In the eleventh chapter of Catching Fire, Katniss is injured in the most inconvenient way possible, allowing Collins to ramp up the seemingly unending suspense. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Catching Fire.
My thoughts aren’t changing. Despite that I still think the writing is flawed, I am thoroughly enjoying where this book is headed. There is not one hint, for me, as to where this book will end up, aside from in District 13. That’s all I feel comfortable guessing.
So let’s jump right into this fucked up mini-cliffhanger. The fence is suddenly electrified, and Katniss has a mini-freak out before realizing this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Calm down, I order myself. It’s not as if this is the first time I’ve been caught outside of the district by an electrified fence. It’s happened a few times over the years, but Gale was always with me. The two of us would just pick a comfortable tree to hang out in until the power shut off, which it always did eventually. If I was running late, Prim even got in the habit of going to the Meadow to check if the fence was charged, to spare my mother worry.
Ok, so maybe I overreacted to the fence being on. It does all seem a bit too convenient that Thread has figured all of this out and is doing what he can to fuck with Katniss. Though…that is a pretty scary thought. What if he is that prepared? What if he knows everything? What if there is some sort of new technology in the area that provides surveillance?
Katniss isn’t taking any risks. She knows it will arouse suspicion if she doesn’t get back to the other side as soon as possible, so she resolves that she’ll have to find some way over the top. She finds a set of trees a mile down the fence that work for her. Well, sort of work for her, I mean. They’re still a bit too high, but she can’t really be picky at this moment.
There’s the sensation of falling, then I hit the ground with a jolt that goes right up my spine. A second later, my rear end slams the ground. I lie in the snow, trying to assess the damage. Without standing, I can tell by the pain in my left heel and my tailbone that I’m injured. The only question is how badly. I’m hoping for bruises, but when I force myself onto my feet, I suspect I’ve broken something as well. I can walk, though, so I get moving, trying to hide my limp as best I can.
OMG. I sprained my ankle yesterday morning and Katniss and I are both limping. We are ~connected.~ Also, you know I’m going to say it again, but I love that this is basically the opposite of the Only A Flesh Wound trope. I love authors/writers willing to let their characters get hurt.
Of course, Katniss’s injuries prove to be more inconvenient than she expected. She concocts a story she’ll have to use publicly, even visiting some shops to buy bandages and peppermints to cover for herself. She thinks she is prepared to tell her version of events, but even Collins writes in moments of characters being utterly unprepared.
Two Peacekeepers, a man and a woman, are standing in the doorway to our kitchen. The woman remains impassive, but I catch the flicker of surprise on the man’s face. I am unanticipated. They know I was in the woods and should be trapped there now.
FUCK. Oh god, I was also so unprepared for this. Everything is crashing down and WE ARE ON CHAPTER ELEVEN.
“Head Peacekeeper Thread sent us with a message for you,” says the woman.
“May we ask where you have been, Miss Everdeen?”
Katniss has been historically bad at coming up with stuff on the spot, but maybe it’s the pain running through her or the terror of being discovered, but she makes up some fantastic lies about Prim’s goat, poor directions, bandages, and peppermint. I know it’s convenient, but the way that Prim, Katniss’s mom, Haymitch, and Peeta cover for her and immediately put on an act to support her story is pretty awesome. It’s not totally out of the realm of possibility, either. At least for Haymitch and Peeta, they have both had to “act” in the face of authority to stay alive plenty of times before.
Then I look at the Peacekeepers as if I’m suddenly remembering they’re there. “You have a message for me?”
“From Head Peacekeeper Thread,” says the woman. “He wanted you to know that the fence surrounding District Twelve will now have electricity twenty-four hours a day.
“Didn’t it already?” I ask, a little too innocently.
“He thought you might be interested in passing this information on to your cousin,” says the woman.
“Thank you. I’ll tell him. I’m sure we’ll all sleep a little more soundly now that security has addressed that lapse.”
HAHAHA HOLY SHIT. BAMF FOREVER. I seriously cannot believe she managed to diffuse that situation. It’s rather brilliant; perhaps she is finally gaining some confidence in herself when it comes to speaking to strangers like this. Think back to her performance during her first interviews and appearances with Caesar Flickerman. She was terrible. Terrible! It’s undeniable how bad she was. Now, she’s turning out to be quite the snappy speaker.
Peeta and Katniss…ok, it’s not my favorite thing. I suppose I am so gung-ho about this uprising/District Thirteen that now I just want to dust past all the relationship stuff, but it’s here and I have to DILL WITH IT. Katniss, drugged to near unconsciousness, is carried to bed by Peeta, and she asks him to stay by her side. Internally, she actually wants to wake up beside him, but she doesn’t vocalize this. It’s weird that this is happening because HELLO GALE WHERE IS HE. I know that Katniss is confused about her emotions; I worry that she’s making things harder, though, by constantly leading both of them on in her own way. It’s not that her feelings aren’t genuine, because I believe they are, but she should probably not do things like this to both of them at the same time.
All right, back to the story. Despite how quickly she moves through this next part, Collins creates a great sense of tension by keeping Katniss bedridden. I never really knew what to expect with her in such a vulnerable state and despite that Katniss is calm when Peeta brings her bread and they work on a book of edible plants together, I kept thinking SOMETHING IS GOING TO GO WRONG. LIKE RIGHT NOW. JESUS WHY. OH GOD.
Nothing does go wrong, surprisingly, but shit continues to get real. Almost out of boredom, Peeta and Katniss actually watch television. It’s actually strange to me because we never really have seen that happen much at all in the series so far. But now Katniss has a new motivation for doing so: she wants to verify Bonnie’s and Twill’s stories.
My first sighting is in a news story referencing the Dark Days. I see the smoldering remains of the Justice Building in District 13 and just catch the black-and-white underside of a mockingjay’s wings as it flies across the upper right-hand corner.
Once is not enough. So she continues to watch until she catches what is supposed to be a live feed from District 13.
But just before they cut back to the main newscaster, I see the unmistakable flash of that same mockingjay’s wing.
The reporter has simply been incorporated into the old footage. She’s not in District 13 at all. Which begs the question, What is?
I have no idea and the thought fills me with a wonderful sense of excitement.