Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 15

In the fifteenth chapter of The Hunger Games, Katniss finds out she’s alive and hasn’t been eaten to death by ants. In the process, she makes a new friend. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.

I don’t like how this chapter opens.

I enter a nightmare from which I wake repeatedly only to find a great terror awaiting me. All the things I dread most, all the things I dread for others manifest in such vivid detail I can’t help but believe they’re real. Each time I wake, I think, At last, this is over, but it isn’t. It’s only the beginning of a new chapter of torture. How many ways do I watch Prim die? Relive my father’s last moments? Feel my own body ripped apart? This is the nature of the tracker jacker venom, so carefully created to target the place where fear lives in your brain.

I just don’t like how this is written. I mean, this is ripe for description! She FUCKING HALLUCINATED ANTS BORING INTO HER EYES. Why don’t we get any sort of description of these dreams? They’re relegated to simple lines of prose and not even poetic ones at that.

I had to say it. SORRY, THAT’S HOW IT IS.

Katniss wakes up in incredible pain from the stings, from running into trees, and from the after effects of the poison. She has no idea how long she’s been unconscious, but she suspects it’s been over twenty-four hours.

It took Collins a while to get to it (and I honestly expected it sooner), but Katniss finally starts to come to the realization that she has confusing and conflicting feelings toward Peeta. She momentarily thinks of the brief discussion she had with Gale the morning of the day Prim was chosen in the reaping, where Gale suggested they run away from District 12.

And suddenly, I’m not thinking of Gale but of Peeta and…Peeta! He saved my life! I think. Because by the time we met up, I couldn’t tell what was real and what the tracker jacker venom had caused me to imagine. But if he did, and my instincts tell me he did, what for? Is he simply working the Lover Boy angle he initiated at the interview? Or was he actually trying to protect me? And if he was, what was he doing with those Careers in the first place? None of it makes sense.

It doesn’t right now, I’ll agree with that. But Collins foreshadowed it early and has now all but confirmed that Katniss is going to have some sort of conflict between deciding how she feels about these two guys. And I’m also betting that Peeta’s actions really happened AND he did them out of respect and love for Katniss. I mean…it does seem pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

Katniss gains a sense of hope when she remembers that she stole the bow and arrows! Oh yeah, FROM UNDER A DISINTEGRATING BODY. Never mind that, though, because now she has the most badass weapon! Well, badass to her skill set, but still!

Actually, this whole short chapter is full of moments where, for once, things actually go right for her. She kills a rabbit, gets to eat, gets rehydrated, takes a sort of bath in the pool of water, kills some sort of strange bird, and then—THEN!!!—Rue finds Katniss!

Oh, Rue. You are so full of joy for me.

Rue is from District 11, where their specialty is agriculture, and she finds leaves to help cure Katniss’s stings. What’s more interesting to me is the information she provides about her own district, though:

“I’d have though, in District Eelven, you’d have a bit more to eat than us. You know, since you grow the food,” I say.

Rue’s eyes widen. “Oh, no, we’re not allowed to eat the crops.”

“They arrest you or something?” I ask.

“They whip you and make everyone else watch,” says Rue. “They mayor’s very strict about it.”

Ah, public humiliation. Generally a pretty effective technique.

It’s interesting, hearing about her life. We have so little communication with anyone outside our district. In fact, I wonder if the Gamemakers are blocking out our conversation, because even though the information seems harmless, they don’t want people in different districts to know about one another.

I didn’t actually know this, since Katniss seemed to demonstrate a knowledge of the other districts, but I suppose it’s ideal to prevent people from learning how others are treated and, even more importantly, learning that they have things in common.

Rue proves to be a little bundle of information as well. The sunglasses that were in Katniss’s pack aren’t actually sunglasses, she says. They’re night vision glasses. THESE WILL COME INTO PLAY LATER, CALLING IT NOW. Chekov’s Gun much?

My heart was warmed by Katniss telling Rue to sleep in the sleeping bag with her. I mean…look, the past four chapters have been so harrowing, depressing, and violent that even this brief time for us to catch our breath is welcome. Now that there are less tributes left, things are going to stretch out a bit more. (Do the Games have a time limit like the one in Battle Royale? I don’t recall Katniss saying they do.) I am fearing the moment that Rue dies because I have a feeling it’s going to happen.

In the meantime, the girls from Districts One and Four are the only ones who died during this debacle. Only ten tributes are left. Rue also says that Peeta has left the Careers and is off on his own; the Careers are stockpiling weapons and supplies near the lake. Rue worries aloud that they are simply too strong because they have so many supplies.

“Say they didn’t. Say the supplies were gone. How long would they last?” I say. “I mean, it’s the Hunger Games, right?”

“But, Katniss, they’re not hungry,” says Rue.

“No, they’re not. That’s the problem,” I agree. And for the first time, I have a plan. A plan that isn’t motivated by the need for flight and evasion. An offensive plan. “I think we’re going to have to fix that, Rue.”

Oh, fuck yes. It’s about time for Katniss to turn into the BADASS OF THE CENTURY.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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185 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 15

  1. Sharon says:

    Gahhh, I've held out this long, but I don't think I can go without actually reading the books at this point. Mark, your reviews are great, but I feel like I'm missing out on ALL THE FUN at this point 🙂

  2. Frances says:

    oh loving these cliffhangers 🙂

  3. azurefalls says:

    I have to say, I kind of liked the narration at the start of this chapter – it left a hell of a lot to the imagination, and I think it worked quite well. Saying that, I'm still not a total fan of Collins' style; but this is one instance where I appreciated it.

