Welcome to the Hunger Games read-along! Beginning July 1st, 2010, we will be reading and chatting about one chapter a day of both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins in anticipation of the release of Mockingjay on August 24th.

In the unlikely event that this is your first read of these amazing books, welcome! And more importantly, beware of spoilers! There will be spoilers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hunger Games Chapter 11

I'm thinking of trying to keep track of who kills whom when I can, and so will cross out or change the color of the dead tributes at right as necessary.  There are so many characters whose names we don't know, and so I'll use this notation:  GD1 for girl from District 1 and BD1 for the boy, etc. unless we know their names, in which case, I'll use those.  (Duh.) And I think x for who killed them.  So in the chart to the right, you'll see xDG2 meaning the girl from District 2 killed this person.  There.  Good?

In which the tributes are in the arena, waiting the required 60 seconds on their metal plates before a gong releases them.  Katniss uses her time to check out the arena:  flat, open, a lake to her right, and sparse, piney woods behind her to the left.  She also decides that Haymitch doesn't know what he's talking about, and that he's never seen her run (which is very, very fast), so maybe she'll go in to the Cornucopia after all because look at all that great stuff!  Especially when she spots the bow and arrows.  Peeta shakes his head at her, and, flustered, she grabs the plastic in front of her and some bread.  When she's going for an orange backpack, a boy (BD9, she thinks) grabs it too, then coughs blood all over her and is dead.  The first casualty!  Killed by the girl from District 2 (xGD2), with a knife.

Katniss grabs the pack and runs,having lost the bread, and GD2 throws a knife at Katniss, which sticks in her bag.  Katniss thinks thanks for the knife and runs.  (Is this an unreliable narrator moment?  Do you think Katniss is really that cool, or did she think:  Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!  Holy shiz, they're trying to kill me!!!  RUN!!  Ew, I'm covered in blood!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! ?)  She looks back for a second to see a dozen tributes "hacking away" at each other and several dead people on the ground.  Gruesome.

For the next few hours, Katniss heads deeper into the woods at a steady jog, then alternates walking and jogging.   Let one of the Capitol people (uh, me) try that.  Pshh.  Girl is FIT.  She's on the lookout for water, but hasn't seen any yet.  She knows some of the trees around her, but not many, and she sees a rabbit, which is an auspicious sign (food, water).  She heads into a valley.

Katniss feels good from eating so much for the last week.  She's conscious of the cameras on her, even though she can't see them.  Then she hears eleven canon shots, each representing a dead tribute.  Thirteen left.  She wonders about Peeta, which overwhelms her, and can't remember seeing him past the starting gong.  She thinks maybe it's better if he's gone, so she doesn't have to deal (kind of like what you were saying, Lisa, about Gale taking out Katniss immediately).

She's finally exhausted, so digs through the pack:  sleeping bag, crackers, beef jerky, iodine, matches, coil of wire, sunglasses that don't block the sun, and an empty plastic bottle.  No water.  She wonders if the lake she saw was the only water source, which could be serious trouble.  Instead of busting open the food she has, Katniss the survivalist eats pine bark.

Time to camp!  She sets some snares with the wire she has, and ties herself into a willow tree.  Anthem time!  A screen appears, and shows the faces of the dead.

Katniss is relieved Peeta is alive.  She tells herself that his being alive means that if she's killed, her family will still benefit.  "This is what I tell myself to explain the conflicting emotions that arise when I think of Peeta."
Here's who's alive:  Five Careers, Foxface ,Peeta, Thresh, and Rue and three others Katniss can't think of (BD3, GD4, GD8, right?  What about BD10?  What's wrong with my math?).  She falls asleep.

Footsteps!  Some idiot starts a fire.  Then several pairs of feet are running, a scream, and it's 12 down, 11 to go.  Or is it?  The hunting pack doesn't hear the cannon, and a voice says "I'll go finish her off" and the voice belongs to Peeta, who is hunting with the Careers.  !


