Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 10

In the tenth chapter of The Hunger Games, Katniss is shocked into silence and then anger over Peeta’s revelation during his intervew. When he reveals that it was just ploy to gain her sympathy (IT WASN’T), she erupts in anger and injures him. OH AND THE GAMES FINALLY START. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.

Dudes, it is so obvious now. I mean….DUH, PEETA LIKES KATNISS. I actually feel pretty dumb that I didn’t pick it up sooner. So let’s turn this review into MARK CALLS PEETA OUT FOR HIS BULLSHIT. ‘Cause there’s some bullshit a brewin’ here.

For a moment, the cameras hold on Peeta’s downcast eyes as what he says sinks in. Then I can see my face, mouth half open in a mix of surprise and protest, magnified on every screen as I realize, Me! He means me! I press my lips together and stare at the floor, hoping this will conceal the emotions starting to boil up inside of me.


“Wouldn’t you love to pull her back out here and get a response?” Caesar asks the audience. The crowd screams assent.

YEAH, NO. NO. THIS IS A BAD IDEA. Thankfully, Caesar was only saying this to get a response from the crowd, as Peeta’s interview ends just after this. It’s a moment of absolute victory for Peeta. Or, as Katniss puts it, he “wiped the rest of [them] off the map with his declaration of love.”

Katniss, ever the sensitive and calm person, reacts to this in one of the stupidest ways imaginable:

Peeta has only just stepped from his car when I slam my palms into his chest. He loses his balance and crashes into an ugly urn filled with fake flowers. The urn tips and shatters into hundreds of tiny pieces. Peeta lands in the shards, and blood immediately flows from his hands.

I don’t know if Collins is trying to make me feel like Peeta deserves this; if so, this part has the exact opposite effect on me. It makes me hate Katniss (if only temporarily) because it’s not only out of character for her, but unbelievably rude towards Peeta. I mean…she just damaged his hands on the night before the Hunger Games begins!

“What was that for?” he says, aghast.

Even though I don’t think Peeta deserved this sort of treatment, I still laughed at this. What did you think she was doing that for???

“You are a fool,” Haymitch says in disgust. “Do you think he hurt you? That boy just gave you something you could never achieve on your own.”


“He made you look desirable! And let’s face it, you can use all the help you can get in that department. You were about as romantic as dirt until he said he wanted you. Now they all do. You’re all they’re talking about. The star-crossed lovers from District Twelve!” says Haymitch.

I seriously hate everything about this. First of all, I don’t believe this was a technique to win Katniss favor, at least not entirely. I think Peeta’s idea was genuine and Haymitch turned it into a technique. I hate that these Games for a person to become romantic in the first place (or at least appear to be) even though SHE IS GOING TO FIGHT TWENTY-THREE PEOPLE TO THE DEATH THE NEXT DAY. It’s vile. I hate how ridiculous this seems and I hate Katniss’s anger over all of it and then I hate Haymitch’s disgust too and I HATE HATE HATE HATE.

Ok, I’m done. But I don’t believe it’s all a big show. Peeta really, truly likes Katniss. It makes way too much sense for that not to be true. I’M STICKING TO IT. TOO BAD.

The words are sinking in. My anger fading. I’m torn now between thinking I’ve been used and thinking I’ve been given an edge. Haymitch is right. I survived my interview, but what was I really? A silly girl spinning in a sparkling dress. Giggling. The only moment of any substance I had was when I talked about Prim.

I’m glad Katniss is thinking twice about this, but I have to admit that she does have a point: the interview was pretty dehumanizing to her, reducing her to a stereotype of a woman. She does have every right to be upset at that and I can understand her anger at Peeta turning her into something to be desired romantically, which so many men do to women anyway. BUT STILL. PUSHING HIM INTO GLASS SHARDS WAS A BIT MUCH.

“You’re golden, sweetheart. You’re going to have sponsors lined up around the block,” says Haymitch.

I’m embarrassed about my reaction. I force myself to acknowledge Peeta. “I’m sorry I shoved you.”

I’m glad she says that, but that’s not going to help PEETA’S RUINED HANDS.

Effie takes both of us by the hand and, with actual tears in her eyes, wishes us well. Thanks us for being the best tributes it has ever been her privilege to sponsor. And then, because it’s Effie and she’s apparently required by law to say something awful, she adds, “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I finally get promoted to a decent district next year!”

Oh, Effie. I am not excusing her dumb comments, but sometimes I believe she is genuinely clueless to how awful she sounds. THANKS, PRIVILEGE.

The night stretches on and on for Katniss after she bids goodbye to Effie and Haymitch. (I love that Haymitch’s last words are, “Stay alive.” VERY COMFORTING.) Understandably so, she cannot sleep. Could you? Look, I can barely sleep if I’m flying on a plane the next day. I could not sleep if I was participating in Murder Fest Extravaganza 2010 either. (Or whatever year it is.)

Katniss’s thoughts wander to what sort of arena she’ll be placed in, if there will be any trees, and what kind of traps the Gamemakers will put in the game. WAIT. TRAPS? WHAT? Why would you also put traps? Oh, that’s right, because the game is built by absolute savages.

With no sleep in sight, Katniss heads to the roof again, only to discover that Peeta is already there.

“My best hope is to not disgrace myself and…” He hesitates.

“And what?” I say.

“I don’t know how to say it exactly. Only…I want to die as myself. Does that make any sense?” he asks. I shake my head. How could he die as anyone but himself? “I don’t want toem to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I’m not.”

I find it strange that it’s much easier to like all the peripheral characters in this story than it is to like Katnis. And I really like Peeta’s idea that his identity is all he has left in this sort of absurdity. In fact, I’m inclined to agree that this is the only dignity he can have left. The Games specifically try to homogenize people in order to provide entertained oppression for the masses. What else do you have but to turn yourself into the only weapon left to dismantle it?

Katniss doesn’t agree with this at all. They are categorically a part of the system itself and there’s no breaking from it.

“But you’re not,” I say. “None of us are. That’s how the Games work.”

“Okay, but within that framework, there’s still you, there’s still me,” he insists. “Don’t you see?”

“A little. Only…no offense, but who cares, Peeta?” I say.

“I do. I mean, what else am I allowed to care about at this point?” he asks angrily. He’s locked those blue eyes on mine now, demanding an answer.

For the record, I’m siding with Peeta on this.

“Look, if you want to spend the last hours of your life planning some noble death in the arena, that’s your choice. I want to spend mine in District Twelve.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me if you do,” says Peeta. “Give my mother my best when you make it back, will you?”

“Count on it,” I say. Then I turn and leave the roof.

Well, that was mature, Katniss. I don’t quite understand why this irks her so much; maybe she subconsciously agrees with Peeta but isn’t ready to admit it? I don’t know, I feel like Katniss is going to try to do just what Peeta suggested here: remain herself at all costs.

(Also, how fucked up is the story she tells about Titus? First of all, HOW ON EARTH DOES SHE THINK PEETA WILL TURN INTO THAT? Secondly, isn’t the point of the Games to turn people into violent savages for entertainment? I don’t get why they’d intervene when someone turned into just that.)

Finally, though, after little sleep, Katniss heads towards the arena where she will battle to the death against the other Tributes. She’s injected with a tracker on her forearm while on the Hovercraft, and tries to enjoy her last meal before being dropped into the upcoming death match.

Everything is brand-new, I will be the first and only tribute to use this Launch Room. 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.

Why is this more disturbing than most things in this book so far? The idea that these sites are celebrated rather than revered is really odd to me. Of course, in this alternate universe, it makes total sense, but it doesn’t compute in my brain.

The unbearable wait begins after this. Thankfully for Katniss, Cinna is there to provide comfort in the only way he can.

I shake my head but after a moment hold out my hand to him. Cinna encloses it in both of his. And this is how we sit until a pleasant female voice announces it’s time to prepare for launch.

I like Cinna. A lot. I hope to see him again.

Still clenching one of Cinna’s hands, I walk over and stand on the circular metal plate. “Remember what Haymitch said. Run, find water. The rest will follow,” he says. I nod. “And remember this. I’m not allowed to bet, but if I could, my money would be on you.”

