Katniss, A Change Would Do You Good!

Hunger Games Bookclub is back with another guest post!

Katniss Everdeen changes a lot of people throughout the series, but how have they changed HER? Katniss doesn’t seem to be affected by others as easily as one might think, but maybe there’s more behind that. Let’s hear HGBC’s theories!
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Long before you were a glimmer in Suzanne Collins’ eye, Sheryl Crow was singing some lines that you needed to take to heart. You see, when we met you in The Hunger Games, you were a loner by choice. You’d had enough heartbreak for a lifetime and your response had been to wall your heart off from everyone and everything, except Prim. Prim was different. That’s because Prim was more wounded and vulnerable than you were. You’re a real sucker for people in pain… and we love you for it.

Katniss The Hunger Games change

Even for Katniss?

But, Katniss, in the real world, people don’t stay the same. Life experiences continue to shape them. Relationships change them. In order for you to be more than just a name in a book, your character needs to come to life for us readers. It’s this little ol’ thing we call “character arc”. The more you act and think and change like a real person throughout your story, the more you will live in our imaginations. You may start out in THG as a self-professed loner, but getting reaped for the Hunger Games will force you to form new relationships –with Peeta, Haymitch, Effie, Cinna, and President Snow. And with the addition of every book of your story, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, your circle of meaningful relationships grows.

I found this quote from the author’s introduction of Speaker of the Dead (second novel in the Ender’s Game quartet) by Orson Scott Card: “Most novels get by with showing the relationships between two or, at the most, three characters. This is because the difficulty of creating a character increases with each new major character that is added to the tale. Characters, as most writers understand, are truly developed through their relationships with others. If there are only two significant characters, then there is only one relationship to be explored. If there are three characters, however, there are four relationships: Between A and B, between B and C, between C and A, and finally the relationship when all three are together.”

Katniss, in your case, one set of major character relationship comes from District 12: Between you-Katniss (A) and Gale (B), between Gale (B) and Peeta (C), between Peeta (C) and Katniss (A), and finally the relationship when all three are together, which we finally get to see for the first time in Catching Fire when Gale gets whipped and Peeta comes to your rescue after you come to Gale’s rescue. Definitely falls under the relationship status of “It’s complicated”.

Relational Character Theory Orson Scott Card

Relational Character Theory!

Here’s a bit more from Card’s Relational Character Theory (title comes from me, not Card)…“Even though this does not begin to explain the complexity—for in real life, at least, most people change, at least subtly, when they are with different people… Our whole demeanor changes, our mannerisms… our attitudes, our moods change depending on who we are with. So when a storyteller has to create three characters, each different relationship requires that each character in it must be transformed, however subtly, depending on how the relationship is shaping his or her present identity. Thus in a three-character story, a storyteller who wishes to convince us of the reality of these characters really has to come up with a dozen different personas, four for each of them.” (pgs xviii-xix)

Katniss, you have another three-character set of relationships that comes from the 74th Hunger Games: between you-Katniss (A) and Peeta (B), between Peeta (B) and Haymitch (C), between Haymitch (C) and Katniss (A), and finally the relationship when all three are together. For better or worse, you are “Team District 12” and you survive two (or maybe three) Hunger Games together. According to Card’s theory, you change because of your relationships with Peeta and Haymitch, and they change because of their relationships with you and each other.

In your relationship with Haymitch, we see him transformed over time. Haymitch starts as a pre-THG drunk not caring about anyone, to sending you messages through his arena gifts, to a mutual decision to keep Peeta alive, to rebel-comes-out-of-the-closet, to a moment of mind-meld when you both make a decision to put Capitol citizens in their own Hunger Games “for Prim”, to an crotchety—but teddy bear in disguise—occasionally sober guy that takes care of geese.

Yeah, I’d say you’ve changed him.