    And I LOVE Rue! She's probably my favourite character. Feisty little Rue. ^^

    The Games don't have a time limit, as far as I can remember. I don't think it's really touched on in the books. (So that's not a spoiler, right?)

  4. bread says:

    The games don't have a time limit, but the Gamemakers do add stuff like walls of fire to drive the games forward.

    The Capitol is so disturbing but I think the Gamemakers are the worst. They are a group of people who sit around and plan out different ways to kill children. I find them to be totally disgusting. I can't even imagine how one would apply for such a job and it sounds like its a coveted position too. Just gross.

    I love Rue and her wicked spying skills. Katniss just runs around sleeping in trees and dehydrating all over the place, but not Rue. Rue JUMPS from tree to tree and knows everyone's business.

  5. Treasure Cat says:

    I like that Katniss teamed up with Rue, and pretty much all of us saw it coming a mile off, but I kind of think it was a little against the grain of the story and Katniss' personality. It was shown to us pretty crystal clearly in the early chapters how Katniss has a hard time trusting people, and then she's shoved into this situation (the Games) where trust is impossible because only one person will survive. Rue reminds her of her sister, yes, but Katniss never seems to call into question trusting Rue, which I just don't understand. She even volunteers to share her sleeping bag with Rue even though that would make it even easier for Rue to kill her if she wanted. I dont think this fact affects the story in a negative way at all, its just something that struck me as a little odd.
    I love that Katniss, now she has a friend and a bow, comes up with this plan to gain whatever advantage they can. She's found her footing now and, like she says, is ready to go on the offensive. Food is central, Katniss can feed herself (especially now she has a bow), the Careers cant. Food will give her an edge and she is 100% ready to act on that. You go girl, you show them how badass you can be.

    • MissRose99 says:

      Yeah, well if you had someone in a game where you were meant to kill each other point out a tracker jacker's nest (either she did it as "hey watch out for that" or to hint to drop it); and that same girl brought leaves to cure your stings…. I think your trust issues would pretty much dissolve as well.

      We already know Katniss has an issue with killing anyone (in foresight the nest she dropped was out of defense… she probably would not have killed anyone at that point besides the fact that THEY WERE WAITING at the bottom of the tree to KILL HER; and the two girls didn't run – which would have saved them)- let alone a 12 year old girl she's felt a peculiar bond to from the very beginning.

      Though rarely, sometimes trust is granted in an instant. Almost automatically. A gut response.

  6. kurify says:

    Re-reading all of these recaps is really making me want to read the series over again, even if I just did before Mockingjay was released. I'm noticing a lot of little things I didn't see before, and seeing them through someone else's eyes is incredibly interesting.

    This book is a crazy experience the first time through because you're not actually expecting her to put these characters through this – but it keeps on happening.

  7. Many Rainbows says:

    from my recollection, there is no real time limit to the games. as long as things are "interesting" and "entertaining" it could take as long as they like, but if viewers feel like nothing interesting is happening, the Gamemakers will step in and cause excitement ( such as the wall of fire coming after Katniss). At least, that is the way it would appear it works?

  8. Andrew says:

    I think this is one of the least clifhangery cliffhangers in the book because you can kind of guess what's going to happen. Thank god for that- I think it was about this point that I finally went to sleep when I read this the first time.

    • Treasure Cat says:

      Personally I feel that Collins' cliffhangers are less cliffhangers in the traditional sense, and more of just a break in the very fast-paced, action-packed narrative going on. To me a cliffhanger is an event where you have no idea what will happen next, it could go any number of different ways, whereas Collins is a little sloppy with her foreshadowing, so for me it's pretty easy to guess what will happen in many cases. That doesn't mean I want to stop reading, like everyone else I could hardly put this book down, but that wasn't because of the chapter endings, it was because I found it difficult to extract myself from the exciting flow of the book.

  9. Stephalopolis says:

    You know.. I didn't really think about it before, but you're right in your analysis of the opening paragraph. We get paragrapsh of minute details of every food item she eats while in the capitol, but here, where we would love some more description on those horrific nightmares, we just get "Oh, and I had some pretty awful nightmares." I would have loved to experience some of those nightmares with her."But the stiffness in my joints suggests more than a day has passed, even two possibly. If so, I'll have no way of knowing which tributes survived that tracker jacker attack."Yet again, another way the Gamemakers make this more difficult for the participants than it has to be. Just think- if you miss out on the nightly recap, and you don't have any allies, you are now screwed for the rest of the game. You have no clue how many tributes are remaining, who's still out there. The Hunger Games are also a game of strategy, and just by missing one night, your strategy is screwed for the remaining time in the arena.

    • Stephalopolis says:

      I've always kind of assumed that there wasn't a time limit to the Hunger Games, but if it starts taking too long, the Gamemakers would start deploying more traps (like the wall of fire) to get people closer in range to each other and more likely to kill each other.Oh Peeta, Peeta, Peeta. What a conundrum you are. Also: RUE!!!! I loved the image of little Rue getting in the backpack with Katniss. And so far, Rue sems to be an awesome ally- Katniss brings the meat and offense, while Rue brings veggies and defense (knowledge, medical help). It's a nice moment, I think, when Katniss discovers how "good" (relatively) they have it in District 12. Like Katniss, I loved learning about District 11. I'm not positive, but my guess is that 11 might be where I live with all the agriculture (must go check out the Hunger Games Wiki).
      And YES!!!!! Offense time!!!!!

