In the twenty-first chapter of The Hunger Games, Katniss heads to the Cornucopia to retrieve the much-needed backpack with Peeta’s medical supplies. Once she’s there, though, the Games become even more brutal than before. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.
JESUS CHRIST, HOW DID THIS GET EVEN WORSE THAN BEFORE.
I debate leaving the knife with Peeta so he’ll have some protection while I’m gone, but there’s really no point. He was right about camouflage being his final defense. But I still might have use for the knife. Who knows what I’ll encounter?
Well, who knows what Peeta might encounter? Leave him SOMETHING so maybe he can like…stab someone’s leg? I mean, you’re basically giving up on him while simultaneously not giving up on him. Right? Though…he is asleep. And he’ll be asleep for close to a full day, so perhaps not giving him the knife is actually a good idea.
So cold, so bitterly cold tonight. As if the Gamemakers have sent an infusion of frozen air across the arena, which may be exactly what they’ve done. I lie next to Peeta in the bag, trying absorb every bit of his fever heat.
I wonder if it’s ever explained exactly how the arena does this. It’s like my question about the cameras: what’s the apparatus that makes it so cold? So hot? That shoots fireballs? Where does all this come from?
Just wondering aloud. DO NOT ANSWER.
…but I can’t help thinking of my mother and Prim, wondering if they’ll sleep a wink tonight. At this late stage in the Games, with an important event like the feast, school will probably be canceled.
Holy shit, really??? Does that inevitably mean that there is some kid in District 12 who is way stoked that the feast is happening because they won’t have to go to school??? WHY ARE THESE THE THOUGHTS THAT GO THROUGH MY HEAD.
And Gale. I know him. He won’t be shouting and cheering. But he’ll be watching, every moment, every twist and turn, and willing me to come home. I wonder if he’s hoping that Peeta makes it as well. Gale’s not my boyfriend, but would he be, if I opened that door? He talked about us running away together. Was that just a practical calculation of our chances of survival away from the district? Or something more?
I wonder what he makes of all this kissing.
Yawn. Don’t care. Whether Peeta survives or not is irrelevant to the foreshadowing here: I bet Gale will be mad/jealous that Katniss made out with Peeta. CALLING IT NOW.
It’s as cold as a November night at home. One where I’ve slipped into the woods, lantern in hand, to join Gale at some prearranged place where we’ll sit bundled together, sipping herb tea from metal flasks wrapped in quilting, hoping game will pass our way as the morning comes on. Oh, Gale, I think. If only you had my back now….
I admit that in a story as grandiose as this, subtlety is hard to come by. Still, I can’t help but wish things were a bit more nuanced. This sort of foreshadowing and reflection is blunt and direct, which is definitely in style for the novel, but it’s getting to be a bit tiring.
Also, this sentence is written very strangely. Are the flasks wrapped in quilting or the two of them? Strange sentence is strange.
I will take a moment to stop complaining to say that, however brief it may be, the scene before the action happens is pretty slow and suspenseful. I like the idea that Katniss is sitting at the edge of the clearing and just waiting for any sort of activity. It makes every opportunity seem sinister.
Just as the first ray of sun glints off the gold Cornucopia, there’s a disturbance on the plain.
Why did I think this sentence would end, “…there’s a disturbance in the force”? Thanks, Lucas.
The ground before the mouth of the horn splits in two and a round table with a snowy white cloth rises into the arena. On the table sit four backpacks, two large ones with the humbers 2 and 11, a medium-size green one with the number 5, and a tiny orange one—really I could carry it around my wrist—that must be marked with a 12.
I swear I am not one of those Americans who demands that all strange things be explained to me, but I seriously want to know how the mechanics of this arena work. So did they plan on this feast and plant a table underground in the beginning? Do they just set up all kinds of shit around the arena and just use what they need? WHY DO I WANT TO KNOW ALL OF THIS?
The table has just clicked into place when a figure darts out of the Cornucopia, snags the green backpack, and speeds off. Foxface! Leave it to her to come up with such a clever and risky idea!
No, seriously, FOXFACE FOR 2012. I honestly hope it comes down to the two of them in the end and Foxface wins and the other two novels are about her. I’d rather enjoy that.
She’s cost me time, too, because by now it’s clear that I must get to the table next. Anyone who beats me to it will easily scoop up my pack and be gone. Without hesitation, I sprint for the table. I can sense the emergence of danger before I see it. Fortunately, the first knife comes whizzing in on my right side so I can hear it and I’m able to deflect it with my bow. I turn, drawing back the bowstring and send an arrow straight at Clove’s heart. She turns just enough to avoid a fatal hit, but the point punctures her upper left arm.
You know what Collins does really well? Write action scenes. And maybe it’s her history as a television writer, but goddamn, this shit is pretty exciting.
My hand slips between the straps and I yank it up on my arm, it’s really too small to fit on any other part of my anatomy, and I’m turning to fire again when the second knife catches me in the forehead. It slices above my right eyebrow, opening a gash that sends a gush running down my face, blinding my eye, filling my mouth with the sharp, metallic taste of my own blood. I stagger backward but still manage to send my readied arrow in the general direction of my assailant. I know as it leaves my hands it will miss. And then Clove slams into me, knocking me flat on my back, pinning my shoulders to the ground with her knees.
