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Examples of Fridge Logic, Fridge Horror, and Fridge Brilliance in The Hunger Games.

Fridge Logic

Career Tributes

  • Why are all the Careers portrayed as amoral psychopaths? If they could choose to become Careers then it makes a bit more sense, but they can't — the novel explicitly states that they're raised from birth, meaning that there should be zero correlation with personality. Furthermore, even though districts 1, 2, and 4 are a bit better off than the others, raising someone like a Career requires a huge investment from the community, and what they're doing could actually be considered noble, in a way — if they're not volunteering for the sake of killing people, then they're either doing it to try and supply their district with food, or to save some poor kid who doesn't stand a chance.
    • Not necessarily. Finnick and Annie (and Mags, too) were Careers and were shown to be sympathetic characters. And by "raised from birth" they probably meant Conditioned to Accept Horror.
      • The fact that there are two exceptions to the rule is not enough to cancel out that all six of the Careers in book one were portrayed as evil, psychopathic monsters, and that people generally hate them, apparently. And while Conditioned to Accept Horror is likely, it does not explain why they're psychopathic or why they do things For the Evulz.
        • Possibly because since 1, 2, and 4 are the wealthiest and have the closest ties to the Capitol, they do feel superior about themselves. Children in those districts are groomed and trained as if they are going to participate in the Games.
          • They may be the wealthiest, but it's stated that they're still far from the Capitol's level of prosperity. Their lives still suck for the most part, it's doubtful that they're really going to be that haughty. Also, what? Psychopathy is largely genetic, even if they were pretentious and haughty, it wouldn't make them amoral psychos.
          • It actually falls into Fridge Brilliance territory when you think about it. One of the most effective ways of keeping multiple groups of people with clear divisions (i.e. the districts) from turning against you is to play them against each other. It isn't so much that the districts the careers come from feel closer to the Capitol, but for whatever reason (maybe the importance of the resource they produce or their actual proximity to the Capitol) are made to feel better than the other districts. In a sense, the careers are an extension of that, having been raised to compete and simply be better than the competitors from the other districts. In such a hierarchy oriented society like the one in Panem, the best way to distract people from dissatisfaction with a lowly position is to provide a lower one that they can trample over.
    • If you think about it, the tributes from 1 and 4 aren't given that much screentime. Do we even know that Glimmer, Marvel, and the District 4 tributes are utter psychos? (The Games are kill or be killed after all) It's only Big Bad Cato and The Dragon Clove whose insanity we're entirely sure of.
      • We only have Katniss' word for it. Normally I'd be willing to file this under Unreliable Narrator since the story's told in first-person, but all of her narration is pretty objective, so I highly doubt that's what Collins was going for. Also though, even if only two are psychos, that still makes no sense; people who are clinically insane are very unstable and unreliable. They are not the people you want to sent into childmurder games in the hopes they'll come out winning. It's far more practical to send in someone more stable. They'd probably find out at an early age, too, so they could change which kid got the training without much hassle.
      • Also, at no point in the book do we see Clove as insane. Evil psychopath, yes, as demonstrated by her excitement at torturing Katniss. But not necessarily insane. Of course, there's also the small but non-zero possibility that it's all an act, she doesn't actually enjoy torturing people that much, and she's doing it to curry favor with the Capitol or some other entity.
      • Katniss's narration is far from objective. Look no further than her inability to figure out Peeta's motives in the first book; her failure to figure out most of what's actually happening in the second book until the last possible moment is another example.
    • Actually, Personality in the broad sense is not genetic, but temperament is. Temperament interacts with the environment and early experiences to create Personality. We do not know the selection process for the Careers, so it's possible that they were selected for training precisely for their temperament which was shaped into a "psychopathic" personality via their training. Another possibility is that the more "psychopathic" tributes just happen to be better and thus are able to get through the volunteering process to make it into the games.
      • Additionally, regarding psychopathy being genetic, if you were running a Tribute Breeding Facility under this scenario where would you start? Would you just run around putting weapons in the hands of every kid and see who does best? Or would you start with the children of previous Victors (whose parents are more likely to agree to training anyway because children of Victors are more likely to be "randomly" drawn)? While psychopathy is insanity there have been psychopaths who are both unencumbered by human empathy AND charming/manipulative. These sorts of people are the most likely winners of things like the Hunger Games. Keep breeding the manipulative/charming psychopaths together and you keep getting more manipulative/charming psychopath breeding stock.
      • The simplest answer is that the Careers are trained from a young age, not only in how to kill, but in the role they need to act. They're not trained specifically to kill but to put on a show for the cameras. They show off, people bet on them, people supply them. So from the age of say, five, to the age of eighteen, Cato is trained to be the strongest, to be the king of the hill, and to know he is. He's trained not just in how to kill people, but also in how to wound them. Same goes for Clove. But Cato is trained to use his size and viciousness to intimidate, while Clove is trained how to taunt people and drive them into a corner psychologically. It's not their personalities. It's purely and simply what they were taught to do in the games. And they can do it without remorse because they're taught from a young age that it's perfectly okay to kill the people from the other districts, and that drawing them out will bring more honor to their district, and who cares about the other districts?
