Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mockingjay

Because the trailer just released, and the movie comes out in November, I decided to re-read Mockingjay, just because. I'm the type of person who likes to re-read books anyway, and this just seemed like the perfect excuse. And let me tell you, it's still just as good the third (or fourth?) time you read it.

For those of you that don't know (which I doubt is many, The Hunger Games series is very popular), Mockingjay is the final installment, thought I don't think I can give much of a summary without giving away anything from the last two books. Basically, Katniss has sparked a rebellion (which I would guess you would expect) and this book really sees that escalate.

Side note: I can't guarantee that I won't include any spoilers from here on out. So continue at your own risk if you have not read the book.

When Mockingjay originally came out, I feel that it was met with a lot of negativity, at least from the fan base. And I feel like a major reason for that is it isn't quite a happy ending. Everyone loves happy endings, I guess it's because it's what everyone wants in their own life. For everything to work out, to end up happily ever after. Why wouldn't people want that for their favorite characters? But the thing you have to remember is that in a war, there really aren't any happy endings. And that's what Mockingjay is, essentially, a war. People suffer. And I think Suzanne Collins does an excellent job of that. In a war, no one is the winner, really. Both sides suffer losses, both sides experience pain. And that can clearly be seen through this particular rebellion. Even though we as readers hate everything that the Capitol does, you can't deny that there are innocents in the Capitol, who didn't really deserve to die. They didn't have anything to do with the conflict, and yet they still perished in the war.

Next, I shall move onto Katniss. Katniss, who is probably one of my favorite characters, is so completely broken at the beginning of this book. And for good reason. She's been through two Hunger Games, more than anyone should ever have to bear, and believes she's lost the one person who could ever understand, Peeta. Peeta and Katniss's relationship really transformed in Catching Fire, in my opinion. In The Hunger Games, it was clearly and obviously something for show, so Katniss could survive and make it back to her family. But in Catching Fire, Katniss realizes that Peeta is the only one who can ever really understand what she's been through. Peeta is the only one who can comfort her, and she realizes she really does care for him, perhaps more so than anyone else does. So the loss of Peeta is something that sets her over the edge. And something that Gale can't really understand. Which brings me to the other point of contention between fans. Peeta or Gale? I believe by the time you get to Mockingjay, it's clear who's good for Katniss and who isn't. Though, in my opinion, that's completely missing point. This series isn't about the romance (no matter what the media makes it out to be), and Katniss even believes that she doesn't need either of them. She's perfectly happy on her own. But anyway. Back to Gale. What I think makes it so obvious that they're not compatible in this book is the way they both react to the rebellion. Gale has a fire in him, a fire that Katniss has known her whole life. He doesn't care about people getting hurt, as long as the Capitol is brought down. And while Katniss agrees with bringing down the Capitol, she doesn't agree with Gale's tactics. Despite her icy manner, Katniss doesn't want more people to get hurt. And I think that shows why they could never work in a romantic relationship. And especially after the end of Mockingjay...she could never forgive him for what happened.

In thinking about the way this book will be transferred to film, I think it will be slightly difficult, because a lot of the book takes place in Katniss's head (which I suppose is a lot like the others, but since she has so much PTSD and other trauma, that will be difficult to portray on screen). But given the way Catching Fire was done, I have faith in this movie. The only thing I fear with the whole film franchise is that we're acting almost the same way, at least the media is, that the Capitol does in the series. With The Hunger Games, there was potential in creating conversation about some things that are seriously wrong with our society. Because The Hunger Games brings a lot of those things to light (which I'm sure you can find all over the internet. This post is already long enough, haha). However, instead, the advertising surrounding Mockingjay and this whole franchise is centered around fashion. There's maeup lines, clothing lines, etc. Not to mention, the characters were white-washed, and all people do is focus on whether Katniss will end up with Peeta or Gale. This is problematic. The Hunger Games points out a lot of things that are wrong with out society, socioeconomic discrimination, violence in children, controlling governments, etc. And we're not having conversations about them. We're trivializing them. Which is sad. This book series is so powerful, in my opinion, and I think it deserves so much conversation. Maybe we can spark something with the last movie release. After all, everything starts with a spark, doesn't it?

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