    • Stephalopolis says:

      I've always kind of assumed that there wasn't a time limit to the Hunger Games, but if it starts taking too long, the Gamemakers would start deploying more traps (like the wall of fire) to get people closer in range to each other and more likely to kill each other.Oh Peeta, Peeta, Peeta. What a conundrum you are. Also: RUE!!!! I loved the image of little Rue getting in the backpack with Katniss. And so far, Rue sems to be an awesome ally- Katniss brings the meat and offense, while Rue brings veggies and defense (knowledge, medical help). It's a nice moment, I think, when Katniss discovers how "good" (relatively) they have it in District 12. Like Katniss, I loved learning about District 11. I'm not positive, but my guess is that 11 might be where I live with all the agriculture (must go check out the Hunger Games Wiki).
      And YES!!!!! Offense time!!!!!

    • ldwy says:

      I do understand the point Mark makes, and you make, about wanting to experience the nightmares, but I think I know why Collins would keep it brief and vague here. (Not that I thought that paragraph was well written, really, or that I know I'm right, but this seems likely.) My idea of the worst thing that could happen to Prim and your idea of the worst thing that could happen to Prim, or since we insert ourselves very much into the first person narration, to any family member we love, could be drastically different.

      The way it's left vague, the reader is invited to supply the rest. What if Collins' version wasn't as horrifying to me as my version? I think the fact that this allows the reader to essentially tailor Katniss' thoughts to their own personal fears is the one real strength of the way Collins wrote this section.

      That said, I'm done playing devil's advocate, and I, too, would have liked to see what new terrors Collins' truly mad imagination would have thought up. Especially coming off of how nerve-wracking and terrifying the last chapter's hallucinations were. Maybe she just thought we'd had enough.

      • pennylane27 says:

        Yeah, it was actually kind of a relief that she didn't elaborate more on the hallucinations, I'd had enough already with the ants boring into eyes stuff.
        And while I understand why some people would like to read more about that, I think that this way we can imagine a lot of things (which I preferred not to do – I am such a coward)

    • TyBlack says:

      I think it's the point of view that causes the amounts of detail we get. Of course Katniss would go on about the food because it is the only thing she has said that she enjoy about the Capitol. On the other hand, why would Katniss want to be descriptive when telling about her hallucinations, she would have to relive them to describe them in extreme detail.

  10. super hoodie says:

    I just saw on the Mark Watches site you're doing Dr. Who and I was wondering where you take suggestions for what to put on your review list so I thought I'd just do it in the comments.


    It's a British series and the first season is only 6 episodes and the second season is almost over. It's about a group of kids doing community service, there's a storm, and they get powers. I can't say much about it without spoiling but it's much better than the description. Please watch it but don't look it up because the wiki is full of spoilers. Saying this now because newest episode today. *so excite*

    • theupsides says:

      I agree with this comment and love your username, haha.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I really, really want to watch Misfits on my own because that one kid from Red Riding is in it and I don't think I could do episode-to-episode reviewing on it. Like…I can already tell I'll like it.

      Is it available to watch on iTunes? Like…could I buy the episodes?

      • super hoodie says:

        *sigh* I'm a little bit disappoint but I respect wanting to watch it on your own. Reviewing has probably taken up your life. And yeah you will probably like it, I am so freakin' in love with it right now! Even with finals this week I'm still rewatching episodes everyday.

        I want to help you watch it but I'm seriously computer stupid, I don't know how to work iTunes even though I just tried looking it up on there. I don't think it's there but I could be wrong. All I know is that my sister downloads the episodes onto the hard drive and we watch it on TV with my brother's PS3. Hopefully later today someone will see this comment thread and help you out.

        I fail. I am shaming this username and should have used my usual. zuzu will go crawl into the corner now.

      • theupsides says:

        You're going to love it.

        I don't think you can. You can download them from here:

        I'd feel worse about downloading them, but…you know. I don't live in the UK.

  11. Warmouh says:

    I think Rue is my favorite. I like to pretend she is secretly a badass and will just whip out a shotgun and just whoop the competition and just be all the best things. Of course, it might have something to do with the fact she's from from an argricultural district. Growing up in the country, I do love a good farmer.

    I can't say anything else because of spoilers.

    • Steeple says:

      She'd have to be husky to wield a shotgun! Otherwise yes I agree that Rue should be a Little Miss Badass, even though I like her present badassness of treehopping and hiding.

      • Warmouh says:

        No she would simply wield a shotgun with all her badass to keep her from being thrown back by the recoil. She's so awesome I can't even think up a silly nickname for her like I did the others!

  12. simply_shipping says:

    I'm kind of surprised the Gamemakers didn't use any of their firewall-like traps after a day or more of no deaths. I guess all the stung tributes suffering horribly was enough to keep the Capitol entertained,

    • zuzu says:

      well the people that got stung by tracker jackers are probably unconscious so they can't force them to wake up and ~entertain~

    • corporatecake says:

      I think that after the tracker jacker attack, the Gamemakers have resigned themselves to a "slow" period. Plus, I'm sure that they're interested to see what comes of the Katniss/Rue partnership.

    • ldwy says:

      It's even possible that they did to some other tributes, perhaps one or more of those who weren't involved in the tracker jacker conflict, but since Katniss wasn't involved, we don't know.

  13. tchemgrrl says:

    I like how the pairing of Rue and Katniss seems perfectly suited to both of their strengths of disappearing into the woods and surviving there, and how their knowledge is complementary not identical. It's much better than if they'd teamed up with the careers.

    Plus, it makes my working class heart flutter to see them compare notes the way they do.

    • bread says:

      They are perfect for each other. Rue and Katniss = OTP!

