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.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Catching Fire Chapter 13

In which Katniss runs, curls up inside an empty Victor Village house which has a painting cloth (why'd they bother repainting in a Quell year?  Can anyone squat the empties?) and Haymitch gets her drunk (finally!  A drinking buddy for Yaymitch!) after telling her she's selfish.  He breaks my heart when he says "Oh, I think we can count on it being unbearable no matter where I am."  That's the nicest thing he's ever said.  Is Mickey Rourke too old to play him?

Katniss hurls and has a wowzer of a hangover, and breaks down in front of her family.  That's the nicest thing she's ever done, too.  What's up with these people when they think they're going to die again?  Sheesh.  She goes to Haymitch's where Peeta dumped all of his (super)illegal hooch.  Peeta's gone all drill sergeant, thankfully.  No drunkards on this team!

Effie is sending recordings (not tapes!) of the victors so they can all study. Katniss realizes "some of our opponents may be elderly, which is both sad and reassuring."  Katniss is so good about revealing herself completely in statments like this.  I mean, SC is.

Gale tries to make Katniss go all gooey over him (I volunteer!) and she doesn't, which totally means she does.  She plans to tell him later.  Good plan.  Effie wears a gold wig to the reaping because she's classy like that.  Haymitch and Katniss are picked, Peeta volunteers, and Thread ushers them out the back door of the Justice Building, and Gale never gets to hear how essential he is to Katniss.  I cry a little.

What questions do you feel like answering?  Go.


  1. Yes too old, or yes! Cast him! ?

  2. I was checking out movie star ages, and Mark Ruffalo would actually be Haymitch's age. If only he were scruffier and not permanently etched in my mind wearing glasses with gelled up hair in his early 30s ala "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

    Heather, I straight up wasn't feeling Gale at all in this chapter. He throws out that lingering "And where would we be, Katniss?" and I want to shove him out of the scene because he doesn't follow through. The only time he followed through was that one time with that one kiss. Other times he gets upset and stalks away.

    Now if I might point out page 175 where K says she saw herself married to Peeta and their children are forced into the arena. K is imagining herself with kids?! With Peeta?! Why is she even worrying about that? Marrying Peeta, doesn't mean she has to have kids. Regardless, she was picturing it.

    We also discover in this chapter that Madge is sneaking the team her father's discarded Capitol newspapers. I'm feeling Madge's character is underdeveloped. Great that she's finally helping them with some of her insider info, but I can't believe she's not helping out more directly. She's seen more of the injustices inflicted upon the districts by the Capitol, and wouldn't she therefore be all the more eager to assist a rebellion?

  3. Sarah! Welcome back! Think about this: imagine you've been with your fiance every single day for 5 years, and you totally love him, but have never really said so out loud, although everyone around you knows that one of these days, it will be a done deal. Then, suddenly, he appears with some new girl. Then, he comes back to you and says he loves you, and that means nothing, but he must go on pretending. You believe him, because he's everything to you. Then he says, "if only this never began." YOU see your opening, and say, "Well, then what?"

    Gale didn't drop the ball. Pursuing this conversation is awkward for both of them. He lets it drop because KATNISS DROPPED IT. Gale tried, in his awkward way, but he didn't stalk away or get mad because he is awesome and totally the best man here. Flawed, yes. But he's trying to be sweet.

    And I think Madge is an awesome rebel. She's smart about it, and must be under more scrutiny than others, being the Mayor's daughter and all. I agree that she's underdeveloped, and definitely want more Madge assists coming up.

  4. Also:
    I am not a fan of Mark Ruffalo, but agree that he could be a good Haymitch (that mumble-mouth he has might just be a boozy-slur).

  5. I say, yes to casting Mickey Rourke. Not too old!

    Thanks for bringing up Madge, Sarah. I'm really hoping that she plays a bigger role in MOCKINGJAY. I think we're being prepared for that, no?

  6. Argh, I feel like we're rushing through things in order to keep to the 27 chapter structure. Effie sends them recordings of the previous winners, AND? WHAT'S ON THE RECORDINGS? Does Katniss actually learn more about strategy this time? Instead we just get this brief musical montage and we're off to the games!

    I just don't think we can really feel the enormity of the 3 months sink in when it gets breezed through in one page. It's barely above what a novice writer might say: "Three months later, they went to the Games." I've heard lots of people bash Stephenie Meyer in comparison to Suzanne Collins, but I think Meyer did a far better job with those three almost blank pages in New Moon than Collins did here.

    How is it different mentally with 3 months to prepare rather than four days? Even for the other districts, with larger victor pools, it's gotta be different knowing it's a 1/5 chance or something rather than a 1/100 chance.

    And damn, I was really hoping it'd be Katniss and Haymitch instead of Katniss and Peeta. K&P is too predictable. Their plan is gonna be to work together to eliminate the other 22, and then it'll be whoever manages to commit suicide quicker.

  7. Also... the part where most of the tributes will now be killing of their friends to stay alive... Starting to get a little too close to Battle Royale for my taste.

    Sorry if my comments are negative. This chapter's not sitting too well with me.

  8. Okay, I do have something positive to add.

    I'm sure there's not a chance in hell that the 3rd Quarter Quell was originally planned to be amongst the victors, because if it was there wouldn't be any good reviews of SC as a great writer. (Also, what would have happened if Katniss hadn't won last year? And really, all 11 of the other districts happen to have both a living male and a living female victor?)

    But back to my point. Assuming that this Quarter Quell was an intentional Screw-You to Katniss and Peeta, I can envision this story developing to the point where the fraud is revealed and *that* could cause the Capitol citizens to lose faith in the Games, as well as being further fuel for the districts to revolt.