        • ^They're not trained specifically to kill but to put on a show for the cameras.^ This would make sense if it was the Capitol training them, since they don't care who wins as long as its entertaining, but it's the districts doing the training. The career districts want to win the Games for the fame and the food, so you would think that they are training their tributes to kill. Of course, with the way the Games work, there is quite a bit of overlap between winning and entertaining...
    • 1) Because we see them through Katniss's eyes. 2) It's also an image thing. They wouldn't want to be seen having a weak moment while on camera or while one of their opponents was watching. Doubtless they go back to behaving like somewhat rational human beings once the Games are over.
  • Ranged weapons are Game Breakers. Why are none of the Careers trained in them other than Clove and Glimmer? They're clearly well-trained in close combat, which is pointless because the Hunger Games aren't one-on-one combat — survival is more important than brute strength, and close combat is much more dangerous, wears you down, etc. All the Careers need to be trained in are ranged weapons, stealth, and survival skills. So why do almost all the ones we see only use one, at most?
    • Considering that the arenas can contain almost any environment on earth, imagining training exclusively with a bow and arrow, only to be dumped in a place like a jungle or a swamp where visibility is zero to none. True, stealth and survival skills are still important, but a few days spent training with a particular weapon could easily prove to be wasted time if the wrong arena pops up.
      • That's no reason not to train Careers in it, though. They have years of training, there's no point ignoring a Game Breaker on the off-chance that this year the Gamemakers did something to counter it. Really, it would make more sense if the Gamemakers were more Genre Savvy and only allow throwing knives as ranged weapons, but they don't...
    • Any kind of weapon is heavily regulated in Panem. Bows and arrows are the next best thing to guns and landmines in guerrilla warfare, which is why it's a death sentence to own one; Katniss only knew how to use one because of her illegal poaching activities. It's possible that the Capitol will allow training in weapons such as swords and spears that would be essentially useless in a real war, but draws the line at giving anyone training with bows and arrows. Since there was only one bow included in the 74th hunger games and no mention of bows is made in any prior games, it's possible that the bow isn't normally even available in the hunger games and was only included because of Katniss's showing off her shooting skills to the gamemasters because they knew she could be a crowd pleaser. Even if there were bows in the previous hunger games, it isn't a weapon that you can just pick up and be effective with. It takes weeks of practice before it would have any game breaker potential.
    • Note that the Careers came from districts where they used weapon-like items in their daily jobs. Axes for the lumber district, Tridents/Spears for the fishing district, etc. So they get some training on their own. Also, it's easy to train with an item that can pass for a sword - a 2x2, an iron pipe, etc. There is no substitute for a bow.
      • That doesn't really seem to be the case. We don't really know what was going on in districts 1 and 2 which is where the careers came from. In 3 they did electronics. 4 they used tridents (for some stupid reason) and spears to fish.
          • District 1 is luxury goods, so there's not going to be a whole lot of physical activity involved in jeweling or lace making, and ostensibly, District 2 is the stone/masonry District, but it's also where Peacekeepers are trained and recruited and Panem's military and weapons hub after the Dark Days, so the children from District 2, aside from most of them probably being relatively strong and fit, would have at least some weapons training.
          • And using tridents and nets? Might be more truth in television than one would think.
    • In the movie, Cato, who's mainly a sword user, uses Glimmer's bow without any issues. I would think that all the Careers can use a variety of weapons, but chose their favorite/best weapon from the supplies after the bloodbath was over.
    • A very bow-centric Hunger Games would be much less entertaining than one that centers on hand to hand combat. So while the Capitol would look the other way when Careers trained with swords, spears, throwing knives, and so forth, they would disallow extensive training with bows and other very long ranged weapons, to prevent the games from becoming a shooting match.
  • Why are the Careers trained to fight to win, up to age 17-18 before they "volunteer"? All the Capitol demands is one boy and one girl tribute, and it would be far cheaper to throw them in at age 12 as soon as they're eligible. I suppose that they could have unlimited amounts of tesserae, enough that the Capitol effectively subsidizes their training; but if the Capitol allowed that, why wouldn't every District do it?
    • Well, to start, the Careers actually do volunteer themselves to be in the Hunger Games (at least in Districts 1 and 2; District 4 seems to be the odd District out because no one volunteered when 14-year-old Finnick got reaped and even he wasn't so cocky to volunteer that young) because they want the pride and money and "prosperity" to their District that winning would bring. With that in mind, think about it: would you rather have a 12 year old with no chance up against older, bigger tributes from other Districts if you wanted them to win? (Think about guys like Thresh; he could have easily taken out a bunch of twelve-year-old unless they were all really crafty and/or fast.) And then there's a certain level of maturity and level-headedness needed to form alliances and learn survival skills. You kinda have to look at it from a business stand point in that you have to spend money to make money. A well-trained 18-year-old has infinitely better odds at killing 23 other kids than someone who hasn't even hit their first growth spurt. As for not letting the other Districts train the same way, the other Districts aren't close or favored, so they'd be much more willing to use their training skills to start a rebellion, especially in places like District 11, where tensions are already high. If you just let a couple Districts train, then they're much less likely to revolt (it took destroying the Nut for District 2 to fall) and if it's usually just the Districts with decent relations that win the Games, there are probably going to be a lot less problematic Victors like Haymitch. Plus, it serves to further the whole "make the Districts resent each other" thing the Capitol uses to keep them from banding together and rebelling again.
