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.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hunger Games Chapter 8

In which Katniss flings her bow and arrow and stalks out of the training room, goes to her room, and cries for an hour from fear that she'll be arrested or executed, or worse, that her family will be.  Or that at least the Gamemakers will make the arena hell for her.  We learn about the scoring, which is on a scale of 1-12 (another factor of three), which is used to garner sponsors, and give the tributes a heads up about each other.  Katniss expects a 6 or 7.

Everyone wants to know what happened, especially with Katniss, but Peeta starts.  He says the Gamemakers were drunk and singing, not watching, so he threw some heavy stuff until they told him he could go.  Katniss just comes out with it:  she shot an arrow at the Gamemakers.  Effie almost dies when Katniss says she walked right out.  Haymitch seems to roll with it, and reassures Katniss that nothing will happen to her or her family.  She is cheered, and goes into a bit more detail, and everyone laughs except Effie, who is suppressing it.

After dinner, it's time for the scores.  Peeta gets an 8, which is solidly within the Careers' range.  Little Rue gets a 7.   Katniss gets an 11!  Haymitch puts it in perspective saying "they have a show to put on" which is a creepy reminder that this is a reality show.  Cinna hints at the interview dress.

Flashback to when Katniss met Gale:  she'd been hunting alone for about 6 months, and was checking out Gale's snares (wocka wocka).  He thinks she says her name is Catnip, and they agree to trade knowledge and skeeooz.  Soon, they hunt together all the time, and Katniss doesn't feel that the word "friend" is strong enough for him.  They trust each other, and sometimes, with Gale, Katniss is happy.  She says she doesn't want him in the arena "where he'd be dead in a few days."  Hmm, I wonder why she thinks he wouldn't win it...

She compares the reality of her love situation with Gale to the fake TV show amiability she has with Peeta.  At breakfast, Haymitch and Peeta drop a bomb:  Peeta wants to be coached alone.


  1. POLL QUESTION: first page of this chapter K’s afraid she’ll be punished for shooting an arrow at the Gamemakers. K says “What will they do to me now? Arrest me? Execute me? Cut my tongue and turn me into an Avox so I can wait on the future tributes of Panem?” I’m wondering which fate is worse, one of those or being a tribute? I wouldn’t put it past the Capital to hold some hideous public executions.

    Love the way Haymitch and Peeta broke the ice after K shares her performance in the private session with the Gamemakers. “And I realize the impossible has happened. [Haymitch and Peeta] have actually cheered me up.” And then everyone shares a laugh. HOORAY for some humor amid the pre-game tension!

    Hearing Haymitch call K “Sweetheart” throws me back to growing up in NC where it naturally rolls off so many tongues. I wonder what the District 12 accent’s like? Has to be better than that slippery s-filled Capital accent. Maybe an Appalachian twang remains even though this is more than 75 years in the future?

    At last we get the story of Kat and Gale meeting! OK, I’ll admit I’ve been cheering for warm moments between K and P, but my heart goes out to K as she thinks back to Gale and how much he means/meant to her. How about those flirty threats to turn one another in for stealing, which is punishable by death? Steamy! And we read that over the seasons they began (“grudgingly”—ha!) to share “knowledge, our weapons, our secret places that were thick with wild plums or turkeys.” Katniss opens herself up here and acknowledges some significant feelings: ”Gale gave me a sense of security I’d lacked since my father’s death.” “Being out in the woods with Gale . . . sometimes I was actually happy.” “A pang of longing shoots through my chest. If only he was with me now!” Is this a case of absence making the heart grow fonder?

    Yeah, that’s an interesting quote, when K says she doesn't want Gale in the arena "where he'd be dead in a few days." He seems tough and smart—maybe Gale could defend himself for a while? Or does K assume that everyone but the Career tributes will be dead “in a few days?”

  2. Sarah accused me (in person) of holding back my feelings of Katniss and Gale in the woods, but Sarah, I think you summed it up perfectly. Gale is security and strength and love all wrapped up in HOT.

    I'm off to order a Mrs. Gale Hawthorne tee.

  3. Did Katniss make anyone else crazy in this chapter? I was annoyed she was SO convinced that she'd get punished for shooting the arrow at the apple on the Gamemakers table. OF COURSE she'd get a high-score for that! How many people can shoot arrows with that much precision?? Come on already, Katniss.

  4. I have to agree that Katniss's "dead in a few days" comment is a reflection of her doubts that any District 12er--no matter how skilled, strong, or dead sexy--could possibly win.

    Given their relationship, though, I wonder what would happen if Gale and Katniss were in the arena together. Part of me thinks that Gale would try to pick her off immediately, just to get it out of the way. Not because he is heartless or doesn't love Katniss, but because he has strong survival instincts and it would eliminate a distraction and the fear of a final confrontation early on. After all, animals/humans "how different can it be, really?" When we get to the end, it might be interesting to discuss how the Games would have played out if Gale were the male tribute.

  5. Yeah, Katie, I am completely impressed--again and again!--by K's archery skills. The thing we can't know here is what skills the other tributes displayed in the private sessions, and if any of the others kept their skillz (possibly archery skills) a secret as K did. Those Gamemakers were absolutely unimpressed by all of her demonstrations, and I was surprised by her 11. Who are these Gamemakers, and what's their MO? And what in the world did little Rue do to earn a 7 when most people score 5s?

    Lisa, I'm chewing on that hypothetical "What if Gale had been the male tribute?" I've got some thoughts on that now. I'm going to collect some excerpts moving forward, and share my thoughts later. Vrrrry interesting.

  6. One of the things I wondered is if that 11 score wasn't the Gamemakers' way of punishing Katniss. They might as well have sent her into the arena wearing a shirt with a bright red bullseye on her back and holding a sign saying "KILL ME FIRST!"

    Especially since she only demonstrated one single skill. If they don't put a bow and arrow in the game, she has NO chance of living up to the score.

  7. Also, I'm pretty sure I'd trade my tongue for a "get out of the Hunger Games free" ticket. Avoxes have a pretty crappy life, but they aren't a) starving to death or b) forced to fight to the death against 23 other people.

  8. I do not think that giving her that 11 was a way to punish katniss. i believed they liked her fire and confidence. I think that they partially thought that she deserved it.
    I would not give my toungue to get out of the arena! I would rather die than live an avoxes life! omg i'm sorry but i just realized that this question was (and this site) is really old
    i'm a hunger games freak and i'm trying to go on every site that i an find so that i can answer more questions