Welcome to another Guest Post Tuesday! This week’s guest post is part of a three-part series regarding Katniss and Peeta’s relationship from book analyst extraordinaire, Hunger Games Bookclub!
I’m not going to lie to you. Peeta is my favorite character in The Hunger Games book trilogy. He’s funny, strong, steady, sensitive, faithful, self-sacrificing, artistic, and knows how to whip up a cake. He is a bit of a Renaissance Man in the Panem world.
Peeta is in love with Katniss, our heroine. We might admire her spunky resourcefulness and picture her as a brave fighter for injustice, but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Katniss spends a significant number of THG pages being irritated and annoyed with others. Not exactly Dream Girl material. So what does Peeta see in Katniss anyway?
I tried to put aside my preconceptions, reread the THG series with fresh eyes, and let the results of my research speak for themselves. Did I have fun doing it? Yes. Am I a literature nerd? Proud of it!
The thing is – we don’t get Peeta’s POV (point of view) in The Hunger Games like we do Katniss’. Being the narrator, we hear her thoughts, but we just have Peeta’s words and actions. And while we, the outspoken and definitely opinionated THG fandom, may have varying interpretations on what those words and actions mean, I’m going to try to outline for you the reasons for Peeta’s crush that surfaced in my research. Hey, it WAS research. Maybe not PhD material, but I wrote notes all over my Hunger Games book. COPIOUSLY!
Anyway… why, why, why is Peeta in love with the girl? Before I launch into what I hope is a convincing argument, let me point out that I uncovered three reasons for Peeta’s crush that existed before he and Katniss ever stepped on that train bound for the Capitol. Hmmm, do I have your attention?
Reason #1: The Big “R”. Indulge me as I share a bit of family history. I promise that it’s relevant to Peeta and our discussion for today. My father’s version: it was love at first sight with my mother at camp. My mother’s version: this annoying 13 year old kid approached her at the beach and wouldn’t stop splashing her. His version: my dad decided to take Spanish as his language in high school just in case they someday got married, because my mom was bi-lingual. Her version: I think she forgot all about him.
However, by the time they met up years later in college, my father was bound and determined to get this woman for life. And he did. And they’ve been happily married for 40 some years. Go figure! I think it is safe to say that my dad is a real-life Romantic with a capital “R”. And I think Peeta might be built out of some of the same material. Take a little trip down memory lane and review pages 301 and 367 of The Hunger Games. For Peeta, it was love at first sight—or maybe more accurately— love at first song.
Reason #2: He’s attracted to her. I couldn’t find a moment when Peeta actually says something along the lines of “I think you are beautiful”, but the big crush on her gave it away. In the cave, Katniss states at one point that “he smiles as if he’d be happy to lie there gazing at me forever”. (THG, pg 261) With all the “she has no idea the effect she can have” statements from Peeta, I’m putting my money on Katniss’ interpretation.
Reason #3: He admires her. At various spots in the book, Peeta makes comments that he admires her hunting skills. He sees Katniss as capable and tells her, “Don’t underrate yourself.” (THG, pg 89) Considering how silly Delly Cartwright and the girls who follow Gale around their school can be, Katniss must stand out to Peeta. Or in his words, “I noticed just about every girl, but none of them made a lasting impression but you”.(THG, pg 304)
Lasting impression? Yep, he never had a chance.
The above reasons all existed in Peeta’s mind before he got on the Capitol’s train with Katniss, but I think that a few more reasons came into being as Peeta spent time with the object of his affection. For one, Peeta and Katniss have a humor-filled relationship, even in this dark situation. If you have only seen the movie, you’ve missed out! Run out right now, buy a copy of The Hunger Games, read it, and take a bit of time to enjoy the repartee on pages such as 68, 96, 252, 253, 257, 305, and 312.
For two, Peeta and Katniss think enough alike about some things that they are able to have unspoken communication and agreement at some critical moments of THG. What am I talking about, you ask? Think back to the scene when Katniss recognized the Avox and Peeta covers for her by saying the Avox looks like Delly Cartwright (which is one of the biggest whoppers Peeta has ever told). Remember the nonverbal looks exchanged between Peeta and Katniss when she hasn’t told her team yet what happened to the pig in her private session with the Gamemakers. This unspoken communication with each other is not the same as the way that Katniss and Haymitch communicate with each other (for example, in the arena via gifts) but it is equally important to the story arc as a whole. I’ll explore this further in my next post, “What does Peeta see in Katniss anyway? (Part Catching Fire)”.
Don’t worry, this bread isn’t done rising. There’s more Peetanalysis coming soon!
Hunger Games Bookclub
Hunger Games Bookclub