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 16, 2010

Catching Fire Chapter 20

In which Katniss witnesses CPR for the first time and Finnick saves a lot of arses (Peeta's life, Katniss's baby rep).

Katniss convincingly lets on that she can hear the force field, and tosses her nuts (really, SC?) to keep it at a safe distance.  Mags eats them, Katniss shoots a "tree rat" and they fry it on the force field too.  (You know force field cooking is going to be all the rage in the Capitol, people are going to have colored ones installed in their kitchens and have force field parties, like fondue parties.  Whole theme restaurants might open up...)

Yaymitch sends a spile.  Hooray for water!  And dads who collect sap!  Katniss surmises that Haymitch only had "a hand in" selecting this gift, that the other district sponsors would have pooled resources.  Do you think anyone knew what on earth that thing was?  Might Katniss get in trouble for knowing?

The glance Finnick gives Katniss appears to reveal that Finnick didn't believe they were in love, but that he thinks they are now.  I'd love to speculate on the talk amongst the victors, but obvi, we can only work with what we have.  Or can we?  Finnick, overall, becomes more interesting in this chapter, revealing his smarts (CPR, asking questions about the tree rat, setting up camp near the force field).  Thoughts, anyone?

It begins at Midnight, but no one knows what that means yet.  Maddening.


  1. These were my initial thoughts after reading Ch20 for the first time:

    Finnick’s CPR on Peeta is perplexing. First of all, he’s district 4, and there’s a very good chance Peeta killed BD4 last year at the bloodbath. Maybe Finnick wasn’t the mentor last year, but still, that was a boy from his District. Secondly, what did that accomplish except to make it necessary to kill one more tribute in order to win? Is he devious enough to do it JUST to make Katniss have to owe him for something?

    I had to look up “spile” to see if it was a real object. I wonder how much it cost? It seems to be more of a convenience than a necessity – they could probably cut deep enough into a tree to access the water with the tools they already have, so the only reason for sending it is to tell Katniss “THERE’S WATER IN THE TREES YOU IDIOT.”

    Mags is very useful. She seems to be taking it for the team as a poison tester. What is her ulterior motive???

    What’s with the bell? Is it related to the fog? The bell scares me more than Fog of Death, which is pretty scary by itself.

  2. PK9, I agree that when I first read this chapter, I couldn't figure out Finnick's motivation. The alliances in general during the Games go against reason, after a certain point. (Earlier in the Games, they make some sense, when there are a lot of people to kill.)

    Of course force-field cooking would be en vogue. But would people in the Capitol start hunting, too, after seeing tributes do it?

  3. Rebecca, I remember wondering back when I was reading THG how alliances could ever work. The only one that ever made sense was for the district partners to work together, since any family or friends they have would benefit slightly from having the other person win. But if you were the strongest of the Careers, how could you ever sleep? At least when Katniss was on her own she could hide and hope that no one found her when she was asleep. But how can you sleep in a group of Careers, when the person who is on guard has every motivation to take advantage and eliminate you? There has to be some level of trust, one that would not be logical under the game theory model for the Hunger Games. The payoff for cooperation is that ultimately you have to go one on one against a skilled opponent. Given the advantage of the Careers vs the rest of the field, it's actually a better payoff to betray your ally as soon as you catch him napping.

  4. Becks, hunting? Ew, no! Gross!

  5. Glad you pointed out that using a spile might get you in trouble with the Capitol, Heather! If hunting isn't allowed in the districts, that probably also means no tapping the trees for maple syrup. Will the mentors be punished for knowing what a spile is and sending it?

    Question about one of your questions, H. What glance that Finnick gives Katniss are you referring to?

    I want a force field in chartreuse in my kitchen! The danger of being hit in the face by your newly seared meal is only half the fun!

  6. Sarah, regarding the spile gift. As I think I mentioned earlier, this is one of the things that bugged me about sending Katniss back into the arena: We never get to see how things work from the mentoring end. Are gifts selected by the sponsors? Or is there just a general fund that the mentors then get to use to purchase gifts? Who (besides Haymitch) authorized the switch of sending the District 11 bread to Katniss instead?

  7. Expanding on that, if for example the purchase was made by a sponsor, then they can't hold the mentors accountable. Conversely, if it was like online catalog, complete with the helpful description "tool used to get liquid out of trees", then they couldn't punish the mentors either. How would Haymitch know what a spile is, anyways? Or the District 4 mentors.

  8. Sarah, the glance when Katniss is freaking out that Peeta had died, but is now alive, and Finnick says something about it being from the hormones and she says "no, it's not!" on page 282. Halfway down the page: "I expect to see a smug or sarfcastic expression on his face, but his look is strangely quizzical. He glances between Peeta and me, as if trying to figure something out, then gives his head a slight shake as if to clear it."

    I read that as "Oh, crap. They really ARE in love."