Meta Golding

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Review

Don’t worry, you’ll still get your reaction post! It just so happens that we’re all so busy seeing the movie, we can’t find a time for all three of us to get together and TALK about it. It’s a good problem, no?

In the meantime, we’re going to give you a conventional SPOILER-FREE review to go alongside the reaction post to come!

Effie, bigger and bolder!

Effie, bigger and bolder!

Let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to staaaaart)! When Katniss and Peeta win 74th The Hunger Games and return to their new home, broken and distant. They’ve survived, but they’re tentative friendship turned showmance is tepid at best after Peeta learns Katniss’ true motivation. Not to mention that they’re both plagued with PTSD.

It all leads up to The Victory Tour, which is where Francis Lawrence really gets to sink his teeth in and show us what this movie is made of. We don’t see much of the individual districts, but we’re offered a few shots that serve as shining examples of the bigger budget and Francis’ eye for detail.

Gale gets his rebellion on

Gale gets his rebellion on

This movie is mostly character driven, which we found super refreshing. Without adding significant film time (THG and CF are actually the same length), we see Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Effie, and Show’s roles expanded. It’s not just extra lines– the characters seem richer, with deeper personalities and more individual significance outside their relationship with Katniss and Peeta. Some people weren’t thrilled that other scenes were fast-moving, but we think it was worth it to get some character development in there.

It’s at the end of the Victory Tour that we meet Plutarch Heavensbee, portrayed with gusto by Philip Seymour Hoffman. You can’t help but marvel at his unprecedented political savvy and manipulations. He doesn’t lose his cool for a single moment and meanwhile, we were totally freaking out.

Chemistry-wise, the relationship between Katniss and Peeta seems more organic and palpable this time around. It goes without say that Jen and Josh are both extremely talented actors and dear friends in real life, which translates beautifully. That being said, Catching Fire is significantly more Gale-centric. Jen and Liam have presented a strong case for Kale/Gatniss/whatever else we want to call them. Their relationship plays off as a look at two friends falling for each other, brought together by the stress of impending rebellion, but still plants hints of what’s to come in the Mockingjay films.

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Family feels

When the Third Quarter Quell is announced, we finally get some new victors! And what a group they are! Sam Claflin is our Finnick. He embodies the character’s dramatic preening and sensitive soul with a stunning fluidity that we doubt we could have gotten out of many of the laughable fan suggestions that came out during casting. And it doesn’t hurt that he is really, really, ridiculously good-looking. Jena Malone is able to capture Johanna’s anger with such ease and honesty that you know it’s her true spirit, not just an act. Jeffrey Wright gives a master class in acting as he transforms so perfectly into unusual techie extraordinaire Beetee, but Amanda Plummer gets the scene-stealer award for her zany portrayal of Wiress. And Mags? Forgetaboutit! We all want to adopt Lynn Cohen as our new grandma!

With a more appropriate level of violence this time around, the Career pack actually felt menacing. Bruno Gunn’s guns and his expert snarl were intimidating. Meta Golding has the Enobaria growl down to a science. And despite being living barbies, Cashmere and Gloss were surprisingly badass. However, this group did feel a bit under-utilized given that they were meant to pose an immediate threat to Katniss’ life.

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We feel you, Johanna!

The ending is heart-breaking and devastating and everything we ever wanted it to be after reading the books! We’re not saying the movie was perfect down to the very last detail. There’s a lot to consider and we’re sure everyone will find a little something to gripe about (Don’t we always?), but this movie is an extremely faithful adaptation and for us, the clear winner of the franchise so far. Though we loved Gary Ross’ work, Francis Lawrence provided us with a smart, pulse-pounding, emotional journey that had us thanking him by the end.

How Many Days Until Mockingjay Part 1?!
The Girl With The Pearl

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The Cast That Gets Around

You’d think I would be writing about all the new clips that have been released, or the appearances cast members have made– but I won’t, because I’ve cut myself off from promotional material as of about a week ago. That’s right my lovelies, I haven’t seen an interview that Jena Malone, Sam Claflin, Josh Hutcherson, or– wait, I read a couple Bruno Gunn did, but I promised a friend that I would. I lied then, I have kept somewhat in the loop, but I’m not ravenous for it all! Why? Because I’d really rather be surprised where it comes to the film from here on out, and hearing, or better yet reading about it almost on a daily basis kind of puts a damper on the zest of excitement that is this magical thing we like to call– anticipation. Which is why when I hear, or again, read that former and current cast members are taking on new projects, I’m much more receptive and willing to read on, and on, and on.

