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 3, 2010

Catching Fire Chapter 8

First, lookit this book, which looks an awful lot like the HG style, non?  J'adore that YA cover style (no matter how icky) is influencing adult books.  As I'm reading CF on the train, I notice a lot of eyes turned my way (and I know it's not because of what I'm wearing).

So-sies.  See-eff-ate.  Gale is horribly wounded!  Katniss catches one across the face!  Haymitch steps in and sounds rather effeminate when he throws a hissy fit about a photo shoot!  BUT he and this Purnia shut Thread down with a few words.  Clothing-Stall-Woman sells her countertop after extracting a promise that they not tell on her, and the Stars and Gale's mining buddies are off to Katniss's mother.  We find out that Purnia was more official than our pal Darius, who has a Looney Toons style lump growing out of his head.  Mrs. Everdeen fixes up Gale as best she can while Katniss gets ill and angry that he's not feeling better.  Mrs. E and Haymitch talk about the good ol'days.

Madge shows up with vials of opiate goodies, morphling (at which point I have to say, really?  Why not morfish or morpleez?  Morph-or-mee?).  Katniss really looks at her sitch, putting Gale and an unknown gal in her place.  She's pissed.  Gale's hers, and she's Gale's (yay!) and Katniss finally understand she's selfish and a coward (only sort of, Love.  Don't be too hard on yourself).  Gale promises to make all kinds of trouble with Catnip, and I'm about ready to set predictions for Book Threeeeee (but not yet).

Firestarters!  (Kindling?  A future popular name within the Districts?)
Katniss wonders what her actions mean, and whether what she was thinking at the time of the action means more than a. how her actions were perceived and b. what her actions mean to her now.  What do you think?

What do you think Haymitch meant when he said Madge was a "Crazy girl" for ringing the doorbell?  (And two-bee:  WHO DO YOU WANT TO CAST AS HAYMITCH?  I'll be a little heartbroken if it's not Paul Giamatti.)  Why do you think Haymitch thinks Madge is crazy?  Do YOU think she is? 

Katniss gets jealous and angry thinking people think there might be something between Gale and Madge.  Why do you think Madge made the risk you said she did in the last question?


  1. What would you say if I said MEL GIBSON should play Haymitch in the movie?

    I applaud K as she investigates whether her actions were well reasoned or merely self-serving. Let's all strive to Do The Right Thing!

    Does Haymitch call Madge a crazy girl because she rang the doorbell or because she was so brief/elusive when dropping off the clear viles for Gale or because she's the mayor's daughter coming to the aide of a convict? I think Haymitch is commenting on her coming to the aide of a convict, seeing as they're all under surveillance by the Capitol and omg, **SPOILER ALERT IN THE NEXT SENTENCE** the Capitol can probably just see in her face that she's crazy about Gale, and she's putting herself at such risk to help him, especially because she's already in a high-profile political family.

    Have to say I'm glad to finally hear the adults talking in this chapter about "the old days." K has so little perspective on the history of the Districts' oppression, and how the earlier generations dealt with it.

  2. I find it odd that K (well, everybody), focuses on the berries as the biggest act of rebellion that she did in the Games. For me, the funeral flowers for Rue seem far more premeditated than the desperate act of trying to outwit the Gamemakers. When she did the flowers for Rue, she tells us that she specifically thought of what Peeta said on the rooftop and wanted to show the Capitol that they didn't own her. With the berries, it seemed mostly selfish in that she didn't want to deal with the *pain* of watching Peeta die and then living as victor. She flat-out says that death would be the easier way out than living with the memory of watching Peeta die. I don't think there was any element of "how will the people back at District 12 treat me if I killed Peeta?" The Gamemakers had not given her a way out until she rammed down Door Number Three. The District would not have any reason to accuse her of acting unjustly; that was simply the way things were in the Arena. I think even if she didn't have to go face Peeta's family or the district, even if winning the Hunger Games meant a one-way trip to a tropical paradise with her family and Gale's family... she'd *still* have chosen death rather than having to watch Peeta die.

    See, this is where I think Seneca Crane *really* screwed up. He's responsible for the berry incident because of the fake rule change. If you want to make it a sport, even a brutal, kill-or-die sport, there has to be a set of rules before the event starts and you can't make rule changes on the fly. It's like playing board games with a five year old and having him constantly make up new rules so he can win. Once you introduce that element of the ability to change the rules, then nothing is sacred anymore. If you can say midway through the Games that two can win, and then right at the end say only one can win, then as the contestant how do I even know that if I do what you say and kill my district partner, that you won't suddenly make a new rule change that says that in order to win the last tribute standing has to kill his family (which has suddenly been deposited into the arena) and then do 500 pushups? If they leave the rules alone, Peeta dies in the riverbank, Katniss (or someone else) eventually ends up as the last person standing, and they idea of having two winners never crosses anyone's mind, because that's The Way It's Always Been.

    To put it in the terms of the latest movies... the first rule change was the Inception of the idea that grew into the act of rebellion of the berries.

  3. Well put, PK9, and welcome back!