Well, fuck. FUCK. Holy shit, what the fuck just happened??? Oh god, WHAT IS GOING ON how the shit fuck what
“Where’s your boyfriend, District Twelve? Still hanging on?” she asks.
Well, as long as we’re talking I’m alive. “He’s out there now. Hunting Cato,” I snarl at her. Then I scream at the top of my lungs. “Peeta!”
Clove jams her fist into my windpipe, very effectively cutting off my voice.
JESUS WHY. WHY. OH MY GOD THAT HAS TO BE SO PAINFUL.
Clove opens her jacket. It’s lined with an impressive array of knives. She carefully selects an almost dainty-looking number with a cruel, curved blade. “I promised Cato if he let me have you, I’d give the audience a good show.”
This. Is. Horrifying. Legitimately frightening to me.
“I think…” she almost purrs. “I think we’ll start with your mouth.” I clamp my teeth together as she teasingly traces the outline of my lips with the tip of the blood.
Maybe the creepiest thing in the whole book? I wonder what Clove was like before the Games. Did she develop this sort of savage attitude during the Games or did the Games bring it out of her?
“Yes, I don’t think you’ll have much use for your lips anymore. Want to blow Lover Boy one last kiss?” she asks. I work up a mouthful of blood and saliva and spit it in her face. She flushes with rage.
Katniss: A (Kind of Disgusting) Badass In The Face Of Imminent Death.
But as I feel the tip open the first cut at my lip, some great force yanks Clove from my body and then she’s screaming. I’m too stunned at first, unable to process what has happened. Has Peeta somehow come to my rescue? Have the Gamemakers sent in some wild animal to add to the fun? Has a hovercraft inexplicably plucked her into the air?
Wait, I’m sorry, HOW DOES THAT LAST THING HAPPEN. Like, in what situation would a hovercraft show up and do that?
Clove is dangling a foot off the ground, imprisoned in Tresh’s arms. I let out a gasp, seeing him like that, towering over me, holding Clove like a rag doll. I remember him as big, but he seems more massive, more powerful than I even recall. If anything, he seems to have gained weight in the arena. He flips Clove around and flings her onto the ground.
Oh. My. God. THIS IS WILD. Has Thresh been busy becoming a TOTAL BEEFCAKE during the Games???
He brutally interrogates Clove about Rue and I remember they were from the same district. Clove denies it (and is actually telling the truth, but that doesn’t really matter), and then JESUS CHRIST WHAT THE FUCK.
Thresh brings the rock down hard against Clove’s temple. It’s not bleeding, but I can see the dent in her skull and I know that she’s a goner. There’s still life in her now though, in the rapid rise and fall of her chest, the low moan escaping her lips.
Thresh just bashed Clove’s skull in. I simply cannot believe this is happening, guys. THIS IS MADNESS.
Thresh turns on Katniss to ask her what Clove meant about being Rue’s “ally.” Katniss is honest about teaming up with her and surprisingly manages to explain as much of what happened at the end as possible.
“I tried to save her, I did. But he got there first. District One,” I say. Maybe if he knows I helped Rue, he won’t choose some slow, sadistic end for me.
“And you killed him?” he demands.
“Yes. I killed him. And buried her in flowers,” I say. “And I sang her to sleep.”
Tears spring in my eyes. The tension, the fight goes out of me at the memory. And I’m overwhelmed by Rue, and the pain in my head, and my fear of Thresh, and the moaning of the dying girl a few feet away.
Ok, now I believe Katniss. I mean…it’s one of the few moments that Katniss expresses a powerful emotion and I genuinely feel for her. I suppose this is all beginning to dawn on me; it really is overwhelming to think about what has happened since the beginning. District 12 seems so far away.
In a moment of supreme mercy, Thresh actually lets Katniss go, as a way to thank her for taking care of Rue. It’s not that surprising, but I’m ok with that because this chapter has already been one giant clusterfuck of action.
As Katniss takes off, backpack in hand, and turns at the end of the forest to see Thresh stumbling off with BOTH remaining backpacks. IN YOUR FACE, CATO. I hope whatever you needed in your bag CAUSES YOU TO DIE BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE IT. Muahahahahaaha what has this book turned me into
Katniss, still bleeding profusely (WHICH CANNOT BE GOOD, RIGHT???), heads up the stream towards the rocks where Peeta is being hidden. Her blood loss doesn’t stop and even though she surmises that Cato will probably go after his backpack, I was still beginning to get worried about Katniss’s condition. She makes it back to the cave, still struggling to keep herself from bleeding to death, and manages to give Peeta the injection of the medicine to cure his blood infection.
My hands go to my head and then drop to my lap, slick with blood.
The last thing I remember is an exquisitely beautiful green-and-silver moth landing on the curve of my wrist.
Man, only five left. Shit is so goddamn real.