Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 7

In the seventh chapter of The Hunger Games, we find out that the “arena” the Tributes are to fight in hasn’t even been built; instead, days of training will influence what sort of place the 24 competitors will have to fight to the death. Oh, and Katniss is filled with UNENDING RAGE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.

We are rapidly approaching the games and I’m aching to figure out what the tributes will have to deal with. Simultaneous to this, as we learn more of the process, Katniss’s very beautiful rage is the most special rage ever and I love it. She’s not a fan of pomp and ceremony (neither am I), so I am slowly beginning to warm to her matter-of-fact and cynical narration. (That being said, Collins writing still bothers me, but I’m willing to continue at this point.)

My slumbers are filled with disturbing dreams. The face of the redheaded girl intertwines with gory images from earlier Hunger Games, with my mother withdrawn and unreachable, with Prim emaciated and terrified. I bolt up screaming for my father to run as the mine explodes into a million deadly bits of light.

Is it strange that I just came from a series of inexorable tragedy and this book seems to be part of the same mold? Obviously, I’m not saying the Hunger Games trilogy is AT ALL IN ANY WAY the same as Harry Potter, but both books deal with a young person who has experienced some ridiculously traumatizing events in their youth, events that shape the person they’ve become.

Just a thought.

My mind wanders to my mother and Prim. They must be up. My mother getting their breakfast of mush. Prim milking her goat before school. Just two mornings ago, I was home. Can that be right? Yes, just two. And now how empty the house feels, even from a distance. What did they say last night about my fiery debut at the Games? Did it give them hope, or simply add to their terror when they saw the reality of twenty-four tributes circled together, knowing only one could live?

I sort of forgot about Prim and her mother. It is something I’m interested in, but I imagine we won’t find out what life was like without Katniss around until we’re at the end of the novel.

Because I’m going to say this (hopefully) a million times, the more we learn about the Hunger Games, the less I can compare them to Battle Royale. Which, by the way, is not only a good thing, but you should also take this as a glowing recommendation on my part to read the book/manga of Battle Royale and then watch the movie. You won’t be disappointed.

The Training Center not only seeks to train the tributes a variety of life-saving skills, as a way to sort of even the playing field, it surprisingly acts as a method for Gamemakers to determine what sort of arena will provide the most entertainment. I had been reading this with the assumption that this years’ game had already been designed and chosen, but I was completely wrong. I suppose this makes the most sense, if you think about it. If it was blindly chosen beforehand, what if the luck of the draw chooses someone who is so perfectly adapted to that environment that the game is over in just a couple days? It’s smart to have this sort of planning in this context. I mean…well, I don’t intend to compliment the existence of the Games, but you get it.

Haymitch finally starts living up to his end of the bargain, though I’m not sure how much I should trust him at this point. When he starts to tell them about how the training goes down, it spawns an interesting argument between Peeta and Katniss. First, Haymitch asks point blank if they’d like separate training, in case either has some sort of secret skill they don’t want the other to know. Surprisingly, Katniss finds out just how much he’s been paying attention to her: he knows of her stunning accuracy with a bow and arrow. It bothers her; why is he so interested and why is he sharing this with Haymitch?

This immediately sets both of them against each other in a way we hadn’t seen before. They begin to bicker about their strengths, which has to be the strangest thing to argue about ever.

“He can wrestle,” I tell Haymitch. “He came in second in our school competition last year, only after his brother.”

“What use is that? How many times have you seen someone wrestle to death?” says Peeta in disgust.

“There’s always hand-to-hand combat. All you need is to come up with a knife, and you’ll at least stand a chance. If I get jumped, I’m dead!” I can hear my voice rising in anger.

“But you won’t! You’ll be living up in some tree eating raw squirrels and picking off people with arrows. You know what my mother said to me when she came to say good-bye, as if to cheer me up, she says maybe District Twelve will finally have a winner. Then I realized, she didn’t mean me, she meant you!” bursts out Peeta.

“Oh, she meant you,” I say with a wave of dismissal.

“She said, ‘She’s a survivor, that one.’ She is,” says Peeta.

Damn. Perhaps this explains Peeta’s generosity? I mean, can you even imagine your own mother sort of hoping someone else wins, even if it’s your demise at hand, just to bring your district honor? Hmm, Peeta just became more intriguing than before.

“People will help you in the arena. They’ll be tripping over each other to sponsor you.”

“No more than you,” I say.

Peeta rolls his eyes at Haymitch. “She has no idea. The effect she can have.” He runs his fingernail along the wood grain in the table, refusing to look at me.

Naturally, Katniss sort of flips out over this. What is he talking about? Katniss, who believes that she’s survived through life on her grit and determination alone, is now presented with a new idea: did people think she was weak? To be pitied? Adorable? It seems like an attack on her character and Katniss takes it as so, making things even more awkward than before.

Haymitch continues, ignoring this fight, to tell them that the Training Center itself is full of “stations” with various skills to be taught or weapons to be used. But he warns them not to show off their most gifted skill until they get a private session. I imagine this is so that other tributes don’t know their strong points. Strangely, though, he demands that Peeta and Katniss remain as friendly and amicable as possible while in public. I don’t get it, guys. I don’t understand why quite yet. Will they seem more intimidating if they do so? Don’t answer this by the way. Someone answered my rhetorical, thinking-out-loud question in the comments a few days ago. DON’T DO IT.

The Training Center scenes are brief; in fact, three days pass in a matter of pages. But we get a look at the other tributes and get an idea why this part of the process exists.

It’s the first time we’ve been assembled, on level ground, in simple clothes. My heart sinks. Almost all of the boys and at least half of the girls are bigger than I am, even though many of the tributes have never been fed properly. You can see it in their bones, their skin, the hollow look in their eyes. I may be smaller naturally, but overall my family’s resourcefulness has given me an edge in that area.

And if that isn’t enough to intimidate Katniss, despite her edge, the Career Tributes are definitely worse:

The exceptions are the kids from the wealthier districts, the volunteers, the ones who have been fed and trained throughout their lives for this moment. The tributes from 1, 2, and 4 traditionally have this look about them. It’s technically against the rules to train tributes before they reach the Capitol but it happens every year. In District 12, we call them Career Tributes, or just Careers. And like as not, the winner will be one of them.

The slight advantage I held coming into the Training Center, my fiery entrance last night, seems to vanish in the presence of my competition. The other tributes were jealous of us, but not because we were amazing, because our stylists were. Now I see nothing but contempt in the glances of the Career Tributes. Each must have fifty to a hundred pounds on me. They project arrogance and brutality. When Atala releases us, they head straight for the deadliest-looking weapons in the gym and handle them with ease.

Even in a situation like this, where the odds of death are extremely high, the rich and the wealthy still have an advantage over everyone else. I’m sure the Capitol approves of the pre-training that happens because it looks good if richer/privileged kids win over the other districts. But it’s also a sign of how money can control and influence nearly everything, even in this alternate universe. Money itself is not bad, but what you choose to do with it. And these people and their parents and supporters have used money to guarantee the death of underprivileged folk.


The Gamekeepers are another sign of the effects of living a privileged life. They watch over the training with a mostly disinterested eye, often times distracted by food. Literally. Their job is to design a Game based on what they see in the tributes, but I was struck by how easily distracted they actually were, despite that twenty-three people before them will die based on what they decide to design. It’s creepy.

It’s also creepy to be reminded that a twelve-year-old girl, whose name we learn is Rue, is also in this game. She follows Katniss and Peeta around, but there’s really not much they can do to help her. I feel like this is a bit of foreshadowing too; my guess is that Rue will stay alive by following both Katniss and Peeta throughout the games until…well, I still don’t have a sense of whether or not Collins is actually going to kill anyone off yet.

The private sessions begin on the third day of training and those from District 12 are last. I expected there to be more interaction between Katniss and the Gamemakers. Katniss is rusty with these newer bows and misses at first, but makes a grand show for her onlookers.

A few are nodding approval, but the majority of them are fixated on a roast pig that has just arrived at their banquet table.


Suddenly I am furious, that with my life on the line, they don’t even have the decency to pay attention to me. That I’m being upstaged by a dead pig. My heart starts to pound, I can feel my face burning. Without thinking, I pull an arrow from my quiver and send it straight at the Gamemakers’ table. I hear shouts of alarm as people stumble back. The arrow skewers the apple in the pigs mouth and pins it to the wall behind it. Everyone stares at me in disbelief.

“Thank you for your consideration,” I say. Then I give a slight bow and walk straight toward the exit without being dismissed.

Could every chapter end with Katniss being a badass? I’m beginning to like her more and more.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games (novel) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

260 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 7

  1. LadyLately says:

    Um…what? Where did it say the arena hadn't been built? -deeply confused- -goes to look at book-

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Well, I'm assuming so because the hint so heavily that this entire thing is about choosing where they'll fight. It's never explicitly said.

