Mark Reads ‘Catching Fire’: Chapter 13

In the thirteenth chapter of Catching Fire, SLOW DOWN THIS IS GOING WAY TOO
Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to readCatching Fire.

Jesus hell, we don’t get any time to think about this at all. This chapter moves at lightning speed and while I might normally appreciate the breakneck pace, something is bothering me about all of this. It’s too much in a short period of time and Collins’s best writing generally happens when she allows moments to breathe. I don’t know. I know I said that I’m willing to admit that without seeing the whole picture, I’m misjudging this. But this chapter doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. For now. Katniss acts out of character for herself in the beginning of this chapter, but I’m sure it’s easy to write off as an extreme reaction to the terrifying news she just heard. I am not judging her in this moment because I can’t even begin to imagine how I would react myself. Would I run out of my house, run to an electrified fence, become dejected, run to an abandoned house, hide in the cellar, scream with part of my shirt stuffed in my mouth, and then fall asleep under the sheeting you use when you are painting? No? Well, its not happening to me, so who am I to judge? I SWEAR I AM NOT JUDGING.

It’s just that this is all a lot to process, you know? I didn’t think Collins would ever return to the arena, and even if she did, it wouldn’t be with Katniss. It’s just too cruel for words. SERIOUSLY. Think how depressing this is.

Yes, victors are our strongest. They’re the ones who survived the arena and slipped the noose of poverty that strangles the rest of us. They, or should I say we, are the very embodiment of hope where there is no hope. And now twenty-three of us will be killed to show how even that hope was an illusion.

Endlessly fucked up. I can’t even comprehend this. Waking up and feeling no better, Katniss heads straight to Haymitch’s house. Haymitch is his old self, perhaps more cynical than usual, and he already has his part prepared for for Katniss when she arrives. Peeta immediately sought out Haymitch and said that even if Haymitch was chosen, Peeta would offer to take his place. THANKS PEETA. This totally helps everything. So
what does Katniss do?

What did I come for? I think. What could I possibly want here? “I came for a drink,” I say.

Nothing like some underage drinking in a YA novel! I jest. Again, in any other context, this would be 100% out of character, but there is an interesting parallel Collins creates between Haymitch and Katniss. In one moment, hope was removed from Katniss’s worldview. Who is the most hopeless in her life? Haymitch. What does Haymitch do? Get drunk.

“Peeta’s argument is that since I chose you, I now owe him. Anything he wants. And what he wants is the chance to go in again to protect you,” says Haymitch.

I knew it. In this way, Peeta’s not hard to predict. While I was wallowing around on the floor of that cellar, thinking only of myself, he was here, thinking only of me. Shame isn’t a strong enough word for what I feel.

“You could live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve him, you know,” Haymitch says.

Wow. That is brutal. True? I don’t know, but Peeta’s devotion to Katniss is certainly more in one direction than the other. Thanks for the support, by the way. Haymitch, you
are a real winner.

There’s something else I want from Haymitch. “Okay, I figured out what I’m asking,” I say. “If it is Peeta and me in the Games, this time we try to keep him alive.”

Something flickers across his bloodshot eyes. Pain.

“Like you said, it’s going to be bad no matter how you slice it. And whatever Peeta wants, it’s his turn to be saved. We both owe him that.” My voice takes on a pleading tone. “Besides, the Capitol hates me so much, I’m as good as dead now. He still might have a chance. Please, Haymitch. Say you’ll help me.”

He frowns at his bottle, weighing my words. “All right,” he says

WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING. Have you resolved yourself to the reality that you’ll have to participate in the Games? No uprising, no revolts, no running away? That’s it?

Well, Katniss is fairly drunk, so maybe I should wait until she sobers up before wondering if she’s accepted all of this. It’s actually kind of scary to see her stumble at the stairs of her house, drunk to the point of incoherence, in front of her mother
and Prim. The next morning, she wakes up hungover and vocalizes why this was so frightening:

I’m not ready to see my mother and Prim. I have to pull myself together to be calm and reassuring, the way I was when we said our good-byes the day of the last reaping. I have to be strong. I struggle into an upright position, push my wet hair off my throbbing temples, and brace myself for this meeting. They appear in the doorway, holding tea and toast, their faces filled with concern. I open my mouth, planning to start off with some kind of joke, and burst into tears.

So much for being strong.

Man, this is all just too depressing for me. I can’t process how fucked up this is. WHY. JUST WHY. Katniss has always been the one in her family to act as an emotional stone in a way. For her, it seems like a sign of weakness to express anything that differs from her outlook on life. She shouldn’t be so hard on herself, though, but I guess there’s no reason saying that. She’s going to take this personally and she’s going to feel shitty about it. I wish I could be more eloquent, but words escape. This sucks so much.

Guess who makes it all worse? Peeta. He arrives later that evening, as Haymitch and Katniss sit in abject depression at his house, not speaking. (True story: It’s probably my favorite image in Catching Fire so far.) Back to Peeta. He arrives with a box full of empty liquor bottles, announcing that he’s now gotten rid of all the alcohol and told Ripper not to sell anymore to Haymitch or risk getting turned in to the Peacekeepers. It’s now the introduction of Peeta the Sanctimonious Asshole.

“However it falls out, two of us are going to be in the arena again with the other as mentor. We can’t afford any drunkards on this team. Especially not you, Katniss,” says Peeta to me. “

What?” I sputter indignantly. It would be more convincing if I weren’t still so hungover. “Last night’s the only time I’ve ever even been drunk.” “Yeah, and look at the shape you’re in,” says Peeta.

Officially off of Team Peeta. Seriously, dude? Thanks for being understanding and
sympathetic to Katniss. So you’re also giving up and going with the Games?

“Effie’s sending me recordings of all the living victors. We’re going to watch their Games and learn everything we can about how they fight. We’re going to put on weight and get strong. We’re going to start acting like Careers. And one of us is going to be victor again whether you two like it or not!” He sweeps out of the room, slamming the front door.

YEAH, NOT A FAN OF PEETA ANYMORE. So much for personal identity over hegemony, right? Apparently not, though, as Catching Fire immediately lapses into my
least favorite part of the story so far.

But after a few days, we agree to act like Careers, because this is the best way to get Peeta ready as well.

YEP. GIVING UP. Before, I couldn’t seem to elaborate on why I didn’t like the pace of the book during the Victory Tour scenes. It’s starts again here, as Collins cycles through months and months of training and studying in just a mere page. I finally figured out why I don’t like this: it doesn’t fit with the narrative style. Collins willingly chose to narrate this book in first-person present. It more or less worked in The Hunger Games because we were living in the moment, even if she sort of brushed through certain moments. But it’s now the second time in this book that we’re essentially fast-forwarding through some fairly important info, as if this is a montage scene in a film. We don’t even get to learn what happened during Haymitch’s Games, despite this seeming to be a perfect time to tell that story. (Of course, this could easily still happen in the future, so it’s not really a valid criticism right now.)

Even worse, the reaping happens before the end of the chapter. If I understand it right, then four or five months just passed in a tiny handful of pages. We’re supposed to believe that Katniss and Peeta responded well to physical training, that Haymitch isn’t in the best shape, but the entire time we’ve just been told it. None of it was shown to us. It doesn’t help me believe this world or this story at all. It feels really lazy.

Predictably, Effie draws Haymitch’s name for the reaping and Peeta doesn’t hesitate to take his place. And then in just two tiny paragraphs, Collins stuffs Katpee, Haymitch, and Effie onto a train, without fanfare, and sends them off to the Capitol. Just like that. I
understand that the Capitol organized this on purpose, to restrict any sort of joy or signs of support. They don’t want to inspire another uprising. But it feels far too much like the last section and I can’t help but feel…disappointed.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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257 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Catching Fire’: Chapter 13

  1. Spugsy says:

    I think at this point I was reading so fast anyway I didn't really notice the pacing, I was too keen to get to the Capitol and into the Games!
    It's interesting the things you pick up on when you torture yourself to read only one chapter at a time, I honestly have no clue how you continue to do it!

  2. cait0716 says:

    So here are my thoughts on these fast-forward/montage scenes. Collins clearly wanted to stuff a lot in this book: the victory tour and a second hunger games. The entire first book was devoted to the Hunger Games so she has basically half the space to cover just as much action. Given that this is YA (and, when it came out, not quite as popular as HP), I'm guessing the publishers put a whole lot of pressure on her to keep the length down. And I'm guessing she was under contract for a trilogy instead of 4 books. So she just jammed as much as she could in the second book and skipped over anything she felt wasn't entirely necessary.

    Of course, I may be talking out of my ass. I actually have absolutely no idea. Just a thought.

    • lebeaumonde says:

      Just what I was thinking. I've read stories from YA authors who talk about the enormous pressure to publish and keep length down, namely Nancy Farmer. Publishers are assholes.

    • prideofportree says:

      Because she just didn't want to dedicate the fourth book to those who e-mailed her about the secret meaning of the word trilogy.

      • Ang says:

        Hehe, though I think Extras was technically a companion book 🙂

        • Nova says:

          Extras is a companion book, but there's the Inheritance 'trilogy' of which now a fourth book is supposed to cme out eventually.

          Mark should totally read Uglies, Prettiest and Specials though. And Extras… XD

    • Saber says:

      This is what I though too. All the books are literally JUST under 400 pages, MJ coming in at 398. I think she was pressured to keep them under 400 pages, so she had to take a lot out of CF.

    • bookling says:

      This is very likely. Not everyone can be JKR and write 700-page books.

      • cait0716 says:

        And she had international best-sellers before she was writing 700 page books. The first three combined are the same length as the fourth one (almost).

    • theupsides says:

      Yeah I completely agree with this. I think she was probably put under a lot of pressure from the publishers.

    • lily says:

      there is going to be four books? what?

      • cait0716 says:

        No. I was just thinking Catching Fire may have been better served if it had been broken up into two books, making a total of four. I'm pretty sure there will only ever be three books

    • Gabbie says:

      She organizes her books into parts, and has certain plot points that need to happen in each. So rushing makes sense, even though we're not enjoying it very much.

  3. momigrator says:

    May I just comment on how ridiculous I think it is that Katniss wants to give herself up so Peeta can live and vice-versa. It almost seems 'twilightesque' to me. "I can't live without you." "No, I can't live without YOU." The whole thing bothers me. I can see Peeta giving himself up for her since he little to live for otherwise (that we've been told of). But Katniss has other things going on in her life, she has her mom and Prim and Gale outside of the games that she should want to stay alive for, but instead she chooses to help Peeta live and die herself? Seems out of character. Anyway, I don't think it's going to go down like that when they are in the games at all, but it bothers me that this is the plan RIGHT NOW.

    And WTF not letting people say goodbye!? Snow is a douche canoe.

