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.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hunger Games Chapter 16

You guys, I'm super excited.  It's day 16, and we have well over 1600 hits.  That means 100 hits a DAY!  Yahooooooooo!  But what I want to know is where and who are you people?  Just post a hi, or an I hate this site.  Anything!  Okay, rant over, and I promise that will be the very last plea for comments I make.  I know you're out there.  See the new poll, only open today.  And SC, if you're here (as IF!), post a comment under the name of Ernie or something because that would make my year. 

Chapter 16, in which Katniss and Rue have a trusty lovefest!  I so want to camp out with them only not with Careers coming after me.  Yes, they must destroy the Careers' food supply (HUNGER games!)  We hear a bit more about past games:  a pack of hideous reptiles (!) destroyed the food supply, once, the Gamemakers washed it all out in a flood.  I guess those tributes were getting a bit fat and happy.  Do you think the year there was no firewood followed one of these years?

Aw, the warmth of Rue cradled at Katniss's side makes me think of the very opening paragraph when she notices Prim isn't there.  The boom of the cannon reveals another death, and Rue and Katniss count who is left.  Does our list match?  YES IT DOES.  And I didn't have to edit it, either.

Rue produces eggs for breakfast.  "We each suck out the insides of an egg, eat a rabbit leg and some berries. It's a good breakfast anywhere."  I had packaged cereal and milk and real strawberries that I bought at the grocery store, not my back door.  Just reiterating my Capitol-ocity.

Katniss and Rue make a plan.  BD3 stays at the Careers' camp all the time, but they can't figure out why.  No weapons, small guy, hmm.  They gather some edible plants and strategize quietly.  Rue says her favorite thing in the world is music.  Katniss thinks this:  "In our world, I rank music somewhere between hair ribbons and rainbows in terms of usefulness.  At least a rainbow gives you a tip about the weather."  Katniss in a nutshell.

Rue talks about how she's always the highest up and can see the flag signaling the end of the workday first, so she sings a work-day-end four note tune which the mockingjays pick up and repeat.  (How do you think this goes?  Do re mi fa?  Do fa so ti?  Re mi la do?)  That's why she loves Katniss's mockingjay pin.  Rue has her own carved wooden flower/star charm necklace thing hanging from woven grass.  By "lunch" they have a secret plan which involves Rue being stocked with wood and matches.  Rue sings her song to Katniss so she'll know she's okay later because apparently the mockingjays are everywhere.  Katniss can be so clueless.

Yay!  Hugging!  Katniss worries that Rue will be killed, but also that she won't be killed, just like her conflict with Peeta.  She thinks about when she was hallucinating and saw Peeta crashing through the woods, sparkling (is Peeta a VAMPIRE!?) and wonders what is real (Peeta is NOT a vampire, everyone).

Katniss heads back toward Career camp (sounds like a high school exercise) and buries herself in some foliage.  Here's who's at the Cornucopia:  BD1, Cato, GD2, BD3.  Then she says "all four tributes..." but isn't Cato BD1?  Did I screw something up?  Tell me!  Is anyone keeping separate track?  Anyhoo, all four seem to be recovering from tracker jacker attacks, although without leaves and removing stinger, because they're a little unworldly.

All the supplies from the Corn have been piled outside in a big pyramid covered by netting.  Perplexing!  Cato shouts out and points to the woods where Rue has set the first fake campfire.  Cato also says that BD3 is coming with them, and that somehow he's cut "Lover Boy" in a way that he shouldn't recover.  Peeta is out in the woods somewhere, badly wounded.  Cato wants to kill Katniss "in my own way."  EW!  In the words of the Will from The Inbetweeners, "that sounded just a little bit rapey."

