Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Chapter 4

In the fourth chapter of Mockingjay, we learn more about the captive prep team, Gale and Katniss get to hunt, and then the rebels discover they’ve traded one tyranny for another. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Mockingjay.

The stink of unwashed bodies, stale urine, and infection breaks through the cloud of antiseptic. The three figures are only just recognizable by their most striking fashion choices: Venia’s gold facial tattoos. Flavius’s orange corkscrew curls. Octavia’s light evergreen skin, which now hangs too loosely, as if her body were a slowly deflating balloon.

HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE. I LITERALLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS. Also, I wish Cinna were with them. WAIT. Ok, I don’t wish Cinna were being held captive because I LOVE CINNA, but I mean that I wish his fate hadn’t been given a single sentence. At least if he was here, I’d know he was still alive. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE. I am not wishing that Cinna be tortured.

Ok, back to awfulness: Flavius and Octavia are so frightened they actually shy away from Katniss, as if she is going to hurt them. WHAT.

“What happened, Venia?” I ask. “What are you doing here?”

“They took us. From the Capitol,” she says hoarsely.


“We thought it might be comforting for you to have your regular team,” Plutarch says behind me. “Cinna requested it.”

Oh, no. No. I do not accept this line of reasoning at all.

“Cinna requested this?” I snarl at him. Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that Cinna would never have approved the abuse of these three, who he managed with gentleness and patience. “Why are they being treated like criminals?”

RIGHT???? What the fuck is going on?

“I honestly don’t know.” There’s something in his voice that makes me believe him, and the pallor on Fulvia’s face confirms it.

And then it clicked: Plutarch is not on even ground with the leaders in District 13. In hindsight, that does seem incredibly obvious, but I assumed (wrongly) that they’d treat him as one of their own. I’m beginning to see just how difficult this situation is turning out to be.

“We had to restrain them after an altercation over some bread,” says the guard.

Venia’s brows come together as if she’s still trying to make sense of it. “No one would tell us anything. We were so hungry. It was just one slice she took.”

WHAT WHAT WHAT ARE YOU DOING. District 13, LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES. I get it. You have rules. They have kept you alive for decades. You also just took in THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THOSE ARE.

“This seems extreme,” says Plutarch.


“It’s because they took a slice of bread?” asks Gale.

“There were repeated infractions leading up to that. They were warned. Still they took more bread.” The guard pauses a moment, as if puzzled by our density. “You can’t take bread.”

What we’re seeing here is the clash of cultures, of a group of people desperately fleeing the tyrannical grasp of the Capitol, who sought refuge with the only people they felt safe around and who could provide them protection, and now they’re dealing with a brand new culture and society. And certainly one that has its obvious downsides to it.

Seriously, bravo, Collins. This is fascinating.

Katniss, like the BADASS she is, demands that the guard unchain her prep team to the guard’s utter bewilderment. Her dedication to her prep team is goddamn fantastic. There. I said it. I know that what they do can certainly be viewed as antagonistic, privileged, and an active supporter in oppression. I won’t argue with that. You’re right. But STILL Katniss believes in them and supports them in turn and I love her for it.

But we’ll get to that in a second when we spend time with Gale. First, Katniss takes her trio to the hospital ward, where we learn more about how Katniss’s mother has assimilated into the culture there:

My mother was welcomed into the hospital, but she’s viewed as more of a nurse than a doctor, despite her lifetime of healing. Still, no one interferes when she guides the trio into an examination room to assess their injuries. I plant myself on a bench in the hall outside the hospital entrance, waiting to hear her verdict. She will be able to read in their bodies the pain inflicted upon them.

I think there’s a neat subtext to this that I want to bring up. Katniss and her mother have had a troubled relationship for a long time, but I feel like this is a sign of how much Katniss truly respects who her mother is, not only for her capacity to excel at her skill, but as a sign that she supports her and what she’s gone through. We saw how she grew to understand why her mother had shut down after her husband died and now it seems she enjoys that her mom has a found a place where she can feel comfortable and necessary.

Just a thought.

Katniss takes this opportunity in the hallway to make a frightening point about the situation they’d all gotten themselves into:

“Punishing my prep team’s a warning,” I tell her. “Not just to me. But to you, too. About who’s really in control and what happens if she’s not obeyed. If you had any delusions about having power, I’d let them go now. Apparently, a Capitol pedigree is no protection here. Maybe it’s even a liability.”

Touche. I’d agree with this.

“There is no comparison between Plutarch, who masterminded the rebel breakout, and those three beauticians,” says Fulvia icily.

And here’s Katniss, ready with a fantastic retort to the concept that Fulvia and Plutarch are important to the rebellion:

“Of course you are. The tributes were necessary to the Games, too. Until they weren’t,” I say. “And then we were very disposable—right, Plutarch?”

I wanted to say OOOOOH, SICK BURN, but then I realized no one wins in this situation.

Let’s move on to Gale and Katniss hunting. I love that it’s a longer section without dialogue and I think the two of them needed. So much of their day now involves talking and planning and scheming and here, they get to interact in complete silence. It’s a great parallel to The Hunger Games, when we first meet the two of them, and we understand how seamless and natural their relationship is. It’s interesting how, like their time in District 12, this is also an act of freedom, a chance for them to feel open and limitless, even if just for a couple hours. The symmetry is impressive.

When they do finally begin to talk, Gale surprises Katniss by asking her why she cares so much about her prep team. On a superficial level, I understand Gale’s disgust at the idea. As he puts it, “…they’ve spent the last year prettying you up for slaughter,” which is sort of hard to argue with. Katniss tries to defend them because their privilege essentially clouds them from ever knowing what they’re actually doing.

“They don’t know what, Katniss?” he says. “That tributes—who are the actual children involved here, not your trio of freaks—are forced to fight to the death? That you were going into that arena for people’s amusement? Was that a big secret in the Capitol?”

Damn. Touche, Gale. But. They’re nice? And clueless? Katniss is also confused as to why she’s so defensive and Gale makes an ever better point:

“But I don’t think Coin was sending you some big message by punishing them for breaking the rules here. She probably thought you’d see it as a favor.”

BUT BUT BUT. I want to be part of some ~sinister conspiracy~


Back at District 13, everyone is preparing for Coin’s assembly, where she’ll announce that Katniss has agreed to be the Mockingjay. As they head into the Collective, the giant room that can hold all of the residents of the underground district, Katniss spots Finnick. He stands in a daze, tying and untying knots in a thin rope, ostensibly part of his therapy. As they talk, Finnick happy to see a familiar face, he states that he’s glad that Katniss is asking for immunity for the other tributes because he hopes that Annie will be spared.

OOPS KATNISS FORGOT ABOUT ANNIE. And so she rushes to make sure Coin adds the name to the list and Coin is a fuckbag when she finds out who this woman is:

“Oh, the mad girl. That’s not really necessary,” she says. “We don’t make a habit of punishing anyone that frail.”


Ugh. I DO NOT LIKE HER. And it only gets worse as Coin continues with the assembly, announcing that Katniss has agreed to be the Mockingjay as long as the four people she named are pardoned.

The president allows a few moments of unrest, and then continues in her brisk fashion. Only now the words coming out of her mouth are news to me. “But in return for this unprecedented request, Solider Everdeen has promised to promote herself to our cause. It follows that any deviance from her mission, in either motive or deed, will be viewed as a break in this agreement. The immunity would be terminated and the fate of the four victors determined by the law of District Thirteen. As would her own. Thank you.”

In other words, I step out of line and we’re all dead.


I can’t. I just can’t.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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317 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Chapter 4

  1. bell_erin_a says:


    “Of course you are. The tributes were necessary to the Games, too. Until they weren’t,” I say. “And then we were very disposable—right, Plutarch?”
    I wanted to say OOOOOH, SICK BURN, but then I realized no one wins in this situation.
    You go, Katniss, with your badass retorts, because it's really interesting that Plutarch doesn't seem to be ~super Capitol rebel who makes super important decisions in D13's government~. Given the end of this chapter though, I feel like the Mockingjay is ABSOLUTELY necessary to this rebellion, which is why they're granting her requests (or at least letting her think so?). Until Coin decides she's not. This situation blows.

    D13 is cool for taking on all these refugees, but it's also quite a nasty place. I love it but hate it. It's that I love the direction this series has gone, but I kinda hate D13. You know, words. I'm bad at them sometimes.

    “But I don’t think Coin was sending you some big message by punishing them for breaking the rules here. She probably thought you’d see it as a favor.”
    BUT BUT BUT. I want to be part of some ~sinister conspiracy~

    In other words, I step out of line and we’re all dead.
    I know I said yesterday that essays can go die in all the fires, but I think Coin should also be included. We can have an essay- and Coin-burning party; however, given the very unlikely event that there's only room for one of them in all of the fires, I'm starting to think it should be Coin… Can we compromise with Coin and Snow then, maybe?

    • andreah1234 says:

      I know I said yesterday that essays can go die in all the fires, but I think Coin should also be included. We can have an essay- and Coin-burning party; however, given the very unlikely event that there's only room for one of them in all of the fires, I'm starting to think it should be Coin… Can we compromise with Coin and Snow then, maybe?

      No I'm pretty sure that the essays can fit there too. They all need to DIE IN ALL THE FIRES. And Kat has Dibbs on Snow *glares*. I'm pretty sure we can have Coin though. If Johanna doesn't do it first. Which would be just as satisfactory.

    • LOTRjunkie says:

      I kind of like Coin, actually. Not like on a personal level, because she's admittedly one screwed up person, but as a character, she's very interesting. You do need to have a certain quality in order to save and continue leading your district against the Capitol.

  2. Yusra says:

    Mark is as unprepared as ever.