    • aurorabora says:

      I think it's completely in character for Katniss to do this. Throughout the first book we saw how Katniss was willing to sacrifice herself for others (taking Prim's place, going to the feast to get medicine for Peeta, etc). Now that she's a victor, her family will be able to live comfortably and they don't need her to hunt for them anymore. Plus, she said at one point that her life back in District 12 would be unlivable if she'd let Peeta die, because his death would haunt her. And now, with her complicated feelings for him thrown in, I think it makes perfect sense that she'd be so adamant about sacrificing herself for him one last time.

    • castlejune says:

      I don' t really think it is THAT out of character. With the depression and the confusion she has been living in, and the realization she had in the area in the last book about how if Peeta died she would never mentally leave the area, it makes sense. She doesn't want to live with the guilt if Peeta dies for her, she doesn't want to live with the stress, confusion, and drama she has been experiencing lately, and she is in general feeling hopeless about her chances of survival OUTSIDE of the arena (because of Snow's hatred / fixation on her). She probably thinks her family and friends would be better off without her because everything she has been doing lately has put them in danger. I think it is totally in character for her to say "fuck it" and try to save Peeta whom she thinks can handle all of this better than her because he is "so much better" of a person.

    • I'm not sure that it's romantic feelings generating this action from Katniss, though. After all, the decision came while she was drunk right off of Haymitch guilting her for not being "good enough" for Peeta. Don't get me wrong, I disagree with Haymitch 100% here because I think it's bizarre to claim anyone *owes* another person affection, especially in their situation, but to each his/her own.

      • Inessa says:

        I don't think Haymitch was guilting her. I think Katniss and Haymitch just have this understanding that Peeta is very good and pure, and selfless, while everyone else seems to be calculating, corrupted and tainted by the awfulness of their hard life. I think that Haymitch is making a statement about Peeta's goodness, similarly to saying he didn't deserve to have him as a friend, not specifically in romantic terms. I do think that thinking of self preservation first is the more normal reaction, and Haymitch highlights that saint Peeta didn't do that.

    • Karen says:

      Yeah. I don't think it's Twilightesque at all. Well, maybe on Peeta's side, but then it's always been like that for him. For Katniss, I think that part of it come from guilt and from the fact that she cares for Peeta and doesn't want him to die. But another major part comes from the hopelessness in her own situation. She suspects that Snow orchestrated this all to target her and if Snow is out to get her, what chances does she have of living? So why not focus on keeping Peeta alive?

    • corporatecake says:

      I agree that it's less of a Twilight-esque thing and it has everything to do with Katniss's depression and PTSD. She really believes that life would not be worth living if she went back to District 12 — not just without Peeta, but in general. I think that it has nothing to do with Peeta, really, and more to do with how little value she places on her own life, how little she wants to live.

    • Alanna says:

      As Mark quotes above, Katniss is “as good as dead” in the arena. The Gamesmakers are going to throw everything in their arsenal at her to get her killed off as soon as possible, and no way in hell would they allow two winners again. The only way she’ll make it out of the Arena is in a hovercraft’s claws, so why not focus all her skill and energy into protecting/saving Peeta?

    • shelly says:

      I don’t think I would want to live if I knew it meant watching my friend die or even possibly having to kill him myself. In a way dying is easier because you don’t have to live with the guilt

    • farrah D. says:

      Well I think the reason Katniss is giving herself up is because in their first hunger games Haymitch was mostly trying to keep Katniss alive so now its their turn to keep Peeta alive. And also I think Katniss feels like she owes Peeta for saving her life and all the other stuff and this is how she's going to give her debt since she hates being in debt to people.

      I hate Snow. Like a lot.

    • Inessa says:

      I don't think it's Twilightesque, since in Twilight, they seemed to create conflict where there was none. There was no particular need for anyone to sacrifice anything (other than Edward his appetite), and all this hurling herself off cliffs and going to Italy to get killed was just gratuitous creation of forced drama. In this case, Katniss doesn't want to die, but one of them has to, and she feels indebted to Peeta. If it was Twiligheque, they would probably enter some suicide pact to be together in afterlife. She thinks that Snow is targeting her, so he will eventually get her anyway, or worse, get those she loves, or both. But, she has a chance to help Peeta be a victor, and Peeta may not have the close relationship with his family, but he is 16, and certainly has a future. He may well have many people he loves, and things going on, he just put Katniss ahead of everything else.

    • AccioUsername says:

      A birch paddling douche canoe, at that. :@

  4. herpestidae says:

    Yeah. A major flaw in this book is that a lot of stuff happens offscreen, and you're just told about it. It's understandable when the stuff that happens is stuff that Katniss wasn't there to see, but I really dislike an author telling me things that could be shown.

    And yet, I disagree with your judgment of Peeta, just a tad. His whole shtick has been keeping her alive at his expense. The burnt bread, the joining the Carrers last book, "I'll bleed to death for you, my one twue wuv"… It's just that at this point in time, he cares about Katniss more than his own sense of identity. Although, when I read that Katniss was going to protect Peeta in the arena, I immediately got the image of them bickering with each other about who gets to jump in front of the other to take hits, or getting in each other's way by pushing them out of the slightest danger. "KATNISS THAT ACORN'S GONNA FALL ON YOU! IT MIGHT BE A BOMB!" *tackle*

    • iolchos says:


      that would be absolutely hilarious

      • Katie says:

        To be fair, in this book? It really might be!

        • iolchos says:


          (or worse: you miss the acorn bomb but doing so leads you to fall into the exploding snake pit)

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            Or you miss the acorn bomb, skip over the pit, but then the grass is made of tiny razor blades and you bleed to death.

            • Nova says:

              The capitol totally would make razor blades of grass…. Now I'm picturing a Hunger Games set in a giant sized play park or something….

              • Tabbyclaw says:


    • andreah1234 says:


      That made me LOL hard. I think I might be an awful person. *sigh*

    • Heehee, acorn bombs… while Prim the pet rock watches at home. This could make for extremely funny fanart.

  5. bell_erin_a says:

    I'm honestly not sure what I'd do in this situation. Katniss's whole world has just been shattered with the Quell announcement and it kind of makes sense that she'd flee and not want to see her mother and Prim's reactions. Similarly, she's a Victor and supposed to be this strong person, but she totally freaks out and it also makes sense that she doesn't want her mother and Prim to see her reaction. As for all three of them accepting the finality of the Quell without even considering alternative options, I kind of think it's the inevitability of it all. There's a lot of risk involved with starting an outright uprising (Katniss has been taught that D13 did that and was blown off the map. It's no stretch of the imagination to consider that President Snow would completely obliterate D12 the same way if Katniss refuses to go into the arena), and maybe Katniss thinks that if she gets killed in the Games, at least those left in D12 will be safer without her causing trouble, plus Peeta then possibly has the chance to survive if both she and Haymitch try to save him. I think a lot of this is just desperation, although I probably would have killed myself right after the announcement were I Katniss. As it is, they decide to train like Careers, which is against the rules, so they're not giving up completely. It's just a bad situation all around and there are very few things (alright, pretty much zero) they can do to get out of it.

    As for the skipping 3 months in a matter of sentences, it kind of bothers me that we get this so often, but then again people would complain if it took too long to get to the Games. There's only so much of that you can put in without boring people. I do have to say that a lot of the ambiguity of my previous paragraph might have been cleared up if Collins had taken the time to write out some of Katniss's thought process about all of this. Rushing them immediately off to the train, though? Completely believable. Why should the Capitol let Katniss say goodbye? Just one more of the ways to show her President Snow is in control of her life.

    On the other hand, congratulations about predicting Effie in a different wig? I just thought that was funny when you put it in your predictions because you were right about some little things but so wrong about some big things (like Snow not showing up until the end. Oops). 😛

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, let us not forget the rage induced by the the camping scenes in DH, even though Rowling jumps forward in that part, too. The Hunger Games had hardly any time-skipping, so it is odd to deal with now, but it's better than having people complain about boring scenes. I would have preferred it if the reaping was soon after the card reading; hopefully the film script will fix that, because we so do not need another Eye of the Tiger scene.

      • bingo007 says:

        I believe both the camping in hp and these montages in cf are appropriate.
        in hp we get little bits of info and clues throughout the camping and a lot of things happen in a subtle way.
        in cf, we dont expect any new info,so better to fast-forward.maybe she could have included something about other district’s reactions to the qq,but i dont complain,just jump into the games already.

      • notemily says:

        Ahahaha if they use Eye of the Tiger for the training montage I will die.

        On second thought I hope they do have the montage so someone can YouTube it set to "Eye of the Tiger."

        • AccioUsername says:

          I want the movie to show them getting buff to "I'll Make a Man Out of You", slurred by Haymitch. <3

          • ruroken says:

            OMG YES.

            • AccioUsername says:

              Let's get down to business, to defy Panem.
              Did they send me weaklings when I asked for champions?
              You're the saddest pair I ever met, but you can bet before we're through
              Katniss, I'll make a champ out of you

              Tranquil as a forest, the girl on fire within
              Fall in love with Peeta, and you're sure to win
              You're a clueless, plain, pathetic kid
              And you haven't got a clue
              Katniss, I'll make a champ out of you

              Everyone: "I'm never gonna catch Foxface"
              Peeta in the mud: "Say good-bye to those who knew me"
              Glimmer: "Boy, was I a fool in training for skipping First Aid."
              About Cato: "This guy's got 'em scared to death."
              Katniss: "Hope Peeta doesn't see right through me."
              Clove: "Now I really wish there were no rocks!"

              (Be a champion)
              You must be more swift than Foxface could be
              (Be a champion)
              With all the force of Thresh's rage
              (Be a champion)
              With all the strength of a girl on fire
              Mysterious as District Thirteen

              Time is racing toward us till the mutts arrive
              Heed my every order and you might survive
              You're unsuited for the pain of the games
              So team up with Rue, or you're through
              How could I make a champ out of you?

              (Be a champion)
              You must be more swift than Foxface could be
              (Be a champion)
              With all the force of Thresh's rage
              (Be a champion)
              With all the strength of a girl on fire
              Mysterious as District Thirteen

              (Be a champion)
              You must be more swift than Foxface could be
              (Be a champion)
              With all the force of Thresh's rage
              (Be a champion)
              With all the strength of a girl on fire
              Mysterious as District Thirteen

        • LOTRjunkie says:

          It's not HG, but it /is/ Axel training to fight Cloud for Aerith, so it's good enough.

    • HieronymusGrbrd says:

      Why, indeed, should the Capitol let Katniss say goodbye if they didn't want to show it on TV? It was no surprise that she would go, so she had plenty of time to say goodbye before the reaping.