      • My apologies, reverse media consumption error *ie, I saw the movie before reading the book).

Other Stuff

  • Mags volunteered for Annie because she was up in her years anyway, and Finnick's protection over Katniss' pregnancy would be from all those capitol lovers, right?
    • Until Mockingjay mentions they had a son. Given in Mockingjay Annie came back merely 7 weeks after she last saw Finnick, that easily puts her in the 9-15 week stage of pregnancy.
    • First time mothers don't show that early, so as long as Katniss didn't notice...
  • Why does Katniss treat Cinna as her friend after knowing him for, what, ten minutes? And then lighting her on fire? Sure, he made her stand out and therefore gave her an advantage, but the most she should think about the guy who, you know, dresses up people so they look good before they're brutally slaughtered for the entertainment of the masses, is "Oh he's talented I guess", not "Wow, he is suddenly my bestest friend ever!"
    • Remember, he is good to her and (in later books) even helps her survive. In the first book, he manages to get her mockingjay pin in the arena with her, which is super important.
    • Katniss has a habit of clinging to any person that treats her like a human being. Notice how she's never been able to let go of a piece of burnt bread Peeta chucked at her, even when it was years ago, and how she takes Rue under her wing without the slightest hesitation.
    • Cinna has also demonstrated several orders of magnitude more class than anyone else involved with the Games, and everything he's done for her or advised her to do has worked out in her favor. She latches onto him as the only person she can possibly trust because he's the only one other than Peeta and Haymitch who's consistently treated her as a human being rather than a player in an upcoming spectacle; she can't trust Peeta because as far as she knows they'll be enemies in the arena, and she can't trust Haymitch because he's a sarcastic, belligerent drunk who doesn't seem to like her, but Cinna comes across as safe, approachable, and understanding.
  • Why is cannibalism prohibited in the Games? These people cry for the blood of innocent traumatized children and enjoy watching them kill each other for sport. Any kind of psychopath who enjoys something like the Games is not going to be put off by a little cannibalism.
    • Even Evil Has Standards, anyone? ... Seriously, if you actually do your research, you'll note that there are cultures throughout history which did stuff like this - sacrificing people while treating them like gods prior to it all, etc. More importantly, it's a reflection of our culture, the Western World - we can watch people brutally killing each other so long as it's distant from us, and this is the logical extension of that when people lose that attachment to reality. The Capitol see the Games like an epic, anual television series without really stopping to think and consider the brutal reality. As for the cannibalism: there are loads of cultures who have, historically, done such dread-provoking things, but stopped short of cannibalism because it's a step too far. More significantly, cannibalism takes away the humanity from the Tributes completely. The people don't want to cheer for a winner of the Games who is a brutal, unstable creature beyond humanity, they want some kind of god on a pedestal, a 'special' being if you will. After all, didn't even the Greeks/Norse/etc. envision their own gods as being very human - if not admirable - in behaviour?
      • Even Evil Has Standards? They enjoy watching twelve-year-olds beat each other to death with spiked maces. Ha Ha Ha No. Anyone who enjoys that — not even tolerates it, enjoys it — is not going to be put off by cannibalism. As for your second point, that's another thing the book fails at. The Hunger Games are incredibly traumatic, you would not get a functional human at the end of it, even if they survived. They may be able to patch your body back together, but they can't do anything for your mind. Yes, yes, Katniss has Bad Dreams, but that's not even close to the level of trauma people would get realistically. People should have extreme PTSD at best, and suicidally depressed at the worst.
        • This troper believes that someone needs to stop armchair psychoanalysing. Humans are more resilient than most of us think.
        • Where are you getting your info from? There's no such thing a a sliding scale of "standards" that you speak of. Hitler slaughtered millions of men women and children, he didn't just "tolerate" it, he "advocated" it. Guess what? He disapproved of cannibalism. We slaughter pigs and chickens by the millions yet feel horrified when we hear of people abusing dogs or cats. Point is, there is no neat set of standards people abide by, if you were raised being taught killing children is OK but cannibalism is wrong, then you will abide by exactly those standards, no questions asked.
        • Haymitch was a drunk, the morplings were morphine addicts, Annie was just crazy, Finnick agreed to whore himself out because he no longer felt any self worth, Peeta and Katniss both suffer debilitation nightmares and an inability to form close relationships with anyone they meet and are constantly terrified of Snow and the Capitol killing them and everyone they love for no reason.
