The Great Character Misdirection

Finnick and KatnissAlong with other fansite runners, I subscribe to Google Alerts that relate to The Hunger Games. Through this, I come across some pretty absurd articles from time to time, and this week did not disappoint. From eyeroll-worthy What Would Tyler Durden Do?, we’ve got an article entitled Hunger Games Catching Fire Already Sucks. I won’t even link or quote it because it’s all rubbish and terribly offensive (not surprising given the point of the blog) and trying too hard, but I did feel a sense of triumph from it. Why, you ask?

Because they fell for it.

The post, complaining about the romance aspect in The Hunger Games, was accompanied by this picture of Finnick and Katniss, what people are hoping is from the infamous sugar cube scene. I’m kind of wondering if the writer of this article even realizes that isn’t even Peeta. Probably not.

My favorite part of what we’ve seen of Finnick in marketing for Catching Fire is the persona they’re building for him to echo not who we come to find him as but who the Capitol and all of Panem thinks he is: a narcissistic womanizer and playboy (it hurts me a little to refer to him as that). Finnick is one of my favorite character misdirections ever. No one ever understands why he’s such a favorite when we first meet him in the books, but he is undoubtedly the most popular character in The Hunger Games trilogy. And I love that Lionsgate is pushing this persona for Finnick for their initial Catching Fire marketing. It’s what I’ve been wanting from the start, and it’s oddly satisfying to see people fall for it. Just you wait and see, I want to say. The more you don’t see Finnick’s story coming, the more shocking and emotional the truth will be.

The image from Entertainment Weekly that we got in January coupled with the character portrait that came out last week where he looks every bit the seductor is just setting up a great “Gotcha!” moment for everyone who hasn’t read the books. They can assume he’s going to become yet another romantic interest for Katniss (Ha!) or that Hunger Games fans only like him because he’s the sexy badboy (HA HA!), but we know where Finnick goes in the series.

So it’s okay if you fell for it. After all, Panem did too.

Lost a couple of brain cells from that article



  1. Too bad you can’t put a nonsense filter on your Google alerts. But you’re right, I’ve adored real!Finnick for so long that I’ve forgotten what it feels like when we first meet his character. Misdirection, indeed.

  2. I doubt that that picture is the infamous sugar cube scene. I think that’s when Finnick helped Katniss with a certain complicated knot she’s practicing. Sugar cube scene is before the parade of tributes where Finnick is wearing that net costume which I am actually excited to see. In that picture they’re both wearing similar tops, so I’m guessing they’re in the training center.

    Also, I love how Lionsgate is promoting Finnick, kudos to them. People who haven’t read the books are in for a surprise when they find out about who the real Finnick is.

    1. I actually don’t think it is, I just know a lot of people have assumed it is and identify it that way. You’re right, they’re wearing the training tops.

  3. You know what they also fell for?

    ‘That Katniss girl wasnt even in love with that Peeta guy?.. Or was she? She didnt seem like it.. or did she? Im not really sure..’

    You know you’re a good actress when you are supposed to act that you are acting. And make people believe it too!

  4. I think there’s some misdirection in the book regarding Johanna, too. The first thing we learn about her is that she feigned weakness in her Games and then showed her true colors as a ruthless killer, and I can see people thinking that she’s going to be the antagonist in the Arena, kind of like Clove in the first book/movie.

    There may also be a misdirection, which many people in particular fell for after watching the movie, that Gale is to be the romantic lead and that the big romance would be between him and Katniss. There are multiple levels of misdirection romance-wise: some people did not even realize in the movie that the star crossed lovers story was a showmance for the Capitol audience (i.e. they fell for the same thing that the Capitol did), and then the next level of misdirection is that, after realizing it was a showmance (which you have to at least at the start of Catching Fire), start thinking that it’s all about a forbidden Gale/Katniss romance vs fake marriage that she’s forced into by the Capitol (this is the narrative that Snow himself seems to believe likely at the beginning of Catching Fire, that Peeta believes in for a long time, and that the people of District 12 saw as likely arising so they put the story out that Gale was Katniss’ cousin to prevent it).

    One could even say that the perception itself that romance is what the story is all about is one of the misdirections that the audiences can fall for. Kind of like Katniss listening to the song “The Hanging Tree” as a child and first believing it was just a love song, until she grew up some and realized that, while it IS about love, it is also about oppression, rebellion and torture.

  5. I actually envy the movie-only fans a bit, in that they are likely in for many scintillating surprises. I still remember that when I first read THG, I actually doubted Peeta for a second when the rules changes was revoked and he pulled his knife from his belt, because, much like Katniss herself, I didn’t 100% trust him until the end. I also didn’t like Finnick at all when we were first “introduced”! Being a “read the books over and over” fan of course means I picked up a lot of things I didn’t on first read, but that does take away a bit from the freshness of the experience.

  6. Exactly! Can you just imagine, in the theater, when he tells his story, and everybody gasps? Then the book fans (you will be able to tell who is and isnt easily by their reations to everything) will just look at each other like “wow, can you belive them?”

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