  6. bell_erin_a says:

    I'm honestly not sure what I'd do in this situation. Katniss's whole world has just been shattered with the Quell announcement and it kind of makes sense that she'd flee and not want to see her mother and Prim's reactions. Similarly, she's a Victor and supposed to be this strong person, but she totally freaks out and it also makes sense that she doesn't want her mother and Prim to see her reaction. As for all three of them accepting the finality of the Quell without even considering alternative options, I kind of think it's the inevitability of it all. There's a lot of risk involved with starting an outright uprising (according to the Capitol, D13 did that and was blown off the map. It's no stretch of the imagination to consider that President Snow would completely obliterate D12 the same way if Katniss refuses to go into the arena), and maybe Katniss thinks that if she gets killed in the Games, at least those left in D12 will be safer without her causing trouble and then possibly Peeta has the chance to survive if both she and Haymitch try to save him. I think a lot of this is just desperation, although I probably would have killed myself right after the announcement were I Katniss. As it is, they decide to train like Careers, which is against the rules, so they're not giving up completely. It's just a bad situation all around and very few things (alright, pretty much zero) they can do to get out of it .

  7. Nanima says:

    You know, maybe it's just because I'm a hysterical person in general, but I can totally understand Katniss reaction.
    Even if it isn't totally normal for Katniss' character, I found it was understandable since she will have to take part in something which was the subject of her nightmares for months.
    I'd probably have comitted suicide or something..oh wait I wouldn't have survived the games in the first place.

    But I agree that I didn't like Peeta at all in this chapter.

    Maybe it's just me, but I wasn't bothered by the speed of the narration.

  8. arnenieberding says:

    I was stunned at how fast things were going. "Wait. What. Stop. I SAID STOP. EASY THERE, COLLINS."
    And then the chapter ends with Katniss: "I'm on a train." *Old Spice tune*

  9. CuriousApe says:

    I felt similar about this chapter, it just seemed so… rushed. But in a way, it makes sense to write it like that, I guess. To me, it felt like Katniss was narrating like this to show how it all just seemed irrelevant to her. Times passes, it just walks by – and sooner than she would have liked, it is all over. There she is, on the train again. She has lost her place in the world; reality happens around her, but not with her in it. Katniss, metaphorically speaking, sits by helplessly and can only try to keep up.
    Not sure if that makes sense. Probably not.

  10. mugglemomof2 says:

    "Officially off of Team Peeta"
    What??? No way- welcome to Peeta the BAMF who is taking charge. I loved this!

    This chapter pulled at my gut the whole time. I understand your point on the chapter flying by (and it is with chapters like this that your one chapter a day really plays against you) but in the context of the whole book and the story being told- it does make sense. The story is the games. Collins is just getting us there.

    • kajacana says:

      I agree! I thought it was awesome to see Peeta transform from "Katniss I wuv you, I am a harmless lamb with a heart of solid gold" to "Okay YOU KNOW WHAT? I have had enough of this shit. Put down the bottle, stop falling apart, and confront reality. Someone has to make a plan and IT MIGHT AS WELL BE ME." Go Peeta!! If I were Katniss, in such a vulnerable and emotional and terrified state, I would be grateful that someone who cared about me was giving me concrete steps to take and also lighting a fire under my butt.

      I don't quite know how to feel about the Speed-Chapter-Montages. On the one hand… annoying. On the other hand… I would have been more annoyed if we'd had to slog through pages and pages of training, traveling, and whatnot. Maybe a happy medium next time, Collins? Find the balance between Too Much and Not Enough?

      • mugglemomof2 says:

        Someone below made a good point of- who knows, maybe Collins did elaborate more but it got cut?

        Have you read the book already or are you reading along with Mark? I have read the whole series- so this "fly by" didn't even phase me. But I was also flying through the chapters at breakneck speed so the story continued well (to me at least)

    • mrsaddante says:

      Agree about Peeta 100%. This chapter is an important benchmark for both he and Katniss. Both characters initially are cast as polar opposites (to each other as well as to their gender norms): Katniss being a strong, sometimes cold, gets-shit-done, hunter/murder machine– Peeta a softer, loving, self sacrificing baker/painter. In the Hunger Games, Katniss' demeanor gave her a great advantage over Peeta, however, now that the stakes are changing– sure there's still the Quell– but the possibility of leading rebellion requires personality, charisma, and leadership (clearly Peeta territory).

      The idea of the Quell essentially means that there will only be one of them left to "carry the torch"– a task which will both skill sets. The hardening of Peeta and the softening of Katniss seems to be an effort to hedge their bets that whichever of them comes out of the Quell as victor will be able to continue to function concerning the rebellion.

    • corporatecake says:

      I sort of agree that I like that Peeta has taken charge — and I don't really see how training to give yourself an edge is losing your identity. Survival is your basest instinct, and Peeta, Katniss, and Haymitch are basically the only people in District 12 who have an opportunity to train for the Games — no work or school or hunting to stay fed. They basically have endless leisure time, and turning that to something that can help you live? I don't see what's wrong with that. Peeta's right.

      What I do object to is that he WAS a sanctimonious asshole when he basically called Katniss a drunkard. Sorry, but one night of drinking after being given horrific news is something she's kind of entitled to.

    • L_Swann says:

      I agree about how Mark's style of reviewing (one chapter at a time) seriously works against him. To me, Hunger Games & Catching Fire both contain one plot thread that's broken up into smaller chapters based on where the best cliffhangers occur. I honestly believe that Collins had one large document that contained the entire plot and then went through and cut it into pieces. I've never read a series that was so clearly meant to be read in large chunks. I finished my first novel in September, and I made a deliberate decision to do the same thing as Collins. My huge chapters got chopped into smaller ones based on where the cliffhangers were. I would never intend for ANYONE to read my novel one chapter at a time. I specifically made them shorter and more cliffhanger-y so that people would want to read MORE smaller bits instead of avoiding fewer huge chunks. Mark's reviewing style worked well for Twilight (which has to be taken in small doses) and Potter (because the chapters are so much longer), but it's stretching the narrative unnaturally and exposing flaws that wouldn't be there (and that no one else really noticed) if he read normally. I refuse to say that's Collins's fault.

    • AccioUsername says:

      I thought it was a good plan. Rather than join in on Katniss & Haymitch's drinking party (I'm going to pretend they had a bro party, complete with popped collars, smirnoff ice, and bad techno) he took charge. And seriously, he had a good plan. They won once before based solely on luck, and there's no way both of them can defy the odds again. I'm sure there are going to be traps galore designed specifically to eliminate Katpee ASAP. They've got to give it 210 percent if they want to survive.

  11. ldwy says:

    Yeah…this chapter definitely seemed to kind of jump out of the narrative. Quickly speeding through months does feel weird (and it hadn't occurred to me, but I think you're totally right that it feels weird because of the first person narration), and Katniss is really really out of character.
    At first, I didn't mind her acting so strange. She basically has some form of PTSD, and now she's knows, very abruptly, that she has to go back? And she knows there's no way for two to live again? I expect a full on mental breakdown.

    But her plan to save Peeta this time? Doesn't make any sense. I feel like I'd be trying to learn as much as I can about the arenas not the other tributes, because since surviving isn't really an option with Snow lurking out there as a creepy evil supervillain, I'd try escaping from the arena. Who's to say it couldn't be done? And she's got vague hope of somewhere to escape to…District 13 might exist??!! Or did she forget that part. The worst case scenario would be failing to escape and dying. Which is going to happen anyway.

    So yeah, once the mental breakdown was over, that's where I thought/wanted her thoughts to go…and I really can't see why they didn't.

    • iolchos says:

      but see all the crap that happened to her and her loved ones when all she did was try and commit suicide? think what would happen if she tried to escape the arena. And I can't imagine that the arena doesn't have an electric fence, or worse, of its own.

      • iolchos says:

        "all she did" – must amend. Obviously suicide is not a little thing, I didn't mean to treat it as such. What I meant was that within the context of the games it could have been passed off as something besides resistance to the capitol (with the romance). Escaping alive is definitely not playing by their rules at all.

        • ldwy says:

          These are totally legitimate points, thanks for noting them. She is definitely the kind of person, especially after all of this, who worries how her actions will affect those around her.
          I still think it would have at least crossed her mind, especially since escape was something she considered (although, to support your point, did not do) once before.

    • herpestidae says:

      She plans to save Peeta because she's spent a good chunk of the book thinking she's a bad person, and Peeta's all virtuous and kind and stuff.

      And learning about arenas with the intent to escape them? I don't know. Katniss knows that the Capitol building has a force field that stops tributes from suiciding off the ends; if I were in-universe, I'd figure that there has to be something that prevents escape from the arena. Besides; you look like you read the book, so you know how the Gamemakers prevent escapers. It just makes more sense to spend time learning about the people you'll be fighting/killing/getting killed by than looking through footage trying to see if someone ever escaped the arena. Besides, if someone figured out a way to escape the arena, the Capitol would stop that footage from being available, wouldn't it?

    • Karen says:

      I think it's just a lot more feasible to learn about the other victors. They're public figures. Their Games were all televised. You can easily see what their skills are and how they won their own games. The arena is always a mystery. I mean, Peeta, Katniss and Haymitch do learn survival skills and stuff when they're training, so they're preparing for that as best they can, but you can't REALLY prepare for the arena because you never know what it's going to be like, especially because it's not just physical conditions, but also whatever little traps the Gamemakers have set for them. How do you prepare for that?

    • Inessa says:

      I think by watching the tapes (why do they go back to VCRs in the future BTW?), they learn about tributes and the arenas as the tapes are the summarised versions of each of the games. They can learn about different arenas, and other victors' techniques to become victors.

      • Hanh says:

        Well no one really watches movies or anything on TV. I'd imagine they'd have something way better in the Capitol but districts get relegated to cheap tapes. Also, do you know how long VCR's last? I still have one that works AND a tape rewinder.

  12. arnenieberding says:

    Ooh. Prediction: In the movie all of this will be a training montage to the song "I'll make a man out of you" from Mulan.

    My mind. What is it doing.

    • cait0716 says:

      There will be a montage, but they'll steal the song from Team America (You're Gonna Need a Montage!), not Mulan. At least, I hope they do

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Ha,haha…what? Are these more bizarre demands from The Capitol? "Not only will you pretend to love Peeta, but you must make me believe…you are a MAN!"

      BE A MAN! With all the strength of a CATCHING FIRE!


    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      • AccioUsername says:

        Let's get down to business, to defy Panem.
        Did they send me weaklings when I asked for champions?
        You're the saddest pair I ever met, but you can bet before we're through
        Katniss, I'll make a champ out of you

        Tranquil as a forest, the girl on fire within
        Fall in love with Peeta, and you're sure to win
        You're a clueless, plain, pathetic kid
        And you haven't got a clue
        Katniss, I'll make a champ out of you

        Everyone: "I'm never gonna catch Foxface"
        Peeta in the mud: "Say good-bye to those who knew me"
        Glimmer: "Boy, was I a fool in training for skipping First Aid."
        About Cato: "This guy's got 'em scared to death."
        Katniss: "Hope Peeta doesn't see right through me."
        Clove: "Now I really wish there were no rocks!"