“Truly?” I whisper.

“Truly,” says Cinna. He leans down and kisses me on the forehead. “Good luck, girl on fire.” And then a glass cylinder is lowering around me, breaking our handhold, cutting him off from me. He taps his fingers under his chin. Head high.

It’s taken until this point for the dread to finally fill me. This is real. This is happening. I have not the slightest idea what is going to occur inside that arena.

Bless Cinna, by the way. I don’t think Katniss would feel any sort of confidence without him.

For a moment, my eyes are dazzled by the bright sunlight and I’m conscious only of a strong wind with the hopeful smell of pines trees.

Then I hear the legendary announcer, Claudius Templesmith, as his voice booms all around me.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games begin!”

Well, it’s finally starting. And I have a bad feeling about this.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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268 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 10

  1. Flamefire123 says:

    I agree, I wasn't on Katness's side in this chapter but I don't think you're supposed to be. She IS still a teenage girl and we all know how silly they can be. (Speaking as an ex-teenage girl and to be fair, teenage boys are just AS stupid. Hormones are a bitch.)

    When I read this chapter I feel like Katness struck out in the same way a three year old does when they like someone. They don't know what else to do. Not because she necessarily likes Peeta but because she has no other response to his like or what that will mean.

    I mean, how do you respond to someone who basically just confessed to you and will DIE in the next week or so, possibly by YOUR hand?

    A bit confusing there.

  2. crazyravenclaw says:

    I'm just going to say that I agree with everything you're saying. The real comment I want to make is very long and will work better on another chapter. (That's not a spoiler, is it?)

  3. azurefalls says:

    I CANNOT WAIT for you to get into the next chapter. I honestly don't know how you're going to react.
    I agree about Cinna – he's probably my favourite character, actually. There's something really genuine about him that you don't seem to get with the other characters. Plus, he's literally fabulous.

  4. Kate Monster says:

    "HOW DARE YOU LIKE ME?! THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS AND INSULTING," Bella Katniss screamed at Mike Peeta.

    omg i'm sorry but IT'S THERE.

  5. Maddi says:

    I honestly don't know why, but Peeta feels a little too Pure and Good for me. Collins keeps hinting towards other facets of his personality- that he's sly or pragmatic- but then defaulting back to goodhearted, lovestruck Peeta. I think that's why I like Katniss best– though she can be annoying or stupid, she feels more real to me than the rest of the cast. (Except Haymitch and Cinna. LOVE them.)

    I'm so glad you picked these books to read, Mark, I'm loving them so much.

  6. theupsides says:

    It's impossible to read this chapter and not feel bad for Peeta the whole time. First, SHE SHOVES HIM. And then he's actually contemplating what the Games mean about his identity, trying to resist this oppressive system, and Katniss is just rolling her eyes at him. You can't help but think, OH NO, PEETA AND HIS BANDAGED HANDS ARE ABOUT TO ENTER THAT ARENA. FUCK.

    And leaving Cinna behind is so sad, because he's the best source of comfort thus far.

    Oh, the injustice.

    • notemily says:

      What breaks my heart about the hands thing is that he's the baker, the one who does the cakes, etc. He WORKS with his hands. They're part of his identity. 🙁

  7. Karen says:

    Oh I don't think that Katniss shoving Peeta is out of character for her. She has a tendency towards paranoia and thinking that everyone is out to get her. She thinks that Peeta did what he did just to make a fool out of her and that made her angry. Also, I think she has a bit of an irrational and impulsive streak in her (see also: throwing the cookies out the train window). I don't think she was really trying to hurt him either. She was just shoving him in and expression of her anger- his hands being injured was an unfortunate result.

    And I don't think that Haymitch had gross motives behind encouraging Peeta to do what he did. He's honestly trying to give Katniss her best chance at survival. Like he said, she'll have sponsors lined up. Haymitch has been a mentor for years now. He knows the system. Sure, you could argue that the system and culture is gross for sure. But it's more about Haymitch exploiting that in order to help Katniss, I think than actually trying to exploit Katniss herself.

    “I don’t know how to say it exactly. Only…I want to die as myself. Does that make any sense?” he asks. I shake my head. How could he die as anyone but himself? “I don’t want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I’m not.”
    WELCOME TO THE MOMENT THAT I FELL IN LOVE WITH PEETA. I love that he's a bit of a dreamer/philosopher/idealist/whatever you want to call it. He recognizes just how horrific these games are. It's not just about murdering children (although it is that); it's also about turning these districts and tributes against each other. He sees the mind games that are inherent in the Hunger Games, and he realizes that the option left to him to fight the Capitol is to not let the games change who he is. His sense of self is all he has left and he's not going to let the Capitol take that from him.

    Secondly, isn’t the point of the Games to turn people into violent savages for entertainment? I don’t get why they’d intervene when someone turned into just that.
    Well… yes. To a point. But there is a point when even the bloodlust of the citizen's of the Capitol has a limit. They don't want to gross out their viewers.

  8. ldwy says:

    I totally agree with you that lots of this chapter made me mad. And that it's a little strange in a book to be so much more inclined to like the side characters, ex Prim, Peeta, Cinna, than the main character…

    Like you, Mark, I believe that it was a conscious decision to play the “star-crossed lovers” up (maybe Peeta's idea? but definitely pushed by Haymitch-and I get that this is his job, but it speaks of the disgusting atrocity of these Games), but I’m guessing it was also true on Peeta’s part. I dunno, I don’t think this storyline is over, by any means. I also think that Peeta’s self-depracating nature is a bit overly exaggerated. It's like, Katniss has all the confidence, and he has none. But at the same time, I find it hard to believe that anyone could go into these games feeling anything except the resignation he shows. So while I’m finding it overdone (in Collins' "beat us over the head with it" way), I’m also finding it at base quite realistic.

    I love the point Peeta is trying to make about retaining your self being the only form of "dissent" or "retaliation" you could have in these games. I almost wonder if any players in the past have tried to protest by refusing to play…suicide? letting themselves starve or be killed or something? Make it quick so it can't be entertainment? I don't know, I feel like this kind of thing would crop up (although of course the strength of fear of death and the will to live would combat it…) over 74 years worth of games. I wonder if we'll get any history of the games, and whether this type of thing has happened, will happen, could happen.


    • Kate Monster says:

      Cinna backstory, yes PLEASE

    • Andrew says:

      That thought never occurred to me before, it would be very interesting to find out what kind of actions (if any) the tributes took to fight it the system. Although, all of the flashbacks so far (and thus most of the exposition) have been from Katniss's POV, and I guess any actions of dissent from the 'players' would not have been broadcast by the Gamemakers (or the story would have been twisted in some way) and so Katniss would no know the full details of it. It would be fascinating (for want of a better word), though, to find out more about the games' history.

      • ldwy says:

        You're right, I'm sure the capitol would cover it up/play it to their best advantage. So from our narrator's pov, I doubt we'll see this. Ah well. I was just musing-it would certainly be interesting (I know what you mean about "lack of a better word").

    • monkeybutter says:

      To be fair, Katniss isn't terribly confident either. She's down on herself a lot and equally terrified. She's just more determined to physically survive, while Peeta is determined to survive spiritually. You're right though, it is overdone AND realistic.

      • ldwy says:

        I agree that during the games, she's not all confident either. I guess I was thinking more about our overall intro to Katniss, where she's this young woman who is secure in the fact that she is the rock holding her family together and she can support them. There was confidence there, which, it's true, the games seriously depleted.

        • wanetta says:

          perhaps that is why her confidence is depleted — not just because of the games — because of the fact that she was this secure young woman who was the rock in her family and her entire world got shaken not because she was chosen for the game, but because her one precious care in the world – Prim – was chosen.

          I think if Katnis was chosen things might have been different, but the fact that it was her sister sort of causes a lot of different emotions.

  9. monkeybutter says:

    Never change, Effie.

    I felt horrible for Peeta when I read this. His skill is hand-to-hand combat; how is he going to throw sacks of flour with injured hands?! I also like most of the peripheral characters more than Katniss (who I also like, geez), but I rarely like the main character in books the most.

