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.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hunger Games Chapter 20

Sarah, thank you for counting the days!  I officially name you Hungergamesreadalongblog Secretary!  That means I may will have more questions for you later.  Guys, there were some formatting issues today, forgive me if this looks weird, and tell me if you can't see something.

In which it seems that Katniss may be beginning to enjoy the kissing parts.  She snuggles into the sleeping bag with Peeta, but he's burning up.  Katniss stays up all night nursing him, and feeds him "Rue's berries."

Peeta was worried that Cato and Clove (finally, a name!) might have gotten Katniss in the night, since that's when they like to hunt.  He watches her sleep (and he's sparkly?  Hmmm...).  She likes the way he strokes her hair. When she wakes, he's feverish again.  She checks his wounds and they're much worse.  He's got blood poisoning, and she doesn't know if Haymitch has the money or sponsors to send something as expensive as the meds they need.  (See how I said they need it, not he?)

The Gamemakers are screwing with the temperatures to try to drive people out, but the heat gives Katniss an idea:

Katniss's No-Fire Groosling  Soup:
Equipment:  One broth pot
Several egg sized stones, hot

Stream water, purified
One groosling, roasted and minced
Rue's roots, roasted and mashed
One tuft of chives, finely chopped (substitute other greens if preferred/necessary)

Directions:  Fill pot halfway with stream water, purify with iodine at least one half hour.  Add some hot rocks until water is warm. Add remaining ingredients to the pot with hot stones, wait.  Switch out hot rocks as needed.  Tell a story, serve.

The story Katniss tells is of how she got a goat for Prim, and she tells it very carefully, always conscious of who is listening (meaning the whole country).  She made some money by selling her mother's silver locket hunting illegally with Gale and bringing a small buck to the butcher, Rooba, who seems like another super-cool wizened old District 12 lady.  Katniss spies the goat laying in the back of "the Goat Man's" cart, and wants it immediately because owning a goat in District 12 is like a little money and food factory and "it's not even illegal."  Rooba decides she doesn't want the goat (wink) and Katniss buys it, Gale slings it over his shoulder, Lady gets a pink ribbon, and they take it to Prim who is laughing and crying at once.  They cuddle by the fire and have goodnight kisses (Prim and Lady, not Katniss and Gale).

Unreliable Katniss comes back, saying this is the happiest story because the goat has paid for itself and Peeta calls her on it (does this mean Peeta is emotionally honest?  Does that mean we can believe him when he acts all in love with Katniss?)  drily saying, "Yes, of course I was referring to that."  He intends to pay for himself after the games, which cost Katniss what?  "A lot of trouble.  Don't worry.  You'll get it all back."  Ah, banter.

Trumpets!  Claudius Templesmith invites everyone to a feast to get the thing they desperately need.  Tempting, very tempting.  Katniss promises Peeta she won't go, and he calls her a bad liar.  He threatens to go with her, essentially getting himself killed since he isn't mobile.  Stalemate.  She says she won't go if Peeta promises to do everything she says, and feeds him groosling soup, which "actually doesn't taste too bad."  I'm sure it will be all the rage in the Capitol next week.

Katniss goes outside to wash up in the stream and almost misses the parachute (Madam Secretary, is this four now?  Three from Haymitch and one from District 11?) which has sleep syrup in it.  For being a bad liar, Katniss is very good at understanding messages hidden in the gifts from sponsors.  She drugs Peeta, ("I can see in his eyes what I've done is unforgiveable") and she's off to the feast!


  1. Wouldn't it just be easier if the parachute had the medicine for Peeta? Instead of a sleep drug? Then Katniss wouldn't have to leave for the feast and they could go back to snuggling.

  2. Allison, I agree. But I think the sleep syrup was much more affordable to the citizens of District 12, and the Capitol sponsors are too mean to help that way. They want blood!

    Anyone have other theories?

  3. First off, I have to admit that I don't know what blood poisoning looks like, and perhaps I should start watching House again. How does Peeta know what it looks like? From school?

    Yeah, it sounds like Katniss thinks getting a gift of medicine for Peeta would be a long shot: "If Haymitch pooled every donation from every sponsor, would he have enough? I doubt it. Gifts go up in price the longer the Games continue. What buys a full meal on day one buys a cracker on day twelve. And the kind of medicine Peeta needs would have been at a premium from the beginning." I'm thinking of 2 possible explanations for the gift of sleep syrup. 1) Haymitch trusts that K will succeed at the feast, earn some new admirers/sponsors in the process, and therefore he sends her the gift of sleep syrup so that she's able to attend the feast. OR 2) Haymitch doesn't have the funds to send her the medicine, but he does have the funds to send her the gift of sleep syrup so she can get to the feast.
    **SPOILER ALERT** We know Haymitch sends a gift of a large basket later in chapter 22. Did he have the funds for Peeta's medicine now in ch 20, or did the couple have to earn some more sponsors to receive this gift later in the Games at such a premium price?

    I just have to say how grateful I am when K confirms in the quote above that we are in fact on day 12 of the Games!

    Hey Heather, where do we read that Peeta's sparkly? Is it the line: "I notice the sheen of sweat on Peeta's lip and discover the fever has broken." I'm still trying to decide if the "Peeta is a vampire" suggestion has legs.

    Mmmm, Katniss's No-Fire Groosling Soup. Immediately brought to mind Regina Spektor's song "The Flowers," which goes, "I'm taking a knife to the books that I own and I'm chopping and chopping and boiling soup from stones." Ooooh, should we make a HUNGER GAMES mixtape?!

    Yes, the sleep syrup makes gift number four, after the broth, bread, and burn ointment gifts. Haymitch, some day you'll have to explain yourself.

  4. Sarah, the sparkly Peeta is from when Katniss is all jacked up on tracker jacker hallucinogens. I just think it's funny that now Peeta is watching her sleep, like a certain (SUPER ICKY CREEPY) vampire from another book/movie series. He's most definitely NOT a vampire. And if it turns out that he is, I will eat both my copy of HG and my copy of CF page by page with hot sauce. But not Mockingjay. That I will throw out the window.

  5. heather, I think except for the bread from District 11, all the other gifts came from Capitol sponsors. I don't think anyone in District 12 had enough money to give anything more than their moral support to their tributes each year (another reason why they do so poorly). The antibiotics would have been entirely too expensive. But I wonder how expensive Sleep Syrup was? It could have come in VERY handy for a Career preparing to break up the alliance at some point in a HG. If you can get enough into the water/food of the five others just to make them woozy, you'd already be at a huge advantage.

    I assume the big basket of food came from a later sponsor, and regardless of how luxurious it was I'd think it would be priced lower than any kind of drug.