        (Be a champion)
        You must be more swift than Foxface could be
        (Be a champion)
        With all the force of Thresh's rage
        (Be a champion)
        With all the strength of a girl on fire
        Mysterious as District Thirteen

        Time is racing toward us till the mutts arrive
        Heed my every order and you might survive
        You're unsuited for the pain of the games
        So team up with Rue, or you're through
        How could I make a champ out of you?

        (Be a champion)
        You must be more swift than Foxface could be
        (Be a champion)
        With all the force of Thresh's rage
        (Be a champion)
        With all the strength of a girl on fire
        Mysterious as District Thirteen

        (Be a champion)
        You must be more swift than Foxface could be
        (Be a champion)
        With all the force of Thresh's rage
        (Be a champion)
        With all the strength of a girl on fire
        Mysterious as District Thirteen

    • thefbm says:

      OMG I'm not the only person who thought of that song during their training!

  13. stellaaaaakris says:

    I think only 3 months has passed (because that makes it so much better) since Katniss said she didn't recognize the Prim of 9 months ago on the day of the Reaping.

    I find it kind of funny that you think the pace of this chapter is so fast since you are reading this book in possibly the slowest way in the world. But it makes sense in a way that Collins would want to speed things up a bit. In THG by this point, already half the Tributes were dead (I'm guessing, but I think it's a fair one) and, now in CF, we still have a whole new set of Games to go through. It could have been done more gracefully, but I feel it shows how Katniss is turning into a Career. She's just training, she can't think about it or she'd collapse.

    Katpee's reactions are so different than what we've seen so far. On that note, I adore that Katniss breaks down in front of her mother. Peeta, while being really harsh, is busy trying to plan his own death. Again. Twice in less than a year. But I think him not trying to find a way out of the Games is very him. He's never been the rebellious one, just the good one who wants to help others if he can.

  14. iolchos says:

    oh, I love how quickly these reviews are coming out now!

    I loved the section with her running away and crying where no one can find her. I've done that, when feeling overwhelmed, and it made Katniss's method of dealing with pain more relateable. Or when she goes home and she has a rare moment where she lets her mom and sister take care of her, I loved that too.

    I know this makes me a horrible person too but…I was kind of cheering Peeta on at that moment. yeah. (and laughed so much at her aside, "I can't stand self-righteous people") He's being a jerk, but I understand his position more than I understand hers – they can't escape, and so their one shot really is to win the games. period. They're each emotionally overwhelmed and acting out of character (although I was annoyed by his bitchy little, "especially not you, Katniss," even if I think he means that it's because Haymitch isn't going into the arena so physical fitness is more important for her, physically). so it's good that I read this post, for your reading, because I hadn't considered before how unfair he's being. I might have to sit on that.

    as for the writing…I wonder sometimes if she wrote more, and the editor made her cut it down, and this was the section she chose to shorten, you know? at least this is what I tell myself, because granted, some character development would have been O-K in that montage. (And I have a sick need to see how Peeta's adjusted to his leg, the biomechanics of his prosthetic, how that operates, etc.)

  15. lebeaumonde says:

    Is anyone else seeing a weird poem-like format on his post?

    • barnswallowkate says:

      Yes, and now I'm going to re-read it as if it were a poem.

    • pooslie says:

      yes. the formatting is all off for me

      with like
      only a couple of words on the first line of each
      paragraph (as i have shown here in my example).

    • prideofportree says:

      Yep. Don't know why, and it kiiind of bothers me.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Yes. Blame it on the WordPress app for the iPad. I edited something at the last minute before I went to bed and it reformatted it to fit an iPad screen, hence why it was a squished rectangle.

    • AccioUsername says:

      Glad I'm not the only one x) I thought something was wrong with my browser.

      From here on out, Mark's
      Reviews should be in haiku
      Format. Good idea!

  16. andreah1234 says:

    I'm still on FUCK EVERYTHING mode so I'll try to make this short. Try been the key word.

    I'ts weird but I actually understand both Peeta's and Katniss's reactions. Katniss is hopeless, scared and desperated, and it shows, I'm usually a very calm person and when I'm angry or desperate or whatever I think things over and try to find a solution BEFORE the mental breakdown, but she's been send to death without an opportunity to come back, have to give the girl a break, everything is fucked up in her life. As in for Peeta I see his point too, he needs the hope. That's just how he is, and hope for him it's for them to be able to fight back in the games, and not to die like scared little bunnies. Maybe it has something to do with the fact he doesn't want to survive himself but to give someone else the chance to live, and training it's the only way to do it. Or maybe I'm just to involved on my OMG PEETA YAY!!!!! fangirlyness that I don't see anything else.

    I don't know, as Haymitch would say: FUCK EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD, BRB GETTING DRUNK. D: D: D: D:

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Yeah, Mark is right about everything wrong with this chapter times a million, but I have to agree with YOU about Katniss and Peeta's reactions being sincere. What are they supposed to do? I mean, they don't have a favorite blog to be sarcastic on! What a world! :'(

    • Lynn says:

      I agree about Katniss' and Peeta's reaction. I don't think that Peeta has thought through what surviving these games really means to Katniss and is grasping at straws. I like how you say he is grasping at hope b/c really that is what he is doing. Good word choice!

  17. Lynn says:

    I can understand your complaint about the pacing. I am not a detail oriented person in books so it did not bother me but I can see it would bother those who like more details.

    I like the evolution of Katniss' character. She was so repressed emotionally for so long and in the past year she has lost her ability to push her feelings away. She is kind of regressed with dealing with them though. So her reactions felt realistic to me in that context.

    Peeta. Not a saint that everyone thought he was. But I think he also is grasping at straws. He latched onto keeping Katniss alive and has lost touch with why he did it in the first games. But I don't believe for a second he is going to be a career in the sense of Cato or or Clove. I think it is more about getting Katniss through, but he isn't dealing realistically with the problem at hand. Does Katniss even want to get through the games and deal with having gone through it and been a victor again?

    I think that both he and Katniss are desperate and so are looking for some way to deal with the shitty situation. So they grasp at keeping the other alive. It might not be the best response but it is realistic in a way. Since they are both so young and in such horrid circumstances I will forgive them both. Just like I forgave Gale for sometimes having issues with his temper.

    But time will tell with all three what their real intentions are and what they really are about. Is Peeta going to go savage? Is Katniss going to stop trying to cause change? Will the capitol win in the end by changing their essences? I sure hope not!

  18. L_Swann says:

    I know it's hard to accept the fast-forwarding, but please try and be patient. Think about it: The Hunger Games was all about the Games. Not only does Catching Fire have the Quarter Quell (which involves not only the Games themselves but also the introduction of the past victors), but it's also contained so much of Katniss's life as a victor AND the rebellious inklings of District 13 plot thread. Perhaps Collins wrote those scenes, but her editor cut them. Not everyone is afforded an extremely long YA novel, like Rowling. I know it's frustrating, but please try and see the practical considerations.

    • Maggie says:

      Actually, that's not a bad point. The length of the books are all pretty similar – and trying to keep to a certain length, and fitting all the story in that she wanted to tell, might have been difficult. And you're right, she may have written it and cut it, or had her editor cut it.

    • Erica says:

      These are valid points. But at the same time, I feel as if Collins sometimes over-elaborates on insignificant details and vice-versa (ie descriptions of the food–we get it, Katniss is a fat kid at heart :))

      SC could've done better than squishing three entire months into one chapter.

  19. Thiamalonee says:

    I think it's odd that you dislike Peeta in this chapter, because I see his actions as very Hermione-y.

    "For Agrippa's sake, Ron and Harry, stop moping about you prats! We have to deal with this, so we're going to go to the library, do some research, and be as prepared as possible! And don't even think about sneaking off to Hogsmeade for more Firewhiskey, I've already warned off Rosemerta."

    • iolchos says:

      although forcing Haymitch, who is actually an alcoholic, to go cold turkey, that's a new angle

    • LadyLately says:

      Peeta is completely a Hufflepuff version of Hermione. And Katniss is Ron. Not necessarily romantically (although that is my preferred pairing, it's no big thing), but personality-wise.

    • bookling says:

      I don't know about that. Peeta has seen what Haymitch is like in withdrawal, and it wasn't pretty. Is forcing him to go cold turkey really the best way to handle this? And his comment about Katniss turning into a drunk is really sanctimonious and condescending – getting drunk one night after getting terrifying news does not equal being an alcoholic. He's like that one friend you have who never drinks and is always preaching to you about how bad alcohol is and how his body is a temple and you just want him to shut up.

      • iolchos says:

        haha, I am that friend (except I also talk to people about drunk driving deaths)

        of course, that's why it's always a "huh" thing for me to read negative comments about his behavior. I'd been on the fence about them supplying Haymitch with liquor for a while, even.

  20. Ida says:

    I predicted that Katniss would have to go back to the arena when we first learned about the Quarter Quells and how the tributes where chosen in different ways for them, but I actually didn’t expect it to happen so I was just as chocked as anyone when I finished the last chapter.

    I never noticed how this chapter skims over everything that happens in the next 3 months. I would like to see more of what is going on, like the interaction between Peeta and Gale when Gale teaches them how to make traps, because I can definitely see them as friends if it wasn’t for the love triangle stuff.

    It does seam odd that they are all of a sudden giving up on the uprising, when there are three whole months before the Quarter Quell to make it happen and then there’s Katniss’s family. Who will take care of them when she’s gone if she dies like she plans to? They will loose the house and all the money they got after the last Hunger Games. Maybe she is counting on Gale and Peeta both doing their best to keep them alive?

    Edit: I liked that Peeta took charge in this chapter. Team Peeta all the way!

  21. I'm Team Empty Beer Bottles.

  22. Maggie says:

    I do think the perception of the pacing changes when you read it in one sitting (which is what a lot of people, myself included did), versus one chapter at a time.

    Also, I think she fast forwards because the story of them getting ready for the Quarter Quell wasn't the story she wanted to tell. It's not important. Well – you'll see. You are not prepared. 🙂

  23. thatonegirl says:

    I actually liked that Katniss was letting her emotions show here. She's spent so long trying to act like nothing phases her but here it's obviously not true. And I love that she didn't handle it very well, but no one judges her (except saint Peeta). Trying to keep Peeta alive at least gives some purpose/meaning to her impending death. I don't think she's given up completely, but she's such a realist/cynic that she has no hope of winning.

    As for Peeta, I won't be too hard on him (because I always do that with characters and am always wrong). But it seems like we got the "I'll drag myself out of this cave" version of Peeta again, and I like him less. He doesn't want Katniss to do anything harmful to herself, but that's not his choice to make.

    One more thing then I'll end my too long blah blah-ing…. I think Collins' book structure hurts her some times. Everything of hers that I've read is three parts with nine chapters each; 27 chapters total (Her other series was set up like that, and it looks like this one is, too). I think that's where part of her wonky pacing is coming from. Just add more chapters!

  24. PatR says:

    "Katniss has always been the one in her family to act as
    an emotional stone in a way. For her, it seems like a sign of
    weakness to express anything that differs from her outlook on life."

