Thursday, April 05, 2012

Today. And The Hunger Games, Too.

Today was exhausting, so I somehow ended up walking out of the store with a potted orchid.

April 5th

I don't really have a green thumb, so we will see how our first little indoor plant grows. I always have flowers outside in the spring, summer, and fall, but it's not like I really have to take care of them except when I dump a cup of water on them every morning. Easy. Actually, not gonna lie, this little flower only needs a quarter cup of water once a week so if it dies, it will probably be from overindulgence, like that fish Andrew bought me when we were dating that we, um, fed too much and killed with love.

Luckily for us, babies thrive with a whole lot of love, especially when it's capped with mac & cheese:

April 5thApril 5th

As for my thoughts on The Hunger Games, I must say that I really liked the movie... but as a movie. I thought they did an awesome job explaining the Games and why the Games existed, but I didn't buy Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss (or Miley Cyrus' boyfriend as Gale, either). I think Jennifer Lawrence acted brilliantly but, after reading the series three times, I had a really clear version of who I thought Katniss was. Like I said, I thought that the groundwork for the overall movie was pretty phenomenal, but if I hadn't read the books, I would not have understood why Katniss did most of the things that she did, especially at the end. So, couple that with the fact that Jennifer Lawrence isn't a withered sixteen-year-old and I just didn't see much of the Katniss that I have envisioned for the past two years. That probably sounds like I am trashing the movie and Jennifer Lawrence, but I'm not. I don't really expect actors to look like book characters (I mean, hello, Harry Potter stopped looking like Daniel Radcliffe once puberty hit but that didn't stop me from seeing every Harry Potter movie at midnight or, y'know, early the next morning), so I didn't have a problem with Jennifer Lawrence, I was just semi-bugged that I would have been confused about a lot of Katniss' actions if I walked out of the theater without having the books half memorized.

Also, I should probably say that I thought Rue was perfect and I thought it was brilliant (and so emotional!) to show the riot in District Eleven during the Games. I also liked the added scene with Cato giving a speech during the final fight. He was a pawn, too, even though he had a knack for bloodlust.

Anyway, don't read any more of this post if you haven't finished reading the series, but I've thought a lot about this series over the past few days, and I think that I've finally pinpointed what bothered me about the hype surrounding the release of this movie. When it was first announced that the series was going to be turned into a film franchise, I was ticked. And I think I can finally put into words why I was ticked. I have talked about this series a lot with my family members and a few of my friends and, after a whole bundle of hours spent on the topic, I think that people read this story two different ways. One is as a love triangle, which will disappoint most in the third book. The other is a survival story. I read this as a survival story, which meant I loved the third book. I loved the chaos and the mistakes and the real human emotion that came through the story. I loved how Katniss never fully relied on anyone besides Peeta and how she fell apart at the seams when he was taken away. Katniss, at best, walks around in a haze throughout the third book. Such a state doesn't make for the most exciting read at times, but it felt so real to me. Homegirl is broken at the end of the second book and she never really puts herself completely back together. It just isn't possible.

In the novels, Katniss reminds us again and again that she is self sufficient. That she saved her family. That she won the Games. That she is a survivor. But! She has not survived by herself. From childhood, she has tied Peeta to survival, if only mentally. So, when he is taken at the end of the second book, she doesn't really know how to survive. And when he comes back and isn't what she expects, she really doesn't know how to survive. I do not think that there is ever a love triangle in this series. Yes, Katniss kisses them both, but her kisses with Gale are typically taken or given out of extreme confusion. The need she feels to protect Peeta is completely different and (typically) selfless rather than selfish. Peeta helps her survive and, as readers, we shouldn't forget that, for most of the series, Katniss and Peeta are children with severely messed up childhoods. They are not adults- they are children- and they are used as pawns by both the Capitol and the Rebels. Even those who care for them and are willing to die for them make sure that they look like they should to play their parts convincingly. Actually, those that care for them try especially hard to prune them to represent the Rebellion. They care for them, but they care more about freedom. No one dies for Katniss or Peeta, either. They die for a hope in survival. And after the rebellion ends? Katniss and Peeta are both essentially dropped off and forgotten, put away to deal with the scars the Games and the war have left them, further implying that they were pawns to both sides, not just the bad one.

I do not think Katniss would have survived any of the Games, the Quarter Quell, or the war without Peeta or even just the hope that she would be able to help Peeta. That, I think, makes for a fantastic story of hope, because the world Suzanne Collins created is absolutely terrifying. I think The Hunger Games is a beautiful, heartfelt, emotional, relatable, and disgusting story so, like I said, my main problem with this series is when people read it as a love triangle when it is so much more.

And that's my botched attempt at a quickie online book review written fairly late at night.