This will be full of spoilers, so as a courtesy to those of you who haven't read it yet and might, I'll put the bulk of the entry behind a cut.  For the record, the biggest problem(s) I have with The Hunger Games are hardly unique to this trilogy, to YA literature, to sci-fi (I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to type 'syfy' other than in quotes of irony and disdain), fantasy, genre fiction or . . . well.  I will say that it's unique to things that are rich and well-written, and thus create a nuanced, multi-dimensional world.

For the record, this will be crossposted all over the place - Dreamwidth, LJ, facebook, goodreads.

First, this: Katniss is, in a way, not unlike Twilight's Bella with her constant insistence that she's plain despite the rather obvious attentions of at least two young men, not to mention a whole town that bends over backwards to give her what she wants as much as is possible.  Thankfully, that's where the similarity ends; she's strong and well defined otherwise, and flawed with all her merits.  Where Bella caused me to quite literally throw a book across a room, narrowly missing a small child (I exaggerate, but I certainly did startle the child in question), Katniss was likable expressly because she was so unlikeable or rather, because she fought to grow past her weaknesses.  This is a relatively small gripe, though - all in all, I really like Katniss despite her Katniss-ness, which I think is a win on Collins' part.  I don't know if that was what she was aiming for, but it worked for me, and for a lot of people.

But the worst [best] thing!  This occurs throughout the trilogy, but it's most obvious in Mockingjay, where the Rebellion comes to the fore and there are more characters than the arguably good tributes, who are simply adolescents put in horrible situations, and the arguably bad Capital-ites, who are simply lap dogs of a despotic government at best and puppets of said government at worst.  This is when we learn the most about Katniss' past, prior to the Games where she took Prim's place; it's where the fact that he could sing birds out of the trees becomes important rather than just a notable trait, for instance, and this is the thing that sticks in my head.

Why was Katniss' father teaching his very young children songs of a revolutionary nature, songs that clearly upset their more upper class (for the Districts) mother?  It brings to mind the very real purposes of a great many real world gospel songs, sung to lead escaped slaves to the north, and implies that people in other Districts knew about 13 long before it became public knowledge.  This implication has already been made by Twill and Floss (I think those were the names of the girls Katniss met in the meadow in Catching Fire, but my books aren't next to me) with their certainty that District 13 was alive and well despite the 'propos' (I hate that abbreviation almost as much as I hate 'syfy', shh) that indicate otherwise to a public so under the thumb of the Capital that they don't question much of anything that comes from it, at least not very loudly.

The fact remains, though, that both "The Hanging Tree" and "Lullaby" have similar lyrical traits to those leading, information passing songs that have existed in American history, at least, for a century and a half, which seems to indicate that the rebellion for which Katniss has been made the mascot - and has by all appearances been groomed to be since she was very small, along with her sister, which begs the question of whether it was taught to both of them just to make sure one of them would lead said rebellion, or if it was for Katniss all along, and whether other children of similar age in other Districts were taught similar songs to help in their own regions - started being planned significantly before the events in the trilogy so many of us hold dear.

Like Harry Potter and all the best serial fiction, there's a richly detailed, layered world behind what we actually read.  And like with those other series', I hope we get to see more of it some day.



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