    The Capitol has systematically crushed the spirit out of the people in the districts. You never know what you are capable of when you are subjected to long-term abuse and how it alters you and your preception of the world.

    The social themes in these books are so poingnant for a YA series. No matter how much I get frustrated and want more info on these people and circumstances, everything that happenes still really makes me stop and think and want to keep reading.

  25. barnswallowkate says:

    I wonder if Peeta had been chosen if Haymitch would have said "I don't care what you think I owe you, I'm going to keep you alive this time by volunteering in your place." I doubt the chosen tribute has to agree to be replaced. It wouldn't fit the story Collins is trying to tell, of course. I just wish there was a way to absolutely guarantee one of them would survive the Games. Then again, that doesn't keep them safe outside of the Games, so maybe dying in the arena where you know you're fighting for your life would be preferable to the vague and stealthy threats they'll face at home.

    Wow it really sucks to be any of them 🙁

    • dumbgirlwithnoname says:

      I don't know why, but I almost wished that Haymitch was taking Peeta's place instead of the other way around.

      Just a thought: if somebody offers to take your place in the Games, can you say "hell no" and go through with it anyway? And if that happens and they run into a dilemma, what happens then? I was just wondering why Haymitch didn't fight back or anything. Sorry if this is confusing =(.

      But, I agree, it's all really fucked up.

    • AccioUsername says:

      I wonder, if somebody volunteers, do you have to let them take your place? Or can you constantly volunteer each other until one of you goes hoarse? >_>

  26. Blabbla says:

    I don't think it's strange at all that she told this part of the story in such a short time. I mean, this is very close to what happened in the beginning of the last book, and it would probably just be boring to see it all over again.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I don't know. It's an entirely new context and a new set of characterization. There's so much to explore here and nothing is.

      I just think my main problem is that montage-y scenes don't work in first-person present for me.

      • PaulineParadise says:

        But it would’ve been strange if that part of the story became third-person or something.

  27. Karen says:

    I actually disagree 100% with your take on Peeta in this section. He's not losing his personal hegemony. In the first book the way that he was maintaining his selfhood was by not playing the Capitol's Games. He wasn't in there to save himself or to gain personal glory. Everything he did in the arena was to save Katniss.

    So this is pretty much exactly what he did in the first book, except he's preparing for it before the Games in stead of trying to join with the Careers at the Cornucopia. He's not becoming blood thirsty or after personal gain. He's still being self-sacrificial in his goals which IS retaining his purity of self. He's just being more prepared this time around.

    As far as being sanctimonious goes? Eh. Maybe. But he's just trying to do what he can to keep Katniss alive. So far Katniss and Haymitch's plan for surviving the Quell seems to be to get drunk off their asses. Peeta is giving them a wake up call. Peeta isn't stupid. I'm sure he's figured out by now that the Quell was rigged and Snow is gunning for Katniss. Surviving this time around isn't going to be easy. It's going to require evading all of the Capitol's machinations. It's going to require training and getting in shape.

  28. bookling says:

    It’s just too cruel for words.

    Too cruel for words basically explains this entire series. This shit depresses me way more than HP, but at least there was hope in HP. THG is just bleak and every time there's a glimmer of hope, it's crushed right away. Uprisings in the districts? You're back in the Games, take that, sucker.

    I don't have problems with the writing style (maybe because I always read these books in one shot), but I agree that it's really disappointing that we don't learn more about Haymitch's Games when they're watching the videos. MOAR HAYMITCH PLZ COLLINS.

    • LadyLately says:

      Too cruel for words and it's a book series! 😀 I have a terrible sense of humor. I'm sorry.

      • paulineparadise says:

        You made me snort really un-ladylike. (Get it? Un-ladylike and your username is LadyLately. I have a terrible sense of humor as well.)

  29. LadyLately says:

    This may have actually been one of my favorite Peeta moments here, simply because I identify with that attitude so much. My mother's an unadmitted alcoholic (four beers is when i should congratulate her for such self-control! on a Tuesday!) and I. Do. Not. Like. Drunk. People.

    It's caused a lot of strife for my family, and if I could dump her stash and get away with it? I would. Every time.

  30. Karen says:

    Also as far as organizing a rebellion goes, they have 3 months before the Quell. Three months. That's it. They have no contact with other districts. No weapons. Only the population of around 8,000 underfed and overworked people who don't seem interested in any sort of rebellion. The Capitol crushed District 8's rebellion like it was nothing. What hope does District 12 have?

  31. Erica says:

    Showing vs. telling is one of my biggest pet peeves. Especially w/ a writer like Collins, who is capable of crafting such powerful passages (some of them, such as Rue's death and the whistling man from District 11, are downright haunting). But like you, I found the summarizing of these key months in CH13 to be lazy. Either that, or her editor went overboard in trying to shorten the book. DNW.

    I will say that I loved how strong Katniss' mom and Prim were for her, and that Katniss appreciated their strength. Would've been nice to see more…

    P.S. Haymitch, never change plz

  32. Andrew says:

    And if Katniss wins again..? Won't that just make the districts more supportive of 'The Mockingjay'?
    I can sense this going very, very wrong for the Capitol (again).

    Unless they just bomb her with fireballs again and she dies straight away.

    • corporatecake says:

      I'm pretty sure that the Plan is that, even if it gets to the point where there are just two of them left, and one is Katniss, she's getting her ass blown up or something.

      • bell_erin_a says:

        I'd be surprised if they allowed her to live that long. Snow said something about how Seneca Crane should have just blown her up after the berries (or before. Whatever, at the end when it was just her and Peeta). I'm guessing they won't make that mistake twice, since Katniss seems to have a habit of getting out of very sticky situations. So possibly Final Four or something, but I bet Snow stops it before it gets down to her and someone else. Because he's just that nice. It's a tough call about what they'd do if Peeta (and not Katniss) was one of the final two. Of course, if it's just Peenis left, I bet the Gamemakers blow them both up and call it a day before they set about obliterating any traces of rebellion in the districts.

  33. lilygirl says:

    I really think Collins channels Haymitch in this series. Haymitch is a minimalist, he only gives you what you absolutely need, not what you want. Never repeats himself, and if do not engage your brain and figure things out, he will abandon you to your fate. Now that we are going back to the arena and you want details ask you self what Haymitch/Collins would say. What happened in three months, "we worked out and thought how much shit we are in", "tribute names, why, they will be dead in a few pages." Capital has stuff the districts do not, well DUH

    Picture Haymitch and Harry. Harry: "I dunno". Haymitch: "Hand me that drink and go die already"

    Remember it was Peeta that got Haymitch to really mentor them in the last games. He will not lay down and make this easy for the Capital.

    This series really has the need for speed, but also needs some time for contemplation. I love the pace of your last few posts.

  34. adev0tchka says:

    I really don't see why everyone's being so hard on Peeta's actions here. Maybe I'm just morally high and mighty or something, but I thought what he was doing was for the best. It wouldn't have helped their situation for Katniss to just let herself go like that and become a sad, sloppy drunk…who knows, maybe she wouldn't go that route, but you never know, with everything she's had to face in the last year. Peeta was trying to give them both a wake-up call and pull them out of their misery to do something productive. Training to have a chance to stay alive in the arena seems like the most productive thing they could be doing at this point. Remember, the rules have changed. It's not going to be a bunch of random teenagers, it's going to be other adults as fucked up as they are, who have killed people and seen horrific things no one else could imagine. You bet your ass I'd be sobering up and watching those videos and training day and night if I had to face that.

    Do you honestly think they can just run away or lead a rebellion at this point? Hasn't it been said already that D12 doesn't have the numbers to stand up to the Capitol? I just don't see any way out for them. 🙁

    That said….FUCK YOU, SNOW.

    <img src=""&gt;

  35. Treasure Cat says:

    Im surprised you werent feeling the first bit of this chapter, with Katniss essentially going out of her mind with fear. It is honestly my favourite scene in the series so far because it is so raw and so real. The horror Katniss went through in the Games, the complete terror and torture every single person goes through inside the Arena, its enough to send anyone out of their mind if they're told they have to go back. Definitely enough to make them want to run away, to make them hide and scream. For me this scene is one of the only ones where I 100% understand Katniss and feel what she is going through. I love it. I also disagree with you about Peeta in this chapter. I think he's being a total BAMF, and trying to be proactive and protect the person he cares so much about is his way of coping with the terror of being back in the Games. I dont understand the characters' motivation too often in this book for my liking, but in this chapter I totally get them.

    On the other hand I do agree with you about the pacing, and I actively dislike montage scenes written in books. There is a way to write time passing that doesnt turn it into a montage and Collins has not mastered it. I think it's a shame because otherwise this chapter has some truly great moments.

  36. Randomcheeses says:

    Sorry, but also jumping on the take-charge-Peeta is awesome bandwagon. At least he's not sitting around getting drunk. Granted, I totally understand the appeal of getting drunk when one is in Katniss' situation and I'd probably have downed a whole liqour store by now if it was me, but still, Peeta is being kind of awesome in comparison.

  37. shortstack930 says:

    Also, I liked the way Peeta took charge in this chapter. I really didn't feel like it was out of character because above all he is still just trying to save Katniss. He wants to prepare her enough so that she has a hope of surviving. It was nice to see him take charge of the situation because Katniss seemed to have finally reached her boiling point. All of her emotions finally started to take over and she finally realized that she can't always take care of everyone. It was nice to see her finally let someone else take care of her when she let Peeta take charge, and when she let her mother and Prim comfort her.

  38. LongCat says:

    I remember being irked by the strange summarizing in Catching FIre. In THG it felt as though we were supposed to be experiencing the events with Katniss, whereas in CF it feel like we're being told what's going. It's all very…distant, I guess.

    I know this sounds whiny and demanding, but: but why no HP posts? I've been reading MRHP since Chamber of Secrets and was so excited when I heard you were going to be rereading. I keep finding myself back on MRHP reading old posts over again to get my fix.

  39. FlameRaven says:

    Been waiting for you to hit this chapter. >D Just when you think the Capitol can't get worse, IT DOES.

    However, I think this is a valid time to bring up a question I always had with the Games: have there NEVER been two or several tributes who simply refused to fight? Because that seems like the proper response to this situation especially. The Capitol is going to throw people who SHOULD BE IMMUNE into the ring? Well. Why don't they all sit down and have a party together? No, seriously. Just band together and say "fuck you Capitol, we're not killing anyone." Sure, the Capitol will then try to kill them off with whatever craziness, but if you're going to die, at least take a stand. Especially in a situation as ridiculous as this.

    • lilygirl says:

      This is a good thought but very unrealistic. There will always be someone in the group that will break or think their need is so great that they have to give in. Just one tribute breaking and the whole plan is lost.

