It’s the end of an era. After three books and four movies that spawned countless fanfictions plus created a multi million dollar merchandise empire, The Hunger Games fever is over. Still, this franchise has been a constant part of our lives since 2009, and as such I thought it was only fair to do a farewell post on my five favorite memories from the books and movies. From Cinna and Katniss’s first introduction, to Peeta’s declaration of undying love, leading into sassmaster Johanna’s scene stealing lines in Catching Fire, the grisly setting that is the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and finally the gut wrenching glimpse into the district’s rebellions in Mockingjay- Part One, the story of one girl saving her little sister has impacted us all. Please excuse my tear stained keyboard as I end my love for this series with all the feels.
1. Cinna meets Katniss for the first time. (The Hunger Games book)
Oh Cinna, how I adore you. You’re just the warm and fuzzy father figure Katniss needs to offset the often brash, tough love of Haymitch. Though the two of you share many heart wrenching and touching moment together, none quite take the cake of your very first meeting. At the time Katniss was pretty beaten down, flailing into what she believed to be an inevitable death. No one was in her corner, fighting for the rights she oh so desperately needed. Then you came, liquid eyeliner glory and all. We could tell, right from the beginning, that upon navigating the tricky waters of game alliances, Katniss could always count on you for support. With dazzling fashion work (how I need Cinna in my closet) you transformed our rough Seam hunter into the Girl on Fire, and gave her the edge essential for success. There was nothing significant about that first meeting between the two, but the events it set into motion are infallible to what would become a full fledge rebellion fighting under the leadership of Katniss, and by extension, Cinna.
2. Peeta admits his feelings for Katniss. (The Hunger Games book)
Okay, so while I readily admit that had I not read this series at such a young, romantically starved age, this moment likely would have gone unnoticed by me. It stands to be noted though that even all these years later I can still remember the exact chapter Peeta’s interview with Cesar took place, which clearly means Collins did something write. Also, though I still had greatly enjoyed the book up until that instance, this seemed to be the point when I just simply could not put the story down, an unquenchable fever that remained unchallenged for the duration of the series. I know, I know, it was cheesy and unnecessary to what could have been a great girl power plotline (not to mention spawning just about a trillion love triangles/angst fests trying to masquerade as “dystopias”), but the element of romance added a lighthearted theme to an otherwise very dark book. Not to mention, it also served some literary clout as an author technique by humanizing the otherwise vastly unlikable Katniss Everdeen, and fleshing out Peeta Mellark’s character as more than just the boy with the bread.
3. Johanna Mason’s witty dialogue. (Catching Fire movie)
This may seem odd, but I am not a fan of the Johanna Mason character. She’s loud and abrasive, generally has a disarmingly impolite demeanor, and just really isn’t someone I would root for. This was especially true in the movie adaptation, where many of the scenes she featured in left me impossibly annoyed with her. But, she also has quite possibly the funniest dialogue and delivery featured in the entire movie. Katniss could quite literally be plotting an attempt to siege the Capitol and with one snarky quip Johanna could have me busting out laughing. I mean come on, that interview? Laugh out loud hilarious! Her elevator scene? Quite possibly the greatest thing since sliced bread! The reason this one goes to the movie for best execution, is in the book Johanna very much plays an entirely different character. She is a harmed victim of the Capitol’s exploitation, an eventual confidante and advisor of Katniss, and a shrewd power player in the fall out of the rebellion. We really don’t see funny, lively Johanna make an appearance all that often, and that is something I enjoyed seeing in the Catching Fire movie.
4. The arena of the 75th Hunger Games. (Catching Fire book & movie)
Because of my indecisiveness, this one goes to the cat! As far as sensory details are concerned Catching Fire in both cases takes the cake. Collins aptly describes the stark brutality of not only District 12, but all the outlying districts in perfect contrast to the lavish excessiveness that is the principles of the Capitol. Then, taking a setting we’ve already explored in full with The Hunger Games, Collins still finds a way to add an influx of details that paint an even more vivid picture of the Training Center and the horrors it houses. All this comes to a head in the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and just when we thought the forest arena was enough, here comes Collins again to tip everything we thought we knew right on its head. Now we have deadly fog, tidal waves, malevolent monkeys, andjabberjays all operating under a complex clock confioguration. The reason I felt I had to give pros on this to both medias is because they both add a totally unique experience to the same world. In the books we get to read just how bad of a toll this mind game is taking on the psyches of the victors, and interpret a first hand account an inner monologue describing it in painstaking detail. In the movie we get to see all those details brought to life in dangerous shades of tropical colors, killer CGTI, and a kind of brutality that makes us watching feel like we’re with the characters every step of the way from the safety of our couch. A++++++
5. The rebellion scenes in the districts. (Mockingjay- Part 1 movie)
The beauty of these rebellions, from the destruction of District 5’s dam to the burning of forestry in District 7, is that they are never fleshed out in the Mockingjay book companion. Sure, we know that something must be happening outside of District 13 by way of revolt that is igniting such fear in the Capitol defenses, but never is it elaborated upon. In the movie however, we see exactly what is going down in the little discussed outlier districts, and boy is it glorious. Not only does it fully flesh out the urgency of the stakes at hand to moviegoers not familiar with the source material, but it also perfectly illustrates the sacrifice that is change. In the process it also tells a sub story of people we would never know of otherwise. This is a crucial part of the cinematographic experience and essential in plucking the viewer’s heartstrings. All merits aside, it was just plain exciting in an otherwise very dull movie (sorry Mockingjay!).
I know this is a little late but I needed time to collect all the thoughts and emotions going through my head. Please let me know in the comments what your favorite THG memories are and what you thought of the finale.