Brief Overview: Roman Gladiators + Lord of the Flies = The Hunger Games. Panem is a dystopian society that runs on suppression, fear, and death matches. 13 Districts rebelled against the Capitol; the 13th was destroyed; the other 12 aggressively oppressed and subdued and forced to pay tribute each year for their rebellion. The tribute required is their children from ages 12-18; 1 boy, 1 girl from each district.
My Top 10 Favorite Scenes from the Hunger Games:
- The Boy with the Bread: Peeta gives Katniss bread in a flashback memory. This is important because Katniss (approx age: 11.5) has already lost the innocence of youth and knows everything in the world has a price. The bread is an unexpected gift that breaks through the pessimism, grief, and anger that has grown since her father's demise, her mother's withdrawal, and her desperation to provide for herself, her sister, and her catatonic mother. She doesn't understand gifts though, and is very uncomfortable with feeling like she owes Peeta for the life saving bread.
- Katniss Volunteers: Circumstances make her hard, aloof, and cynical but that's just Katniss' outer shell, underneath is a 16 year old girl who loves her sister. Katniss would do anything to keep Primrose safe, even volunteering to take her sister's place in what amounts to a death sentence, because while 24 tributes go into the arena, only 1 comes out alive.
- You're Great!: They might not have spoken since they were younger, but that didn't mean they weren't conscious of the other during that time. On the train ride to the Capitol after the Reaping, Peeta tells Haymitch, their mentor and previous winner of the Games, all the ways in which Katniss is great and flustered/angry Katniss whips right back with what she knows about Peeta. Somebody's paying attention!
- Girl on Fire: Cinna, Katniss' stylist for the games designs and creates works of art in his fashion statements for the coal mining District 12. His costumes incorporate fake flames that look and move like the real thing. His creative genius, coupled with Portia's cooperation in making matching outfits for Peeta, give Katniss and Peeta their first edge in the games. They are on fire!
- Televised Confession: Peeta has been crushing on Katniss since the age of 5 and his confession shocks Panem's jaded Capitol viewers. It comes as a complete surprise to Katniss and she hates it because love ties you down, makes you weak, and can get you killed. She doesn't realize that Peeta's confession is not only the truth, but their coup d'état against their competition, effectively gaining the crucial sponsors' attention that they need.
- Tracker Jackers: Katniss is horribly surprised after a forest fire when Peeta and the Careers show up and chase her until she's treed. She views it as a sign of betrayal and wonders again what Peeta's televised confession meant, if it meant anything other than to confuse her and make her an easier kill. It is now when Rue, who has been shadowing Katinss for a while makes an appearance and shows her how to get away from the murderous group by dropping a highly poisonous genetically engineered wasp hive on the group. This sequence also provides Katiness with a bow and arrows from another tribute and a hazy hallucination sequence in which Peeta appears to have warned her to run away when the leader of the Careers wants her dead (real).
- Rue's Funeral: One of the saddest moments is also one of the most touching where Rue dies after being caught in a net and speared by a boy Career. Katniss is distraught and instead of abandoning Rue, comforts her before she dies and sings her a lullaby. When Rue is gone, Katniss goes a step further and arranges Rue on the ground like a sleeping girl and places wildflowers around her, showing all of Panem that Rue wasn't a tribute, but a little girl brutally struck down for entertainment. The Game Makers only pick up bodies once all other tributes are far enough away to secure the dead safely without fear of attack from the tributes. They can't take Rue away until Katiness leaves. Her final defiant act is to grace Rue and the audience with the token of deepest, most sincere respect from her District, a three fingered kiss and salute.
- Rule Change, Rescue, and Cave: For the first time in Hunger Game history a rule change has been issued that allows 2 winners if the winners are the boy and girl from the same district. There are 3 districts left that could claim this; Peeta and Katniss are one and Katniss immediately strikes out to find him, as she's heard he's wounded. She finds him camouflaged by the river and helps him clean his leg wound before moving them to a more secure location downstream in a cave.
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
"You have a...remarkable memory," I say haltingly.
"I remember everything about you," says Peeta, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear. "You're the one who wasn't paying attention."
"I am now," I say.
"Well, I don't have much competition here," he says.
I want to draw away, to close those shutters again, but I know I can't. It’s as if I can hear Haymitch whispering in my ear, "Say it! Say it!"
I swallow hard and get the words out. "You don't have much competition anywhere." And this time, it’s me who leans in.
Katiness also knocks Peeta out in order to leave the cave to go and retrieve the medicine needed to heal him of blood poisoning. This is the first time she's actively risked her life for his.
- Unexpected Savior: When Katniss rushes to secure Peeta's medicine she knows she's heading into a trap. All the remaining survivors are being led to a bloodbath, but Katniss hopes to make it out before anyone shows up, except Foxface does and escapes before she makes a move. Determined to do the same Katniss leaves her hiding place in the forest and is nearly killed by a girl Career and rescued by Thresh, the boy tribute from Rue's district. It's a one time deal to pay her back for being kind to Rue.
- Katniss Freaks Out: At the end of the games, most people like the double suicide bluff but it reads a little too Romeo and Juliet for me. What I like and what I feel is most revealing on Katniss' emotions is when Katniss and Peeta are retrieved and then separated on arrival inside the hovercraft from the arena. Katniss freaks out and tries to get to Peeta only to be knocked out for her wild and feral behavior. Every time she tries to get up to find him they knock her out again until she is allowed to wake up in the hospital with all physical marks of her time in the arena wiped clean with a body buff.
What are your favorite moments from Hunger Games?