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.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Catching Fire Chapter 14

Two more weeks, everyone!  TWO WEEEEEEKS!  Eep!

In which Katniss decides that it's all about keeping Peeta alive this time.  Haymitch isn't drinking, the mood is dark.  They watch the reapings.  There are 59 living tributes out of 75.  I'm so good at math:  that means only 16 victors have died.  (I wonder what the Capitol does for them, if anything.)  More math fun!  If the first tribute was 12 when he or she won, he or she would be 87 now (and could be as old as 93).  Allowing that the first 16 tributes have died, except for the volunteer from 4, the oldest living tribute could be anywhere between 71 and 77.  Isn't that interesting? So, there are new tributes to keep track of.  I'll put them in orange, and bring all the districts back from the gray.  The blue ones are the known rebels.

Katniss and Peeta settle in to watch tapes (yes, we're back to tapes.  SC, won't you please uh-splain that in Mockingjay?) of prior games, including Haymitch's, which also features Maysilee, Madge's aunt and her mother's twin.  The original owner of the Mockingjay pin.  Haymitch finds the end of the arena, using the Capitol against itself while he holds his intestines in, and wins.

Why do you think the Capitol allowed an attendant who wasn't an Avox to wait on Peeta and Katniss?

Katniss says she finally knows who Haymitch is, and it gives her confidence.  What do you think she means by that?

Katniss is sure she's teaming up with Haymitch to keep Peeta alive.  Does this seem shortsighted, or prudent at this stage of her thinking?


  1. 1. I don't think the Capitol allows Avoxes out of the Capitol. Because in HG, we didn't find out about the Avoxes until Katniss was in the Capitol, so I assume there were never any on the train.

    2. I think Katniss finally recognizes a kindred spirit in Haymitch. You know, she should have figured this out when she worked out his gift system, that they're alike, but our Katniss isn't the most observant. She realizes that Haymitch, too, stuck it to the Capitol, and like her, he's creative and willing to do what needs to be done.

    Ok, I have a question! The pin. Way back in HG, Madge was really insistent that Katniss take the Mockingjay pin. Why? The mockingjay was always sort of a slap in the Capitols face, so did it mean something even before Madge gave it to Katniss? Did Madge know? Was she sending a message to the Capitol, or did she just think it would make Katniss happy?

  2. I think Madge gave Katniss the pin because it belonged to a former tribute, right? But I guess it wasn't really good luck since that tribute didn't win.

    About the tape thing... I honestly pictured them putting a VHS into a VCR. Maybe I'm wrong and it is some fancy digital card reader, but in some ways, Panem seems to be behind in technology. Maybe only capital folk get to have blue ray players and district 12 is stuck adjusting the bunny ears on their old fashioned TVs! If that's not a reason to rebel, I don't know what is.

  3. Conjecture, but: I thought Madge knowingly gave her the pin as a sign of the rebellion/uprising, which Madge or her family is active in.

  4. Allison- Yeah, I agree about the tapes. It didn't bother me that much, as I always kind of pictured District 12 as a sort of Soviet district in the 80's. With less neon.

    Rebecca- But Madge's father is the Mayor, so how active can their family be without drawing attention to themselves? We learned here that Madge's aunt was a tribute who died, so was this pin hers, like Allison suggested? I like that idea, but I feel like Collins would have pointed that out if that were the case. And if Madge knew it was a symbol of rebellion, wouldn't that be kind of a risky token?

  5. 1. I'm with Chloe. I don't think we met any servants on the train in the last book, and I know we didn't meet our first Avox until the training center in the Capitol. Maybe Avoxes can't leave the Capitol, and that would make sense because we know at least one of them was on the run and found outside the Capitol in D12!

    2. K is cautious and apparently slow to trust even Haymitch. When K&P started watching the 2nd Quarter Quell, K was afraid Haymitch might kill Maysilee. Does she know this man at all? Glad she watched that season of the Games, and is finally starting to trust the second of her 2 teammates!

    3. It's definitely short-sighted. She hasn't entertained the idea that Peeta and Haymitch may have made the same pact to keep K alive. Wonder how dedicated she is to the plan. Could she sacrifice herself to save Peeta? Wonder what the odds are in the Capitol for that one?