So, is anyone here a fan of the new series Sleepy Hollow? I certainly am, sure it’s not as gritty as some new series’ to be released within the last few months (Masters of Sex),– but then again I’m a die-hard Downton Abbey fan, and god knows costume dramas aren’t known for their grit. Any who, Sleepy Hollow is kind of half a costume drama, half cop show, and a whole lot of super natural thriller-ing. Which of course brings us to this, Amandla Stenberg, AKA our beloved Rue, will be taking on a recurring role on the popular Fox series. At first I thought she might be playing the younger version of one of the lead characters, but my assumption was incorrect, especially since that role’s already taken– how astute of me, I know. Amandla however will be playing Orlando Jones’ amandla-stenberg-01characters daughter, Jones is the brand new police chief in the bustling hamlet of Sleepy Hollow, New York. I don’t know about you, but I hope her character sticks around and gives Jones’ character some more and much needed heart and background. Stay frosty, Amandla’s debut will be November 25th, which is very very close!

Super natural series’ seem to be in The Hunger Games casts blood, because Meta Golding may have yet to fully grace us with her presence as Enobaria, but she’s already appearing on The CW’s The Tomorrow People. I’ve personally never seen The Tomorrow People, I did however used to watch the second incarnation of this rebooted series several years ago, yep– the one with Naomie Harris. I swear I hear crickets! Here’s the deal, it’s a series with an interesting concept, and even though I don’t have time to tune in and see Meta and co. doing their thing, I hope other people do. Besides, I keep hearing ads for it on the radio whilst driving around in my car, and it sounds like a decent series to me, little cheesy, but decent.

Did you think I was done? Well I’m not, because well, because I’m not! I mentioned his name above, well here I go mentioning it again– Bruno Gunn has been cast in a film that is currently shooting down in Atlanta. And this film has got its self a stellar cast! With people like Hailie Steinfeld, Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Alba– and of course Bruno rounding it out, I don’t think it can go too wrong. The film is called Barely Lethal, and the synopsis is this, “a 16-year-old international assassin yearning for a “normal” adolescence fakes her own death and enrolls as a senior in a suburban high school. She quickly learns that being popular can be more painful than getting water-boarded.” I’m intrigued. The press release of Bruno’s casting went out yesterday, and I’d like to think of it as a positive way to bookend the work week– yes, because it’s not everyday that you read Bruno Gunn and Samuel L. Jackson in the same article! You’re probably curious now, so here’s the skinny, Bruno’s role will be that of Jessica Alba’s henchman with only one name, Jones. Yep, like Madonna, or Beyonce, or Elvis– sorry, I can’t think of any other famous people with one name names. Jones are no Jones, I’ll keep you all posted on any other information I gather on this project– I think Samuel L. Jackson would approve, perhaps even Bruno.

Liberace! See, thought of another.

Them There Eyes

Catching Fire Character Chaos

This week, The Hunger Games fandom was blessed with TWENTY new stills from Catching Fire via The Hunger Games Explorer!

Besides being really choice photos of the actors, we think these photos reveal a lot about the characters and what THEY have to say! So we took a shot at translating some character thoughts presented in these images. Enjoy!

Katniss Everdeen Jennifer Lawrence Catching Fire

“I’m trying to stay cool, but I’m pretty sure this full body suit just split down the middle…”

Josh Hutcherson Peeta Mellark Catching Fire

“And suddenly that ‘lean muscle’ workout seems like a really bad idea.”

Alan Ritchson Gloss The Hunger Games Catching Fire
“You should try years of steroid use and scowling instead. Does me wonders.”

Sam Claflin Finnick Odair The Hunger Games Catching Fire
“I’ve seen almost everyone in this room naked… and let’s just say those steroids aren’t doing much for Gloss where it counts.”

MORE MADNESS BELOW THE CUT!
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Let’s Play ‘That Type of Character’!

