DEFEAT

THE GAMES

Since I don’t plan on making it back alive a second time, the sooner Gale lets me go, the better. I do plan on saying one or two things to him after the reaping, when we’re allowed an hour for good-byes. To let Gale know how essential he’s been to me all these years. How much better my life has been for knowing him. For loving him, even if it’s only in the limited way that I can manage.

But I never get the chance.

Remember in my second review EVER in the first book where I was lamenting the short time Gale and Katniss had between them before Katniss had to leave and essentially face her death? Well that is what I’m feeling again, but ten times worse. I just really hate goodbyes.

We are immediately marched into the Justice Building to find Head Peacekeeper Thread waiting for us. “New procedure,” he says with a smile. We’re ushered out the back door, into a car, and taken to the train station. There are no cameras on the platform, no crowd to send us on our way. Haymitch and Effie appear, escorted by guards. Peacekeepers hurry us all onto the train and slam the door. The wheels begin to turn.

And I’m left staring out the window, watching District 12 disappear, with all my good-byes still hanging on my lips.

Tags: the hunger games jason reads the hunger games catching fire chapter 13 cf13 chapter book books trilogy review analysis suzanne collins katniss katniss everdeen peeta peeta mellark haymitch gale primrose gale hawthorne prim primrose everdeen hunger games hunger games tribute tributes career quarter quell
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~ Tuesday, January 17 ~
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Catching Fire: Chapter 11

What is going on? Has Thread turned on the fence as an additional security precaution? Or does he somehow know I’ve escaped his net today? Is he determined to strand me outside District 12 until he can apprehend and arrest me? Drag me to the square to be locked in the stockade or whipped or hanged?

My guess is the latter. Nothing that happens to this girl is by coincidence.

But today my family would never imagine I’d be in the woods. I’ve even taken steps to mislead them.

You know who else didn’t tell anyone where he was going? Aron Ralston. And look what happened to him.

I begin to skirt along the tree line, searching for a tree with a branch high and long enough to fit my needs. After about a mile, I come upon an old maple that might do. The trunk is too wide and icy to shinny up, though, and there are no low branches. I climb a neighboring tree and leap precariously into the maple, almost losing my hold on the slick bark. But I manage to get a grip and slowly inch my way out on a limb that hangs above the barbed wire.

JUST LIKE RUE OMG.

There’s the sensation of falling, then I hit the ground with a jolt that goes right up my spine. A second later, my rear end slams the ground. I lie in the snow, trying to assess the damage. Without standing, I can tell by the pain in my left heel and my tailbone that I’m injured. The only question is how badly. I’m hoping for bruises, but when I force myself onto my feet, I suspect I’ve broken something as well. I can walk, though, so I get moving, trying to hide my limp as best I can.

Oh, great, more injuries, awesome, as if I didn’t already have enough to worry about!

Two Peacekeepers, a man and a woman, are standing in the doorway to our kitchen. The woman remains impassive, but I catch the flicker of surprise on the man’s face. I am unanticipated. They know I was in the woods and should be trapped there now.

Yeah, that comfirms it. The fence was turned on to keep her out. Well, it didn’t work this time, Asskeepers! You have to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on Katniss!

“From Head Peacekeeper Thread,” says the woman. “He wanted you to know that the fence surrounding District Twelve will now have electricity twenty-four hours a day.”

“Didn’t it already?” I ask, a little too innocently.

Having stripped off my sock, my mother’s fingers probe the bones in my left heel and I wince. “There might be a break,” she says. She checks the other foot. “This one seems all right.” She judges my tailbone to be badly bruised.

GOD DAMN IT.

I’m further reassured when Peeta casually tells me the power is off in sections of the fence because crews are out securing the base of the chain link to the ground. Thread must believe I somehow got under the thing, even with that deadly current running through it. It’s a break for the district, having the Peacekeepers busy doing something besides abusing people.

Okay, two things/kind of predictions: what if, while the electricity is off in certain parts of the fence, the people of District 12 like, charged at the Peacekeepers and took down that part of the fence and escaped? To District 13 or something? And I guess to back it up, if the Peacekeepers are busy with the fence, what if the people of District 12 are organizing something? Are there any Peacekeepers left monitering the rest of the place?

One afternoon Peeta stops shading a blossom and looks up so suddenly that I start, as though I were caught spying on him, which in a strange way maybe I was. But he only says, “You know, I think this is the first time we’ve ever done anything normal together.”

“Yeah,” I agree. Our whole relationship has been tainted by the Games. Normal was never a part of it. “Nice for a change.”

Can I just point out how cute the two of them are in this chapter? Katniss wanting him to stay with her while she sleeps and then watching him draw the plants and just them spending time together that isn’t Hunger Games related?

My first sighting is in a news story referencing the Dark Days. I see the smoldering remains of the Justice Building in District 13 and just catch the black-and-white underside of a mockingjay’s wing as it flies across the upper right-hand corner. That doesn’t prove anything, really. It’s just an old shot that goes with an old tale.

YES IT DOES, KATNISS, I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU TO BE WRONG.

However, several days later, something else grabs my attention. The main newscaster is reading a piece about a shortage of graphite affecting the manufacturing of items in District 3. They cut to what is supposed to be live footage of a female reporter, encased in a protective suit, standing in front of the ruins of the Justice Building in 13. Through her mask, she reports that unfortunately a study has just today determined that the mines of District 13 are still too toxic to approach. End of story. But just before they cut back to the main newscaster, I see the unmistakable flash of that same mockingjays wing.

The reporter has simply been incorporated into the old footage. She’s not in District 13 at all. Which begs the question, What is?

YOU SEE? SOMETHING FISHY IS GOING ON IN DISTRICT 13 AND WE’RE GOING TO FIND OUT WHAT.