    Chloe, here's where I get to put on my blog secretary hat, Buddy Holly glasses, and point us to page 91 where Madge says of the mockingjay pin, "It was my aunt's," she said. "But I think it's been in the family a long time."

    I'm going to repost my thoughts on Madge from the chapter 7 discussion: Madge and her family have been primed for rebellion since her Aunt Maysilee was a tribute in the 2nd quarter quell--though I suspect even before that. Madge recognizes the mockingjay as a symbol of the Districts' outsmarting the Capitol, and while this mayor's daughter feigns ignorance, that's exactly why she gave Maysilee's pin to K. Madge = Rebel Grrl!

    And for how long has the mockingjay been the symbol of district rebellion? Madge did say the pin's been in the family for a long time.

  6. 1. Excellent points, all. But Sarah, she wasn't an Avox then. She became one later.

    I also wonder about the pin's symbolism. Did Katniss wearing it in the arena mean much more than she knew? Was this even the Mayor of District 12's way of telling the other districts "it's time" or was Madge up to something behind her father's back?

    Allison, yes, in most ways Panem seems to be behind in technology. Except for when they can whisper food into existence, and have showers with 200 settings, and can put their hand on a metal plate that will dry their hair instantly, and MUTTATIONS. So why is the Capitol still using VHS to keep copies of games? Are new games saved on flash drives and it's just the older games on tape? Are we meant to believe that the Dark Days were in the 80s or 90s? Are the first games saved on reel-to-reel? Why not transfer them?

  7. I just can't get into this whole tape debate. Unless we get some description where Katniss says something like "the VCR started screeching and the black rectangle spewed its magnetic ribbon all over the place" I'm just going to assume it's a generic term for any recording.

    I don't even understand why they need coal. If they have the technology to make volcanoes explode on command.

    And *seriously*? All 12 districts have at least one male and one female victor who is still living? What would they have done if Katniss hadn't won last year?

    Rebounding forcefield for final kill = item #2 that I was spoiled about, although back when I read it I thought it was way too far out to be true. Sigh.

    It would be interesting if an opportunity comes for one to sacrifice themselves to save the other, but for the most part the best strategy for any district to win is for the tributes from that district to work together until everyone else is gone. Two is more effective than one.

    The main thing I got out of the 50th Games was that the arena has a boundary. This just furthers my suspicion that Katniss is going to find a way out.

  8. And again with the vague descriptions of the other tributes! Katniss shouldn't be saying stuff like "some hysterical mother of three from District X", she should be saying "the tribute from District X is So-and-so, who won her Games by decapitating 6 other tributes with the sword she got after she lured one of the Careers into a trap, is now a hysterial mother of three".

    So after the reapings, does every just get on board the tribute train? What's the point in holding the reapings in the town squares then?

    I don't really understand how the former victors can become friends, other than the ones from the same districts. How can you befriend someone who just murdered the tribute you were mentoring last year? How do you stay friendly with each other when the tributes you're mentoring are trying to kill the tributes they're mentoring?

    One of the big letdowns of making K a tribute again is that once again we won't be able to see what goes on in the mentoring aspect. Is there a war room where everyone has a station to monitor their own tribute(s)? How does sponsorship work?

  9. PK9, I TOTALLY feel your pain. Katniss's head is a great bird's eye view, but I'd like an omniscient narrator for a while. I don't want to re-read Twilight from Edward's POV, but it would be really fun to re-read this through ANYONE else's eyes.

  10. Heather, that was the EXACT thing I was looking for in fanfic after reading THG that got me to accidentally read spoilers. I ended up finding one author who wrote complete stories (written pre-CF so there were no spoilers) from Foxface's and Clove's POVs, and another from the District 10's cripple boy all in the same "'verse" (i.e. they filled in Katniss' blanks with the same set of details whenever they overlapped). I became somewhat obsessed with landmine boy from district 3 so when I ventured farther out to try to find stories about him or his mentors, BAM! I read Catching Fire spoilers in story descriptions. :(

  11. Oh, I just realized Katniss dreamed of a R.O.U.S.

    R.O.U.S.es are Mutts! As you wish!