      I love how Rue's got the DL, while Katniss is like Mark with the WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? all the time.

      • ldwy says:

        Oh no! I went to upvote this, and hit the wrong button, and now it's at zero. 🙁 I'm really sorry. I hope lots of people come upvote to make up for it! WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? and Katniss like Mark in that respect just made me grin so much.

  14. theupsides says:

    My favorite part of this chapter was definitely getting to learn more about District 11. The world Collins has created is still kind of a mystery to us at this point, so it's really interesting to get little pieces of information here and there to understand how the districts function and how The Capitol keeps them obedient.

    • ldwy says:

      I agree, and limiting contact between the districts makes some much sense, from the Capitol's view. If they can't communicate, they feel even more isolated, plus they can't fuel off each other to incite rebellion or work together or anything. Terrible, but logical. So Katniss' curiosity was great. I shared it.

  15. monkeybutter says:

    I don't think there's an explicit time limit like in Battle Royale, but the tributes know they have to seek each other out or there will be random attacks from the gamemakers. I like that difference because the situation is more desperate and the story seems to move quicker.

    • roxywilde says:

      Yes, and as we saw from the WALL OF FIRE, they don't take kindly to tributes just plain trying to survive. The random attacks both steer tributes towards confrontation and risk killing them along the way.

  16. Kripa says:

    Did anyone else notice how Rue was like, "Wha? Peeta's acting? I don't think so." EVERYONE SEES IT BUT YOU, KATNISS.

  17. mugglemomof2 says:

    Rue is one of the best characters of this book! I adore her so!

    I remember thinking at the end of this chapter- "I think someone's about to open a can of whoop ass!"

    Good grief- I don't know how you can all be doing this one chapter at a time. I just couldn't! Period!

  18. jsh357 says:

    So Katniss can see in the dark now.

    I wonder how her victims will…

    <img src=">
    EDIT: Aw, it won't take my DEAL WITH IT Gif. Curses.

  19. DameDallas says:

    I really did enjoy this chapter. It felt like Collins was giving us a breather from the total mayhem in the previous chapters.
    It was also a very informative chapter about District 11 and Rue's life, which basically shows another level on how oppressive the Capitol truly is. They kill if you have a small piece of their technology; they do not abide for one to have the fruits of one's labor; they discourage talks between the districts.

    This is the nature of the tracker jacker venom, so carefully created to target the place where fear lives in your brain.
    Ugh. The Capitol is SO MEAN you guys.

    Aw, a sweet taste reminds Katniss of Gale. Very clever, Collins.

    Oh, Rue, you make me happy.


    • roxywilde says:

      …they do not abide for one to have the fruits of one's labor…

      Can you imagine how dehumanizing that is? It's not even "essentially" slavery; it IS slavery. Work and work and work, but don't ever hope to reap the benefits. I shudder to think that there are some places in the world that still condone this sort of thing.

  20. potlid007 says:

    Katniss is like Maximum Ride: a badass, but a dumb ass.
    Honestly, how could you not see the Peeta thing…it's obvious, right? Or am I thinking too much about this and he's really a psycho who doesn't care about anything…??

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

  21. potlid007 says:

    Katniss is like Maximum Ride: a badass, but a dumb ass.
    Honestly, how could you not see the Peeta thing…it's obvious, right? Or am I thinking too much about this and he's really a psycho who doesn't care about anything…??

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    • TheRedQueen says:

      That GIF is amazing, so you know.

    • roxywilde says:

      I feel like it's just not on her radar. She mentioned in the early chapters that she's the only girl who doesn't go gaga over Gale (please excuse the alliteration; I couldn't resist!). One of the things I respect about Katniss is that she isn't a slave to girlish stereotypes, but it's mostly because the pressures of her life make those stereotypes a little inconvenient. In other words, it's not that she's too dumb to notice, it's that she's never thought (or had to think) about it before and thus misses those signs completely.

      Katniss Everdeen: excellent hunter, terrible girlfriend.

    • Karen says:

      I think that Katniss doesn't have a lot of social skills and isn't exactly the best at reading people or social situations.

    • Kate says:

      While my life and Katniss's obviously don't have many similarities beyond our names (thank goodness for that!) I can empathize with her oblivion over Peeta. I used to have that problem… apparently chatting me up in high school was kind of like hitting on a brick wall because I just didn't get it. I offered the same openness and friendship to boys and girls, so I didn't understand that when a boy did that, it meant he liked me (another thing I missed: that when I did that, they thought I liked them back…. awkward). This culminated in an incident in which my best friend literally waved her hand in front of my face and asked me if I could see it, or if I was actually blind.

      Short version: there are people out there who are actually like Katniss in this regard. In my case, it arose out of a combination of low self-esteem (what? him? like me? that's ridiculous!) and a recognition that platonic relationships can exist between members of different genders.

  22. corporatecake says:

    This chapter is a nice break from the total destruction of the last couple. I guess that, in terms of pacing, Collins had to let us take a breath after the mindfuck of ANTS BORING INTO EYES. Another firewall or something would just be too much to handle.

    When we actually got to know what Rue is like in this chapter, I liked her a lot better than Prim. Thankfully Collins gave her more of a personality than ~sweet and pure~ like Prim is always mentioned as being. The idea that this twelve year old kid is in the Hunger Games, has been forced to hide in trees to evade capture by teenagers who want to MURDER HER, and everything about District 11, just really makes me want to hug her. 🙁 I can't begrudge Katniss teaming up with her.

  23. ldwy says:

    Ah, public humiliation. Generally a pretty effective technique.

