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.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hunger Games Chapter 24

Greetings, viewers. As Heather Templesmith (!?) mentioned, I will be taking control of the discussions this week.

*cue diabolical laughter*

My instinct is to stray because I like disorder, but Heather's been doing such a fabulous job, so I will try to stay true to her vision and summarize each chapter in a snarky, readable fashion. However! I might be just a touch more...inflammatory. For you see, dear readers, as much as I love the riveting pace and emotional knife-twists that define The Hunger Games, I do take issue with a lot of the small stuff. With that in mind, let's begin:

Chapter 24

Katniss explains again what just happened with those Poison Berries, because for all his cleverness Peeta still doesn't quite follow. He's all, "But she -- with the -- and then I -- but how could it -- oh."

He goes to throw out what's left of the "nightlock" (remnants of a Capitol experiment? Who else could craft such witty portmanteaus?), but Katniss cries "Wait!" Maybe Cato will be fooled by the same trick! Of course, we know that identical deaths would make a boring book/hunger games, but it is lucky for everyone Katniss covers all her bases, as we will soon see...

With only one adversary left, Katniss and Peeta cook with abandon. It's not like Cato's going to come near what's likely an obvious trap (note: am I the only person who is never not ever scared of Cato? Now Clove -- there was an enemy!)

Katniss wants to sleep in a tree, but Peeta wants to go back to the cave. Lover's quarrel! Katniss realizes she hasn't been convincingly nice to Peeta today, so with a kiss for the viewers at home she agrees to go to the cave.

Peeta is exhausted from hunting, and as he goes to sleep, Katniss kisses him, not for the audience this time but for her. She's just so grateful he isn't dead and she won't have to face Cato alone...Be still my heart!

While sitting watch, Katniss tries to get inside Cato's head. She realizes he might not be entirely sane, but on the other hand decides that he's no more temperamental than she is. She lets Peeta sleep until day, when they share pillow talk and switch roles. Knowing the gamemakers will drive them towards Cato today after a whole day of inactivity, K&P gather their food and leave the cave. Katniss even pats the rocks goodbye. (Wait, WHAT?)

They reach the dust bed formerly known as the stream, and Peeta remembers his intelligence long enough to guess: "The lake. That's where they want us to go." After they confirm with one more dried up pond, Katniss says, "You're right." They decide to B-E aggressive and head to the lake now while they're stil fit and full.

Katniss muses that even though 21 tributes are dead, it now comes down to the battle that was always meant to be: Katniss vs. Cato. + Peeta (which I proffer here as a leitmotif: Katniss kicks some ass...+ Peeta; the careers tromp the domains...+ Peeta. Poor guy is destined to be Mr. Katniss Everdeen AT BEST). K&P share one final embrace before heading to the lake.

They stop briefly by the scene of the tracker jacker episode; Katniss flashes back. She's like, Let's Go. When they reach the golden Cornucopia, it is almost evening, and K&P don't want to fight Cato in the dark. As they give him 30 more minutes to show, Katniss breaks character to sing Rue's four-note run to the Mockingjays in the area (#rebel!). The birds start singing the song back to each other, and Katniss closes her eyes in a rather touching zen jedi moment.

Then, the song is disrupted.

Dissonance! Imperfection! Alarm!

Cato comes crashing out of the trees and heads straight for K&P. Katniss shoots him with an arrow, but it is deflected by his kick-ass body armor. No matter -- he is unarmed and not attacking anyway. No, Red Rover champion of the world Cato bounds right between them and keeps going. Katniss looks back and sees a mysterious unnamed creature jump out of the woods, then sees another half dozen join it as she's turning away (nice eyesight!).

She runs after Cato with the singular thought of saving herself. You go girl!


  1. Ah, a 1am post. I like it! Thanks Andrew! And am I snarky? I always thought that was a speech impediment. Hm.

    How do you guys picture the Cornucopia? I always thought the tail would point up, like a scorpion:
    but maybe it's more like this:

    Thank you for pulling out the "bye, Rocks!" moment, because I also thought that was soooooo weird and a little out of character.

    And Katniss wonders if Cato got his body armor from the Capitol's feast. What do you guys think? I doubt it. I suspect it's something he found in the Corn. Who "desperately" needs body armor? Maybe it was a giant backpack filled with antipsychotic drugs. Or not.

    Bye all! I'll try to check in from the road!

  2. I think Cato's body armor is from the feast. He needed to protect himself from Katniss's scary/awesome/deadly arrow aim. Maybe he and Clove each got some body armor from Capitol Claus? You'd think it would have a face portion or something, though...convenient oversight to make things interesting, perhaps? hm....

  3. Hadn't thought of that, but yes, I like the idea that Cato picked up that body armor at the feast. Wonder if he even knew he "desperately" needed it? Do you think he processed that K is a threat with her bow and arrows? K thinks he might not be sane, and I don't blame her.

    Hear, hear to your thoughts on Clove v. Cato as villain! That sexy girl was WICKED. Cato seems like the graceless, single-minded sort who can snap a neck and be done. Clove wanted to see some suffering. It wasn't just about following rules and winning the game to her.

    It's late afternoon on day 17, and K feels like today is the end of the games. Wow, really, K? She pets those rocks in a gesture of finality. Guess we'll see. It's early evening, and what are those incoming creatures??? I'm on the edge of my seat here! Only 3 chapters remain!

  4. One theory (which I got from reading fanfic) is that the body armor isn't the thing that Cato and Clove "desperately needed." What they desperately needed was for Katniss to reveal herself in the open. Trying to hunt Katniss in the woods when she could be sitting hidden 20 feet up in a tree with a full set of arrows would have been suicide.