      • myownmetaphor says:

        I took it more that the arena had been built, but they were gonna put different stuff in it depending on how the training went.

    • wanetta says:

      I was a bit confused by this as well, I'm going to have to reread chapter 7, however, I assumed that the arena was built already and it was the weapons that was to be determined …

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Hmm. I suppose that is more possible than my idea.

        • starshy926 says:

          They may be determining what actual items/weapons will be placed, but my understanding is that the private sessions/judging is mostly about what they will rate each tribute, which directly affects how they view each other, who goes after who first, and what kind of sponsors they're able to get. They definitely say that the arenas have already been built, at some point they mention that right after the Hunger Games are over they start going into preparations for the next one because it takes so much work to pull off.

  2. kytten says:

    Oh Katniss. Awesome for you being a BADASS but now ALL THE PEOPLE WHO WANT YOU DEAD know your main skill, and can expect it. You no longer have any real advantage from it.

  3. Kaci says:

    The end of this chapter is seriously one of my favorite things ever. FTW.

  4. CriticalCold says:

    I LOVE PEETA. Also, I cannot wait for you to read the rest of this series.

  5. Cara says:


    Okay. Moving on now.

    Yeah, the Katniss badass moment is possibly my favorite moment in the entire book. Possibly even the whole series. I really need to re-read the books though. And I know I said this before, but Peeta annoys me. A lot.

    Can't really think of anything else to say. I guess I should go do something actually productive now….like re-reading The Hunger Games!! oh, wait, that's not really productive…

  6. Ida says:

    I don’t blame the parents of the tributes from the richer districts for wanting to keep their children alive. I totally get that. It’s just that it seams like the Hunger Games has become just as much of a entertainment to them as it is for the people in the capitol. The fact that some of the tributes actually volunteered simply because of the glory of winning is… just awful,

    • myownmetaphor says:

      But we're only seeing Katniss' very limited view of the other districts. These districts know that even if the winner is from there, one of their children is still going to die. Maybe they just want to ensure that they only lose one child versus two, so they train children who they think have a chance of winning. Just a thought.

      • Ida says:

        Of course it would make sense that they would want to make sure that at least one of their kids will survive. That’s what I was saying in my last comment. But that doesn’t explain the tributes that are so eager to be in the games. Like the kid from district 2, one of the careers, who lunges forward to volunteer. These kids have been trained to kill,

        These kids are trained to kill and the way they are described makes me think they don’t believe there’s anything wrong with it.

        It’s logical that society would adapt this way of thinking considering how they are forced to live in fear of seeing their kids murdered on screen, but that doesn’t automatically make it right. The Capitol seam to encourage this behaviour and by giving in to it the districts have essentially lost the “battle.”

  7. tethysdust says:

    I'm kind of surprised that they appear to be going the "You have no idea how ~*beautiful*~ you are" route with Katniss. I guess they've already said she's prettier without makeup than lots of the contestants with, but still. I will be very surprised if Peeta is not secretly in love with her.

    Also, Rue seems really interesting so far! How much must it suck to be stuck in these games if you're just a normal (and poor) twelve year old with no special skills? My guess is that she was following Katniss/Peeta around because they appear to be making an alliance. If Rue's a realist, she understands that the only way she's going to live very long is if she can get some people to be her allies.

    Also, I'm gathering that we're being presented an unrealistic view of Katniss' chances because we're in her head, and she has low self-esteem. All descriptions of her actions seem to indicate that she is a total badass who could probably kill most of the other contestants without breaking a sweat.

    • Kripa says:

      When have they ever described Katniss as pretty? We know she has dark hair and green eyes and that she had a lot of body hair to wax off. But we've never heard her be described as pretty, believe it or not.
      And how else do you read "You have no idea what kind of effect you have"? I want to smack Katniss for assuming the worst intentions of Peeta. Such a clueless girl!

      • tethysdust says:

        In response to pretty:

        "You have no idea what kind of affect you have"
        seems to imply that she was really attractive but was unaware of it.

        Also, "Cinna was right about the minimal makeup, we both look more attractive but utterly recognizable." So both Katniss and Peeta are naturally good-looking.

        "I'm sure they didn't notice anything but you" —Peeta
        Even though they were both on fire, there appears to be a physical reason that people would be drawn to her.

        I admit they have never used the word pretty, but it seemed to be the impression they were going for.

        On the other note, I agree, she needs to get over thinking Peeta is a jerk :(.

        • myownmetaphor says:

          Peeta=every good thing ever.

        • ldwy says:

          I feel like all of these things might also be interpreted as Katniss' being particularly striking. Plently of people who aren't "beautiful" are amazingly striking. Sometimes it's a uniqueness. Sometimes an attitude. Or anything really. I interpreted this as a "just something about her" kind of thing.

    • It's not about beauty with Katniss. They didn't say that or even imply it. Read the passage again closely. It has more to do with her personality.

      • myownmetaphor says:

        I like your username.

        Also I took it to be kind of both things. Like not only is she pretty, but something about her personality draws you in. I don't think Peeta knows her well enough to have meant that comment to NOT have some relation to looks.

        • Haha, thanks. I am a huge THG fan.

          Alright, I suppose I can see that. I just never saw it that way even when I read the book for the first time.

          • myownmetaphor says:

            With the symbol and everything too- so cute.

            Not that I wouldn't be okay with Katniss not being a stunner or whatever, I just have this feeling that Collins makes her characters gorgeous. Its such a popular troupe. And Gale and Peeta are both great looking, it would seem weird (in our modern society so focused on looks) to not have Katniss be the same.

  8. theupsides says:

    I know it's frustrating waiting for the Games to start, but I think you start to get the sense here that the build up is necessary. I kind of like getting to know the characters and the world they live in before they're thrown into the arena. Without that, we would hardly care about what happens once the Games start, in my opinion.

    This chapter is particularly interesting because you finally get the sense of urgency, that the Games are approaching. Tensions are high between Katniss and Peeta, but in such a strange way. They both are advocating for the other. And you finally get the sense that Katniss is a real fighter, with how she reacts to the Gamemakers.

    • karadudz says:

      Yeah you're right. I guess there needs to be buildup of characterization and plot depth for there to be any emotional attachments and understanding to what will happen in the following pages of the book..

      But then they keep repeating hunger games hunger games hunger games… ooh la la danger danger!! So that makes people want to have the Games start right away.

    • lossthief says:

      I get that Collins is building up to the HG, and putting in characterization and development, but it feels like an odd pacing decision to have so much plot and backstory packed into the first couple of chapters only to bring the plot to a near halt so we can get to know our characters.

      • myownmetaphor says:

        I think it would work better if the book was longer. If it was a long book, this amount of build up would seem fine, but I'm just wondering how much time is actually going to get spent in the arena, you know?

  9. wanetta says:

    I LOVED the last line of this chapter. I remember feeling the frustration myself and then, when she did that, I might have whooped a bit ….

  10. Steeple says:

    Heh, "Rue" makes me think of the character in Princess Tutu, even though I'm picturing HG!Rue as black rather than a white brunette girl. I'm sure that has nothing to do with anything, I just feel the need to spew out my brain's random connections. XDa;

    ANYWAY. This chapter. I like this one, actually, since we're getting a move on, learning about the games, and see more about what they have to deal with. Peeta is growing into a complex character, and that "adorable" line seems… well it could be a lot of things, depending on how he felt. Condescending, angry, exasperated… hm. We'll both have to see.

    (By the by, since I can't find a way to contact you: the books series I recommended, Queen's Thief? It's by Megan Whalen Turner, with four books so far and two more planned to be written: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia and A Conspiracy of Kings.)

  11. karadudz says:

    I think Katniss just isn't used to having people admire or compliment the certain skills she has. From the previous chapters, she's been looking at the things she does as necessities and not necessarily something to compliment.
    So when Peeta does say the things she's good at, she's thrown back and views it as an insult… I guess that could be a defense mechanism?

    And poor Peeta. Baker's son… Whose mother beats him with a stick and assumes he won't go back home after the Games. Not to be morbid or anything but if Peeta does come out of it alive, I say he takes revenge on his mom and let her be eaten by a pack of rabid wolves, or be taken away by a flock of gigantic pterodactyls, or be swallowed whole by the loch ness monster. Or something of the sort. LOL

  12. creativgal13 says:

    "both books deal with a young person who has experienced some ridiculously traumatizing events in their youth, events that shape the person they’ve become."
    that is the key…there past shapes who they are and gives them reasons and hope
    We all go through bad things in our life…how we react is what is the most importnant…

    • Elise says:

      "It is our choices Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities" -Dumbledore


  13. Marie_Goos says:

    Time for a series of totally accurate predictions: Katniss will help out Rue in some way, Peeta has a ~*~sekrit~*~ boner for crush on Katniss, and the Gamemakers will be impressed with her archery skillz. Plus, SHIT WILL GET REAL. Okay, I think I covered all the bases there. And while I do appreciate the build up to the games and the world-building going on here, I am dying to get to the actual Hunger Games. I get the feeling we have another two or three chapters to go until the start, at least. :< But on the bright side, there is more Peeta, who is growing on me by the second.