  40. theupsides says:

    I'm going to agree with everyone who has said that Peeta was in the right, here. Maybe the WAY he went about it was a little wrong. But hey, he just found out he has to go back into the arena, he's freaking out, too. The thing is, he's doing what he can to make sure Katniss and Haymitch survive. He knows they're going to be facing fierce competitors, and he wants to give Katniss the best shot possible. He immediately signed up to die in order to protect her, and I know she didn't ask him to do that or anything, but I don't see it as that crazy that he'd want to be the best prepared in order to actually succeed. I like that he's being pro-active. More than anything, he's STILL not playing into the Games. If he was, he'd go into them trying to win himself. He's keeping his identity because his entire goal will be to protect the person he loves.

  41. BradSmith5 says:

    Yes, there are subtle ways that you can display a character's improvement without need of a montage. Bank robbers, for instance!

    "Wow, Haymitch! You ran for five blocks after that guy AND pinned the stolen money bags to the wall with daggers––all without breaking a sweat! And Peeta! Using that laser katana to cut free the hostages would have resulted in multiple severed limbs had you tried it three months ago!"

  42. potlid007 says:

    yeah i was all for Haymitch and Katniss getting drunk together…but then it all sort of rushed by. it doesn't make sense. it's like Collins is attempting to stuff as much…well stuff…into the story as possible, and it isn't really working for me.

  43. Saber says:

    I think SC was forced by her editor to make the book shorter. I mentioned it before in the comments, all the books are JUST under 400 pages. She might have written out the victory tour and the training, but couldn't leave it in the book. Shame. 🙁 I want MORE DISTRICTS

    This chapter didn't feel odd to me until I was reading aloud to my mother. I went "Wait wah? It goes THAT FAST?"

    And also, Sanctimonious. That's my new favourite word. Peeta was a Sanctimonious jerk in this chapter, but I would have done the same thing. Katniss, DEAL WITH IT.

    And Team Peeta/Team Gale < Team Haymitch!

    • spectralbovine says:

      Yeah, I was surprised/impressed/amused that each book is almost exactly 380-something pages long. Like, how do you do that?

    • Saber says:

      I know. I remember noticing that Mockingjay was exactly 398 pages long, and thought "Wow, she must have been under pressure to keep it short"

  44. Inessa says:

    I have to disagree with the disappointment re both Katniss and Peeta accepting the games and re Peeta’s characterisation. It looks like Snow is gunning for Katniss. Escape with everyone (families etc) is impossible, with all the extra Peacekeepers under Thread’s command. Escape on her own or with Gale or Peeta, will result in Katniss’ and/ or all their families killed, probably publically or even punishment for the whole district.

    Peeta is sanctimonious, but I think he sucked it up, gritted his teeth and came up with a plan that makes sense to him. Why isn’t he allowed to react whichever way he needs?

  45. Mayzie says:

    I vaguely recal seeing somewhere that Collins had troubles with keeping the length down for Mockingjay it wouldn’t surprised if the same thing had happened with Catching Fire. Someone mentioned all the books being close in the number of pages, it’s more than that though. All the books are formatted exactly the same way: 3 books, 3 parts in each book, 9 chapters in each section, 27 chapters total. I do believe she was pressured by the publisher to keep the length down and continue to adhere to this specific format. Perhaps if the fandom had exploded earlier than it did this wouldn’t have happened
    Anyway, I don’t mind the pace either at that point I’m too excited to get back into the action. One thing I would’ve liked to see a bit more of was Gale’s and Peeta’s interactions since Gale got in on his whole training thing to. However I really like gale and Katniss’ dialogue at the end of this chapter when Gale says he wishes peeta were easier to hate.
    And as somebody above mentioned Katniss wanting to protect Peeta isn’t really motivated by romance but rather by feeling like an inferior person to Peeta in general and also knowing that Peeta’s skills would be more valuable to a potential future rebellion than her archery skills.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I seem to remember her saying in an interview once that the 27 chapters with 3 "acts" stems from her background as a playwright (and that all of her books are written that way), implying that that particular aspect of it was self-imposed.

      • Manuel B says:

        The format could easily be maintained, the problem appears to be the under 400 page limit. Simply write a longer chapter showing us a little more of the training. I'm parcial to the idea that this part goes by so quickly because Katniss is detached from this events, waiting for the final goodbye to all the people that matter to her. Then Collins has the nerve to rob her of even this final gift.

  46. Beckalex says:

    Personally, when I was reading this book I thought it was lame and a copout for Collins to have them back in the Hunger Games again. To me it felt like she was recycling her plot and that she was just cheapening her readers.

    • ffyona says:

      I have to say I agree. As much as I'm intrigued with the idea of them going back in older and wiser – I mean, the sheer strangeness of doing it again is quite fascinating – I'm worried that this is a mistake on Collins' part. I sincerely hope that the actual games pan out in a dramatically different way this time round because I'd love to be proved wrong and have this create interesting parallels but… right now it's a struggle to stay invested in this. It does just feel a bit cheap.

    • ffyona says:

      I wrote a longer response to it but it seems to have disappeared. Damn.

      In short, I agree. I still hope it will turn out to have all happened for a reason etc (these things often look better in retrospect) but yes, right now I'm having trouble staying invested. It does feel cheap.

  47. knut_knut says:

    The publishing world is a complete mystery to me :/

  48. Hotaru-hime says:

    I forgot how fast this chapter moves.
    But yeah, TEAM HAYMITCH 'cause he tells it like it is!
    But yeah, poor Katniss. I think the PTSD only really hits her while she's sleeping, but now it kind of slapped her in the face really fucking hard.
    Ah well. This means more Cinna.

  49. notemily says:

    This was my exact reaction to this chapter, Mark. I couldn't believe that Katniss wouldn't try to find some way of getting out of going to the Games again. She has her breakdown, sure, but she seems to accept the future way too easily. And yeah, this chapter felt rushed in general. As if, once Collins established that we'd be going into the Games again, she wanted to get there as fast as possible. This is probably my least favorite part of the book if not the entire series.

  50. Mauve_Avenger says:

    “However it falls out, two of us are going to be in the arena again with the other as mentor. We can’t afford any drunkards on this team."

    Because having a tribute or mentor who's deep into severe alcohol withdrawal (which can cause hallucinations, seizures, stroke, cardiac arrest, and DEATH, BTW) would be far preferable, amirite?

    I can't even right now.

    • notemily says:

      Word to this. I hate alcoholism and drunk people, but forcing someone to quit something as addictive as alcohol cold-turkey is not the way to go.

    • ffyona says:

      Absolutely. I think Peeta's reacting without thinking and he's certainly acting on good intentions but… dude, at this point Haymitch is at least still functioning with his addiction. Sending him to cold-turkey hell is maybe not the best way of moving forward into the most stressful situation of his life. Calm down, Peeta!

    • Tabbyclaw says:


      Alcoholism is something you can just stop being affected by through sheer force of will, and one binge will turn you into a total lush. Well, that answers all our questions about whether or not District 12 has television, because clearly Peeta is getting all of his information from A Very Special Episode of Saved By The Bell.

  51. spectralbovine says:

    In the thirteenth chapter of CatchingFire, SLOW DOWN THIS IS GOING WAY TOO FAST.
    Right?? I was so confused about the timeline because I assumed the Games would take place in the third book, so when we moved straight to them in this book, I had no idea what to expect anymore. I understand what you mean about the time compression not working with the narration, and while it does seem like a lot of this really deserved actual scenes in the present, I figured Collins was saving room for the Games, since she had less book to do them this time, assuming she wasn't going to spill over into the third book, which was still an option since I had no idea what the third book was about.

    I do agree that it's weird that they suddenly just sort of gave up and were like, yep, Games time rather than continuing their uprising plans, which were the focus of the book thus far.

  52. SusanBones says:

    quote Mark: "WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING. Have you
    resolved yourself to the reality that you’ll have to participate in
    the Games? No uprising, no revolts, no running away? That’s it?"

    This is exactly what I thought, too. It was frustrating the way they just followed along like sheep. I totally understood Katniss's meltdown, but her "I'll do it all to save Peeta", gets a little tiring.

    Peeta throwing the booze out is so funny. That never works! But I guess it helped for the short term.

  53. corporatecake says:

    Some people took a huge chance on SMeyer. Those people werew geniuses, because they looked into that pile of garbage and somehow saw that it would be something that would make bucketloads of money. It seems like most authors don't get that lucky though. 🙁

  54. paulineparadise says:

    My thoughts on this chapter:

    Katniss Crying-
    <img src=""&gt;

    The short training part-
    <img src=""&gt;
    (The face, not the line, although that's pretty funny as well)

    The ending-
    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

  55. NopeJustMe says:

    I've noticed that every time Collins starts to speed up like this she's always building up to something, obviously it's going to be the Hunger Games or some kind of Rebellion (they'll have to pass through the others districts, right?) so I'm going to wait this one out.

    As for the pacing, I don't actually mind. Yeah I wanted to learn more about Haymitch's past but…if she had described all the training in detail, it would have felt way too much like first book, which hopefully Collins is trying to avoid or this is going to get very repetitive very fast…

  56. Puel says:

    I'm of two minds about the skipping-forward in this chapter. On one hand, it would have been nice to see a few vignettes from those months — not blow-by-blow descriptions of everything that happened, but a few clear moments that spoke to what the whole period of time looked and felt like. On the other hand, if nothing plot-relevant actually does happen during that time period, I'd rather Collins got to the good stuff as soon as possible, because I don't want to read pages of fluff that ultimately have nothing to do with the story. Heck, Rowling did her fair share of summarizing in the HP books when the months in question weren't particularly interesting. Exposition is a tricky thing when you're a writer. Show-don't-tell is a good principle to stick to, most of the time, but sometimes you have to lay certain things out so you can get to the good stuff faster. And I'm pretty sure that the Quarter Quell qualifies as "the good stuff," for certain definitions of "good."

    …though I have to admit, an eighties training montage with Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch would be kind of amazing. Please let that happen in the movie.

  57. lindsay1128 says:

    posted this in your tumblr ask mark but I thought I'd post it here too for other fans of this book series. I don't know if you guys have seen or mentioned in the comments of this blog but Hot Topic is selling little Hunger Games things I don't know if they have shirts too but I saw them when I was looking for Harry Potter candy under what was left of the little Harry Potter things/trinkets in the back of the store(but the one here is pretty small and different stores have different configurations so…)

  58. taratheninja says:

    *stuffs fist in mouth so i won't yell out any spoilers*

  59. yllsa says:

    Just sing the montage song from Team America in your head while you read that part of this chapter. Or Eye of the Tiger *insert pun about Tiger/Cat/Katniss*

    I thing I have to disagree with you about Collins condoning alcohol use because Katniss's reaction to it is pretty violent and negative, and Haymitch is always characterized as "good, but he's better when he's sober". The lady who sells the alcohol is never given much characterization beyond "shady lady selling moonshine at black market." Anyone else we've seen drinking has been characterized as wasteful(Capital people) or in a position of power that gets abused (the old Peacekeeper captain guy.) Everyone else is pretty much shown to not have time/resources to procure alcohol in the quantities or with the regularity required to become an alcoholic.