    And I must refrain from anything else (as has come my norm in these tough times)

  3. cait0716 says:

    I feel like I spent the first several reviews of Catching Fire waiting for you to get to the actual story. But, in Mockingjay, everything starts happening right away. I think this means that Collins has grown as a writer. Or the pacing is better. Or something. At any rate, at this early point in the novel, I'm enjoying the reviews a lot more than I was during CF. I'm not just constantly waiting for you to get to the next chapter. It's nice.

    When I first read Gale's reaction to Katniss' relationship with her prep team, I was super excited for your reaction to it. Because I'm a hopeless fangirl. And also because it's an interesting, sticky situation. All I can do is echo your sentiment: Bravo, Collins.

  4. Karen says:


    haha. Seriously though, I love how things aren't black and white. The good guys aren't always so wonderful.

    I was seriously 😐 at Gale this chapter though. SORRY THAT KATNISS HAS SOME COMPASSION AND SEES HER PREP TEAM AS PEOPLE INSTEAD OF JUST AS SYMBOLS OF THE CAPITOL, GALE. Ugh. Sorry. I think I'm just too much of a hippie pacifist for the reality of the world. But I just can't get behind Gale when he can't understand why Katniss is so upset about people being treated inhumanely. Yes, they were part of the Capitol system and in their (possibly willful) ignorance they helped to sustain that system, but OH MY GOD. THEY ARE STILL PEOPLE AND SHOULD BE TREATED LIKE SUCH. They were never malicious. Ugh.

    Yeah. Gale and I just view the world is such different terms that I just can never fully get behind his character.

  5. mugglemomof2 says:

    And then it clicked: Plutarch is not on even ground with the leaders in District 13. In hindsight, that does seem incredibly obvious, but I assumed (wrongly) that they’d treat him as one of their own. I’m beginning to see just how difficult this situation is turning out to be.
    This is where my head started to explode. This was so much more worse and fearful than I imagined.

    Coin Ugh. I DO NOT LIKE HER
    No shit- x 1000! Bitch! I don't like where this is going at all!

  6. ilram says:

    Wow I saw it early this time.

    I agree about Coin but I still think she's really trying to keep district 13 save. I mean they don't have to take in all those refugees from the other districts. They could just go on as they were and kept everyone in the belief that the dirstrict was destroyed. Since it's been working for them for quiet a while. Although I guess there was some stuff mentioned why they did this but it can't be the only reason right?

  7. toneDef77 says:

    I always felt we knew where we stood when we were dealing with Snow, but when it comes to Coin, it's tough to get a read on if she's really looking out for Katniss, looking out for District 13 or just looking out for herself. I think Collins is introducing a lot of doubt to the reader in District 13, and while I don't think Coin's methods are as directly sinister as Snow's and the Capitol's, it certainly makes me pause and wonder whether this path is the best one to take. Like Katniss says, she's put her life, along with Peeta and the other tribute's lives, reliant upon her walking the line that Coin sets out.

  8. CINNAmon says:

    Ugh, fuck Coin. I don't like her already :@
    Poor Katniss. She just can't get a break, can she?

  9. Lynn says:

    I find the reactions of the various characters to the treatment of the Prep Team interesting in this chapter. Gale and the higher ups of 13 who had no actual relationship with them can not understand Katniss' concern. But Katniss has humanized "the enemy" and now understands that by the enemy that does not mean the Capitol as a whole. Aspects of he culture of the Capitol and its leaders are the real enemies. Gale, not having been through what Katniss has, still sees the Capitol as whole as the enemy it seems like here.

    I think that applies to the world today. Some people view other cultures that they know nothing about as scary or foreign and it is easier to dehumanize those in it. This breeds a "us" and "them" mindset in disagreements and I think more readily leads to war. If people remember that there are individuals "over there" then it is harder to hate people in a culture that seems foreign to us. I think ignorance and dehumanization makes the option of war more palatable to people. I am no expert in this type of thing, but it is good to think about and discuss.

    But in the times of Panem, the evil dictatorship of Snow must be overthrown and this brings in all sorts of gray moral issues. I find it fascinating to read this and think about all of it.

    • Good observation. It's just as bad as thinking that all religions should be defined by the extremists/fundamentalists. If we went around judging all religions, beliefs, or groups by the ones who twist it to give their hate voice then all of humanity would be screwed. That's how we end up justifying genocide and any number of crimes against humanity.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Excellent comment. And because Katniss is one of the few people in District 13 who has experienced both the Capitol and the outlying Districts, we actually get an ambiguous narration; we have to think for ourselves about who or what is right and wrong. I admire Collins for doing not just giving us an answer.

    • Clare says:

      Excellent observation, and absolutely true. If I could upvote this a hundred times I would.

    • Fuchsia says:

      Very true. I know I'm a huge pacifist, but I always keep in mind that on either side of a war, it's people, just your normal, average citizens, dying and being tortured. I understand (sometimes) the necessity of war (especially in the situation that Katniss is in) but you can't forget that there are people on the other side that you're killing, and sometimes those people have no say in whether they want to be fighting for that side or not. The prep team wasn't even fighting the rebels, they care for Katniss, and they don't deserve this treatment just because of their jobs in the Capitol.

    • Lynn says:

      Ignore all the typos above as I did a poor job of editing my first post, sorry about that. =(

      But you get a taste here of the way cycles of violence begin between people. I think this is why the Quarter Quell was such a bad political move on Snow's part. The capitol dehumanized the district civilians to the point where they were nearly apathetic to their suffering in the games. But once the district child won the games they were seen as human and real. The people grew attached to them. The Quarter Quell may have opened up the eyes of some of the Capitol folks to exactly what was going on with the games. We see this with the prep teams reactions to Katniss going back in. All of a sudden people what had been raised in a world where these games were ok and accepted begin to question them and look at them deeper.

      But if you had not had the Quarter Quell there is still that "us" and "them" notion. Now that District 13 has control of the Prep Team (which can sort of symbolize the capitol citizens generally) they are treated inhumanely. We can guess from this how District 13 will treat prisoners of war. If that gets back to the capitol then the citizens can grow to hate the Districts and thus the cycle of hatred and rage takes hold. No one wins when that happens in my opinion.

      • HungryLikeLupin says:

        I think this is a really excellent point. I hadn't thought about that parallel before–the prep team being humanized in Katniss's eyes by her interaction with them, the same way the surviving tributes were humanized in the eyes of the Capitol.

        It makes me wonder, in fact, if part of Gale's indifference towards the prep team's fate isn't a defense mechanism. Heading into war, it's going to be much easier for him to fight a faceless, nameless enemy than actual people who have names and families and stories of their own. It's a theme that's been present since the very beginning, ever since Gale insisted the arena would be no different from hunting, and Katniss reflected that it was true if she could forget they were people. If everyone in the Capitol is simply The Enemy, then any actions taken against them can be justified. If it's composed of people. . . then things start to get more complicated.

        • I can believe that. My brother was a Captain in the US Army, but instead of being embittered through his war experiences (the trauma of which still effects his day-to-day life, even though he is no longer in the Army) he became enraged at how unfairly the average Muslim is portrayed in the media. He's seen both sides now, and is more compelled than ever to stand up for the average Iraqi who suffers from both sides. (I probably had seriously clumsy wording, sorry!)

          • HungryLikeLupin says:

            Not at all! ^_^ And yeah, Katniss has been in the arena, she's experienced the Games and everything surrounding it, and she has a better foundation from which to speak. I feel like there's something about privilege in here, but I can't quite manage to articulate it.

            Also, this is reminding me yet again of how tempted I was to just post the lyrics to Dispatch's 'The General'. XD

      • Jacob says:

        Alright, LYNN. Give it up… You're Suzanne Collins aren't you?

    • Annalebanana says:

      Absolutely. That is why I hate war and hate so much. (Heehee, I HATE hate). The reason I love this book is it IS all gray area, and it is just so interesting! I mean, I absolutely despise violence to get some "means" as it destroys people in the process, but Collins can make me think it is sometimes necessary. I don't know, stop making my head spin!! *Oh, and did anyone else notice the parallelism between the Capitol and the US? I think it is so facsinating how this book is, in a sense, an anti-things-that-suck-in-the-Us-and-why-we-are-not-better-than-anyone-and-may-indeed-be-worse book. It is so MARVELOUS! Oh, Collins, I love you forever.*

  10. Meghan says:

    If you can't even now… Oh Mark, so unprepared.

  11. Phoebe says:

    Coin is actually terrifying (not sure how to spell that). I cant wait to see who will play her in the movie!!!

  12. monkeybutter says:

    I hate Coin, but I love how Collins is using her. Everyone was expecting 13 to be different, but every chapter so far, Coin has shown herself to be Snow's match in nastiness. She's getting a lot more development than Snow did, too. It's nice to have someone's character shown in their actions rather than relying on an aura of creepiness (blood and roses, yuck).

    I also really appreciate Katniss and Gale's conversation. I don't agree with Gale, but it's necessary to show the reasoning behind District 13's behavior and a perspective other than Katniss's. His attitude is both very logical and very wrong; moral issues should be complicated like that!

  13. andreah1234 says:


    And YES MOAR FINNICK! It was not what I was looking for but I'll take it. And I love how Collins acknowledges the fact that they all need a way of coping, that they all have their own ways of PTSD that we not fixed as soon as the got to District 13 which, as a plus, was not what they were hoping to be. It makes it all more real. And I would like to believe that Finnick makes knots because it reminds him of home (and Mags ( 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 ). And even if it's all very sad, I LOL'd when Kat forgot about Annie. Which reminds me, I WANT TO MEET ANNIE, AND I WANT JOHANNA AND PEETA BACK WHILE YOU'RE AT IT. DAMN YOU DISTRICT 13 WHY DON'T YOU JUST GO RESCUE THEM.