    The winning tribute has to go out into the world as a hero after this, and it would look bad for the Capitol if they set a psycho cannibal (reavers?) loose on the population. It's fun to watch the nasty district kids kill each other: that's their punishment for treason. The Capitol's games breaking someone's mind and making them a danger to everyone doesn't make the the Capitol look good.

    • ldwy says:

      how is he going to throw sacks of flour with injured hands?!

      Oh, and reavers…also perfect.

    • DameDallas says:

      The SECOND I read about the cannibals, and how they become what they are forced to become, I screamed out "REAVERS."

      Good God, it's Hunger Games-Firefly slash. 🙂

  10. ldwy says:

    Oh, and this is wierd. Right now, I can link to this from the Mark Does Stuff Twitter, but it's not on the actual mainpage or anything yet. And if I use the "back" link to go to chapter 9, there is no "forward" link to this chapter…I guess it's just processing slowly?

    • Kate Monster says:

      Same here! Curiouser and curiouser.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Weird. It came up in my google reader. The same thing happened with MRHP sometimes. The internet can't handle Mark.

    • IsabelArcher2 says:

      Yeah, I've been checking the site religiously for the last several hours and there was no update. It didn't show up until two minutes ago, and there were already like 60 comments!!

  11. theupsides says:

    Also, I have to say, I think Collins WANTS us to side with Peeta. Unlike in other stories where we're supposed to agree with the narrator all the time, I feel like it's written in a way where we're supposed to be like KATNISS, Y U SO DUMB?

    I'm not sure if this is a good thing, due to bad writing, or what.

    • LH52184 says:

      I think that's exactly it…she knew the reader was going to face!palm every time Katniss misreads things or puts on the I'm-so-tough-and-unlikeable bravado. I, for one, am of the opinion that it's more fun to see the development of Katniss & Peeta's interactions at arm's length, that way you can chuckle at her cluelessness.

    • Karen says:

      I think it's a good thing. I love that Collins lets Katniss be flawed. She lets Katniss be wrong sometimes, and I think that makes Katniss seem more real and relatable.

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      It's practically been a drinking game for me as I go through these books: Take a drink every time your absolutely itch with the desire to smack Katniss and shout "Learn, child!"

  12. Susan Walker says:

    When Peeta started talking about wanting to die as himself, I teared up and by the end of the chapter tears were running down my cheeks. I don't know if I can take the games. I'm going to be a big mess by the end and I may need some serious therapy. *sob* I hate death.

  13. celestineangel1 says:

    sometimes I believe she is genuinely clueless to how awful she sounds.

    I'm convinced she IS clueless. Somehow the vast majority of the Capitol citizenry seems to have dissasociated itself from the concept that these are people they're dealing with, children they're sending to their deaths. I get the feeling that when the Capitol watches the Hunger Games, it's the same as us watching an episode of, say, CSI; we know it's not real when a character dies, but if we liked the character we still feel awful about their death. To the Capitol, somehow it's jsut not real to them in a way that matters. Not only that, but the children aren't real to them because they're District kids, not Capitol kids.

    Secondly, isn’t the point of the Games to turn people into violent savages for entertainment? I don’t get why they’d intervene when someone turned into just that.

    Well, how can the victor be entertaining afterward if all they want to do during their post-Game interview is eat dear Caesar?

  14. celestineangel1 says:

    Why is my comment too long?? 🙁

    I like Cinna. A lot. I hope to see him again.

    Agreeeeeed. Besides Peeta, Cinna is one of the most likeable characters in this whole thing so far. OMGs, I want Cinna to be my boyfriend. Katniss can go around being girl on fire and confused about everything, I'll take Cinna in a heartbeat.

  15. Treasure Cat says:

    Katniss' ever changing opinions on things does my head in. I can barely keep up with how she feels, sometimes it's like she doesn't have an opinion of her own and just assimilates what people tell her a normal person should be feeling.
    Peeta's desperate need to be himself and die as himself got to me though. Completely apart from the fact I love Peeta <3 it's the first time in the book it really really clicked for me how evil the Games are, how they take everything from the tributes (to the point where they take their lives) and they represent what has been taken from the citizens of Panem (their freedom and identity). When the only thing you have left is the skin you stand in and the brain you're using, it's totally understandable that you'd want to hold on that with both hands. It's one of the ~symbolic~ moments in the books that I love the most.

  16. DameDallas says:

    I don't think Katniss disagrees with Peeta about keeping his identity while the Games happen. She's angry at him because he wants to be himself and then die in the arena. Katniss wants to be herself AND live after the fact. So I don't think she's against keeping the one thing she has left that the Capitol hasn't ripped from her, but she also wants to keep it after this horrific crapiness is over. She has hope, and he doesn't, and that scares her which explains the anger.

    Also, since we are in Katniss' head, we get to see all of her endearing qualities and all of her flaws. I think the reason it is easier to like the supporting characters is because we only see what they let us see. It's like reality; we like other people more than we like ourselves sometimes. 🙂

    Even though Peeta truly is a sweet guy (I think – still suspicious), I am pretty sure that if we were inside of his head, we would be annoyed with his silly teenage boy thoughts and insecurities as well.

    So, yes, Katniss is impulsive and insecure and silly at times, but that's why I like her, because despite all of that, I know who she really is.

    I'm excited about this ride.

  17. DameDallas says:

    Also, Mark, you have read ahead? Good God, I feel like I'm losing my mind going one chapter at a time, but you were keeping me sane because someone had my back! 🙂
    Is anyone out there reading one chapter at a time still? y/y

    Thoughts on book:
    There's a bloodbath at Cornucopia??!? I don't know what this is, but it sounds horrific!!

    The arenas are historic sites, preserved aftr the Games. Popular destinations for Capitol residents to visit, to vacation. WUT.

    You can take part in Game reenactments?? My brain hurts. I think I stared at that paragraph for 30 seconds after reading it. I CANNOT compute how crazy these people are!

    I love Cinna even more. Can he be my teddy bear?

    Well, I guess the half glass full version of this chapter is at least the Games won't be in a freezing tundra??

    *tortured sigh* I feel like I need to collapse in sobs.

  18. Aimee says:

    Of course you have a bad feeling about this. It's the Hunger freakin' Games! 🙂

  19. IsabelArcher2 says:

    *Disclaimer* I wrote this last night, so it's not in reference to anything already posted.

    So, I was reading through the comments yesterday and thought maybe I’d make a couple of suggestions:
    1) We should all just shake hands and agree that Collins’ writing is bad and move on. If you feel like you need to point this out for the thousandth time, at least SHOW me how it’s bad instead of TELLING me: “I really noticed how terrible Collins’ writing was in this chapter. On page 148 she writes, ‘And what difference does it make? Whether we speak or not?’ I feel like this could all be part of one statement, and, as it’s written, I’m not even sure where to pause or put inflection.” See? That’s much more interesting than “Collins’ writing is terrible. It is the epitome of bad writing. It eats Edward Cullens’ sparkle stick.” (Or not…)

    2) While I’ve often lamented the absence on Facebook, I apparently dislike dislike buttons. There’s something about the anonymity of the action that makes it seem… cheap? Somehow? Anyway, unless the comment deeply offends your sensibilities (or is a spoiler), perhaps we should keep the use of these to a minimum. I don’t think dislike is the same as disagree. If a statement is reasonable, and you disagree with it, reply with a reasonable disagreement. If this continues to be a problem, I may just start hitting “like” on all of the inoffensive comments that have negative ratings until I effectively wipe your opinion from existence.

    Okay, guys, good pep talk!
    Who wants a high-five on the astral plane?

    • simply_shipping says:

      I agree with this comment.

      *astral plane high-five*

    • StefanieMarie says:

      I had a slight urge to dislike your comment. Not because I actually dislike it, but because I am juuuuuuust a little immature and I thought it would be ironic. But I didn't because, in general, I agree with you.

      • Yusra says:

        I'm in an immature mood, so I did, and then I felt immediately bad about it and now I can't 'un-dislike' it. 🙁

        Sorry Isabel. *high5*?

