Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 23

In the twenty-third chapter of The Hunger Games, Peeta and Katniss are kind of annoying, people die, and then everything is kind of confusing? Kind of? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.

So I was talking to my friend Kripa on AIM and she decided there are only two names that logically make sense for us to use when referring to Katniss and Peeta:



Both make me giggle wildly and I’d like to continue referring to them as such because I am a mere child inside. Who has a problem with this oh that’s right not one of you do.

Every cell in my body wants me to dig into the stew and cram it, handful by handful into my mouth. But Peeta’s voice stops me. “We better take it slow on that stew. Remember the first night on the train? The rich food made me sick and I wasn’t even starving then.”

When I first read this, I assumed he meant like, “rich people food” and I laughed.

We each have a roll, half an apple, and an egg-size serving of stew and rice.

Because I absolutely fail at reading comprehension today, for some reason I thought that she was describing the portion of food Haymitch sent them and I thought HOW ON EARTH ARE YOU GOING TO RATION THAT. Then I realized she was describing the actual ration.

I swear I can do this.

“What was that you were saying just before the food arrived? Something about me…no competition…best thing that ever happened to you…”

“I don’t remember that last part,” I say, hoping it’s too dim in here for the cameras to pick up my blush.

“Oh, that’s right. That’s what I was thinking,” he says. “Scoot over, I’m freezing.”

PLEASE STOP THIS NONSENSE. NOW. Oh my god, I GET IT. Peeta truly likes Katniss, Katniss has no idea, and she is awkward. CAN WE PLEASE MOVE ON.

Also, where are the goddamn cameras. SERIOUSLY. Where are they?

I can feel Haymitch nudging me to keep up the act. “So, since we were five, you never even noticed any other girls?” I ask him.

“No, I noticed just about every girl, but none of them made a lasting impression but you,” he says.

Ok, even I can’t deny the cuteness of this. Peeta sure does lay it on thick.

If we win, we’ll each get a house in the part of town reserved for Hunger Games’ victors. Long ago, when the Games began, the Capitol had built a dozen fine houses in each district. Of course, in ours only one is occupied. Most of the others have never been lived in at all.

Doesn’t this conjure up some pretty disturbing imagery? I’m imagining a desolate row of houses built away from the Seam, out in a part of the District all to itself. I can’t possibly think it would be pleasant to live there; your house would be a constant reminder of what you’d done to deserve it.


Katniss brings up the idea of Haymitch being their neighbor, which is pretty hysterical, but it sort of does the opposite than what might be intended. I wanted to know more about Haymitch; his pervasive nihilism is interesting to me. Was he so fatalistic before he ever set foot in the arena? Or did he do something to win that caused his gradual slide into the lovable alcoholic we’ve come to know?


Haymitch and I don’t get along well in person, but maybe Peeta is right about us being alike because he seems able to communicate with me by the timing of his gifts. Like how I knew I must be close to water when he withheld it and how I knew the sleep syrup just wasn’t something to ease Peeta’s pain and how I know now that I have to play up the romance. He hasn’t made much effort to connect with Peeta really. Perhaps he thinks a bowl of broth would just be a bowl of broth to Peeta, whereas I’ll see the strings attached it.

Yes, but why? Why does Haymitch have this kinda-sorta convenient attachment to you?

I was pretty satisfied when the conversation turned to Haymitch’s victory in the Games. Maybe Collins did intend for the reader to head there after all. Katniss brings up a disturbing point:

Maybe he wasn’t always a drunk. Maybe, in the beginning, he tried to help the tributes. But then it got unbearable. It must be hell to mentor two kids and then watch them die. Year after year after year. I realize that if I get out of here, that will become my job. To mentor the girl from District 12.

Yeah, I didn’t even consider this. Perhaps Haymitch was fine after the Games, but the endless absurdity of mentoring kids to their death drove him to what he is now. Are the future books going to deal with Katniss having to mentor someone? I will say that I have about zero idea where this is going in the future and it’s pretty exciting.

The anthem plays and Katniss is distracted by planning their rationing their food.

“Katniss,” Peeta says quietly.

“What? Should we split another roll, too?” I ask.

“Katniss,” he repeats, but I find myself wanting to ignore him.

“I’m going to split one. But I’ll save cheese for tomorrow,” I say. I see Peeta staring at me. “What?”

“Thresh is dead,” says Peeta.


I push him away from the rocks and squint out into the dark, rainy sky. For about ten seconds, I catch a distorted glimpse of Thresh’s picture and then he’s gone just like that.

Holy bejesus, he’s dead. Just like that? I suppose it’s realistic that Katniss couldn’t have witnessed every death. I guess that Thresh was built up to be such a robust character, from what little we’d seen, that I expected there to be some grandiose battle that ended his life.

There may have. We won’t know. For now, he’s just dead. FUCK.

I have to bury the real pain because who’s going to bet on a tribute who keeps sniveling over the deaths of her opponents. Rue was one thing. We were allies. She was so young. But no one will understand my sorrow at Thresh’s murder. The word pulls me up short. Murder! Thankfully, I didn’t say it aloud. That’s not going to win me any points in the arena. What I do say is, “It’s just…if we didn’t win…I wanted Thresh to. Because he let me go. And because of Rue.”