But has Haymitch changed you? Has Peeta shifted the direction of your life? Suzanne Collins takes us, the readers, on this rollercoaster of a ride watching you as “Little Miss Independent” become a Mama Bear who wants to take all these guys to the woods to escape from President Snow, to a willingness to sacrifice your own life because the world might need Peeta’s words to lead a revolution all the way to the end of Mockingjay when you decide you don’t need more revolutionary fire but the “dandelion in spring” that can only come from starting a new life. With Peeta. Together. No longer isolated.

Holding hands

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Have you changed? Real or not real?
Hunger Games Bookclub

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12 comments

  1. HGBC: I love this post, especially as it rebuts one critique I’ve heard/read a lot about flaws in the series, and one of them is that Katniss remains a static character and never grows or learns anything, and I agree with most of it.

    However, I feel compelled to disagree that Katniss and Haymitch actually did “make a decision to put Capitol citizens in their own Hunger Games “for Prim””. Which, unless I’m misunderstanding you, seems to be your opinion, that Katniss really wanted these Games to take place. I mentioned this issue in my recent guest post as something that I know is up for debate. But my personal opinion is that the whole “mind-meld” moment between Katniss and Haymitch is pointless and unnecessary if they voted “yes” actually wanting to put Capitol CHILDREN (not just “citizens”) in the Hunger Games.

    Also, would Haymitch really want such a Games? He may like, even love, Katniss, but I really don’t think he’d agree to such an atrocity, just to make her happy. I think this was meant to be a moment similar to when Haymitch purposefully DOESN’T send Katniss water in THG as a sign that she is getting close to a “natural” water source. Also, I think it’s meaningful that Haymitch states “I’m with the Mockingjay”, which when you think about it, is very vague and ambiguous. He doesn’t actually vote “yes”, not in the definite way Johanna and Enobaria do.

    I take this as meaning that he was with what Katniss REALLY wanted, or what the “Mockingjay”, symbol of the rebellion, stands for, which is NOT for Coin to merely replace Snow as the next tyrannical president, which I’m pretty sure would have happened if Coin lived; or, perhaps, others would have then rebelled against Coin, likely resulting in Panem being turned into a country where opposing factions fight against each other for years and years, while the country sits in ruins and the populace suffers even more. Note that it’s Haymitch who asks Coin if the Games are Plutarch’s idea, leading to Coin’s acknowledgement that it was her own idea, and hence exposing herself as REALLY no better than Snow, willing to be ruthless not just in war, but in peace as well.

    If Katniss simply voted “yes” either because she blamed the Capitol for Prim’s death and wanted revenge by killing (even more) Capitol kids, or out of a despairing realization that “nothing will ever change” and there’s no point to resisting anymore, this seems to actually reverse her whole character arc up until that point, which is to EXPAND the circle of those she cares about. Also, if the vote was sincere, then that means Katniss later killing Coin was at best an impulsive decision she made at the last minute, at worst her merely acting, much like the hijacked Peeta, as an assassin manipulated by Snow into doing away with his enemy.

    But if Katniss voted the way she did to lull Coin into a false sense of complacency, setting up her assassination, then I’d think that actually brings her character arc to fruition, from a teenager who could only let herself care about one person, Prim, to someone who acts out of concern for ALL innocents. Though I’m sure some revenge for Prim was also a motivating factor, I don’t think it was the only one. Even Johanna admits that “your defender-of-the-helpless act…isn’t an act”.

    I respect those who disagree, and maybe my view is more in the minority on this than I want to admit, but I did want to let it be known!

  2. Also, some have argued that the ending does NOT show Katniss actually starting a new life that is no longer isolated, as the only people she is seen interacting with in the Epilogue are Peeta and her two kids. Not even Haymitch is mentioned. So they see Katniss as ending up almost exactly where she started, isolated from everyone except her own family, except that this family now consists not of “Mom, Prim, and Gale’s family”, but “Peeta and the kids”.

    Many would also argue that since Katniss doesn’t even bother to name her kids, and stated that it took her 15 years to agree because “Peeta wanted them so badly”, that we should only count Peeta as the one person she can let herself care about. Hmm…doesn’t seem much different from the beginning, when Prim was the one person she could let herself care about. And you could certainly argue that by the end, Peeta is, like Prim was, “more wounded and vulnerable” than Katniss herself.