        • IsabelArcher2 says:

          It's okay. I still love you all! Plus, I would probably be tempted to ironically dislike this post as well. The desire to create irony is a powerful force. Also, I would have found it pretty funny if it would have gotten negative ratings!

    • pennylane27 says:

      I agree. HIGH-FIVE!
      Also, I see you have reached the green badge level, congrats! 😀

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Thank you for typing that out. I would also hope that your first suggestion extends to those that think something in the book is amazing. I'll bet that I'm missing tons of stuff as I sit here joking around about what the characters are having for dinner. You gotta tell me! I'm an idiot sometimes!

    • roxywilde says:

      I can't help but play devil's advocate a bit, as far as the bad writing goes. Yes, some of the run-on sentences drive me crazy, and the paragraph-long descriptions of food often seem more silly than necessary, but is there a chance any of it is on purpose? For one thing, food is a central focus of Katniss' life–where to get it, what to do with it, etc.–that it seems only natural for her to dwell on exactly what treasure lay waiting for her consumption. For another, Katniss doesn't strike me as the type of girl to waste pages and pages on verbose descriptions of the world around her. Again, this would have a lot to do with the necessity of survival: short, succinct, and easy to move on from if need be.

      One last bit: Collins' background is in screenwriting, specifically for TV. As a former film student, I can tell you unequivocally that the first rule of screenwriting is to keep it brief. Short, run-on sentences, descriptions of only the most necessary points for the scene (specifically, for the production designers and so forth), etc. It's what makes writing screenplays more challenging than most people realise, and also what makes them such a pain in the ass to read. I see A LOT of screenwriting techniques in these books, and for that I just can't bring myself to dismiss this influence entirely.

      Not that you aren't right about her shortcomings, but I love me a good debate 🙂

      • IsabelArcher2 says:

        Thank you for giving a well-thought out disagreement to my post, I also love a good debate.

        I agree with you that Collins' writing isn't actually as terrible as others have made it seem, I was actually just arguing against writing vague "I hate the way Collins writes" statements. Actually, the run-on sentences don't bother me as much as ones similar to the example I gave in my first post. I mostly enjoy the abrupt, blunt nature of her writing, but something like: "And what difference does it make? Whether we speak or not?" I am instantly taken out of the story because I'm not exactly sure how it should be read. Is there supposed to be rising/question-like inflection at the end of both sentences?

        Also, I'm glad you mentioned that she used to write screenplays. I think that clears up a lot of things about her writing, like her strong dialoge but occasionally problematic prose.

        • roxywilde says:

          Good point about the confusing inflection, and I apologize for missing it the first time around 😛 That definitely irks me–no matter what I'm reading–and to me that's just poor editing. I'd love to make excuses for it, but I just can't. Those sorts of run-ons are awful in any medium.

          Also, very good point about the dialog vs prose. That's one thing I'll give her plenty of credit for. That and using an extremely subjective and often unreliable narrator, which again plays up how good the dialog is. When you think about it, it's really interesting how invested we all seem to be in the ancillary characters, given that we really know so little about them except through dialog, so obviously that's her strong suit.

      • trash_addict says:

        Hmmm, I didn't realise about her screenwriting background! I feel a little bit silly now though, because a few of my comments have run along the lines of 'maybe she would be better writing for screen rather than novels'.

        • roxywilde says:

          Doesn’t sound silly to me! On the contrary, it sounds insightful 🙂

          Also explains the present tense, although that works just fine for me in the context of what mood she’s trying to create.

  20. Smurphy says:

    I was thinking about how normal her reaction is. I think because of the adult situation she is about to be in we forget she is a teenager with raging confusing hormones. The guy she is supposed to be getting ready to kill just admitted to loving her on national television. Then he admits its just strategy. (I think every lady out there can recall a time when a boy used us). Then they have a very confusing moment on the roof. Oh and wait lets not forget that she is about to enter a "game" where she will have to survive in the wilderness and probably kill others if she wants to be go home. Oh and she can't even figure out what her feelings for Peeta… or Gale for that matter.

    If I was in her situation I probably would have reacted much worse.

    BUT I don't think that is necessarily an excuse for her actions AND I <3 Peeta forever. I can't believe you didn't pick up on this sooner… I also love what he said on the roof. It is so true. If you become something else then the games really have won. Probably what happened to Haymitch.

    **Does anyone have an iPhone and is using IntenseDebate. I can't sign-on on my phone to comment and its driving me crazy.

    **Also can't wait until you post the next Mark re-reads HP. I have a surprise for you…. I've been looking for it for quite some time now and I finally found it!

    • exbestfriend says:

      **If you look on the right side column of this page, up at the top, there is a place to login under a heading that says "meta" and you can create a Word Press account that syncs with your intense debate account. It's weird, but it should work for you.

  21. DameDallas says:

    Oh no, Mark has disheartened us. Stay strong! We can do this! 🙂

  22. thefbm says:

    I truely love Cinna, and them being there for Katniss before she enters the arena, is my favorite scene in this book. I wish everyone had a Cinna in their life. And Mark I agree, that idea of visiting a place where kids murder each other for a vacation is beyond distrubing.

  23. roxywilde says:

    As much as I agree that Katniss' behavior in this chapter is super irritating, I have to say I'm glad she's written this way. Think of how much room she has to grow as a character now! (As opposed to some other popular literary characters we know…*ahem* rhymes with "Mella Mwan"…)

    Also, I'M SO GLAD YOUR READING THIS, MARK! I just got into the serious this week and I'm already halfway through Mockingjay. Loved your thoughts on Potter, and love your thoughts on this!

  24. Pepperama says:

    My reaction to Peeta's crush confession, though I thought it might be coming (but not during the interview, Jesus), was something along the lines of :

    "Good lord. What is it with this chick? Does she have chocolate flavored nipples?" (because I've seen "10 Things I Hate About You" way too many times, apparently. And also, chocolate > flavor than beer, honestly).

    At this point, Katniss is annoying me quite a lot. I understand why she is the way she is, why she acts the way she does– it makes sense to me– and I far from hate her, but I also kind of want to slap some sense into her. I mean, like, actually slap her. Which I justify by the fact that she is fictional and I therefore I can't actually do it so my violent urges are OK. Maybe. There are some things I really love and respect about her, but man she is a brat in this chapter, and she's been pretty awful for a lot of the last few chapters so…

    I just kind of felt like, Goddamnit WHY, Peeta??!! WHY?? She is not deserving of your affections

    Which is mean, but there it is.

  25. tchemgrrl says:

    I find it strange that it's much easier to like all the peripheral characters in this story than it is to like Katniss.

    I was noticing exactly the same thing in this chapter, when I realized I didn't want the games to start because there's presumably going to be a lot of Katniss alone with her attitude. SEEN IT. I'd much rather know a bit more about, say, Cinna's life. And it's frustrating that I can't tell whether I'm supposed to feel this way or not. Is Katniss an unreliable narrator seeing things from a skewed point of view? Or is Collins' tone not working, and I'm supposed to actually admire her? Since I haven't yet seen proof that any of those interesting peripheral characters actually have the backstory I'm hoping for, I'm starting to worry it's the latter.

    • prosodi says:

      Agreed. I don't know if it's the writing or…something, but I feel like I'm missing a connection to Katniss. The setting and periphery characters are fascinating, but Katniss just comes off as a vehicle to deliver them.

  26. cait0716 says:

    Peeta's comment on the roof and the discussions about it here remind of the character Valerie in V for Vendetta. She has a line that's something along the lines of "Our integrity sells for so little, yet it's all we really have. It's the very last inch of us, but in that inch we are free".

    I think it boils down to the idea that if you know who you are and stay true to that, no one can use you. Not really.

    • TheRedQueen says:

      That's one of my favourite lines from that whole (amazing) movie and I entirely agree – Peeta reminds me very much of Valerie in this scene.

