#93 Fireside Chat: They're Not Done Yet Saturday 26 January, 2013

“They’re Not Done Yet”

If you missed Episode 93 live last night, click here to listen to the recording OR simply use the embedded player below!

(Image of Shepherd Lake in Ringwood State Park, NJ, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Episode 93 of Hunger Games Fireside Chat will air live this Monday, January 28, at 10pm ET/7pm PT! This week, our panel of experts will include Ellie from Down with the Capitol, Crystal of Mockingjay.net and FictionalFood.net, Courtney of Welcome to District 12, Rebekah of Victor’s Village, and Ariel of Nerdy, Wordy, and Over Thirty.

We had a nice week off last week, but we’re ready to get back into the swing of things! We have a super fun, jam-packed show planned, so we hope you’ll be able to tune in live! Here’s what’s on our agenda:

– Since we couldn’t get to them last time, we’ll kick things off by sharing some of your comments about the Entertainment Weekly cover and Catching Fire stills.

– Ellie from Down with the Capitol will fill us in on her experience as an audience member during Jennifer Lawrence’s episode of Saturday Night Live. She also has a special Victory Tour 2013 announcement to make!

– We’ll then discuss the news that Jennifer Lawrence shared in a recent interview with the Belfast Telegraph: There’s still more Catching Fire filming to be done! Principal photography will apparently continue and then officially wrap sometime in March.

– We’ll also talk about the surprising announcement that On Location Vacations made on Friday, January 25, about Catching Fire filming for two days in Ringwood State Park, NJ. Why New Jersey? And why now? We’ll share our thoughts!

– In light of several recent discussions surrounding the release of the Entertainment Weekly cover, we’ll attempt to answer the question: Why is Finnick such an important character? We’d love to know YOUR answers, so please leave a comment below telling us about the role you think Finnick plays in the series, why he’s so beloved, etc.

– We’ll also speculate about how Effie’s character might be changed for the films.

– At 10:45pm ET, we’ll be joined by Valerie Estelle Frankel, author of Katniss the Cattail: An Unauthorized Guide to Names and Symbols in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. You can read our review here. We can’t wait to talk to Valerie about her book and love of The Hunger Games and heroines in general. If you have any questions for Valerie, leave them in a comment here and we’ll do our best to bring them up on the show!

You can chat with other listeners throughout the live show by using our hashtag #HGFiresideChat on Twitter! We recommend TweetChat to easily follow along with the conversation.

(If you missed our last episode, click here to listen!)

And click here for an index of all of our archived episodes.

Follow this week’s participants on Twitter:
Adam (Host): @AdamSpunberg
Savanna (Co-Host/Producer): @MlleNouveau
Down with the Capitol: @HungerGamesDWTC (Ellie: @MuchMoreMacho)
Crystal: @pikko / @mockingjaynet / @FictionalFood
Courtney: @WtoD12
Rebekah: @VictorsVillage / @Rebekahdg
Ariel: @Madam_Pince
Valerie Estelle Frankel: @valeriefrankel


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35 Comments

  • Maia says:

    I think Finnick is important to me is at first his character seemed to be just some snobby over sexed man, but as we go deeper into his character we learn he is just the same as Katniss and the other victors , a victim of the games.

  • Connor says:

    There are times where I see people say Finnick’s only purpose in the story is to be fangirl-ed. That if you remove him from the story, it wouldn’t really affect the main plot much.

    Yeah, he’s good looking and charismatic, but I think all of that is about establishing Katniss’s stereotypes and how she’ll eventually overcome them. Early in the first book and in the movie, we learn that Katniss has a hard time reading people. In general, those who appear good-looking, powerful, and assertive (Gale
    aside) intimidate her and can’t be trusted. Instead, she is drawn to
    the bent and broken, those whom she knows have suffered like she has,
    because she feels they share a common pain and purpose.

    Katniss sees Finnick and assumes he’s the type of person she cannot
    trust because he stands tall and arrogant and he’s flirtatious with
    her, not to mention his reputation with the ladies of the Capitol. She
    learns in a backwards kind of way that you can’t judge a book by its
    cover (a good lesson for teens, who usually negatively judge those who
    don’t look “perfect,” whereas Katniss’s stereotype is that in
    reverse). She comes to see that Finnick is much more than what he
    appears to be, than what the Capitol has created him to be.

  • Samantha N says:

    At first, Finnick isn’t really important. When we meet him at the Quarter Quell, he’s just another old victor whom Katniss judges too quickly. Soon, he become important because he saves Peeta’s life. But then in Mockingjay, he becomes vital because he is the only character that actually understands and helps Katniss through her depression. While Gale and D13 just keep barking at her to get up and stop being a whiney baby, Finnick understand that what she needs is not to face this pressure head on to try and conquer it, but to just be able to bare it. He becomes her emotional Rock in the place of Peeta while he is captured.