          • Finnick agreed to whore himself out because if he didn't, his family and loved ones would be killed. It had nothing to do with his sense of self-worth.
      • I don't know if I would classify it as Even Evil Has Standards, but it's perfectly reasonable for the crowd to be turned off by cannibalism given the history of bloodsports. Crowds watching TV at home would want a somewhat heroic character to root for; Roman gladiators, for example, were expected to act with a degree of honor as they killed each other for the crowd's amusement, and tributes were expected to not breach certain mores. A cannibal seems too inhuman, too monstrous; the crowd starts to realize the dehumanizing effects of the game and has trouble rooting for someone so utterly unrelatable.
      • The rest of the injuries in the games, however horrible, can be made to look romantic and interesting. There's a level of disgustingness in cannibalism that even bashing skulls in can't touch. On a Fridge Brilliance note, televised cannibalism might start riots in some of the districts by hitting a little close to home. Think about it: there's not enough to eat...
      • And think about it-the fact that the Capitol looks down on cannibalism is supposed to be IRONIC. They're essentially cannibalizing the districts, draining them of hope, resources, and sacrificing their children, all the while maintaining a holier than thou, "fount of civilization" self image. Besides, the fact is the gamemakers and the more psychotic of the audience may not care about cannibalism themselves-they may even enjoy watching it-but the people in charge are aware that the social taboos on cannibalism make consuming human flesh in the arena a possible riot starter.
  • Speaking isn't the only form of communication. What's to stop Avoxes from writing or using sign language? And on that note, they're generally slaves in charge of things like cleaning and cooking. They are also usually people who have nothing to lose. What's to stop them from mixing chemicals together in a fatal reaction, or causing food poisoning?
    • There are two solutions to this: first, you have to be educated in sign language to use it. Second, communication between them is probably monitored and portrayed as a no-no, even for those who can speak. As to the poisoning: why didn't slaves who had nothing to lose do it in the past? In case no one has figured out, the entire nation- including the Capitol- is bugged. Not only would the poison probably not reach its destination, but retribution would probably be bestowed on all Avoxes serving the home/facility in question by having them taste the food beforehand.
      • That would work I suppose...but still, what's to stop them from mixing two household chemicals and releasing poisonous gas everywhere or something like that, if they're in charge of cleaning?
      • "Nothing to lose" is a lot more drastic a statement than you might think. They might have awful lives, but they have lives nonetheless, and for a lot of them, that would probably be enough: killing their masters and getting caught (which would be almost sure, for the reasons expressed above) would be a death sentence, and probably a painful one. Not to mention that some of them probably still have free families and friends, and killing family members as punishment seems to be accepted practice in the Capitol.
      • First and foremost, it takes INTENSE amount of chlorine gas to kill a person: generally you can see it before it hits you, and requires a 0.001% concentration to be fatal (which is high when you're dealing with household cleaners). Furthermore, it requires knowledge of chemical compounds to create. Besides: as far as we can tell based on Katniss' opinions (and she's pretty damn bitter) hatred isn't directed at Capitol citizens, who are seen more as poor lost (idiotic) souls. It's the government that's taking the hate, as is the case in any war/subservient national relationship.
      • Also, Stockholm Syndrome.
    • Bit of a moot point: Pollux uses sign language in Mockingjay.
  • This requires a good bit of re-writing, but let's say that the setup for the Quarter Quell was something different (anything that wouldn't mean Katniss is going back). What's to stop Prim from getting picked *again*? What would Katniss do then?
    • Prepare her sister the best she could? Prim is shown to be a competent healer and can recognize things that are and are not safe to eat. If she could get away from the Cornucopia with a backpack like Katniss did and managed to hide from the Careers, Prim could have made it pretty far. Hell, if the Careers all killed each other or there was some "natural" disaster that injured many of the tributes, who wouldn't have been able to heal themselves like Prim could heal herself, she could have won. Plus, wasn't Prim well liked by the people of the Capitol? She would have had plenty of sponsors.
      • Still, at only 13 years old and not really a fighter, she probably wouldn't have stood much of a chance no matter how well Katniss tried. Which would mean that, if Snow rigged the topic and reapings of the Quarter Quell so that Prim was chosen, it probably would have done a far better job of breaking Katniss and putting down the rebellion than throwing Katniss and a bunch of Victors in did.
        • The third Quarter Quell using only previous victors might have been a bit coincidental, but Prim being chosen AGAIN for the hunger games would be so painfully contrived that absolutely nobody in the capitol or districts would believe for an instant that Snow didn't just flat out rig the ballot. After all, the reason that Snow says he doesn't just arrange an "accident" to happen is because nobody would buy it. Furthermore, Snow doesn't want Katniss to be "broken" (yet) but rather for her to to stop the rebellion, killing off her sister would no doubt anger her enough to spur her into full on rebellion mode.
  • Why did the capitol ever develop nuclear weapons? It is strongly implied in the series that Panem is the last nation on earth. What enemies did it have that it needed that level of weaponry?