    The Gale- Katniss conversation was both awkward and very, very interesting. Because we're seeing a bit more about Gale's personality and we learn a bit more about their relationship. And I realize how much I can dislike Gale. I got the perception about him that he's one of those person that just hate privilege, and the mere fact that the prep team comes from the Capitol bothers him. Yes, he is right with some of the things he said, but that doesn't give him the right to judge the prep team when he doesn't even know them. Besides, he doesn't really knows if they were helping the Capitol at free will (which they were, but they are ignorant and adorable so I might let it pass, but I'll get to that in a second) or if they really do care for Katniss. Which Kat tried to point out, and he didn't listened. Another point there, it's that they are the perfect grey area. They wanted to help Katniss, but at the same time they send her to her death, they got to the point where they might even love her, but they still "pretty her up" for death. And the thing is: they do not know better. It's just how they were raised and It's just the way they are. Is it wrong? Yes, but that doesn't give Gale the right to judge him. It kinda reminds me of how Katniss used to think that Peeta was better feed than her just because his family own the baquery (and then feeling horrible when she realize that it wasn't really like that), because they both assume they know about other people's situation, when really you can't never know. And There's also the fact that nobody deserves to be trated like that. NOBODY. (Well maybe Snow. Yeah he deserves it.)

    Lol, long rant was long.


  14. Gabbie says:

    Mark, I love you bunches.

  15. MeasuringInLove says:

    Finnick! Lovely to see you again! I always feel really bad for him in these early chapters of Mockingjay. He seems so…lost without Annie, and it is really different from the confident (to say the least) Finnick we saw in the last book.

    COIN. SO MUCH HATE FOR YOU. Just, please, die in a fire.

  16. thatonegirl says:

    I thought Katniss was being incredibly astute in her comment about Coin punishing the prep team as a warning, but somehow I missed that Coin would want to put Katniss in her place until the end of the chapter. At least Coin doesn't try to hide behind roses and puffy lips to look like she's not a big meanie. She's awful. But I kinda love it.

    Also, 10 points from Gale for his dislike of the prep team. He's not going to win Katniss the House Cup acting like that. (I'm so kidding. I know Katniss is a person not a trophy) I don't get why he sees the prep team so differently from Cinna. At least, he seemed to like Cinna's mockingjay ideas enough. Didn't Cinna prep her for slaughter just as much as the other three? Maybe even more so because being the mockingjay makes Katniss an even bigger target? Oh Gale, you are fundamentally different from Peeta. Can someone go rescue him now, please?

    • liliaeth says:

      Well remember Gale's reaction to those gloves Katniss got from Cinna. He now respects Cinna because he was part of the rebellion, but if it weren't for that, he'd probably think about him the same way that he does about the prep team.

    • Hanh says:

      I feel the same way about Coin. I just can't hate her. In fact, I kind of respect her. I dunno. It's the same reason I can't hate Gale even though he's proven himself to be a colossal dick sometimes.

  17. Mauve_Avenger says:

    At first I thought it was a typo, but I just double-checked online and Katniss actually, legitimately says that Venia (who was "always the strongest" or whatever, even though we've never been shown/told this before), Flavius, and Octavia "belonged to Cinna." I understand what she means by that, but…ugh. Lovely, humanizing word choice you made there, Katniss. How much things have changed since you were likening them to dumb but loving animals.

    • shortstack930 says:

      I don't think she meant "belonged" in that context, I read it more as their loyalty "belonged" with Cinna, so that's why she can trust them.

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        Yes, I completely understand that, and even mentioned it in the original post. What I'm saying is that it's unfortunate word choice given her history of saying dehumanizing things about them.

      • Shanella says:

        I agree with this.

        Even if it does mean what you think it means, in reading a book like this, something a reader should keep in mind is that cultures/society has changed and while we might think something is horrible, that might be the norm. I'm not saying it's right, but that it shouldn't be a distraction from the narrative.

    • Kripa says:

      We have been shown Venia's strength though. In the second book, she's the one who dismisses Flavius 'cause he can't stop crying over Katniss' second time in the Arena.

    • Gemi says:

      This. As much as I do side with Katniss over Gale when it comes to whether or not the prep team deserve basic human consideration, I did like the fact that Gale called her out on viewing them in this very patronizing way. Yes, it's true that they are extremely privileged and ignorant, but they are NOT children. They are NOT animals. They are adults with the mental capacity to realize what their society was doing, and they should be held accountable for that much, even if you acknowledge that they never meant any harm.

      • Annalebanana says:

        Yeah, I am with you there. I do agree with Katniss more, but she still fails to see them as human beings. She does have pity with them, but more of as one has pity for animal abuse. It is such a complex and interesting issue.

  18. HanLin says:

    Ughh. Coin can fall into the PIT OF DESPAIR that she seems to enjoy pushing everyone else into. There is a difference between being a strong leader and being a SINGLE MINDED DICTATOR. If she becomes leader of Panem, I will kill myself.

  19. I believe the SHINE has worn off President Coin. She has certainly not kept their freedom in MINT condition. It's as if she only has a QUARTER of her humanity left. The lives of these people are not some NICKEL-AND-DIME trifles. If I gave a PENNY for Katniss's thoughts, I bet she wants to KICK her in the BALLS.


  20. herpestidae says:

    I don't think I'll be able to comment much on the actual book, because I don't want to accidentally spoil something, like Coin and Snow being Time Lords, and Prim and Katniss are their Great-Granddaughters.

    Anyway, a couple of things about the awesome ways in which you run this site. You need to share your GIF source with us. Your GIFs are always perfection. ALWAYS.

    Second, You are unprepared, as usual. Shit will get so real that you may actually destroy your keyboard with keysmash. Buy several. Or better yet, start taking paper notes. That way, you'll only kill hundreds of trees with your scribbling in rage/fear/impressedness, and we won't have to wait for you to buy new keyboards so you can update.

    Finally, there were several passages in this book that made me want to just chuck it across the room. Not that they were bad, but that they just… I can't even say, because even that might spoil something. Please don't throw your E-reader thingy. Those things tend to run expensive. Keep your hard copy at hand for such occasions.

  21. EasyE says:

    I love how the place they sought as a refuge is not turning out to be as perfect as we all thought it would be.

  22. peacockdawson says:


    Applying YOUR principles and morals to this society is ridiculous, Mark. It's privileged of you.
    They obviously don't have a concept of ableism. Their situation is entirely different and you have no idea what it's like to be one of them.

    • Yusra says:

      I can't quite decide whether I should agree with you or not. Perhaps if you'd said it less harsh…?

      • peacockdawson says:

        Yeah, probably… But he just makes me SO MAD. GRRR. All the time, and I never say anything. I didn't want to tone down my point, and part of it was fueled by my sometimes seething hatred of Mark. I should really just stop reading his reviews, but I never do.

        Basically I said exactly what I meant, how I meant it.

        • Yusra says:

          I can see where you're coming from..
          I'm much too chicken to say it. Either that or I always question my sometimes annoyance with said Mark…

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            Ok, so your problem is that I read fiction with an eye toward social justice? And you don't like that?

            First of all, I've been doing that since…seriously. It's been a year and a half. That's like HALF THE POINT of Mark Reads. That's like watching the Daily Show and getting upset that they make fun of world events. It's built into the fabric of the very point of the show.

            Yes, everything is a plot device. And yes, a person can read whatever they want out of it. THAT IS THE POINT. This is how I read it and these are the things that I pick up based on the person I am and the world we live in.

            I'm just confused. I don't mind if you disagree with the idea that something may represent something else, but that seems like a huge thing to not care about and then decide that you want to read my reviews.

            • peacockdawson says:

              Sorry, I didn't mean to be antagonizing. I shouldn't have lost my temper, it was childish. If I don't like your reviews I shouldn't read them.

              I stand by my original comment, though.
              Alright, he explained it to me, and I will say that he didn't mean what I thought he meant.

        • theupsides says:

          If you hate him so much, and yet you're still reading his reviews, I have to say I think Mark has won this round.

          <img src=""&gt;

          • peacockdawson says:

            Well he only makes me mad half the time. The other half he's funny and reading a series I enjoyed.

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          Well, I would apologize for angering you, but I don't know why I'm angering you, so apologizing would seem frivolous.

          Why do I upset you so much?

          • peacockdawson says:

            It just seems like sometimes you lose sight of the story. You take everything so seriously. (Well, obviously not everything.) I mean, now I kind of feel bad for yelling, but I can hardly stand you sometimes. But the rest of the time I really enjoy your reviews and look forward to reading them. I guess we just have clashing personalities, is all. I don't mean to offend you, or be hostile. I sort of was though, wasn't I? Sorry I lost my temper.not everything.) I mean, now I kind of feel bad for yelling, but I can hardly stand you sometimes. But the rest of the time I really enjoy your reviews and look forward to reading them. I guess we just have clashing personalities, is all. I don't mean to offend you, or be hostile. I sort of was though, wasn't I? Sorry I lost my temper.

            • xpanasonicyouthx says:

              Please please please don't feel bad about this. I'm serious. I'm just trying to understand and I want you to know that this project is entirely open for debate like this.

              I've gotten called out for a lot of things since I started Mark Reads and very rarely have other people been wrong. Recently, I got called out for being mansplain-y and it was spot on. I had to readjust what I wrote. If anything, I feel like these Hunger Games reviews are less serious than I used to be.

              I guess I'm a serious person and I like being ridiculously analytical. It's how my brain works. I won't apologize for that, but I'm interested in how you, as a reader, think the way I write might upset.

              I'm not being sarcastic. I honestly do care. Can you explain a little more about what it is?

              (Another thought: I also might be reading these in a more serious way because they are DEEPLY SERIOUS books, especially this series. It's kinda hard to avoid the politics when it's a series explicitly about oppression and war.)

              • peacockdawson says:

                Oh, sorry that comment was so wonky. My internet flipped out halfway through.

                I do feel bad. I feel embarrassed and childish. I let myself lose my temper.
                And I think you're right, and these reviews are less serious, I just didn't notice.
                My anger towards you is probably as much my fault as it is yours. As I said, I think our personalities just conflict. It's not really anything that you're doing wrong, more… I don't know. I just approach it the wrong way.
                These are serious books with a lot of politics and themes that relate, you're right. So being serious makes perfect sense. I guess I always wanted you to loosen up, but maybe I should take some of my own advice. All opinions and takes are valid and I shouldn't let it bother me.