  • beachboy13ds says:

    ive read a few times online that people think that they were going to shoot in Ringwood State Park for some snow scenes, but I’d just like to clarify, as someone who lives in Southern New Jersey (less than 2 hours away from the park), we did not get any snow here until around 4 pm on Friday night, and the report stated that Friday morning would have been the end of their second day of filming. I think it’s safe to say that they’re going to take out the winter setting of the movie and just make all of District 12 resemble the spring-like forest we saw in The Hunger Games.

    • Connor says:

      I thought it was said that they used fake snow in the NJ shoot? Or Snow from machines.

      • Scottsdale says:

        Where did you read that!? I hadn’t seen that anywhere!

  • Sarah says:

    I sort of feel like Finnick can represent the way our society views celebraties. Because in reality the victors are the capitols equivelant to actors, muscians, etc. His sense winning his Games is to please the Capitol citizens in whatever way that they want. Sort of leaving him with very little privacy (at least that is how I imagined in the book) The Capitol citizens forget that Finnick is a human being with feelings, and is not ment to be bought, sold, and over sexualized. I always thought of it as a critique on how our society seems preocupied on who’s dating who, who wore it best, and every detail of a celbraties personal life looking into things that really have nothing to do with their job. At least that’s an intreperation I got out of Finnick. I’m not sure if that made sense or was even logical.

    • Sarah: I agree, but it makes me think more of athletes than musicians or actors. They are celebrated, often even considered national heroes in the way that artists usually aren’t, for winning (and bringing glory to their district… err, country), but there is a dark underbelly to their athletic achievements. Some sports are even directly comparable to gladitorial fights, e.g. boxing (which can result in serious injuries and death; and I’ve often heard sports commentators call boxers “modern gladiators”, apparently without realizing how horrible that sounds!), but also many other sports (soccer, American football, ice hockey, basketball and other team sports) where athletes are often encouraged to be aggressive to the players of the opposite team, even though this is against the rules. Furthermore, many sport disciplines that don’t involve athletes injuring each other and are celebrated as examples of human achievement (track and field, swimming, cycling etc.), actually involve many of the athletes secretly taking illegal substances like steroids, growth hormone etc. and ruining their health; and while many would like to treat the cases of disgraced athletes who were caught as exceptions, there are indications that this is far more wide spread that the public would like to believe. Not to mention the examples such as the doping in East German Olympic teams, when this was forced on the athletes by their coaches and sports organizations, in an attempt to “bring more glory to the country”. There’s also the fact that most athletes start training very young and that this is usually not their choice, but the choice of their parents. They have their fate decided by others before they even come of age (e.g. in Europe it’s usual for a sports team to have a lock on a teenage or pre-teen player and then decide to sell him to another team, possibly a foreign one). Then there are things like teenage (particularly female) athletes being sexually abused by their coaches.

      The way that Coin and Show both use Victors (at least the young, attractive ones) for propaganda reminds me of the way young, successful athletes (especially if they are popular and attractive) can be paraded and used by the regimes in their countries for propaganda purposes. (Maybe it doesn’t include sex trafficking, but let’s not forget that Nadia Comaneci ran away from Romania to escape the “attentions” of Causescu’s infamous son Nicu. Another infamous dictator’s son, Ussay Hussein, was known to torture the Iraqi athletes if they did not perform well in international competitions.) And now just the sports heroes – Yuri Gagarin was mercilessly used by Soviet propaganda machine.

      • Argh typo and no edit function! It’s “Uday Hussein” of course.

      • Satsuma says:

        Ivana, it occurs to me that while we SC didn’t include direct mentions of PEDs/doping in the Hunger Games, the fact that “training for the Games” is technically against the rules, but that the Gamemakers close their eyes to the fact that the Careers DO train for their Games, is also a kind of cheating that is “offically” banned but unofficially winked at, or even encouraged.

        That being said, you make it sound like the average pro athlete is merely a brainwashed slave who has no free will at all, but is at the mercy of parents, agents, coaches, etc. I think that’s taking the comparison way too far, though maybe it’s more applicable in Europe? I just can’t buy into the idea that athletes are all innocent victims of “the system” who have no personal responsibility at all.

        Also, if you really believe this, then I think it’s inconsistent for you to say that Gale has personal culpability for his actions, but that athletes/Careers/Victors don’t. You could argue that Coin (and others such as Plutarch) manipulates Gale and takes advantage of his youthful idealism and naivete, and that Coin, and only Coin, is responsible for the bombing that killed Prim. BTW, I’m curious, do you hold the hovercraft pilot who actually carried out the bombing to be just as guilty as Gale? Or can he use the “I was just following orders” defense?

        The only difference I can think of between Tributes and Gale, really, is that of being “over age” or not. Maybe I misread what you wrote, but your comparing Finnick (who is over 18) to pro athletes made it sound like even after they’re OVER 18, they still can be excused for their actions by claiming others (such as parents, agents, coaches, etc) forced them into, say, taking PEDs or trying to “take out” other players), because they were brainwashed as kids so badly that they forever lost any capacity to have free will.

