The Power of Prim

We’ve all had some time to shimmer down and think about it, yet the opinions on the Catching Fire trailer are STILL largely positive! Let’s face it– We probably would have squealed and cheered for a trailer filled with LEGO characters when it was first released, so long as it was a trailer. But the fandom gets whiny and cynical after a while, most times. This trailer seems to have passed with flying colors, because whining is at a minimum!

Prim and her plait get tough!

Prim and her plait get tough!

Things have changed between the Catching Fire book and the movie trailer, for sure, but there’s one change that has got us totally psyched. It goes a little something like this:

“You saved my life. You give me a chance.”
“Yes. To live.”
“No. To do something.”

And our reaction was essentially “WAIT… WAIT… IS PRIM A PROACTIVE CHARACTER NOW?! WHAAAAATTTTT? TEN POINTS, Y’ALL!” *various loserface dance moves*

Way back when, we admitted that one of the very few problems we had with the series was the characterization of Prim… or lack thereof. Katniss loves her little sister more than anything and constantly talks about how lovable and special and determined to make a difference she is, but we never really see her being any of that firsthand until she dies, which does take away some of the power from that moment. She’s more of a sidelined victim of circumstance, who keeps her distance and tries to make the best of the whole freaking country going to hell.

Annnnnd then we cuddle!

Annnnnd then we cuddle!

It looks like Francis Lawrence and/or Michael Arndt might have seen it too. (It’s not just meeeeee!) In a few short lines of the 2 minute trailer, Prim gets something you never really see her display in the books: Guts and determination. She won’t be a meek child who is simply thrown into these troubled waters. She’s choosing to dive in, against the advice of her own sister, at that! While they’re still in District 12!

To be clear, Prim probably would’ve become a Healer/ Doctor either way and that is a very proactive, conscious move that her character takes. But it’s nice to see her choosing the path instead of simply falling into it. It fleshes out her character. As an audience, we get to see that she really cares and is pretty fantastic… and not just because her older sister tells us so. And when she cares, we care!

Atta girl, Prim!

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The Girl With The Pearl

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3 comments

  1. Heh. If the whining I’ve seen over the trailer is minimal, I wonder how bad it gets when there’s a lot of it. 😉

    I had the same problems with Prim in the books – although, on re-reading Mockingjay, she does get better in that book – and I’m also glad that they seem to be trying to fix that in the movie. (But I did actually see someone complain about this line because it’s not in the book.) Prim should not be just a McGuffin, something for Katniss to protect, but a character in her own right.

    There are other areas where movies could improve on the books. For instance, I think the Mockingjay movies should flesh out the other members of the Star Squad better. In the book, they’re almost interchangeable and we don’t find almost anything about them, so I didn’t feel anything when they died.

  2. Great points here! I must admit, when I watched the trailer, the scene between Prim and Katniss struck me in the gut as “UGH! Foreshadowing that Katniss does NOT in the end gives Prim a chance to live!” But it didn’t occur to me that this scene does show Prim taking initiative in a way that she may have in the books, but not in front of Katniss.

    It is a fairly common complaint that Prim’s portrayal in the books is rather flat, and she winds up being more of a plot device than a fully realized character, and many book readers found her death to be less impactful than that of Rue, or others.

    So at this point, I am optimistic that Movie!Prim will wind up being someone the audience will care for as a person for her own sake, not just someone we feel obligated to care about because we know Katniss loves her. I actually already felt more connected to Movie!Prim based on her reaping scene, in which I could SEE how scared and yet how brave she was, than I did based on Katniss’s narrative from the books.

    That being said, as someone who saw how the GoT adaptation TRIED to flesh out Robb Stark’s wife from the books, who plays a similar role as a rather passive, “walking plot device”, into someone the audience would care for as a person, and make her more of a proactive, independent woman…”fleshing out” characters doesn’t always work.

    You can also argue that Prim’s portrayal in the books as an innocent victim of circumstance was a deliberate choice by SC herself to show the futility of war, and the movies tweaking Prim into someone who knew what she was getting into, might detract a little from that message. Not everyone has to pick up a sword or bow in order to make a difference in the world, and I hope the movie doesn’t make Prim TOO much of a rebel. Or if they do, that she remains more the Peeta type of rebel than a Gale type.

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