    The idea that Katniss voted for the Games out of either a wish for vengeance OR despair, would be in keeping with this fairly hopeless, “don’t bother trying to expand your horizons because the world will just chew you up and spit you out” take on the ending. The idea that she voted the way she did so she could take Coin out, however, I think gives us a little more hope that Katniss did make a difference in greater society before she retreated from it.

    1. Just one rebuttal to something you said– I think the choice not to name Katniss’ children was not a sign that she was coerced into having them and doesn’t care about them. I think it was a tactical decision on Suzanne’s part to avoid a “James, Lily, and Albus Severus” situation where everyone simultaneously headdesks upon reading.

      Also, the fact that Katniss’ is solely focused on her children– her hopes, fears, and worries for them– during the epilogue shows how deeply she DOES love them. People take the “Peeta wanted them so badly” line as her being forced to have children but a) In almost every real life relationship I know of in which people plan to have children, one parent is ready before the other and b) This is Katniss freaking Everdeen! If she does not want to do something, she is not going to do it, even for Peeta.

      Just because other characters aren’t mentioned doesn’t mean that Katniss, Peeta, and family are isolated. It means Suzanne didn’t want to get everything away in the epilogue, she wanted to leave some things open to interpretation. For all we know, Katniss could be in touch with all of them. Either way, it wouldn’t really affect her emotional scars or her feelings as she was outside, watching her children play in The Meadow.

      1. This is how I took the epilogue and the lack of names for the children. Katniss’s whole life and identity were scrutinized, altered, manipulated, whatever else, as soon as she volunteered for Prim. She had no privacy. She belonged to others, whether as a symbol, a leader, a pawn in the Games.

        Her life is different in the future. She doesn’t owe anyone details of her private life. She finally gets to HAVE a private life. So that little nugget at the end? That’s all we get, because Katniss Everdeen Mellark is finally free from prying eyes.

  3. Oh dear! Was I not clear when I assessed Suzanne Collin’s Mockingjay ambiguity?! Let me set the record straight. Short version: I’ve never interpreted Katniss and Haymitch’s votes as really choosing to send Capitol children to a new Hunger Games. I think it was a ploy to get Katniss opportunity to assassinate Coin, or at the very least, an agreement between them that Coin should not be in power.

    Longer version: When I first read the passage where Katniss votes for a Capitol children being in a new Hunger Games “for Prim”, I was shocked and confused. Once I got to the part where Katniss assassinates Coin, I had to go back and carefully re-read. I do think Collin’s is very ambiguous on this point but here’s the way I see it. Katniss has her moment to think it through and thinks, “All those people I loved, dead, and we are discussing the next Hunger Games in an attempt to avoid wasting life. Nothing has changed. Nothing will ever change now.” She recognizes the futility of putting into power a person who would determine to have a Hunger Games. Panem will be in the hands of someone who is Snow in different clothing.

    When she votes yes “for Prim”, she can feel Haymitch watching her carefully. She says, “This is the moment, then. When we find out exactly just how alike we are, and how much he truly understands me.” This is the “mind meld” moment I was referring to in my post. Up til now, Haymitch sends messages to Katniss through his actions, and Katniss is hoping that he will pick up on her clues to vote with her. Now it is HIS TURN to read her clues. He may not know what she is up to, but he knows her choice means something important and so he’s supporting her. This “mind meld” area is something that Katniss and Peeta don’t share… at least not in the same way. Katniss wonders in THG or Catching Fire that if Haymitch had sent Peeta parachute gifts, he might have seen bread as simply bread, not a symbol or clue of what to do next.

    I don’t know if Katniss made the choice to assassinate Coin in that meeting. Again, Collins is not clear (in my interpretation). But I do think Katniss made a decision in that moment to keep Coin from getting the power, and somehow, “yes… for Prim” plays into that To me, this is the only interpretation that makes sense with Katniss’ character arc, everything we’ve seen her go through up to this point and what happens at end of Mockingjay. I think Satsuma has argued these points effectively in her first comment section, so I’m not going to add to that.