I actually believe this. I’m glad to see Katniss express sorrow because…well, she hasn’t really expressed much in this book. But I do understand why this upsets her so. She hasn’t been quite dehumanized yet, and I’m glad she hasn’t turned into…well, Haymitch? I dunno, Haymitch is pretty awesome.

The waiting begins. Peeta takes first watch while Katniss composes herself, saying goodbye to Thresh in her own way, and finally drifting to sleep. Peeta wakes her in the morning, and there’s a particularly interesting passage Collins writes when Peeta admits that despite living in a family of bakers, he still had to eat stale bread.

I always assumed the shopkeepers live a soft life. And it’s true, Peeta has always had enough to eat. But there’s something kind of depressing about living your life on stale brea, the hard, dry loaves that no one else wanted.

I’m happy to see Katniss make this distinction, that even though Peeta was privileged over her, it doesn’t mean he is well off himself. They both suffered in their own way. And in this sense, I guess it is sort of impossible for me to ignore that their suffering in the games would ostensibly lead them to feel closer than before. I don’t think the possibility of a Katpee relationship is inauthentic. It’s totally possible. It’s just forced in a way that is frustrating and unsatisfying.

For the first time, I allow myself to truly think about the possibility that I might make it home. To fame. To wealth. To my own house in the Victor’s Village. My mother and Prim would live there with me. No more fear of hunger. A new kind of freedom. But then…what? What would my life be like on a daily basis? Most of it has been consumed with the acquisition of food. Take that away and I’m not really sure who I am, what my identity is. The idea scares me some.

There are two interesting things at work here. First of all, I have sort of forgotten to really think about the name of this thing: the Hunger Games. It’s the Capitol literally using hunger to oppress people, to exploit their need for sustenance in order to stay in power. And to the people of the Capitol, hunger is such an outlandish concept to them that…well, what else could they make of it? They turn it into a game.

Katniss’s sudden identity crisis is also an extension of Peeta’s existential freak-out on top of the Training Center. How does one maintain their identity when people seek to homogenize it, to turn it into something of their design? THESE ARE THINGS I ENJOY MORE THAN AWKWARD MAKE OUT SESSIONS.

I know I’ll never marry, never risk bringing a child into the world. Because if there’s one thing being a victor doesn’t guarantee, it’s your children’s safety. My kids’ names would go right into the reaping balls with everyone else’s. And I swear I’ll never let that happen.

Kind of a scary thought, no? That for six years of your child’s life, they could be taken away and murdered on live television. Also I will also never marry or bring a child into the world FINALLY I CAN RELATE TO YOU KATNISS.

A scarier thought, though, is when they finish eating the rest of the food Haymitch sent them. Katniss says they’ll just hunt to get more food, but…um…isn’t Peeta still hurt? Isn’t this an incredibly bad idea?

It is. It seriously is. It’s an idea that they have to follow through with, though, because there are only four tributes left. Are they just going to wait in the cave until Foxface and Cato die? No, mostly likely not. I’m sure the Gamemakers would devise a way to flush them out of the cave, actually, so their best chance is to just keep moving.

That proves to be pretty difficult too, though.

For the first time, I realize we have a problem. Navigating the rocky terrain with a bad leg—well, you’re naturally going to make some noise. But even on the smooth bed of needles, Peeta is loud. And I mean loud loud, as if he’s stomping his feet or something.

Which is a great way to alert sneaky Foxface to your presence or, even worse, make it easy for Cato to find you. And Cato’s not a particularly patient person.

It presents a problem because, even though she convinces Peeta to take off his boots, he is still noisy. She still hasn’t caught a single thing. There’s no real easy answer to this and I’m glad Collins doesn’t allow Katniss to find an easy answer. She can’t hide Peeta and she can’t send him off on his own. He’s a burden to the hunt, but she also can’t risk losing him when both of them could win.

They decide that she should hunt on her own, but not too far away, while he looks for roots to dig up so they can eat. Like her plan with Rue, Katniss teaches Peeta a short, two-note whistle he can use to communicate that they’re ok.

OH EXCEPT THAT PEETA DOESN’T SIGNAL KATNISS AT ALL AND SHE FREAKS OUT AND ALMOST PUTS AN ARROW INTO HIM. For once, Peeta is the dense one. Turns out he got distracted by berries along the stream. Which is almost cute, but dude pay attention.

They start to bicker (YOU GUYS AREN’T EVEN MARRIED, STOP IT) about the lack of signal when Katniss notices that part of the cheese is missing. She accuses Peeta of eating without her and I genuinely expected them to lapse into some sort of silly argument that distracted them and got one of them caught or hurt or killed. But when Peeta swears he was only picking berries, Katniss decides to analyze precisely what Peeta was picking.

And they aren’t normal berries. They’re nightlock.

Just then, the cannon fires. I whip around, expecting Peeta to collapse to the ground, but he only raises his eyebrows. The hovercraft appears a hundred yards or so away. What’s left of Foxface’s amaciated body is lifted into the air. I can see the red glint of her hair in the sunlight.

I should have known the moment I saw the missing cheese…


“Climb. He’ll be here in a second. We’ll stand a better chance of fighting him from above.”

I stop him, suddenly calm. “No, Peeta, she’s your kill, not Cato’s.”

“What? I haven’t even seen her since the first day,” he says. “How could I have killed her?”

In answer, I hold out the berries.


