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 9, 2010

Hunger Games Chapter 9

Last chapter in the first part of book one, everyone!  That means we are one sixth of the way there (one ninth if you count Mockingjay).  Even after all this practice, I still find it hard to stop after one chapter.  Anyone else?

Sooo, chapter 9, in which Katniss feels betrayed by Peeta's request to be coached seperately from Katniss.  Effie makes Katniss learn to walk in heels (I'm impressed that she picked it up so quickly.  It took me years), sit like a lady, and say banal things while smiling.  Haymitch forces Katniss to try on a bunch of (unsuitable) personalities, and his badgering makes her mad, which only makes him badger her more.  It's an interview-prep disaster.I guess in this case (@Sarah) Katniss is letting her emotions get in the way of what needs to be done.

Katniss binge-eats, then smashes all the dishes all over her room (which is going to be a great scene in the movie, I hope) and then yells at the Avox girl, who helps to calm Katniss down.  Katniss finally whispers to her "I should have tried to save you" which instantly makes me weep.  Katniss helps her clean up, and Avox tucks her  in.  It's all very sweet and maternal (and a bit twisted, when you think about it, but I hope it means the Avox has forgiven her).

She wakes to the freaky faces of her prep team who whisk her away to paint her up and get her ready for her interview.  They polish her up, paint stencils on her arms, paint flame designs on her nails.  Venia weaves some red into her hair, which wraps around her head and ends in a braid over her right shoulder.  Dark eyes, red lips, light-throwing lashes, and finally, a coating of gold dust.  Me next!

The dress!  The dress!  Covered in reflective precious gems (!!) in a flame pattern.  You guys, they have to get someone amazing to do this dress for the movie.  Only a handful of couturiers could handle it:  Badgley Mischka, Valentino, maybe John Galliano, maybe even Gaultier or Armani.  Thoughts?  Ideas?  If they screw up this dress, it will be hideous.  Of course, Alexander McQueen could have done it, as he should have done all of the Capitol costumes for this movie, but I'm about to go off on a serious fashion tangent, so I'm reining it in.  PS, Peeta's suit sounds fan-TACK-stic.  Ew.  Maybe we need Armani for this too.

Cinna gives the only good advice to Katniss:  be yourself.  She's so incapable of lying, and that's all Haymitch wanted her to do.  He tells her that the citizens of the Capitol adore her, and admire her spirit, and to think of him as a friend that she can be honest with.  I feel calmer just thinking about Cinna.

And they're off!  Caesar Flickerman, the eternal host, is creepy with powder blue hair, eyeshadow, and lips with his trademark twinkly suit. Interviews are 3 minutes, so last about an hour and a quarter. The girl from District 1 is golden and gorgeous.  The monstrous boy from 2 is scary in a killing way, fox-faced girl is sly, the crippled boy from 10 is quiet. (Katniss has mentioned the same tributes each time she mentions any.  Why do you think SC made this choice?)  Rue is wearing wings and says she's very hard to catch.  Yay, Rue!  Awww.   Thresh, also from 11, is monosyllabic and/or totally silent.  Creepy, but awesome.  Time for Katniss!  She tells Caesar/Cinna that she loves lamb stew, makes the audience laugh, and then twirls like a real girly girl and giggles.  Caesar asks about her training score, and the man who fell in the punch says she can't tell, but it's all very hilarious, haha, Capitol.  Then Katniss talks about her promise to Prim and I choke and start crying again.

Peeta is very charming, he's even charmed me, the big lug.  He's funny and disarming and then says he's in love.  WITH KATNISS.  Sneaky lug!  Who fell out of their chair?  Be honest!

So yesterday's convo sparked some interesting ideas and questions.  I wonder:  how reliable a narrator do you think Katniss is?  We already know her knowledge is limited in terms of politics and history.  But do you think she's totally honest with us as far as her reactions and emotions go?  She's a terrible liar, it seems, but would she lie to us to save face?  Does she care about looking good (meaning strong, infallible, smart)?


  1. Nice work on the links, Heather!

    I figured Peeta was crushing on Katniss, but I never dreamed he would announce it so publicly! Did Haymitch put him up to it? I can't imagine Peeta going for that, but I can't imagine him being so open about it either!

    I love Cinna! And the Avox has me sooooo intrigued! It's becoming really difficult to read only one chapter at a time, which is a great thing. :)

  2. I imagine Peeta's suit with a Ed Hardy-esque flame logo on it. UGLY. I'm totally on Team Peeta, by the way, and when the chapter ended with him saying he loved Katniss, I couldn't stop! I mean really really couldn't stop, like I'm now on page 270 and am really tired I was up late reading. Sigh.

  3. I want to wear that sparkly dress!!! Really, how fun was that makeover?! It's supremely disturbing, however, that the Capitol is dressing everyone up like dolls only to send them off to die. But I guess if you know you're probably going to die, you will want to know you felt truly beautiful once...? Oh my, twisted logic at work in the Capitol.

  4. Tanya, great question. DID Haymtich put him up to it? Hmmmmm. How can we find out? Oh yeah, we can't.

  5. Heather, I think you're right, we're really limited here by K's 1st person narration. She shares the scenes with us, and a little of her feelings, but I wouldn't be surprised if she kept things from us. For one thing, we know from her outburst that she becomes very angry at suggestions that anyone helped her and her family survive out of pity. Perhaps she was unfair in saying on p24 "I don't think of District 12 as a place that cares about me." After all, Peeta thinks she has some sort of "effect" on people in District 12.

    Yeah, K's interview training with Effie and Haymitch doesn't go so well. "Effie swoops down on me like a hawk, smacking my hands and yelling, 'Not above the ankle!'" Later K says to Effie "'[The audience is] betting on how long I'll live!' I burst out. 'They're not my friends!' 'Well, try and pretend!' snaps Effie." And at the end of the session with Haymitch, "a nasty edge has crept into [Haymitch's] voice. 'I give up, sweetheart. Just answer the questions and try not to let the audience see how openly you despise them.'" I cannot get over how unsympathetic these adults are as they prepare these minors for a publicly broadcast fight to the death. Wouldn't you want to show the teens some kindness before sending them into that arena? I dislike Effie, Haymitch, the prep crew, and I'm unsure about Cinna because he at least conceded on p65 "How despicable we must seem to you." By contrast, the Avox seems sympathetic to K when she tends to K and puts her to bed. QUESTION: Is anyone else wondering if the Avox is a human rights activist from the Capitol who was out in District 12 on a mission to relieve that desperate area?

    The story right now seems too ridiculously horrible to me. There are so many unsympathetic adults and citizens of the Capitol who permit, enjoy, tolerate, or make a living through the games. I'm wondering if it's all been a show all along? Maybe the Capitol just simulates a broadcast of the kids fighting to the death, while in reality the "losing" tributes don't die, and instead live out the rest of their lives elsewhere? Perhaps even in the Capitol? Eek, I'm getting nervous here, and don't want to see these kids fight to the death in the remaining 18 chapters.

    Oooh, the love confession! Did Haymitch put Peeta up to it? Was that something Peeta and Cinna discussed on the roof?