It’s a new game! We just made it up! …Not really.

Today, Glamour released some new stills of Sam Claflin and Jena Malone rocking a vintage photoshoot via Just Jared. Besides the obvious fact that they both look fabulous, it also got us thinking about why they’re good for their characters– Jena looks jaded and even a bit intimidating ala Johanna in one shot. And Sam on the ground looking cheeky with that camera? Hellooooo Finnick!

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But besides that, it made me think a new thought:
“Damn, for some reason, I really want to see Sam Claflin in a movie set in the 60s.”

Some actors just have that look, or that vibe, and you feel like they’d be perfect in a certain film setting. Sam’s got the 60s vibe for me. And the other Hunger Games actors, they’ve got their vibes too! There’s something about them that makes us want to see them play certain types of characters. Let’s discuss, shall we?

Jena Malone: Manic Pixie Girl – Jena is so genuine and bubbly, which makes us think she’d be the actress to play what’s traditionally referred to as a “Manic Pixie Girl” role: A character that’s well-loved and seemingly perfect to the narrator, but has a dark side that slowly unravels throughout the story. Some people consider it a trope, but this type of girl is something to admire when presented by a talented film team.

Bruno Gunn: Cynical War Leader – At first, we were thinking full-on evil overlord, which would also be a splendid choice, but we can see this guy shining in a role that’s a little less Brutus. Instead, we picture him stretching out his chops in a role where he plays a jaded military figure, the one who has done this for too long and seen too much, working with the young and unaware. There’s more versatility there.

Alan Ritchson: Nice Guy Serial Killer – We know! WE KNOW! We’re not saying Alan looks like a serial killer, far from it! But that’s actually what would make him great for the role of a Ted Bundy-esque character who disarms everyone with his charms before things get terrifying. We’d fall for it!

Willow Shields: Youngster Changing the World – Willow seems like she’d be really apt for one of those inspirational films in which a young teen who’s been through too much sets out to make a difference. She’s full of likable sweetness, but there’s grit under that. Maybe it’s because Prim’s grown some cojones in the Catching Fire trailers?

Meta Golding: The Savvy Politician – It may be the international upbringing or the degree in International Relations from an Ivy Leaque university, but Meta Golding has a certain worldliness to her that makes us think she’d play a great politician. Perhaps an ambiguous one or they young blood going up against old school corruption, as those are the best kinds!

There’s a few exmaples! Of course, we’re not saying these are the only roles said actors should take on. Just ones we hope they get the chance to take on, because we would thoroughly enjoy that!

What types of roles would you like to see Hunger Games actors in?

Don’t You Love When Posts End in an Open-Ended Question?!
The Girl With The Pearl

A PS PSA!

We’ve recently talked about our distaste for people selling signed Catching Fire posters and the like on eBay, but there is one HUGE EXCEPTION!

Lionsgate and the Catching Fire cast have been kind enough to provide 5 signed Catching Fire posters and five SDCC exclusive Mockingjay pins to be auctioned off to benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The winners will receive a letter of authenticity from Lionsgate and 100% of the winning bids go to charity.

Auction One | Auction Two | Auction Three | Auction Four | Auction Five

Come On Comic-Con: Part 3

Lionsgate BoothSo I am back and finally well rested! San Diego Comic-Con 2013 for me was an extended weekend full of hanging with fellow fansite runners (shout out to the Mockingjay.net staff in particular, it was a blast rooming with you guys!) and nerding out about my favorite fandoms, The Hunger Games included, with fellow fans.

It started Thursday morning. After making a beeline for Comic-Con exclusives, we finally made it to the Lionsgate booth, and they were already out of the posters. Womp womp. We would come back again later in the day to try for Catching Fire pins. When we got there again, there was a huge crowd surrounding the Lionsgate booth, waiting for pins to be handed out. It eventually got broken up, and the pins weren’t given out.