About Mark Oshiro

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

178 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 23

  1. stellaaaaakris says:


    Thresh, you had stolen a significant part of my heart and that part is now in pieces. Why did you have to go? I legitimately liked you. You had a moral code that you never lost track of throughout the games. You were awesome, zen master/ninja. RIP.

    Foxface, you were such an enigma. You genuinely intrigued me. I envied your mad stealth skills and cunning. You were probably all sorts of smart. I wish I knew more about you, but you wouldn't be you if I did. RIP.

    Foxface must have been really sneaky if she was tracking KatPee without them realizing. Sure she had the advantage in that Katniss is half deaf and Peeta apparently makes quite the ruckus to cover up hers, but still, it's impressive.

    I think this chapter is the point where my hate for the Capitol reaches a boiling point once I've accepted that this is a world in which children are required to fight one another to the death. We see just how deep Katniss' emotional range is. I think her reaction to Thresh's death is telling. She clearly respected him and she's hurting. But she can't show it, she can't even really talk it out with Peeta who I'm sure would be understanding. She has to cry and mourn in hiding if she wants to have the chance to survive. Her feelings are very real and deep and they always have been, she just needs to keep them in check. And it's all the Capitol's fault.

  2. Victoria_Allen says:

    Alas, poor Foxface…you were a badass.

  3. Silverilly says:

    I was pretty sure Foxface was going to die, but . . .

    • MadarFoxfire says:

      Nooo it's a lie she and Rue and Thresh are all fine and they all move into a house in the suburbs and have wacky sitcom hijinks offscreen for the next two books.

  4. theffectshecanhave says:

    If you combine Gale's last name (Hawthorne) and Katniss' first name it says "Team Hawtniss". <3

  5. theupsides says:

    I don’t think the possibility of a Katpee relationship is inauthentic.

    This is my favorite thing you've written so far.

  6. Phoebe says:

    i love haymitch, too. i love their connection, and how they are both smart enough to have figured each other out in like, a week

  7. Anseflans says:

    Second review Y/y/y/y/y!???

  8. 1foxi says:

    Bye Bye Foxface. Too bad you didn't make it, damn berries.

  9. Rebecca says:

    IT'S GETTING CLOSE TO THE END, gaaah, can't wait to read the rest.

    I'm so bummed I don't have the book too now 🙁

  10. lossthief says:


    But yeah, I couldn't take notes on this chapter, so I don't have much to post. Except that this is sort of a clever way to take "Foxface" out of the equation. She's been shown to be clever and resourceful, and it's actually ingenious that she's been scavenging off the other tributes. Having that backfire on her was a pretty nifty idea, Collins.

    Still though, the first half of this chapter was painfully boring with the whole Katpee stuff. I just don't see why this story needed a romantic subplot. This is a compelling, and in many ways original idea, especially with the element of the cameras and audience watching, so why add the whole "will they? won't they?" stuff into it to muddle things up?
    Grade: "C"

    • theupsides says:

      Well, I see why you feel that way (about adding the romance), but it kind of makes sense to me. Above all, this is a story about war, oppression, loss, etc. When these happen in real life, real people with ties and relationships are involved. Those all complicate matters. I think Collins wants to make it as realistic as possible. So while it may seem unnecessary, I think she views it as an essential part of the experience, the human part. How do our relationships change? Can we even still have them? Who can we trust? Does love have a place in a world like this? We all saw how important love was in Harry Potter, especially when the wizarding world faced the greatest evils. That's just my opinion, though.

      • iolchos says:


        I for one, welcome our Katpee plot, not for the romance necessarily (originally I was more Team Gale, when I read this book the first time) but for, as you say, the pathos.

        I keep wondering how insane I'd go in these Games without someone, so I'm really grateful that Katniss and Peeta have each other to rely on in grief, and anger, to have this bond that they can't have with anyone else (romantic love or whatever, it's neat that they even have ALLIES in these games, which are meant to dehumanize. That's a fuck-you to the Capitol right there, even though the Capitol technically is allowing it).

        And frankly, I think it spares us from more boring sequences of Katniss lying in wait to hunt people, with only her thoughts for company. Remember how it was before Rue came? Totally lame. Adding the dimension of another human person to talk to and interact with adds drama, lets us see more sides to the Games, and inspires different character development than if she'd been alone.

    • Shanella says:

      The romantic subplot was sometimes cute and sometimes meh in my original reading of the book. However, it did add a few things to the book, this is the 74th game and it's the first time there's a rule change and I can't help but wonder if this was brought about by the popularity of Peeta's declaration. Which is another thing; Peeta's declaration of love adds an element to the games that did not exist in the 73 past games.

      Also, Peeta is the one who declared love, so in some sick and twisted way it would be pretty interesting to see if he could win Katniss over, even though there is a possibility of one dying.

  11. I loved how Peeta is totally clueless about how he killed Foxface.


    • Lemone says:

      That bugged me too. I hate to say it, but it makes it seem like Collins was too lazy to come up with a name for her. Even though it wouldn’t make sense for Katiness to remember the other 22 name, she does see Foxface as a threat from the word go. She recognizes her as different and perhaps more dangerous. Given that, it just seems like Kat would remember her name.

      • corporatecake says:

        I think that not knowing Foxface's real name adds to her character. She's sneaky and mysterious, and the lack of a name, only a monicker that Katniss made up, definitely adds to that.