Tags: the hunger games jason reads the hunger games catching fire chapter 11 cf11 analysis review book books trilogy suzanne collins katniss katniss everdeen peeta peeta mellark haymitch thread prim primrose primrose everdeen thread mockingjay dostrict 12 district 13 the capitol hunger games hunger games rue gale
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~ Monday, January 16 ~
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Catching Fire: Chapter 10

Part II: The Quell

Okay wait, not I’m wondering, are we going to see another Hunger Games? Like, the Quarter Quell? I would think that we will.

“What is it? What does that mean?” I ask harshly, still prepared to kill.

“It means we’re on your side,” says a tremulous voice behind me.

OH HOLLER, they’re on her side! They’re good guys!

“My name’s Twill,” says the woman. She’s older. Maybe thirty-five or so. “And this is Bonnie. We’ve run away from District Eight.”

District 8! Then they must know about the uprising!

Yeah obviously. What’s more, they’re escapees! Fugitives! I just can’t help thinking that they’ll eventually go the same way as the Avox girl.

“We’re headed for District Thirteen,” Twill replies.

“Thirteen?” I say. “There’s no Thirteen. It got blown off the map.”

“Seventy-five years ago,” says Twill.

WAIT ARE THEY GOING TO HOLD THE QUARTER QUELL IN DISTRICT THIRTEEN? I don’t know what they’d do with it but I feel like it’d be really cool.

“Out of food?” I ask.

Bonnie nods. “We took what we could, but food’s been so scarce. That’s been gone for a while.” The quaver in her voice melts my remaining defenses. She is just a malnourished, injured girl fleeing the Capitol.

“Well, then this is your lucky day,” I say, dropping my game bag on the floor.

You see, Katniss, you’re a decent person!

“Oh,” says Bonnie. “Oh, is this all for me?”

Something inside me twists as I remember another voice. Rue. In the arena. When I gave her the leg of groosling. “Oh, I’ve never had a whole leg to myself before.” The disbelief of the chronically hungry.

It took months for Bonnie, who worked in the chilly inspection dock, to secure the two uniforms, a boot here, a pair of pants there. They were intended for Twill and her husband because it was understood that, once the uprising began, it would be crucial to get word of it out beyond District 8 if it were to spread and be successful.

Good thinking, District 8! This was essential, since the Capitol keeps all the districts divided and keeps information from crossing over about different districts. Katniss and Gale (I believe) are still the only ones in District 12 that know about the uprising in District 8, and all because Katniss accidentally saw it on television. If she hadn’t met Bonnie and Twill, she’d be entirely oblivious.

Then one night, as the whole district was on the brink of starvation, came the order to return to business as usual.

That meant school for Twill and Bonnie. A street made impassable by the bombs caused them to be late for their factory shift, so they were still a hundred yards away when it exploded, killing everyone inside - including Twill’s husband and Bonnie’s entire family.

It’s like the people who were late to work on 9/11! Well, it’s a good thing they survived. And the Capitol seems to think they’re dead, too, so no one’s probably searching for them.

“It’s nothing but rubble,” I say. “We’ve all seen the footage.”

“That’s just it. They’ve been using the same footage for as long as anyone in District Eight can remember,” says Twill.

“Really?” I try to think back, to call up the images of 13 I’ve seen on television.

“You know how they always show the Justice Building?” Twill continues. I nod. I’ve seen it a thousand times. “If you look very carefully, you’ll see it. Up in the far right-hand corner.”

“See what?” I ask.

Twill holds out her cracker with the bird again. “A mockingjay. Just a glimpse of it as it flies by. The same one every time.”

“Back home, we think they keep reusing the old footage because the Capitol can’t show what’s really there now,” says Bonnie.

JESUSCHRISTSUIBWECDCWHOLYSHITFUCKING the Capitol is covering something up! There’s something going on in District 13 that the Capitol doesn’t want anyone knowing about! WTF IS ITTT?!

“We think the people moved underground when everything on the surface was destroyed. We think they’ve managed to survive. And we think the Capitol leaves them alone because, before the Dark Days, District Thirteen’s principal industry was nuclear development.”

So they might have weapons? I guess now I’m wondering whether the Capitol is covering it up because they plan to use the weapons or because they just don’t want the other districts to try to use them.

“We don’t know,” Bonnie whispers. “Right now, we’re just holding on to the hope that they exist.”

That snaps me to my senses. These are delusions. District 13 doesn’t exist because the Capitol would never let it exist.

No, Katniss, I believe them, it must be true! It all makes sense! Isn’t the Capitol all about facades? It’d be just like them to hide the true District 13 from the other districts’ eyes. And they’d let it exist if it benefitted them!

In the fading light, the chain links look as innocuous as usual. But what makes me jerk back my hand is the sound, like the buzz of a tree full of tracker jacker nests, indicating the fence is alive with electricity.

Oh, for God’s sake, this girl can’t catch a fucking break!

Tags: the hunger games jason reads the hunger games catching fire chapter 10 cf10 chapter review analysis book books trilogy suzanne collins hunger games hunger games katniss katniss everdeen twill bonnie district 12 district 8 district 13 the capitol capitol gale gale hawthorne peeta peeta mellark rue quell
~ Sunday, January 15 ~
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Catching Fire: Chapter 9

Before I go down to face this new life, though, I take some time making myself acknowledge what it will mean. Less than a day ago, I was prepared to head into the wilderness with my loved ones in midwinter, with the very real possibility of the Capitol pursuing us. A precarious venture at best. But now I am committing to something even more risky.

a.k.a. SHIT’S ABOUT TO GET REAL.

