Welcome back to the world of “Things that probably won’t make it into the Catching Fire movie but hey, here’s hoping!”
Today, we’re talking about two minor characters who will likely be featured for a minute, if at all, but have such a poignant background that were really want them to be portrayed correctly. They represent a very recognizable parallel to our society and relate to many of us in a surprisingly personal way.
That’s right: The Morphlings
Growing up, my uncle was a heroin addict who constantly struggled to get clean. He also happened to live with my grandmother in the house just behind mine, so I saw him often. As a child, you understand that something isn’t quite right, but you don’t analyze it. He adored my sister and I as kids, probably because we didn’t understand anything enough to judge him, and it was a shock when I finally did catch on in my pre-teen years. I’d be told to “Just Say No To Drugs” about a thousand times by that point, but drugs weren’t really out there, people didn’t really do them, and no one had to over-think it because it wasn’t part of that immediate universe you maintain as a child… until IT WAS.
In many ways, that was Katniss’ concept of the morphlings. She knew about the drug and the addiction, but she had never been exposed to it on a close, personal level. At first, Katniss does her judging. She knows that the horror of the game led them to this, but that doesn’t mean she has to feel comfortable around them. She sees it as something they did to themselves. She realizes that they’re not much use to her in the Quarter Quell and thus makes no effort to examine them as people. (Surprisingly, at the end of Mockingjay, Katniss becomes dependent on morphling pills and has to be weaned off them before being released from The Capitol. She even hoards them and considers overdosing when things look bleak.)
Everything changes when the female morphling saves Peeta’s life and Katniss realizes that despite a major character flaw, these tributes are no different than any other. They’ve just let their past trauma consume them in a different way. It’s refreshing in a world where all people who have ever had problems with addiction are portrayed as crazed lunatics out to hurt whoever they can get their hands on.
When the headshots of the District 6 morphling tributes were released, we worried. They’re models. Thin models with angular features which might make it easier for a makeup team to make them look drugged-out and shaky, but still models. We think Justin Hix is pretty damn attractive and sadly, this is a problem, because the physical damage drug addiction takes on a person should be evident if this plot point is included. Hair and makeup gurus, don’t fail us now!
The morphlings work as a poignant plot point with surprisingly little required. All they have to do is be seen up close briefly as one of the main characters explains their addiction and how it was caused by The Hunger Games. That’s heartbreak right there. Hopefully, we may actually see Megan Hayes up close and personal as her character falls victim monkey mutts, but we’re guessing they won’t put precious time aside for that.
Let’s Hope They Put Precious Time Aside For SOME Of It!
The Girl With The Pearl