  12. Karen says:

    I am personally a fan of Peenis (hehehehe… fan of penis…) both in terms of the portmanteau itself as well as the potential relationship.

    Haymitch is a fascinating character. I think seeing how he is now is is a scary look into the possible future for Peeta and/or Katniss. It shows how the Games don't just destroy the tributes, but they destroy the victors too, albeit in a less physically literal way.

    Turns out he got distracted by berries along the stream. Which is almost cute, but dude pay attention.
    LOL LOL LOL. IKR? But Peeta is so precious. IDEC.

    • bread says:

      I think he is a drunk because he is still human. I don't know why he can't stay sober now, but I think it is safe to assume that he can't sleep at night because of the terrible flashbacks he probably get from the games. It bothers him to the point of constant drinking because he is a human and he knows that this is wrong even though now he is rich and never has to worry about hunger again.

      I don't think the same would go for someone like Clove. She was itching to carve Katniss up and would've probably loved living with the fame that these games bring. It is a totally warped way of seeing how the Capitol destroy the districts. You're either devastated beyond wanting to live even though you "won" or you are no longer even a human what with the lack of compassion and regret.

  13. Phoebe says:

    i also liked the thing about peeta being too loud. it just seemed very natural. for some reason i think much of this book has seemed either really conveinent, or really tragic. i think the little things like his loudness, and like when katniss lost her hearing, make it seem much more believable.

    • iolchos says:

      yes me too. And I like how suave and smooth Peeta is in some things, maybe because he was raised a merchant's kid and had more experience, but out in the wild, Katniss is the brains and knows how best to navigate. It's neat to play up their different strengths this way.

      (also lol he's so totally oblivious to it, too.)

      and YES, THE HEARING, GOSH, THAT WAS SO SCARY but A+ for giving main characters significant injuries and permanent disabilities (she talks about Capitol medicine but that may be hyperbole) so early in the series.

  14. Elise says:

    i think it's interesting how much more freedom they have to be loud at this point in the game when there are so few tributes left and the arena is fairly large. It's a different kind of scary from before when you were always worried they would run into someone else and be killed. Now it feels a lot more like looking over your shoulder all the time.

    And of course, Cato is left. ugh.

  15. Cat says:

    Wow. You know, I've read this book like a dozen times and I still always thought the Katpee (CALLING IT THAT FOREVER) stuff in the cave was longer than a couple of chapters, because it really does drag the plot progression down. I've warmed up to it and come to think that it's useful in terms of getting to know the characters better, but I still think it could be shorter.

  16. monkeybutter says:

    See, this chapter handles the sappy bits soooo much better than the last. I really like Katniss and Peeta together, and it's nice to see them interact outside of a cave. The no-kids thing made me love her and want Katniss to just burn down the Capitol and go live on the beach in Mexico.

    Just them and Cato now.

  17. Cally_Black says:


    The Hunger Games by palnk
    <img src=>

    Time for some Hunger Games by julvett
    <img src=>

    Peeta and Katniss
    <img src=>

  18. bell_erin_a says:

    Jeez, I'd forgotten how much goes on in this chapter.


    Aw man, demise of the badasses. Foxface, I was rooting for you. Perhaps you'll still come back and run in 2012??

    I like the character-building (or, similarly, questions about characters) in this chapter. What makes Haymitch tick? Why is he such a drunk mentor, yet completely awesome at the same time? What's made him that way, and what can Peeniss do to avoid that fate/actually mentor tributes effectively? Also it's very interesting to learn that even the well-off in D12 don't get enough to eat or get stale bread. Which just makes me want to say "fuck you, Capitol" that much more.

  19. somerdaye says:

    Haymitch is the greatest omg. Besides Thresh ofc but my bb is now gone. </3

    Haha, wow. That was pretty much gibberish. But seriously, I love Haymitch's character to pieces and I literally shook the book at points yelling for more of him. As for Thresh? He's probably my favorite tribute haters to the left

    Though, honestly, does anyone hate Thresh?

    • The Queen of Harts says:

      Thresh haters? Unlikely. He probably killed them in their sleep because he's a ninja. So no, most likely not.

  20. Pan says:

    Hey, Thresh! I liked you, even though you've barely been in the book. You've stayed human, even though everyone else completely forgot, that there was a time before the games started. Sorry to hear, that you are dead now, we could have been friends and do awesome things together! I bet you did a lot of awesome things at home! But, yeah, farewell…

    Foxface is dead, too? Don't care. Because of her defensive strategy, it was just a matter of time, so I'm glad that we don't have to witness an entire chapter of boring Foxface-hunting.

  21. mugglemomof2 says:

    Katpee= dead mugglemom


  22. ilram says:

    Told you that you could call her foxface. Now she died without us finding out the real name D:

    I like this chapter actually. The victor's village is seriously depressing in Katniss' district but maybe in the districts the careers come from they're not that bad since they'll have new mentors sooner or later and they've been trained for the games. I'm sure they fight with the memories too but at least there will be more than one person living in those houses.

  23. Madeline says:

    You've kind of got to figure Haymitch HAD to be awesome at some point, right? I mean, he won his games…he couldn't have done it being a drunk. They stress a few times that District 12 is one of the worse off districts and their tributes never win so I'm SURE that Haymitch watching all of this happen drove him to where he is. PLUS, it is a 3 book series…maybe she's just leaving stuff to explain in the next books…?