      It is that, really – they can take you and throw you in this arena and put all these obstacles before you, but if you can always be yourself, be true to your own ideals and beliefs, even in the face of this madness, then in a small way, you win 😀

  27. Marie_Goos says:

    OMG SHIT IS SO REAL. Ahem. Anyway, I also think Peeta genuinely does had a crush on Katniss, despite the confession also being a technique to win sponsors. I mean, "She's just worried about her boyfriend" and "Besides, you didn't say you love me so what does it matter?" are pretty clear indicators. And I have to agree with what everyone's been saying about Collins' writing being about as subtle as a brick to the face (when the door to the roof was open I found myself saying "HELLO, IT'S BECAUSE PEETA'S OUT THERE, DUH"). I did like the mention of how people in past games became savage, it was another reminder that the safe little bubble we've been in so far is about to be SHREDDED LIKE FROSTED WHEAT CEREAL. And, actually, cannibalism is a good survival technique when you think about it. Does that make me awful? Yes. I also found it really chilling that they inject trackers into the contestants, though it makes sense; I wonder, do they leave the trackers in the winners? I'll bet they do.

    I totally agree with Peeta about keeping his identity in the games. I think this conversation was here because while Katniss disagrees with him now, she will come to a revelation about it later on in the story and somehow that will serve to spur her on at a crucial point. Maybe it'll spark a decision to rebel against the games even further, and attempt to get other tributes to join her? I could see her and Peeta teaming up for these purposes, maybe with some of the other tributes who have been mentioned.

    BTW is it possible to love Cinna any more than I do after this chapter? No, probably not. <3 GOODBYE CINNA MAY WE MEET AGAIN. ;_;

    • DameDallas says:

      it was another reminder that the safe little bubble we've been in so far is about to be SHREDDED LIKE FROSTED WHEAT CEREAL. HAHAHA. That's SO true…. and depressing.

      You made a good point about the trackers being left in the winners. Oooo. I'm pretty sure after the Games, some (if not all) of the winners want to go away and never be reminded of the unspeakable actions that were done for survival. Yet, they have to come back EVERY YEAR for the Games. Damn.
      They most definitely still have trackers in them.

      This is the first time that I am starting to believe that we are truly not prepared.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I think the tracking idea makes a lot of sense, but I wonder why they didn't think to inject it somewhere other than the forearm. It seems like it would be too easy for it to fall out because of an injury, or for a person to simply cut themselves deliberately to remove it (either to escape altogether or possibly to make it more difficult for the Gamemakers to engineer your death).

      Which also makes me wonder if at any point a tribute has done just that, and gotten out alive without winning. Katniss says that they tried to recover the bodies in the cannibalism case (possibly that was the only time they cared about that, but who knows?), but I imagine that sometimes that's impossible for them to do and they wouldn't necessarily know if a person went missing without dying.

  28. tlc says:

    It was chapters like these that made me wish these books were written in third-person. I like Katniss and I like Peeta, but I definitely felt that Collins was trying too hard to make us feel one way or another about them, if that makes any sense, and I hate it when authors get manipulative like that. Peeta especially–he seems far too idealized and "good." I wanted to know more about what was going through his head (and I wanted a break from Katniss). Seeing everything from a very paranoid, suspicious (even understandably so) narrator's point of view can make supporting characters seem so one-dimensional–which is fine, if it serves the narrative, but in this case it seems to get in the way of it.

    • Openattheclose says:

      I disagree, I think Peeta would come off as too good if we DIDN'T have Katniss being all suspicious in the narration. I think Katniss would come off better in third-person though.

  29. Meredith says:

    I am SO excited for you to read the rest. But.. you are completely unprepared. Just sayin. 😉

  30. Semalina says:

    There's some things I want to say…in response to a few comments…but I won't, because that would be spoiling. ;]

    • Yusra says:

      I hate self-promotion, but because I am dying for some spoilery conversation, head on over to the (as of yet) unofficial MR-SpoilerZone: 😀

  31. embers says:

    I agree with you that Peeta is the more appealing character, he is a little older and much better educated, and most of all he has never suffered the loss of everything that she has: so he is very idealistic and trusting of people. Katniss is the true existential hero: a survivor who doesn't trust anyone, she would be totally unlikable if it wasn't for how completely her heart melts for the weak and vulnerable. Most writers would be hesitant to have such a hard nosed/bad ass as a female lead character, but I appreciate Katniss for her strengths.

    And I do totally love Cinna, he is really something special!

    • Yusra says:

      They went to the same school… So, no, not better educated. He's just had the easier life.

    • Kripa says:

      Huh? Peeta's not older, he and Katniss are in the same year at school. GALE is older. But I find him about as interesting as Katniss, and Peeta trumps both of them, easily, IMO. (I don't dislike Gale or Katniss, FTR.)

  32. Silverilly says:

    This is real. This is happening.
    Okay, so I was dreading it too when I read this chapter, but I must admit I chuckled when I read this. Mark . . . it's a fiction novel. XD
    I think the point of the Games (I hate calling it that because I totally lose every time I say it) is not entirely for entertainment. It's about scaring the masses into obedience. But I think they wouldn't have wanted to show cannibalism because it might have disturbed the public to the point of action, the very thing the Capitol is trying to crush.

  33. Kylie says:

    Every single character in these books has more of a personality than any character in Twilight. *sigh*

    Peeta is awesome. He gets the games on a much more cerebral level than Katniss.

    As to the games, YOU ARE NOT PREPARED. AT ALL. PERIOD.

  34. karadudz says:


    – My reaction to Peeta's confession and Katniss' reaction was pretty much around the same (exact) words as OH NO. But then again I realized that there HAD to be some sort of love story line for there to be some sort of drama in the arena. And not just death and blood and bludgeoning people ya know.
    – That tracker injection felt painful. No I actually didn't feel it myself but it felt PAINFUL.
    – Oh Peeta, Peeta, Peeta. So mysterious and such a riddle he is. With his whole, love and affection and kind personality and his I WANT TO DIE AS MYSELF …… YEAH HE'S AWESOME.

  35. KaitlynRT says:

    I understand that Collins' writing is not the best, but I think it's important to keep the target audience in mind. This series is for older elementary school and middle school students. I know several teachers who have read them to fourth grade classes, and I think to some extent Collins needs to keep the writing simple so that she can draw in her target audience. No nine-year-old is going to be interested in a book he or she has to decipher. I get that some authors can do both (AKA J.K. Rowling), but she's still no Stephenie Meyer who is writing poorly and directing her books at high school students.

    Mostly it just makes me sad to see her criticized because I have loved her writing for a long time 🙁 Can we just look passed it?

  36. lossthief says:

    p.132: Even though I think Peeta is sincere, he's still playing the game (I can't believe I forgot that last time. I r teh dumbz)
    p.133: That was a messed up move Kat, not cool.
    p.133: "He made me look weak!" And thus the best way to respond is to physically attack and injure him a day before he has to fight for his life. ohwaitittotallyisn't
    p.133: Back up some there, Haymitch, you're too close for comfort right now. Back up off her grill.
    p.134: Peeta is even aware he's going to be part of a love triangle.
    p.134: "Silly and sparkly and forgettable" I know it most likely isn't, bit I like to think this is a jab at "Twilight"
    p.135: At least Kat acknowledges what she did was messed up
    p.136: "And the, because it's Effie and she's apparently required by law to say something awful" You earn a highfive for that line Katniss. *HIGHFIVE*
    p.137: Hey, Haymitch, GIVE BETTER ADVICE
    p.138: That passage was really good.
    p.139: Wow, I'm actually really enjoying this conversation. It's a little cliche, but it's nice to have some extended dialogue between the characters for a change.
    p.140: Collins, you had me, then you lost me.
    p.141: FLYING HOVERCRAFTS FROM NOWHERE. I'm sorry, but I just can't take hovercrafts seriously for some reason
    p.142: Holy shit! Katniss must be really stressed, she didn't even monologue about her breakfast!
    p.143: Vacations? Guess they don't have Disneyland in Panem.
    p.144: "Soon the taste of blood fills my mouth." Get a stress ball of something, god damn. Don't chew your fucking face open.
    p.144: I hate to ruin the very touching moment but…THAT IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE A HORRIBLE SLOGAN

    • lossthief says:

      overall, I'd say this was mixed chapter. There were parts I really liked (Peeta and Kat's convo on the roof) and parts I really hated (The ending of Peeta and Kat's convo) that they sort of balanced out to a middling chapter for me. Though the ending did make me excited for the next chapter.
      Grade: "C"

    • Sophie says:

      Yay for Peeta playing the game! My God, WHY DO I LOVE THAT JOKE SO MUCH?

