My One Mockingjay Part 1 Gripe

It’s hard to believe it but after three films in The Hunger Games franchise, and after so many gripes about Gary Ross’s treatment, and then my barely there gripes about Francis Lawrence’s treatment of Catching Fire– I only have one, count it ONEMockingjay-gale-poster gripe about Mockingjay Part 1. And that gripe is this, Gale Hawthorne is effectively an orphan.

I know, I know there’s something wrong with me, ’cause my gripe is for all intents and purposes the stripping away Gale of pretty much everything that made him sympathetic in the first place. The fact that he had a family to take care of, not just Katniss, and Katniss’s family, but one all of his own. There was Posy, and Vic, and Rory, and his mother Hazelle. But like Madge Undersee, or Greasy Sae, or Delly Cartwright, Gale’s family was cut down to a brief mention of his “brothers” in The Hunger Games, and then a feigned responsibility to them in Catching Fire by taking up work in the mines, and then finally in Mockingjay Part 1, they’re just no where.

So what happened to Gale’s family? Were they seen as extraneous, or an unneeded distraction from the main points of the story? In my head I’d like to imagine that Gale’s family was on the story boards for a while, they may have even had thoughts of casting them. But then it got away from the creators of the franchise, that they figured Gale alone, stately, tall, and handsome would be enough, and that expanding his home life would not have made him more easy to love, and more of a rival for the affections Katniss has for Peeta. But from where I’m sitting, even though Gale is all of those things, stately, strong, handsome, and solo– he’s not an island, and knowing more about him as a person rather than just a hunter, and a soldier, and a friend– may have been a boon to the story, and perhaps to Liam Hemsworth as an actor. That being said, I loved Mockingjay Part 1 as a film, and if Gale’s family was the sacrifice they made to make it as good as I believe it is, I’ll take it.

So, that’s my one gripe– Gale Hawthorne’s is a storyboard orphan.

Them There Eyes

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6 comments

  1. Yeah, they should have been extras, and Posy should have had her line with Effie…sigh..

    What do you think of Gale shaking hands and smiling at Effie like she wasn’t the Capitol Reaper of his District for years? Cause that’s one of my gripes. Wouldn’t even a forgiving guy have a little trace of resentment?

  2. THIS THIS ALL OF THIS.

    i was already fond of posy from the books, and fanfiction has made me inordinately attached to rory and vick, so i had always hoped they’d make it in– maybe even more than other characters like madge and delly. and what’s more, hazelle is pretty much the ONE example of an actual good, unfailing mother that we have in these books, and she doesn’t even really get a mention. i consider that such a missed opportunity, and it’s very sad.

  3. This was my issue, too, though maybe just Gale in general. After watching Part 1, I left the theater completely satisfied. My ONLY complaint would be the handling of Gale. I don’t know if it’s the script or the whole “Blue Steel” thing Liam’s got going on, but his passion was lacking. Gale is supposed to be angry and ready to fight. Katniss (and his nonexistent family) are definitely a top priority, but the rebellion should be right up there, too. Gale seemed far too concerned with his romantic interests in Katniss than the war happening around him. My mother, who hasn’t read the books, described Gale as “patient” and “saintly”. He can be those things at time, but I need rage Gale. Gale’s viewpoint on the war against the Capitol is important to his character arc and relationship to Katniss. I just do not feel like it has been solidified yet.

  4. I did find it rather ironic that Gale’s family was removed, yet Peeta’s family DOES score a mention, Movie!Coin is GIVEN a family, albeit a dead one, and Snow’s GD pops up again (even though it’s sad that she really seems to think Grandpa would execute her for wearing a Mockingjay pin).

    The movie seems to suggest they died in D12, and that is why Gale is so angry that Peeta is collaborating with the Capitol. Yet, as Gale’s account of the D12 bombing states the PKs forced everyone back into their homes and then left, and that he realized this meant they knew the bombs were coming, you’d think he’d be able to convince his own family to flee into the forest, not try to escape using the main road. So that’s a plothole.

    I suppose maybe they were trying to draw parallels between Gale and Coin, that as Coin lost her family and this seems to have been her turning point toward seeing herself as “mother” to her “country” instead and eventually becoming a power-hungry despot, Gale has lost his family too and is headed down a similar path.

    On the other hand, although Book!Gale needing to take care of his family certainly is a big component of his character; other than Posy’s cute scene with Octavia, I don’t recall Gale’s family playing that much of a part in the MJ plot. And at the end of the book Katniss finds out from Greasy Sae that Gale has a”fancy job” in D2 but she doesn’t seem that interested in what happened to his family and so we have no idea if they accompanied him, stayed in D13, returned to D12 (as many fanfics assume), or for all we know decided to keep Mrs. E, Annie, and Finnick Jr. company in D4. As far as Katniss is concerned, they might as well be dead.

    So to me, the lack of the Hawthorne family actually was more of an issue in CF, for that is when we really get more of a focus on Gale’s background and motivations.

    1. I don’t think the movie suggests Gale lost his family. If they were trying to do that, they would do it explicitly, as they do with Peeta’s, or even Coin’s. They just decided to ignore his family, as they have in the first two movies. Moviegoers may even think that Gale was an orphan all along, if they are giving it a thought.

      The lack of Gale rage is one of my few gripes with the movie. Maybe they are leaving it all for part 2 when it gets more thematically relevant, but his reaction to Effie was OOC, and there was no equivalent to the prop team. But as I said, maybe that was a conscious decision and they ignored those little early signs of the upcoming conflict in Gale’s and Katniss’ ethical views, and other signs of District 13’s dark side (something that has also been toned down, alongside the early signs that Coin is not really that trustworthy), because they want to lull the viewers into thinking very positively about Coin, D13 and Gale before turning it around in Part 2.

      Another real gripe I have is the way they have diminished Haymitch’s role and development. We haven’t learned any of his devastating backstory, his games and what Snow did to him afterwards, and he’s mostly been just a gruff mentor/comic relief.

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