    School starts in a few minutes, so I’ll have to come back and re-read the other comments later to see if anything else I should clarify… but I didn’t want to leave this very important point hanging out there with a misinterpretation of what I was trying to say. My emphasis using that example (“yes.. for Prim” vote) was on the fact that Katniss has changed Haymitch, however I’m glad for the opportunity to discuss one of those areas in MJ that I consider to be a weakness.

  4. HGBC, thanks for the clarification! I’m actually in the middle of a debate on another site about this issue, and so many people are convinced that Katniss was sincere in her vote, that I was starting to wonder if my interpretation was just wishful thinking, that maybe SC DID mean for Katniss to be completely broken, and for the end to be along the lines of a traditional Orwellian dystopia where the evil forces win out.

    It seems that many people see Katniss as being completely sincere in her vote, and see her as an angry, vengeful person who IS capable of taking out her anger on innocents; many see her treatment of Peeta in MJ, treating him as if he’s to blame for the hijacking, as proof of this. They see her eventual decision to shoot Coin as being only due to her being convinced in that moment, after staring Snow down, that it was Coin, not Snow, who was responsible for the bombing that caused Prim’s death. But, that if she blamed the Capitol for Prim’s death, then she *would* have found the retaliatory Hunger Games justified.

    In this interpretation, Katniss never grows beyond a state in which she cares deeply and strongly about protecting (or avenging) those she considers “kin”, but could care less about the lives of nameless, faceless strangers, even if they’re innocent children. That she only killed Coin to take personal revenge for Prim’s death, not to make a political statement that Coin was unfit to be President. So when it seemed that even you agreed with this, I really felt discouraged.

    As for whether Katniss goes back to being isolated at the end; I agree that the Epilogue doesn’t rule out a Katniss who is still in contact with those who survived the war; we know Annie sends her a picture of her baby, and perhaps others like Johanna and Beetee keep in touch as well. I can see Plutarch trying to stay involved in her life, though more for his own self-interest than because he actually cares about her. It also seems to have become “fanon” (based on at least 90% of post-MJ fanfics I’ve read) that she and Gale eventually reconcile.

    But the Epilogue certainly doesn’t rule out the “Katniss goes back to being isolated” interpretation, either. And while I agree that SC’s decision not to name Katniss’s kids was likely a stylistic one, meant to avoid an “Albus Severus” moment, it seems that many readers actually wanted a moment in which they find out that the daughter is named Prue and the son is named Finna. And while I can see why older readers like you and me would pick up on Katniss’s love for her kids, it seems most younger readers took the lack of names to be proof of a lack of love. And I get back again to the question of whether SC succeeded in her goals, considering that the books are being marketed to the YA audience, not the adult one. Hence my theory that MJ “crossed over” so much to the general/adult audience that it left the original one behind.

    As for the “this is Katniss freaking Everdeen…if she does not want to do something, she’s not” argument; that assumes that Katniss is still the strong, independent character she was in the first two books. But many people see her character arc as not taking Katniss to a better place than she was in the beginning, or not even full circle so that she winds up back in the same place, but one in which she is relentlessly beaten down by both the Capitol and Rebel forces, as well as the losses of her family and friends, that she loses that independence, and turns into a mere pawn of other powerful people.

    Even her shooting of Coin, many write off as being merely due to Snow (and possibly Paylor) manipulating her into it. So, they see a broken Katniss who just gives into Peeta, perhaps out of fear that he’ll abandon her if he doesn’t get what he wants, or because she thinks she owes him something as payback for coming back to her, as being completely plausible.

  5. Satsuma: What!? These are the most depressing THG theories/interpretations I’ve ever heard! I guess I can stretch myself to see why someone might interpret in these ways, but I think these interpretations come from missing the forest for the trees, so to speak.

    When we interpret an author’s work, we need to look at the entire book/s to find the patterns, not isolated instances (although it sounds like these people are putting together a pattern for themselves, albeit a mistaken one, in my opinion). For instance, we need to look at Katniss basic character elements. She gets mad or irritated easily. She’s resourceful. She’s taught herself to hide her feelings about the Capitol to survive. She’s not good with words or lying.

