It Starts At Midnight

SURPRISE! It’s time for a Monday guest post, courtesy of Le District 12‘s very own Aeris!

There are two reasons you should give Aeris lots of love:
1) This is a long, thought-provoking, articulate piece.
2) We probably should’ve posted it last week, like we originally told her we would before we just kept falling asleep too early.

I’ve been re-reading Catching Fire for a few weeks now (actually, I’d been re-reading it and was about to start Mockingjay, when on the day of the second trailer’s release I decided to… read Catching Fire for the second time in a row. Because I felt like celebrating the trailer, and Catching Fire happens to be my favorite of the three. Maybe. Picking a favorite THG book is like evaluating kitten cuteness. Not possible. Anyway. When I say “re-read”, I meant “re-read for the 5th or 6th time”, but you knew that, right?) and I’m currently at the part where Katniss, Peeta and Finnick start to realize what the Arena’s all about. As in, “Tick, Tock”.

Now as we are getting closer to the movie’s release, I’ve been picturing what Catching Fire will look like a lot more than before, what with the visuals we have now, and because it’s actually happening, we’re going to see it on the big screen, SOON so I can’t help but think about it that way! Therefore, I’ve been wondering which sections (that we, as readers, know of) of the Arena Francis Lawrence will choose to include and which (new) ones he might add. Because Suzanne Collins probably has all the other ones in mind even if she didn’t specify them in the book, and as a director Francis Lawrence knows best what will be cinematographic and what won’t. So without further ado (oh, how I like to ramble), let’s dig in, shall we?

To help visualize this, I’m eternally grateful to Alternate Coppa on Deviant Art and will use a sample of their work.

To help visualize this, I’m eternally grateful to Alternate Coppa on Deviant Art and will use a sample of their work.

Part 1: The Sections We Know About

1. The Blood Rain: Johanna, Wiress and Beetee emerge from this as they finally join Katniss, Peeta and Finnick on the Beach. Whether we’ll actually see the down-poor, or just the result (them being covered in blood), or nothing at all, isn’t clear at this point. With everything FLaw (oh man, I just realized shortening Francis’ name like that makes it seem like I’m calling him “flaw”…Noooo!) needs to put in this movie, it’s doubtful he’s going to take the time to show stuff that isn’t crucial, but I for one think Blood Rain visual effects would be pretty cool.
2. The Fog: From what we’ve seen on, um, dubiously obtained pictures, the Tributes’ uniforms do not seem to have been destroyed by the Fog after they go through it. Plus, even though we’d be more than happy to see Peeta and Finnick shirtless, things might get a little awkward if during three quarters of the arena sequences, all 3 are in their underwear. (Peeta and Katniss should only be very slightly clothed for the Beach Scene, let’s be reasonable here!)
So maybe the Fog will “just” paralyze them, without being acidic. Which rules out the whole dipping limbs in water, slathering on disgusting ointment part and scaring Peeta with it.
I wonder though, how the Fog will work, visually. People running away from, basically, mist, doesn’t seem that scary, even though we know better.

Come on guys, don’t be mean to Peeta!

Come on guys, don’t be mean to Peeta!

3. The Mutt-Monkeys: Now this, we know FOR SURE appears in the movie because Josh said so! (And Josh’s word is as good as gold, obviously). He also said it was his favorite action scene, so there you go. And what’s not to like about a fight with hoards of rabid monkeys, right? Plus, this is also the scene which reaffirms the idea in Katniss’ mind that other Tributes are saving Peeta’s life whenever it’s endangered and she can’t figure out why. So it is im-pah-tant, people.
4. The JabberJays: OK, they just have to be in the movie. I don’t care that much if they tweak the fog and make it something different, but the Jabberjays… the psychological attack says so much about Finnick as a character and it depicts perfectly just how far the Capitol is willing to go to torture people, in a gruesome, custom-made way. I know they didn’t cast Annie until Mockingjay, so technically they can’t include her voice (except if they add it now that we have Stef Dawson, who knows!) but it can’t be hard to add a young girl’s screaming, right? That being said, if I have to hear another cringe-worthy, weak, flat, wrong, “KATNISS” from Willow Shields, they won’t need to because I am going to scream, Jabberjay Style.
5. The Beast: We don’t know much about this, really. Most likely they’ll skirt over it like they did when Thresh died during The Hunger Games, but then again maybe not. We have psychological attacks, elemental attacks (more about that later), and animal attacks but the monkeys, even though they’re horrible mutts, are still probably not that impressive as “beasts”. So a huge, Monster/Beast-Mutt might be quite interesting to include in a very fast-paced scene.
6. The Wave: I bet this will be in the movie. It’s easy to do, impressive to see.
7. The Insects: We might just get the sound of these, as our Tributes never get to face them for real (thankfully). But I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t mentioned.
8. The Earthquake: OK, technically this doesn’t count as a “section” but it does happen. And it will be in the movie because Francis said so! And Francis’ word is…as good as gold, you bet.