It’s weird though. I feel like this whole chapter is like the calm before the storm. We spend about two pages going through Katniss’s head as she tries to sort out her thoughts and feelings. She’s weighing her options now and and really thinking about the outcome of both actions. It shows her development as a character to see her CAREFULLY make these decisions that not only decide her own fate, but the fate of those close to her, and even possibly the fate of Panem.

I can’t let the Capitol hurt Prim.

And then it hits me. They already have. They have killed her father in those wretched mines. They have sat by as she almost starved to death. They have chosen her as a tribute, then made her watch her sister fight to the death in the Games. She has been hurt far worse than I had at the age of twelve. And even that pales in comparison with Rue’s life.

And THAT is why the Capitol needs to go down!

Gale is right. If people have the courage, this could be an opportunity. He’s also right that, since I have set it in motion, I could do so much. Although I have no idea what exactly that should be. But deciding not to run away is a crucial first step.

I’m really, really glad that she’s not running away. I mean, I guess I would have been fine with either one. The dyanamic of characters that she would have brought with her would have been really, really fun to read. But I think each character will also be able to grow from the alternative, by facing the Capitol themselves. And I’m excited to see it.

Words. I think of words and I think of Peeta. How people embrace everything he says. He could move a crowd to action, I bet, if he chose to. Would find the things to say. But I’m sure the idea has never crossed his mind.

I like that she is considering Peeta to join her in her plan for the uprising. I think he’ll end up being an invaluable asset to her team, especially since he was also in the Hunger Games.

“Hey. I just wanted to make sure you got home,” I say.

“Katniss, I live three houses away from you,” he says.

lolpeetayusosassy

“I want to start an uprising,” I say.

Am I the only one who thinks this sounds so lame when it’s finally been verbalized?

“My plan is to make sure everything is just perfect for your wedding,” says Haymitch. “I called and rescheduled the photo shoot without giving too many details.”

A wedding?! There’s still going to be a wedding? What’s the point? It’ll sure make it easier for them to round up Katniss and her “gang” into the Capitol, but they could have done that anyway. Are they still worried about giving a good show? Do the regular citizens of the Capitol know about all the unrest in the other Districts? Do they know about the scene in District 11 during the Victory tour, or the riots in District 8? How would they react if they did?

“Haymitch.” I can hear the pleading creeping into my voice.

“Katniss.” He mimics my tone. “It won’t work.”

What won’t work? The uprising? Why not? I WAS COUNTING ON YOU FOR A PLAN, HAYMITCH.

Nothing much will happen during the blizzard. That’s what Peeta and I had agreed. But we couldn’t have been more wrong. The square has been transformed. A huge banner with the seal of Panem hangs off the roof of the Justice Building. Peacekeepers, in pristine white uniforms, march on the cleanly swept cobblestones. Along the rooftops, more of them occupy nests of machine guns. Most unnerving is a line of new constructions - an official whipping post, several stockades, and a gallows - set up in the center of the square.

Oh, they’re asking for it now.

Some streets away from the square, I see a blaze flare up. None of us has to say it. That can only be the Hob going up in smoke. I think of Greasy Sae, Ripper, all my friends who make their living there.

Shitttt all these people with nowhere to trade! How are people going to get supplies, food? How’s Haymitch going to get alcohol? It’s a good thing Katniss stocked up, but how long will it last? Are we going to see an angry Haymitch in withdrawal?

An uprising, I think. What an idiot I am. There’s an inherent flaw in the plan that both Gale and I were too blind to see. An uprising requires breaking the law, thwarting authority. We’ve done that our whole lives, or our families have. Poaching, trading on the black market, mocking the Capitol in the woods. But for most people in District 12, a trip to buy something at the Hob would be too risky. And I expect them to assemble in the square with bricks and torches? Even the sight of Peeta and me is enough to make people pull their children away from the windows and draw the curtains tightly.

What they need is hope! You can give it to them!

As the days pass, things go from bad to worse. The mines stay shut for two weeks, and by that time half of District 12 is starving. The number of kids signing up for tesserae soars, but they often don’t receive their grain. Food shortages begin, and even those with money come away from stores empty-handed. When the mines reopen, wages are cut, hours extended, miners sent into blatantly dangerous work sites. The eagerly awaited food promised for Parcel Day arrives spoiled and defiled by rodents. The installations in the square see plenty of action as people are dragged in and punished for offenses so long overlooked we’ve forgotten they are illegal.

These people can only bend so far before they break.

I feel like a pariah when I walk through the streets. Everyone avoids me in public now.

That’s so unfair! Katniss didn’t ask for any of this! She didn’t even want a rebellion when she had those berries! She just wanted to stay alive. And now she comes back home, and all she wants is to live normally again, try to forget the Games ever happened. But things have changed. The Capitol won’t let her forget. They want her dead, they think she’s goin to rise against them, and instead of her “people” embracing her, they almost turn their backs on her. They’re afraid that the cameras will follow them as well, that their families will be tortured or killed by the Peacekeepers. And it’s all Katniss’s fault, yet at the same time it isn’t.

I toss and turn in bed until I can’t stand it anymore. I have to get out of here. At least for a few hours.

Don’t do it, Katniss! Something bad is going to happen, I can feel it!

I am literally a few yards from the door of the cement house when I pull up short. And that’s not because of the smoke or the prints or the smell. That’s because of the unmistakable click of a weapon behind me.

My fingers have all but decided to release the arrow when I see the object in the glove. It’s a small white circle of flat bread. More of a cracker, really. Gray and soggy around the edges. But an image is clearly stamped in the center of it.

It’s my mockingjay.

WHAT! So she’s good? What does the mockingjay mean in this particular case? Has she met people who will help her in her cause?

