The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

 

Katniss Everdeen won the Hunger Games. She survived. She returned home to District 12, able to bask in comfort for the rest of her life. But no one ever really wins the games. Not even Katniss.

When she held out those berries at the end of last years' games, she put in motion something she can't control. She started a revolution. The people of Panem are angry. They want to fight back. And now Katniss has given them the chance to so.

But rebellion is not what Katniss wants. She only wants to save her friends and family. And when President Snow personally pledges to have them all killed should the rebellions continue, Katniss is forced into a costly gamble.

A gamble that could cost her everything if she loses.

Fire is catching across Panem. Can Katniss diffuse the threat before its too late? Or did that trick with the berres set something in motion that can not be stopped.

 

 

 

/*** THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***\

**/** SPOILERS ARE PRESENT **\**

 

 

This book started out just how the last one did. With Katniss hunting. Just one difference. Gale's not there. He's working in the mines. He's survived never having to compete in the games. But now, his meager wages and long hours can't support his family. Meanwhile, Katniss has nothing but time and money and food. SO the question is raised about why Gale won't except food. Its not like he asked for it. Katniss volunteered to give food. Not only volunteered but insisted he take it. I really hate it went characters or people do things like this. If someone wants to give you something, then be grateful and take it. Don't not take it out of pride. That's just stupid. Especially when your in Gale's position. Where his family depends on his income, which isn't enough.

Of course, this also shows something else about Gale: the games changed him as much they did Katniss. Before, he and Katniss would split food without hesitation, but that’s all different now. Gale is quite obviously not happy about her presumed love life with Peeta. Even though it hasn't been displayed since the day she returned home. Its not really fair is it.

 

And just to go long with Gale's withdrawl from her, Katniss gets a new home. A fancy home. A big home. A warm home. And she hates every part of it. This is a second thing I hate about characters and people; when they complain about the conditions they and other people live in, then get a better condition and dislike it because now they have wealth but no one else does. YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!! If she really wanted to, couldn't Katniss give away her money to people? Or live in their old house? Is there something stopping her from leaving the Victor's Village? No. So stop complaining Katniss.

 

Now onto Snow's threat. Would we like to take bets on the number of times President Snow has stepped foot in District 12? Because I would probably bet that this was the first time. And I bet, if his reign had continued for a longer period of time and 12 is bombed to the ground, he could never step foot there again. But I guess when young girls threaten the security of a nation, a threat delivered personally is more convincing. Speaking of that threat, wouldn’t it have been safer for Snow to just kill her then and there? If I were Snow I would have. I wouldn't have let her even try to pacify things. Because the threat of failure and the consequences of a failure are much too high. Snow should have killed her there and then. But instead, he does the next best thing. Threaten everyone she loves. Her family, Gale, his family, her home. All of it. He threatens to destroy it all. And to Katniss, that's the same as dying. So I presume that Snow thought that such a threat would yield the same results with less blood. Too bad he was dead wrong.

And what precisely was that smell of blood?? We won't know until Mockingjay.

 

Now onto the victory tour.

 

First, does anyone else find it all odd that Katniss and Peeta survived a Hunger Games Together, nearly committed suicide FOR each other, and then have barely talked TO each other since then? You would at least have thought they would have discussed the games together. But apparently Katniss's indifferent emotions towards Peeta couldn’t be overcome. But then they like sleep together on the train? WHAT IS THIS? Are they friends? More than friends? What? WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP HERE?

So lets discuss District 11. First, do they want to rebel? Probably. Rue getting picked at the reaping, Katniss allying with Rue during the games, Rue's death, Katniss's song to Rue as she died…that all probably caused some serious dissent between the people of 11 and the Capitol. But lets get real, the murder of that man was a little bit excessive. Did they really need to kill him? Was jail not enough? Was whistling really pledging allegiance against the Capitol? No. But I do think it was warning. Both to Katniss and the districts. The warning said, if you show any amount of alliance towards Katniss Everdeen you will be killed. The Capitol will not except any form allegiance to anyone other themselves. Especially not to a girl who challenged and nearly destroyed the system. That’s what that murder meant. And with that murder over, Katniss and Haymitch get the fun time of explaining that incident to Peeta. They probably should have entrusted him with Snow's threat earlier, but I can also see why they didn't. Peeta would act the same either way. It was Katniss that was going to be a problem, because she has precisely zero acting skills. Meanwhile, Peeta could act and talk his away out of death while being shackled to a guillotine. He wouldn’t have any problems. Also, what instructions do the peacekeepers have concerning "rebels"? Is it shoot on sight, as it appears?