    AND… she is a protector of the innocent. This is a key aspect of Katniss’ personality. She protects Prim by volunteering in the Reaping. Katniss protects Rue by offering her partnership and food. She protects Gale when he’s been whipped. She tries to protect Peeta in an effort to make sure he is Quarter Quell victor. She wants Nuts and Volts on her team and her first instinct is to try to keep Beetee alive until she realizes that there can only be one victor, and her choice has been made to help Peeta be that one. She goes back to protect the injured in the hospital during the Capitol bombing. She tries to protect the people of District 2 when Gale wants to seal all the exits from the Nut. She protects the prep team after she discovers Coin’s despicable treatment of them. She protects Peeta when he wants to be left behind or killed after he recognizes his hijacked personhood is a danger to her team. She says, “This is what we do; we take care of each other.”

    I would call that a pattern of her personality that arcs through all the books. Katniss is not going to change at the end of MJ and become an entirely different person. She’s going to protect the innocent. Period. She just wouldn’t have killed innocent children. Period.

    I have some additional thoughts about the interpretation of Katniss’ treatment of Peeta when he’s hijacked. I’ll have to come back to that later. But in the meantime, I will say that I agree that Mockingjay is a pretty dark book and is probably the least successful in reaching a YA audience.

    1. HGBC: Okay, this seems to have become a mere dialogue between the two of us, but I agree that I find it hard to wrap my mind around some of the darker THG interpretations as well; I mean, isn’t the canon we have dark enough? But it seems many readers, while considering themselves fans of the books, actually don’t like Katniss AT ALL, and paint her as essentially a female Gale, a cold-blooded, ruthless killer, who is being a total hypocrite when she judges him for his involvement in Prim’s death. (Many also think Katniss and Gale should have wound up together because “they deserve each other”, while Peeta “deserved far better than a girl who can’t even tell him she loves him and makes him wait 15 years before grudgingly having his kids”).

      While I myself find it hard to believe, there are THG series readers who really think Katniss is nonchalant and indifferent regarding loss of human life. When I pointed out that Katniss actually asks Peeta in CF, after getting to know some of the other tributes, “How are we going to kill these people”, the rebuttal was that she only says that after she gets to know them, but that if she hadn’t, she’d have had no problem with killing them.

      So, they would probably look at your list of examples of Katniss acting to protect the innocent, and dismiss it because they all involve people she has some kind of personal connection to, and say, “If Rue didn’t remind Katniss of Prim, she’d have killed her easily”, or “If it wasn’t Gale being whipped, but some random guy she didn’t know, she’d have just sat back and let him be whipped to death”. Even the Nut example could be discounted by pointing out that she is making a connection between the people trapped in there, and the miners, especially her father, who died in the mine explosion, but that if she hadn’t made this connection, if, say, they all worked in a really large hovercraft that the rebels were plotting on shooting down, then she’d have had no problem with their deaths.

      Some people even think Katniss is a “sociopath” who isn’t even capable of forming bonds with others, but simply uses them for her own survival, with Prim being the sole exception to that. (I don’t know what such people make of her determination to sacrifice herself for Peeta in CF). So, many people assume that Katniss killed Coin solely for personal reasons, and that her decision to do so says nothing one way or the other about the sincerity of her Games vote. Or, that maybe Katniss didn’t know which side to blame for Prim’s death, so she decided she’d vote for the Capitol Hunger Games and ALSO kill Coin, so she’d be sure to get her revenge on someone, even if innocents died in the process.

      It would be easy for me to dismiss such interpretations as arising from a shallow reading of the books. But it’s not just one or two people who see things this way. I really wonder, did SC plan for this amount of ambiguity and debate about such key matters such as the core personality of her main character who actually narrates the story? Or is this misreading of who Katniss really is, a fault on SC’s part?