Off in the woods somewhere, Rue sets the first of three fake campfires to draw the Careers away from the Corn.  Katniss is mulling her options when who should appear, Foxface!  (Casting ideas, anyone?  Does anyone in young Hollywood still have a long nose?  Hmm.)  She leaps and flips and dances out to the pyramid, confusing Katniss, taking only a handful of this and a bit of that.  Katniss finally figures out that BD3 is useful because the boy from the land of factories that make televisions and automobiles and explosives took the landmines from around the steel circles of their arrival in the arena and reactivated them, making a minefield to the pyramid.  Very clever indeed!

The rest of the tributes still don't know that Katniss is hell-on-wheels with the bow, and she uses three arrows to slice up a bag of apples which rains down on the mines, exploding the supplies, and blowing her into the air.  Durn, she's good.


  1. I don't think Cato and Glimmer were from the same district, so I think Cato is district 2.

  2. Ah, right. Thanks! Fixed according to Allison.

  3. "That sounded just a little bit rapey" made me laugh out loud at my desk.

    The other tributes do seem a little unworldly, but isn't it strange that the Career tributes wouldn't have been briefed on topics like treating Tracker Jacker stings, etc.? If they've spent their whole lives preparing for the games, you'd think that they would be familiar with that stuff.

    I love little Rue.

    It's interesting how music is being used in dystopian YA--in DELIRIUM music was what connected people in the underground, and here in THE HUNGER GAMES it is a beautiful, connective thing that Panem can't control among the people in the Districts. Any other examples of music as resistance or connection?

  4. Hahaha, yes, Katniss in a nutshell: "I rank music somewhere between hair ribbons and rainbows in terms of usefulness. At least a rainbow gives you a tip about the weather."

    Does this girl ever have any fun?

    Good point about the Careers and the Tracker Jackers, Rebecca! What kind of training did these Careers have?

    Thanks, Katniss, for indirectly answering my question about firearms in the Cornucopia. If the Gamemakers prefer "to see the tributes draw blood personally" then maces, knives, bows and arrows it is.

    I want to know the story behind Rue's necklace token!!! Maybe the woven grass is actually an herbal medication?

    And can I just quote, "One year, a girl dropped her token, a small wooden ball, while she was at her plate, and they literally had to scrape bits of her off the ground." Disgust-o! That seems rather graphic for the YA-crowd. Then again rumor has it they play more violent and realistic video games than I did, and that might not faze them?

  5. Re: "and they literally had to scrape bits of her off the ground"
    I agree with the ick factor, but this is not consistent with what Katniss said in chapter 11. She said the mines would blow her legs off. That's still ew, but it's a major difference in intensity from "scrape bits off the ground". And how strong the mines are are significant to the events that follow, both in the devastation of the supplies as well as the injuries to Katniss.

    "Blow your legs off"-level makes more sense to me. That leaves the tribute alive and suffering for their mistake for everyone to see, and allows a competitor to get the final kill. "Scrape bits off the ground", which unfortunately seems to be the intensity used in this chapter, seems too strong to me. Something like that would not only annihilate the offending tribute, it would likely knock some or all the remaining tributes off THEIR circles, and then the Gamemakers would be getting blasted for creating "the lamest Hunger Games EVER" when none of the tributes makes it to the gong.

  6. You know what, I'm not sure Katniss made the best strategic choice by going after the supplies. There were three Careers left (plus BD3 who wasn't a threat), and the only one with the threat of a ranged weapon was Clove. All Katniss needed to do was set the first fire and hide in a tree near it. She could take Clove out with a single arrow before they even spot her. Cato and Marvel have already shown to be complete incapable of reaching Katniss when she's up a tree, only this time Katniss would have the bow and arrows and be able to rain death down on the remaining Careers. I don't think I'm being unrealistic, this is what Katniss herself said back in chapter 13: "I could kill them, every one of them, if those silver weapons were in my hands."

    Of course, it would be more morally questionable for her to set a trap to intentionally kill the Careers than to simply destroy their supply advantage...

  7. Wait... how do the Careers even know Peeta is alive? They should have been unconscious for two death recaps.