    • theupsides says:

      p.134: Peeta is even aware he's going to be part of a love triangle.


    • Reonyea says:

      p.142: Holy shit! Katniss must be really stressed, she didn't even monologue about her breakfast!


    • Tabbyclaw says:

      You and me both on the hovercrafts. It's just…we've got this unreal but vaguely plausible world where everything somehow kindasorta meshes with what we've got now, and then there are HOVERCRAFTS APPEARING SILENTLY FROM THIN AIR.

      • Yusra says:

        Hovercrafts are pretty realistic even in our world. It's just that they're not economically feasible, methinks (a Panem split into districts where each district is responsible for x part of the economy, more feasible.)

    • Openattheclose says:

      p.143: Vacations? Guess they don't have Disneyland in Panem.

      Ha! Disneyland (and Disney World) is probably underwater right now. They did always say California was going to break off the mainland someday.

  37. Mim says:

    Okay, while I think it was rash and impulsive of Katniss to shove Peeta like that (though I understand why she did it and find it actually in-character) I think people are blowing the extent of his injury out of proportion. This is the Capitol. They have showers that de-tangle your hair and food that appears at the press of a button. Don't you think they have some advanced medical faculties as well? Peeta's hand will hardly be his biggest problems during the Games.

    As for Peeta himself, I wouldn't say this chapter is the one that made me fall in love with him and don my Team Peeta shirt. That moment comes a few chapters into the game. He says one line that captured my heart forever. I hope you can find it, Mark.

  38. Purreloek says:

    oh my god it's starting it's starting oh my god

    • DameDallas says:

      Said perfectly, my friend.
      I'm actually kind of hesitant to read the next chapter because I am absolutely positive that shit is about to get uber-real, and I honestly do not think I am prepared.

  39. Penquin47 says:

    Peeta's strategy here puts a whole new spin on them being the pair that did everything together – holding hands in the chariot, training together in public, eating together, etc. They only split privately, and only so Peeta could rehearse his "oh I love Katniss but I don't want to say because I never told her and it's kind of too late we're star-crossed lovers aren't we SO TRAGIC" interview, so Katniss's reaction would be genuine.

    I don't think Peeta would have come up with it if it weren't true on some level – Katniss is the one who shines and who everyone loved going into the interview, she had the eleven in training, why should he help her even more with the sponsors? I think he came up with it on the train ride, and talked to Haymitch about it when he was helping Haymitch after that first disastrous dinner. So that crush has been there for a while.

    And why not do the showmance? It gives the people making the show a storyline to build around, so people care more about the two of them and they get producer interference in their favor. Why NOT play the system?

  40. Cally_Black says:

    This is just sort of a generic picture of Katniss and Peeta in their Hunger Games outfits. Art done by burdge-bug:

    <img src

  41. Paola says:

    Here's how I see it: This brutal world is not as far-fetched and completely insane as everybody wants to believe for comfort, and that is precisely what makes it interesting…

    The great thing about fiction in general, and science fiction in particular, is that it can make us reflect about our own world, and see things perhaps we didn't notice before, or didn't want to think about. And talking about things that happen in fictional worlds might help us clear our views about our own.

    Of all those people justly feeling horrified at how the former arenas are preserved as historical site and how there are reenactments of the games… how many of you have visited the Coliseum in Rome? How many have participated in American Civil War reenactments (I hear the food is excelent!)? Because, when you think about it, that is exactly the same thing… Real people killed each other in brutal ways at those very places. Those people knew each other, and still did it, in hand-to-hand combat. Sometimes, as in the case of the Coliseum, they even did it for other people's entertainment.

    For the record, I have visited the Coliseum, and marveled at its magnificence, and admired the fact it still stands, and dominates Rome's views. I have bought trinkets and souvenirs from gift shops at the entrance. I have visited the chambers where the gladiators prepared themselves to die (don't forget they introduced themselves with "those who are about to die salute you"), accompanied by a tour guide. And I think they have reenactments there as well.

    Those were real people who died there, and it wasn't so long ago.

    So… yeah, not as incredibly impossible to believe. Which actually makes it much more powerful.

    Mark, I love that you are reading this. I didn't have your willpower, and finished the whole trilogy in a week, but I'm seriously considering re-reading Harry Potter with you the second time around… your reviews are really insightful!


  42. Openattheclose says:

    I love Peeta’s remarks in this chapter.

  43. rollingstone64 says:

    Although her reaction is a bit over-the-top, it seems to be in character for Katniss. She's not especially adept at seeing anything from others' viewpoints and she is definitely violent.

  44. amandajane5 says:

    I really admire your restraint, Mark! I got my set of the books yesterday, having absolutely no idea what they were about, and thought I'd just catch up with you so that I could read along…and I'm halfway through book two. I have no restraint!

  45. calimie says:

    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.

    This week there was some news about Pompey and in one of those archive footage videos they showed a room with several tourists round a cristal box in with a carbonized human body. It was sickening. I've never visited the place but I can see the interest: the buildings were kept exactly as they were at the time. But that was a person, not a vase, and they shouldn't be part of an exhibit like that.

    • grlgoddess says:

      I've always wanted to visit Pompeii, because I love that whole era of history, but the first time I saw images of those stone molds of people I got really freaked out. It's strange because you know that those stones were once people, and now they're just human shaped blobs, curled up in the same position they were when they died. I still want to go there someday, but that made me really realise that it isn't just an interesting piece of history, filled with facts and artifacts, but that something really horrific happened and a lot of people died.

  46. ladylarla says:

    Reading this book a chapter at a time is just getting harder every day. Its really jarring to have no real backstory on any of the other tributes but I guess if they are just targets for Katniss and Peeta then this just serves the cold hearted manner of the games. And really Peeta can do a lot better than Katniss, her whining is beginning to get to me, she's lucky I want to know what happens next because if it was just her, I'd be strongly considering quitting now. Oh yay get to read the next chapter now!

  47. Moonie says:

    Awww yiss. I was super annoyed at Katniss when she flipped out, buuuut I can see why. She was thrown off and this is a girl who likes being in constant control.
    Also despite my issues with this series, there are the things it does damn well and that is why I am planning on picking the first book up to reread. Also because I want to ~follow along~.

    Also I love love love love love love Peeta AND I AM NOT AFRAID TO ADMIT THAT.

  48. Revolution64 says:

    Okay, so now we have some sort of time frame. It's at least 74 years after it was published. 😀

    Anyways, I've decided something in this chapter. I am done trying to like Katniss. I love Peeta, Cinna, and hell, I even like Haymitch more than her. Effie is funny to me, rather than a privileged moron. But I fucking cannot stand Katniss. I am now rooting for Peeta to win. Harrumph.

    • Yusra says:

      We had a time frame earlier as well, with the reaping. (which caused me to vomit stats to completely and utterly disgust everyone and not be ~*~spoilery~*~ about it: [because I put so much thought into it I've copied it word-for-word])

      I believe it's the 74th Hunger Games that Peeta and Katniss partake in. That's 74 years after district 13 turned to mush. That's 1679 dead kids before them; 73 'winners'; of which there are only 2 from District 12. (assuming that 25% of the wins were non-Career tributes, only 18 other 'normal' kids won. Also assuming that 25% of the kills were Career tributes (so be taken as around 1260 district[normal] kids dying throughout the games).
      We can take it further by saying that, of the 20 non-Career winners, we know 1 died (the fate of the others is unknown), and 1 is relatively normal. From these 18, we can assume that 25% of them went senile or died. (because, when you're not a Career who was conditioned to kill from birth, killing 23 people is quite traumatising). That's around 5 other 'deaths' to the list. (Of course, I think this number may actually be larger).

