Mr. Everdeen

Bringing Up Katniss Everdeen

We reviewed The Murder Complex on Tuesday, a book which features a rough n’ tough heroine, Meadow. Why is Meadow is so gritty, you ask? Because she was raised and nurtured through her rough dystopian world by a hunting, scavenging survivalist dad. She’s a little less emotional and a little more tactical than Katniss, but maybe that one difference in upbringing is ALL the difference.

The family photo that never was

The family photo that never was

Katniss’ dad is also the survivalist type. He doesn’t seem as ruthless as Meadow’s dad, but he taught Katniss quite a few tricks of the trade by a young age: hunting, skinning, and cooking animals, for one. She’s also got some better-than-average physical skills, some of which saved her in the arena later on, and she knows her way around a bow and arrow. Even though it was not her father’s intention to have Katniss kill people, her weapons training gave her the ability to do so. He also planted the first seeds of rebellion in her mind with his lessons in morality and old folk songs that went directly against the regime under which they lived.

Katniss absorbed all this and it transformed her life in major ways, all before he died when she was 11. Which makes us wonder: In a world where Mr. Everdeen had lived, would we be seeing a much less reluctant, much more rough n tough Katniss?

We’re not saying she’d be a super soldier or anything, because nothing in the story indicates that her father wanted her to be one. But it seems Mr. Everdeen had a lot of political ideals and perhaps special training (because how did HE know how to do all the things he taught Katniss?) that he didn’t pass down quite yet because her daughters were still young. Children mature exponentially between the ages of 11 and 16, so it’s likely Mr. Everdeen would have more obviously worked to instill any ideas about the issues in Panem’s government and perhaps even revolution once he felt Katniss was old enough to really confide in.

A citizen or a revolutionary?

A citizen or a revolutionary?

To dig into this even more, what if the roles were reversed and Mr. Everdeen was the single parent after some horrible twist of fate claimed the life of his wife? The flashback in which Mrs. Everdeen nearly has a heart attack after she hears the girls singing ‘The Hanging Tree’ shows that she played an integral role keeping the childrens’ exposure to anti-Panem messaging low. Without that filter, would Katniss have a more vocal, less reluctant opinion about overthrowing the government? Would she have the same zeal as Gale? It seemed Katniss’ father was a subtle, quiet type, but we only see him through the memories of an unreliable narrator: A teenage girl who thinks back on her deceased father as an almost faultless being.

It’s funny how a detail or two can change a whole story. We have no proof, of course, but if some of the most formative years of Katniss Everdeen’s life were left in the hands of her father instead of her mother, our Mockingjay would be completely different!

Oh Hai, Father’s Day Is Right Around The Corner!
The Girl With The Pearl

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The Unsung Heroes Of The Hunger Games

The title says it all, but I don’t think it’s ever been fully discussed– there are a whole lot of unsung heroes in The Hunger Games trilogy. Everyone knows the big ones, or the main ones, Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Melarck, and Finnick Odair– but what about the people who only show up for a couple of pages, or a few sentences, what about the people whose deaths are unknown, and they just disappeared?

The first unsung hero I can think of off the top of my head, is Mr. Everdeen. Yes, he doesn’t actually appear in any of the novels, but he’s talked about, and his posthumous presence is significant to quite possibly the entire plot of the series. In many ways Mr. Everdeen was the first Mockingjay, well– according to some people’s cannon, which is now currently Mr_everdeen_portraitbrainwashing me at the moment. However, we don’t actually know if Mr. Everdeen played a heady role in the on-going rebellion against the Capitol. We do however like to imagine that he did. I’m sure someone in comments will correct me.

Bonnie and Twill, yeah– shocker there, but if you really think about their presence in the story. If you really think about the message that they carried with their journey, and with their subsequent deaths, Bonnie and Twill were heroes, because up until then Katniss’ idea of the rebellion was so abstract, that when those two women came into her life, if ever so briefly, they still gave a face, and a voice to the thoughts that were only then starting to curdle in Katniss’ mind. So, therefore I say Bonnie and Twill, who unfortunately died somewhere between District 12 and 13, were heroines.