    Yes. Not to mention, being whipped is painful, and extremely dangerous!

  24. Randomcheeses says:

    This chapter breaks my heart so much, because Rue seems so nice and cheerful and provides hope and. . . well, basically, she has Too Good For This Sinful Earth written all over her. I predict that she's doomed.

    Excuse me while I go cry. T_T

  25. Ida says:

    WordPress is doing evil things to my browser. Whenever I want to read the replies people write it makes my internet slow down until it freezes entirely. It doesn’t happen anywhere else. Whyyy!??!?!

    Rue! Sweet innocent Rue. I don’t get the impression that she’s planning on killing anyone at this point. Witch makes it even more heartbreaking that only one of them can live. What will Katniss do if she and Rue is the last survivors? I just don’t see Rue turning into a killer at all and she trusts Katniss so much.

    And I don't believe for a second that Peeta is not doing everything he can to keep Katniss alive. The "he's playing the game" is just her thingking in my opinion.

  26. gredandforge says:

    I'm excited to see her take action and go on the offensive! I'm rooting for her to win, of course, because she's the main character and we're taking this journey with her but then I remember .. winning means killing at least a dozen innocent kids, or watching them die. There must be another way 🙁

  27. bell_erin_a says:

    Ah, public humiliation. Generally a pretty effective technique.

    Mmm, doesn't life in District 11 sound just… peachy?!
    Okay, bad puns done.

    Yay for Rue! It kind of seems this alliance goes against Katniss's personality where she doesn't trust anyone, but good for her anyway. I love Rue, and it's good Katniss realizes she's going to have to team up with someone if she's going to do anything effective enough to get out alive. And that someone might as well be Rue, SINCE SHE'S A TOTAL(LY AWESOME) BADASS!

  28. andreah1234 says:

    *walks in with Team Rue t-shirt* What? She is really cool ok? And it totally matches my Team Peeta one 😉

    Ok, this chapter, I have a few problems with this chapter, most of them related to the start of it BUT I can ignore them because we got Rue. If you guys haven't notice I have a thing for "background" characters, and I can't help but love this one. Her character is so intriguing for me because I find it awful that a 12 year old girl is involved in such an horrible thing as the games, but yet managed to maintain her "inocence" of sorts and still find a place in her heart to help Katniss. Not to mention the chance in character she inflics in the Kat, a gentliness and kindness we only see when she talks/thinks about Prim, something that makes her a bit more likeable, and makes me see a bit of light in this dark, extremely bloody mess.

  29. andreah1234 says:

    And Katniss, honey, I know you are a teenage girl and that makes you automatically clueless but, seriously (siriusly) everybody know Peeta is good and that you have feelings for him, well everyone but you. Rue can see it and she is 12. The Careers can see it and they are a bunch of mean assholes. Even I can see it and I have the shortest attention span ever. But meh, I can let it pass as long as you keep being BADASS.

  30. xkcdhobbes says:

    KAtniss still hasn't reacted to the fact that she has killed someone. Even if it was indirectly, she still did it. I dislike that.

    • Penquin47 says:

      I think she's able to disassociate her responsibility for the deaths, because of several factors. 1. This is the Hunger Games. She means to survive, and that means killing at least once, probably several times. 2. She's a hunter, she's used to death. It's not like she's never seen anything die because of her. 3. Not only was this an act of self-defense because of the Games, the people she killed were ACTIVELY HUNTING HER and threatening her with death as soon as they could get their hands on her. 4. She didn't shoot the arrow or hold the knife, she dropped trackerjackers which are living things with potential ideas of their own. 5. She got hurt too, and pretty badly.

      The main factor in her not yet processing, though, is the day and a half of hallucinations she's been going through, I think. Plus getting herself back on her feet and taking the chance of partnering up with Rue, and maybe it'll actually hit her later. Maybe none of the deaths will hit her until after the Games – the constant adrenaline can't be good for deep thoughts.

    • corporatecake says:

      I just don't think that Katniss has had time for any kind of reflection right now. She was trying to get herself back together after spending a day passed on, hallucinating, with poison in her system, then feed herself, hydrate herself, stay away from other tributes, form an alliance with Rue, etc. No time to sit down and think about how she was actually responsible for someone's death.

  31. Mauve_Avenger says:

    It seemed to me that Katniss had only basic information about what each district produces, along with the stuff she could infer from past Hunger Games' tributes, whereas she knows absolutely nothing about the actual living/working conditions in those districts. And I'm guessing the latter is specifically what the Gamemakers' are censoring, rather than having a blanket ban on any and all District mentions.

    I do think it's great that Katniss finally makes the connection between harsher living conditions and laxer law enforcement. I think there's a tinge of jealousy and resentment when she talks about District 12 being the poorest and most ridiculed, but she's realizing that there are trade-offs involved; I just wonder when (if ever) she'll be able to extend that logic to the Career Tributes, their districts, and the ordinary people living in the Capitol itself.

    • Karen says:

      I mean, I'm sure they learn about the other districts in school, but of course, they're only learning what the Capitol wants them to learn.

    • corporatecake says:

      Sometimes it bugs me that Katniss is so hard on the Careers. I understand why she is, and they certainly don't seem like nice people at all, but it's pretty easy, I think, to see why they are the way they are, and it just makes me really sad for these kids, because the choices seem to be to live in a poor District where you're facing starvation and cruel law enforcement, and a rich one, being a part of a culture that glorifies violence and encourages you to volunteer for the Hunger Games where you're very likely to die. I mean, that's just awful to me.