  14. Karen says:

    Without thinking, I pull an arrow from my quiver and send it straight at the Gamemakers’ table. I hear shouts of alarm as people stumble back. The arrow skewers the apple in the pigs mouth and pins it to the wall behind it. Everyone stares at me in disbelief.>
    And THIS was the moment where I fell in love with Katniss Everdeen. She has such balls for someone who has been consistently downtrodden and oppressed by the Capitol and is constantly at their mercy. But in spite of all of that she still basically flips them the bird. I LOVE YOU, KATNISS.

    You know what my mother said to me when she came to say good-bye, as if to cheer me up, she says maybe District Twelve will finally have a winner. Then I realized, she didn’t mean me, she meant you!” bursts out Peeta.
    🙁 It's ok Peeta. I love you, even if your mother doesn't. …ok That is some weird Oedipal shit right there, but IDEC. I LOVE YOU, PEETA.

    • myownmetaphor says:

      Can we have a Peeta party at some point? (AHAHAHAHA it will involve eating pita bread with an array of dips). Cause I adore the Peeta-love going on in these comments. He is just so the guy I want to date/sleep with (SO FAR- DUN DUN DUN) and I feel like lots of people agree. haha

  15. plaidpants says:

    I was a little disappointed by the "you don't know what affect you have on people." I hope everyone and their mother are not going to be in love with Katniss by the end of this.

    I think the 12 year old girl is acting as a ploy. She's going to get all close to them and then BAM betray them at the end. Or maybe I've just become too cynical.

    • erin says:

      Hmm. I always got the impression he was commenting more on her fuck-you attitude than her looks.

      Less "Omgz I'm so beyoootiful and everyone luuuves me!" and more "Yesss, Capitolites… Stare deeply into my eyes as I ride past you on my chariot of fire and see the intensity with which I DESPISE YOUR EXISTENCE." You know, that sort of thing.

  16. Mimzy says:

    I'm so glad you're reading the Hunger Games! It really is a great series of books and, for once, I think you're prepared since you keep mentioning Battle Royale. When I first heard about this series I asked people how it compared to Battle Royale, but no one was able to tell me since no one had read it before! (Which is a crime against literature, but I can understand it. It can be hard to find a good translation.) Now that I've read The Hunger Games, I know how it shapes up against BR, but to mention how they compare to each other would be total spoilers.

    So I'll just say that reading about you reading these books is just as enjoyable as reading them myself! You really are an amusing reviewer!!

  17. Ellen says:

    End of this chapter = my favorite scene EVAR.
    And I forgot how much of a bitch Peeta's mom was, damn.

  18. thefbm says:

    “Thank you for your consideration,” I say. Then I give a slight bow and walk straight toward the exit without being dismissed.

    I was talking to one of my friends who read the books and said he hated Katniss. I thought she was a complete BA attimes and this moment latched me to her.

    Peeta and Katniss argument cracked me up–'Yes, I'm sure the arena will be full of bags of flour for me to chuck at people' Haha I can see it now, Peeta carring aroung two bags of flour, swinging and flinging at any enemy. XD

    Is there anything money can't buy? Well it sure can buy a ticket out of death in this book.

  19. Kaybee42 says:

    "tongue probes the ragged flesh" weird description…
    "arbitrarily punch buttons" can you do that? wouldn't that be randomly or uncaring… not so much arbitrary…
    WHEN are the freakin games. I'm bored of this.
    Peeta 🙁
    Oh isn't that lovely "the effect she can have" he sounds like EC talking about Bella.
    I hate the "oh little old me, I'm nothing special" shit she is pulling here.
    training is boring me…
    why is it such a problem to stand with him? deal w/ it!
    the style is still grating on me
    i don't care about you brushing your teeth
    Rue storyline will be interesting. hope it goes somewhere good
    I like Peeta 🙂
    I like the end of this chapter 😀
    Prediction: none really. Rue will be interesting… will she form a team with peeta? will katniss have to kill rue? I dunno.

    This chapter was when I realised that taking the time to write down everything that annoyed me was making me bitter and hateful. I decided after the next chapter to stop and just enjoy it and let the bad things go. and all right, it got too hard to keep stopping and i just wanted to KNOW MOAR!

  20. Pan says:

    Even though it isn’t executed that good, I like the idea that the Capitol causes inequality among the districts. (Maybe to avoid fraternization?) But as every form of contact between the inhabitants of the districts is prohibited, the entire thing seems pointless.

    The idea, that these Career Tributes volunteer for the games – not because they are somehow forced to this, but BECAUSE OF THE FAME – is deeply, deeply disturbing. I understand that you prepare yourself, because there is a slight chance, that you have to enter the games someday. But volunteering?! You don’t even GET anything for winning, except your life. You have to live in the very same district you had to live in before, you don’t get that much money (Haymitch doesn’t seem richt to me) and if you are from a wealthier district, you “fame” is dated, because maybe next year’s winner is from your district, too.

    All that for putting your life at stake. Doesn’t seem like a good deal to me.

    • GingerBlack123 says:

      There is a prize for the surviving tribute, mentioned in Chapter 1,

      “The last tribute alive receives a life of ease back home, and their district will be showered with prizes, largely consisting of food. All year, the Capitol will show the winning district gifts of grain and oil and even delicacies like sugar while the rest of us battle starvation.”

    • bibliotrek says:

      Like GingerBlack123 said, there's a lifelong prize, but even without that, in a culture as propaganda-oriented as Panem I bet the Careers are pretty heavily inundated with how GLORIOUS their combat in the Hunger Games will be and how they are pursuing HONOR and SACRIFICING THEMSELVES for the GOOD OF THE NATION and so on.

      • Pan says:

        Even though the lifelong food supply can't be very attractive to the Career tributes, because they have been well-fed for their entire life, the honor-thing seems logic to me. I stand by my point, that their fame is dated, but as I know now, what made Collins write the series, I see the parallels. The Careers might be deluded and wrong from an objective point of view, but reconsidering that there is nothing to lose (no one is starving?) nor to gain (they are still bound to their districts) in their lives, the games seem the only way to be "special". Thanks!

    • exbestfriend says:

      And considering Katniss remembers him from the Hob "tossing handfuls of money on the counter of the woman who sells white liquor" the life of ease must come with some sort of payment.

  21. Leesh says:

    I really did enjoy this scene because I was like
    And I think it's so badass that Katniss throws knives and stuff. Like come on, Collins is totally
    throwing that sexist crap out the window with Katniss' personality!

    Anyways I can't wait until you really get into the Games.
    I think you will love it ~

    -will stop so I don't give anything away-

  22. Yusra says:

    I love Katniss. In nature, we're quite similar (although, really, I've already said too much)…

  23. Treasure Cat says:

    Unlike everybody else it seems, this chapter actually made me dislike Katniss even more. To me everything that is said about her and everything that Collins tells us about her portrays childishness and bull-headedness. I hate that her being ~*special*~ and ~*badass*~ is being shoved down our throats, again. I want to come to that conclusion on my own thanks Collins, I dont want Peeta to insinuate how great everyone thinks she is, I dont want her to pull some unrealistic piece of rebellion out of nothing for you to try and force it on me. She just isnt a particularly likeable person in my opinion and I literally prefer every other character to her.
    /end rant/

    • AngryAsian says:

      i completely agree. she misunderstands everything, like she's a victim or something.

      • bibliotrek says:

        Well… she is a victim. Her government is totally oppressive and cruel. She has to hunt for food in order to feed her family, and even that hunting is illegal. She is either going to have to kill other people or die in the Hunger Games, and even if she survives and wins, she'll have to go back home and watch two more children go through the same thing every year for the rest of her life, while she has to sponsor them.

        The best she can hope for is winning the Hunger Games, and even that is no real victory. No wonder Haymitch is a useless alcoholic.

        • AngryAsian says:

          but EVERYONE is a victim, even the careers. they are ALL oppressed. she is not the only one with a story. yeah, so this book is from her perspective so it is one dimensional. there is just something very unlikeable about her. Peeta has had a shitty life too, he's not childish or stubborn. he's rather pleasant.

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            I'm gonna actually say that the Careers, if they are even oppressed, are not nearly oppressed to the magnitude that Katniss is. Like…it's not even remotely comparable.

            • myownmetaphor says:

              But we don't really know that. I mean, this is ALL from Katniss' perspective and she clearly has a grudge against every other district, which doesn't seem super fair. I'm not saying that their situation is the same, and while I agree that the Careers have most likely had a better life, we don't actually know that. And being raised to kill 23 other people from a very young age can't exactly be a leisurely time.