  24. Tabbyclaw says:

    In my head, Haymitch is a super-dark nihilistic AU version of Sam from Burn Notice.

  25. LoonyLu says:

    Peeta can't hunt, Peeta can't hunt, Peeta cannot hunt
    He only bakes cakes, And he cannot hunt
    Even if he is baking a hunting themed cake!

  26. potlid007 says:

    Ok, here's the dealio.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    Katniss, you're kinda pissing me off a tad.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    yeah, yeah, I know, surprise surprise, right??
    Anyhoo, Peeta, you just keep being the lovable naive guy we know and love, okay?
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    okay, sounds good.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    That is all
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

  27. lindseytinsey says:

    Mark, you are so funny. I love you a lot, okay?

    "Also, where are the goddamn cameras. SERIOUSLY. Where are they?"

    I wondered the same thing. Probably very small cameras… they do seem to be very technologically advanced in the Capitol.

  28. thatonegirl says:

    I love that Peeta's loud clunky-ness is probably what allows Foxface to follow them and ends up luring her to her death. Katniss was all mad at him but he's still just playing the game. 🙂
    Ok, not really. I liked all the sappiness too, even if I think Katniss is just more comfortable seeing Peeta as a liability than an equal. (Like I don't think she would have yelled at Rue like that for not signaling her, but I think she also viewed Rue as a more competent ally) I think she's being angry and defensive with Peeta to try to keep distant from him. Maybe the whole Peeniss relationship is starting to feel a bit real for her.

  29. IheartHP4ever says:

    I couldn’t wait till you read this chapter and found out about Foxface & Thresh (R.I.P);

    I was waiting for Thresh and Cato to find each other and have an epic battle right outside the cave and have Katniss coming to Thresh’s aide with Cato killing Thresh and Katniss finishing Cato in one of the best fight scenes in the book, but no. I can only hope Thresh put up a good fight. );

    Also, Mark, I’m rereading Prisoner of Azkaban and reading along with your blog (for the second time lol ILY deeply) and in Chapter 18 you and Kasper are having the convo about going to the office and telling the animagis to show themselves and I was wondering, what animal would you turn to if you were one? And what would your patronus be?

  30. Cyna says:

    I too was way disappointed by the lack of development of Foxface 🙁 I thought for sure with Katniss noticing her enough to give her a nickname that she'd play a more significant role, but ALAS D;

  31. Garth says:

    contrived death is contrived.

    • Katherine says:

      Doesn't strike me as contrived. We've known for a while that Foxface survives by stealing from other tributes and turning their skills to her advantage. It might be convenient that she's in the same area of the arena as Katniss and Peeta, but Peeta not being good at identifying edible food, and Foxface assuming anything the other tributes gather must be edible is reasonable enough.

    • Erica says:

      I actually thought Foxface's death was kind of brilliant. I mean, in a roundabout way the awesome ninja stealth that kept her alive this whole time is also what got her in the end, right?

      • Kate Monster says:

        Yep, exactly why I thought it was well-written too. How the hell else was she going to be killed off? I think Collins wanted to make the deaths of Thresh and Rue as mild as possible (by not allowing the audience to truly witness them, at least) so that the build-up to the showdown between the final three would be more dramatic.

      • MowerOfLorn says:

        It wasn't my favourite death, I'll admit. I suppose I wanted more of a climax for such an interesting character….but I do like it, nonetheless. Why? Well, it was different. So far, the only ways we'd seen (or expected characters) to die was natural things (e.g. starvation, disease, etc), a game-maker challenge (e.g. fire) or being killed by another player. For Foxface to die, completely by accident, was certainly a surprise!

        Also, there's a kinda cruel irony about it that I love.

    • Kira says:

      Yea, I agree with these two. This wasn't contirved. Foxface was too smart for er own good, so tat's what got er in te end.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I could see not liking it, but how is it contrived? (I'm actually interested to see what you think. Maybe I missed something.)

      • Garth says:

        It’s contrived in the same way a lot of this story is contrived. Collin’s seems to be writing the story with the aim of shielding Katniss from the worse aspects of the games, or at least preventing her from participating in them. Foxface is the only somewhat sympathetic /admirable contestant left, to kill of off with an accident strikes me as a particularly lazy and convenient bit of plotting.

        • bread says:

          But how is it convenient? Katniss was never going to go out looking for people to kill. That isn't her, she isn't a Career. Even her offensive move was just to take out the supplies to make the games more fair. Now that the games are coming to an end only certain folks are going to be standing. It isn't convenient that among them are the sneaky who are good at hiding (Foxface, Katniss, Peeta) or the strong (Thresh and Cato).

          Collins also spent an overwhelming amount of time with Katniss freaking out inside her head about having to kill people and not wanting to. She even refuses to get to know people so that it would be easier for her to be in the games with "strangers". Katniss fully understands and is constantly conflicted by it.

          That is why I find Katniss so interesting. She is a very strong character and has a lot of compassion despite her situation. She is equipped to wipe everyone out in the games and make a happier life for herself, but she doesn't want that. She still sees the wrong in these games, even though if you think about it, she technically has the most to win, and can actually do it.

