I saw the movie before reading the book. The book has so much more to it and was much more enjoyable. My non-spoiler review is on my Goodreads, located here. I also have a BookTalk on my YouTube channel, located here. Once you leave this paragraph you will find the synopsis of the story and then my spoiler filled thoughts, all three of them.
The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The 'tributes' are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. She sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
Peeta saves her life, because if he hadn’t thrown the whole star-crossed lovers thing so well, they probably wouldn’t have had any sponsors. Katniss is not an outwardly likable character, especially to the Capitol. Because of Peeta winning sponsors, Katniss gets the burn medicine for herself, and later they get food and medicine as a couple, because they are acting like a couple. In this way, he really, truly, save her life, and she saves him too.
Katniss really does a lot of the saving, or the more extreme saving at least. There are two moments in the Games where Peeta would have died if Katniss hadn’t been there. She fixes him up after the gash in his leg. It’s infected and gross, and she goes against his wishes to get the medicine he needs to live. Then again when they are on the cornucopia and he gets bitten, she manages to tie a tourniquet on his leg. He may lose the leg, but he kept his life.
One of the things I really wanted to discuss, which I would love to hear feedback and your thoughts on this, is the theory of the Capitol representing us, our current society. I agree with this on some level. I didn’t do a lot of looking into this, but there are a lot of things inside and outside of the story so far that show this comparison. The first, and only thing, I want to mention is a direct quote from the book that sounded so familiar.
'The arenas are historic sites, preserved after the Games. Popular destinations for Capitol residents to visit, to vacation. Go for a month, rewatch the Games, tour the catacombs, visit the sites where the deaths took place. You can even take part in reenactments. They say the food is excellent.'
In America, we do this with sites of war. There are a lot of people in America who participate in Civil and Revolutionary War reenactments. There are also a number of people who go to Germany to see the sites of the Holocaust. Out current society go to sites of mass tragedy for entertainment value.
Also, I should have used this example, about the Roman Colosseum. It was a literal fighting pit and people still go visit it to this day. They don’t hold reenactments, as far as I know, but we do have a lot of movies about it.
One scene towards the end of the Games hit me so hard. I didn’t expect it at all and I audibly gasped. When Katniss and Peeta are at the Cornucopia and Cato comes running out of the woods and we first meet the giant dog like things. In the movie it was only one and Cato wasn’t in the scene. In the book there are a lot of dogs and the dogs aren’t dogs like we expected. They were in some way the people who had already died. That shocked me and I still can’t believe Suzanne put that in there.