After eleven, District 8 presents the nearest thing to unrest. There pseudo-uprising tells a lot about the degree of dissent between all of the districts and the capitol. When you have a district that has no current reason to be mad, pseudo-rebelling, you know you have a problem. So if we want to extrapolate the data, we can assume that all of the districts would rebel is given a rallying figure.

And then the capitol. So…how about that marriage proposal? The fake one. The one that was done for show. That one. That was kind of fun wasn't it. But according to Haymitch, it was going to have to happen or Snow would kill everyone. Now, I don't know what the districts thought, but they either believed that they truly were star-crossed lovers or they were capitol puppets. Eight apparently believed the latter. But I don’t know what else Snow expected from them. They had stated in the games they had been in love for some time so the only place they had to go was to get married. And that happened. So I don't quite know what else Snow wanted. Or what the districts wanted for that matter. But, either way, they failed. And there was going to be some punishment dished out.

 

And so Katniss does the only sensible thing, she decides to run. That's probably among Katniss's worst ideas in the whole book. Its right up there with some decisions she makes in Mockingjay, but those eventually turn out okay. Firstly, the probability she could actually get everyone that she wanted out of District 12 is pretty damn low. Prim wouldn't have survived a couple of weeks in the woods. And, while we don't know about Gale's family, I would presume his mother and his younger siblings would be the same way. It would be difficult to impossible to hunt with such a large group (wasn't it Katniss that complained about the noise created by a single Peeta in the games??). There would be no shelter from the rain and elements. And, most likely, Snow would have sent somebody after her; especially since fleeing the districts was illegal. Yah, in retrospect, that was not one of Katniss's better plans.

I know that Snow was going to kill most of the people that Katniss would have taken out, but she had a better chance of protecting everyone inside the District. All she has to do is put herself between whatever capitol danger there is and the person. The capitol is, most likely, not going to kill her, even though it would destroy the rebellion. And even if they did, they would be doing it very, very, quietly.

 

And we do have proof that the strategy works. Because Katniss save Gale with that strategy. Those new peacekeepers were most definitely hand picked and briefed by President Snow. They were sent for the simple purpose of destroying everyone and everything that is or was important to Katniss. And Thread comes about as close as they can get when he attacks Gale.

Speaking of the attack, Katniss later claims that she, Haymitch, and Peeta would have been the only people in the district that could have made the stand they did. That’s both right and wrong. They are the only THREE people that could have done it by themselves. In fact, Katniss and Peeta could have done it themselves. There was no way that Thread was going to kill not one but both of last years victors over them interrupting a public beating. Too many witnesses. District 12 would have killed every Peacekeeper in that District and the second the Capitol learned about it, and believe me, they would have learned about it somehow, there would be more riots. Thread would have single handedly started the rebellion if he had killed Katniss and Peeta (or just Katniss) right there. And, as much as Snow wants to destroy Katniss Everdeen and the Mockingjay, doing so in a way that would have started a full rebellion would not have been good idea. Also, what does this stand say about the position and power of the victors? I believe that it says that, while they appear to be controlled by the capitol, they are the ones with the most power in Panem. Because to kill them, is to incite rage and anger in the capitol. And that leads to revolution. If any of the victors are killed by the capitol, the people of Panem would destroy the capitol. In brief, the victors control the capitol and are the only ones that can stand against it. Because, by winning the Hunger Games, they have granted themselves immunity from death by the Capitol.

 

And then comes the lockdown. Not real important really, it just makes the next two chapters kind of interesting.

 

In the first of those chapters, we meet the first out-of-district residents of Panem. Bonnie and Twil of District 8. They tell a harrowing story of rebellion in District 8. And what the capitol did to it in return. This is the beginning of the revolution in Panem. And its first casualties. The capitol will stop at nothing to destroy the rebellion. But most importantly, they bring to Katniss a tale of her importance to their rebellion. They tell her she is the Mockingjay. There is no doubt about it now. Katniss has sparked the revolution. And she can’t stop it. No one can stop it. So long as the Mockingjay lives, the rebellion lives. And if the Mockingjay dies, the rebellion will have the martyr they need to rally behind.

