Coming as a surprise to no one (except for, perhaps, new friend who found this blog by googling “tatoo pic for sane untamed spirit“) i am freaking beside myself right now. My nails are nibbled down with nervous anticipation, there are dark circles permanently under my eyes from lack of sleep, and i find myself twitching at even the slightest sounds – most especially, phrases containing “snow” or “roses” in them.
These are all totally natural, 100% sane side effects of re-reading Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Right? Perfectly normal.
For those friends who have, with considerable befuddlement, found their way here via intergalactic wifi: The Hunger Games are firstly torture devices in bound-page form used simultaneously to keep unapologetic nerds like myself up into the wee hours of the morning reading, and as a tool by which totalitarian states can manipulate large populations to bend to their will. Secondarily, the Games serve as the driving force in the plot behind the upcoming film of the same name, released this Friday.
I first fell under Collins’ literary spell in January of 2011, wherein similar side effects took over and i turned into nothing less than a catatonic word-eating shell for a period of four days. The books are brilliant; while the writing is merely prosaic, the plot propels the reader into forward-thrust the whole way through with unrelenting twists and carefully constructed character developments. Crafted with careful consideration of the devastation and havoc war wrecks upon all people, Collins has rendered a masterpiece trilogy for the Young Adult (and not-so-young-adult) reader.
If it is not yet glaringly obvious, i freaking love these books. They manage to execute what every SciFi* writer and reader dreams of: a thought experiment that possesses enough grounding in reality to potentially come true (logos), characters who are so riveting and realistic and feel pain and joy with excruciating attention to details (pathos), and they paint a world where ethical dilemmas are visceral and applicable to our own present-day situation (ethos). The social commentary made present with keen subtlety in the reality-TV-show aspect to the brutality that are the Games themselves (twenty-four children fighting to the death on live television for national entertainment) forces the reader to take a hard look at what we perceive to be entertainment and how desensitized the Global North has become to violence.
Katniss Everdeen, the narrator and protagonist of the series, is one of my all-time favorite literary characters. She’s fierce, determined, clever, and unapologetic for her strength – and yet so utterly human it is painful. When compared with the ever-present and ever-puke-inducing Bella Swan (who is also strung up in an otherworldly love triangle similar only in name to Katniss) she is a total master of her own agency, humanity, and willpower. She freely acknowledges that there are forces beyond her control that seek to manipulate her, and yet she fights back in unconventional ways to undermine and subvert the power of the unjust world she has inherited. Put simply, the woman kicks ass.
For all the above reasons, i am stoked for the film. Collins writes like she is filming; the cinematic view Katniss has on her reality, the ever-present “insects” and cameras that track Panem’s citizens every move, and the action-packed pages will translate to a movie quite naturally (in my humble opinion). And unlike Potter, where there were more subplots that hours in a day, The Hunger Games in its narration and style has a real one-track focus in terms of plot and character development. Katniss is the sole narrator, and so if the film does it right they’ll follow her story to a T and everything will fall into place. Having seen the trailer and the cast list, i feel like the director and crew (who have had a ton of input from Collins, which gladdens me) have made some wise and trustworthy decisions to make a film worthy of the books.
And because i’m so excited for this film to FINALLY come out (and, let’s be real, because i’ve finished re-reading the series in less than 48 hours and can’t stand not hyping up when the release is so tantalizingly close) this is only the first in a Hunger Games blog series this week. Tomorrow, pending my afternoon-o-crafting goes according to plan, there should be Wandering Writes’ first ever how-to post. And it involves spray paint.
But for now, i’ll leave you with my official District 12 Identification (you can make your own here!):
So that’s all for now, ducklings. Warm wishes your way.
And may the odds be ever in your favor.
current jam: “silver parachute” alex carpenter.
best thing in my life right now: crafting. and mockingjays.
*And while i know there is some dispute as to the genre classification of The Hunger Games, the working definition i function under is a thought experiment that employs technology in a way that harkens to an age different than our own. Really, this is “dystopian fiction” rather than science-y SciFi (like Contact or even Doctor Who) which happens to be my personal favorite genre, but whatever. H8rZ gUnNaa h88888.