  32. Garth says:

    I'm surprised Katniss knows so little about the other districts. Don't viewers get short bio's of all the contestants before the games start, surely she would have picked something up from that (even if it was, and I suspect it would be, rosy cheeked, people smiling and waving in fields propaganda)?

    I like Rue very much… better start preparing myself for her inevitable death,

  33. vaporeon13204 says:

    Yay for bad-ass Katniss! X3 And Rue is such a cutie, seriously. <3

  34. Openattheclose says:

    Did someone say BADASS OF THE CENTURY? I guess technically they're in different centuries… but still, don't forget the BAMF.

    <img src=>

  35. Marie_Goos says:


    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    Props to the Hubble telescope and Amy Manzolillo (creator of the font "Captain")

  36. roxywilde says:

    It didn't stick out so much to me before, but I agree completely that the opening of the chapter could have been handled A LOT better, especially after the crazy descriptions from the previous chapter. As scary as it is to think of all of those unspeakable horrors replaying through her brain, it left me strangely unaffected to read it in this way. Imagination only goes so far; sometimes, you need the author to guide you through the nightmares they are presenting. Collins really did miss a great opportunity with that one.

    Also, to reiterate my comment from yesterday's post, I think the fact that Katniss thinks she knows so much more about the other districts than she does demonstrates the Capitol's real weapon: keeping information from the people in order to further assert their control over them. Not only does it keep the numbers down in the event of a possible future rebellion, but it keeps the chances of that rebellion way down, as well. It's sickeningly brilliant.

  37. pennylane27 says:

    Ok, I have to say that the end of this chapter is when I finally took a break and ate and went to the bathroom. The end was the least cliffhangery cliffhanger in a while.

    Actually the whole chapter for me was a relief, I was getting all stiff from sitting with my muscles clenched tight from stress. Like Mark said, Things go well for Katniss, SHE HAS THE BOW YAY! And then Rue appears in stealth mode OH HOW I LOVE HER. She is so smart and observant, and she's just TWELVE. I love how she can see that the Peeta act may not be entirely an act while Katniss is so damn clueless. I guess children just see things in a much simpler way.


  38. Yusra says:

    Ooo, you'll like this Mark. (by which I mean the rest of the book) XD

  39. Mauve_Avenger says:

    Was anyone else annoyed by the fact that Rue tells Katniss that the glasses "aren't for sun, they're for darkness" and then says that District 11 workers use them at night to harvest high up in trees where the torchlight doesn't reach, and not a minute later Katniss asks:

    "So what do these do?"

    Oh, Katniss. Sherlock is not impressed with the level of your reasoning skills:
    <img src=""&gt;

    Even Lestrade is disappointed, frankly:
    <img src=""&gt;

  40. tethysdust says:

    I agree that is was a missed opportunity when Collins didn't describe the hallucinations. I don't typically sit around thinking of the most horrible way to kill a 12 year old girl, for one thing, so I'm not imagining anything at all from reading that paragraph. Furthermore, Katniss' worst nightmares could have given us more insight into her character.

    A few issues of characterization bothered me this chapter. Katniss has deliberately learned nothing at all about the other tributes. I'm assuming this was so that it wouldn't hurt her so much emotionally when they died (or she killed them). This appears to have worked extremely well, as she has not had so much as one tiny little twinge of regret about killing those two girls. It was self-defense, and I agree that she had to do it, but it seems like becoming a murderer should affect her. Even if she feels absolutely no guilt over it, she should acknowledge that this reaction is not normal.

    And continuing that line, I agree with other posters that Katniss interaction with Rue seems very out of character. She went from "I don't want to know anything about you" to "Tell me your life story!" in the blink of an eye. It would have felt more authentic if Katniss thought something like:

    "Rue seemed very skinny for a girl who grew up in the Agriculture District. Surely her life must have been easier than mine. I almost wanted to ask her about it, but then I decided there was no point. Only one of us could walk out of here alive, anyway."

    However, I did want to learn more about Rue, so I don't really mind. I'm just going to claim the hallucinogens were still fucking up Katniss' brain chemistry, so she was feeling uncharacteristically sentimental.

    • Warmouth says:

      Well, we can take into account that Katniss thinks of Rue as someone like Prim. I don't know, I think that might help.

    • corporatecake says:

      I don't think that it was out of character for Katniss. Rue reminds her of Prim, and I think that it's been well-established that that's her soft spot, the vulnerable and the innocent.

  41. Karen says:

    In fact, I wonder if the Gamemakers are blocking out our conversation, because even though the information seems harmless, they don’t want people in different districts to know about one another.

    I love this bit of information. It just tells us so much about the Capitol and gives us insight into the purpose of the Games. I think this really tells us just how much controlling information means to the Capitol. Really, no individual district is strong enough to orchestrate an uprising on its own, and if you prevent the districts from knowing anything about the others… then you prevent them being able to work together. Then you have the Games in which you take children from each district and force them to turn against each other and kill one another. So not only do the Games enforce the feeling of helplessness, they also prevent the districts from seeing the others as allies since they are your children's competition in the Games.

    It's quite brilliant if you think about it and if you're evil and want to be an oppressive regime.

  42. BradSmith5 says:

    I was thinking that opening paragraph could also be used to describe my thoughts on the first third of this book, so it's not all bad. 😉

    These current chapters, however, are great! Just the right amount of chaos, followed by beautiful dialog between Katniss and Rue. I only wish I knew who they were going to sabotage now! Why in the world weren't rivalries formed back in training!? Yeah, Katniss––you go get those nameless guys that we've barely seen! Woo!