          I don't blame her for not understanding that Peeta loves her. I think a part of her knows it but doesn't want to believe it, that is how a lot of people are. Also, she really does not have time for this nonsense and lets Peeta take the lead in that department. She has spent the games trying to stay alive and now she has an injured partner that sucks at staying quiet and elusive. That is a lot to worry about. She probably also thinks that she will have to be that one that kills the rest of the tributes because Peeta (until he accidently killed Foxface) at this point is just dead weight. That has got to be clouding her thoughts and freaking her out.

        • thatonegirl says:

          I kind of disagree that Katniss (and Peeta) are being shielded from the worst aspects of the games. We've seen Katniss be responsible for more deaths than anyone else (although part of that is because we see her more than anyone else). She and Peeta have killed 5 of the 21 dead people.

          K kills: the two girls with the trackerjackers and the boy who killed Rue
          P kills: the girl who started the fire the first night and Foxface
          Cato kills: the District 3 boy and probably Thresh (unless he fell in some quicksand and Cato had nothing to do with it)
          Thresh, Clove, and the boy who killed Rue each killed at least one person. That's half of all the deaths right there.
          Who knows what was going on at the cornicopia the first day, but if Peeta was with the careers he's as likely to have killed people as any of them. So I think they're both participating in the worst of the games. They just haven't gone psycho killer.
          And sorry if my numbers are wrong. This is off the top of my head.

    • potlid007 says:

      I wasn't a big fan either. I wanted blood!!!!

      but seriously I wished that we knew more about Foxface, instead of the fact that she clearly doesn't know her blueberries from nightlock…

      • LadyLately says:

        Granted, for her sake, Katniss notes that you probably wouldn't know the difference anyways unless it's been pointed out. Also, not as many people as probably should know the whole bit about 'don't eat unfamiliar berries'.

  32. Fluffy_socks says:

    Aw… I'll miss Foxface. I've liked her the best since early on. I think it's always been because I see me playing it like her in the games. Being sneaky and a thief and using my brains and then eventually getting killed by my own greed. Curse you Peeta, I hope Cato/Katniss kills you. Because you just killed me.

  33. crazyravenclaw says:

    Also I will also never marry or bring a child into the world FINALLY I CAN RELATE TO YOU KATNISS.

    My reaction exactly.

    • agirlinport says:

      Me as well. So nice to not have female characters obsessed with babies. Not that there's anything wrong with being obsessed with babies. But I just can't relate. : /

      • MowerOfLorn says:

        Thirded. While I personally want to have kids, the number of friends I have who /don't/ want them is higher than those who do. It gives an extra element of realism.

  34. Shanella says:

    Peenis and Katpee … I wonder if authors think of these things when naming their characters.

  35. Becky says:

    When I started this book and learned what the Hunger Games was, before we even met Peeta, I immediately wondered if there could ever have been a Games where the two tributes were like a couple and if one of them had to kill the other or did they both die or WHAT HAPPENED? And then it turned out that that's the story we were getting. But I find it hard to believe that (how many Games have there been? 74?) in 74 years that never once happened ever. I mean I guess I can believe it when I think about the awfulness that is the Capitol and how you might not let yourself get attached to anyone knowing you had to face the possibility of becoming a tribute one day. But still. This has really never come up before in 74 years?

    I think the romance (both real and pretended) adds a whole other level of complexity and human interest to this story, and I'm not convinced that the novel would be as strong as it is without it.

    By the way, hi! This is my first comment ever. I discovered your blog a couple months ago, and I love it!

    • Penquin47 says:

      I would love to see what would happen if a brother and sister got chosen. That would have been interesting, heartbreaking, and DIFFERENT than a showmance.

      • L_Swann says:

        But I think Collins's entire point was to create a showmance, since this is, after all, a critique of reality TV.

      • simply_shipping says:

        I keep meaning to find fanfic with that premise, because it could be really epically interesting.

    • Anjemon says:

      I also think the actual odds aren't that much in its favor. When you think about the fact that Katniss doesn't know everybody in her District and that Rue's district was probably even bigger, it's possible that the tributes don't really know each other pre-being chosen.

  36. agirlinport says:

    I like the idea of the story having something to do with Katniss being a mentor later. That'd be interesting, and Collins could do a lot with it. But I think she's going to surpass this for a much grander story arc, like taking down the Capitol or something. I feel like District 13 is going to play a huge role. I'm not buying that it's just a wasteland or whatever. But…I don't really have any backing for this theory. And PLEASE NOBODY TELL ME IF I'M RIGHT OR WRONG. I haven't read past this chapter.

  37. booksinbulk says:

    I think it's really hard to convey romance that would normally be private without it being WAY cheesy. I know that if the conversations my boyfriend and I had at certain points in our relationship were written or televised, there'd be the same mixed reaction of eye-rolling/gagging and the "awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww" that others think. I myself am prone to eye-roll; I think conversations like that are hard, and awkward and always sound ridiculous. I can't imagine trying to be genuine, or trying to figure out feelings like that (especially never having the time or ability to have them at home) like Katniss has to while the entire country is watching AND she's worried about slaughtering or being slaughtered. Mark, do you have an aversion to it in your own life, or just public displays of it, or it in general? And by it, I mean the romance "you don't have much competition anywhere" blah blah blah type of situation? Just curious if your boredom and eye-rolling come from the same place as mine.