                • ferriswheeljunky says:

                  Wow, it's a nice surprise to see an online discussion getting more polite and reasonable as it goes on. Kudos for maturity. 🙂

                  • Booksinbulk says:

                    Right? I was reading it like…hmmm…the comments seem to be getting more and more rational…is this…possible? It will surely break the Internet.

          • JoanieM says:

            Not the same person, obviously, but I also sort of reacted to that line. How helpful my reasons might be to you will depend entirely on what you want this site to be, though, so they might not be helpful at all!

            Basically, that line kind of… bothered me is the wrong word, but elicited a sort of "eh." reaction from me (a disabled person, btw, don't know how helpful that is) because it doesn't really seem to further any discussion or teach anything, which in the past seemed like something you wanted to do. Just saying, Oh, that is ableism, doesn't really start any discussion. People who understand/agree with ableist theory already will just go "yup," and people who don't will either be confused or just ignore it.

            If you had said something more along the lines of "OH GREAT COIN dismiss someone completely because they have a mental illness DIE IN ALL THE FIRES" or whatever shows why it's ableist, not just that it is, and so then people might learn something or there might be more discussion in the comments. But obviously, if your intention isn't to try, on some level, to educate less informed people and just react to what you are reviewing, then, well, do what you want!

            Just my 2 cents.

    • NeonProdigy says:

      BUT BUT BUT!

      Mark used a gif of David Tennant! He can't possibly be wrong! 😀

    • deleted2934595 says:

      I think I get the idea here: you see ableism as an inapplicable byproduct/idea of our time that cannot be applied to another time, correct?

      I can definitely understand the impulse to say that since Panem is 1) fictional 2) in the future 3) a different society, that the rules/beliefs of our society don't apply. However, I disagree.

      Panem is a fictional society created by someone in our society. I don't subscribe to the death-of-the-author idea, so I believe that an author's unconscious beliefs, ideas, prejudices, etc. have a measurable impact on their work. Collins, for example, has said that her experiences growing up the child of a veteran has given her an interest in the effects of war and violence on people. That's provable within the work: the violence not only of the Games but also of Panem's society as a whole has had an effect on the characters.

      By the same accord, then, I believe that since we can see aspects or ideas from our own culture in parts of this book, it is valid to examine it through other lenses as well. Ableism is an insidious issue that is often difficult to detect when looking at the world from a privileged standpoint. As a privileged person (w/r/t ableism), it is often difficult for me to recognize ableist sentiment in any areas of life. Examining texts for ableist discourse is valid not only because the texts are written in an ableist culture but also because it helps the reader improve his or her ability to recognize and resist ableism elsewhere.

      Finally, -isms are serious. By that I mean they're not frivolous concerns of no one, they're not ineffectual. They are big ideas and they are important. Ableist theory, queer theory, feminist theory: these and many more readings of texts through various lenses are based on the fact that conscious and unconscious prejudices exist, and that they matter. Ableism can hurt people. It's not a minor cultural idea. It's a dangerous and harmful prejudice. Mark tends to read texts from an anti-prejudicial point of view, and so it is only natural that he's reading from, in this moment, an anti-ableist point of view.

      There are situations in which cultural imposition of mores is harmful and bad. But reading texts from mostly anti-prejudicial standings aren't those situations. Racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism: these are never "normal" or "okay." They are always wrong, regardless of the cultural trappings in which they are dressed and disguised and prettied up.

      Again, I can completely understand the idea behind your argument, and I agree that there are situations in which imposing our society's beliefs on another society would be harmful and wrong and frankly evil. But this isn't one of them.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        And for the record, I was calling Coin ableist, not Collins. Collins is framing all of this as a bad thing, so that's not what I'm saying. Coin dismissed a person solely on the basis of her mental disability. I mean…that's clear ableism, isn't it?

        • Hermione_Danger says:

          Yes, I should have said that.

          By investing a character with ableist tendencies, Collins is inviting comment on ableism. Coin, who is being portrayed negatively, speaking ableist language, implies that Collins disapproves of ableism, since a "bad" character is ableist. So there again, we have reason to read through that lens.

      • notemily says:

        I agree with this comment. I think if someone within a story made a racist or sexist or homophobic, etc, comment, and Mark called them out with "SHUT YOUR MOUTH YOU RACIST" or whatever, nobody would be complaining. Ableism is relatively new to a lot of people's worldview but that doesn't make it any less valid a thing to be called on.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Ok, I don't get this at all. How would it be privileged of me to say that Coin is an asshole for dismissing someone because they're disabled?

      • peacockdawson says:

        Coin doesn't have your frame of reference. It's acceptable for Coin to be like this in her society, she wouldn't think it was bad.
        But you're right, there's nothing wrong with calling her ableist. She is, and I'm not saying it doesn't make her a worse person. And you're right about Collins inviting comment on ableism. I guess what I didn't like was how you… blame Coin for it? I mean, Coin is an ass. But she's a product of her environment. It's okay for her to be this way in her world.

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          I do understand that, to an extent, but it was meant less as like COIN, LIVE BY MY STANDARDS and more like YOU ARE A VILLAIN, I HATE YOU. That's why I didn't elaborate on it and used a silly gif instead of ranting about it.

          Let's think about it without the ableist term. That word probably does not exist in this fictional world. Collins still frames the action as kind of fucked up, right? That Annie is somehow less of a person because of her mental state. So I am merely saying FYEAH I HATE YOU COIN because she's an asshole.

          I'll keep that sort of thing in mind in the future, though, so that it's not nearly as confusing as it was here.

          • peacockdawson says:

            Maybe I was the only one confused. It makes sense, now that you say it that way.

          • tchemgrrl says:

            Is it ableist not to kill someone with some kind of severe emotional imbalance? Our society takes that into consideration, and it seems that 13 has already shown that it does too, being pretty easy on Finnick and Katniss. From what little we've seen of Annie and from the way Finnick acts about it, I'm not sure she has very much control over her behavior.

            Though I'm also not sure why the tributes that went to the Quell or Annie are being considered the enemy. Peeta's speech seemed pretty apolitical to me–he just doesn't want anyone to die. Johanna helped Katpee in the most recent games. All Annie did was scream, I think. 13 is assuming that they're being tortured to death and simultaneously assuming that they're willing conspirators with the Capitol? Why?

          • I think one of the things we're supposed to do with these books is react like Mark does, since the authors write societies and characters with screwed ideals to make us think. Sort of you're not supposed to read 'Brave New World' and go, "Ah, that's alright then, that's just their society", if you know what I mean. Shoot, did that make any sense?

        • notemily says:

          Ableism isn't society-dependent. It was perfectly acceptable for white people to be blatantly, openly racist to nonwhite people for hundreds of years, but that doesn't make it okay. I mean, yes, you can look back and say "Thomas Jefferson had slaves but he also had some good ideas," but that doesn't make the slavery part okay.

          Ugh, I hate comparing this to racism because one ism is not equal to another ism, but I just want to explain this in a way that might make sense to someone who's less familiar with the concept of ableism than they are with other forms of bigotry.

          • Thiamalonee says:

            I actually kind of agree that Coin was being elitist and dismissive, but I feel a need to comment on your society-dependent comment. Because aren't all -isms society dependent? I'm not saying that we should all dismiss bigotry, but there is an important need to factor in historical and cultural context. i.e.- You see a movie about a man in Victorian London who makes autocratic decisions about his family, is fanatically stern about his daughters' behavior, and not his sons, and is dismissive of any opinion his wife has about business. Every modern viewer of that movie would be pissed about what a sexist ass he is, but in sociohistorical context, he's the average male. Not praiseworthy, and certainly not a role model, but not a bigot in the sense of "backwards thinking." Shouldn't we grade on a curve? Aren't we all products of our time?

            • notemily says:

              I think yes, we are all products of our time, and we should take that into account when looking at individual people, but I don't think the time makes oppression any more right or less harmful. That man may have been acting according to the standards of his time, but that doesn't make him any less sexist, or the society he lived in less harmful to women.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I don't think it makes any sense to call a person's judgment of a fictional society/character "privileged," given that privilege is an imbalance of power and fictional subjects by their very nature are power-neutral (I don't think that's the right term, but I hope my meaning is clear). By that line of thinking, all people reading and forming judgments exercise privilege respective to the fiction they consume, because it's literally impossible not to.

      Also, I can't for the life of me understand where one would get the ideas that Panem doesn't have a concept of ableism, that not having a formal concept of ableism somehow excuses them when they commit acts of ableism, or how a person calling out said ableism can be considered privileged for doing so (even in a completely nonfictional setting).

      • Inessa says:

        I can understand how judging a fictional character can be privileged. I don't think Mark was being "privileged" in this particular example, but that is my opinion. For example, it would be "privileged" to call Katniss out for her disregard of animal rights in her hunting. I guess there is some privilege in judging Gale for his attitude towards the prep team. We see them through Katniss' eyes, and have grown to accept them, but he sees them as part of an insidious, sick, oppressive regime that has oppressed him and his family and many thousands or millions of people, whom he should excuse because they never bothered to grow a social conscience.

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          I'm trying to make sense of what I wrote earlier (sleep deprivation FTW), and it looks like I was trying and failed to make a distinction between "X judgment of fictional subject is privileged because you can't fully understand the character/society" (which in my opinion is pretty much always true, to the point of being meaningless), and "X judgment of fictional subject is privileged in that it is a product of the person's real-world privilege" (like the "Katniss's hunting is wrong" judgment, which is something I actually encountered just today with a heaping dose of stereotypes about the people in my state on the side).

      • peacockdawson says:

        Maybe I don't understand the concept of privilege. I tried to look it up, but it wasn't defined in this capacity.