    And I think we can forgive Katniss trying alcohol as a way to blunt the fear/pain of living through a Hunger Game and also having to plan a wedding. When I think about planning my wedding I usually want a shot too.

  60. SarBear says:

    Wait. Okay. In the first book, they said that training before the games is technically not allowed, but they have always let the people from career districts do it to keep it interesting/whatever. But if Snow has rigged the games to get Katniss on again (and the other victors too), combined with the fact that suddenly District 12 is so strict about everything…

    Basically, how the hell did they get away with training? How did the Peacekeepers not go “LOL training is illegal, GTFO”?

    • corporatecake says:

      They probably don't see it as worth the trouble, I think. Snow is probably betting on Katniss not coming out of the arena alive — even if one of her fellow tributes doesn't kill her, there's a whole world of gamemaker devices to bump her off with. So who cares if she's in shape or not? They consider the Katniss problem "taken care of."

  61. Majc says:

    I didn't mind the pacing in this chapter. Peeta's reaction is the most important thing to see. The fast forward montage just means that there are more important things coming up.

  62. Steeple says:

    Ahhhh I feel so anxious about this book now! I only have read Mark's reviews so I am also unprepared. =( But, I'm gonna make some ~predictions~

    -Peeta is going to die
    I have a bad feeling about this and I don't think the author would kill off Katniss. If Kat does die, well, shame on me.

    -Haymitch is gonna try an incite a rebellion all ~secretly~ and much more subtlely than either Peeta and Katniss are capable of. I mean, he'd want to do it RIGHT, y'know? Watch me be wrong.

    -All the other tributes are gonna be pissed at Katpee and gun for them first.
    Since they have to go to the Hunger Games because of Katpee, right?

    -Peeta's Sanctimonious Asshole schtick will lead to his death
    Yeah I'm mad at Peeta too. =/ [TOTALLY BIAS FROM IRL EVENTS GRRR]

    -The Arena is gonna be like the fucking Fire Temple as a sting against Katniss's fire theme.
    Actually, how much control is there on the environment? Can they make it atop a snowy mountain, like an Obligatory Ice Level? omg I am terrible because I'm thinking of it like a video game. Obviously they can't have lava because lolconvection, but it could be… idk, an urban parkour-type space (if you can't jump, you're fucked! Hell they might do this, since they're all victors and would doubtlessly train – maybe have firearms?), or a fucking ocean (like a deepass pool with SHARKS WITH FREAKIN' LASER BEAMS lol not), or maybe a FLOATING PLATFORM LEVEL (so much tipping over the edge! like that sky level in Twilight Princess with grappling hooks and shit – and the gamekeepers could just pull the floor out from under you) – WAIT SECOND PREDICTION TIME

    -The Arena will be in a subterranean cave system similar to a mine shaft, again as a sting against Katniss.
    It'd be like fucking Penumbra only worse. I mean, there could be strategic caveins, or – or it could be completely dark, with a risk: natural predators are repelled by light, but that same light would clue in the other tributes to where you are. Does Peeta have any mining experience? That'd be useful. I wonder if there have ever been District-themed Arenas before…

    -Effie is putting on some Obfuscating Stupidity and is really a member of the rebellion. Or the Stylists are
    I doubt this is true, but yeah.

    • stefb says:

      The worst temple I can think of is the Water Temple from Ocarina of Time. THAT was damn annoying. The tributes would just kill themselves out of frustration.

      Also, the Water Temple would PUT OUT THE FIRE (getit?)

      • Steeple says:

        LOLYEP. Oh man, Water Temple. Funnily enough, that was a temple that got EASIER in Master Quest, which also took out the gamebreaker I never found. Although, I never had trouble, really, but fighting underwater was tricky. Changing water levels was annoying. WAIT AN ARENA THAT PERIDOCIALLY FLOODS SOMEHOW that would be neat. Wait what am I saying I AM A TERRIBLE PERSON BLUH.

        Here's a new prediction: BOOBY-TRAPPED SPONSOR GIFTS. Calling it now.

  63. Treesa says:

    I think it should start being apparent to you that this is not the book to be reviewed chapter by chapter, hehe. It's unfair to be commenting and forming an opinion about these characters based on what they did in one particular chapter. Even though Peeta's approach was kinda cold, I don't blame him at all for what he's doing. He's not the lovesick puppy dog that he's been made out to be so far in this book. He's strong, he's willing to fight, and he's gonna do whatever it takes to make sure Katniss survives this. It's all about Katniss at this point, and if this means being cold to her in situation, he's gonna do it. He's figured out Snow's game. He knows that no matter what, there's no running away to the woods anymore. They will go back to the arena and this time instead of needing to think of a way to protect Katniss while already in there, he has this chance to do it before.

  64. andreah1234 says:

    Yes. This is what I think too, I would have added a few "FUCK YOU, CAPITOL"s in there as well, but yeah this is pretty much it.

  65. Silverilly says:

    Nothing like some underage drinking in a YA novel!
    To be fair, we have no idea what the drinking laws are like in Katniss' world. Actually, it seems like alcohol is a banned substance at any age, considering that Peeta threatened to report Ripper to the authorities.
    Also, Mark, maybe you shouldn't be so hard on Peeta. He just found out that he's going back into the arena (which is kinda his fault but still), and even worse, so is Katniss. Why is Katniss allowed to have an extreme reaction and Peeta isn't? Right now Katniss' safety is the only thing Peeta's thinking of, and maybe focussing on strengthening the three of them helps distract Peeta from the reality of what they're actually training for.
    If these characters didn't give up every once in a while, they wouldn't be very real. You can't be strong in every hopeless situation.

  66. Tabbyclaw says:

    So. Last chapter I mentioned that the wedding dresses meant that Katniss spent a few pages being Amy Pond from Doctor Who in my head. And I already established in the last book that Haymitch will always be a grimdark version of Sam from Burn Notice to me.

    If anyone has the mad urge to give a total stranger a late Christmas/early birthday present, I suddenly have a desperate craving for genfic about Amy and Sam getting drunk together.

  67. celinagabrielle says:

    I didn't really enjoy this chapter either, and Peeta is SERIOUSLY starting to get on my nerves. Like… idk. I don't know what's happening with the rebellion plot, either. It feels like Collins has just abandoned it. I don't want this book to go back into the arena- honest to God. I don't see how we are going to benefit from that plot-wise, anyway, so I predict we won't make it there and the uprising will start before they make it,

    but idk.

    • Treesa says:

      i wanna spoil you sooo much right now, haha. be patient, all will be revealed. =)

      People seem to forget.. THERE IS A 3RD BOOK. That is all.

  68. The Queen of Harts says:

    Katniss' breakdown felt entirely real to me, because I've basically equated the Hunger Games with war – much like a soldier traumatized by battle and dealing with PTSD, Katniss is horrifically scarred by the things she witnessed and had to deal with in the arena. I don't consider myself an emotional or expressive person, but I honestly have to say that if I were in her shoes, I would be a hysterical mess. Crying, panicking, running away – all entirely within the realm of reason, because you are basically facing your worst nightmare all over again, and you have no idea if you'll survive this time, since you barely survived last time.

    The scene where she's in her room, trying to brace herself to be strong, and then bursts into tears when her family walks in – that part breaks my heart every time. I feel like Collins is a very honest writer and she doesn't try to keep up pretenses or anything. Katniss is strong and badass, but she's still a severely traumatized 16-year-old girl who is very, very afraid…and not just because of the games – she has to worry about how much Snow hates her and how he blames her for the uprisings in other districts. She has to worry about her family and Gale and everyone else because already she can see the impact her disobedience has had on District 12. This is a tremendous burden for a very young person, so seeing her crack a bit under the pressure? Very real.

    That being said, I like that Katniss didn't collapse into a fit and completely lose herself – she panicked and freaked out, and now she's dealing. I respect that.

    I didn't notice the pacing, since (as I've said before) I read the books very, very quickly, but I'm sure you pick up on that, going chapter by chapter 😀

  69. Liz says:

    Damn there is a lot of ableism in the comments of these reviews.

    Guys, alcoholism and depression are diseases. Not things selfish people do to be selfish and ruin everything.

    • ffyona says:


    • Arione says:

      I agree, shaming, judging and othering don’t help.

      Mark reads is the first place I’ve ever come across the term ableism. I have a very mild form of dyslexia, which due to lots of visual coaching at young age doesn’t affect me very much, except in hilarious little ways. I’ve been reading ableism as abletism (ab-LEET-ism, those who have abs discriminating against everyone else, because they believe they are elite) since mark reads twilight. I thought it was a mixture between abs, athlete and elite. Now that I’ve actually read the word for the first time I’m educating myself.

      • Manuel B says:

        Depression is a disease. Alcoholism is a disease as well. The problem is that alcoholism is also an addiction. Just like glambing. You choose to start taking alcohol. But you don't know beforehand whether you will become addicted or not.
        It's true that people with alcoholism and drug abuse problems need our help and understanding. But we all need to agree that for whatever reason we turn to drugs and alcohol, be it for recreational use or as a coping mechanism or even because of peer pressure, we are playing with fire.

  70. blis says:

    I don't think they would have to worry about Peeta turning them in. I think they realize it was an empty threat. Peeta knows the punishment they would face. It was his way of getting their attention. Nothing gets the ball rolling like anger.

  71. Phoebe says:

    I actually liked this chapter. I think it fits to move so fast because Katniss is probably numb to it all, maybe in denial. The days just past with nothing important.

  72. Cally_Black says:

    I disagree with you Mark. My love for Peeta grew a lot in this chapter. We got to see another side to him and I can't really blame him for how he reacts. He has to deal with the reality that he will most likely be going back into the Games with Katniss, with Haymitch being their mentor. And what does he find his two allies doing? Moping and getting drunk. I'm not saying I blame Katniss and Haymitch, not at all. It's horrific the reality they are facing, but Peeta is facing the same thing, and he's not shrinking away from it. I don't think this changes who Peeta is, or what he has always stood for.

    Although I do wish that Peeta would go back to cute adorable Peeta, he is more enjoyable that way. Oh well, whatcha gonna do?
    <img src=>

  73. Lynn says:

    I love all the awesome gifs by Mark and everyone here! All of you make my day with them- so thanks!!

    Sorry for being a little off topic. I can't wait for the next review as the reviews are fun as well as everyone's reactions.

  74. Robin says:

    Ugh. I totally hate this idea that Katniss has to do all this work in order to 'deserve' Peeta. Especially because… If someone makes you feel like you aren't "worthy" to be with them, that is going to be a BAD RELATIONSHIP, whether it's friendly or romantic.

  75. Revolution64 says:

    I really loved Peeta in this chapter. He took control and got all badass.

