A Song of Mockingjays and Fire

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan – heck, if you follow entertainment news in the slightest – you know what a big shock Sunday’s episode was to watchers of the show. Monday morning, it was all anyone was talking about. For those that have read the books and knew about the Red Wedding, it was less of a shock and more of release from the anticipation of it. Behind every camera filming the shocked and devastated reactions of the unaware and unspoiled (unsullied?) fans was a book reader who saw it coming.

It's a nice day for a Red Wedding

Let’s look forward to November 2015. Imagine you’ve got a TARDIS or Delorean or something. We all know what happens at the end of Mockingjay. We’ve grieved, we’ve lamented, we’ve read the books and know that Finnick gets his head bitten off by a humanoid reptile mutt and that Prim has been blown to pieces and Snow gets trampled by a crowd. When we sit down to watch the movie in two years, we will have seen it coming. But the question is, will everyone else?

tumblr_ly6f1ip90h1qc9w5qIn many people’s minds, The Hunger Games is a young adult book, so it’s likely that non-readers are expecting it to be that dark. Surely, Finnick, who is so beloved, will escape harm to be with his wife and watch his son grow up. Of course, Prim, who Katniss loved so much that she volunteered for the Hunger Games to save her, would survive until the end. And no doubt, Katniss would be the one to bring Snow down with an arrow to the heart.

Whenever I talk to anyone who has only seen the Hunger Games movie, I always say, “Just wait until Mockingjay.” I warn them that they won’t see any of it coming, and they never believe me. Mockingjay Part 2 is likely to shock audiences when it is released in 2015, and I can’t wait.

I’m sorry for the Mockingjay flashbacks



  1. “Song of Mockingjays and Fire”
    You know, that would have actually been quite a fitting alternate title for “Mockingjay”!

    Incidentally, I haven’t seen a single episode of Game of Thrones, but have been intending to watch the show, or read the book, for quite a while, and haven’t gotten around to it. But I had the luck a couple of days ago to find the book (Game of Thrones, the first book of SOIAF) available in the library just when I came by (books that popular are almost always on loan!) so I’ve started to read it. So far, just a few chapters that introduce the characters. Now I’m wondering if it’s better to read the entire book before watching season 1, or could I watch season 1 now, before I finish the book?

    (And please no spoilers about season 3…)

    1. TTB: I have watched the show, and read parts of the books (TBH, excerpts posted by fans on the Internet; the books are thousands of pages long and I know that once I start with them, I’ll be unable to put them down, so I’ll likely not read them until I have a couple weeks vacation.) But I am pretty familiar with the general outline.of what happens in the books, and how they are different from the show.

      My general take is, that people who think Mockingjay was way too depressing, probably should NOT get involved in GOT/ASOIAF fandom unless they want to sign up for some therapy sessions afterward! 😉 There are definitely some parallel themes; not the Hunger Games aspect, but certainly the parts about rebellion and war.

      Well, I will say that IMHO, the reasons SOME people have for liking the story, are similar to the reasons Capitol people like to watch the Games, just enjoying the sex and violence and how people “play the Game of Thrones”, swatting away any Deeper Questions about ethics and morality with “that’s just the way life was in medieval times, you had to be ruthless to survive”. But I think there’s a lot more to the story than that.

      Anyway, I’d say Season 1 is very close to the book. Since we share the idea that book to screen adaptations are not books-on-tape with pictures, I think reading the book first won’t affect your enjoyment of the TV series at all. So, up to you.

      Starting in Season 2, there have been more and more changes, mostly with additional scenes not in the books, especially from the POV of Robb Stark, who does not have a POV in the books. Many minor characters are either totally cut out, or merged with other characters who have similar roles. I think most of the changes do make sense when considering time constraints, and that we cannot get into the characters’ heads the way we can in the books. Yeah, similar to issues we’ve discussed about the THG adaptation.

      That being said, there are SOME changes from book to screen that have really annoyed me, though I won’t go into detail here. I am actually thinking of writing an essay about parallels between GOT and THG as adaptations, but I don’t think I could write it without including lots of spoilers, so I guess you won’t be able to read it if you’re trying to avoid them!