            • AngryAsian says:

              based on the story so far, anyone not in the Capital is oppressed. that is why every district sends two tributes.

              for argument sake, i think the Career Districts made the situation more bearable by being more prepared.

              and for even more argument sake, i compare Katniss to Bella of Twilight in the sense that BOTH are extremely UNLIKEABLE.

              and to be clear, i loved the Hunger Games series and i'm a former twi-hard.

              • myownmetaphor says:

                Oh God they are so unlikeable. They wouldn't even like each other.

              • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                But don't the Career Tributes have a backing of a LOT of money? I'll have to look at this when I go home, but I thought Katniss mentioned that certain Districts (1, 2, 4) were pretty well off compared to most of the others, which is why they can afford to have Career Tributes.

                • CriticalCold says:

                  You're right. It's pretty much the closer to the capital your district is, the richer it is, the more well fed you are, etc etc.

                • AngryAsian says:

                  i will concede, it depends on their district region. district 12 is in the coal mining district and because this is based on the future, they gotta dig deeper into the earth which makes their occupation so much more dangerous. i can't recall what each district is known for, fish, textile, steele, agriculture etc. so district 1, 2 & 4 had "better" standard of living but by no means do i think they were rich.

                  and i can't say anything else because i don't have the books and i can't recall what you know and what you don't know… which isn't FAIR for me to debate properly with you! 🙂

                • myownmetaphor says:

                  We don't know how that money will play into the actual games yet. And just because a district may be richer, that doesn't mean the individual tributes are. I just can't get over/stop feeling bad for those who were raised to be mass murderers. Also can people from the districts be sponsors or is it just people in The Capitol?

                • exbestfriend says:

                  It is also part of the cycle of the Hunger Games. The winning tribute gets bonus food for their entire District and they get "a life of ease" and probably money, which then gives everyone who lives in the District an advantage for the next year. When you aren't starving to death, you can grow healthier. And when people have money to spend, then there is money to make.
                  Since District 12 never has any winners, it makes it harder for them to produce winners and no matter what the coal mining district is going to be bad off. I don't know if this makes them more oppressed, but it makes their inherently bad situation worse.

          • Anri says:

            Though, to be fair, Peeta hasn't had as hard a life either – his father was a baker. They had enough to eat every day, and Peeta didn't have to support his family. And I think some of Katniss's more annoying actions can also be tied back to her trust issues – she can't imagine he's paying her a compliment, because it doesn't happen to her often (or, for all we know, ever).

            • myownmetaphor says:

              We don't know what Peeta's life has been like. If someone's mother beats them over burning two loaves of bread and tells him that she thinks he doesn't even have a chance of winning but that girl he's going with just might– they're life could not have been that easy.

    • takashid says:

      Interesting opinion. i tend to have that same problem with the book, that the characters are a bit forced. Katniss's rebellion at the end wasn't unrealistic, she thinks shes going to die anyway, so she has nothing to lose by waking the assholes up a bit. i defiantly thought that was badass, but i do agree that the way peeta and everyone tells us she is great is a bit annoying.

      • myownmetaphor says:

        I agree about how people are talking about her. Her reaction is realistic to compliments and such, but that doesn't make it not-annoying.

    • Sharon says:

      That's why I have a problem with Katniss too! Thank you! I couldn't quite translate it into words

      I love the fact that Katniss is a badass, but I'd appreciate more if Collins shows it to us through her actions rather than from other peoples words.

      …I really don't wan't to make a twilight comparisson here, but I feel it is slightly, minimally like that: everyone hinting how special she is and Katniss taking it the wrong way, and I see she has low self esteem, but still, the changes between "Oh what does he mean, does he mean I'm really weak?" and "Hey you bastards, if you're going to kill me at least look at me" kind of seem weird to me.

      • myownmetaphor says:

        OH MY GOD. Shit- Katniss has the same mind as Bella. Shit shit shit. I'm not saying that Katniss isn't a badass who can get shit done and actually think for herself, but when it comes to interpersonal relationships they are one and the same. Not. Good. We better hope there isn't anyone in that Capitol who transplanted sequins into their skin or else Peeta/Gale/Haymitch(?!?!?!) will be screwed

        Okay that's an over reaction but yeah I agree with you is what I was trying to say.

      • AngryAsian says:

        yes yes yes!
        just up until this point we're being TOLD of her badassness and not being shown it.
        and lord of mercy, yes, the comparison to Twilight!

        • bookling says:

          I'm sorry, when were we told she was a badass? Beyond commenters saying it, I mean. We're told that she provided for her family, yes, but I don't think that equals OMG KATNISS IS TOTES AWESUM GUYS.

          • AngryAsian says:

            well in this particular instance and chapter, her badass was actually SHOWN when she threw the arrow thru the apple in the pig's mouth to get the judges' attentions. that was badass, plus, she didn't wait to be dismissed, she left before they could even acknowledge her. you have to admit, that was badass and rebellious.

          • Karen says:

            Katniss hate makes me sad. 🙁

            I adore Katniss and think that she is an absolutely brilliant female protagonist and I WISH there were as many well developed, explored and nuanced characters as Katniss in fiction.

            • bookling says:

              Me too! She's such a breath of fresh air in a sea of wishy-washy swooning YA "heroines".

            • bibliotrek says:

              I agree! And I wonder why no one points out, when talking about Katniss's "low self-esteem," that Peeta doesn't believe he has any useful skills, either. They're both products of a horrifically oppressive society that doesn't exactly encourage people to believe in themselves. Yet only Katniss gets hate for supposedly being like Bella Swan, which is just so ridiculous and enraging to me. Katniss is the anti-Bella. She's self-reliant; she doesn't need to obsess over a man; she has useful skills that she has worked hard to attain; and she has the courage to make the best of her shitty situation. I love Katniss.

    • Hotaru-hime says:

      Thank you! Her narrow mindedness is irritating. Yes, you've suffered unimaginable traumas and you've just been packed off to die for the entertainment of mad fools, but for God's sake, THINK.
      That's why I like Haymitch. Though he's a drunk bastard, he's clearly intelligent.

  24. Erin says:

    You are not prepared.

  25. rainbowsinside says:

    That last paragraph has made me veer a bit from my consistent dislike and disinterest in Katniss. I'm already feeling myself sucked into this story more and starting to empathize with her. I'm hoping to see more as the story progresses.

    Collins' style is bugging me more though. She has a habit of making awkward sentences that I have to read a few times to understand. Like this one:
    "I'm thinking that it's lucky I'm a fast runner when Peeta nudges my arm and I jump."
    It took me a couple reads to get that the fast runner part was referring to the previous paragraph, not Peeta nudging her and making her jump.

    Predictions: Peeta and/or Katniss are going to become friends with Rue but she is going to end up dying at some point by someone else's hand and it will be tragic.
    Also, I think all these suggestions Haymitch is giving them is just to make people pay attention to them more. They've already got the underdog thing going for them, so he's probably trying to create a soap opera out of it to get more sponsors. Just make people become emotionally invested in the two of them.

  26. monkeybutter says:

    Haha, not a fan of the food porn?

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Oh man, there was a recent 'South Park' episode that took that term to a literal extreme. Listing food was used for a comedic effect there, but what's the point in this book? Is there some reason why I need to know every single thing that Katniss eats!?

      "Well done, Peeta," I say as he slices my bow in two with his laser katana. "The games have been rough, and it looks like you've cornered me at last. But you've overlooked one thing."

      I smile and lower my voice to a growl. "I had batter cakes covered in thick orange preserves for breakfast today."

      • momzter says:

        Well, the title of the book IS The Hunger Games 😛

      • Anri says:

        I think it's supposed to emphasize the fact that Katniss has never, in all of her life, had an unlimited amount of good food, without doing any work for it. To her, it's amazing everytime she's presented with these new dishes – and since this is first person, she focuses on it.
        In terms of the careers, I would assume that they view the other contestants so far below their notice that they don't bother to threaten them. It's not worth their time.

        • Yeah, I crack up whenever Katniss starts describing all of the food. Especially considering she doesn't pay attention to other people's names. But she pays that level of attention to the food.

      • IsabelArcher2 says:

        I think I need a laser katana.

      • monkeybutter says:

        "Ha, I almost pity you for not having the buttermilk waffles with blueberry sauce I ate. Die Now."

        The food description can get silly, but I think what Anri said below is right. Along with the descriptions of clothes and the fashions of the Capitol, it's a way of showing how deprived Katniss and most of the Districts are and how decadently the Capitol lives. Things that most readers take for granted are novel to her, and the Capitol is in turn excessively luxurious compared to most of our lives; we know where everyone stands compared to ourselves.

        • BradSmith5 says:

          Ha,ha,ha. I think you guys do have a point; It's just hard to be horrified about the luxurious conditions when I see Katniss drooling over everything instead of shunning this high lifestyle.

      • Tabbyclaw says:

        I would totally 100% read a Hunger Games/Iron Chef fusion fanfic.