    • If there are other nations that would justify Panem getting nuclear weapons, why did District 13 not at least attempt to recruit them as allies?


Fridge Horror

  • How do Avoxes eat?!
  • What happened to the people who needed tesserae after the announcement that the drawing for the Quarter Quell would only be among past victors?
    • Tesserae is a mark that stays with you for all the years you are eligible to enter. They just dodged the bullet for that year.
      • And therefore, all the 18-year-olds are lining up in droves in front of all the Justice Buildings to take as many tesserae as they're allowed to take.
      • Would that actually happen, though? Would that time count as a year they're eligible to enter anymore, since their names wouldn't be entered for the reapings anyway? (Relatedly, what about 18-year olds whose birthday is after the Games? Would they be able to sign up for tesserae if they'd bcome ineligible before the next games?)
        • On the relatedly: it is not about the year they turn, but their actual age. Katniss became eligible when she turned twelve, even though it was almost a year until the next reaping. Logically, an eighteen-year-old is still eligible, even if he turns nineteen the next day. This means there may have been kids who turned nineteen shortly after being reaped/going into the Hunger Games, but the difference would not have been big enough to matter. After all, they don't know how long each Games will last until it's over.
  • The epilogue. At first, it seems like a glimmer of hope among the bleak, that Peeta and Katniss live to have children, who will grow up in a world better than the one they grew up in. But then, you realise that these kids are going to grow up with a severely depressed, emotionally numb Broken Bird for a mother, and a father who has difficulty seperating reality from fiction and is still susceptible to mental programming that at any moment could cause him to flip out and kill their mother. Maybe having kids wasn't the best decision on Katniss and Peeta's part...
    • Except that Peeta was already beyond most of his trauma (not all, but enough to control himself) at the book's end and Katniss is very giving person no matter how bitter she is. Plus, it's specifically stated they waited 15 years before having kids. This world has therapists, and they're smart enough to see them when kids are on the line. Their life won't be perfect, and Katniss and Peeta will always have problems with themselves but that doesn't make them bad parents.
      • No one said that they are bad parents. The only thing suggested is that perhaps it wasn't such a good idea for them to have children.
      • The mention of their children reminded me of Art Spiegelman's afterword to Maus: A Survivor's Tale. There Spiegelman, the child of two Holocaust survivors, recounts how he assumed as a child that all adults moaned and thrashed all night in their sleep. He was rather amazed by the discovery that other kids' parents didn't do this. Expect Katniss and Peeta's kids to grow up believing that it's totally normal for grownups to wake up screaming in the night or to stare into space muttering "real or not real?" No, far from ideal, but kids adjust--they can flourish even under very damaged parents as long as the parents are loving and responsible.
        • Exactly. They'll reach adolescence thinking their parents are normal, having never gone hungry or even tasted stale bread and not quite grasping the whole "chance of being forced to fight to the death in your teens" thing, and it'll slowly unfold to them just how hard their parents had to fight to make the world that way for them, and the scars that it left...
    • Additionally to the above points: just because Katniss and Peeta are not 100% recovered and emotionally healthy and well-adjusted after their experiences doesn't mean they're still in exactly the same broken and traumatized states as they were in the period immediately after the events of the novel. Fifteen years after the fact, while they still struggle with nightmares, depression, and other issues, they are almost certainly not the basket cases the original comment describes, thanks to time, a functional support structure, and the opportunity for professional help.
  • Finnick, the heartthrob of District 4, reveals his forced prostitution under President Snow in Mockingjay. Now, with that in mind, remind yourself of how Katniss nearly got cosmetic surgery to look more attractive after the 74th Games, and the fact that she might have suffered the same fate had it not been for Haymitch's intervention.
    • Even more horrifying when you remember Finnick was only 14 when he won his Hunger Games...
      • In Catching Fire, Katniss notes that the citizens of the Capitol waited until he was 16 until they went after him.
      • I assumed that was the story given out for public consumption. If Snow could benefit in some way by letting someone have clandestine access to an underage Finnick, then there'd be no such thing as any Jail Bait Wait.
    • For further horror, remember how Katniss noted that the prep teams often sent the tributes in the parade nearly or completely naked, and considers it a near miss that Cinna doesn't do this. Almost as if they were being shopped. Then notice that the children of tributes are more likely to be chose for the Games ... perhaps because their parents refused Snow's demands?
    • It should also be noted that Finnick had to become a prostitute because the Capitol threatened to kill everyone he loved. Then remember that Johanna states in Catching Fire that everyone she loves is dead. Considering that Johanna is mentioned as being one of the young and relatively attractive victors, there's a large chance that Johanna refused the Capitol's prostitution demands and that the Capitol responded by killing everyone she cared about.
    • Take note that all the attractive tributes we know of (and maybe even the unattractive) have likely been forced to prostitute themselves. Cashmere and Gloss, Finnick and Johanna, probably Enobaria... And if Glimmer or Marvel had won the 74th, the same fate probably would have befallen them.