      Those are some pretty dire statistics.
      I've forgotten what the point of this post was. I was too busy being shell-shocked by the numbers.

    • Karen says:

      lol. That's a fair enough opinion. I love Katniss because I think she's a fascinating character and I'm just so pleased that there's a female character like her running around. But she's not exactly likable.

  49. Tabbyclaw says:

    What I think (BECAUSE ALL OF YOU CARE, RIGHT?) is that the books should have started here (well, the begnning of the next chapter), with the first few minutes of the Games. Having that bite the reader in the face with the immediate EPIC REALNESS would justify the first-person present tense. Then, once the reader is sufficiently hooked and demanding to know how in the fourteen hells we got here, Collins could drop back a step and tell the previous nine chapters in past tense, which would make for less boring prose and an opportunity to be much less infodump-y with the backstory.

    • calimie says:

      Ugh, I have to disagree. I hate hate hate that technique, it makes me rush through the 'flashback' in order to get to the present which is what I care about.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Except for LOST, who did flashbacks INCREDIBLY well.

        • calimie says:

          Oh, you're right, I was thinking about books and the time when I read Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum and the flashback went on for about 400 pages. Miguel Delibes' El Hereje did the exact same thing. Tabbyclaw's idea gave me flashbacks of my despair when reading them.

          And yes, I only watched the first season of Lost but their flashbacks were excellent.

        • lossthief says:

          One series I always point out for this really well is the manga "Berzerk"

          It starts with 3 volumes establishing the setting and the main character, then spends 12 fucking volumes explaining his entire backstory and how he and the world he lives in has gotten to the point it was when we first met him.

      • Tabbyclaw says:

        But if the flashback were in standard first-person-past-tense, and if it started just a few pages into the book, would you really notice it or would you just treat the first bit as a sort of prologue? I am of the opinion that most readers would do so, and that a lot of people would have pushed the "introduction" to the corner of their minds by the time the scene cycled around again and became "Oh, that's how we got here."

        Also, I have to throw huge amounts of icon love at you. Karen Gillan may be the only celebrity I have ever been jealous of because she's just so freaking gorgeous, and never is Amy prettier than in that scene.

        • Tabbyclaw says:

          Now that I have the DVDs, my best friend is finally, slowly getting to watch Series 5. (We just got to "Flesh and Stone" last night.) She has already been warned about the sobbing wreck I will be when we get to "Vincent and the Doctor." Hell, I was a sobbing wreck when I showed her a particularly good fanvid about the episode, just to give her a vaguely nonspoilery idea of how beautifully shot it was.

          Of course, that will also be during the time that I will be messing with her head due to the big twist in the previous episode, so maybe she'll consider it divine retribution.

          • calimie says:

            Edited: So, I had a answer here but I'm replacing it with DOCTOR WHO IS AWESOME.

            I'm also deleting my comment above.

  50. No Appeal says:

    Peeta seems a bit too perfect and reasonable for my liking so far. I'm hoping we will see a different side to him once the games start.

  51. 4and6forever says:


    My head is exploding with the suspense of this chapter!!!! (And Katniss’ stupidity.) Honestly, she takes offense to everything. I know that I haven’t been through what Katniss has, but if a guy like Peeta announced his undying love for me on national television. Granted, it was not the prime time to do so, but….

    Anyways, Mark, I look forward to your reviews for the next chapter. That’s right folks, some major stuff goes down. You are not prepared.

  52. TheRedQueen says:

    I love that you were so concerned about Peeta's hands because when she did that, all I could think was "WAY TO INJURE THE BOY RIGHT BEFORE HE GOES AND FIGHTS TO THE DEATH. GOOD JOB, KATNISS." Because why would you do that?!

    Oh my god even reading your review made my stomach knot up. I like the way the build up of the night before/morning of the games goes because it reminded me of every stressful event I've had to face. Only what have I EVER faced that's even remotely as terrifying as this? Nothing – nothing in my whole life has ever compared to how awful the Games are. I can just feel myself tensing as I think of what Katniss and Peeta are about to face…

    Mark, you are NOT PREPARED.

  53. tethysdust says:

    My interpretation of Peeta in this chapter was a little bit different. I do think Peeta has feelings for Katniss. However, I think Peeta is in a very difficult and interesting position. He's accepted that he is going to die in the Games. As he said on the roof, he just wants to remain himself, and not let Capitol turn him into a monster. I think this is why he admitted his love for Katniss. Firstly, he could die knowing he'd at least spoken his feelings out loud. More importantly, I don't think he wanted to be remembered as a murderer. With what he did for Katniss, he used the last bit of freedom he had to help someone he cares about. That being said, I sort of hope he lives. And I admit that _maybe_ he exaggerated about all the boys liking her >.>.

    The one thing that stood out to me about Katniss in this chapter is that she is not a rebel. She has literally not done anything in her life that was not spelled out for her by an authority figure (her dad or Capitol). Even facing death, all she wants is to be the BEST tribute and play the game as best she can by the rules. It hasn't even occurred to her that she could do anything else. I kind of expected there to be a rebellion in here somewhere (like Battle Royale), but I really don't see how it could start with Katniss. Maybe someone else (like Peeta, Rue or Thresh… I don't know any other contestants names) can plan a rebellion and bully her into playing a clearly defined part. Altogether, I sort of hope she dies. Then maybe the narration could jump into the head of someone who actually interacts with the other contestants.

    Just to clarify, I am not really saying that I like Peeta more than Katniss. I just really want to know more about the other characters in this story. If we stick with Katniss-narration, I'm afraid the next ten chapters are going to be Katniss hiding alone in a tree and shooting arrows into vaguely human-shaped figures while thinking teen-angsty thoughts.

    • Lilah80 says:

      I disagree with your statement that she is not, in her own way, a rebel. She defies the Capitol every day by crossing the fence, by possessing weapons, by hunting for extra food and by selling it on the black market. That combination could easily be a death sentence if one of the local officials decided to make an example out of her.

      Oppressed people don't generally act out in grand suicidal gestures. Some do, certainly, but the way that most people oppose a tyrannical power is in small subversive ways, like buying goods off the black market. You can't do much good if you're dead, unless you become a martyr, but there's very little job satisfaction in being a martyr, and oh yes, they can also kill everyone you've ever loved if they feel like making a statement. I'm not saying it's not a noble decision to openly rebel against tyranny; it absolutely is, and I hope I would do so. But I think I'd be more likely to, say, hide a Jew in the basement than to make firebrand speeches on a street corner. I'm a pragmatist, not an idealist. Katniss is a pragmatist, Peeta is an idealist. It takes both kinds to overthrow tyranny.

  54. takashid says:

    "She does have every right to be upset at that and I can understand her anger at Peeta turning her into something to be desired romantically, which so many men do to women anyway."

    wait, what?
    mark im confused, are you saying that men shouldn't desire women romantically? you make it sound like having any love (or lust) for a women is wrong for some moral reason… i think your trying to say we shouldnt objectify women?


    • Openattheclose says:

      I'm not Mark, but this is what I think he meant.

      I think it's like when you get attention at work, not because of how hard you work, or the great job you do, but because you are good-looking. I think most people want to succeed (in Katniss' case, get sponsors), because of their abilities and not their looks or image. Peeta kind of took that away from Katniss. Now she won't get sponsors because she scored an 11, or because she can kickass with a bow and arrow. She'll get them because Peeta turned her into a doomed star-crossed lover. Of course, this is life or death, so I don't think it's that important in the end how Katniss gets her help to survive, just that she does (hopefully).

      I hope I didn't over step by trying to explain, Mark!

      • takashid says:

        I see. i guess that makes sense, i just never thought of it that way because, you know, life and death and "who cares how you get an edge as long as you do hunger games." thanks for explaining this for me!

  55. marylacey says:

    This is really the point where it started getting good for me. The Hunger Games is so messed up and crazy that I could not look away.
    Also, I agree about Katniss' behavior. It's a bit irritating, but I think the girl just automatically is a bit detached and assumes the worst, because of what life has been like for her in the past. I actually liked the character. She's kinda fierce, not gonna lie.