      1. Maybe it’s too early to compare the THG adaptation to GoT, since we’ve only had the first movie? Wouldn’t it better to wait a couple of years for a proper comparison? Or at least wait till Catching Fire comes out. And by that time I may have already seen/read all of GoT. 🙂

        The first book is about 800 pages long in the edition I’m reading, but it’s going quickly – I’m some 60 pages in and it’s just introduction of the characters and setup so far. There are a lot of characters – there’s an appendix with the lists of families and characters, and so far only half of them have been introduced, and I mean simply introduced in many cases. Sadly I already know one big spoiler about (I believe) the first season/the first book – a certain character’s death – since it was simply impossible to avoid knowing it through general cultural osmosis, but I have no idea how this death happens.

        As you probably know, I don’t find Mockingjay too depressing, and GoT will probably be just my thing. Also, I’ve read books far more depressing than Mockingjay, books that really don’t offer any hope, but I like those kinds of book less – I prefer something dark and heart-wrenching but with hope with it, which I think Mockingjay is.

  2. I remember my young daughter saying she knows what’s going on a friend told her. After all mom it’s not like my twilight! Then she started reading all the books. I have never seen her cry like that! She did not see it coming. She did not know about Prim getting burnt to death. She did not know Katnisses mom would leave her. How Gale would leave her life too. It will shock people beyond a silly little love triangle young adult movie. War is not pretty and this one is very dark on some many levels. When I have people read the books they open up a lot of lines of discussion. But if F Law puts this on screen it’s goings to be epic!

  3. I have many “GOT vs THG” thoughts, but one interesting, and disturbing, issue, is that at this point, least on the surface, GOT seems be sending the message that “In this society, you can’t afford love, or honor, or morality. You have to play the game and be just as ruthless as your enemies in order to even survive, never mind defeating them.” As well as “you can’t expect justice in this corrupt society, all you can look forward to is some measure of vengeance”.

    I can definitely see many people in Panem and District 13 wholeheartedly agreeing with that sentiment. I can even see D13 showing its citizens a drama series about the Dark Days that shows the idealistic, honorable rebels being treacherously defeated by the Capitol, and showcases many Capitol atrocities, with the goal of (1) whipping them up into a vengeance-driven rage and (2) convincing them that the Capitol doesn’t deserve mercy, and can’t be defeated without ruthless tactics. And yet, it seems most fans DON’T support the way D13 and Coin ran the war, even if they think rebelling was justified.

    It’s intresting how so many people are fans of BOTH franchises, despite how the THG message seems to be completely opposite to the GOT one. We seem to think Panem can move beyond being a violent, brutal, kill-or-be-killed society, but Westeros can’t, and so we accept a lower level of morality in Westeros than we do in Panem.

    But I have the nagging feeling that the nihlistic “there is no good or evil, only power” (and that is a quote from a Harry Potter villian, just to bring in yet another franchise) isn’t the real message George R.R. Martin meant to send, though the casual fan might assume so. I guess we’ll just have to see how the story goes (and hope he lives to complete it!)

  4. How many people die in Mockingjay again? I know there’s countless Capitol and district citizens, but important ones?

    – Boggs
    – Prim
    – Finnick
    – Coin
    – Snow
    – Messalla
    – Castor (presumed)
    – Homes
    – Jackson
    – The Leegs
    – Mitchell

    Am I missing anyone?

    1. @timetravellingbunny Yeah, but doesn’t Darius die in Catching Fire? It’s been a while since I read them. Also some avoxes and Peacekeepers die.

      1. No, Darius is turned into an Avox in Catching Fire. He is one of the Avoxes that die in Mockingjay – Lavinia, the girl we met in the first book, is the other. They both died while Peeta was tortured in Capitol – it happens off-page and we find it out, together with Katniss, when Peeta tells what happened to them. They tortured them so Peeta would be forced to watch, Lavinia died immediately since they used too strong electric shock, but Darius was tortured and mutilated for a long time until he died.

        Of course, neither of them are in the movies.

  5. I expect to hear some gasps in the theater. Especially at the deaths of Prim and Finnick, and at Peeta’s behavior after the hijacking. With the information that Johanna and Peeta had been tortured to no end, Peeta seeming to have lost his mind, Gale turned into a partial warmonger, Annie losing her husband not very long after their wedding, knowing why Annie suffers, ect. will have an impact, too. I can’t wait to hear the reactions when Cinna is killed. No one will be expecting the sweet, but yet matured Prim to be killed so brutally, or having Finnick decapitated. I hope the deaths aren’t shied away from. Or Katniss’ burns and her pain. I think the reactions alone will be a treat. 🙂

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