And even more importantly, Bonnie and Twil bring a theory to Katniss's ears. The theory that the Capitol is hiding something at District 13, a district they obliterated into nothing seventy-five years ago. They think District 13 is alive. And that they can lead the rebellion against the capitol. All they have to do is get to them.

And then the electricity comes back on. Does anyone else think that its odd that District 12 can electrify a fence 24/7 but its people live in poverty without electricity or food? Because I do. That seems very peculiar. But then again, the electric fence is not electrified the majority of the time. But it just so happens that the one time Katniss decides to go out alone after a lockdown, it becomes electrified. And that brings up whether or not the capitol is watching Katniss? I think they are. But what are they going to do.

 

Katniss comes back, puts on some wedding dresses and then everything goes to hell all at once.

 

This year is the seventy-fifth Hunger Games. The third quarter-quell. The rules are about to be changed. And the way the Hunger Games change this year, will destroy everything. Because this year, the victors who were safe, becomes reaped again. And twenty-four of them will be returned to the arena. And only one will come out alive.

Really. That's all I have to say. Really. Just really. This is how President Snow and the Capitol decided to get back at Katniss. By putting her back in the arena. What if she wins? What happens then? If she wins, you just killed some of the capitols and districts favorite people. And you would have accomplished nothing. This was an incredibly dangerous move on Snow's part. And yes it was Snow who made this Quarter Quell. They act as if the quarter quells were written by whoever established the Hunger Games in the first place. I, on the other hand, believe they simply written by the current President to combat whatever problems the districts are presenting at that time. They are a reflection of the problems of Panem. And this one was written specifically to target Katniss Everdeen, the face of the rebellion.

 

Now, I found Katniss's belief that they HAD to save Peeta this time, kind of interesting. Its not like he was completely ignored by Haymitch in the first games. It just took Katniss being there to get Haymitch's help. I don't think either of them had more of a right to survive than the other. I think they both deserved to never return to the arena. But its not like they could abstain from being reaped. If I were Haymitch, I would still being supporting Katniss. But since she believes that Peeta has to escape, helping Katniss is probably also helping Peeta, because you know she won't be leaving Peeta side during the games.

 

As to training. I don't see why they really needed to training. Katniss is going after a bow first shot and not picking up another weapon if she can help it. Peeta is going to be hanging back and letting Katniss kill as many people as possible. If he has to pick up a weapon, his skill with it is going to be instinctually good. And we all know that Haymitch has about as much chance of entering the arena as a four year old. These games were specifically rigged against that. So what was the point in training if Katniss is just going to be protecting Peeta with a bow? I don't quite know what the point was. But I did like Peeta's idea to review old games and study the victors. That probably actually yielded good information.

 

Now, we can actually get to the Pre-Game celebrations. And with celebrations, comes more Cinna brilliance. Honestly, where does this guy come up with these brilliant clothes? How do you light fabric on fire and not have it burn? What type of engineering feat is that. While I don't get the same imagery from this set of clothing as I did from the last Pre-game celebrations, it still way outdid all of the other tributes clothes.

Training this time was kind of interesting. Because it wasn't about learning anything. Everyone already knew everyone's strengths and weaknesses. This time, training was about making friends. And Katniss has pore choice at choosing friends and allies that support her goal of getting Peeta out of the arena alive. Mags, Beetee, and Wiress are the last three people I would have chosen as allies. I would have bene going after Finnick and Johanna Mason. Those two look like they could bring down everyone in the room.

About that force field…when I first read this part I thought that the force field was just some kind of extra detail Collins through in there. I was very wrong. That force field, and the ability to detect one on sight becomes very important in this book. It saves the revolution. It starts the revolution. It saves Peeta. And above everything else…it saves Katniss.

That brings us to private trainings. It was definitely not among Peeta or Katniss's better ideas to do what they did in private trainings. Painting a picture of a dead tribute is a good way to becomes a dead tribute. And hanging a murdered game maker in front of the present game maker is an even better way to end up dead. If they wanted to keep each other alive, they chose very bad ways to start out.

And then we have the very last thing before the games. Interviews. I liked Beetee's commentary on Snow being able to change the games to save the victors. This is pretty much a hint to Snow that he knows these Games were invented on spot as a way to get back at victors who were becoming too powerful. He was calling out Snow at a public interview. But no one read into it that much. Just me. Johanna Mason's profane yelling didn't do much but show the capitol she was aggravated. But I think she's always aggravated. And then we get Katniss.