        I don’t think SC’s message is “only the REALLY powerful people, like presidents, should be held responsible for their actions, everyone else can be taken off the hook as innocent victims”. Because while you could argue this applies to Katniss, Peeta, and others, it doesn’t seem to apply to Gale. And if SC meant for Gale to be the sole exception, then I can totally understand why Gale fans were disappointed by how he left the story.

        • I never claimed that the Careers, or other Tributes, don’t bear responsibility for what they do (except for the things that are directly done under coercion). And obviously, most athletes who use doping haven’t been coerced to do so (well, with exceptions like the above mentioned East German Olympic athletes). I just pointed out the disturbing similarities between the treatment of celebrity athletes in public, especially for propaganda purposes, and the status of the Victors in THG. (A subject that Sarah introduced by pointing out the celebrity culture and the way the public treats actors, musicians and other celebrities; I pointed out that the similarities with athletes are even stronger.) That doesn’t mean it’s exactly the same thing. We compare the Hunger Games to reality TV all the time, Suzanne Collins was inspired to write THG by reality TV and TV coverage of war, but we realize that it’s not the same thing. For starters, reality TV contestants choose to be in those programs rather than be forced to participate (and, of course, there is no reality program that includes people killing each other… at least not yet. Although there was a case in Brazil last year or so when a woman was raped on Big Brother by another participant while she was sleeping).

          If I spend more time emphasizing Gale’s culpability, it’s because he’s seen as one of the good guys and there are less people who even think he’s culpable at all. Since you asked, I do find pilots who dropped bombs responsible for the crime, and I do find soldiers who shoot unarmed prisoners or civilians or who commit torture and other war crimes guilty of war crimes; “I was following orders” is not a good excuse. Except if they were coerced with a threat to their own life, since it would be too much to expect of everyone to be a hero that sacrifices themselves for their ideals and humanist ethics. If I have pointed out several times the aspects of Careers’ lives that make them also victims (which doesn’t mean that they are not murderers), it’s for the same reason that you are worried about the possibility of Peacekeepers being portrayed as faceless inhuman enemies, like Stormtroopers (or the Teutonic knights in Eisenstein’s “Alexander Nevsky”, whose look inspired the look of the Stormtroopers; in both cases, the outfits and helmets are used to hide human faces and give them a robotic look). The Career pack in THG are our the antagonists, so it’s easy to see them as the villains and root for our heroes to kill them and emerge victorious, and forget that the whole point is how awful it all is.

      • Satsuma says:

        “Then there are things like teenage (particularly female) athletes being sexually abused by their coaches.”

        Forgot to mention before, but my perception is that teenage MALE athletes being sexually abused by coaches is at least as common than female athletes being abused, and likely MORE frequent when it comes to sheer numbers, since there are still many more boys who play sports than girls, at least in the US. I know you’re not from the US, but Jerry Sandusky is notorious as an example of a sexually abusive male coach; though not all of victims actually played for him.

        Just wanted to point that out, since I do feel that society still tends to marginalize the idea of boys as victims of sexual abuse. And while abused boys get more sympathy if the abuser is another man, many boys who suffer such abuse are still accused of being gay, and having “wanted it”.

  • Kristen says:

    I think he is important because I realy think with out him Katniss and Peeta would not have made it out of the arena in Catching Fire a live and his story I think realy made Katniss went to help the rebellion not just because of Peeta but for everyone else. I think he is so loved because he is the high school QB everyone wents to date him but will never and he is real a great guy too.

  • Satsuma says:

    I think that Finnick’s role in relation to Katniss is very important, though more in MJ than in CF. He and Katniss bond in MJ and become very close, yet unlike her relationships with Peeta and Gale, there is no hint of any sexual tension. Their relationship is very subversive of the stereotype that men and women can’t be platonic friends.

    You can say the same for Katniss and Cinna, but to paraphrase Lenny Kravitz, he’s “left the story” by MJ, and even if he hadn’t, because so many fans assumed he was gay, and fit him into the stereotypical “sensitive gay best friend” role that has become fairly cliche in many “date movie” type flicks. Finnick being presented as heterosexual and very attractive, yet being able to form a platonic bond with Katniss as well, is groundbreaking to me.

    Also, I found SC presenting Finnick as a victim of sexual trafficking, was also quite subversive of sex stereotypes. Many people seem to think that sex is just about “getting off” and is always a positive experience for men, and therefore, it’s pretty much impossible for a man to be sexually abused, at least by a woman. (While most people would accept that a man could be sexually abused by another man, a lot of that seems to based on homophobia.)

    But many people think that a woman who has sex with a boy is actually doing him a favor, not taking advantage of him, and that he’s not going to suffer any long-term psychological consequences at all. MK Latourneau wound up getting a reality TV deal that actually presented what she did not as a crime, but as a sweet romance, which I found sickening.

    However, I think that only a few people would come away from the series thinking that Snow did Finnick a favor by coercing him to sleep with hundreds, perhaps even thousands of women (and I assume men as well). Even without Beetee telling us that he’s surprised Finnick is “still with us” after what he’s been through, which seemed to imply that Finnick suffered so much that at times he was close to suicidal.