Tags: the hunger games jason reads the hunger games catching fire chapter 9 cf9 chapter review analysis book books trilogy katniss katniss everdeen peeta peeta mellark haymitch gale gale hawthorne prim primrose primrose everdeen hazelle hunger games hunger games game district 12 capitol the capitol uprising
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~ Saturday, January 14 ~
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Catching Fire: Chapter 8

“No!” I cry, and spring forward. It’s too late to stop the arm from descending, and I instinctively know I won’t have the power to block it. Instead I throw myself directly between the whip and Gale. I’ve flung out my arms to protect as much of his broken body as possible, so there’s nothing to deflect the lash. I take the full force of it across the left side of my face.

The pain is blinding and instantaneous. Jagged flashes of light cross my vision and I fall to my knees. One hand cups my cheek while the other keeps me from tipping over. I can already feel the welt rising up, the swelling closing my eye. The stones beneath me are wet with Gale’s blood, the air heavy with its scent. “Stop it! You’ll kill him!” I shriek.

OH SHIT KATNISS JUST TOOK A WHIP IN THE FACE TO SAVE GALE. That’s got to fucking kill. I never really know how bad whipping was until I saw another show and blood would splatter with every hit. And Gale got forty lashes! Enough to make him pass out from the pain.

“Hold it!” a voice barks. Haymitch appears and trips over a Peacekeeper lying on the ground. It’s Darius. A huge purple lump pushes through the red hair on his forehead. He’s knocked out but still breathing. What happened? Did he try to come to Gale’s aid before I got here?

Haymitch ignores him and pulls me to my feet roughly. “Oh, excellent.” His hand locks under my chin, lifting it. “She’s got a photo shoot next week modeling wedding dresses. What am I supposed to tell her stylist?”

Attaboy, Haymitch! And what’s happened to Darius? Are the District 12 Peacekeepers being replaced by harsher ones, possibly from the Capitol? My only consolation in this is that this one guy seems to be the only one who is enjoying Gale’s punishment.

One, a woman named Purnia who eats regularly at Greasy Sae’s, steps forward stiffly. “I believe, for a first offense, the required number of lashes has been dispensed, sir. Unless your sentence is death, which we would carry out by firing squad.”

“Is that the standard protocol here?” asks the Head Peacekeeper.

Well, I don’t know, is it? Yeesh, you could tell him anything and pass it off as law, apparently.

Gale must’ve gone to Cray’s house, as he’s done a hundred times, knowing Cray always pays well for a wild turkey. Instead he found the new Head Peacekeeper, a man they heard someone call Romulus Thread. No one knows what happened to Cray. He was buying white liquor in the Hob just this morning, apparently still in command of the district, but now he’s nowhere to be found.

Oh this does not sound good at all. It’s already begun! The Capitol is starting to really come down hard on District 12! God knows where Cray is, if he’s even still alive.

I’m filled with awe, as I always am, as I watch her transform from a woman who calls me to kill a spider to a woman immune to fear. When a sick or dying person is brought to her … this is the only time I think my mother knows who she is.

I was really happy to see Katniss’s relationship with her mom begin to mend, and it makes me even more happy and proud to see her mom so determined. I really like her character right now!

As the blood clears, I can see where every stroke of the lash landed and feel it resonate in the single cut on my face. I multiply my own pain once, twice, forty times and can only hope that Gale remains unconscious. Of course, that’s too much to ask for. As the final bandages are being placed, a moan escapes his lips.

I’m shuddering just reading this. It reminds me of an episode of Law and Order: SVU where a girl had gasoline poured all over her and then got lit on fire. That part wasn’t shown, but we saw her in the emergency room covered in really bad burns, and the doctor mentioned that the pain medication would wear off soon. A few minutes later, the scene started to fade out and all you could hear was the girl’s terrible, blood-curdling screams. It was truly horrifying and I still feel sick just thinking about it. Anyway, that’s what this reminded me of.

“Take her out,” says my mother. Haymitch and Peeta literally carry me from the room while I shout obscenities at her. They pin me down on a bed in one of the extra bedrooms until I stop fighting.

This moment This moment resonated with me, I think partly because it showed again the fierce determination of Katniss’s mother to help Gale get better, even if it means removing Katniss, who loves Gale (in whatever sense you will), from the scene.

We all go, though, following her down the hallway to the insistent ring of the bell. When she opens it, there’s not a squad of Peacekeepers but a single, snow-caked figure. Madge. She holds out a small, damp cardboard box to me.

“Use these for your friend,” she says. I take off the lid of the box, revealing half a dozen vials of clear liquid. “They’re my mother’s. She said I could take them. Use them, please.” She runs back into the storm before we can stop her.

Madge, you are a life-saver! I like her presence in this book so far and I hope it stays that way.

“I didn’t even know Madge knew Gale,” says Peeta.

“We used to sell her strawberries,” I say almost angrily. What am I angry about, though? Not that she has brought the medicine, surely.

“She must have quite a taste for them,” says Haymitch.

That’s what nettles me. It’s the implication that there’s something going on between Gale and Madge. And I don’t like it.

“She’s my friend” is all I say.

Oooooh, girl, someone’s jealous! I wonder if there is something between Game and Madge. Or if there was in the past. I feel like Madge would have given the medicine to any of Katniss’s friends if they needed it. I kind of feel like Madge wants this uprising to happen just as much as Gale does, and she wants to keep the people who can orchestrate it alive and healthy.

For the first time, I reverse our positions in my head. I imagine watching Gale volunteering to save Rory in the reaping, having him torn from my life, becoming some strange girl’s lover to stay alive, and then coming home with her. Living next to her. Promising to marry her.

