Why did I take so long to read The Hunger Games trilogy? This is something I’ve been asking myself since I finished the first chapter of Book 1.
I wanted to make sure I’d read all three books, and seen the three films that are out so far, before fully forming my opinion on them. Now, I don’t know where to start.
Books first, spoilers coming. The plot is absolutely incredible, resembling so much of this world whilst at the same time existing completely in its own universe. Suzanne Collins writes in such a way that she sets the scene and still lets you use your own imagination for building the districts and Capitol.
It’s so dystopic; such a terrifying idea that your children could be taken from you firstly, and even worse that that they can be transformed to killers in front of your own eyes – that, or their death will be shown on every TV across the country. It’s also frightening to see how each district’s collective soul has been crushed to the point that for 75 years, they’ve just accepted it as their reality.
So, let’s talk characters. I’m not sure how controversial it is to say that I don’t really like Katniss. At times, I admire her. The sacrifices she makes for her family are second to none, but so many of her decisions seem ill-thought-out and reckless, succeeding at the expense of others. Not to mention the love triangle that exists throughout all three books. Perhaps, like Katniss herself, I’m oblivious to the effect she has on others, but I just hoped that Gale and Peeta would eventually wisen up to what she was like. What was difficult for me to agree with was that they did know, they both knew she liked each of them simultaneously, and yet there’s no obvious rivalry, just an unquenchable hope that she might ultimately choose them.
Gale was more likable, but still a bit too brooding for my liking. Especially in the last book, I felt like the small number of years between him and Katniss stretched. His understanding and acceptance of what war caused people to do was shocking, and his fiery nature made it obvious to me before the end that he could never be Katniss’ choice.
And now we come on to Peeta. Ah, Peeta, the boy who I thought was sadly pathetic when we were first introduced, ended up being my favourite character by the end of the trilogy. Maybe it’s because he’s so unassuming, so unthreatening. You start off by having literally no expectation of what he can do, and yet arguably he goes through the most in the novels. Do I think Katniss deserves him? No, no I don’t. Part of me toyed with the idea that he might end up with Delly, who would treat him right, make him happy, and not keep running off to a guy who poses as her “cousin”.
But despite all this, I really did love the books. Maybe not liking all the main characters had something to do with that, made it more realistic somehow. They were flawed and made stupid decisions and hurt themselves and others in the process, but I think that’s allowed after all their world had put them through.
Now, a brief word on the films. I think if you watch the films without reading the books, you’ll love them. They’re action packed, star-studded. They’d be great if not for one question I often find myself asking in life: why?
My issue is that the books have a lot of detail and for whatever reason, the films weren’t able to fit it all in. They miss out things, some that would just add detail, others more important. They don’t really explain the world and the situation in the way that I’d want a film to do if I had nothing else to fall back on. And that’s a sad thing, because as I said, Collins is so good at building up this other place with so many layers to make it seem so familiar to you. I also think something is lost in the way that the main three characters are obviously older than they’re supposed to be. I’d have been really interested to see it done with children of the right age, although that may have made the films more uncomfortable perhaps, even if truer to the books.
I’m sure pretty much all of you have seen the films, if not read the books. What do you think of them?