        • trva says:

          Privileged is having a societally given advantage over someone. For example, in Western society men would be privileged over women in the workplace/politics. People raised in wealthy families are privileged over those raised homeless. Its entirely based on context and out of a person's control.

          On a personal note, I honestly hate it when people use language of privilege outside of academia (In most cases where Mark uses it I'm totally cool with the terminology.)
          I just feel that a lot of people (on the internet and within Queer culture particularly) use terms like privileged to subjugate those they see as "oppressors". In many cases I hear people talking about privileged as though it is a consciously asserted position, as opposed to a situational advantage. Disliking someone for being "gender privileged or wealth privileged" etc… seems to me to be needlessly antagonizing someone who may be an ally, and it is just as bad as someone who is racist or classist.

    • Annalebanana says:

      Hey guys, remember not to downvote others if they think something differently than you do. That is an action *specifically reserved* for spoilers! Otherwise, how will they know how HORRIBLE their actions were?

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Seriously, thank you. I hate seeing people downvoted for expressing a negative or different opinion.


    • LOTRjunkie says:

      Hi. I've been upvoting all of your comments that have negative scores.

      Because, seriously, guys, it really feels like you're downvoting this person just because they disagree with Mark. She/he (Please don't be insulted! I just wasn't sure which you are) has the right to express her own opinion. She's not being spoilery and she's not being an asshole, so really, there's no reason for the hate.

    • I've decided to hand out free Chill Pills to down-arrowed comments. I'm friendly like that.

    • Hanh says:

      ROFL I actually thought this was sarcasm. Damn when are they gonna invent sarcasm font already?

  23. QuoteMyFoot says:

    I was looking forward to seeing how you would react to Gale and Katniss' conversation! I thought it was a good way for Collins to address the issue of privilege – I'm personally more inclined to Katniss' opinion, but I can see where Gale is coming from. Although I think maybe assuming Katniss wanted her prep team to ~suffer~ when she was very obviously fond of Cinna is… um… dumb?

    Also, all the angryfaces for Coin. She's probably had to be very ruthless to keep District 13 ticking, but she still rubs me up the wrong way.

    • erin says:

      "Although I think maybe assuming Katniss wanted her prep team to ~suffer~ when she was very obviously fond of Cinna is… um… dumb?"

      A lot of people seem to be pointing this out. I think most of the difference comes from the fact that Cinna obviously knew the Capitol was in the wrong, and was in fact actively working to bring it down. The prep team, on the other hand, are just your average silly Capitol citizens who think the Games are awesome and don't see a problem with the way things are run.

  24. stephanie says:

    i dont get gale its like the first minute he is perfect like you know normal but then the next minute he goes and rants about everything idk man BRING BACK PEETA like man D13 u guys are soooo slow

  25. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    At this point in the book we are starting to see the frightening similarities between the rebels and tyrants and I think this is going to be one of the major themes of this book. After witnessing Coin's behaviour in this chapter, I am reminded a little bit of the series 24. I realise that a lot of people dislike the show because it often justifies misuse of authority and the use of torture and that's exactly what the "good guys" are resorting to in this book. At this point I'm obviously worried about Katniss and co. but as a reader I'm excited. Putting those in authority in impossible situations and making them choose between the lesser of two evils usually elicits a lot of tension and conflict and I'm excited to see where the book goes with this.

  26. stephanie says:

    i TOTES LOL'D at the ron look what book (movie is it from)????

    • pooslie says:

      i think it is from movie 2 when they are in the bookshop and lockhart is being lockhart and mrs weasley and hermione are like fawning over him.

  27. shortstack930 says:

    "We saw how she grew to understand why her mother had shut down after her husband died"

    I think part of the reason she's able to understand this now is because she is kind of going through this herself. She had to be placed in the hospital at District 13 after Peeta was kidnapped and District 12 destroyed. Even if she isn't "in love" with Peeta yet, she still cares about him a lot and is understanding what it's like to lose someone you love. Also, Finnick has basically gone to pieces since Annie was taken, and Katniss has witnessed this. She realizes now that her mother isn't necessarily a weaker person because she became so depressed after her husband's death, since the same thing is happening to such a strong person like Finnick and even herself.

    Just some thoughts.

  28. LoonyLu says:

    The reason I don't really like Gale as much as others do is because of how he treats people he views as the "enemy." He was perfectly fine with Capitol citizens being tortured over BREAD! (Seriously D13, chill out.) He believes that all Capitol citizens are evil and don't deserve any kindness just because they lived in the Capitol and watched the Games. Gale, you're judging everyone for something a few people did. Not everyone in the Capitol likes the Hunger Games and supports it 100%. And I find this similar to how the Capitol reacted with D13's uprising. After that the Capitol punished *everyone* and look how that turned out.

    Also, Katniss is the only one who has experienced both the Capitol and the Districts. She knows that everyone in the Capitol aren't horrible human beings. Listen to her more, she actually knows what she is talking about, she is not judging everyone on what she thinks she knows like you.

  29. stellaaaaakris says:

    Oh, Gale. ::head shake::

    We would never get along in real life. Sir, there is such a thing as a gray area. It's real. The world is not black and white. Gale hates everything made by the Capitol, never mind that those born in the Capitol can't help that they were born there. In CF he was an ass when he threw away Cinna's gloves, saying he didn't want anything made in the Capitol. That's an insult to both Cinna, who clearly was willing to risk everything for the rebellion (I will allow that he hadn't made the Mockingjay dress yet, so Gale had no way of knowing that), and to Katniss, who he thinks was changed by the Capitol after surviving the Games. You ass. She just returned from a gladiatorial combat to the death with 23 other teenagers. You don't think she'd change some?

    Gale clearly believers in guilt by association. But isn't that a bit hypocritical? If he's going to hold someone accountable just for being a citizen of the Capitol (and that's what I feel like he's doing), shouldn't he be considered guilty by the same standards for selling food to the former head of the Peacekeepers in 12 (Craw, I think, was his name) while he lured young girls into his bed? It's not the same I know, but I just don't like how Gale seems to think himself superior to those who had a different life than him. Everybody does what they need to do to survive, in the Districts and the Capitol. Look at Effie. She clearly led a rather pampered life and was quite obtuse to things, but she still saw that the Quell was wrong, and even in the first Games, she thought the Gamemakers should have paid attention to Katniss before quickly covering her remarks so she wouldn't be punished.

    Stop being so narrow-minded, Gale.

    • Treasure Cat says:

      Sometimes when an author builds a character like Gale, who has this flawed personality and view of things, I like to think about how aware the author is that they're writing this, or how much is their own views coming through. I like Collins because I think she is always intensely aware of the personalities of her characters and makes them that way on purpose, she crafts them so they fill the niches she needs them to but are also believable and human. If there was a situation where the personality of the character would go against what she'd ideally like her story to say, I'd think she would go with the character over what it is practical to her to write. It's like the polar opposite of authors like Smeyer, in which the characters all reflect her personality and change dramatically as and when she wants them to.

  30. petite-dreamer says:

    Cinna, Y U DEAD? If he was still around, surely his BAMFness and his mad designing skills would be setting everything right. COME BACK!!! T^T

  31. knut_knut says:

    I feel SO SO SO bad for the prep team! And I refuse to believe Cinna wanted them to be abducted from the Capitol. COIN RUINS EVERYTHING

    • peacockdawson says:

      I don't think he wanted them ABDUCTED. I think he wanted them there with her.
      But now you guys say something, it does seem kinda weird.

      • knut_knut says:

        For some reason I assumed they were abducted. I guess it just seemed like something District 13 would do?

        • peacockdawson says:

          Well they probably were. I mean, I don't think they waltzed up and volunteered. I could see Cinna wanting Katniss to have her team, but not if it would be traumatic for them. Which is why I didn't think about it when I read it, but now it seems off.

  32. knut_knut says:

    It's from a Comic Relief sketch with Catherine Tate (please embed please embed please embed)
    [youtube WxB1gB6K-2A youtube]

  33. lilygirl says:

    I love the disconnect in this chapter. From the beginning there has been a comment arc about how we hate Katness because she, is stupid, selfish, uncommitted, oblivious, blah blah blah. Then there is the comment thread of “OH we just love the prep team, they’re so funny, look how they are dressed. Don’t you just love Effie”.

    Hunger Games scenario: prep teams on couches. OH, there, there, I did the hair on that one, who did the nails on that one, oh nice. Look, Look, that one is on fire, the hair looks just like a halo, what product did you use, it certainly is keeping it shape even on fire, OH and turn the sound down, I can’t hear you with all that screaming. Effie, “oh that one had deplorable table manners, just cried all time, it took everything to just get them presentable for the interview. Too think after all these years and the Districts are still just so savage and uncouth.”

    Who are the selfish, oblivious, stupid, ones here?

    Hypocrisy has a face and it is us.

    • exbestfriend says:

      One of the things that I have appreciated about this whole Trilogy is how Collins has no problems calling out our baser instincts. I don't know exactly when it started to sink in with me, maybe when I wanted to see more of what was going on in the Hunger Games and realized I was no better than the Capitol citizens or maybe it was when Collins described the truly horrific death of Cato, who I had wanted to suffer. Regardless, it seems like Collins has done a whole bunch of "Oh you want Katniss to be with Peeta? Here you go. But Katniss isn't sure that she loves him so this is really miserable for her." "You want a Rebellion? Here you go. By the way war sucks and often times the "good" side uses the same tactics of the "bad" side. There are no good answers. Enjoy."
      At any rate, what I''m trying to say is that this series has made me much more aware of how I am reacting a a reader.

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      Oblivious, selfish, and stupid are excellent traits in minor characters, especially when they're being used to microcosm a society that we're not spending enough time learning about, and especially when there's the obvious and interesting subtext that in their own context these guys are the cream of the crop. They are terrible traits in a narrator: the person who is supposed to be your eyes refuses to see, the person who's supposed to introduce you to the rest of the world doesn't care about it, and the person whose head you're stuck in isn't using it.