The hatred I feel for him, for the phantom girl, for everything, is so real and immediate that it chokes me. Gale is mine. I am his. Anything else is unthinkable. Why did it take him being whipped within an inch of his life to see it?

Because I’m selfish. I’m a coward. I’m the kind of girl who, when she might actually be of use, would run to stay alive and leave those who couldn’t follow to suffer and die. This is the girl Gale met in the woods today.

I’ve decided right now that I’m going to ship whatever I feel like during this book. I liked Katniss/Peeta in the first book, but now that I’m seeing more of Gale, and there still seems to be something between her and Peeta, I’m not so sure. I’m just going to go with the flow, because I guess either one would be okay with me.

That being said, it’s really nice to see Katniss recognize deep feelings for Gale. For anyone. And I’m glad that she is starting to realize how bad the escape plan was.

Life in District 12 isn’t really so different from life in the arena. At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead. The hard thing is finding the courage to do it. Well, it’s not hard for Gale. He was born a rebel. I’m the one making an escape plan.

My choices are simple. I can die like quarry in the woods or I can die here beside Gale. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay right here and cause all kinds of trouble.” “Me, too,” Gale says. He just manages a smile before the drugs pull him back under.

OFY BAMFNISS, LET’S FSU. (I’ve nicknamed Katniss “BAMFniss”, btw.)

Tags: the hunger games jason reads the hunger games catching fire chapter 8 cf8 hunger games hunger games katniss katniss everdeen peeta peeta mellark gale gale hawthorne haymitch prim primrose primrose everdeen madge madge undersee review analysis chapter book trilogy suzanne collins district 12 cray read jason
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~ Thursday, January 12 ~
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Catching Fire: Chapter 7

I have continued on through the cold, misty woods, breaking a path that will be unfamiliar to Gale but is simple for my feet to find. It leads to the lake. I no longer trust that our regular rendezvous spot offers privacy, and I’ll need that and more to spill my guts to Gale today. But will he even come? If he doesn’t, I’ll have no choice but to risk going to his house in the dead of night. There are things he has to know… things I need him to help me figure out…

I wonder how he’ll react to all this? Didn’t he want to fight back? Wasn’t he always rebellious toward the Capitol? It’d be a fine excuse to help give District 12 its very own uprising.

I look in his eyes. His temper can’t quite mask the hurt, the sense of betrayal he feels at my engagement to Peeta. This will be my last chance, this meeting today, to not lose Gale forever. I could take hours trying to explain, and even then have him refuse me.

Well, I mean, he really can’t blame her. She was only doing it to stay alive. I would think Gale would congratulate her on her resourcefulness! Though his jealousy for her and Peeta probably eclipses everything else.

He steps in and I feel myself lifted off the ground. The room spins, and I have to lock my arms around Gale’s neck to brace myself. He’s laughing, happy.

“Hey!” I protest, but I’m laughing, too.

Gale sets me down but doesn’t release his hold on me. “Okay, let’s run away,” he says.

Awww, I just think it’s kind of cute how excited he is about running away with her. Of course, it’s not like they’re eloping. It’s to keep them alive. Not romantic.

His voice drops to a whisper. “I love you.”

“Gale, I can’t think about anyone that way now. All I can think about, every day, every waking minute since they drew Prim’s name at the reaping, is how afraid I am. And there doesn’t seem to be room for anything else. If we could get somewhere safe, maybe I could be different. I don’t know.”

Can’t he see that? Maybe because he wasn’t in the Games, or maybe he’s just so driven by jealousy that he wants to get his Katniss back. I don’t know. It’s sad because it’s not even entirely Katniss not loving him back. It’s also Katniss not really loving anyone. Which should offer some comfort to him. I just feel bad that his only friend has changed so much from the Games and he’s developed feelings for her that might never be returned. And this whole star-crossed lovers engagement thing isn’t helping, either.

“I have to, Gale. I can’t leave him and Peeta because they’d—” His scowl cuts me off. “What?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize how large our party was,” he snaps at me.

Oooooh, he mad! It’s just sad to see his disappointment. I think he honestly thought it’d be just the two of them, together, forever. But obviously Katniss needs to get all these other people, Peeta included, to safety.

“Stop it! You don’t know what you’re saying. The Peacekeepers outside of Twelve, they’re not like Darius, or even Cray! The lives of district people — they mean less than nothing to them!” I say.

“That’s why we have to join the fight!” he answers harshly.

“No! We have to leave here before they kill us and a lot of other people, too!” I’m yelling again, but I can’t understand why he’s doing this. Why doesn’t he see what’s so undeniable?

Gale pushes me roughly away from him. “You leave, then. I’d never go in a million years.”

“You were happy enough to go before. I don’t see how an uprising in District Eight does anything but make it more important that we leave.

I’m really surprised that Katniss doesn’t want to help in the rebellion. I mean, she had to try to calm it down before, when she had the ability to, but now that she knows that it didn’t work, I would have thought Katniss would be all about it. She doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would just run away.

He throws Cinna’s gloves at my feet.

WOAH, HELL NO, BRAH, NO ONE DISRESPECTS CINNA.

Peeta shakes his head and gives me a rueful smile. “I bet he does. Sure, Katniss, I’ll go.”

I feel a slight twinge of hope. “You will?”

“Yeah. But I don’t think for a minute you will,” he says.

I jerk my arm away. “Then you don’t know me. Be ready. It could be any time.” I take off walking and he follows a pace or two behind.

At first I was like YOU DON’T KNOW KATNISS, SHE’LL TOTALLY DO IT. But then I realized that he really does know Katniss. He probably feels the same way I do. That Katniss would rather stay and fight than run away. And I also think that whatever Katniss decides to do, whether it’s to stay or leave, Peeta will do the same.