  6. OK, when I read through these various THG theories/interpretations, the thing that kept coming to my mind was this t-shirt slogan that Adam Savage wears on Mythbusters: “I reject your reality and substitute my own.”

    These people/fans seem to be coming from life experiences, personality, or perspective that color their interpretation of THG a certain way. I don’t think any amount of debate will change their minds. Doesn’t make them shallow, just maybe predisposed toward interpreting a certain way. Kind of like how Katniss describes her choice between Gale’s fire and Peeta’s dandelion in the spring. We all have a choice as to how we will perceive and respond to life.

    While there might be many things in THG series that are ambiguous (such as why Katniss voted the way she did, as we mentioned in earlier comments), general consensus would say that Katniss is a protagonist who is a flawed heroine. I don’t think that Suzanne Collins meant for Katniss herself to be ambiguous. Is she really good? Is she really bad? This argument is not the reason Suzanne wrote the books. Her focus was on bringing up difficult issues such as war, poverty, and government within the context of a fictional story.

    The simplest textual interpretation is usually the most accurate. The most complicated one will usually head toward a “Crackpot theory”.

    With this in mind, I would say that Suzanne did not include names of Katniss’ children in the Epilogue because she wanted the focus to be on Katniss and how she changed from the 16 year old girl we met in the first chapter of THG, not on the children. The 16 year old girl didn’t want to fall in love or have children because she didn’t want to sacrifice them to the Hunger Games. The mother in her 30s or 40s that we meet in the Epilogue has come full circle to having children in a world where the Hunger Games is no longer an option, or at least not in the foreseeable future. This Katniss is still suffering the consequences of Snow’s Panem and the revolution that followed – the nightmares and terrors. Katniss says in Epilogue, “…one day I’ll have to explain about my nightmares… why they won’t ever really go away.” To me, that is real. It reinforces reality: that war is horrible. And even a “just” war like an overthrow of a totalitarian government will scar you for life.

    In my mind, Katniss and Peeta come out on the other side of the events of THG, scarred but together. This is not a shiny happy romance. But as she says in last chapter before Mockingjay, “Peeta and I grow back together.” And the description of the children–the girl has Katniss’ hair and Peeta’s eyes while the boy has Peeta’s hair and Katniss’ eyes– seems symbolic of Katniss and Peeta’s life together now. Katniss says about Peeta, “we have each other” and “we can make [our children] understand in a way that will make them braver.”

    That seems pretty full circle to me.

  7. ““I reject your reality and substitute my own.”

    These people/fans seem to be coming from life experiences, personality, or perspective that color their interpretation of THG a certain way.”

    LOL: I love Mythbusters and have missed it ever since it went on hiatus (though it’s supposed to return in October.) Come to think of, doesn’t that show also address questions of “Real or Not Real?” Anyway, I think this is quite true. For example, the “post-hijack Peeta is an abusive husband/partner” theory that we’ve discussed before. For some people who have experienced intimate partner violence, the moment Peeta’s hands went around Katniss’s neck, all hope of a healthy relationship between them was gone forever, and any rebuttal is simply an outrageous attempt to justify violence in relationships; and I can totally understand that, though I don’t agree.

    Also, for some animal lovers, Katniss being willing to drown Buttercup (even though she doesn’t actually do it), or even just being a hunter willing to set snares, (which most humane societies condemn as cruel to the animal, if they even approve of hunting at all), is meant to be a sign that she is cold, heartless person. That the same girl who wanted to drown an innocent kitten, would be more than capable of sending innocent children to a death arena. I’m not really an animal lover myself, but my sister is, so I totally understand that as well (though my sister actually liked THG and understands the difference between hunting for sport and hunting for survival).

    I have also noticed that some people who profess complete pacifist views seem to actually prefer the very depressing interpretation of the ending in which Katniss and company are completely destroyed and become “empty shells” merely going through the motions of life. Even though Katniss states she felt joy when holding her first baby and sings a song to her children that ends with the words “I love you”. Or, how turns of phrase like how the nightmares will “won’t ever really go away” suggests that they most of them actually *have* gone away by the time of the Epilogue, and that some measure of healing is possible.