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Fandom Fakers

Comic-ConComic-Con sounds like a fandom members dream come true, for some people it might even be termed Nerd Heaven. But as always there’s an underbelly to all things bright, shiny, fluffy, and good– and I don’t just mean the ass end of your sweet, unassuming pet cat, I mean something else entirely. I feel like the conversation should start like this, “cool story bro, my cousin went down to Comic-Con in San Diego last week or so, and came back with all this free Hunger Games shit…, he even got some of the cast of the sequel to sign stuff for him!” And the person this person is talking to says, “ah, that’s cool man, I bought all that stuff off ebay two days ago.” Aye, there’s the rub– the exploitative, and shady nature of it all. I mean we knew it would happen, it was as they say, inevitable. But it still stings, y’know?

Right now there are four pages worth of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire merchandise that was exclusive to Comic-Con 2013, up on ebay. I know this because I just looked over them all. It’s not news to those of you who regularly read our stuff here at Victor’s Village, but I am not a merchandise kind of person, unless it’s an original Macintosh chair from the late 19th century, which no one can afford– including me. I do however realize that there are people out there who love all that stuff, all that Mockingjay laden, orange fire detailed, poster-y stuff. Some of you would even call your selves collectors, and some of you are going to be willing to fork over $10 to $30 for a Mockingjay pin that was procured at Comic-Con. What I can’t fathom though is this: There were, or actually are people who willingly stood in line for hours, put up with the screaming, pushing, and pulling hoards, as in the hoards that were disbanded three times by the Fire Marshall, to get their hands on a pin made out of cheap metal, and are now exploiting the fervor for the symbolism behind that measly little pin off on willing and likely a little bit ignorant Hunger Games fans. I say ignorant, because in all likelihood the pin will be made available in a matter of weeks or months to everyone, and buying it off ebay will have made you, well… a sucker.

So we covered that people in those long-ass, noisy, and reckless lines were not all Hunger Games fans. At least that’s the assumption that I’ve made as evidenced by such prized merchandise being put up for profit on an online auction site. I said there are four pages worth of merchandise, right? Well, this is the worst bit, or at least what I personally think is the worst. Remember how certain cast members were on hand for part of the festivities, and that they signed a Mac truck load of posters, books, and possibly babies, for people? Yeah, well some of those posters have made their way online to ebay. This means that

Bruno Gunn signing a poster for a fan, or at least we hope he was a fan.

Bruno Gunn signing a poster for a fan, or at least we hope he was a fan.

some of those people who stood in those lines, and took time and space away for people who would actually keep, and prize those posters, and those pins, and those minutes with the cast– went and turned around and exploited the time and energy that people like Meta Golding, Bruno Gunn, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright, and Willow Shields put in– and are attempting to make money off of them. Essentially they’ve been used, and it was without their immediate knowledge, or their permission. Think about it, they probably looked those people in the eye, smiled, exchanged hellos, maybe even had brief conversations with them– and now those experiences have been for all intents and purposes tainted for the cast members who participated. Currently a combo pack of three posters signed by Bruno Gunn, Meta Golding, and Stephanie Leigh Schlund, along with a Catching Fire Mockingjay pin is (sorry, was— bidding ended, and no one bid), going for $99.00 US. Don’t do it kids, save your money, ask cast members via Twitter if they have fan mail P.O. boxes, get your posters signed without having to go through a middle man who just wants your money. Or, wait until after the premiere in November, we’ll likely have prizes for you all if you participate in one of our many content based contests. You have to win of course.

Winning is half the battle, and not just a catch phrase of Charlie Sheen’s.

Them There Eyes

 

The Days Before Trailer Day

88dfada702bd9c8078bd8ad092857d36The last week has been a whirlwind of activity, actually the last two days have been– but who’s counting! Yesterday three fourths of the Careers showed up on the Comic-Con floor to sign large scraps of paper (posters), books, perhaps body parts, for a clamoring audience of thousands. I’m speaking of course about Meta Golding, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, and Bruno Gunn– Alan Ritchson is I’m assuming still shooting the Ninja Turtle movie, therefore he couldn’t make it. That’s right, our Cashmere, our Brutus, and our Enobaria braved the throngs, and finally got their first in person taste of just how crazy Hunger Games fans can be. Yep, because only a few hours before they hit the floor, but were in the city proper, the San Diego Fire Marshall shut down the Lionsgate booth, because the fervor for Catching Fire Mockingjay pins was so thick, that they deemed the area unsafe. How’s that for an introduction to our special breed of crazy, yeah– and all for a few measly scraps of metal? They seemed to have taken it in stride though, and eventually the craze seemed to die down to a more manageable level. At least that’s what I’m hoping. That was only day one of Comic-Con though, and while day two didn’t have as much of a Catching Fire presence, those who are still in attendance at the Con are possibly just eking by on the anticipation for the main event happening tomorrow. That or they’re still high off of the Veronica Mars panel, The Games of Thrones panel, The Walking Dead panel, the Orphan Black panel, and of course The City of Bones panel. Damn, that’s a lot of panels, hope they’re all well hydrated.