I lift my chin. I’ve been so consumed with my own worries, I haven’t noticed the strange noise coming from the square. A whistling, the sound of an impact, the intake of breath from a crowd.

“Come on,” Peeta says, his face suddenly hard. I don’t know why. I can’t place the sound, even guess at the situation. But it means something bad to him.

When we reach the square, it’s clear something’s happening, but the crowd’s too thick to see. Peeta steps up on a crate against the wall of the sweetshop and offers me a hand while he scans the square. I’m halfway up when he suddenly blocks my way. “Get down. Get out of here!” He’s whispering, but his voice is harsh with insistence.

OH GOD WHAT’S GOING ON. Is it Gale? Has he already started some sort of riot?!

“Get out of here, girl.”

“Only make it worse.”

“What do you want to do? Get him killed?”

But at this point, my heart is beating so fast and fierce I hardly hear them. I only know that whatever waits in the middle of the square is meant for me. When I finally break through to the cleared space, I see I am right. And Peeta was right. And those voices were right, too.

Gale’s wrists are bound to a wooden post. The wild turkey he shot earlier hangs above him, the nail driven through its neck. His jacket’s been cast aside on the ground, his shirt torn away. He slumps unconscious on his knees, held up only by the ropes at his wrists. What used to be his back is a raw, bloody slab of meat.

Standing behind him is a man I’ve never seen, but I recognize his uniform. It’s the one designated for our Head Peacekeeper. This isn’t old Cray, though. This is a tall, muscular man with sharp creases in his pants.

The pieces of the picture do not quite come together until I see his arm raise the whip.

Holy shit, he’s being whipped! For hunting? Or for trying to start an uprising? It all just seems weird because the Peacekeepers in District 12 are normally a lot more forgiving. And speaking of which, I’d like to know who this man is.

Tags: the hunger games jason reads the hunger games catching fire chapter 7 cf7 chapter review analysis book trilogy suzanne collins gale gale hawthorne katniss katniss everdeen peeta peeta mellark haymitch district 12 madge the capitol hunger games hunger games jason reads jason reads cinna
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~ Saturday, January 7 ~
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The Hunger Games: Chapter 27

Then there’s Peeta just a few yards away. He looks so clean and healthy and beautiful, I can hardly recognize him. But his smile is the same whether in mud or in the Capitol and when I see it, I take about three steps and fling myself into his arms.

I sit so close to Peeta that I’m practically on his lap, but one look from Haymitch tells me it isn’t enough. Kicking off my sandals, I tuck my feet to the side and lean my head against Peeta’s shoulder.

I feel like I’m watching the Bachelor aftershow or something, where the couple gets interviewed and they look back on their journeyyyy and whatnot.

Caesar Flickerman makes a few more jokes, and then it’s time for the show. This will last exactly three hours and is required viewing for all of Panem.

Ohhh so we do get a recap of what was going on! Except it only really shows what Katniss and Peeta were doing which I already knew anyway. So I’m still wondering what else happened!

They play her death in full, the spearing, my failed rescue attempt, my arrow through the boy from District 1’s throat, Rue drawing her last breath in my arms. And the song. I get to sing every note of the song. Something inside me shuts down and I’m too numb to feel anything. It’s like watching complete strangers in another Hunger Games. But I do notice they omit the part where I covered her in flowers.

Ugh I wonder what the audience’s reaction was to this. Probably sad, but more for themselves than for Rue or Katniss.

There’s just one crown, though, and you can hear the crowd’s confusion — whose head will he place it on? — until President Snow gives it a twist and it separates into two halves.

He’s still smiling when he settles the second on my head, but his eyes, just inches from mine, are as unforgiving as a snake’s.

That’s when I know that even though both of us would have eaten the berries, I am to blame for having the idea. I’m the instigator. I’m the one to be punished.

Oh mannn I’ve got a bad feeling about this….except there are like 5 pages left?

After I toss and turn for a few hours, I slip into the hall. My first thought is to check the roof, but it’s empty. Even the city streets far below are deserted after the celebration last night. I go back to bed for a while and then decide to go directly to his room, but when I try to turn the knob, I find my own bedroom door has been locked from the outside.

What are they trying/going to do?

I quickly get back in bed and pretend to sleep until Effie Trinket comes to alert me to the start of another “big, big, big day!”

Ahahaha oh how I’ve missed you, F-Bomb.

“New leg?” I say, and I can’t help reaching out and pulling up the bottom of Peeta’s pants. “Oh, no,” I whisper, taking in the metal-and-plastic device that has replaced his flesh.

Woah! You mean they couldn’t fix his leg? Shit man. Maybe he’ll be part robot now! Eh? Eh?

It seems to call for a big, dramatic speech, but all I get out is one almost inaudible sentence. “I don’t know, I just…couldn’t bear the thought of…being without him.”

If I wasn’t so terrified at them being royally screwed by the Capitol, I’d laugh at how awkward and lame that sounded.

As I slowly, thoroughly wash the makeup from my face and put my hair in its braid, I begin transforming back into myself. Katniss Everdeen. A girl who lives in the Seam. Hunts in the woods. Trades in the Hob. I stare in the mirror as I try to remember who I am and who I am not. By the time I join the others, the pressure of Peeta’s arm around my shoulders feels alien.

It’s so weird, her going back. I just don’t even know what to think or feel! I just want to read more and see what happens after she returns!

“It was all for the Games,” Peeta says. “How you acted.”

Peeta….. :’(

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Peeta extend his hand. I look at him, unsure. “One more time? For the audience?” he says. His voice isn’t angry. It’s hollow, which is worse. Already the boy with the bread is slipping away from me.