  38. Inessa says:

    Kind of a scary thought, no? That for six years of your child's life, they could be taken away and murdered on live television.

    That's why I keep saying that it boggles my mind that there are Careers. I suppose it's a way for the wealthier districts to kind of play the game with the Capitol – you think you are forcing us to give up two kids, but we'll play on our terms, and train them ourselves. However, I can't imagine any parents bringing children into the world and preparing them to be murderers or to be killed before they reach 18. The honour of maybe producing a winner just wouldn't be enough of enticement for any parent, since there are another five Careers, even if you ignore the moral depravity of the concept of raising an assassin and having them volunteer. Then, for all the other parents in those districts, it must be weird since the Reaping is essentially rigged. Do they have some system where they give payment or gifts to the Careers' parents in gratitude for keeping their kids safe? It's too problematic. It would have been more realistic if kids selected by reaping from the rich districts were better prepared.

  39. lindsay_314 says:

    I've already started Catching Fire 'cause I couldn't deal with the cliffhangers, but I'm of course still following with your reviews…
    I had never thought that much about Haymitch either, until Katniss mentions it (and you did, of course). I think it explains a lot about his character. Although I would love to find out about his experience in the Games and why he ended up the way he did, even as a Victor–hopefully it'll be in one of the other books.
    Oh, and I just have to say Katpee just might be the best ship name ever. I literally Laughed Out Loud. 🙂

  40. tethysdust says:

    It was bound to happen sometime. I'm sort of surprised it took this long. At long last, we know the names of all the people who remain alive in the arena. All three of them. And it's been made pretty clear that Cato is 'evil' so we don't have to feel bad about him getting killed.

    I wonder if Katniss will feel guilty later about killing all these kids she doesn't know. My guess is, probably not. She doesn't seem to have that kind of emotional depth.

  41. Kripa says:

    Kripa here! Just to clarify, I'm not the one who came up with either portmanteau! Someone else did in the comments here, I just continued it. (And I believe I mentioned that?) The only thing I do take credit for is pointing out that besides a Roman figure called Cato the Elder, there is a libertarian think tank out there by the name of Cato, and it pisses on all good things, and it co-opts the concerns of the poor to undermine things that would ultimately be GOOD for poor people. So Cato too is steeped in class privilege, and Cato the career tribute is also steeped in class privilege. Suzanne Collins might well be aware of the Cato Institute and how it's the spawn of Satan and let that inform her writing. I mean look at the way she handles class issues. Anyway!
    *goes back to reading*

  42. MowerOfLorn says:

    *restrains saying anything* Oh, God, so hard not to answer your questions.

    But, oh, Lord, Katpee XD I have heard some weeeeiiirrddd shipping names, but that's definitely the most ridiculously awesome ever. I'm sure all the shippers appreciate it XD

    *coughs* On a more serious note- I personally find the psychological implications of the games the most interesting part of this chapter. Haymitch is one of my favourite characters, and the idea that along with memories of whatever horrors he had in the games, along with personal investment in them every single year afterwards- I honestly cannot fault him for his problems. Most people would be screwed up after a life like that.

    And as far as the cameras go- I always assumed they were nano-cameras hidden in the scenery, like the trees. Tree-borgs!

  43. Hotaru-hime says:

    I feel bad for not liking Katniss, but I really don't like her.
    Peeta and Haymitch are super awesome though.

  44. Arc says:

    About the cameras … "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." Possible mutations?

  45. soccerhorse says:

    Some people think that Foxface's death could have been suicide.

    • Mreeb says:

      Ooooh, that's a theory. I mean, I don't think it was, but that's a really interesting thought.

      • Kira says:

        Interesting theory, but I doubt it. Why go to the lengths of stealing poisonous berries when she can just pick her own?

        • bell_erin_a says:

          Trufax. If it weren't for the fact that she stole some of their other food I might definitely see it, but with the food, it shows she was hungry. That's a really interesting theory, though.

  46. Turq8 says:

    Love ya, Foxface! I wish we had learned more about her, she was so entertaining and we don't even know her name T.T

    Thresh! No! You're too awesome! Cato must have gotten up his courage to follow Thresh into the fields. I wonder what he desperately needed… (JK, I already know, but I won't spoil it)

    Haymitch is win. He's my second favorite character (after Cinna). There's so many layers to him, and he's so complex! Not to mention, he's funny!

  47. corporatecake says:

    Haymitch is my favourite character. Just saying. I wanted to find fanart of him but all my favourites kind of have spoilers, so no dice. 🙁

  48. Jen says:

    What you have to realize is that Katniss is extremely paranoid right now. It may be that the gamemasters do have control over every single aspect with cameras everywhere, or she's exaggerating due to the paranoia. Wonder how many victors come out with severe mental disturbances beyond just PTSD.

  49. Mauve_Avenger says:

    From the last chapter:

    "…Because we're supposed to be making up this stuff, playing at being in love but not actually being in love. But Peeta's story has a ring of truth to it. That part about my father and the birds. And I did sing the first day of school, though I don't remember the song. And that red plaid dress…there was one, a hand-me-down to Prim that got washed to rags after my father's death.
    It would explain another thing, too. Why Peeta took a beating to give me the bread on that awful, hollow day. So if these details are true…could it all be true?"

    Good, we're finally getting somewhere.