  • The winners of the Hunger Games becomes mentors for the next tributes. Children of tributes are often chosen for the Games ... there's probably some mentors that had to mentor their own children, imagine how that must feel.
  • Finnick is mentioned as pulling Annie back when she retreats into her own world. She's been like this for years. Well, Finnick dies and she has his baby. What happens if she starts to retreat into her own world? Finnick isn't there to pull her back.
    • The kid was therapeutic for her. It happens.
  • Katniss and Peeta are implied to have watched all 57 of the relevant tapes from the old Hunger Games in Catching Fire. So they watched over 1,300 teenagers be murdered on television in a few months.


Fridge Brilliance

  • Throughout the series, Katniss has trouble relating to others. She assumes Peeta is lying the entire time he's saying he's in love with her because she understands manipulation rather than emotion. Why? Because she has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as the result of her totally brutal childhood. Common symptoms of PTSD: avoidance, feelings of detachment or estrangement from others and restricted range of affect (numbing)? Check. Sleep disturbance, nightmares, irritability, anger (and impulsiveness)? Check. Intrusive reexperiencing and dissociative recall? Less until Mockingjay, but still present early on. Katniss' bitchiness is actually well written, undiagnosed, deep seated psychological trauma.
    • Even more brilliant? Prim doesn't have PTSD. Why? One of the resilience factors in not developing PTSD is having a strong sense of family providing a sense of safety for you. Katniss' mother checked out leaving no one for Katniss, but Prim had her older sister.
  • This suddenly hit me the other day: Suzanne Collins has made it so that you, the reader, are a person from the Capitol! Let me explain: Most people I know love the first book, are okay with the second, and dislike the third. Their reasoning is that things start to go bad. Well, by the end of the first book, you're enjoying yourself, right? A lot of horrible stuff has happened, people have been hurt and died, but you're enjoying yourself. It was exciting! That's like the Capitol citizen, watching the Hunger Games on television and enjoying it. Then, in the second and third books, things start to go nasty. War, Anyone Can Die, stuff like that. Suddenly, you don't like the books anymore. That's because the Capitol citizen is being shown what danger is really like. It's not fun. It's nasty. It's traumatic. It's real.
    • So that would mean that the people who enjoyed all books (although 3rd a little less) would be District 13?
    • Not necessarily. I liked Catching Fire the best, and disliked Mockingjay because I felt it was full of Character Derailment and bad writing, not necessarily because of all the trauma. Though I do admit it is a rather radical departure from the other two books; it would have worked better if the tone was more consistent.
    • Are the people who couldn't tolerate the first book good human beings by this metric, then?
    • I'd say this is only because the author knew human nature well enough to recognize how many/almost all of us are (even unwillingly) drawn to chaos and carnage as something interesting. This can be disastrous and tragic, like when a person becomes a murderer, but it can also be beneficial: consider a media frenzy over a train accident because of unsafe rails. People care about the story because it both horrifies and intrigues them, but this obsession will likely lead to steps to prevent it from happening to us (new legislation/safety precautions). Similarly, a person who's drawn to action or blood might as well become a police officer or a doctor--not just a criminal or a serial killer. My point is that a person intrigued by gore isn't necessarily evil! The crime of the people of the Capitol is that they can't distinguish the line between fiction and reality, because the districts' populations are so far removed from them culturally, in appearance, and in just about any other way that they sympathize with them no more than we would with a fictional protagonist.
      • To expand on this, notice that in Catching Fire, the Victors go out of their way in the pre-Games interviews to humanize themselves to the audiences and make it as difficult as possible for them to be seen as fictional characters as opposed to real people.
      • Well, if you think about it, the symbolism in the books is quite clear. We are from the capitol. What do you think the US or Europe looks like to people from poor country's? Sure, they have rich people everywhere (winners). But where is the place where half of the food gets thrown away? [[[Humans Are Bastards]] right...]
  • A minor bit of Fridge Brilliance of the Meaningful Name variety with Lavinia (the Avox girl not named until the third book). This name seemed random until I read a summary of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus and read about the eventual fate of that Lavinia: among other things, her tongue was cut out.
  • In Katniss and Gale's first scene together, Gale shows up with a loaf of bread (symbolizing Peeta) that has an arrow (symbolizing Katniss) stuck to it. Make of that what you will.
    • Don't forget all the times that fire and bread are alluded to in one scene. The bread scene when Katniss was eleven and the wedding rites of District 12 are two significant ones.