Trailer Day 4.0 is nearly upon us, and I’m calling it 4.0 because this would be the 4th

Bruno Gunn, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, Courtney Custodio, Tiffany (Twiffidy) Gustanski, and Meta Golding. Photo courtesy of Welcome to District 12.

Bruno Gunn, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, Courtney Custodio, Tiffany (Twiffidy) Gustanski, and Meta Golding. Photo courtesy of Welcome to District 12.

Trailer Day on record for this fandom. I think we’re a little excited for it, and I’m pretty sure those who are camping out in the line for Hall H right now as I type, would be counted in the crowd as “excited”. Some of our dear friends are in that line braving sleeping in shifts on the ground, urban camping you might say, and holding their pee in for hours most likely. All I got to say about that is, I hope none of them come out of this experience with a bladder infection, have things like laptops, iPads, DSLR Cameras, or Smartphones stolen– because sidewalk sleeping even at Comic-Con isn’t the safest place in the world. Yes, even if Joss Whedon of Dear-God-Where-Have-You-Been-I-Shouldn’t-Have-To-Tell-You-Who-He-Is, is known to stop by at 3 am, and give campers cupcakes– true story.

Our Twiffidy is in that throng of sidewalk sleepers, so to that I say– you’re a braver woman than me, good-night, and good luck, I wish you dreams of Finnick Odair in only a strategically placed fishing net.

Them There Eyes

Capitol Portraits: The Minor Issue

If you’re reading this, you probably spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about The Hunger Games… or you’re looking for photos of Jennifer Lawrence naked or fictional character porn (those are still among some of our most popular search terms, so now we can’t stop making fun of people for it, which leads more people looking for these things here. It’s a vicious cycle!) We’ve read the books. And re-read. And re-read probably several other times. We remember all the tiny details. We analyze it all. WE REGRET NOTHING.

Naturally, we want the Hunger Games movies, as well as the advertising campaigns behind them, to be as thorough as possible. We want all the things. Sadly, fans need to realize something really, really important if we want to keep our sanity: We won’t get everything we want!

We get it! We like looking at pretty people too!

We get it! We like looking at pretty people too!

When the Capitol Portraits were released this past week, There was a bit of an outrage when President Snow turned out to be the last one. What about Enobaria? What about Blight? Where are the morphlings?

We can’t wait to see these characters in the movie too, but let’s all calm our ovaries here. These aren’t the tribute headshots released for the first film, which were probably from hair, makeup, and costume test shots. The Capitol portraits are elaborate, filled with drama, fashion, nuance, and high caliber chairs! We’re also guessing they ain’t cheap!

Most importantly, the Capitol Portraits tell a story about each character. In one snap we see who they are, where they came from, and why they’re important to the books. Every character is important in their own way (which is kind of like when your elementary school teacher explains that everyone is special), but some are not as important as we want them to be.

Hilarious, but not quite the same!

Hilarious, but not quite the same!

Bruno Gunn, for example, is our homeslice. He already reads our posts and tweets us pretty regularly. We do a happy dance every time while outwardly pretending it’s no big deal (HI BRUNO!) Naturally, we’d love to see him get a Capitol Portrait, but the thing is that it’s not HIS portrait, it’s his character’s. Brutus is a big ol’ Capitol lackey from District 2. He’s a not-so-centralized part of the pre-Games events, then he causes some chaos in the arena, then PEETA KILLS HIM. That’s about all we got. It’s not much to go on. What would his outfit be and what would it say about him? What would his chair allude to? How would his alliances be depicted?