    Finnick also shows us that sometimes, people we resent and envy, and assume are selfish, shallow, and enjoying their relative prosperity, have their own share of suffering. Note that Katniss has MANY moments like this. She’s also surprised when Peeta reveals he never actually could eat the delicacies sold in the family bakery, unless they were stale and unsellable. In THG, Katniss initially identifies the Careers as “lapdogs of the Capitol”, enjoying their high status. But she realizes in CF that the Careers are not the true enemy. Finnick and Mags (who are technically careers) help her realize that, but she also realizes, just before shooting her arrow, that not even Enobaria is the real enemy.

    And while she seems to see the Capitol as the true enemy for most of MJ, even during her speech in D2, I think she realizes by the end, she realizes that “the Capitol” is not the true enemy, either. But I don’t think she sees Coin/D13 as the “true enemy” either. Her statement after Coin’s death that she “no longer feels allegiance to the monsters known as human beings” was a little extreme since she was very depressed, and that she likely doesn’t quite feel that way twenty years later, I think she winds up having a “we have met the enemy, and it is us” moment. That the “true enemy” is ANYONE who gains power and privilege on the backs of others — but that ANYONE, whether from the Capitol, Career Districts, D13, wherever — is capable of this. Or, “the line between good and evil runs down the center of every human heart”.

    So, Finnick does play a very important role in Katniss’s journey, in which she starts seeing herself and her family as oppressed victims, and everyone else as uncaring oppressors, to one in which she realizes that everyone is capable of being both. At least, IMHO.

  • The Hunger Games trilogy shows us with many of its characters that people are often very different from what they seem at first glance, and Finnick is perhaps the most obvious example. In his case, it’s the contrast between his public persona and his real personality. Through his story, we learn how awful the lives of the Victors are, and that, with all the luxury and fame, they’re slaves as much or even more than the rest of the people in the Districts. Suzanne Collins also subverted gender stereotypes by having a male character in the traditionally female role of a person who is primarily viewed by the public as a sex object, and who is a victim of sexual abuse/forced prostitution.

    Finnick’s love for and devotion to mentally ill Annie is particularly moving. According to the shallow, superficial mentality that values people only if they are physically and mentally “perfect”, Annie would be considered “damaged goods”. THG tells us that people with mental health issues (which also includes the two main characters at the end of the story) can still be good partners and parents and are not inferior to those who are considered healthy. The Finnick/Annie relationship serves as a parallel to Katniss/Peeta, and when Peeta and Annie are both prisoners and tortured in the Capitol, Finnick becomes the person who can relate to and help Katniss deal with her feelings better than anyone else. He also helped her understand her feelings for Peeta (among other things, when she learned that Annie “crept up on him” and that real love doesn’t have to mean falling for someone as soon as you meet them). The friendship that develops between Finnick and Katniss is one of my favorite male/female fictional friendships; sadly, there are not that many close fictional friendships between straight people of the opposite sex that are entirely platonic, without any romantic interest on either side.

    • Satsuma says:

      I also think SC meant for Katniss/Peeta and Finnick/Annie to have parallels. Other than what you mentioned, I think that Finnick’s relationship with Annie was meant to show that not all victims of sexual abuse wind up either totally frigid, or complete nymphos, who are, either way, forever incapable of having healthy sexual relationships, as this is also a widespread stereotype.

      BTW, I think one reason SC chose to show that Annie had a baby, is to also let us know that yes, Finnick and Annie DID have sex. If that wasn’t clarified, I could see some fans interpreting Annie’s appeal to Finnick, as being based on her “innocence”, and his seeing her as some pure angel who was untouched by the dirtiness of sex.

      Now, while Katniss is not exploited in quite the same way, she did fear that she would be; not only does she realize after Finnick’s confession that Snow might have eventually treated her the same way, earlier she states that if she didn’t learn how to hunt, she might have joined the desparate D12 girls who sold themselves to Cray. I certainly think some part of her earlier aversion to sexual relationships, shows a perception that her sexuality is a weakness that has to be suppressed, to avoid others exploiting it.

      Also, note that when Katniss kisses Peeta after his gift to Rue and Thresh’s families in CF, she finds that it doesn’t feel forced at all. which to me meant that earlier kisses (such as the kiss in the snow) DID feel forced to her. At least the person she was “forced” to kiss was someone she did have SOME feelings for, instead of some Capitol stranger, and matters never got to the point where she felt “forced” to actually have sex with Peeta.

      But even without actual sex, I think the “fakemance” part of the K-P relationship WAS meant to be twisted and unhealthy, and the fact that they still managed, in the end, to choose each other, without outside coercion, and have a stable relationship for decades that produced children who seem happy and well-adjusted, is meant to be an accomplishment.

  • The Vaultmaster says:

    Hey there, I know this discussion has long since passed, and it may surprise you that I’m bringing it up again, so no need to read it out- just a thought on a topic brought up a few weeks ago.