  43. IsabelArcher2 says:

    So when I read this: "Then I spot the tip of a child's boot just peeking out from behind the trunk of a tree," I was thinking, why is Rue wearing childrens' boots? Those must hinder with her running and stuff because they're tight. But then I realized that OH WAIT RUE IS A TWELVE YEAR OLD CHILD AND THESE ARE CHILDREN KILLING EACH OTHER. Then I got sad.

    Also, I thought there was an interesting change in Katniss' thoughts once she got that bow. She's suddenly like, I CAN KILL EVERYONE FOREVER WITH MY TEETH!!! It reminds me a bit of the discussion that she had with Peeta on the rooftop about how most contenders become bloodthirsty and lose themselves in the Games.

  44. kaleidoscoptics says:

    A cliffhanger that's actually intriguing and well-placed instead of another sudden shock? Incredible.

    Really, I like cliffhangers. But it feels like Collins does them exactly the same way almost every chapter. Chapter's going on as normal and SUDDENLY! DANGER! Cut to black! It reminds me a lot of a TV show where they have to have the characters in some mortal danger right before it goes to commercial.

  45. Sizzlelucid says:

    I hope I’m not too late to the party. I’ve brought along some fanart for this chapter to share!

    Also, just because I like Peeta,

    Found all of these on deviantArt!

  46. Silverilly says:

    Fuck the rest of them, RUE IS THE BEST!!!!

  47. IsabelArcher2 says:

    Also, this is how I reacted when Katniss teamed up with Rue:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  48. Ellen says:

    LOVE RUE FOREVER and they better not cast someone irritating for her in the movie. jussaying. <.<

  49. Penquin47 says:

    We definitely needed this break, not as much as Katniss did I suppose but seriously there was SO MUCH CHAOS.

    I like that Katniss is still focused on survival now and dealing with having become a murderer later. I'm sure she'll deal with it, but I like that she's having a delayed reaction. It just fits her character so well, especially after the DAY AND A HALF OF ANT HALLUCINATIONS.

    I want a Team Rue shirt. Rue, Katniss, and Peeta need to ALL make it out of here somehow. Which is why I would fail at writing this – I'd wimp out and the Gamemakers would let all three survive because of the Loverboy angle and the Rue = Prim and our beloved Girl Who Was On Fire and Is Now Burned *can't* kill her or let Peeta do it. As much as I want them all to survive, I don't want it to be because the Gamemakers change the rules for our Special Snowflakes.

  50. lossthief says:

    p.193: This seems like some oddly specific hallucinations.
    p.194: Wait, a beetle? OMG IT'S RITA SKEETER. I joke, but this does make me wonder if the bugs are actually the cameras used to follow the tributes.
    p.194: I'm sure Rue's fine, she's a fucking tree ninja after all.
    p.194: FLASHBACK TIME with a hint of shipping fodder.
    p.194: okay, not so much a hint, more of a fucking brick of foreshadowing
    p.195: Obviously he has been playing the fucking game this whole time, how do you not get this yet?
    p.195: "Gale and Peeta do not coexist well together in my head" as if I didn't have enough evidence of a future love triangle.
    p.195: I like Kat's bloodlust here.
    p.196: Don't clean yourself! You had camouflage
    p.197: hup, Kat's an elf again.
    p.198: Does it make me a terrible person for wanting to see Kat kill somebody again?
    p.198: For some reason, I can't help but think that Rue is going to turn out to be a tree sprite or some shit.
    p.199: "Do my neck! Do my cheek!" I have a filthy imagination.
    p.199: Calling it now: Rue dies as a result of them teaming up. No way a character this innocent lasts long.
    p.200: "We're not allowed to eat the crops." Okay, now the Capitol is just getting silly with some of their rules.
    p.202: Rue better kill somebody with that fucking slingshot. I DEMAND MORE KILLING IN MY FICTION. ALL PRAISE THE GLORIOUS CAPITOL.
    p.202: Night vision glasses? is this god damned splinter cell no?
    p.203: It's like the world's saddest sleepover ever.
    p.204: See, even Rue figured out that Peeta *~*WUVS*~* Katniss.
    p.204: Is this some scheming I see? YES!
    Overall, this chapter was alright. Like you mark, I wanted a bit more from the hallucinations. Show us this stuff, don't just say it and then tell us it's horrible. Make me feel disgusted by this. Also, I'm glad Kat has a bow now, and I reeeeaaallllyyyyy want her to use it on one of the remaining careers. Though I think it would be interesting for her to have to kill a non-career tribute to survive. Maybe even have her be the instigator.
    Grade: "B-"

  51. lossthief says:

    so for some reason, WordPress won't let me see the 3rd page of comments that I say literally 2 minutes ago.

  52. Lizz says:

    I think this is around the time in the book I started telling myself that Katniss and Peeta will meet up and form a little family unit with Rue, and someone escape the games and the game makers would realize they're horrible people and entertain themselves with talent shows like EVERYONE ELSE and Katniss and co would just be HAPPY FOREVER. THE END.

  53. peacockdawson says:

    "he did them out of respect and love for Katniss. I mean…it does seem pretty obvious, doesn’t it?"

    Well duh, Mark. It's like written as a law somewhere that all main characters have to be TOTAL DUMB-ASSES at some point. XP

  54. jonni13 says:

    Oh boy, I have questions that NEED ANSWERING!!!!! I'm still so shocked at the cruelty of the games, and yet it's not that far fetched (humans are capable of the most astounding cruelty) so it makes it all the more nightmarish. Ugh, not surprising that you had freaky dreams Mark.