Firstly, I think its kind of mocking of Snow to dress her in a wedding dress when she and Peeta can no longer get marries. What did Snow hope to accomplish with that move? So the people of the Capitol get to see the wedding dress. So.?.? What's the point. And then Cinna works his magic on it. Again…how precisely did he get this to happen. How do you change dress colors and designs on twirl. What fashion engineering is this? Because whatever it is, its brilliant. And just to make fun of Snow, Cinna turns the Capitol Wedding Dress into a Mockingjay dress. A symbol of capitol control into a symbol of rebellion. In other words, Cinna just signed his own death warrant. You know Snow won't be letting him live after this. He just incited rebellion across the districts with that little move. Apparently, Cinna was a revolutionary. And a martyr. Because Katniss kind of uses him as a rallying point for decisions on Mockingjay.

And then Peeta. Oh Peeta. You try so hard to get out of the Hunger Games. But you just can't do it. Not with declarations of love. Not with pregnancies. Not with anything. The Games must go on. But, this was one of Peeta's best plans ever. He knew the people of the Capitol would protest the games if they thought Katniss was pregnant. And they did. But Snow didn't care. Which wasn't his best idea. He just turned his back on the districts. On the victors. And on an unborn baby.

Once again; Peeta proves that he knows how to play the game. And not only play the game, but break the game apart. The games go on, but they won't be the same.

Oh yeah. And does the tributes holding hands mean anything? No!! They are going to kill each other anyway once they get into the arena. It didn't mean anything. Lets not act like it did.

 

And with that, let the 75th Annual Hunger Games, the Third Quarter-Quell, begin!!

 

But first, lets talk about that attack on Cinna we all knew was coming. It was pretty obvious after Katniss's dress transformed that Cinna was a rebellion sympathizer. And we all know what Snow does to rebellion sympathizers. Of course, the timing of this attack is the real talking point here, because they would have had no problem quietly removing him from his life before or after the games started. But instead, they decided to do right before the games, with Katniss locked away in her tribute tube. This attack was very obvious meant for her. For her to watch. And to destroy her. The only problem was that Cinna's death didn't break Katniss. It made her stronger. Snow didn't destroy the face of the rebellion with that attack, he have her something to rally behind. It was, again, not one of Snow's better moves.

Now, we are all pretty sure that this Quarter Quell was specifically designed to get Katniss into the arena again, and then make sure she did not leave. So, if they wanted to kill her in these games, why did they put a bow in the arena?? Everyone knows that Katniss could and would kill everyone in that arena with a bow. She could get the field down to her and Peeta in a matter of hours with a bow. And yet a bow was still there? Why? Isn't this inviting Katniss to survive? I thought this was another bad idea of both Snow and the Game makers. Snow should have ensured that no bow was in that arena. And the game maker should have double and triple checked to make sure that was correct. Because a bow to Katniss, means life. Not for her, but for Peeta.

And then Katniss actually makes a smart move for once. She allies herself with Finnick. Or more like Haymitch allies her with Finnick. Good thing too, because Peeta would be dead in a couple of hours a couple of different times if she hadn't. Plus, the rebellion wouldn't have worked in the next book. I think that it was one of her better moves throughout this book, because, as Haymitch always stated, they needed allies. And Finnick was among the more powerful allies that wouldn't stab them to death at the first chance if it suited them. He was probably the best ally they could have hoped to obtain.

So lets talk about this arena. What type of engineering feat was this? You take a circular arena, evenly divide into twelve parts and then make certain threats appear in a confined segment at a certain time. Threats that can't leave their slice of area. Whoever came up with that idea is brilliant. Because with everyone worries about killing each other, they won't be thinking about watching out for dangerous chunks of the arena. And leave it to Wiress to figure it all out. I personally very much enjoyed the fog segment of the arena. I don't know what type of chemical it was, but it certainly made for some good action during a time where the action was lacking. And disguising the threat as a benign fog was pretty ingenious. The Monkey Mutts and the Jabberjays were also nice touches. The monkeys made for some extra nice foes to combat while the jabberjays definitely weakened any tribute who went inside their domain. Though I do question how they got the audio for the jabberjays to copy.