I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, and dreading the moment when I will finally have to let go.

What a sad, horrible, amazing, poignant way to end the book. Back to reality.

I’m really, really glad I didn’t have to wait for the next one.

Tags: the hunger games jason reads the hunger games chapter 27 thg27 chapter review analysis book trilogy hunger games hunger games jason reads jason reads katniss katniss everdeen peeta peeta mellark gale haymitch effie effie trinket caesar flickerman president snow snow caesar the capitol capitol panem
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~ Sunday, November 20 ~
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The Hunger Games: Chapter 3

So we start off with Katniss being ushered into the Justice Building where she basically gets to say goodbye to everyone.

My sister and my mother come first. I reach out to Prim and she climbs on my lap, her arms around my neck, head on my shoulder, just like she did when she was a toddler. My mother sits beside me and wraps her arms around us. For a few minutes, we say nothing. Then I start telling them all the things they must remember to do, now that I will not be there to do them for them.

I wonder how Prim would feel if Katniss died in the Hunger Games. I know it’s not her fault, but the odds of Katniss winning are incredibly slim, so in a way she kind of volunteered to die instead of Prim. I’d feel terribly guilty, however undeserved it is. And the way Katniss can find the resolve and composure to, in what may be the last moments she’ll see her mother and sister, tell them what to do while she is gone and in the likely event that she does not return, just further shows the strength of her character.

"You can’t clock out and leave Prim on her own. There’s no me now to keep you both alive. It doesn’t matter what happens. Whatever you see on the screen. You have to promise me you’ll fight through it!" My voice has risen to a shout. In it is all the anger, all the fear I felt at her abandonment.

I feel like the hope her mother and sister have of Katniss living through the games and winning would drive them to live through it as well. They have to give Katniss someone to come home too, right? It’s a stretch, given the odds against her, but it’s all they really have.

I can’t win. Prim must know that in her heart. The competition will be far beyond my abilities. Kids from wealthier districts, where winning is a huge honor, who’ve been trained their whole lives for this. Boys who are two to three times my size. Girls who know twenty different ways to kill you with a knife. Oh, there’ll be people like me, too. People to weed out before the real fun begins.

WELL YOU CERTAINLY WON’T WIN WITH THAT ATTITUDE SWEETIE.

Someone else enters the room, and when I look up, I’m surprised to see it’s the baker, Peeta Mellarks father.

Not entirely sure what this is about, but hey, free cookies!

She holds out the circular gold pin that was on her dress earlier. I hadn’t paid much attention to it before, but now I see it’s a small bird in flight.

Madge gives her a pin to remind her of home, aww! I won’t say much more, since I know there’s a bigger explanation of it later. And here’s Gale!

"Even a weak bow is better than no bow at all."

Maybe it’s the RPG part of me speaking (where every character has a unique weapon or style of fighting), but how cool would it be if no one else in the games used a bow except Katniss? It’d be something to really distinguish her from the rest!

We spent one Hunger Games watching the players freeze to death at night. You could hardly see them because they were just huddled in balls and had no wood for fires or torches or anything. It was considered very anti-climactic in the Capitol, all those quiet, bloodless deaths. Since then, there’s usually been wood to make fires.

"Katniss, remember I-" he says, and they yank us apart and slam the door and I’ll never know what it was he wanted me to remember.

No no no no no, I hate unfinished sentences! I bet whatever Gale didn’t get to say will be the answer to the entire series. Also, MY CREYS. I hate goodbyes!

In school, they tell us the Capitol was built in a place once called the Rockies. District 12 was in a region known as Appalachia. Even hundreds of years ago, they mined coal here. Which is why our miners have to dig so deep.

Hahaha for some reason this amused me!

At the last minute, I remember Madge’s little gold pin. For the first time, I get a good look at it. It’s as if someone fashioned a small golden bird and then attached a ring around it. The bird is connected to the ring only by its wing tips. I suddenly recognize it. A mockingjay.

*Looks at book cover and flips the fuck out* But I’m going to summarize the history of the mockingjay here, partially for my own sake. So during the rebellion, the Capitol bred jabberjays, which were used as living, breathing, recording devices which could find the Capitol’s enemies and relay information about them. But the people found out and basically fed them bullshit until the Capitol was forced to stop using them. Then the jabberjays started breeding with mockingbirds to form mockingjays, which can mimic melodies and vocal pitches, but not actual words. Also, Katniss’s father used to sing to them, so she associates them with her father. I’m just loving all the symbolism!

The pair last year were two kids from the Seam who’d never, not one day of their lives, had enough to eat. And when they did have food, table manners were surely the last thing on their minds. Peeta’s a baker’s son. My mother taught Prim and I to eat properly, so yes, I can handle a fork and knife. But I hate Effie Trinket’s comment so much I make a point of eating the rest of my meal with my fingers. Then I wipe my hands on the tablecloth.

FOUR FOR YOU, KATNISS EVERDEEN, YOU GO KATNISS EVERDEEN.

And none for Effie Trinket, bye.

Now that the meal’s over, I’m fighting to keep the food down. I can see Peeta’s looking a little green, too. Neither of our stomachs is used to such rich fare.

This happened to my friend after he came home from military school. He ate such healthy shit all year that he almost threw up a slice of pizza!

We examine the faces of the kids who will be our competition. A few stand out in my mind. A monstrous boy who lunges forward to volunteer from District 2. A fox-faced girl with sleek red hair from District 5. A boy with a crippled foot from District 10. And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that, she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor. Only when she mounts the stage and they ask for volunteers, all you can hear is the wind whistling through the decrepit buildings around her.

Maybe Jo Rowling has turned me paranoid about possible foreshadowing, but I’m putting this here because I wonder if these characters will become more significant later.

