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 23, 2010

Hunger Games Chapter 23!

Good morning!  23, in which Peeta decides they must eat the stew very slowly because remember the train?  One tiny serving is all they allow.

Katniss thinks about living in the Victor's Village (they built these houses 74 years ago.  Do you think the Capitol comes in and updates them as necessary?  Do you think the Victor's Village in District 1 is nicer, or identical?) and being Haymitch's neighbor.  Peeta has a good sense of humor, doesn't he?  Making fun of Katniss, Haymitch, even Cinna gets a little ribbing.  Is he playing the cameras?  But Katniss thinks about how she can read the messages from Haymitch and Peeta can't.  Can he?  How much is he acting?  These are the questions that may plague us forever.  They wonder how Haymitch could have won, and decide he outsmarted the others.

Thresh shows up on screen after the anthem.  Must've been Cato.  As Peeta's trying to tell Katniss, she bustles about the cave, ignoring him.  When she faces it, it's like she's lost another friend.  Here comes Cato...

Peeta lets Katniss sleep, and when she wakes, he talks about the food at the bakery, and how what they eat is stale.  Depressing a bit, yes?  It is for Katniss.  She never considered it.  Her meals are way fresher than his ever were.

The rain is shut off, and Katniss wonders how long it's been (so do I.  Sarah?) since they left home.  Katniss allows herself to think about winning, and thinks "but you won't be alone."  She's not thinking of Peeta, though, she's thinking of Prim and her mother.  But they won't always be there for her.  For as detached as she seems, Katniss loves her family and makes fierce friends.  I wonder if she's a Scorpio.  Hm.  Probably.  And what will Peeta be like if they make it home?  "This perplexing, good-natured boy who can spin out lies so convincingly the whole of Panem believes him to be hopelessly in love with me, and I'll admit it, there are moments when he makes me believe it myself?"  SC just won't let us believe anything, will she?  It's marvelous.

Hunting time!  There is nothing in Katniss's snares, so they move on to Katniss's "old hunting grounds."  I love that she calls them that.  She laid claim to them during the few days she was there.  But Peeta is a heavy-footed fellow, driving all the game away.  They both think of splitting up at the same time, and it's Peeta who suggests it.  He'll gather roots while Katniss goes a bit further on.  But don't forget the two-note signal to say "I'm okay!"  Peeta confirms that he fought Cato off once before.

Katniss kills some rabbits and a squirrel and is headed back.  She signals Peeta but doesn't hear anything. She runs to the meeting spot, but he's not there with the pile of roots and berries!  Something comes crashing out of the woods, and Katniss takes aim, but it's Peeta.  She shoots the tree right next to him.

Katniss notices someone has been nibbling the cheese and adds it to the reasons she's mad at Peeta.  She also notices that the berries are toxic nightlock.  Cannon for our favorite scavenger, Foxface!


  1. I really liked how Foxface's demise was set up. I was skeptical with things like the Tracker Jackers--wasn't it too convenient that the others weren't familiar with them? But after Foxface ate the poison berries, I thought back over how the story established the threat of poison food, showed Foxface's scavenging ways, Peeta clearly displayed his lack of scavenging skills--and this was just perfectly set up to happen. I should have seen it coming!

  2. But you didn't, and that's the beauty of Ms. Collins's writing!

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  4. Beautiful writing, indeed!

    Here's where I'm going to be nerdy with my day, hour, and minute counts. K wonders how many days its been since she left home, and at that point it's day 15 of the games. Therefore it's been 21 days since she left District 12. Now I'm wondering about that part where K and Peeta dig into the rich food from the basket. They decide to wait an hour before eating more, and after 30 minutes break down and go in for second helpings. How do they know how much time has passed? I know my sense of time is wildly distorted when I'm digesting and deciding whether or not to eat more!

    Aw, Peeta and the stale bread that made him our soft, doughy Peeta. And while we're on the subject of eating habits, Michael Pollan sure would applaud K and her supreme skillz at hunting and gathering. That chick must be FIT.

    This chapter is full of K and P interaction. I cringe at their dysfunctional hunting relationship. I question Peeta's sincerity when he's so suave and perfect. But then there's that part where Peeta mimics K's tone to tell her that no, he's not going up a tree and away from harm while she's out hunting, and I'm reminded that Peeta really does aim to protect K, and isn't looking for a safe way out.

  5. One of the things I really like about this chapter is how apparently Cato and Thresh had an epic Matrix Revolutions-style 3-day duel in the rain - completely off-screen. Collins reminds us of how limited Katniss' perspective actually is, but the clue is there that the battle was epic: nothing happens to Peeta and Katniss except for the rain for 3 days, so the viewers MUST have had something really interesting to watch.

    And Foxface's death. Was it really a mistake on her part? She seemed so smart to be done in by not-recognizing one of the most poisonous plants in all of Panem. Maybe she got too hungry to look at them closely? Or perhaps something else was going on there? (read A Fox's View for more details about this theory... =P)