      • liliaeth says:

        Except for the part where she does notice things around her, does care about the world and is using her head.

      • exbestfriend says:

        I find this to be a very interesting comment, however I tend to gravitate to terribly-traited narrator stories and enjoy them. I have no idea why I do, but I do. It may be because at least two of the authors whose books I will always read, Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuck , write almost exclusively from that point of view, but I feel as though I could make a list of 10 or so other books where the narrator is "oblivious, selfish, and stupid" that I have read. The majority of those books I have liked.
        I had a really long post that I had typed up, but then I had to do work and when I came back and hit submit it said my session had timed out and this is all that is left of my post. And now I'm angry and don't feel like trying to recompose the whole thing. It got a little wordy and I think I brought up Rashoman and Mark's Hedwig entries, but I definitely want to say this–
        Collins has embraced certain faulty characteristics of Katniss and I feel like they make the story more personal and have allowed Katniss to evolve in a believable way, which is part of what I have enjoyed reading.

  34. paranoid android says:

    Random Doctor GIF is random!

    I really saluted Collins when I came to this chapter. Presenting the Awesome Fearless Rebels as another kind of tyranny is painful, but unfortunately very realistic.

  35. paulineparadise says:

    BTW, this is what I thought Katniss looked like back when her first hunger games just started. Still shocked, long braid, her brooch… An iPod quality picture, since my sister, who lives three hours from here, has my camera. thanks, sis.

    <img src=""&gt;

    BTW, here's what the cover of Hunger Games looks like in the Netherlands:
    <img src=""&gt;

    And I realised there are two shelves of Harry Potter books in the book shop over here.
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

  36. SorrowsSolace says:

    I'm not sure if I'd say Coin's comment to Annie is ableist, isn't that the belief that disabled people should adhere to the norm that most people are "abled." or are there more nuances then that that I'm not catching? I'd say her statement is dismissive and callous, she seems to put Annie into a category and leave her there. This world is full of discrimination and prejudice it's not a surprise that another form such as ableism is shown; doesn't make it right but that could be the point Collins is trying to make- even a haven district isn't perfect..

    I feel awful for Katniss's prep team, 13 dropped the ball here and haven't seemed to explain why the rules are important; they just take it for granted that most will understand and it may work for people from Districts that know what it's like to be hungry or have to ration but folk from the Capitol have never known that it's mad to think they'd get it right away without any explanation. I hated the idea of District 13 when I read Mockingjay; 12 may have hard but people had choices as limited as they were; that doesn't look to be the case here.

    • notemily says:

      I think Coin's comment is ableist because it assumes that people with mental illnesses are inherently weaker than others. But of course I'm not Mark and I can't be sure what he meant.

  37. Kripa says:

    Anyone here read the American Girls collection? Addy Walker's stories are among my favorite. Her first book, Meet Addy, begins with her family escaping slavery from a Southern plantation and moving to Philly, where they face more insidious racism even though they're free from slavery. Addy rightfully gets angry at white people for how they treat her, even adding that she hates them, but her parents admonish her not to let her anger overtake her, because it will give way to hate and that will destroy her. Or something, I can't remember exactly. It was a pretty moving message. My point is, Gale has not heeded the wisdom of Mr. and Mrs. Walker.

  38. easilyentranced says:

    This is pretty much why I don't like Gale. I get where he's coming from because he's lived this terribly oppressed life and the Capitol is to blame for it, but he just lacks so much empathy and compassion for individuals that it kind of disgusts me. I know he doesn't know the Prep team, but you'd think seeing the girl he loves reaction to their torture would at least make him think about them as something more than the enemy. He can't ever really understand what Katniss went through during the Hunger Games, so of course he can't feel the same level of compassion for these people and I'd be cool with him if he just admitted that. So far, though, he just seems baffled that she's not feeling the way he would expect her to. He doesn't get why she doesn't really want to destroy everything associated with the Capitol (why she'd rather just rescue people like Peeta) and he doesn't really understand the trauma that she has from the Hunger Games. Like a lot of other people, he seems to be using her and her experiences to fuel his own agenda. …and that is NOT cool, Gale.

  39. SorrowsSolace says:

    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you were criticizing Collin's opinions I was offering my own two cents to the points she was trying to make. I agree with that idea, Collins doesn't really pull punches when it comes to showing just how flawed a society can be.

  40. fantasylover12001 says:

    UGH, I hated Coin in this book. Possibly I hated Coin more then Snow. I mean, at least Snow was up front about being a jerky politician…more or less. Coin just acts like she's doing this great thing but in reality she's just as bad as Snow so on top of things, she's a bit of a hypocrite as well.

  41. christwriter says:

    "Katniss, like the BADASS she is, demands that the guard unchain her prep team to the guard’s utter bewilderment. Her dedication to her prep team is goddamn fantastic. There. I said it. I know that what they do can certainly be viewed as antagonistic, privileged, and an active supporter in oppression. I won’t argue with that. You’re right. But STILL Katniss believes in them and supports them in turn and I love her for it."

    The thing about being raised in a privileged context is, it takes a pretty big person to look past that. Open minded, smart, whatever. I very, very firmly want to believe that everyone is capable of looking past their upbringing, but I don't know very many people who can do that. And it's not a matter of intelligance, either. I have a very intelligant relative who is a flaming racist. I know several people who are unable to understand that complaining about something beyond everyone's control just because you want to be a bitch doesn't work.

    Also, it takes a lot of pressure and a really good reason to break with the moral context in which you were raised. I was raised fundamentalist southern baptist, which included low-grade homophobia. This is the one thing I will say about my family. A lot of their opinions on hot issues are wrong, but when they are wrong they can't work up a lot of enthusiasm for their opposition. I don't remember when I changed my mind on that particular issue, but I know I did, and I know it was actually my religion that tipped the balance in favor of gay rights (long, long long long story, and did I mention that I am really not proud that I have to admit to this?) When I tried to figure out why I ever opposed it, I figured out it was because it was the "right" way to think and I didn't want to disappoint my family by going against their accepted moral base, which I eventually wound up doing anyway. I think my point here is that when you're raised in a privilaged context, it takes heaven and earth moving to get you to break out of it, and it's really, really hard to accomplish that on a personal level. (AKA "Easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to" stop being a selfish prick. Eye of the Needle being a gate in Jerusalem and not a literal eye in a literal needle)

    I also think that this change-in-context is not going to do it for the prep team OR for Plutarch. Plutarch is still in the privlaged set. Less privelaged, but there's still a them for him to be above. As for the prep-team, having it forced on you might make you that much more inclined to cling to what you did know, which would include your old moral context. I don't know. Katniss went through a huge shift during book two, when she was being prepped for the Quell and she realized that the capitol people didn't like it. I think that's when her prep-team went from being obnoxious objects to very clueless people in her eyes.

    What I would like to know, and we'll never find this out, is what happened to Cinna to make HIM so helpful? I don't think he was part of the rebellion prior to Catching Fire, which means he helped Katniss all on his own. Which means that either his family raised him to be open and compassionate towards the Districts (in which case the question is, what happened to THEM?) OR that something happened that opened his eyes and made him want to take an active role. Interesting.

    The other thing is, why does the Capitol have to bread-and-circus itself to such an extreme degree? You don't control somebody by treating them the way the capitol treated the Districts. You control them by treating them the way the capitol treats itself. It seemed obvious to me from the beginning that the Capitol was desperately trying to keep itself in line, and could only do that with a massive influx of food and entertainment they could only provide by near slave labor, and by the Games. Snow needed the Districts so that he could keep control of the Capitol. What isn't explained is why the control required so many resources and such a blind population, or why maintaining this level of control was so vital, Snow and his predecessors were willing to risk another rebellion to keep it up.

  42. delial says:

    my head hurts. I think im starting to read too much into the trilogy. about all the gray and all the different ways to read the gray. in addition, all the shit that goes down…i feel the trauma. there's a lot of strong things going on…or what will go on…that just make me question everything about the series (albeit i need to read the first two books myself). and not just as a story, but how one reacts to it, like some people have already mentioned.

    g'luck mark. g'luck.

  43. Megan says:

    “We thought it might be comforting for you to have your regular team,” Plutarch says behind me. “Cinna requested it.”
    :My thoughts after reading this: Um…NO. Cinna wouldn't do that.

    Pretty much sums up everything about District 13 and Coin for that matter…who continues to be a first-class bitch. I actually like Snow better than Coin.

  44. bluejay says:

    I don’t have anything to add today, just wanted to say that I enjoyed the review as always! I like reading your insights into the story, as you often notice things that I missed the first time through the book.

  45. Lynn says:

    Does anyone else want to put an arm around Gale and tell him "The world isn't divided into good people and death eaters"? But damn, then I realized that books are kept from the districts and he probably wouldn't get the reference anyway.

    On another HP note I am also reminded of the line "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors". The prep team, in this situation, are the inferiors. Look at the comparison between Coin and Katniss and how they treat them in this district. Interesting, thanks Sirius for that tip!

  46. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    Do you mean to say MOAR CINNA?

    • fantasylover12001 says:

      YES! The world needs more Cinna! I'm telling you, he deserves his own book. Short novella at the very least.

  47. barnswallowkate says:

    Unrelated to the book: I am loving the ads I get on Mark's sites. The other day was "Jesus 2020" and today was "First Bite, a personalized vampire romance for teens. Fall in love with your own Edward." It's like the ads don't even read the site.

    Except, thanks to the last one, I know what Mark is getting for his next birthday!

    • LOTRjunkie says:

      I got the First Bite one, too! Someone urgently needs to write fanfiction of Mark and Edweird Cullen. Or Hagrid.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      For some reason or other, I've ever seen ads on this site at all (not complaining though). I was thinking that maybe I just AdBlocked them and forgot, but I just checked and that's not the case at all. Weird.