Part 2: The Unknown

All in all, we have four empty sections of unknown horrors that the Tributes don’t “get” to see. The other attacks, as previously summarized, can easily be categorized into the following: elemental (the wave, the quake, the fog, the rain), animal (the beast, the insects, the monkeys), and psychological (the Jabberjays). Some of these can overlap of course, the Jabberjays are technically also in an “animal” category but they don’t attack physically, so… And the rain can also count as psychological: how unnerving would it be to almost drown in blood, all while not knowing whose blood it is.

Bearing this in mind, I thought about what the other sections could be. Considering the quota of “elemental” attacks, I think we could still add one more. Something vicious, like quicksand, or a localized tornado. Or maybe even a field of beautiful but drowse-inducing poppies, like in The Wizard of Oz, making Tributes completely vulnerable to anything else (namely, other Tributes) that might come their way.

“Peeta holds me on his lap, speaking soothing words, rocking me gently.”

“Peeta holds me on his lap, speaking soothing words, rocking me gently.”

Also, remember the pedestals? They are part of the “clock”, so we can easily imagine them detonating at the slightest breach of a section at the right (or wrong, more accurately) time. Trying to cross over to another section to get yourself far away from the danger? THINK AGAIN!

There probably could be another animal attack, too. The arena is set in the jungle, and I’m pretty sure they could have encountered snakes, or mutt-snakes, more likely. Evil, deathly poisonous, altered snakes. Snakes that can fly, for example, (has anyone else read Michael Grant’s Gone series? You should!). Or stare you in the eyes and kill you on the spot. (OK, I promise I’m done with other literature references!)

I’m coming up a little blank on the psychological attacks though. Of course Tracker Jackers could be employed to make the Tributes hallucinate and wonder if their worst fears coming true is…real or not real, if you will. But I don’t think Suzanne would so blatantly use something from the first and third books, and the Tracker Jacker venom will be explained in all its agonizing glory during Mockingjay.

And I feel like the Jabberjays pretty much take the cake. Hearing your loved ones scream while you can’t do anything, and wondering “Where did they get those screams, Katniss?” has to be close to Number 1 on the “Best ways to drive someone insane” course.

And considering Psychological Torture will be THE THEME of Mockingjay Part 1, they probably won’t elaborate on it too much during Catching Fire.

Now I’m just going to go and read some more and try and imagine (over and over) how the Beach Scene is going to be done. Bruno Gunn tweeting quotes from it is NOT helping me to be patient.

Three months! *breathes deeply*. Three months.




  1. So the idea/sight of rapidly approaching poisonous frog that you can’t evade or fight back against doesn’t terrify you? That was the freakiest part of the Games to me when I first read CF. Also, when was there an earthquake?

  2. I’m not saying it wouldn’t terrify *me*, I’m saying visually, it might not seem that terrifying to movie goers. Seeing Katniss, Peeta, Finnick and Mags running away from fog doesn’t seem like the type of stuff that will make it in the movie, is all.

    But compared to the monkeys or jabberjays, no, I have to admit I really didn’t consider it the “freakiest part”.

    It isn’t an earthquake, per say, I was talking about the Arena rearrangement, when they are at the Cornucopia.

  3. I’m not sure the “beach scene” is going to be in the movie at all. Jennifer told a gross story of an outtake from her and Josh’s kiss, which happened right after Peeta was electrocuted. In the book she didn’t kiss him at that point. If the movie put a kiss there, that might be the only one we get.

    If I’m wrong (and I hope I am), someone please feel free to let me know.

    1. I don’t see why including a kiss in the electrocution scene would mean that they would have to cut the beach scene, which is crucial, revealing, iconic and fantastic, and features a completely different kind of kiss – there’s a pretty big difference between two people passionately making out on a midnight beach, and one person crying and kissing another who’s nearly died (just ask Gale), in the front of another Tribute, no less. It’s not like they’re limited to just one kiss between Katniss and Peeta per movie. They would have to be insane to cut the beach scene, from the filmmaking – artistic and commercial – perspective, even if it they didn’t know that it would mean the fandom coming after them with pitchforks.

      1. By “If I’m wrong, let me know,” I was requesting fact-based information on the shooting script or production details, either of which I was hoping would definitively contradict what I suggested. I thought maybe I’d missed a spoiler leak that would answer my concern.

        I’ve read the books too and am well aware of the beach scene’s significance, the difference between the Gale post-beating kiss and the Peeta beach kiss…I get it. But after the botch that was the “cave scene” in THG, I believe no part of the books is as sacred to the filmmakers as it could ever be to the fandom. Hence the request for facts.

        1. And I knew what you meant, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t tell you what I think. I don’t think that we should be getting shooting script leaks or interview confirmations about *everything*. Maybe I’m wrong and Lionsgate, FLawrence, Suzanne Collins and the rest of them have indeed gone insane and decided: “Hey, you know what would be great if we did? How about taking out that scene that all the fans adore and that’s crucial for showing the development of Katniss’ feelings for Peeta – we should do it because a) we want to piss the fans off, it will make them want to watch the Mockingjay movies even more, and b) everyone knows that the general movie-going audience hates hot, romantic make-out scenes between attractive young people, so we’re going to get much better box office without it!” …But somehow I don’t think that has happened.

          The cave scene being underwhelming compared to the books should only make them pay attention to get the beach across more so, rather than less so.

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