  76. Annalebanana says:

    Well, I really like how Katniss acts in response to the games. She has attempted to be a tough, no emotions girl all of her life, but she just can't take this emotional overload. She is like a PTSD Veteran forced back into the war. Not a good idea. I found her reaction very heart-breaking and horribly depressing.

    And yay for you not being Team Peeta! He has good intentions, but honestly, he just makes Katniss feel like crap most of the time. What type of relationship is that? And he is so very self-righteous…

    I actually rather liked the ending of this chapter, because it just shows how the Capitol is forgoing all the pleasantries and things that make the games seem (at least from some perspectives) like something valiant, or something worth undertaking. It just seems like a "Pile all of the strongest people who could rebel against us into an arena and kill them" sort of deal. None of the fancy, pretend this is a game sort of thing. It is actually quite horrifying to me. And Katniss never gets to say goodbye! Sad Face!

  77. Pikko says:

    The biggest disappointment for me when I read this chapter was understanding that I wasn't going to get to watch the Games from Katniss the Mentor's point of view. I was so curious to see how the sponsoring and monitoring worked and how Katniss would deal with preparing a girl for the arena after surviving herself.

  78. Emily G. says:

    I don't get why your off team Peeta. He's not one of my favorite characters, but you really didn't seem (or, more likely I didn't understand) WHY you disliked his part in this chapter so much. From what I read, what he was doing seemed very obvious. He wants to keep the person he loves alive, and based on who was most successful in past games he sees training as Careers to be the best option. Could you maybe explain why you didn't like his response so much? It would be greatly appreciated.

  79. Maddi says:

    I'm with you on being annoyed that Collins skips most of the training and studying, not just because I think it's important character-relationship-developing time for Haymitch, Peeta and Katniss, but also because IMO the worldbuilding (and Cinna) are the best parts of this series. I love the world and the people she sculpts and she keeps skipping over it for action, action, action.

    I also really wish she'd had the guts to put Haymitch back in the games. I think that would have been a more interesting decision and just plum better storytelling.

  80. Tinybit92 says:

    I honestly admired Peeta for his actions at this point in the story. In their little group of three Katniss and Haymitch have always been take charge kind of people and Peeta is more passive. So when these two start to have complete mental breakdowns he realizes someone has to be responsible in this situation. Yes, he goes about it in a very asshole-ish way, but shit is getting pretty real here, he doesn't have much choice. And I always figured it was good to get Haymitch off the alcohol at this point because if he had ended up in the arena he would've had to deal with withdrawals during the games, and that would be really bad.

    Also, apparently I am five years old or something because I seriously giggle every time you refer to them as Katpee.

  81. potlid007 says:

    BE A MAN

    <img src="; border="0" alt="drink sleep Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

    BE A MAN

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Mulan climbing Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

    BE A MAN

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Angry Tinkerbell Pictures, Images and Photos"/>


    oh, and btw we're going to the Capitol, fyi, in case you were wondering.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Belle and the Beast eat soup Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

    oh, District 12….

    • AccioUsername says:

      Let's get down to business, to defy Panem.
      Did they send me weaklings when I asked for champions?
      You're the saddest pair I ever met, but you can bet before we're through
      Katniss, I'll make a champ out of you

      Tranquil as a forest, the girl on fire within
      Once you find Peeta, you are sure to win
      You're a clueless, plain, pathetic kid
      And you haven't got a clue
      Katniss, I'll make a champ out of you

      Everyone: "I'm never gonna catch Foxface"
      Peeta in the mud: "Say good-bye to those who knew me"
      Glimmer: "Boy, was I a fool in training for skipping First Aid."
      About Cato: "This guy's got 'em scared to death."
      Katniss: "Hope Peeta doesn't see right through me."
      Clove: "Now I really wish there were no rocks!"

      (Be a champion)
      You must be more swift than Foxface could be
      (Be a champion)
      With all the force of Thresh's rage
      (Be a champion)
      With all the strength of a girl on fire
      Mysterious as District Thirteen

      Time is racing toward us till the mutts arrive
      Heed my every order and you might survive
      You're unsuited for the pain of the games
      So team up with Rue, or you're through
      How could I make a champ out of you?

      (Be a champion)
      You must be more swift than Foxface could be
      (Be a champion)
      With all the force of Thresh's rage
      (Be a champion)
      With all the strength of a girl on fire
      Mysterious as District Thirteen

      (Be a champion)
      You must be more swift than Foxface could be
      (Be a champion)
      With all the force of Thresh's rage
      (Be a champion)
      With all the strength of a girl on fire
      Mysterious as District Thirteen

  82. Will says:

    I'm still Team Peeta. He's just trying to look out for Katniss, the girl he undeniably loves.

  83. coughdrop says:

    Am I the only one who initially felt a sense of disappointment that they were going back to the Games? It felt like cheating or something, like she was doing the same book again. Obviously, I came around but I am wondering if anyone else felt this way because I am honestly kind of surprised it shocked Mark so much. I sort of expected the games to come back…

  84. Bethany says:

    I completely disagree!!! Looking at it from Katniss' point of view, those months probably did pass like that for her; fast and blurry. She probably doesn't remember a lot of it. Any way she looked at it, it wasn't going to be good and she really couldn't deal with focusing on it.
    ALSO! Peeta. I think that was a bit of a harsh judgement of him. He was just being honest; was getting drunk really going to help any of them? They were going to go into the Arena, and if Haymitch and Katniss were just going to drown their sorrows and be completely unhelpful then none of them were going to live. Peeta, I think, was handling the situation the best. He obviously knew that they were going to face even tougher competition than before and realized that they needed some sort of strategy. He seems to want to come out alive and is going to do whatever it takes to stay that way.
    I really respect him for that. 🙂

  85. Ayla says:

    "As far as Collins' writing style is concerned, she is maddeningly short on detail except when it really matters."

    Unless, of course, the detail is food.

  86. Kripa says:

    I really wouldn't be so hard on Peeta. I agree that it's self-righteous, but I can empathize with where he's coming from. Katpee both have not so admirable reactions to a very desperate situation. Peeta's starting to put his foot down and show some leadership out of a desire to KEEP EVERYONE ALIVE. And I reckon Haymitch would admire Peeta's sudden display of chutzpah.

  87. Kripa says:

    Haymitch wasn't saying Katniss OWED Peeta anything, only that Katniss didn't *deserve* Peeta, i.e., Peeta was a worthy lover, but Katniss isn't sensitive and kind enough for such a guy. Katniss herself agrees with Haymitch's assessment. I think you're coming down way too hard on Peeta.

  88. vampira2468 says:

    -It is interesting how the victors are treated like cattle.
    -It was a bit of a shock seeing Katniss drinking like that but seems that is the one way to get her ideas through to Haymrich
    -I seriously don’t think her and Gale would be more than best friends. I still feel her love for him is the sisterly sort of love.
    -I would of liked to see things from the governments side. This is why writing from one character’s view is so limiting

    • AccioUsername says:

      I saw Katniss and Gale as like a high-school romance. You think you love them, you would try to make it work out, possibly get married just because that's what society says is normal in relationships, and then realize that you weren't meant to be together.
      I think Katpee works because they understand each other. Peeta understands her nightmares, and probably has them himself. Katniss understands Peeta's trust issues; any other girl would eventually get fed up with him.

  89. vampira2468 says:

    Peeta was being realistic, though. They need to get themselves ready.I that means building their bodies and learning the tactics of others than so be it. They don't have time to waste.Life is cruel and I am sure Katniss already realizes that.

  90. Liz says:

    I'm still on Team Peeta. Someone has to be a hardass during the Games. In The Hunger Games it was Haymitch. Now it's Peeta. It wouldn't help anything if they just sat around feeling bad for themselves and each other. It probably wouldn't even help to have an uprising at this point because innocent people would get hurt.

  91. peacockdawson says:

    I don't understand this problem you have with montages. At all.

  92. Cyna says:

    I'm with you on the pacing thing Mark. The whole time I was like "WTF why did they have another Hunger Games so soon after the last one?" but I had to keep reminding myself that, oh yeah, a year had passed what with all the Victory Tour and the training and shit. You hit it on the head, Mark – authors will decided to do the 1st person present tense thing, and then have to cover months, and the summarizing/fast forwarding just fucks the whole rhythm. I've read many books like that now that 1stPPT is so popular, and it annoys the shit out of me.

  93. Katie says:

    (Late comment but whatever) I find it really funny that in America, of course there's quite a big reaction to Katniss getting drunk. I mean obviously I assume you have just as much underage drinking over there as we do in England, but since our limit is 18 (and therefore Katniss is only a few months under it) I completely skipped over that part without even thinking about it.

  94. feastandfast says:

    So I know I'm late to commenting on this chapter, but I wanted to offer a possible reason (at least in my reading of the story) for Katniss's behavior following the announcement of the Quarter Quell games, and that is PTSD. (I actually think that she exhibits some of the symptoms from the time we meet her in the first book, possibly as a result of her father's death, or taking charge of her family at such a young age?)

    While I've never suffered from PTSD, I have read a fair amount about it, (if someone reading has, please excuse my thinking through this, especially if I get something incorrect about it) and Katniss exhibits most of the possible symptoms, and clearly, the Hunger Games are enough to cause PTSD in anyone. My understanding of at least part of what Collins in trying to write about is the effect of violence on young people (I read this in some review somewhere and it stuck in my head because it really fit what I saw Collins doing). This was actually one of my favorite chapters in Catching Fire precisely because of how Katniss reacts when she hears that she's going back to the arena. To me, Katniss's pure animal instinct reaction was psychologically spot on.

    Oh, and this is my first post on here, though I've been following you, Mark, since near the end of MRHP. Thank you so much for writing out your journey with these various books – your blog is currently one of the few bright spots in my day! (And I applaud your choice to slow down your writing/reviewing pace to a humane speed :D).

  95. Kelly L. says:

    Maybe there is no legal drinking age in Panem. Since, you know, it's all technically illegal anyway. So she's not realllllllllllly underage drinking… 😉

  96. PK9 says:

    "Nothing like some underage drinking in a YA novel! " I see others have caught on to it, but I really hate it when people impose our own laws on a fictional society in a fictional world. We don't know if there is a legal drinking age. It certainly seems entirely legal for them to consume alcohol while they are in the Capitol. So it's a stretch to call it underage.

    It's the same thing that bugs me about people complaining about Harry and co. having firewhisky or any other alcoholic beverage at the age of 17. They're WIZARDS, why should we expect Muggle laws to apply to them?

  97. Hanh says:

    "I saw a multitude of other things. Being publicly humiliated, tortured, and executed."
    Um, Katniss, that's basically what happens in the Hunger Games except all together in one neat package.

    And like other readers I thought Peeta had a good plan–a DAMN good plan, much better than getting drunk and feeling sorry for yourself.

    So seeing as Effie wasn't comfortable with this Quarter Quell, does that mean she'll be pushed to take action and do something epic?

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