    It’s when you compared Inspector Javert to President Snow. I wasn’t in a position to comment on that a few weeks ago as the Les Mis movie hadn’t been released in Ireland when the episode came out- I had little to no idea what you were talking about, but now I’ve seen it, I just want to say something in regards to your comparison.

    I think Inspector Javert and President Snow, other than the fixation on one person (Valjean and Katniss), couldn’t be more different.

    President Snow is pure evil- he didn’t do anything to earn his presidency, I assume. He is cruel, manipulative, and takes pleasure in seeing the suffering of other people, especially those whom he dislikes. He had no remorse for those killed when the Capitol/Rebels bombed the children. Heck, Suzanne Collins never tells us whether it was the rebels or the Capitol, and though we all assume it was the rebels, it still could have been the Capitol bombing those children- for all we know, Snow could have ordered the bombing.

    Javert, though very clearly the antagonist of Les Mis, I don’t think he’s evil. I wouldn’t put that marker on him. I would say Javert is more of a man who is set in his ways, not easily swayed and a man who upholds his beliefs over anything else. He doesn’t like change in routine (in “Stars”, he talks about this) or disruption, yet he is quite honourable and noble. He’s very critical of himself (when he thinks he identified the wrong Jean Valjean). At the end of the day, I think Javert is simply just a guy who does his very best to do his job well, and is almost afraid of doing it badly. Snow couldn’t be more different than that. He knows he’s doing bad things- he doesn’t care.

    I just don’t think it’s fair to compare them because they’re both the antagonists of their respective novels/musicals/plays/movies.

    That’s all from me, I guess.

  • Satsuma says:

    Hey Ivana: I know we’ve had this discussion before regarding the culpability of Careers, and it seems you’re emphasizing their victim status mostly to balance the widespread perception that they are villians, and emphasizing Gale’s culpability in order to balance the widespread perception that he doesn’t have culpability, Katniss was wrong not to forgive him, etc.

    It’s just that to me, when you state that “most athletes start training very young and that this is usually not their choice, but the choice of their parents. They have their fate decided by others before they even come of age” that did strike me as being rather extreme. Maybe if you hadn’t used the word “fate”, I’d have had a less visceral reaction.

    I totally agree that the RL attitude many people take towards athletes has parallels with Capitol attitudes toward Victors; the Manti Te’o scandal, and how many people totally trashed him and assumed the worst about him, certainly seemed rather Capitol-like in how over-the-top it was, over something relatively minor. People were reacting as if he had actually killed his girlfriend, but as far as I know, Te’o didn’t break any laws or even the rules of his sport. However, that doesn’t mean I think what he did should be completely excused. It seems that while he may have been tricked by others at first, he did later choose to perpetuate the lie.

    I guess I feel the same way about Careers, not really the young kids like Cato, but adult Victors like Brutus who chose, at age 40, to go back into the arena. While I’m sure Brutus was indoctrinated/brainwashed into the idea of the glory of the Games as a kid as much as any other Career, and while I think that relieves him of SOME of the responsibility for his choice to volunteer as an adult, I certainly wouldn’t say that HIS fate was decided by others even before he came of age; at least, not his ultimate fate of dying in the QQ. He still had the choice to NOT volunteer for the QQ.

    I mean, if we take this argument to the ultimate conclusion, we can even argue that Snow and Coin should be taken off the hook as well. While we get little backstory on Snow, and pretty much none on Coin, what if it turned out that they were both groomed from childhood by the previous Capitol and D13 Presidents to take over once they were of age? Does that mean we can say that they had no choices in what they became, and what they chose to do?

    • I’m not sure why the word “fate” bothered you so much, when I wasn’t talking about the Careers, but about people training to be tennis player, footballers (soccer players), basketball players, gymnasts, swimmers etc. since very young age; to become a successful pro athlete, you have to start really, really young. Now, I’m not saying that playing those sports is a bad thing or that it’s not a good thing to be rich, famous, popular and get to travel a lot, if you manage to do that. But nobody can tell me that a pre-adolescent child is old enough to decide what they want to do in life. Their parents make those decisions for them. And while future pro athletes in USA may be practicing the sports as part of high school and college sport competition and decide who to sign up for later, in Europe they typically train at sports clubs from very young age, and compete in various “cadet” and “junior” competitions, and are then expected to continue playing as pro adults for the same club., unless the club decides to sell them to some other, richer sports club (possibly in a richer country) that expresses interest in the promising 15 or 16-year old (though I’m sure the parents have to agree). Which may not be a bad thing at all, but there is notable lack of choice, that’s all I’m saying.

      And that’s without getting into the examples of athletes expected to bring the pride to the country, as in USSR and East Germany Olympic athletes in the old days.

      Now, that does not mean that athletes are not fully responsible when they decide as adults to cheat and use performance-boosting substances, or when they act very aggressive to their opponents during matches. But it’s a bit naive to think that these are just some freakish exceptions in what are otherwise noble sports, instead of admitting that these incidents are also a product of an unhealthy atmosphere of competitiveness and the need to win at any cost.