  48. Inessa says:

    I am bracing for being down voted, but whatever. I think there is a strong parallel to D13 being a communist regime. I don't mean the socialist ideal, I mean the historical implementation and what the regime disintegrated into in societies where it was implemented. I can relate, having lived under the Soviet Communist regime, to the point of being creeped out a little. The guard thinking they're dense for not understanding about the bread is a great example. Currently D13 hasn't even become corrupted yet. To me, life under the Capitol is like Tsarist Russia. The merchants of D12 were privileged compared to the Seam, but still oppressed by the Capitol/Tsar. At least the people of the Seam haven't turned on people of relative privilege (the bourgeoisie), and still remember "who the enemy is". They are already advanced compared to our history. But the bread thing made me giggle uncomfortably, because the system, for all it's good intentions, is full of these examples of "not seeing the wood for the trees". "Everyone will be equal, dammit, and if everyone is not equal (which somehow became synonymous with bland and same) the whole system will fall apart. it's not a piece of bread, it's the thread that will unravel their whole precarious society." it seems weird, but that is how silly and dangerous it was. The extra piece of bread makes a mockery of the equality concept, and is actually seen as dangerous. The problem is that the concept of socialism is good, but it has broken down historically, because the very idea of enforcing it contradicts its tenets. How can you have leadership if everyone is equal? If there are leaders, then the power isn't equal, but as long as people see that the leaders are eating the same amount of bread, they can be fooled to think that the hungry Capitol people, who take undeserved, unearned bread, are the evil ones. Coin has't even demonstrated that she is above the rules, but you can guess it's heading towards a dictatorship, nicely cushioned in "greater good rhetoric". Didn't Stalin kill more of his own, Soviet people than German soldiers? And how many million Chinese did Mao kill? I am so not liking where this is heading, but I guess I could be completely overeacting.

  49. lisra says:

    I can only repeat my previous comment(s). The rebel leaders are terrible people.

    You could argue that Katniss kinda fails to grasp pictures at times and what these people have to deal with and decide – but she's a 17 years old arena veteran and shellshocked to bits. Fuck them.

  50. HungryLikeLupin says:

    This was the chapter where my vague sense of unease that had persisted since we first see District 13 bloomed into full-on horror. It seemed like they had escaped the Capitol only to land someplace . . . okay, I don't want to say as bad, because obviously there's no indication that District 13 is sending children to their deaths for entertainment. Yet there's something disturbingly familiar about Coin, and it took me a while to realize that her speech about Katniss accepting the role of the Mockingjay is uncomfortably (though I would imagine intentionally) reminiscent of President Snow's ultimatum in Catching Fire. Compare Coin's statement:

    "It follows that any deviance from her mission, in either motive or deed, will be viewed as a break in this agreement. The immunity would be terminated and the fate of the four victors determined by the law of District Thirteen. As would her own."

    with Snow's:

    “I’ll convince everyone in the districts that I wasn’t defying the Capitol, that I was crazy with love,” I say.

    President Snow rises and dabs his puffy lips with a napkin. “Aim higher in case you fall short.”

    “What do you mean? How can I aim higher?” I ask.

    “Convince me,” he says."

    Both of them demand Katniss's full, unquestioning cooperation, a loyalty so absolute that even those coercing her into the display will come to believe that it's genuine. And just as I never trusted Snow, I don't trust Coin, either. The fact that she not only threatens Katniss and all the people she's trying to protect, but that she chooses to make her threat in public like this, makes it seem like she's more interested in cementing her own power and authority than in actually helping people. She creeps me out, and . . . well, I'll just say it. I have a bad feeling about this.

  51. noxcuses says:

    I don't get how everyone is forgiving the prep team because they are so "cute," "clueless" and they didn’t know any better cause their culture told them it was ok. Who doesn’t know that killing children for entertainment is wrong? How different is the prep team from the guards at Auschwitz? Both knowingly partook in government sanctioned murder. The Auschwitz guards were held accountable because it was believed that they should have rebelled against their orders. The prep team should have rebelled long before Katniss ever came along.

    • HungryLikeLupin says:

      I see your point here, but I think that it relies on an assumption that because people lived in the Capitol, they were somehow freer than the people in the districts. In fact, they may have been even less so. The citizens in the Districts have Peacekeepers; the citizens in the Capitol live in the central hub of the government itself. I imagine that order in the Capitol was probably maintained through an exaggerated carrot-and-stick method. Cooperate, and live a life of pleasure and excess; rebel, and . . . well, I doubt that all of the Avoxes came from the Districts.

      I'm not trying to excuse their actions, or say that you shouldn't be angry with them for what they've taken part in. But remember, the citizens of the Districts let their children be sent off to the Hunger Games for seventy-five years before rebelling because they had no reason to believe that a rebellion would lead to anything but even more suffering and death. And while the citizens of the Capitol were definitely more privileged in pretty much every way imaginable, I doubt that their chances of success would have been any higher. Does that make their inaction excusable? Maybe not. But I do think it makes it understandable.

      • liliaeth says:

        Actually, I think that all Avoxes come from the Capitol. Think about it, if someone from the District rebels, they're just killed, but by turning rebels in the Capitol into Avoxes, it makes them a symbol, a constant reminder to those they serve of what will happen to them if they dare to speak up and open their eyes and see what's going on.

        • HungryLikeLupin says:

          Well, we know that at least some of the Avoxes come from the Districts, because of Darius. Okay, I'm assuming here that since he worked in District 12, he'd be punished according to their customs, but isn't there some sort of implication (or outright statement) that most of the Peacekeepers come from the Capitol? Still, the redheaded Avox from the first book was probably from one of the nearby districts, I think, if for no other reason than it's a long damn walk from the Rockies to the Appalachians. 😆

          ANYWAY. I think we're actually agreeing with each other, despite my insistence on making everything 100x more confusing. Because yes, I definitely think that turning someone into an Avox is about more than punishing them; it would serve, like you said, as a constant reminder of what might happen to you if you move against the government. Faced with that reminder on a regular basis, especially when contrasted with the luxury and ease you probably experience by toeing the line, it would take a really exceptional person to defy The Man in the name of doing what's right. (*coughcough*Cinna*cough*)

          • Cheri says:

            It said that the red headed girl and the boy came from the capitol. Gale and Katniss thought they had "the capitol look". Then she was wondering why they would want to run away.

            • HungryLikeLupin says:

              Ahh, thanks. So is the assumption, then, that all Avoxes are Capitol citizens? Do you remember if Darius was originally from the Capitol?

      • noxcuses says:

        I get your point. I just didnt like how many comments there were excusing the prep teams actions. They need to be held accountable but that doesnt mean they deserved chains and torture. In my opinion it is my responsibility to care about my fellow human beings lives as much as my own. If that means I stand up against tyrany alone and am killed for it….well hopefully my life of courage will inspire others to make a stand. If enough people stand together tyrany will fall.

        • HungryLikeLupin says:

          All I can really say in response to that is that you're a far braver person than I am. 😆 And I mean that sincerely. In their situation, I like to think that I wouldn't be quite as upbeat about the whole thing, but I don't know that I'd offer any more rebellion than the prep team. (There's a reason I never expected to be sorted into Gryffindor, that's all I'm sayin'.)

          In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably also say that I've only just started reading through the comments for these reviews, so I have no idea how people have been reacting all this time. I do, however, think it's interesting how strongly our own personal philosophies are affecting our reactions to the prep team. You, as a fairly brave person yourself, expect others to live up to the standards you set for yourself. As someone who's not particularly brave, I'm always a bit surprised and very impressed when someone else is. Predictable, probably, but still one of those things that makes discussions like these so much fun. ^_^

        • liliaeth says:

          I like to think I'd be that way, but I can't in all honesty say that I would be, since I've never been in that kind of situation where I would be at risk for daring to stand up to tyranny. As such I feel I can't really judge anyone else who is in that situation.

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      YOU DON'T CHAIN PEOPLE UP IN THE DARK AND TORTURE THEM. That's all there is to it.

      • noxcuses says:

        Yes, I agree with you. I'm sorry if you took my comment as saying that they deserved torture. I just didnt like the way some were easily forgiving the prep team cause thier culture said it was ok. There has to be accountability for our actions or lack there of.

    • notemily says:

      I don't necessarily agree with the concept of holding the subordinates responsible. Numerous studies (Milgram, etc) have proven that the majority of people will do horrible things in the name of obeying orders. Not to mention that we teach our military, for example, to obey orders without question and that not doing so undermines the entire way the military is run. Plus, when people have to depend on the military for their jobs and livelihoods, it's easy for us to say "you should throw all of that away in the name of morality," but we aren't being asked to do so.

      Not to mention the huge propaganda effort that went into teaching Germans that Jews weren't people, that they were vermin and needed to be eradicated. Honestly, I think the whole "you can't say you were just obeying orders" situation was at least partly to give us someone to punish, since Hitler himself was dead.

      AHEM anyway, to talk about something that's not the Holocaust. (I am not in any way qualified to talk authoritatively about history, anyway. It's far from my strong point.) The prep team had spent their entire lives in a culture that viewed the Hunger Games as entertainment, a culture awash in propaganda. Remember how Effie was horrified at herself when she said something that questioned the Capitol at all? I really think there's only so much blame you can assign to Capitol citizens who have grown up with this culture and whose jobs and livelihoods rely on it.

      • notemily says:

        …also, you don't chain people up in the dark and torture them. What Tabbyclaw said.