  27. Kripa says:

    This whole chapter, I just wanted to say, "Jesus Christ, Katniss, BE NICE TO PEETA!"

    • andreah1234 says:

      THIS. Seriusly (Siriusly) is it that hard to believe that he's just being a nice guy to you Katniss? God it's so high school 😉

    • Karen says:

      Katniss has a lot of issues opening up to people. She's really tough and thick skinned. Letting people in makes her feel vulnerable, I think.

      Also, you know. She's going to have to kill him. It's probably easier to do that if you don't feel any sort of attachment.

    • takashid says:

      why should she be nice to him? there going to have to kill each other, did you forget that little detail? its better not to have any emotional connection to someone your going to fight and kill.

      • myownmetaphor says:

        Not necessarily. Chances are high that someone else will kill him so you know, in the mean time…(also I know we're not supposed to use those at the end of a sentence but isn't that how you show trailing off of a thought? I don't know these things I went to public school (not the best place to learn grammar)

      • Kripa says:

        I'm being facetious. But Peeta has grown on me so much. He's an amazing *human being* and he was paying her a compliment, how else would anyone take it? Katniss is cynical to the nth degree, which is why she instantly assumes that Peeta has bad intentions.

  28. embers says:

    This was actually a favorite chapter of mine, I love that Katniss is just a 16 year old girl: impulsive and unsure of herself, and can STILL be a bad ass! I love that the people she is immediately interested in are the poor and weak (like Rue).

    I'm loving reading your review, it is a very satisfying way to relive these books that I loved.

  29. andreah1234 says:

    Ok, this is the chapter when I finally stopped complaining about how much I wanted the games to start already and started enjoying all of the Pre-games shit that has being going on, why? Because I love character depth and this chapter show us a lot of great things about more than just one character. First, there is Haymitch who is finally trying to do something to help them *try* to win the games. Then there is Peeta, who I deeply love BTW, that is getting more and more interesting every single page. And finally there is Katniss, who finally stopped giving us the I'm so awesome but i don't even know it vibe and actually doing something badass (I don't count saving Prim, because when she did that she was power by love and being scared shitless, that being an actual badass). So, overall I liked this chapter better that the ones before it.

    But I still want the damn games to start already /small voice.

  30. petite-dreamer says:

    I pictured Rue as being Indian (as in from India, not Columbus-got-lost-and-misnamed-us Native Americans). Couldn't tell you why. Also, I think Katniss isn't white? Because Gale has olive skin and she said they kind of looked alike? Or am I completely misunderstanding what an olive skin tone looks like?

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      I think olive skin tone generally refers to a tan color. Kind of Italian or Greek. So still white, but not as pale as say Ireland or Scandinavia in general. (I think. At least that was always my understanding.)

      • ldwy says:

        Yes, I believe the European and some Asian Mediterranean peoples are often referred to as olive-skinned.

      • mmcgonagall says:

        I picture the Seam people (Seamites?) as Italian/Greek looking. Of course, I'm of Italian descent and I look it so that might be why.

    • erin says:

      I always pictured her Indian too! I don't remember how exactly she was described in the book that made me think this, but there you go…

      • notemily says:

        She is described as having dark skin. When Katniss is watching her being chosen:

        She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that, she's very like Prim in size and demeanor.

        Source: Hunger Games Wiki. MAJOR SPOILERS at that page.

  31. monkeybutter says:

    Don't discount the added entertainment value of having healthy, pre-trained tributes mingled in with the malnourished kids who don't know how to fight. It was already mentioned that the games where everyone starved to death instead of fighting were boring and not to be repeated, so it wouldn't be far-fetched for the Capitol to want tributes who can keep things lively. The Hunger Games are supposed to be fun!

  32. IsabelArcher2 says:

    Okay, I have to write this quickly because I'm late for class already and this is making me later. (Wait, why did I just waste more time writing that? Why am I writing this? Stop the madness!!!) Anyway, so I've been thinking about the Career Tributes for awhile now, and I'm probably reading too much in to this, but I'm starting to feel like having Careers is its own type of subtle rebellion. Yes, they send their children to the arena to kill the children of other districts, but they also break rules and defy the Capital while doing it. Unlike the other districts, those in the Career Districts (mostly) choose who is going to the arena, so there are no twelve-year-old girls who are randomly selected, and those who do go have a better chance of surviving. Okay, I probably didn't throw my crazy thoughts out eloquently enough, so this probably makes no sense, but I really have to go.

    • bibliotrek says:

      I like this idea. If you're stuck in a horrible system, then bucking that system in any way you can becomes important. I don't think you're stretching this too far. It's not like you're claiming that they're solving ALL THE PROBLEMS by doing this. It's just a kind of underhanded "fuck you" to the Capitol.

      On the other hand, the Capitol also benefits from it: they get more entertaining Games when people have trained for it. Also, the only reasons it seems like Districts 1, 2, and 4 can even support the Careers is that they seem to be the most prosperous. So if the Careers are a subtle kind of rebellion, then their existence also proves how the Capitol can take even those small rebellions and subsume them into the existing power structures. These subtle rebellions aren't powerful enough to change anything because they're still working within the existing system. In that sense, they end up supporting the system they challenge.

      God, that comment just turned REALLY BLEAK. 🙁

    • myownmetaphor says:

      I agree. Being raised to kill like 23 other people is fucking tragic but because Katniss is not a Career, and they might kill our heroine- our ~super speschal~ heroine at that who doesn't know the effect she has on people (why do I not know Peeta, and how can I get someone to say that to me?!?!)- we all hate them. Even if their lives were better than Katniss' (her assessment), they could still easily suck hard.

  33. aficat says:

    Does anyone else get a YA Kafka vibe from these books? The slow, torturous pace, the unrelenting personal pain, the unobtainable goals set down by the untouchable monolith, everyone around the character working against them… then, you know, interior designers or some shit. I ended up finishing this book a few days ago since the pace plus trying to read along with Mark was painful, and she definitely made me think of Kafka.

    /I spent a semester reading Das Schloss one chapter a week with a two hour in-depth discussion on everything in the chapter in an honors class led by a guy with a PHD in Kafka for a writing credit do not judge my Kafka judgements
    //Kafka in video game form

  34. Maddi says:

    OMG, if Mark reads The Queen's Thief next I may DIE OF JOY. But no one is allowed to spoil him. EVER.

    • Steeple says:

      NEVER. All I told him was that it was awesome and was another series that was "this is a childrens' book??"

      • notemily says:

        I always tell people "it's slow to get started, but stick with it." Because I know a few readers who thought it was kinda boring until they got to the end of The Thief and then were hooked forever. (Cough… me.)

        I am so impressed with Turner's writing. Love those books.

    • notemily says:

      OMG OMG OMG. Queen's Thief series is the BEST THING EVAR. <3333

  35. mugglemomof2 says:

    I found it so hard not to just completely fall for Katniss. She's lived this life of misery, hates the warm and fuzzies- but is such a bad ass! I just loved the end of this chapter. Too bad she didn't kill one of the judges in the process!

  36. Susan Walker says:

    I still don't like first person or care for the writing at times, but I'm starting to like Katniss & that helps. I don't like that the idea is for everyone to kill each other until there's one left. There will be people I like that will die. I know it was the same in Harry Potter, but that was war. This is even more senseless. The writer will make me like people, just to turn around & kill them off for a game. Just speculation. No one is fighting the evil like in HP. The Capitol controls people like they're under Imperius. At least I'm liking Katniss more. I can't help being reminded of how HP was raised with not enough food, ill fitting hand me downs & no real possessions of his own. He grew up having to get by with nothing, appreciating everything he was given & respecting people without prejudice. His nemesis Draco Malfoy was a spoiled rich kid who was raised with the best of everything. He grew up a bigoted coward who was good at bullying, but couldn't handle when things got tough. Can you tell I miss HP? I wonder if the extra training will help the Careers or if they will turn out to be bullies who crack under real pressure.

  37. lindseytinsey says:

    " I am slowly beginning to warm to her matter-of-fact and cynical narration."

    Same here.

  38. takashid says:

    I gotta say Mark, when i read the book, i felt the same way, "when are we gonna start the games already!?" but this pregame stuff is very important, so enjoy while it lasts.

  39. DameDallas says:

    Being in Katniss' head with the writing has actually helped the story because when she says Just two mornings ago, I was home, I actually stopped reading and was like, "Wow. It HAS only been two mornings. So even though I want the Games to be NOW, the story is trotting at a very good pace.

    Also, Peeta is making me feel sorry for him, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm suspicious of everyone okay??

    There are Career Tributes?! People volunteer to kill other people?!? The barbarianism is so NOT hard to find in this book. Geez.

    He shows us a simple, excellent trap that will leave a human competitor dangling by a leg from a tree. That line freaked me out. Why are these things done so matter-of-factly?? Goodness!