You know your mentor is your lifeline to the world in these Games. The one who advises you, lines up your sponsors, and dictates the presentation of any gifts. Haymitch can well be the difference between your life and your death!

LOL SO BASICALLY YOU’RE BOTH FUCKED

Tags: the hunger games chapter 3 jason reads the hunger games hunger games hunger games jason reads jason reads katniss everdeen primrose everdeen gale peeta mellark haymitch abernathy effie trinket district 12 the capitol
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~ Wednesday, November 16 ~
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The Hunger Games: Chapter 1

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.

The reaping? It sounds like a mass killing or something. Katniss talks about it like it’s nothing. Or at least like it’s nothing new.

(Also, I admit that when I first started reading, I was like, “This is first person AND present tense? FUUUUUUUU-” But I’ll get used to it.)

In sleep, my mother looks younger, still worn but not so beaten-down. Prims face is as fresh as a raindrop, as lovely as the primrose for which she was named. My mother was very beautiful once, too. Or so they tell me.

I’m confused again. Her mother is sleeping right there, but she’s talking about her like she never knew her? That her only knowledge of her was conveyed by others.

Entrails. No hissing. This is the closest we will ever come to love.

YOU AND I BOTH, KAT. (Can I call her Kat? Or do we stick with Katniss?)

My father knew and he taught me some before he was blown to bits in a mine explosion. There was nothing even to bury. I was eleven then. Five years later, I still wake up screaming for him to run.

So her father is dead. And it appears that District 12 like the working class? Miners and such?

In the woods waits the only person with whom I can be myself. Gale. I can feel the muscles in my face relaxing, my pace quickening as I climb the hills to our place, a rock ledge overlooking a valley.

I smell a future love interest! Or at the very least, I bet there is a Katniss/Gale ship out there somewhere.

And you may as well throw in our mothers, too, because how would they live without us? Who would fill those mouths that are always asking for more?

So…her mother is alive? But she sounds very dependent on Katniss. Something happened that almost deteriorated her a bit. She was once beautiful, and now her daughter needs to feed her and take care of her. I immediately think of a drug addiction or alcoholism, but somehow I don’t think that’s it.

There’s never been anything romantic between Gale and me.

After the reaping, everyone is supposed to celebrate. And a lot of people do, out of relief that their children have been spared for another year. But at least two families will pull their shutters, lock their doors, and try to figure out how they will survive the painful weeks to come.

This marks the first time I have almsot been brought to tears in The Hunger Games (and if my information is correct, it certainly won’t be the last). I can only imagine what it must be like. While everyone is celebrating the fact that they got lucky and their family members are safe, two families are probably all sitting around the kitchen table, afraid to look at each other, wondering what they did to deserve this horrible, torturous fate.

You can see why someone like Madge, who has never been at risk of needing a tessera, can set him off. The chance of her name being drawn is very slim compared to those of us who live in the Seam.

Madge is the 1%. (If you don’t count the Capitol.)

I’m trying to get past rejecting offers of help from her. For a while, I was so angry, I wouldnt allow her to do anything for me. And this is something special. Her clothes from her past are very precious to her.

Something happened to her mother, like she had fallen from certain glory. And whatever it was, it made Katniss resent the shit out of her. This chapter has been so fast paced so far, I wonder how soon her mother’s past will be revealed? (Don’t answer that! :))

Two of the three chairs fill with Madges father, Mayor Undersee, whos a tall, balding man, and Effie Trinket, District 12s escort, fresh from the Capitol with her scary white grin, pinkish hair, and spring green suit.

Nope, I’m not imagining Effie Trinket as Rita Skeeter AT ALL.

The result was Panem, a shining Capitol ringed by thirteen districts, which brought peace and prosperity to its citizens. Then came the Dark Days, the uprising of the districts against the Capitol. Twelve were defeated, the thirteenth obliterated. The Treaty of Treason gave us the new laws to guarantee peace and, as our yearly reminder that the Dark Days must never be repeated, it gave us the Hunger Games.

So The Hunger Games are one part punishment, one part entertainment for the Capitol, and one part reminder that the Capitol is in control and the Districts should not and cannot attempt to stand up to it again.

Then he reads the list of past District 12 victors. In seventy-four years, we have had exactly two. Only one is still alive. Haymitch Abernathy, a paunchy, middle-aged man, who at this moment appears hollering something unintelligible, staggers onto the stage, and falls into the third chair. He’s drunk. Very.

I would be too! I read somewhere that Suzanne Collins got some of her inspiration from the Vietnam war. These veterans saw true horrors. For Abernathy to make it through the Games (which I’m guessing means he had to kill at least one other human being) and then come back to his home District must have really hollowed him out. How bittersweet it must be to be a winner of the Hunger Games. And not only did he see and do terrible things, but no one else at home knows what it was like. It must be terribly isolating to be the only person in your town to have been in the Hunger Games and have no one who can relate to your experience. It’s probably something he carries with him every day.

The crowd draws in a collective breath and then you can hear a pin drop, and I’m feeling nauseous and so desperately hoping that it’s not me, that it’s not me, that it’s not me. Effie Trinket crosses back to the podium, smoothes the slip of paper, and reads out the name in a clear voice. And it’s not me. It’s Primrose Everdeen.

HOLY SHIT HER FUCKING YOUNGER SISTER GETS PICKED IN HER FIRST YEAR. That’s like…buying a lottery ticket on your 18th birthday and hitting the jackpot. Except it’s the opposite of that.

Tags: jason reads the hunger games the hunger games katniss everdeen katniss gale primrose everdeen primrose effie trinket haymitch abernathy the reaping tribute district 12 panem the capitol
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