  56. IsabelArcher2 says:

    Guess what you guys?!?!? Tomorrow we get the first review in the Games!!!!! OMG SOOO EXCITE!!!

  57. Mauve_Avenger says:

    It's really weird to me that immediately after Peeta's revelation, the only thing Katniss thinks about it is that Peeta's using her to make himself seem more interesting and likeable, but when she actually confronts him about his actions, she doesn't complain that she's been used, she only complains that she's been made to seem weak (which doesn't make even a lick of sense).

    I find it strange (though I guess not too surprising) that Katniss has been undermined by things that have real roots in sexism, but it's never really shown that she sees it as such. She balks at being called 'sweetheart' by a man she barely knows, she gets outraged by the fact that she can't be sullen like the huge District 11 guy, and she gets angry at being used by Peeta and Haymitch, but Suzanne Collins never has her see it as part of a bigger picture.

    Which is more a complaint about the author's writing than Katniss as a character (who obviously has a lot to worry about without all that). Collins has no problem bashing into our heads that Katniss is at a disadvantage because she's poor and relatively small and sullen and hostile and can't or won't play the PR game when it means being fake, but the one place where it would be perfectly natural to show that the boys are perceived as better (when Katniss says that the District 11 boy can be sullen but she can't), she writes it off as a matter of his hulking appearance (which of course has nothing to do with gender, right?).

  58. Jen says:

    Well, considering that we like doing reenactments and touring places like the Coliseum, I don't know why it's so hard to imagine people treating the game arenas the same way.

    • DameDallas says:

      Well I think doing war reenactments are not the same as doing a Hunger Game one. War is a brutal act that is done between countries where heroes die unfortunately, but the Game is a barbaric entertainment institution where children die.
      And even though we visit the Coliseum, I don't know of anyone who who would entertain the thought to do a reenactment or not see that part of Rome's culture as barbaric. I would visit the Coliseum for its historical ways and not because people were murdered there.

      Also, I'm an architecture nerd. : )

    • ReptarLives says:

      I actually looked this up after somebody mentioned it earlier. They were called "The Games". The Gladiators were mostly like Career tribute types. They were slaves trained like athletes. They even had prep rooms before the fight. People would cheer on their killers. The oldest were about 25.
      We vacation there now. We don't embrace the barbarianism, but ignore,it act like it isn't there, as if it was never there. We consider it culture. We marvel at the society so unlike our own.
      It's not the same thing. But it isn't that much of a stretch is it?
      Remember history always repeats itself

  59. LOTRjunkie says:

    …why are so many of the comments basically just "You are not prepared, Mark!" and "Shit gets so real"? I think he gets the point, guys.

  60. Sizzlelucid says:

    I loved this chapter! I remember when I was reading this for the first time my palms were sweaty and I was having a panic attack during the anticipation at the end.

    One more thing…

    <img src=""&gt;

  61. jonni13 says:

    Fuck, I'm exhausted. This needs to become a movie. It's totally, utterly frightening. The cannibal story just chills me, ughh

  62. Ken says:

    Yeah, tourists go see the Coliseum…. but we're not STILL staging gladiator fights there or elsewhere. It's History, a whole different time and culture, not the site of something that's going to be repeated next year and the year after and so on for our continued entertainment. We don't watch gladiators, and that makes people who did alien and interesting to us.

    And tourists at Civil War sites are, for the most part, paying their respects. At least that's how it was when I went to Gettysburg.

  63. Ken says:

    "The one thing that stood out to me about Katniss in this chapter is that she is not a rebel. She has literally not done anything in her life that was not spelled out for her by an authority figure (her dad or Capitol). Even facing death, all she wants is to be the BEST tribute and play the game as best she can by the rules. It hasn't even occurred to her that she could do anything else. "

    Very good point! And it helps explain why she's thrown for such a huge loop from the moment she arrives (besides being scared out of her mind and all)… there really are no rules to the game, and the part that comes before has rules that she doesn't understand and that seem to change randomly on her, and it's driving her a little nuts. Back home, where she knows the rules, she copes pretty well. Here, not so much.

  64. For the record, the story I told you the other day Mark, I didn't end up pushing my friend into a vase and cutting her hands. I just spent the next 4 years making it absolutely clear it was never going to happen. Most likely because she was really skilled in Martial Arts and even though she believed in not attacking someone, I know for damn sure she would have defended herself.

  65. FlameRaven says:

    WAIT. TRAPS? WHAT? Why would you also put traps? Oh, that’s right, because the game is built by absolute savages.

    This is an important thing to remember, and why people keep saying 'you are not prepared.' This society is so completely twisted that it just keeps finding new ways to surprise you with their inventive cruelty. It makes me really, REALLY wonder just what went down in the past to turn the US into Panem, but more importantly, how in hell these crazy policies were ever thought up or APPROVED by anyone. I mean, sure, police state, total defeat of the enemy, but still. BUT STILL. Who thinks this shit up?

    Also, you are totally right about Cinna. He really is my favorite character, despite his rather minor role. Possibly because he seems like the ONLY decent person around.

  66. FlameRaven says:

    As for everyone not liking Katniss… well, she definitely isn't the most likable character. Having finished the series myself, I'll say that I DO think Collins does this on purpose. Katniss' character is crafted pretty specifically for what Collins does with her. But what that is, you'll have to read to find out. 😉

    Myself, I didn't notice Katniss being that irritating when I read through the books I was too busy getting my hate on for the Capitol and their crazy bullshit. As you may have noticed by now, basically every chapter they come up with some new insanity to throw at the characters (and thus the readers) that leaves us going "What? WHAT?! COME ON NOW. WTF!" So I was a little too distracted by that to notice Katniss much, although I did find her irritating at other points. She CAN be a little painfully clueless sometimes. But at least most of the other characters are interesting.

  67. Ida says:

    I don't remember it that what it says, but to be hones I don't see how she and Gale chould have done anything without getting speared themselves. If a hovercraft is after you you're dead meat from what I know of them.

  68. Kelly L. says:

    I think that part towards the end of the chapter was so excellently done. I read your review of it before I actually got my grubby little hands on a copy of the book, but in both cases, I could actually FEEL the tension and the apprehension and I have to think that that last hour or however long, before she was "launched", had to be the very worst – knowing that death is possibly coming, but you can't DO anything but wait. You can't run, you can't really prepare yourself, because you don't know what you are preparing yourself against. *I* wanted to just hyperventilate at this part.

  69. amy says:

    damn you, Mark!I laughed when i read ”dazzled”!

  70. RainaWeather says:

    I guess I'm in the minority. I don't like Peeta in this chapter. I thought on the roof he was a bit of an asshole, mainly because of this exchange:

    "Care about what Haymitch said. About staying alive."
    Peeta smiles at me, sad and mocking. "Okay. Thanks for the tip, sweetheart."
    It's like a slap in the face. His use of Haymitch's patronizing endearment. – page 142

    All that patronizing bullshit would piss me off too. Especially the "sweetheart" comment which usually means "you're so dumb and naive and I'm gonna pat you on the head. Now run off and be a good little girl."

  71. MashedBanana says:

    Personally I think the whole rooftop thing is about characterization. It makes katniss into an anti-hero, like huck Finn. It’s the whole practicality vs romanticism thing. Peeta’s had a pretty cushy life, save for his mom slapping him around a bit so he can afford luxuries like pride and dignity. Katniss on the otherhand has been basically fighting for her life since she was five so she doesn’t really care about shit like that. So yeah. Katniss is an anti-hero. She’s supposed to be nitty gritty and hard to like. Honestly I think it’s pretty realistic considering the sucky life she’s had

  72. Tasneemoo says:

    I like cinna's character – mainly because he reminds me of cinnamon whirl danishes <3

  73. Hailey says:

    Oh, Mark.
    You're reviews make me laugh so much! You're excellent at this. I've read most of what you have up and can't help but feel for you and wish you luck. And of course, read what you've written which is awesome. Since I know you've finished this book by now, I have a link to share (I'll admit, I cried my eyes out when I watched this before reading, then SOBBED afterwords. just.. just… gosh.)

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