    Talking of home is painful. Talking of the present unbearable. *heart breaks*

    Because of that last line in the chapter, I want Katniss to win ALL OF THE THINGS FOREVER.

  40. marylacey says:

    Such a good book. I'm only about 10 chapters ahead of you, and this book seriously gets intense. I could not put it down all day. This shit is crazy, for real. And Katniss is a certified bad ass at that point. Just saying.
    I find any part with Peeta in it hard to read, because I know that one or none of them will survive, it can't be both. That is so unnerving.
    Keep reading. The crazy is gonna come out in full force soon.

  41. marylacey says:

    Oh, also. Is it possible to post gifs here in the comments??? I find gifs essential to any comment, seeing as when things are too epic for words I can conveniently use a gif.
    Could someone please tell me. I don't really know the functions of this site. I only made an account because you moved over here … :p
    It would be most appreciated.

  42. lossthief says:

    p.85: That nightmare stuff felt really rushed
    p.85: "Dawn is breaking" twilight get out of my head
    p.85: Kat, you might want to cut your hair before the games
    p.86: This is making me hungry
    p.87: The "twins" thing is foreshadowing that they are *~*SOUL MATES*~*
    p.88: Peeta is playing the game
    p.89: Why are they arguing about who is going to die first? "I suck the most!" "No, I suck the most!!"
    p.89: Peeta ANGST
    p.90: Haymitch is too drunk to deal with their genre
    p.94: Aw, it's like they're on their first date
    p.95: Peeta is good camouflage because he is a ninja.
    p.95: That was an odd time shift, 3 days gone a paragraph.
    p.96: well, the Careers are classist assholes
    p.97: SO. AWKWARD.
    p.98: Prediction: Rue kills a dude with nothing but a slingshot
    p.99: "I don't know why I said anything." Because you luuuuuurrrrrrve him.
    p.100: Katniss shoots like a fucking elf
    Overall, and interesting chapter, even though I'd like to get to the games. It's starting to feel a little tedious. Katniss' move at the end was pretty awesome.
    Grade: "B+"

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      • lossthief says:


        • myownmetaphor says:

          I freak the fuck out every single time it has happened to me (which isn't that much). I go all Sally Fields on everyone around me/my laptop screen and am like "He likes what I wrote! He really likes what I wrote!" Then I feel super special the rest of the day.

      • lebeaumonde says:

        Mark… It's happening. I TOLD YOU YOU WOULD HAVE FANGIRLS. Quick, get to the bunker!

    • myownmetaphor says:

      You are hilarious. A truer story could not be told.

      "That nightmare stuff felt really rushed"– this is how I feel about the entire book!! Like while I just want the games (wait- should that be capitalized) to start already, but I would also like to actually hear about training in more than like a paragraph. I just feel like Collins is skipping over stuff that might not be important to the endgame of the book or whatever, but would make the journey more enjoyable.

      So WHO DO YOU SHIP!?!?!!?!?!?!?!!?!?!? Clearly the most important question stemming from this chapter.

      • lossthief says:

        I'm guessing Peeta/Katniss will sail, though there might be a stormy sea with Gale, or some other character. In all honesty I'm not invested enough in these characters to care who gets with who. Except for Haymitch/Effie, simply because I'm cracked like that.

        • myownmetaphor says:

          Mwahahahha. You. *tickles chin or some such thing to show your adorable-ness. Oh shit did I just call you adorable? Better hope you're not like Katniss or else I'm not in a good position*

        • Tabbyclaw says:

          there might be a stormy sea with Gale


          In all honesty I'm not invested enough in these characters to care who gets with who.


        • Tabbyclaw says:

          Except for Haymitch/Effie, simply because I'm cracked like that.

          …I could so be convinced of that.

      • mmcgonagall says:

        This entire book feels like a summary to me.

    • pennylane27 says:

      You make me want to start taking notes from every book I read from now on.

      Also, p.100: Katniss shoots like a fucking elf
      HELL YES!

  43. stellaaaaakris says:

    I think this was the chapter where Katniss won me over. There was so much to like! Katniss and Peeta arguing over who's more awesome. Katniss showing off her true skills by skewering an apple that was inches away from the people who have the power to END her life.

    It was her rage more than anything that won me over. She has a right to be angry, and she has been pretty much since the first page, but now she can't even control it. Pay attention to her, Games maker people! Like in HP, although Harry totally has reason to just be angry at life, he's often polite and restrained (while staying awesome of course). It's not until OotP that he really loses control, which is completely justified of course. But here we are, not even a third of the way through the first book and Katniss is refusing to just take everything the Capitol gives her to deal with. I approve.

    The Careers freak me out. They're all gathered together, laughing, talking, and I keep thinking in the back of their heads, they're thinking, "Some time in the future, you're all going to be dead." ::Shudder:: Plus, why in the world would you volunteer for this crap? Yes, train away, I think that makes sense. I get the fame and glory. But even if a Career does win, their district partner (who also volunteered) will BE DEAD. My brain refuses to understand this concept. Yeah, maybe you're not friends, but still. Everybody is human.

    Oh boy, I am beyond relieved I don't live in Panem. Or ancient Rome. Or many other periods in time.

    • Jabberwocky says:

      Oh boy, I am beyond relieved I don't live in Panem. Or ancient Rome

      Panem is essentially Rome, yes. The name comes from latin, and it means bread. As in "bread and circuses." I didn't catch it until someone else mentioned it, but yes. The name of the country that starves its people and kills them for sport is "Bread." Subtle, Collins is not.

      • Chairman Wow says:

        I've only heard the audiobook version of the Hunger Games, and before this I always thought it was called "Panam". Like, they built a new pan-American nation out of the rubble of whatever apocalypse. I think I kind fo prefer that to the actual name. XD

        I do enjoy all of the Roman/Latin influences, though. Sure it's not very subtle, but I like to think Panem was built by a megalomaniac Classicist.

  44. Sophie says:

    The end of this chapter is why I love Katniss to pieces. The girl is such a bad ass!

    Peeta's line about the arena being a giant cake makes me laugh way more than it should. So does his line about the arena being full of bags of flour to throw at people.

    The Career tributes fighten me.

    I feel awful for Rue. Poor little thing. I mean, I feel awful for all the tributes, but… Rue. 🙁

  45. grlgoddess says:

    Am I the only one who kept accidentally reading 'Careers' as 'Carers'? I know it's wrong, but I can't stop thinking it!

    • affableevil says:

      Now my brain is trying to mash the Hunger Games together with Never Let Me Go and it's weird and it's not working cut it out brain

  46. myownmetaphor says:

    That is the worst thing for me with Collins' writing. She does a LOT of telling. Like she'll show you an little ity-bit, and then just tell you the rest. Booo Collins. Your story is better than that.

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      That's the exact heart of my entire problem with this series: The story is infinitely better than its writer, and its narrator.

  47. Penquin47 says:

    Katniss is a badass. We know she has flaws, but god damn I love a person who can shoot an apple out of a pig's mouth without even blinking.

    I hope Rue ends up being totally fucking badass too. I want to see what happens in the Games when it's down to Kat, Peeta, and Rue, and they all refuse to kill each other.

    I guess I'm the only one who hasn't once though "When are the Games going to start already?" Once the games start, Peeta and Rue are in danger. May die. Don't want that. Once the games start, Katniss will *have* to kill someone. May find herself in a situation where she has to kill Rue. Or Peeta. Those can't happen. No no bad bad make it stop.

  48. jonni13 says:

    I'm definitely at that stage now where I'm hanging out to just fly through the rest of the book, but I'm forcing myself to stay more or less at pace with Mark.
    This is cool, having a giant online book club. Pity there's no wine.

  49. myownmetaphor says:

    If I were you I would delete this. You could shot for less in MRHP. Just cause we don't even want to hint at something being answered, you know?

  50. Hotaru-hime says:

    Man, I love Haymitch. Really, I think he's the only character I like. Katniss is so single-minded and is dense as a result- it annoys the hell out of me. It feels like there's so much information in front of her, but she doesn't look at it, so we can't see it and it's FRUSTRATING, AUGH.

  51. MissConnell says:

    I wonder how much pre-apocalypse culture is left in Panem. Katniss completely disregards the idea of a tiny girl like Rue taking out people the size of the Careers with just a slingshot, but I'm sure that I'm not the only one whose thoughts went to David and Goliath. Is it because the Bible has been lost to time? Or has Katniss just never heard of it because the Capitol has decided that those in the Districts do not need to know anything directly related to their work?

    Am I reading way too much into one throwaway statement? Probably, but I'm that kind of a person.

    • myownmetaphor says:

      Even with knowing the story of David and Goliath, I'd probably respond the same way. Doesn't seem too likely. Also I doubt they let the districts have something like religion, or else I feel like District 12 would be super religious, right?

    • Hermione_Danger says:

      Oooh, that's an interesting thought! I'd never considered how much of pre-Panem culture was preserved. I mean, some had to be (the Roman names, for example), but who knows what or how much got lost?

