With the new trailer for the second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy (well, quartet, if we’re counting movies), Catching Fire, released at San Diego Comic Con, a renewed flurry of excitement has arisen for the series, bigger than that which accompanied the first trailer. But with the excitement I’ve noticed that people have forgotten something important about the story. Maybe they never quite realized it to begin with. And needless to say, spoilers for the last book are contained herein.
Some people probably remember when the marketing first started for the movie series, how at first it seemed clever that they were taking a leaf from the Capitol’s book. Nothing wrong with using a ready-made, glitz and glamor theme already present in the series, right? But then the grumbles started. Are they glorifying the Capitol’s decadence too much? Are people going to forget that the Capitol are the bad guys? With the new Catching Fire trailer, it’s clear that no one will forget it. Fandom crisis averted.
And everyone probably knows about the people who love to remind everyone that The Hunger Games isn’t a love story. “It’s not another Twilight!” they scream, even if it is the same production company trying to make bank off of another popular young adult series. Sure, there’s a love story, but that takes a far back seat to the political drama of the revolution. Heck, the love story is part of the revolution, isn’t it? No more Team Peeta or Team Gale. Katniss cares much more about the revolution than choosing which boy to be with. Another fandom crisis averted.
Actually… no. Katniss doesn’t care about the revolution. Yes, you read that right. Katniss is most certainly the symbol of the revolution. Her single act of desperation and defiance, refusing to “play the Hunger Games” by the Capitol’s rules, spark a fire of political turmoil. Katniss is wonderful! She refuses to be a pawn in the Capitol’s game! But from that moment on, Katniss merely becomes a pawn in the revolution’s game. No one truly considers her needs, her desires, or even what’s best for her. People simply care about how they can best use Katniss for their purposes. Every move she makes, whether in the Quarter Quell or in District 13 or on rescue missions, is tailored to fit someone else’s narrative plan. Does she get treatment for her obvious PTSD? Not until the revolution is over.
After making the decision to eat the poisonous berries with Peeta in her first Games, the only free decision Katniss makes is to kill President Coin. Katniss doesn’t care about the revolution. All she wants is to go home and have enough to eat for her and her family. That’s what we have to remember about The Hunger Games trilogy. The beauty of Katniss’s character isn’t that she is the figurehead for a huge revolution; it’s that despite being cast in such a role, her desires are simple. She just wants to survive.