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.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Catching Fire Chapter 19

In which the Seventy-fifth Hunger Games begin!  Katniss finds herself in saltwater, allies with Finnick who is wearing Haymitch's bracelet.  She can swim, probably much to the dismay of President Snow.  Katniss struggles mightily with trusting Finnick and almost kills him a couple of times.  Peeta dies, but it doesn't count.

How do you think Katniss goes from Finnick saying "no one in this arena was a victor by chance.  Except maybe Peeta." to thinking "Finnick knows then...About Peeta.  Being truly, deep-down better than the rest of us."  Do you think that's what Finnick meant?

How come Peeta can die, and it doesn't count?  His heart stopped, but there was no cannon for him.  Does the tracker in their arm know that, too?


  1. These were my initial thoughts after reading chapter 19 (I'm now through chapter 24):

    Okay, so there is a Cornucopia. Katniss is just extremely slow in her observation. Seriously, I think it took me more than 60 seconds to *read* all of her musings.

    Finnick as an ally? Isn’t he a Career? (I don’t know about Mags, she might be old enough to predate the concept of Careers). Sometimes I think Haymitch communicates with Katniss better when it’s through cryptic clues than through direct conversation. If K survives these games, maybe he should only talk to her in riddles. And aw, Peeta can’t swim.

    I think I was spoiled about the Cornucopia having only weapons, but I managed to forget it. That brings the count to three. =/

    Okay, the sports analyst is me is rearing his ugly head. They’re at the Cornucopia, only a handful of other tributes able to reach it immediately, and both have weapons that they can hit people at from a distance. Why leave? Isn’t it more effective to just take out all the unarmed tributes who are rushing in before they get their hands on weapons? And since the Cornucopia is surrounded by water, why not throw all those metal objects in so they sink to the bottom and can’t be used by the others?

    Oh nos! Peeta! I’m pretty sure they’ll find a way to revive him. It would be really really bold for SC to eliminate the character with so little fanfare, this early in the series (We got 35 chapters left to go?).


    Responding to your questions:
    1. I'm not really sure. How is Peeta better than the rest of them? As far as we know, Peeta killed GD8 and likely BD4 in the 74th Games. Well, Katniss knows for sure since she watched the replay, but she didn't share that information with us.

    2. Heather, I was wondering that too, but I went back and checked and at this point, they haven't sounded any cannons for the first day casualties yet. So we don't really know if it counts or not.

  2. Yeah, I think PK9's right about the cannons. They don't sound the cannons on the first day because of the usual blood bath at the Cornucopia.

    Peeta is better than all of them because he only killed for Katniss. I feel like he's the only one that has managed to play these games on his terms. His ultimate motive has always been to keep someone else safe, which makes him better than all the other "selfish" winners who only thought of themselves. In the first games, I think Peeta didn't want to go home because it would have meant Kat's death. The only reason Katniss is willing to sacrifice herself to keep Peeta alive this time around is because she knows she'll die anyway.

  3. No, I'm not positive that's what Finnick meant. I thought Finnick meant it was chance that P picked the poisonous berries, chance that K came up with the idea to eat the berries, and chance that The Capitol interrupted the double suicide. P was totally ready to eat those berries together. K wasn't really a winner by chance because she was this close to killing P there at the end of the 74th Games.

    As for the cannons, yes, PK9 and Chloe are right. No cannons until day 2, after the blood bath at the Cornucopia, which is totally gross. Purple water--ew.

    Good point about throwing the weapons into the water, PK9! That would've been a good idea, but I guess K and Finnick were just too focused on keeping Enobaria and Gloss at bay as they checked in on their teammates and then realized they needed to get Peeta, asap.

  4. BTW, I've now finished CF so the events at the Cornucopia make a lot more sense now. Especially Finnick's actions.

    Okay, I want to do a little geometry here. Katniss says the Cornucopia is 40 yards away (same as in the first book). That puts the tributes in a circle with radius 40yd, which leads to a circumference of 251yd. Since there's 12 "spokes", the distance between each spoke at the level of the launch plates is about 21 yards. We also know that there are two tributes per wedge, and they are spaced such that the distance from a land strip is about the distance from each other. So basically the wedge is split into thirds. 21/3 is 7 yards, or 21 feet. Katniss is 21 feet from the land strip, and yet she describes it as "a longer distance than [she's] used to". The conclusion then is that the lake outside district 12 is freaking small.

    Or Suzanne Collins is as bad with numbers as JK Rowling :P

  5. lolz, PK9, glad you brought up the geometry of the Cornucopia. Yes, if the radius of the wheel is 40 yards, and circumference = 2 * radius * pi; then the circumference = 2 * 40 yards * 3.14 = 251.2 yards. Divide that by the 12 land spokes = 20.9 yards along the circle's edge between spokes. K and Woof are evenly spaced between 2 land spokes, thereby dividing that space into thirds. 20.9 yards divided by 3 is around 7 yards or 21 feet. That's a very short distance for K to swim to reach the nearest land strip and run to the Cornucopia. One thing we don't know is the size of the Cornucopia. If it's a gargantuan 30 yard wide Cornucopia, then the circle's radius would actually be 40 yards + one half the Cornucopia's width, in this case, 15 yards. For the sake of argument, the radius would then be 55 yards, and K's distance to the land strip would therefore be 29 feet. 29 feet is still a very short distance to swim. Can anyone imagine the Cornucopia as being 5 football fields long? Because then this thing could almost make sense. If the Cornucopia is 500 yards wide, then the radius is 290 yards, circumference is 1821 yards, and K has to swim 50.5 yards to reach the land strip.

    I'm having a hard time imagining the Cornucopia is 5 football fields wide. But maybe my math is wrong?

  6. I read chapter 20 and have to amend my first comment on this chapter. Cannons are shot on the first day of the Games, but not until after the bloodbath at the Cornucopia, and that's possibly why there was no cannon for Peeta. I think your question still stands, Heather, because I don't know what the Capitol would've done if Peeta's near-death experience had happened when cannons were being fired.

    I'm kind of surprised that tracker thing hasn't indicated that K's not actually pregnant.

  7. Sarah, a 50.5 yards is still less than one length of an Olympic swimming pool. The world records for the 50M freestyle is in the 20-24s range. Even if Katniss is an average swimmer she should easily be able to do it in under 40 seconds.

    Yeah, the reason I thought about the distances is that I did the same kind of math in the first book to figure out how far apart the tributes were, in response to some fanfics that seemed to suggest that the tributes were close enough to attack each other immediately after the gong. It came out to about 11 yards.

    If the tracker does indicate that she's not pregnant, how would Katniss (and the readers) know? They're already in the arena.

  8. When Katniss & Finnick got to the Cornucopia first, why didn't they grab more weapons and throw all the weapons they couldn't hold into the water to sink so the others wouldn't have weapons?

  9. Just so you guys know to clear up the confusion abou the tracker detcting the baby, Katniss isnt actually pregnant, Peeta made that up hoping the presidant will keep her out of the arena, as for what Chloe said i agree hell do anything to protech Katniss which makes him one of the best players in the arena