      • Penquin47 says:

        I read something once about how Christianity destroyed the Roman Empire. Given how much Panem seems to seek to emulate the Roman Empire (Latin names, gladiator games, loyalty to the state being paramount), maybe they read the same thing I did and outlawed Christianity as traitorous?

        • Tabbyclaw says:

          I would assume that religion in general was squashed early on. Something that both offers hope and comfort and implies that there's something more powerful than the Capitol? Oh, that's gonna be the first thing to go.

  52. A lot of people keep complaining about how the Games haven't started, but guys, just think of it like this: the Hunger Games are to Panem what American Idol is to America. No, seriously, that's deliberate. This is reality TV.

    I feel like the only person who couldn't stand Battle Royale. Japanese prose just doesn't translate well into English. Compared to how awful Battle Royale was to read, imo THG's narrative is excellent.

  53. Hermione_Danger says:


    Please avoid mentioning things like this. They're spoilers in the sense that they ruin the surprises Mark looks forward to in the reading experience. Probably would be best to delete this comment. Thanks!

  54. celestineangel1 says:

    Katniss is rather badass, isn't she? I remembered basically being all "OH SHIT KATNISS WHAT" when she did this. XD OH MAN YOU ARE SO GONNA GET IT NOW.

    Also, Katniss and Peeta fighting over who is best. ::snorts::

    Also also, Katniss is extremely paranoid, but I suppose that can't be helped, considering.

  55. ldwy says:

    My reaction to this chapter is: Katniss and Peeta are definitely going to team up. And he really is nice. That’s my official (uniformed because I haven’t read this book) prediction.


  56. rissreader says:

    There's a TV interview or documentary with JK Rowlings where she is talking about either good writing or her personal inspirations — she talks about an author whose stories she liked as a youth, and how "satisfying" it was that "you knew exactly what they were eating at every meal". Then, when reading The Hunger Games I wondered it this was going to be a trend in YA fiction for the forseeable future.

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Collins watched that interview and took it in a literal way! At last, the secret is revealed! 😉

    • notemily says:

      Isn't that kind of a trope of British fiction, at least? I seem to remember reading somewhere that describing great feasts at a boy's boarding school is a thing, and Harry Potter was kind of playing on that. BUT I HAVE NO SOURCES. Agh.

  57. Moonie says:


    “She has no idea. The effect she can have.”

    also I love this quote.

  58. curiousGirl says:

    I think you may have misread something. I'm pretty sure one of those Capitol people (either Effie or the salon people) mentioned that the Arena has already been built before hand because apparently, they take years to build. Will have to look for the quote

  59. magnolia says:

    So I know some people have already discussed this- but certain things about Katniss definitely remind me of Bella (please don't hurt me!) The way she took Peeta's comment made me roll my eyes. It was obviously a *speshul snowflake* reference and she just doesn't *understand* how *wonderful* she is and everyone is out to *get her*. And though overall I think she is a stronger, more interesting, and more likeable character than Bella, there have been a few things that just make me want to say, 'get over yourself!'. Maybe thats just a flaw of the 1st person pov, i dunno.

    • DameDallas says:

      I can see where you're coming from, but I don't think she is doing it in a "woe is me," type of way like Bella did.
      Bella didn't "like" compliments, or whatever, because she didn't like attention and thought of herself as some sort of martyr because she had to live somewhere that rained. Ugh.

      I think Katniss doesn't accept compliments well because (a) it's the Hunger Games and being suspicious of everything is needed to keep a guard up, (b) I don't think she has ever received a compliment before and just naturally doesn't know how to react to one, and (c) she thinks she's not great at anything because in her eyes her family is barely surviving. I mean, she only realized that she was relatively healthy when she saw how gaunt the other tributes were.

      Gosh, longest run-on sentence ever. Sorry. 🙂

      So yes, she is someone who doesn't realize how effective her charms are, but I think she has legitimate/sane reasons for the non-acknowledgement.

    • bibliotrek says:

      Dude, everyone IS out to get her! She's about to head into an arena where everyone is literally trying to kill her, including Peeta. So of course she is worried about what his comments mean — she can't imagine that he actually means them in a positive way when he knows just as well as she does that they are going to be trying to kill each other in a matter of days. And yet she keeps soldiering on!

      Also: "she just doesn't *understand* how *wonderful* she is" but "there have been a few things that just make me want to say, 'get over yourself!'" — so Katniss is damned if she's humble and damned if she's not. Those are pretty impossible standards for anyone to live up to.

  60. LadyLately says:

    For what it's worth, I also always assumed Rue was not white in some form (although I think by the book's point in time, new races might even be emerging).

  61. Arione says:

    I really like that Katniss isn’t all that likable. I mean, yes Collins writing is annoying, and Katniss reads like a pig-headed, overly dramatic teenager, but I think Collins is aware of that. Well maybe not the writing, but the Katniss part anyway. I don’t think we’re expected to unanimously love Katniss, I think sometimes we’re supposed to dislike her. She is cocky, but also somewhat oblivious. She’s selfish, and a bit of a moody cow so far. She does seem to try though. I like th

    at being in her head is somewhat uncomfortable. I don’t think Collins has executed her character perfectly, but at least she doesn’t feel like a self insert.

    (someone tell me if that is tmi…)

    Battle Royale was a full scale addiction for me for about two years, and I still have a deep love for Takako Chigusa, Hiroki Sugimura and Kayoko Kotohiki. Mark, did you find Sho Tsukioka as irritatingly written as I did? To anyone whose read/seen BR, character loves? Just names I guess, no spoilers (although maybe I’m the only one crazy enough to remember everyone by their full name.)

  62. Revolution64 says:

    *sighs* Now everyone knows that Katniss is really good with a bow and arrow. Perhaps she's the one who projects arrogance?

  63. myownmetaphor says:

    Does anyone else just feel really bad for the Careers? Even if one of them wins, five are going to die. AND they were raised to be mass murders. Maybe the had a little more food than Katniss but that is some fucked up shit right there.

    • lossthief says:

      I actually think there's room for a tragic backstory with one of the Careers. They've trained all their life, not to try and win the Hunger Games, but to survive them. They have a family at home that they love and don't want to lose, so they've trained themselves to prepare in case they were placed into the games. I doubt we'll get something like that, but it'd be an interesting angle to take on the whole situation, but maybe I just think that because I love Moral Gray areas in fiction.

    • pennylane27 says:

      I feel really bad for every kid that has/had to go through the Games, but my problem with the Careers is that they seem a bit psycho, being raised to kill and VOLUNTEERING and all that. But in the end, it all goes to show that the Capitol people are very good at keeping their power. They change strategies with the different Districts: they starve some, the create psychos in others. And this is a great way to create resentment (Katniss hates them) and to keep them apart.

  64. caitlin the shark says:

    I loved this chapter. We get to see more Peeta-humor (gigantic cake, lol), and learn about the districts. The bread part was super fun. I sort of love the universe Collins has created, minus the oppression and barbarism.
    I know people are annoyed by Katniss's attitude and her deflection of compliments, but she's no Bella Swan. When Bella was oblivious and modest, it was baseless. We didn't know why she acted that way or what people saw in her to begin with. Katniss's is a complex, believable character with history. The fact that she spent most of her childhood carrying her family plays a huge part in her personality. Peeta has realistic reasons to like her. Cinna sees her as the person she is, not bad or annoying, but a teenage girl from a poor background, behind the starting line of a terrifying "game". Sometimes I feel like people expect too much from female protagonists. /two cents. I could say more but comment limit&iknowspoilers.

  65. bookling says:

    YES. This is the first "FUCK YEAH KATNISS" moment, and rest assured there will be more.

  66. Warmouth says:

    She becomes even more badass when you realize just how hard it is to shoot a bow and arrow, let alone aim i that well. I'm assuming they're not going to get a nice compound with a sight. ____Also want to know what the deal with making Peeta and Katniss work together.____Wait a second, Peeta, works with bready stuff, maybe Pita. I hope so!

    • DameDallas says:

      Ugh, I went to the Renaissance Fair a couple of years ago and played around with a bow and some arrows.
      Toughest. Thing. Ever. To. Do.
      I think i hit the tip of the target once; And I thought I was going to be so bad-ass at it, too.

  67. tlc says:

    Reading people's reactions to Katniss is always interesting. It always surprises me when complaints about her being more "likable" pop up. I understand that it wouldn't be much fun to read about a character you really couldn't stand, but I actually appreciate that Katniss is so gloomy. I mean, hell, wouldn't YOU be, if you were in that situation? She has every right to be a crank. I think it's pretty realistic, and it softens the other, vaguely Mary Sue-ish aspects of her character, at least for me.

    And while this is not meant to be a criticism of people who don't like her, because even though I do, I get that there are many possible reasons for that (not least of which is Collins' grating writing style), I wonder if there would be as many complaints about her bad attitude if she were male.