  55. Moonie says:

    It's so weird for me to see you doing this day by day- See, the whole reason I even found this series was because I needed a book to read after a test in English. I had neeeever heard of the Hunger Games before. One of my friends owned it and lent me his copy during lunch.

    I ended up really liking the first few chapters, but I knew I had to return it the next day. …… so I finished the entire thing that night. Yeah.

    So basically, cliff hangers, constant nightmares.. not a factor for me. It was a one-day thing. ahha
    So it's very interesting to see the perspective of someone who is going sloooooowwllly.

    Also I love, love, love Rue!

    I wonder what they show when everyone in the games is sleeping… "Awww, look at all the cute little teenagers enjoying what may be their last night of sleep. Ain't it sweet?"

  56. MissRose99 says:

    I also like the part where she says she can feel Haymitch grimacing when she forms her alliance with Rue. I love how she can tell how he's gonna react to everything while he "watches his tv at home." She's always wondering or almost answering what he is saying in her head.

  57. notemily says:

    I was just thinking, and maybe this has been said already, but–Katniss would know a bit about the other districts just from watching past Hunger Games. The interviews, the way they all dress up to represent their districts, and the reapings themselves would teach her basic things about each district, just not the inside knowledge of how people live every day and what they have to deal with. The Capitol-approved version, I guess.

    Which makes me wonder if Katniss ever goes to school. Or Prim. It seems like school would be another place for the Capitol to pass on their propaganda, but maybe they'd be opposed to people learning too much because they're just supposed to work and keep quiet? Hang on, does Katniss mention school earlier in the book? I HAVE FORGOTTEN. AND I JUST READ IT.

    • lossthief says:

      IIRC, they do go to school, though if there's a mandatory age of attendance isn't spoken of. I know Kat was at school when she was 12, and that's where she saw Peeta and the Dandelion that inspired her to go outside the fence for food. I'm not sure if she still goes to school, but I know she said Prim would be watching a recap of the Hunger Games each day at her school during lunch.

      • notemily says:

        Yes, the dandelion! That's the scene I was thinking of. And yeah, I forgot Prim goes to school. I wonder if attendance is mandatory? Katniss makes it sound like all she did was hunt all day and I can see her being like "fuck school, I need to provide for my family" unless there was a huge prohibition against skipping school.

        • corporatecake says:

          She talks about going hunting after school. I guess if they have a day that goes from morning until early afternoon, that leaves her and Gale quite a bit of time to hunt, even in winter.

  58. bookling says:

    I didn’t actually know this, since Katniss seemed to demonstrate a knowledge of the other districts, but I suppose it’s ideal to prevent people from learning how others are treated and, even more importantly, learning that they have things in common.

    I think they know a little bit about the other districts from things like the opening ceremony of the Games — so you know 12 has coal, 4 does fishing, 1 has precious gems, etc. But they probably don't know much more, and the CERTAINLY don't know about the ways people are oppressed in other districts.

  59. Mreeb says:

    I've finally had time to read and catch up! Yay! I agree, the writing isn't my favourite so far (though, actually, not that we're into the games, I like it a lot more) but the story is intense and isn't holding back from the brutality, so that's awesome. Not that I like characters getting hurt; in fact quite the opposite. It is because I know they have been and therefore likely will be hurt again that makes this whole thing so suspenseful, so well done on that front. On that subject, I have a few things to call. I agree that Peeta won't die until the end. For one thing, he hasn't been in it enough for it to either break our hearts (though, I'd still be pretty upset at this point…what can I say, so far I like the guy) or be satisfying or bittersweet if it turns out he is manipulating everyone's feelings to win and betrays us all. I still think he's genuine in his affections for Katniss, though. So maybe he'll sacrifice himself for her at some point? That seems pretty predictable, though. Anyways, I think (oh god, but I love her, nooooo) Rue will die within the next few chapters. Just long enough for us to get to know her a little better and love her even more, but soon enough that it really brings home the tragedy fairly early. Because once the sweet, wonderful twelve-year-old girl has been killed, we know that no one really is safe. I am really not looking forward to this. I will probably cry. And…now that I've typed it out, I don't want it to happen even more somehow. D: OKAY READING THE NEXT CHAPTER NOW. And then I will wait patiently for the next review before I move on. Becuase now that I'm caught up, I can't read chapter after chapter. I'm not sure how you manage this one chapter at a time, Mark.

  60. karadudz says:

    I think Collins has a thing for cliffhangers.

    • Tabbyclaw says:


      "And then the house exploded!"
      "OMG! Then what happened next?"
      "I'm not going to tell you."

  61. Quizzical says:

    i got so sucked in to this book! the cover looked awful, the first page made me eye roll (first person, present tense? seriously?). i still have issues with the style, like you do, mark.

    but wow. when i got started, i read the whole thing in two days, and am hanging out to start the second book asap!

    it's a really intriguing world, and the style, as irritating as it can be at times, does push ahead, and have you wanting to know what is next.

  62. Kelly L. says:

    OMG. THE BADASSERY. When they stop doing things like chasing Katniss with fire (!), then she gets to stop and be a badass.

    Also: PEETA! I am sad that I doubted him. I don't think Katniss hallucinated him at all.

  63. RainaWeather says:

    Yeah I needed more description too.

    When Rue says they aren't allowed to eat the crops, it reminds me of what i learned about the famine in Ireland in the 1840s. Even though the people in Ireland were starving, the country was still exporting food because the crops that grew in abundance were "money crops," not crops for eating.

    And I knew there was something about those sunglasses.

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  65. Rue says:

    Stop cusin'

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