  • I was sort of hoping the tribute nicknamed 'Foxface' would have more significance as a character in The Hunger Games. She just sort of hung around and then get killed accidentally by Peeta. But then I realized that is the significance of her character. Whether or not Suzanne Collins actually intended it, she answered a question that is on all of our minds. How would a tribute do if he or she just hid from the others and carefully scavenged food and didn't kill anyone (as far as we know, she didn't) and just waited it out as the others killed each other? The answer is this: if she's as sneaky and clever as that girl, pretty well. She came in fourth and it was only by chance that Peeta happened to have poisoned berries in his food stash right at the moment she stole their food. Remember Finnick's comment about none of the Victors being Victors by chance and all of them being lacking in compassion and quick to kill? Well, if Foxface had still been alive, in the final battle with the mutts when they attacked Cato, Katniss and Peeta, the mutts wouldn't have backed off and Katniss and Peeta couldn't hold on forever. So she shows that maybe you can be a victor by laying low, just focusing on stealing food and avoiding the others as they finish each other off. Who knows?
    • Her weakness, though, was that she had absolutely no survival skills. Had she waited maybe ten minutes, she might have overheard Katniss telling Peeta "Don't eat these berries, they'll kill you." But Foxface ate them at once, and died, and when Katniss sees her "emaciated" body, she understands — Foxface was on the brink of starvation the whole time, and hunger is the one thing you can't outsmart.
    • Her other weakness is that that kind of victory would be...undramatic. The Hunger Games are put on for the entertainment of the people of the Capitol, who are starved for action and blood. The last thing the gamemasters would allow would be a victory by someone who basically spent the entire Games laying low and not doing anything. Even if she hadn't met her end at Peeta's poisoned berries, it's highly likely that a suitably dramatic death was being arranged for her anyway.
  • In Catching Fire, Haymitch promises both Katniss and Peeta that he'll work with them to get the other one out alive. When Katniss and Peeta discuss this in the arena, Peeta points out that Haymitch has to be lying to one of them. Although the narrative never specifically addresses it later on, he's not lying to either of them - he's hoping to get them both out with the help of the rebels.
  • Having not read any other books by Suzanne Collins, I posit that the writing and facts contained in the book are flawed because it's told by a poorly educated 16 year old who never really has a full understanding of what is going on. All the info dumps are done from her point of view and based on her experiences. She grew up in a small, impoverished coal mining town. She was taught everything she knew about hunting from her father and best friend. All of that knowledge has been passed down by at least one other person since it's been 73 years since the the second war, even longer since the first. Most knowledge of using bows as sport may have even been lost before then since this is set 10 seconds in the future. Even her mother's strange healing knowledge can be explained by this (keeping flies away from open wounds when you don't have any better way of cleaning them? That's something that goes back centuries that can be explained by society being overly reliant on technology and then in a heartbeat have it all taken away).
    • Makes sense, except for when the facts are things Katniss really ought to know about. Like facts about hunting and whatnot. The ability to shoot a squirrel through the eye seems a bit... much.
      • Unless she shot with pointed sticks at small game.
  • Peeta's favorite color being orange: "like sunset". Like fire? And note that a muted, sunset-like orange was also the color of the dress Katniss wore at the end of the first book, the one that made it look as if she was "wearing candlelight". The dress was calculated to make her look innocent, but Cinna stated that he thought Peeta would like it. Apparently, he did.
  • Peeta is shown to be a smooth and remorseless liar more than once, and even though it's done for the sake of surviving the Games (specifically for Katniss to survive the Games), I wondered how a guy who is otherwise so genuinely decent and idealistic could also be so practiced at deception. And then it occurred to me that the answer might lie in his family life; with an abusive mother and a father who seemed unable to protect him much of the time, lying was probably a means of self-protection for young Peeta rather than something immoral or wrong. Remember, even his act of kindness in giving bread to a starving Katniss was an act of deception against his mother. After growing up deceiving and manipulating abusive or indifferent adults to protect himself, playing the repressive regime and the entertainment-hungry audience in order to save the girl he loved probably came naturally to him. Seen this way, his character makes more sense to me.
  • Though Panem has some pretty crazy name customs ("Hi, I'm Glimmer!"), Effie, whether it was intended this way or not, is short for Elizabeth. Elizabeth Banks portrayed her in the film. YMMV, but that's kind of cool.
  • YMMV on this, but when Peeta's name was called during the Reaping, he had this horrified expression on his face. Initially, being one who has never touched any of the books, I thought he was intended to be just a faceless nobody who was afraid that he was going to die. It didn't hit me until after he had proclaimed his love for Katniss that the horrified expression he had at the beginning of the movie was because he was going to fight against the love of his life. Could also have some Fridge Horror, though. Imagine you and the person you cherish the most being pitted against 22 others in a battle to the death, and the rules are, "24 enter, 1 survives."
    • Good point, but you might be overstating the whole romance thing, at least at this point. Peeta had a crush on Katniss. You need to actually know the person to really fall in love with them. A better example might be finding yourself having to fight against a friend or just someone you know. Not as dramatic but still somewhat disturbing.
      • If he was watching her walk home everyday and covertly staring at her at school, it was probably a bit more than a crush. He was at least seriously infatuated with her, probably to the point of being in love with the idea of her. It should be noted that Peeta seemed to know a lot more about Katniss than she knew about him, so maybe he could have loved her based on what he knew.
  • The name of the mockingjay. Mockingjay. Not only because it's part mockingbird, but because its very existence taunts the Capitol.
