The Hunger Games
Disclaimer: I am not a movie or book reviewer and would never attempt to call myself such a thing. I have utmost respect for those who do that. I am just a bookworm and movie lover who wants to share my thoughts on what I read and watch.
There was a Facebook discussion this week about what makes readers love a mystery. I was thrilled that ninety percent of the people said it was character. They said with a good character they would follow that person anywhere, doing anything.
That’s what I think, as well.
I thought about this a lot while watching The Hunger Games this week.
More than the compelling premise (the rebellion against oppression/corrupt authority) there is the character. Specifically Katniss.
She is my favorite kind of heroine (protagonist) — the badass exterior combined with that gooey and emotional inside.
For instance, when Peeta declares he’s always had a crush on her (when he is interviewed on TV), she immediately puts an elbow to his throat and bitches him out. She corners him and furiously demands to know why he said such a ridiculous thing.
Then, not long later, she apologizes to him.
We see her eventually won over by Peeta’s goodness, even though her initial resistance to him was so strong.
When we see the flashback to him throwing a piece of bread to her (in the book we learn she was on the brink of starvation), we later find out there is so much more to that telling scene.
That is such a great scene because it shows the reader (and viewer) that Peeta is a decent guy. He has compassion for others less fortunate, but later we learn that the same scene shows him looking down on those less fortunate. That’s why it is so moving when he apologizes to Katniss, saying he thinks about it all the time, how he should have stepped into the rain, walked over, and handed her the bread. He acknowledges that nagging feeling we have inside about him, making him have foibles and yet still be very likeable — more so because he isn’t perfect and realizes it.
Katniss is an intriguing and complex character in so many ways.
She’s not an ordinary girl in those times. She breaks the law and hunts. But even though she is a rebel and an outlaw, her motives are pure – to feed her family. We can’t help but root for her success.
We first get a glimpse of her selfless nature when we see her interact with Prim. Her devotion to her sister is enough to win us over, but there is more. We see her inner turmoil as she stands up to her mom, showing us that although she is just a girl, she is the matriarch of this family. She keeps it together and she is the provider. She also hugs her mother extra long showing that even if she doesn’t approve her mother’s parenting skills, she loves her.
Of course, the ultimate demonstration of loyalty is volunteering for The Hunger Games so Prim wont have to go. In the movie, it’s called bravery, but to me it was loyalty and love.
Haymitch soon points out just how unlikable others consider Katniss and her abrasive attitude can be. But even he is quickly won over. Enough to stop drinking, set aside his apathy, and become passionate about her and Peeta’s survival.
To many people, the premise of kids killing kids is despicable and hard to take. And it should be. But the skill of the novelist and filmmaker is effective at convincing us that our protagonist finds it atrocious, as well.
On the playing field, we see how Katniss avoids killing others until she has no choice. She clearly has to kill to survive. And the first time she does (by knocking the nest out of the tree) she probably only expected them to be stung and run away, but one girl ends up dead.
Then we see her touching relationship with Rue and her devotion to the younger girl.
When Katniss does kill, it is in defense. Not even really in defense of herself. She is defending Rue, which makes it even more palatable in a way. Sticking up for the underdog.
Well, I’ll end there. I hope my other blog posts aren’t this long and rambling (no guarantees there).
Game of Thrones
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that I blazed through this 10-episode series and am begging for more. I don’t have cable, so it might be a long wait.
Burnt Sienna by David Morrell
This week, I’m finishing up this book in preparation for the postal arrival of The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen. (Owen’s interview will be featured tomorrow on this blog.) I pre-ordered the book in June, so you might be able to imagine how excited I am about it.
I picked up Burnt Sienna after James Scott Bell mentioned in one of his books on the writing craft that in this book Morrell demonstrate the perfect “knock-out” ending. I’m about three-fourths of the way through and loving it. Great writing, great story, having a ball following the characters along in this thriller.
To be read pile:
November Hunt by Jess Lourey. (I met Jess this past weekend and look forward to reading her book next week). She’s super cool, gorgeous, and talented. I’ll feature her in an interview on this blog, April 5th.
Killing Red by Henry Perez
This book features a journalist. What’s not to love about that?
Chalk Girl by Carol O’Connell
O’Connell does character better than anyone around. Thanks to Mickie from my writing group for introducing me to this writer. I’ve also met O’Connell in person.
Dear reader, I hope you return tomorrow, to see my interview with the huge talent, Owen Laukkanen. His book, The Professionals, will be released in the United States on Thursday.