    • Re: Snow and Coin; I obviously don’t think that it would mean they had no choice in what they became, but this feels like replying to a Strawman argument, since I never argued that Brutus or Enobaria or even kids like Cato and Clove had no choice. There’s always a choice, and furthermore there’s always a choice to change your ways.

      But I also do think that every one of them, including Snow and Coin, is a product of a sick, twisted system. Naturally, the system is also a product of the actions of various individual people. But it is never just one person who is alone to blame for everything, even the one on the top.

      Which is why SC should have explained more about post-Coin Panem government; it seems that things are better with Paylor’s government than they would’ve been with Coin – if nothing else, than because there are no Hunger Games anymore, and people are free to travel from district to district, without the old isolation and “divide and conquer” rule – but it would be nice to know, how better? We also know that the new government is not an ideal group of wonderful people, since Plutarch is there. Which is a lot more realistic than if we got an ending where the new president and government were portrayed as ideal.

      • satsumarena says:

        To reply to both your posts at once:
        “it’s a bit naive to think that these are just some freakish exceptions in what are otherwise noble sports, instead of admitting that these incidents are also a product of an unhealthy atmosphere of competitiveness and the need to win at any cost.”

        I never claimed that doping or unfair play in sports are “freakish exceptions”. I would certainly agree that such incidents are BOTH the result of individuals making decisions, AND also the product of a system that promotes unhealthy competitiveness. I have no problem agreeing with that.

        “I also do think that every one of them, including Snow and Coin, is a product of a sick, twisted system. Naturally, the system is also a product of the actions of various individual people. But it is never just one person who is alone to blame for everything, even the one on the top.”

        I wouldn’t disagree with that either. But to be fair, I’d point out that Gale is also, in some way, the product of a “sick, twisted system”. It is true that Gale made ruthless, hateful comments against the Capitol way before he even knew D13 still existed. But he is also the product of circumstances; he might have turned out a little differently if he hadn’t been forced to become “man of the house” at age 14, or if he hadn’t been whipped by Thread. Note that unlike Katniss, Gale never has any direct positive interaction with anyone from the Capitol before the war.

        He may also not have become quite as radical in practice as well as theory if D12 hadn’t been bombed. Note that when he argues for the annihilation of everyone in the Nut, he brings up D2 Peacekeeper involvement in the D12 bombing, and even Katniss is tempted to agree after he exclaims that he had to watch children burn alive. Once Gale gets to D13, we see Coin manipulating Gale using the Communicuff as a motivator, using Gale for propos, etc.

        I know we’re getting way off topic. I realize that you were just trying to bring balance to the discussion of both Careers and Gale, and that it is possible for someone to both be a victim of circumstance AND responsible for their own decisions and actions that victimize others.

        • I just want to say that I agree with what you said about Gale; of course he’s a product of the circumstances as well as someone who made his choices, just as anyone else is. I’m saying this because it seemed like you were implying that I wouldn’t agree or that I’m particularly harsh on Gale and blame him for everything in the way I don’t other characters, although I don’t think I’ve ever said anything that would imply that.

          • Satsuma says:

            TTB: I didn’t mean to imply that you wouldn’t agree with me about Gale, and I’m sorry we got into an argument about this. I probably shouldn’t have brought Gale up at all, in a discussion that was centered on Finnick and other Victors. I’ve noticed that the majority opinion on Gale DOES seem to lean towards absolving him of all responsibility, and then, often proceeding to a criticism of Katniss for not doing that. So, I certainly understand why you’d want to counter that tendency!

  • Addy says:

    I’m going to be honest and admit I didn’t like Finnick at first. Like before the quarter quell when he kept bugging her. But then during the quarter quell we get see more into the REAL Finnick. By the end of Catching fire I liked him. By mockingjay i loved him. Finnick I think is important because 1 he saved Peeta’s life and Katniss’s plenty of times. But he also is a very kind hearted character, though you didn’t know this at first. He loved a woman everyone called crazy, he did something no one else did, He was nice to her. He was proof I think really for the “Don’t judge a book by its cover” quote, i mean even though he was a person. Katniss thought he was a jerk who just wanted woman all around him because of the way he was shown. He helped Katniss Cope in mockingjay and she helped him and I think overall he is a very important character.

  • satsumarena says:

    Hey guys! Not to toot my own horn, but regarding the Effie topic, I DID post the following as part of my response to Mockingjay.net’s By The Book: Chapter 14 article:

    “I can easily see Effie being brought to D13 along with Katniss’s Prep Team, and for her to then be mistreated. Since, although the prep team were cast for the movies, they really were little more than “named extras”, and I don’t know if a movie audience would understand why Katniss would get so upset over their treatment in D13.” I’ve made comments about this theory on other sites as well.

    Now, I can certainly see someone else having similar ideas about Effie and posting them on the site as well, since Mockingjay.net gets so much traffic. So I don’t know if you were talking about my comments, or someone else’s. But I’d certainly agree with that someone else, if that’s the case!