  • And did no-one else pick that the name became a double-entendre when applied to Katniss? In one sense, she was "The Mockingjay", which was the name given to the rebel leader. In another, the way that Coin's media machine kept trying to set her up as a "revolutionary celebrity" by making her parrot high-sounding phrases and dramatic but empty slogans made her very much a "mockingjay", ie a bird that mindlessly repeats everything that is said to it!
  • The Shaky Cam in the Reaping scene. At first it was just annoying because it was purely an artistic choice - there was no violence that needed to be obfuscated to keep it PG-13 - but it makes sense as an artistic choice because it's the most violent thing in the whole movie - it's where the characters are put in the position that leads to all the blood and gore in the Arena.
  • Peeta. Pita. His family makes bread.
    • Could also be seen as Biblical. St Peter was Christ's 'rock' and Peeta in The Hunger Games is Katniss's rock. Someone she can always rely on. Until Mockingjay, when, after he's hijacked by Snow, he denies her in very violent terms.
  • While I was first reading The Hunger Games, I initially chalked up the spelling of Capitol with an "o" instead of an "a" as a "Because poor literacy is kewL" moment, as did my mom. When discussing it, we realized that it was because the Capitol was deliberately trying to invoke a templesque image in the citizenry of Panem.
  • In Mockingjay, I wondered for a long time about Katniss voting yes for holding another, Capitol-centered, Hunger Games. We get her thought process, but not her motivation. In the end it occurred to me: she had to convince Coin to trust her, but even more so she had to find out what she would do... and Coin said she'd make sure Snow knew about the last Hunger Games with Capitol children, assuming that would cause him anguish. At least to me, that is like having Coin testify that even she would not have expected Snow to bomb his own child human shields.
    • Talking about Coin said she'd make sure Snow knew, the vote was right before the scheduled public execution of Snow. I guess Coin announced the decision in public before letting Katniss carry out the execution. The crowd must have been furious (they finally understand the horror of sending their children to certain death), a riot is imminent, all they need is a spark. And then Katniss shot Coin...
      • And then Katniss' trial after she shot President Coin. They used the Insanity Defense and sent her home. The new government can't afford to execute her, as they risk uprising from the Capitol people and their sympathizers, and making her a martyr. And of course there won't be another Hunger Games.
  • I wondered why, in Catching Fire, Cashmere, the female tribute from District 1, is so controlling of Gloss, the male and her brother. Whenever they're pictured together, she's dragging him around. Then I realized... they're siblings. And their games were CONSECUTIVE YEARS. WHAT ARE THE ODDS? So Gloss was probably selected as a tribute the year after his sister either as punishment for Cashmere, or because she was just so spectacular. No wonder she's protective of him! There was a very, very slim chance he would make it back from his games! Makes their deaths a lot sadder...
    • They were Career tributes, it's likely they would have volunteered.
      • Unlikely. Brutus is specifically mentioned as volunteering, but not Enobaria or the siblings. Also, they both go out of their way during their interviews to reflect badly on the Capitol and try to get the Games cancelled. It seems like only the craziest of the crazies would want to go through that arena again.
        • I am thinking that the siblings volunteered for their first Games on consecutive years, so "what are the odds of two siblings being chosen on consecutive years?" doesn't really apply. After they won their first Games, they were promised an easy life with lots of money and no more reapings, right until the Quarter Quell rule change, and both got chosen. Feeling betrayed, and also the horror of killing each other, they tried to get the Games cancelled.
  • The rebellions in Mockingjay got my goat for a little while because Katniss seems to hear about everything secondhand. She never really does much. By the time Katniss joins in, all the Districts are already rebelling, and in fact, they've already won, except for Two, which is sorted out quickly enough courtesy of one single move by Gale and Beetee. There's revolution sweeping the entire country, an empire being toppled, and we don't even get to see most of it. Even in the very end, she's unconscious and nearly dead when the Capitol's finally overthrown. She didn't have anything to do with the final battle. But then, as the ending and the epilogue went on, it hit me: That's the entire point. This is not the story of a girl who led the rebels to victory. This is the story of a girl who's used by every single faction for every single second of her life. She's not a champion. She's a tool. That's her character arc, and only in the very final pages of the series does she finally learn to live as a person again.
    • You can even see tremendous hints of this really early on, in her first Games, where the only thing keeping her alive was her public image, which was lovingly crafted by Peeta and Cinna. They made her tragic and beautiful, respectively. So, even then, her life and death were decided by other people — not just the Capitol, but even people who love her, people more talented and brilliant than she was to begin with.
      • Is it really fair to lump Peeta and Cinna in with the rest? Everyone else was trying to control her, there's no doubt of that, but those two were purely in it to save her life, and neither were looking to gain anything out of it. Peeta, at the very least, was never trying to use her at any point.
        • I'd say that Peeta and Cinna manipulated everyone else to view Katniss as something she wasn't. It was all about what people wanted to see in Katniss, instead of who she actually was. Point still stands.
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