A Bone to Pick With The Hunger Games

*This article has spoilers through the third book. In fact, it even has a spoiler in the first sentence. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Hunger Games Series

I will spoil all the things. Beware.

In spite of how much I love The Hunger Games, I will say that the series pulls a Fox Face—that is, it chokes right at the end. My issue? By the end of the third book, Katniss actually becomes a part of the cycle that she’s fighting, pretty much making all of her fighting for three whole books pointless. 

BAMF Beginnings

When Katniss is launched into the world of the Hunger Games, it’s actually right up her alley. Katniss, the hero of the week (as in, she might not outlast the week) is what you get when you mix Disney Princess hair with Buffy’s combat skills. She understands when to be prey and hide and when to transform into the predator and brave the initial dangers for the ultimate prize. These instincts, combined with her impatience with political games sets her up to be the perfect opponent to the media-driven control of the Capital.

This works like a charm for her in the first book. Katniss is a master at bending rules (such as her demonstration for the level ranking, and of course her stunt with the berries) and though she has to do some schmoozing, she’s pretty terrific at hitting the Capital without getting dinged.

Downward Spiral

Katniss seems to have lost her mojo during book two and spends it acting like a deer in the headlights until she forced back into action in the arena. It doesn’t make for the most dynamic  of plots, but I’m used to the second book being slow.

But then we go onto the third book…

…where I want to gnaw my foot off—and not because I’m starving.

Katniss spends almost the entire third book in a coma. No, not an actual coma, though she is as drugged out as an ‘80s pop star. She shuts down completely—which is exactly what she blames her mother for back in the first book.

Gone is the girl driving the action–which is particularly unfortunate as she is the catalyst for the whole revolution. Instead of truly taking up the

Mocking Jay

The Mockingjay is almost as pissed as I am.

mantle or shooting down the flawed revolutionaries, Katniss simply puts off reacting unless somebody is getting blown up.

The real kicker comes when Prim is killed to prevent Katniss from taking a more active role in the new government (which is even more pointless because, as I’ve stated, Katniss is already pretty much in a coma at this point). Prim’s death proves that all of Katniss’ sacrifices were ultimately useless.  What was the point of saving Prim in the first place, only to die just as pointlessly, a pawn in the ultimate Hunger Game?

But wait, it gets more frustrating…

Some may think that Katniss’ act of killing the President is noble, but it is fueled by the need for revenge and prevention of another such catastrophe. These are the exact two causes for the Hunger Games—revenge on the uprising districts, and a supposed prevention of it ever happening again.

By killing the President, Katniss is actually coming full circle with the motives she was supposedly fighting against. These deaths are the product of the incoming government, hinting that the new system is already set in the same cycle born of violence.

Katniss does nothing to prevent the continuation of this cycle as she is back in hibernation mode immediately after killing the President Coin. At the end of the book, we are left with two resounding messages: that noble sacrifice changes nothing, and that governments are ultimately powered through the deaths of the innocent.

I can admit that these ideas can be valid—but it’s freakin’ annoying that you’ve spent three books following a story of righteous revolution to realize that the whole thing was just a mockery of it and that your kickbutt heroine becomes a sleepwalker halfway through.

That being said: when does the second movie come out?

Images via WeeLittlePiggy and  SymenGT.


Posted on April 7, 2012, in Books, Geek Analysis, Nitpicking and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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