    Anyway, we know that Nina Jacobson made a statement about showing Effie developing a conscience in CF, so I really do think that the movies WILL expand Effie’s role. I think that showing Effie develop from someone who responds to the Capitol propo film with “I love it”, into someone who DOES question the status quo, and eventually becomes a full-fledged rebel, would add a layer of complexity to the film that doesn’t even exist in the books.

    For, while Plutarch and Fulvia are technically rebels from the Capitol as well, they seem to be motivated by self-interest more than principle. And while Cinna may have had nobler motives, we never find out exactly how he got involved in the rebellion. People have even speculated that Cinna wasn’t even born in the Capitol. But I tend to dislike this theory, because it seems to be based on an assumption that a native-born Capitol citizen just isn’t capable of questioning the status quo and realizing that what he grew up with is wrong.

    I think the idea of Effie being tortured in front of Peeta, instead of the Avoxes, is quite plausible as well; this would also let them tone down the goriness level a lot, assuming they stick with canon showing Effie to have survived her imprisonment. This doesn’t quite fit with my theory, of Effie replacing the role the prep team re showing D13 isn’t THAT different from the Capitol, since I doubt they’d have poor Effie tortured by BOTH the Capitol and D13. But anyway, I do think it highly likely that Effie will have an expanded role in MJ, even if it winds up just showing her imprisoned in the Capitol, without straying from book canon beyond that.

  • Cassie says:

    I really enjoyed this episode, and I think that you should do more episodes where you talk about specific characters, and how you think their character arcs will play out in the movies. I thought your discussions on Finnick and Effie were wonderful, and I loved hearing what you thought might happen with Effie throughout the movies. I would be really interested to hear what your opinions are on how Peeta will play out in the rest of the movies. Since you mentioned on this episode how some think that Finnick will take over, and Peeta will be more in the background, I was wondering what your opinion is on this? Do you think that is true, or do you think everybody is jumping the gun on assuming this. Do you think that Lionsgate will want to promote Peeta with this movie? If his character is diminished, do you think that will be a big deal, or what impact would it have on the series? Is everybody making out Peeta’s character to be more important than he is? I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this, because I feel that all of you on the panel would have some good insight on this. Can’t wait for the next episode!

    • Satsuma says:

      ITA with Cassie. Especially the question of “Are we making out Peeta’s character to be more important than he is?” Although I personally think it is a tad too early to jump to conclusions, the topic of Peeta has become pretty “hot” on many fansites, and it seems a substantial portion of the fandom has concerns about his character development in the movies. I recall that you mentioned Francis Lawrence’s recent MTV interview, which some Peeta fans felt promoted Gale at Peeta’s expense.

      It actually seems some fans are now trying to minimize Gale’s importance and state that he’s not that major a character until Mockingjay, which I think is a little skewed. Many Peeta fans seem to think that in order to defend Peeta’s importance, they have to tear down the importance of other characters.

      It also seems some fans also think that because Liam is more conventionally attractive than Josh, the only way to make the eventual Peeta-Katniss pairing plausible to a movie-only audience, is to minimize Liam’s screentime in the movies. I would love to have this topic discussed in the open, respectful way I know your panelists would be more than capable of.

      • Cassie says:

        Satsuma, Thanks for including that last paragraph. I would like to hear your thoughts on that situation. Do you think that to be true that people won’t find the ending of Mockingjay to be plausible? I feel like that backlash may have already started. Many media parodies have already made fun of the Peeta- Katniss romance, because they tend to think that Gale is more worthy of Katniss’s time, because he is taller, and more handsome to some.

        • How funny that most of those parodies are made by adult men, who are otherwise ready to call teenage girls shallow and silly. Oh the irony…

          This is what makes me happy that Josh is not taller than Jen.

          • Cassie says:

            Really good point timetravelingbunny!

        • satsumarena says:

          Satsuma here: I think that many fans have the wrong impression of the story, as primarily a romance between Katniss and Peeta, with Katniss being The Female Lead and Peeta being the Male Lead. I think many “Team Peeta” fans think that, because K and P end up together, that makes Gale a less important character.

          This reminds me of how the HP movies made it clear that Hermione was the Female Lead to Harry’s Male Lead, and Ron was a secondary character. (Though H and H do NOT get together romantically in either version.) However, the books had Harry as the Only Lead, and everyone else (including the girl Harry eventually winds up with) is a secondary character.

          I see THG, at least the first book, the same way. Note that Katniss does not fully trust Peeta until the very end, and while Gale only physically appears in the first few chapters, she is constantly thinking about Gale, often comparing Peeta to him unfavorably, etc. We know from her inner monologue that 90-95% of the lovey-dovey gestures she makes toward Peeta are an act.

          So, I think that THG movie had Katniss as The Female Lead, but that Peeta was NOT meant to be The Male Lead. Fans who went to see the movie basically expecting Movie!Peeta to be as important as Movie!Hermione, were bound to be disappointed.