    From this chapter:

    “This perplexing, good-natured boy who can spin out lies so convincingly the whole of Panem believes him to be hopelessly in love with me, and I’ll admit it, there are moments when he makes me believe it myself?”

    Facepalms for life. Eternal facepalm, even.
    <img src=""&gt;

  50. Ash says:

    FOXFACE you GLORIUS BASTED why did your death have to be so damn ANTI-CLIMATIC.
    This right here is the most tragic death ever, brought down by her own cunning.

    Oh and Katniss, can you finally understand that Peeta is genuine and work it out between you two either way so I can stop feeling sorry for his naive self. IT’S REALLY FRUSTRATING AND YOU ARE SELFISH FOR NOT CONSIDERING MY FEELINGS.

  51. Moonie says:

    /hands out lighters
    <img src=""alt="fox1"/&gt;
    By Atropos93
    <img src=""alt="fox2"/&gt;
    By ILUVsnake
    <img src=""alt="fox3"/&gt;
    By Amazing WonderTurtle (I always imagined her like this)
    <img src=""fox4"/&gt;
    By Anabellthehippie

    <img src="; alt="thresh1"/>
    By timetraveltoaster (love how rue looks here!)
    <img src="; alt="thresh2"/>
    By Leesa_M

    I was so disappointed at Foxface's death the first time I read this. Ugh. I was really hoping she'd make it to the very end. She didn't even get a name! OR A LINE.

  52. 4and6forever says:

    Would it be considered spoilery to explain how Foxface died? And has anyone else explained it? Maybe it’s just me, but her death made sense to me in this chapter, but maybe it’s not supposed to and i actually read ahead and forgot that I did.

  53. coughdrop says:

    Peeniss! Peeniss! ahahahahaha

  54. Alice says:

    Long time reader, first time commentator.

    I really did like these books, but seriously the OBVIOUS SETUP OF LOVE TRIANGLE was the only thing that pissed me off. There's so much deeper stuff going on in these books. I'm glad that the love triangle didn't overshadow everything, but it felt so forced. It's like, "most popular YA lit has love triangles and Collins, you should totally have that, too."

    Peeta is cool, but doesn't he seem a bit too…perfect to anyone else?

    Either way, great review. Keep up the great work, Mark =)

  55. spifferific says:

    umm hey katniss i don't know if you noticed but BERRIES AND CHEESE ARE NOT THE SAME THING

  56. Tabbyclaw says:

    Foxface's death was a pretty nice piece of storytelling, Collins' hatred of NAMING THINGS LIKE A SANE PERSON aside (no, I will never be over the stupidity of 'tracker jackers'), but Thresh's did not meet with my approval. Dead offscreen, so there's no need to worry about the potential emotional conflict of having to kill — or at least try to kill — someone who spared you. Because that couldn't possibly be as interesting as Adventures At Makeout Cave.

    • DTDRC says:

      Yeah I can never decide if having Thresh (& Foxface to an extent) die like that is a cop out or brilliant. On the one hand it ruins what could have been an interesting storyline. Would Katniss want to return the favor somehow or is she ruthless enough to kill him after he had helped her out? How would she deal with Foxface stealthily tracking her? But on the other hand it is unpredictable, because after all the mentions of Foxface and the fact that Thresh has a name, you think they will have some awesome final battle, but they just crap out without any glory.

  57. stefb says:

    With The Hunger Games, comes a whole lot of awkward Peeniss.

    I definitely started this book two days ago, btw, and it's finished now…I started Catching Fire already (catch up Mark, jeez!) but I finally did the sensible thing and stopped reading your THG reviews around chapter 15, and waited until I got the book myself to start. I cannot stay away from spoilers, and I need Help.

    But I'm all caught up with you now!

  58. Sizzlelucid says:

    Nothing to add really, but I think that when the movie comes out Thresh and Cato will have their moment on screen to really battle it out (however they did it…a thunderstorm was involved somehow though. We know that much!), and we will get to see on the screen what we couldn't read in the books. I CAN'T WAIT.

    • Alice says:

      I actually heard that Collins herself wrote the script. I'm really interested how they're going to keep all of these books (especially the last one) rated PG-13. I think there was an intense debate about it on EW (Entertainment Weekly). I think the consensus was that as long as it stayed true to the books, people wouldn't be too upset.

  59. Madeline says:

    I think the thing to remember (concerning the lack of explanation for the cameras, weather changes etc) is that Katniss doesn't KNOW so why would she explain them? You've got to figure that the Capital is 100x more advanced then we are in present time and 1000x more advanced then Katniss has ever experienced in her lifetime. She knows the Capital can do all these crazy things (the shower in her room…) but she doesn't have a clue how…to her it just is the way it is. I have the feeling that the cameras are hidden in every square inch of the arena…and they can change the weather in the arena just like we do in our homes.

  60. Revolution64 says:

    WONDERING: What is Foxface's real name? We'll never know now…OH WOE IS ME!

  61. PK9 says:

    I thought Thresh's death was perfect. It makes sense that Katniss wouldn't be around to witness it, yet the thunderstorm invokes an epic day-long Matrix-Revolutions-type mano-a-mano that Cato eventually wins.

    Foxface has a name to me. Because I read fanfic. =P

  62. ChristineJ says:

    Can someone please talk about Katniss and her identity crisis? Please?

Comments are closed.