    To some pacifists, a tragic hopeless end to MJ supports their belief that NOTHING good ever comes out of war and that “just war” is an oxymoron. I’ve even read a review of MJ that stated that the rebels aren’t just morally equivalent to the Capitol, but actually completely in the wrong to start the war in the first place, and that Katniss killing Coin, not Snow, is a message that Snow’s version of a “Pax Romana” was actually the lesser of two evils.

    “The simplest textual interpretation is usually the most accurate. The most complicated one will usually head toward a “Crackpot theory”.

    Hmmm…but it seems to me that the “simplest textual explanation” is that Katniss was sincerely voting yes to Coin’s version of the Hunger Games, either because she was overcome by a desire for vengeance, or filled with despair that “nothing will ever change”. And that her later shooting Coin was a decision she made impulsively after staring down Snow, and at best, means that Katniss essentially “changed” her vote, but says nothing about . And this seems to be the most popular explanation among book readers who don’t consider themselves fans. It’s not even that people consider the ruse theory and discard it as wishful thinking; the possibility doesn’t even occur to them in the first place!

    It also seems that Katniss never really changing her mind about wanting kids, but only giving in to make Peeta happy because he “wanted them so badly”, is, again, the “simplest textual interpretation”, and again, seems to be what the majority of book readers assume.

    Now, I personally liked the Epilogue, find the unnamed kids to be a good idea. I think that if SC HAD named the kids, I’m sure there would have been much debate over that as well. If she had K and P pull a Harry Potter and name the kids after dead loved ones, some would have liked it, some would have hated it. And if K and P didn’t go that route, then many readers would have protested that as well.

    I agree that SC wanted to focus on how Katniss has come full circle, she even has Katniss fantasize in CF about a Peeta’s child playing in a meadow in a safe world, which to me is obvious foreshadowing. But I think she might have made a mistake in assuming that it was obvious that Katniss does love her kids; similar to how in HP, JKR seems to make the assumption that it’s obvious that Harry’s parents truly loved each other, even though she later introduces a LOT Of information that casts doubt on that.

    “I don’t think that Suzanne Collins meant for Katniss herself to be ambiguous. Is she really good? Is she really bad? This argument is not the reason Suzanne wrote the books.”

    Hmmm….now THAT is a topic for another blog post, I think. “Will The Real Katniss Everdeen Please Stand Up?” Hmm, you might want to stay tuned…

  8. Oh please, with sugar-cubes on top, write a new post “Will The Real Katniss Everdeen Please Stand Up?” That sounds positively juicy!

    OK, so maybe the “simplest textual explanation” doesn’t hold up for every single plot point in THG series, especially for the ultra-ambiguous points, such as why Katniss voted the way she did. Don’t you just wish we could grill Suzanne Collins on this one? (Scholastic Publishing, if you are reading these comments, please note that WE volunteer! We volunteer to ask the author all these questions and more. We promise, it will be a very interesting interview… to those of us who care…)

    I guess part of what I had in mind with “simplest textual explanation” is that the simplest perspective on the books as a whole is that Katniss is basically good, Snow is bad, Katniss kills Coin (so she must be bad), Katniss goes a little crazy because people aren’t made to live with that much violence and trauma, Katniss can’t forgive Gale, Katniss finally figures out she loves Peeta, Katniss is really messed up but time does heal most wounds, Katniss loves her kids, and Finnick’s sacrifice meant something.

    That simplifies a host of these various dark interpretations of THG.

    I suppose there’s going to be all sorts of people that are going to disagree with my take on it. But in that case, “I reject your reality and substitute my own.”

  9. Goodness help the screenplay writer, Director and actor who will be bringing Katniss to life in the last two films. I believe they have already started well, making her strong in the right way, loving, and just plain good and real. The problem I had with book Katniss was that her dialogue did not match up with her inner monologue most of the time. The end of book three was a joke, which was fine because most of it was anyway. I don’t mean to sound harsh but the whole ambiguous idea is a bit much. The last book was rushed. That was the only clear fact about it.

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