  1. And the bloodbath begins. So much for my hopeful wishing in Chapter 9 that the whole thing turns out to be just a show with camera tricks and editing and no real-life deaths. (Yes, I know, this is still fiction, and not really real-life. Would you please tell my imagination?)

    I like your method for tracking the deaths, Heather. And your deaths match the ones I noted, adding up to 11, plus the girl who made the camp fire, comes to 12. We'll find out tomorrow who she was.

    K puts words to some of her conflicting emotions about Peeta. On p153 she's suddenly struck by the thought that he might be dead. Does that mean the thought pains her? She's sad? Then she thinks his death might be a relief, because she won't have to think about killing him later. On p157 she realizes he must be alive and is relieved. Does that mean happy? She likes the thought that he might win and her family will benefit from the spoils the Capitol will give to the winning district. Then again, she dreads coming face-to-face with him in the arena. Meanwhile, this reader here can't wait to see what's going to happen! I'm still reading in spite of the violence. In spite of my disappointment in Peeta for finishing off the girl who started the fire. Ugh.

  2. Well, at the point that he finished the firestarter, Peeta was almost doing her a service, rather than letting her die slowly and painfully. (It helps me maintain my healthy Peeta love if I analyze it like this!)

    I like to think that Katniss is such a BA that she would have actually thought "Thanks for the knife," but that's a good point. She seems pretty honest overall though, especially when talking about her thoughts and feelings. I mean, if I were the narrator, I'd gloss over my whole being mean to Peeta thing because the clues are all there that he's not lying about liking her! GAH!

    I was also thinking about the metal disks surrounded by dynamite. Why would the capitol not just freeze the tributes like they did on the hovercraft ladder? Are they secretly hoping one of them will move too early? And wouldn't this lead to poor showmanship, if they had one who just wanted to get it over with? What do you think about the whole dynamite thing?

  3. I agree that the metal disks set-up is weird. I can't quite figure out what the Capitol's MO is--they prevent cannibalism from occurring during these incredibly barbaric games but televise the action? They have the technology of hovercrafts but the weapons used are old-school, like maces and archery?

    I'm only through Chapt. 12, so I have no idea if this is correct, but my first instinct is that Peeta took up with the Careers to protect Katniss, knowing that they would be out to get her.

  4. Now I'm wondering about those land mines too! I only have one lame theory right now: maybe the land mines are an historic precedent in the games? What I'm wondering is if perhaps ever since the first game--74 years ago--the tributes were surrounded by remote-controlled land mines, and that tradition continues today? Maybe 74 years ago they didn't have the technology for the electrified ladders? 74 years ago we didn't have the AK-47 assault rifle or jet aircraft.

    I'm calling it a lame theory because wondering about historical precedent in an alternate/future reality is next to worthless unless the author actually gives us that historical information. (My Imagination politely refrains from read this paragraph.)

  5. Yes! I'm NOT the only one who made a scorecard to keep track of all the contestants' deaths! I did the same thing as you guys, but instead of recording the weapon used, I kept track of the chapter in which the event happened, and I had a running tally of the number of remaining Tributes.

    At this point in the story, I REALLY REALLY wanted Katniss to go for the bow and arrows. I was practically shouting at her "GO! You have a hero shield, you're not going to die today!" =P

    One of the things I realized is that I couldn't completely identify with Katniss. It's not exactly the same for her as it would have been for one of us to be thrown into that situation. She's lived with that possibility all her life, she's been forced to watch the previous games so she has a better sense of what is happening that we would. So, yes, it's believable for her to think "thanks for the knife" when one of us would be thinking "Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!! Holy shiz, they're trying to kill me!!!" etc, etc.

    I wonder if Clove missed with her first knife, though. It would seem to me that if she could choose between Katniss and "nameless District 9 boy", she'd go for Miss Flaming 11 from District 12. Maybe the knife was aimed at Katniss but the struggle for the backpack changed their positions so that BD9 bit it.

  6. PS I'm sure you've figured it out by now, but your math was wrong because you counted GD4 twice - once as one of the remaining Careers, and once on her own.