As much as we wonder about Wiress and Cashmere and Gloss’ studly shoulders, there’s something to be noted about these characters. They are MINOR characters, ones that don’t even make it to Mockingjay. You can love them (we do!) but Lionsgate isn’t going to concern themselves with getting new fans to fall in love with them.

When Catching Fire comes around, those minor characters you’ve been waiting to see will still be there. By November, we bet you’ll even be glad that all of their details weren’t given out in the very first advertisements (disappointingly early release of the wedding dress, anyone?!)

Take It Down A Notch! They’ll Still Be In The Movie!

The Girl With The Pearl

They’ll Cut You

Within the last several weeks we’ve got not quite a deluge of casting confirmations for our beloved Catching Fire, but a good healthy sprinkling or two or three. Last two days we finally got our Enobaria, in the remarkably attractive Meta Golding, and our Brutus is now a Bruno,

Brutus is a Bruno

and he looks a might Italian, and it turns out– he totally is (other name is Gioiello, Gunn’s a stage-name). I don’t know why I find this appropriate? No, wait, I do– ’cause the original Brutus, the Roman figure actually, he was refined, deceitful, bit of a mama’s boy some people have interpreted, also conflicted (but who isn’t when you’re plotting to murder the leader of an empire?), also Rome’s in Italy, so there’s that. Personally, I always pictured both Enobaria and Brutus to look ethnic, and having a woman who’s Haitian, and a square jawed Italian guy from Ohio, well– works with my head canon like you wouldn’t believe.

It’s kind of astounding really how the supporting cast is jelling, so to speak, and that the people they’re pulling from the ranks are very much so filling the pictures many already had had in their minds for years. Take Lynn Cohen for instance– who I think I can say no one has anything bad to say about, except she’s not Betty White, right? It has to be addressed though, to those who wanted Betty White, that was never going to happen, she makes a living off of being Betty White, not being an actress– and the role of Mags requires someone who’s known for her acting chops, not her public persona. So, if you’re sad that Mags will be embodied by a respected actress, instead of a public figure, I don’t know, go watch re-runs of The Golden Girls? Lynn Cohen though, she’s the real deal– and we should be satisfied that they chose her, ’nuff said. 

Which brings me to the sad and somewhat disconcerting realization that some characters

Lynn Cohen

won’t even make the cut. Enobaria, Brutus, Mags, and all of the other tributes/victors, they’re going to make it, we know this from viewing CatchingFireCasting.com innumerable times. But, there are secondary characters who aren’t victors who don’t have a name plate and an empty spot on that virtual board: I’m speaking of characters like Darius, Cray, Thread, Hazelle Hawthorne, all the Hawthornes really, Leevy, Bonnie, Twill, and possibly even Annie Cresta. Thread may make the cut, because we’ve seen rumblings just this week about Sons of Anarchy’s Patrick St. Esprit being in talks, but rumors are rumors, and we can’t believe them as far as we can throw our computer monitors. All of these characters are subject to being either cut down, or cut out of the story entirely, just like Madge Undersee, Lavinia, Mr. Mellark, and Greasy Sae were cut out of The Hunger Games. All of these characters serve, or served a purpose in the story, Madge’s purpose was replaced by a merchant in The Hob and a concerned look on the

Thread is that you?

woman’s face, Sae was maybe just someone in the background, and Mr. Mellark, well– he just doesn’t exist in Gary Ross’ version of the story, which makes me more sad than I thought I would be, because his scene with Katniss was extremely moving in the novel, and it would have given a bit more depth to both Katniss and to Peeta if they’d kept him in. From what we know about Catching Fire and the vision behind the film its self, is semi reassuring though, for the fact that we’ve repeatedly heard from actors, and from the director that the screenplay is the book, and they want to make the film the book. But is this a watered down, chopped up version of the book, where characters like Darius won’t see the light of day, because his actions, and humor can be replaced, or ignored? Will they omit Hazelle Hawthorne, and not give Gale the depth of having a face and a voice to embody a huge part of his family, and thus in a way ignore that his family is why he pretty much does EVERYTHING. I don’t know, all I know is– there are a few things I can see within reason removing or omitting from the story, but in many cases omitting secondary characters will do a disservice to the humanity, the expanse, and the diversity of the story as a whole.

Also, I like gingers.

Them There Eyes