  68. Jabberwocky says:

    I read the Hunger Games trilogy a few months ago– conveniently, I finished the second book the day before the third came out. Believe me, you will be very happy you have all three on hand; there are some fun cliffhangers. Reading these reviews is really interesting for me as I get to relive the books all over again.

    I won't say anything much, but I think you'll find yourself surprised by just how real this shit gets. And if you think Katniss is traumatized already, well. Wait until the Games begin. The Games screw everyone over. Everyone. Whether you survive or not, they seriously mess you up. (But you already knew that, because this is a society that starves its populace and then forces them to watch children kill each other. It is not a happy world.)

  69. Kylie says:

    Katniss is totally a badass. Peeta too. God I love that apple shooting scene. Also, the figth between Katniss and Peeta was what really sold the book for me, for some reason. I think I just like the absurdity of it; "YOU'RE AWESOME, SHUT UP." "NO, YOU'RE AWESOMER, YOU SHUT UP." Classic.

  70. trash_addict says:

    Hehe, funny rash Katniss. So badass.

  71. 4and6forever says:

    This chapter always bothered me. It’s just how she words things- she goes from talking about how she’s useless, but hey! I’m also awesome. And then Peeta says “You have no idea. The affect she can have.” and I was like ‘if someone told me that I had an effect on people, I would take it as a complent. It means that I can argue well with people to get what I need.’ But, no, Katniss is so whiny and antisocial that she’s offended. Also, something that I noticed in the first chapter and wasn’t able to talk about it earlier- Katniss rambles. At the beginning of a paragraph, she might start with talking about Buttercup and end with exploding fathers. Thoughts?

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      I mean, I see where you're coming from, but I've gotta disagree. We've been told that Katniss is really anti-social. Her only friend is Gale, and I guess Madge, but they mostly just partner or sit together in silence. What does she have to been complimented on in the past? She doesn't get along with her mother and her father is gone. I'm sure she would have taken it as a compliment if Gale or her family had said it, though I doubt she would have taken it gracefully. But if I were in her spot and a guy who's survival REQUIRES my death, I'd be questioning his motives too.

      About the rambling. I think it's completely realistic. Maybe a little annoying, but being in first person present pov, it makes sense. I wouldn't believe it if her thoughts always were rational, connected. I know my brain can take me from bees to cafeteria to tooth fairy in a second. I go off on random tangents all the time.

  72. RaeLynn says:

    I really don't like Katniss but I think it's because she's a lot like me… and similar people don't usually click. I have the SAME bitter personality, temper, and impulse problems as her… although, I'm not nearly as brave. I love my sister to death but I probably would have let her take the spot. I'm definitely a Slytherin lol.

  73. Dragonizer says:

    Oh man how I LOVED this chapter. It was such a badass ending. I cheered out loud for Katniss there. =D

  74. jayzhelle says:

    I love that Katniss is a badass. She is not the usual damsel in distress heroine that needs to be saved by the hero *cough* twilight *cough* LOL. She doesn't need the approval of anyone and she does things her way.

    • tethysdust says:

      No matter whether I like Katniss or not, I can agree that she is a MUCH better heroine all around than the Twilight chick.

  75. Ana says:

    So I saw this picture of Emma Watson and I immediately thought of Katniss.

  76. Tabbyclaw says:

    Rue is definitely nonwhite in my head, but I can't get a racial "fix" on her. I could see Indian, as a few other people have already said, or possibly pre-Columbian South American.

  77. tethysdust says:

    I imagined Katniss as of some kind of latino descent and Rue as black. From other people's responses, it sounds like I may have been accidentally mentally darkening their skin colors beyond the descriptions given.

    • castlejune says:

      Actually, I think Rue is black. At least, I vaguely remember her being described as black at some point. Hmm…now I need to go back and re-read the books.

  78. Tabbyclaw says:

    What part of "Do not discuss things that Mark hasn't read yet" is so bewildering?

  79. crazyravenclaw says:

    Dude. Spoilers. Not cool.

    • bingo0007 says:

      k…i ll takedown the comment…but i simply wish mark ll stop this series and start with something else.perhaps his dark materials.

  80. xbelle89x says:

    I haven't read this series yet, so I have no idea what Katniss' physical description is, but I keep picturing my friend Kathleen. No idea if it's just because of the "Kat" in their names or what….

  81. vaporeon13204 says:

    Haha, that's epically bad-ass, I have to say. XD Great chapter ending. 8)

  82. Flamefire123 says:

    Katness is an enjoyable character to me because while she struggles very honestly with her personal set backs and certainly the unjust world around her, she is NOT a whiner. A major turn off for both Twilight and later Harry Potter books was the main character's tendency to whine about things I could not sympathize with. (And with Harry Potter choosing to whine over something I found unsympathetic when there was all this REAL shit to actually complain about. All personal opinion of course.)

    Katness on the other hand is basically, "Well shit, okay, how can I DO something about it?" For better and for worse. A lot of her successes and failures come from her need to act and out of the flaws, that need to act is one of my favorites in a character, especially a young adult protagonist.

    Probably because I am so very slow to act at some times and quick to act in others, I prefer seeing in my heroes the traits in myself that I enjoy. (I also have a very large tendency to whine and I think that's why I hate it in main characters.)

    I also started to like almost everyone. Collins does have a good way of showing sympathy at the most unlikely times in my opinion.

    Also, when I read the book I kept watching Rue with suspicious eyes. I am such an evil reader. "You look innocent! You MUST be evil."

  83. warm slurm says:

    Oh god, this book is terrible. I'm not a book snob in any sense of the word, I don't even care if people enjoy Twilight, but if you enjoy this book… I judge you. 😐

    Hoping you rip it to shreds once the game starts.

  84. Stephalopolis says:

    Even his momma thinks he's gonna fail. Poor Peeta, that's just harsh.

    For some reason, I really liked the imagery of a training center, with different stations to choose from. Minus the whole "you're gonna die" thing, I think it would be kinda interesting to be in a room with choices of what to train/practice with. What do you go for? Strength? Defense? Survival skills?

    In other news though, I FINALLY CAUGHT UP TO ALL YOUR HG REVIEWS MARK!!!! WOOOOO!!! Now I just gotta start re-reading the series 😛

  85. Kaybee42 says:

    Guys come on, I'm annoyed right now. Every single comment that expresses a negative opinion is down voted to negative numbers, no matter how well expressed, reasonable and polite it is. And it's not like the people down voting them are replying to the comments, either- in fact I would love to be reading all the debates and conversations that the different opinions could lead to. But comments have 2 or 3 or 4 down votes and maybe 1 comment in reply.
    I know I'm not a position of authority here or anything but, c'mon! (And if this comment doesn't get at least a few down votes that are just for the giggles I will be very disappointed in our collective supply of sarcasm and irony! :P)

  86. Roxie says:

    I just wanted to say that RUE IS BLACK.
    She is described as having dark brown skin & darker eyes.

  87. Ronnachu says:

    I've had the book on my shelf for a couple months now, since my father gave it to me as a present when I knew nothing about its existence, and when I saw you'd started reading I thought it'd be the perfect moment to do so myself! Today I read the first seven chapters, and I hope to get to you this week and then keep your pace through the books, and so slowly get to know this new world with you guys.

    I'm liking the story a lot, so far. I guessed from the start that it would be Prim who'd get chosen for the Hunger Games, but I thought Katniss would have to fight to get in it instead of her! It's a shame that we won't see much of Gale in the near future, I wanted to know more about him, but Peeta is also an interesting character, and I'm dying to know more about him. And the others! For example, what about Cinna? Did you notice how he reacted when Katniss commented on his having been assigned District 12? He *chose* to be there, and I'm really intrigued to know why. Maybe he comes from the District and managed to get out of there and into the Capitol somehow? Just guessing here…

    I feel like there are lots of information waiting for the perfect moment to be revealed to us, and I love that feeling. I'm also looking forward to seeing how the Games develop. I think Katniss will have to kill, and to do things she'll regret, and to decide where she'll draw her own limits. It's going to be great to see it, and then being able to come back here and see what everyone thinks about it, so thank you for this!

  88. cdnstar says:

    You loosely compare Katniss/Hunger Games to Harry/Harry Potter as "both books deal with a young person who has experienced some ridiculously traumatizing events in their youth, events that shape the person they’ve become." I hadn't even thought of that sort of comparison – I think I was concentrating on this being an entire world of inequality through society/class/privilege versus it being just Harry in the HP books. I mean, I can see how you would make this comparison, now that I've read your statement and thought about it, but I seriously never even considered that potential parallel since the worlds themselves, and the entire backgrounds of the two are so vastly different. Interesting.

    This is the chapter where I started liking both Haymitch and Peeta – I love the interaction when they're talking about their skills – but I absolutely love the ending with the pig.

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