on top of being a sucker for dystopian/utopian/post-apocalyptic fiction of all varieties, I think there are several good reasons why I got so addicted to The Hunger Games, I finished all three books in the past two days.
a) MYTHOLOGICAL THIRTEENTH TRIBE, ANYONE?
Oh hey there, Battlestar Galactica, that's right, you're all about a mythological thirteenth tribe too. The way the thirteenth tribes are handled is very different, but the set-up is similar. Twelve colonies/districts formed out of the shambles of the past. I guess maybe the First Cylon War might equate the Dark Days? But BSG's history is sort of wonky on me, I can never figure at what exact point the twelve colonies officially band together. Then, shit happens to both the colonies and the districts, which leads me to...
Maybe why I can't like Gale very much is that he reminds me of the role of Marius in some versions of Les Miserables. Funny thing is, I kinda like Marius. But Gale, not quite so much. He's okay. I just feel as if the Peeta/Katniss/Gale love triangle is too contrived. It feels so obvious to me that Katniss and Peeta are perfect for each other and the only thing ruining Katniss realizing this is President Snow being all "CONVINCE ME" and nonsense. But regardless, I love a good rebellion story. Maybe that's why I love Star Wars so much. Beneath the typical story and the well-worn science fiction turf, it IS about a rebellion. Particularly Empire Strikes Back, which I think we can all agree is the bestest.
c) STRONG LEAD CHARACTER.
I can get criticism over Gale, and maybe even over Peeta, though I think both are clear in their characterizations even if I think Gale's just kinda meh in general, but Katniss is obviously a well-crafted and interesting character. In many ways, it's hard not to compare her to Bella Swan, because she is, in many ways, if Bella Swan were a more fully-formed character ... and had a plot independent of romance. And was awesome. Katniss is flawed, fabulous, and interesting. She reminds me more of Harry Potter's best moments, particularly once we're on to the rebellion phases, where she's learning and planning and becoming this leader she didn't know she was, not unlike Harry turning into a leader he didn't know he was with the DA and further.
d) EVEN THOUGH IT'S DUMB, I CARE ABOUT THE CHARACTERS IN THE LOVE TRIANGLE.
Well, maybe not Gale. But whereas the only time I can take the Edward/Bella/Jacob love triangle even slightly seriously is when I break it down into ideas, ideas that also apply to the Peeta/Katniss/Gale love triangle, but more effectively probably because everyone in the Hunger Games is more likable. Although, shockingly, depending on my mood, I could argue Jacob's more interesting to me than Gale. God, I'm sorry Gale, I feel like I'm hating on you so hard. But the idea that centers around both is the female protagonist's choices - who she could be, and who she is. Had Katniss not competed in the Hunger Games, she says it herself, she and Gale would've been right. But I knew as soon as Peeta was the only one who could help her nightmares in Catching Fire that Katniss and Gale could never work because she's not that girl anymore. However, in Twilight, it's just literal and dumb and Bella has both worlds and godihatethatseriesitsdumb. Phew. What I mean to say is that ideas or not, the characters in The Hunger Games actually interest me. The major "love triangle" characters as well as pretty much all of the minor characters. Cinna. Rue. Finnick. The way even passing characters become beloved. Darius. Boggs. I have such mixed emotions about most of the characters, but the positive ones tend to win out. And I'm glad they're mixed - instantly loving certain characters makes me wary as to why I love them. Instantly hating characters bores me.
e) THE ENDING LEAVES ME SURPRISINGLY SATISFIED.
When I asked my friend who'd finished the books recently if I'd be satisfied, she was hesitant. Because as amazing as everything is in and logical as the ending is for His Dark Materials, I can never finish those books with satisfaction. It just rips my goddamn heart, even if it's a fairly happy ending. And I think we can all agree that the ending of the Harry Potter series hardly ties up the loose ends satisfactorily enough. Let's not even get into that Epilogue. Book series frequently leave me with something to be desired in their ends. The Giver trilogy's third book was incredibly weak, IMO. Don't even get me started on how much I can't take The Last Battle (though I'm hardly a Narnia fan at large). The only one I've read that works is Lord of the Rings for obvious reasons, like, Tolkien would never write an unsatisfying ending. I'd rate Mockingjay somewhere between HDM and HP. It's more satisfying than either, but HDM is still generally better IMO. Sorry, Peeta, I may be a little in love with you, but Will Parry is my wallpaper. And I'd rather be Lyra than Katniss, even though I like them both plenty. Anyway, my point is, the books end in a place that works for me, that doesn't rub me the wrong way, though I feel as though surely there could've been more; obviously the last few chapters are a bit rushed. But it's okay.
I could've sworn I had more points relating elements of The Hunger Games to other popular culture things that have fascinated me, but I'm blanking beyond the Harry/Katniss talk and the Thirteen/Twelve Districts/Colonies. Bah, well, I'll just have to make a second installment when it comes back.
so the end point is that I really enjoyed these books.
They were all interesting, all good, fit together well, worked well enough separate (as is not uncommon in trilogies, I find, the first book works better on its own than any of the others), provided me with moments that made me sad, made me laugh, made me roll my eyes (though mostly delightedly... mostly). God now watch the movie be a hot mess. Although, not gonna lie, Josh Hutcherson seems visually perfect for Peeta. Even if I'm like "WTH Miley Cyrus' ex-boyfriend for Gale? Are you trying to make me like him LESS?"
Last note: how on hell is the movie going to get away with a PG13 rating without sacrificing the brutality that makes the books so engrossing?
okay, lengthy ramble over.