In the twenty-fourth chapter of The Hunger Games, GOOD JESUS ALMIGHTY, YOU WERE RIGHT, COMPLETELY FUCKING UNPREPARED. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.
It takes a while to explain the situation to Peeta.
You mean to say, “It takes a while for Mark to understand what the hell just happened.”
How Foxface stole the food from the supply before I blew it up, how she tried to take enough to stay alive but not enough that anyone would notice it, how she wouldn’t question the safety of the berries we were preparing to eat ourselves.
OHHHHHHHHHH. It was the emaciated body thing that confused. I associate emaciation with long bouts of hunger and starvation, so I thought Foxface had starved this entire time and it didn’t make sense to me how that was Peeta’s fault.
How fucked up is it that Foxface’s sneakiness is technically what got her killed? The fact that she did what she could to avoid detection and use what other people did? Oh, Foxface, you will be missed forever.
Before Peeta ditches the berries, Katniss thinks it might be a good idea to save some in a pouch and “drop” them so Cato might pick them up and think them safe to eat. It’s actually not a bad plan, but…well, you’ll see.
They build a fire to cook the meat Katniss caught, reasoning that it’s now-or-never: Cato will know they are the only two left and he is going to come after them. He has to kill BOTH of them to win, whereas they have to only kill him.
Oh god, shit is getting so real.
It doesn’t make sense to me that they head back to the cave, though. I mean…I suppose they’re assuming it will be until morning for Cato to find them? And Peeta isn’t into tree sleeping. (WHO IS, REALLY. LIKE NO ONE.) But why leave the fire they just set? If Cato shows up there, they won’t be around to attack him.
Hmmm. Just a thought.
The Gamemakers are preparing to force the remaining three tributes to fight. They’ve turned down the water flowing in the stream just a bit. (It’s more drastic later.) I know I’m a broken record, but I seriously want to know how they do this.
Back at the cave, there is a surprising display of emotion from Katniss:
He drops off immediately. I pull the sleeping bag up to his chin and kiss his forehead, not for the audience, but for me. Because I’m grateful that he’s still here, not dead by the stream as I’d thought. So glad that I don’t have to face Cato alone.
Now here’s when I start to feel like this romantic plot isn’t forced and awkward. I get this completely. Peeta is her companion, like it or not, and her loneliness is assuaged by his presence. Now this makes sense and doesn’t feel so forced.
Bravo. You are winning over my heart of steel.
There’s a lot of sleeping in this chapter. Peeta sleeps all night and Katniss sleeps until the afternoon. Why did they set the fire so far away? If it’s not spoilery, I’m ok with someone telling me. It DOES NOT COMPUTE in my brain.
“How long do you think we’ll have before the Gamemakers drive us together?” I ask?
About five pages, Katniss. Oh god, Katpee, y’all are seriously unprepared.
Leaving the cave has a sense of finality about it. I don’t think there will be another night in the arena somehow. One way or the other, dead or alive, I have the feeling I’ll escape it today.
I can’t even begin to imagine how relieving this must be, even if it’s mixed with dread. These Games are finally going to be over. Holy shit, there are only 50 pages left in this book, what is happening.
I’m wondering if we might even be able to give our clothes a quick scrub when we reach the stream. Or what used to be the stream. Now there’s only a bone-dry bed.
Well, it’s starting. And I have to give Collins credit where credit is due: she has a fantastic knack for building dread and terror and it was this detail that gave me a funny feeling in my stomach. They are draining the arena of water because they don’t expect anyone to need any anytime soon. Oh shit, guys.
“The lake,” says Peeta. “That’s where they want us to go.”
Oh, Peeta. So close, yet…so far.
Twenty-one tributes are dead, but I still have yet to kill Cato. And really, wasn’t he always the one to kill? Now it seems the other tributes were just minor obstacles, distractions, keeping us from the real battle of the Games. Cato and me.
What is this called, when an author directly acknowledges her own foreshadowing? Oh, right. Awkward.
“Two against one. Should be a piece of cake,” he says.
“Next time we eat, it will be in the Capitol,” I answer.
“You bet it will,” he says.
We stand there a while, locked in embrace, feeling each other, the sunlight, the rustle of leaves at our feet. Then without a word, we break apart and head for the lake.
This is a genuine moment, but so much of what Katniss feels towards Peeta is dependent on them being in the arena. It’s going to be awkward-dot-com once the Games have ended, right?
They make it to the Cornucopia by evening, with the sun setting. Unsure what to do, they surmise it might be best to wait for a bit, then find somewhere to sleep if Cato doesn’t show. So they wait in plain view of the entire forest, hoping Cato shows up.
I don’t know what causes the mocking-jays to sing, and I’m not sure I want to know, but I think it will make a fine moment on film. Collins is a very visceral, visual writer. There are parts of this book that are strange on paper, but will make fine adaptations to the screen. The scene of Peenis sitting at the Cornucopia, awaiting the final battle, as hundreds of mocking-jays sing, is going to be powerful.
So is the moment when the mocking-jays’ cry turns to terror.
We’re on our feet, Peeta wielding his knife, me poised to shoot, when Cato smashes through the trees and bears down on us. He has no spear. In fact, his hands are empty, yet he runs straight for us. My first arrow hits his chest and inexplicably falls aside.
“He’s got some kind of body armor!” I shout to Peeta.
OH FUCK. FUCK. IT’S STARTING. Arrow to the face, Katniss! DO IT NOW. And then GET TO THA CHOPPA.
I brace myself, but he rockets right between us with no attempt to check his speed. I can tell from his panting, the sweat pouring off his purplish face, that he’s been running hard a long time. Not toward us. From something.
WHAT THE HOLY FLYING FUCK IS GOING ON
My eyes scan the woods just in time to see the first creature leap onto the plain. As I’m turning away, I see another half dozen join it. Then I am stumbling blindly after Cato with no thought of anything but to save myself.
Holy. Shit. You were right. I am sorry. I was completely unprepared for this.