Thresh: He died in the 1st novel, but before he died at the hand of whom I’m now picturing as a giant blob, because that comforts me– he saved Katniss’ life. And now I’m sadly picturing that entire sequence again, and wishing that Gary Ross had kept the Blob’s freak out in the film adaptation, because it would have brought the significance of Clove’s death to the forefront, rather than making it somewhat of an afterthought, and also it would have given Mr. Blob a little more time to show the world his human side– yes, even though he was a blob. About Thresh though, his timing was perfect, and his existence was vital– so I say Thresh was a hero, and apparently Katniss and Peeta agree, because, yeah they acknowledge his life, and his efforts during their visit to District 10. Errm, and then get an Rue-and-thresh-the-hunger-games-29978336-500-500old man murdered. Ooopsy.

Buttercup the cat! Don’t roll your eyes at me, because it’s so true– BUTTERCUP IS A HERO! Yeah, I know, I know he didn’t fight on any fields of war, he didn’t put himself in any harms way to protect another, but damn that cat served a purpose, and had amazing timing. Think about it, in Mockingjay, where Buttercup sort of came into his own as a character, as much as a non-cartoon cat can, he supplied the people of District 13 with simple, but ample entertainment, by willingly playing Crazy Cat for possibly hours, thus distracting the populous from thinking about their close, and quite possibly eminent deaths. The clincher for Buttercup’s hero-dome is his showing up at the perfect time at the end of Mockingjay. Yep, talking about the emotional breakdown scene when Katniss is left in District 12 on her own, and Buttercup shows up. It may seem minute, but that was the moment where I think Katniss finally came to terms with everything she had been through, and it was the breakthrough moment where she started to finally heal, and so did Buttercup, because he may have been just a cat, but cats know when bad shit is going down, and he knew his person was gone. Buttercup the therapist, and the hero… don’t you forget it.

More heroes to come so stay tuned– FYI, none of them are named Peter or Sylar.

Them There Eyes

Fathers, Be Good To Your Daughters

Welcome, welcome, to our latest guest post!

Today, Hunger Games Bookclub is here to talk about father-daughter relationships, an amazing fan film portraying the book’s most important (and almost totally unseen) one, and how a few moments can turn a child into a badass… or at least a lovely person.

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Learning her roots… literally!

Parenting. I’ve heard it described as the hardest job you’ll ever love. I’m not sure what image your mind conjures up at the word, but let me set the record straight. When you become a parent, you’ll find yourself saying a lot of things you never thought you’d say. Like “stop licking the carpet” or “quit biting your brother’s butt”. (I’m not kidding.) Oh yeah, you’re also going to say the dreaded “because I told you so”. It’s just going to come out of your mouth, unbidden, despite all the times as a child you promised yourself “when I have kids of my own, I will never say…”

But, parenting has some moments that are quite glorious: those times when you get to have a conversation with your children that feels heavy with importance – the kind that will influence them the rest of their lives. Did Katniss’ father have any idea how life-saving it would be to tell Katniss that as long as she could find her name, she’d never go hungry? Sometimes parents can be too busy, too distracted, too whatever to notice the opportunities for these conversations. But it would be good for their children and their children’s future, if every parent would keep their eyes open and look for these golden moments.

In Katniss’ case, she spent time hunting with her father. She learned the skills needed to find edible plants and to hunt animals, bringing food to the table that kept her family from starving after Katniss’ father died.

Dad and daughter moment! *sniff*

But what did they discuss when hunting in the woods those early morning hours? Mainstay Productions has given us a glimpse into that early world of Katniss with their newest film short, The Hanging Tree. Written by Down with the Capitol admin, Shylah Addante, this film may be short, but it’s a keeper. You can watch it here.

The film short starts with Katniss’ father sharing an important practical piece of information that she will need to know: the fence is not electrified unless you can hear it hum. This news is shocking to Katniss. She has not realized that the Peacekeepers are lying to the people. It leads into this marvelous momentous conversation between Katniss and her father about what happens OUTSIDE the fence.

I don’t want to ruin it for you so I won’t give any more details about the film short… you’ll have to watch it yourself. Although this script was not penned by Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, I think it is faithful to the relationship we glimpse between Katniss and her father in the books, and also the themes that we see woven so artfully between their pages. What is the role of government? Why is there poverty? What is freedom? How far are we willing to go to keep our freedom? What or who is worth dying for?

Those are the life-changing conversations that every father has opportunity to have with his daughter.

You never know… that little girl might grow up to lead a revolution,
Hunger Games Bookclub