Going back to the story, I think that Peeta hitting the force field may actually being a very important part of the story. When I first read the series, I thought it was just a little plot twist to give the story some "excitement". But after rereading it, I think that Finnick is right in saying that that was the point where Katniss actually showed that she did in fact love him. Her reaction, or overreaction, would not have occurred (or been believable) if she had not in fact loved Peeta. So there are my thoughts on that little epidemic.

The second epidemic is probably Mags's sacrifice. Its quite obvious that Finnick and Mags were very connected to the revolution because Finnick saves Katniss and Peeta several times throughout the story, and Mags commits suicide so that they can both escape. I'm not quite sure why those two of everyone were so connected, them being "careers", but they turned out to be good choices.

Johanna was also pretty damn involved with the revolution. And she almost gives everything away with her comment to Katniss about getting "them [Wiress and Beetee] out for you [Katniss]". That would have been incredibly bad if she had said something more, because Snow would have had every tribute immediately killed in that arena. Pronouncing them all as revolutionaries. Now, when I read this part, I wasn't completely sure what she was talking about, but I had deduced that the other tributes were trying to get one of the two of them out of the arena. I didn't know the motives, but that part was pretty clear to me.

Onto Beetee's plan. I have to say, it was pretty ingenious. He probably would have killed everyone else in the arena, if it had worked. The only problem with the plan, was what happens if they get it down to their group only? Who kills who? Otherwise though, pretty good plan. It also showed though that there was someone working for the revolution inside the game makers room. Otherwise, that wire would not have been there. The one material that was absolutely essential to the plan would not have been there.

Remember, when Katniss told Peeta that they should take off right before the plan went down. Remember that. There was probably some hunting instincts going on there. Katniss was probably starting to sense something else going on behind the scenes of this plan that wasn't being conveyed to her. And she didn't like it. What she should have done, was kill the rest of the group and then just run off with Peeta and hunt down the other tributes. That would have been the best plan. Of course, that easy to say in retrospect.

And then then the Grand Finale. That whole ordeal with the force field. Firstly, what the hell was Beetee thinking when he attacked the force field himself. There was no electricity, so what did he think was going to happen. And second, HOW THE HELL DOES KATNISS FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO?? I know Katniss is pretty smart, but I don't consider her an intellectual genius like Beetee. I don't think she's capable of figuring out his plan. Especially on the time clock she had. Also, HOW DID THAT LIGHTNING STRIKE NOT KILL HER?!?!? There were billions of volts of electricity in that lightning bolt; enough electricity to not only kill but melt a human body. She should be dead, or at the very least paralyzed. And then the freaking dome comes down, and barely misses killing her a second time (or is that only a movie scene??). So, while it may be the most important event in the history of Panem, I don't think that it was exactly feasible for Katniss to have done, and survived.

 

And with that, the 75th Annual Hunger Ganes, the third Quarter Quell are finished. And the victors: the revolution and District 13.

 

That's right, District 13. They are alive and well. And leading the revolution against the Capitol. They engineered a plot to get Katniss out of the arena. They had half the victors on their side. And Haymitch. And Cinna. And Plutarch Heavensbee, the HEAD Game Maker. The revolution had a lot more power than we thought.

But we now have some good questions: Did Haymitch outright LIE about trying to get Peeta out? Should the revolution have gotten Peeta and not Katniss? And most importantly, should Katniss or Peeta have been told about this plan?

First, I don't think it was lie told by Haymitch. I think the original plan was to get them BOTH out. That just didn't happen.

Second, I think the revolution made the right choice in pursuing Katniss. Because while Peeta can talk the crowds into a frenzy, Katniss has the heart and passion to lead them against the Capitol. Peeta couldn't do that.

And lastly, I don't think they should have been told. Telling them would have endangered their lives. If the plan had failed, they would have been tortured for information. So, in all honesty, I agree with the decision to not inform the two of them about the revolution plans. It would have only caused problems.

 

But there is still one more piece of news. District 12. It has been destroyed. Not District 13 destroyed…actually destroyed. It was obliterated. Nothing remains. Only 900 people escaped. Gale and Katniss's Mother and Prim all escaped. Honestly, should we be surprised. Katniss's destruction of the force field strated a complete and utter revolution in Panem. She destroyed what little hold the capitol has on the citizens of the districts. And since they couldn't enact revenge on her, they destroyer the only other thing she cared for. Her home. And Peeta.

 

Yes. Peeta has ben captured by the Capitol. He is as good as dead. It would be better if he were dead.