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 2, 2010

Catching Fire Chapter 6

In which Katniss sees the end of hope, and figures out that desperate times call for desperate measures, meaning she can act as desperately as she wants.  I can't wait to see this!  Katniss and Peeta are at the next-to-final party, the big one in the Capitol where the people eat themselves sick again and again and it makes Katniss and Peeta sick again and again.  It's also where Katniss meets man-in-the-punchbowl, new Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee (what do you think we can read into the connection to the Oracle at Delphi?).  "It starts at midnight."  Who wants to punch Katniss for chalking this up to knockoff watches?  I do/did/will.

Katniss and Peeta head back to District 12 with their entourage, and Katniss finds herself wandering around the mayor's house unescorted, looking for her bestie Madge.  She feels free enough to poke her head into Mayor Undersee's office, where she sees an announcement by a "woman with graying hair and a hoarse, authoritative voice" (she doesn't sound like Capitol material, does she?) giving an UPDATE ON DISTRICT 8 (which we find out makes textiles).  It's an uprising, for realsies.  Hooray!

Peeta's offhandedly sweet about his nightmares being about Katniss.  Katniss wonders if she's been using Peeta, and feels immoral about having him in her bed.  What do you think, given Katniss's unreliable narrator status?  Is she using him, or perhaps being dishonest with us?

Katniss at the feast is having an unimaginably good time tasting innumerable dishes prepared in her honor.  She finds out that there are tiny glasses of ipecac or somesuch to make people vomit in order to let them eat more.  Peeta starts wearing his rebellion on his sleeve when he realizes what is going on, and Katniss feels nothing but cold anger.  Imagine yourself as a Capitol resident and back up their partying ways.

Plutarch Heavensbee goes out of his way to show Katniss the mockingjay symbol on his watch.  What did this make you think (especially first-readers!) and how did you react to Katniss's reaction?


  1. First-time reader of CF here! I immediately thought that he is part of the rebellion/uprising and was trying to communicate that to Katniss--and I was practically screaming at her, "Don't you get it?! He might be on your side!"

    Which, as I'm a first-time reader, could be totally wrong. :)

  2. In regard the questionable sincerity of Katniss' feelings for Peeta:

    Katniss is not being honest with herself, which makes it darned-near impossible for her to be honest with us. She clearly has strong feelings for Peeta, and is continually trying to convince herself that she doesn't. She feels guilty about these feelings in light to her long friendship with Gale and the love she feels for him and what that relationship could potentially grow into. I think Katniss is in love with both Peeta and Gale on some level. The bigger question is (drum roll) can someone genuinely be in love with two people at once??

  3. Love the first firestarter: Is K using Peeta or being dishonest with us? I think Katie nailed it.

    Now to don my fabulous citizen-of-the-Capitol hat. (It's a lion hair hat studded with jewels.) Katniss absolutely insulted our chefs by not sampling from the full spread before her. She has no concept of how many recipes were worked and reworked to perfection for her benefit. Chef Epicuricles reportedly purged himself 500 times in the course of 2 weeks while sampling and perfecting the pink soup with the raspberries. It would seem Katniss has no appreciation for the culinary arts, but what would you expect of a tribute from District 12? I hear they eat squirrel soup in her district.

  4. Sarah, awesome. Ten points.

    Posting late today, sorry, all!

  5. Sarah, major, major points. Just for finding that lion hair hat. Can I call you Luna?

    I agree that Katniss is being dishonest with us. I also think that her relationship to Gale is too much like family. He's too much like her for a romantic relationship to work long term. So yes, she loves Gale, but ultimately not as a boyfriend, she just needs to figure that out.

    And GAH! I want to slap Katniss so hard! Mr. Gamemaker's all "I will subtely show you my subtleness" and Katniss is like "Oh, shiney!" *headdesk*

    There's no way I can top Miss Lovegood on the Capitol, so I'm skipping out on Firestarter 2 :)

  6. You are all SO WRONG about Mrs. Gale. But obvs that's open to interpretation (even though you all are wrong).

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I'm a first time reader, although in the past couple weeks that I've tried to search the internet for Hunger Games discussion/fanfic I've inadvertently scanned a number of CF spoilers. I don't know what to make of Plutarch Heavensbee. He certainly seems to be suggesting some support of the rebellion (I believe officially the mockingjay is a symbol of first the districts', then nature's small victory over the Capitol). It seems out of place for there to be a clandestine midnight Games planning meeting. But from spoilers I have a vague idea what the Quarter Quell will involve, so it's confusing how Plutarch Heavensbee fits in as the head Gamemaker.

    As for Katniss feeling immoral, I got the impression she feels bad about it because Peeta never has to wake up Katniss for his nightmares. It's back to that unable-to-pay-back-what-she-owes-him thing that started with the bread. I think she'd feel far better about sleeping with Peeta if her presence was helping him with his nightmares too.

    Madge scares me. The last time Katniss started to become emotionally close to a minor character, that character got a spear in the stomach. I had to force myself to not scan ahead to the end of the chapter while K was wandering the mansion because I half-expected K to find Madge's bloody corpse. I was actually a bit relieved that the chapter ended with District 8's uprising instead. But Madge is still the number one redshirt right now: Gale, Peeta and Prim are too important to kill off before like chapter 25 of this book at least...

    I wonder how District 8 reacted to Peeta? Didn't he finish off their tribute? Or did he?!?

  9. Welcome back, PK9! Oh to be a first-time reader again!

    Glad you mentioned the Victory Tour's stop in D8. Yeah, bet that was awkward for Peeta. Do you think he managed to handle it in a respectful, perhaps even charming manner? Will we ever know??

    I think you're right that K still has a hang up about repaying directly anything anyone does for her. This reinforces the distance between K and P. If she loved him and considered him family, then she wouldn't need to repay him directly because, well, it all comes out in the wash, right? And there's also this moral side to things where she's not ready to commit to Peeta, and if she spoons with him he might get the wrong idea. Aw, it's so sad. They could both use a good hug and spoon right now too, I'm sure.

  10. Thanks Sarah! I pushed it off for as long as I could, but I finally caved it... I'm up to chapter 9 now, so I should be caught up to the schedule in a couple of days. Actually, I'm pretty sure I'll be done with CF by the weekend at this rate...

    Katiss is... confused. I think everyone else seems to be too. They keep saying that Katniss pulled out the berries in a desperate act to stay alive. I disagree. Peeta had no chance if it turned into a fight at the end of THG. Katniss had an arrow, and Peeta was badly injured. Katniss pulled the berry trick to try to keep *Peeta* alive, risking her own life in the process. So she does have feelings for him.

  11. As for "Do you think he managed to handle it in a respectful, perhaps even charming manner" it certainly seems like whatever he did, it didn't mollify the residents of District 8 because they started to revolt.