          As for the whole idea that Liam is too handsome compared to Josh to make a K-P ending plausible; again, this is the case if you view the movies as fitting the Romance genre, which they are NOT — romance is part of it, but it fits the Action-Adventure-Drama genres much better.

          I think much of the parodies that make fun of Peeta, are created by people who mistakenly think the franchise is just another Twilight, and see Peeta as more like Jake, the relatively innocent friend-zoned younger “kid”, and Gale as more like Edward, the wordly-wise older man with a hard, bad-boy edge. However, these parodies are based almost solely on the first movie.

          And if you’re thinking about the SNL skit, I think that was just SNL just not being funny anymore. The show seems to have turned into the equivalent of Wheaties cereal. An athlete being chosen to be on the Wheaties box, was seen as a sign they’d “made it”, but I don’t know that many people who liked the actual cereal. Similarly, it’s still considered an “honor” for celebrities to guest-host the show, but that seems to be based on its prior reputation, not the quality of the current product.

          • ” I think that many fans have the wrong impression of the story, as primarily a romance between Katniss and Peeta, with Katniss being The Female Lead and Peeta being the Male Lead. I think many “Team Peeta” fans think that, because K and P end up together, that makes Gale a less important character. ”

            I think that the order of importance and screentime/booktime of these three characters is very clearly: Katniss > Peeta > Gale. I think that people overestimate Peeta’s importance if they think that he’s as big/important character as Katniss; but that they underestimate Peeta’s importance or overestimate Gale’s if they think Gale is as important as Peeta. And I don’t think that because Katniss ends up with Peeta. I think that because the first two books are centered around the Hunger Games – you may even say that the entire trilogy is, since Katniss and Peeta’s importance to the public in Mockingjay is due to their former participation in the Games – and Peeta is Katniss’ district partner who participates in both Games with her, and their changing relationship drives much of the storyline not just in both Games but also in Mockingjay. (This is also why I think that my LJ friend Selena’s opinion that Haymitch is the third most important character in the trilogy should not be discounted.)

            If some fans overestimate Peeta’s importance because they view the story as romance, this is IMO even more of the case with Gale – people who see the love triangle as the main theme of the books tend to think that there are 3 main characters and that Gale is one of them, because he’s a part of the love triangle.

            On another note, I’ve said before that I don’t share the view that a character’s status as main/supporting is determined by their importance to Katniss. Gale is very important to her, but Prim is even more so, and few people would argue that she’s a main character. Katniss’ mother is certainly important to her, but she’s a minor character. And Katniss’ father is also someone she thinks about a lot, in the first book and in the following books. So while Gale is not a minor character in Catching Fire – he plays a significant role in the first part of the book – he doesn’t actually have a lot of “booktime” or participate in the action that much, until Mockingjay. (And while screentime/”booktime” may not always be the measure of character’s importance, Gale is not Colonel Kurz in The Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now, who appears for a short time but the entire story is centered around him.)

            “Note that Katniss does not fully trust Peeta until the very end, and while Gale only physically appears in the first few chapters, she is constantly thinking about Gale, often comparing Peeta to him unfavorably, etc. ”

            As a side note, it’s interesting to compare the first part of Mockingjay where the situation is completely reversed – Gale is there all the time, while Peeta is absent except for a few short appearances, but Katniss thinks about him all the time. However, a lot of the storyline in Mockingjay is centered around what happens to Peeta, which is definitely not the case with Gale. And while the relationship between Katniss and Gale is very important and big part of Mockingjay, it’s not the central relationship the way that K/P is in the first book.

            “As for the whole idea that Liam is too handsome compared to Josh to make a K-P ending plausible; again, this is the case if you view the movies as fitting the Romance genre, which they are NOT — romance is part of it, but it fits the Action-Adventure-Drama genres much better. ”

            Are the majority of Romance genre books/movies based on such shallow and superficial ideas and stereotypes? I don’t typically watch or read them so I wouldn’t know. I think, however, that the favoring of Liam/Gale over Josh/Peeta mostly comes from male fans, particularly those who see the trilogy as an action-adventure story, mostly because Gale fits their idea of a male action hero much better than Peeta. Male fans also tend to have the idea that Gale is the type of guy who should, or usually does, “get the girl”. From my experience (both personal and online), female fans typically react much better to Peeta and tend to prefer Peeta to Gale. (Also, Liam gets more glamor magazine spreads, but Josh usually beats Liam in fan-voted lists of “hottest” men.)

          • The sentence in my post above should read: “However, a lot of the storyline in Mockingjay is centered around what happens to Peeta, which is definitely not the case with Gale in THG and is only the case for a part of CF.”

  • Cassie says:

    I think that Suzanne Collins wrote each character for a reason, so I think they are all important, but if somebody were to ask me, who are the three main characters in the book? I think I would agree with your friend that they are Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch. They start the games together, and it ends with all three of them together in Mockingjay.

  • Crissy Maier says:

    Thank you for interviewing Valerie. Katniss the Cattail sounds like a book I will love. Already bought it, can’t wait to read it.


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