      • Booksinbulk says:

        I was all ready go post about studies on human nature (I.e milgram and Stanford prison experiment) but you did it first and for that I am glad bc I’m on my phone and my thumbs would get tired :/


    • iolchos says:

      I think there's a difference between excusing their indifference to the games and excusing those who torture them for stealing bread. They don't understand that they're being punished for supporting the Games, as Gale infers Coin might be doing, and so there's no lesson here. All they know is that District 13 people are mean and gruff and they beat you for stealing food. They're not making the logical connection and the pain of the people in the Districts, so yeah, it is pitiable, it is like kicking a dog who doesn't understand. They had spent so long dehumanizing the people in the Districts that it came as a shock to them that they cared about Katniss and Peeta as people, and they weren't able to cope (crying constantly and such).

      I totally agree that they could be insensitive jerks who need to be shown the error of their ways and taken down a notch, but this is not the way to go about it.

      • iolchos says:

        *logical connection BETWEEN the pain of the people in the Districts, and the resentment/lack of consideration shown them now

        mea culpa

  52. Not_Prepared says:

    Everyone says that Coin is just a homeschooled jungle freak that's a less hot version of Katniss. *gets hit by bus*

  53. 4and6forever says:

    Dude, Gale, GROW UP. I get it, you don’t like the Capital. Hey, neither do we! But that doesn’t mean that just because someone was from there and helped with The Games they should be tortured. Ok, so maybe P. Snow deserves it, but Katniss’ prep team? No. Absolutely not. I agree that yes, they did do some bad things, like prepping Katniss and barfing at parties, and I don’t really have an excuse as to why, really, they don’t deserve it, but they shouldn’t be locked up because they’re people, just like you and me. This is why I’m Team Peeta, honey. The world isn’t black and white. You’ve grown a brain, now time to grow a heart.
    Rant over.
    Voldemort out!

    • Annalebanana says:

      He never said they should be tortured. He helped them get out of their prison. He just didn't understand WHY Katniss was so sympathetic toward them.

  54. Lady X says:

    Oh, Mark your unpreparedness is just endearing.

  55. Chica says:

    I was a bit confused at the number of people who seemed to think Gale was for the torture of the prep team. He voices disbelief when they learn the crime committed was theft of bread, he helps them to medical aid, he consoles Katness saying that her mom will fix them…

    the conversation in the woods, I felt, was his confusion of why Katness cared so much for the people who dressed her for slaughter. And she admits it’s a valid question. I also don’t think he was saying she should take the prep team’s torture as a favor, just that Coin might look at it that way.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  56. kajacana says:

    It's been so cool reading the reviews for this series. With Harry Potter, I had read the books over and over for years and years and analyzed them TO DEATH. But I've only read The Hunger Games trilogy once, and extremely fast. It's really interesting to see it analyzed and dissected like this, in the reviews AND the comments — there are so many angles that I never even had a chance to think of because I was so busy turning the pages.

    For example, the way Gale is acting, and how fascinating it is that 13 isn't actually a sunny utopia. I like having these things brought to my attention, because I really was reading too fast to notice them much before.

    In closing, I love Finnick and when he is sad, so am I. :'(

  57. jennywildcat says:

    This is one of the things that makes Mockingjay such an awesome book – the "good guys" in District 13 have so many faults, but you have to admit that what Coin, et al. have done has kept their citizens alive and thriving (doesn't make what they've done right, by any stretch of the imagination). And some of the "bad guys" from the Capitol don't know any better than what they've been raised with (e.g. – Katniss' prep team). And it's really easy to "armchair quarterback" these (and real life situations you see on the news) after the fact, but it's hard to know what was going on in the moment. There is no right answer to this war between the rebels and the Capitol and there certainly aren't any easy answers.

    Finnick asking Katniss about Annie is one of the most heartbreaking moments in these books (for me, anyway). Though Coin's attitude toward Annie isn't the greatest (that's an understatement), I have to admit that I was happy that Katniss was able to secure immunity for her (even though it wasn't necessary) for Finnick's sake at least. For all of Finnick's image as the "sex symbol of the Hunger Games" and all the fun Collins must surely have had writing his funniest scenes (and how much I do enjoy them), my heart seriously goes out to him and how worried he must be about this girl that he cares about so much.

  58. fantasylover12001 says:

    I was refering to up to this chapter not the whole book. Because at this point I think it's pretty clear she's no better then President Snow. Also this is the only book Coin appears in (Mark KNOWs this is the last book guys, this isn't a spoiler) so how can saying I hated her "in this book" be a spoiler? Sorry, I just sometimes feel these spoiler rules are bit confusing. I guess I'll just have to be more careful in the future.

  59. Stephanie says:

    I held off on reading Mockingjay so that I could do it at the same time as you, but I didn't actually get my hands on a copy until today. I read each chapter review before starting another chapter, but I'm not sure that I can wait to read on. I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO THIS, MARK!!

  60. finnickodair says:

    "In other words, I step out of line and we're all dead"

    Oh, Katniss, you and your kill-joy attitude…..such a drama-queen. Except for the fact that she isn't really exaggerating…. Nevermind.

  61. Amanda says:

    I know I'm a book late, but I just recently found a fan made video of the scene where Rue is killed. Prepare to cry. It's amazingly good for fan made.

    [youtube Z_jw3z68TW0 youtube]

    • Gabbie says:

      LOL More like two books late, but thanks so much for posting this!! It's so good. (I showed it to my sister who hasn't read THG series and even she teared up a bit. Though she laughed at Rue's constant whimpering, which I thought was pretty heartless until she started to choke up at Katniss singing to Rue)

    • inzhuna says:

      It's not fan made. The people are professionals, they made it to showcase the two actresses's talents. But yeah I agree, it's amazing.

  62. Cally Black says:

    “Of course you are. The tributes were necessary to the Games, too. Until they weren’t,” I say. “And then we were very disposable—right, Plutarch?”
    'I wanted to say OOOOOH, SICK BURN'

    Like this?
    <img src=>

    'but then I realized no one wins in this situation.'

    <img src=>

  63. kchano says:

    “Oh, the mad girl. That’s not really necessary,” she says. “We don’t make a habit of punishing anyone that frail.”

    I don't know how many of the readers have also participated in Mark Watches Firely/Serenity…but at that moment I began to secretly hope that Annie will pull a River and defeat all the bad guys (and Coin because she is horrible) in one fel deus ex machina swoop. So, there' s MY prediction! *fingers crossed*

    • msfeasance says:

      I was thinking of her as a Spark with natural inventing talents, but that's just me.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I predicted that Peeta and/or Johanna would basically follow River's story arc, but this would totally work, too.

    • iolchos says:

      she IS a victor from a district which traditionally submits Career tributes… (and for all we know, Katniss may not, she might actually have killed people). Annie's fascinating to me because she – and Finnick – present the idea of people who trained for the Games, wanted to be in them, and then turned against the institution (either during or after their participation)

  64. Tabbyclaw says:

    I can't bring myself to be outraged at Coin's comment on Annie. There is no judgment of her worth as a human being, no dismissal of her in any other context than what in the current parlance we'd call her competence to stand trial. From the sound of everything we've heard about her so far, the fact that Annie is traumatized and emotionally damaged to the point that she is unlikely to have full control over her actions is public knowledge; it's not as if Coin is pulling it out of thin air.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I noticed that Collins uses descriptive dialogue tags somewhat infrequently and italicized text seemingly never, and I think that played into my interpretation of Coin's statement. In my head I read it as, "Oh the mad girl. That's not really necessary. We don't make a habit of punishing anyone that frail," with decided emphasis on/derision of Annie's disability.

      Given District 13's treatment of Haymitch and Katniss (and Buttercup to a lesser extent), I tend to see them as a society that places a great deal of emphasis on utility and considers anything that might be considered dysfunctional as necessarily bad, and that definitely played into how I imagined that line being said. I think also it helps that I reread David Clement-Davies's Fire Bringer recently and am therefore prone to thinking of Coin in terms of despotic deer. I think I'm still half-expecting her to start sharpening her antlers.

  65. Will says:

    Is Coin going to end up like Snow?

    • iolchos says:

      what do you mean? twirling roses like the Phantom of the Opera and dropping calling cards on his victims? Heavens no, roses aren't practical plants. None of that extravagance in District 13.

  66. Pk9 says:

    You gotta wonder about President Coin. She wants to flip Katniss for the privilege of killing Snow, and she wants the victors to be tried for crimes… against whom? How exactly has Snow made Coin and D13 suffer? You have been an independent nation for SEVENTY FIVE YEARS. You didn't have to send children to the Hunger Games. You are not waging a rebellion against the rule of the Capitol so much as you are an outside party trying to assist the overthrow of Panem's sovereignty. What gives you the right to speak for the whole Rebellion? Your nuclear weapons and hovercraft? To quote Han Solo, "I've got a bad feeling about this."

  67. Saber says:

    Especially with the pretty light blue cover. THANKS FOR THAT COLLINS.

  68. LOTRjunkie says:

    Mark, I've been trying to post a comment here that's really important to me about how Gale's distaste for the prep team connects to me personally, and I think it has some stuff in there that people should hear, but apparently it's too long or something? Because the site told me that it'll have to be approved by the site admins before it gets posted publicly. Can I ask what that's about?

  69. gredandforge says:

    “Oh, the mad girl. That’s not really necessary,” she says. “We don’t make a habit of punishing anyone that frail.”

    This seems to me a little bit like reverse ableism — where they're allowing or granting disabled people certain things or .. privileges (for lack of a better word) because they're disabled. In this case, she says they won't harm Annie because she is disabled, so I infer if Annie were not disabled, this wouldn't be the case. As a parallel, there is discrimination and there is also reverse discrimination, which isn't any better. Does the same hold true for ableism? Is there such thing as reverse ableism (the answer seems to be yes) and if so, is it viewed negatively the way ableism is? This is a genuine question stemming from my curiosity, not a challenge or a dispute against anyone's comments/beliefs

    • inzhuna says:

      Thank you for saying this, I've been wondering the same thing. It's kind of like in modern society that mentally disabled people cannot be convicted of a crime. Basically what Coin's saying is that Annie cannot be charged with treason since they don't think she can take full responsibiity for her actions/ endure the punishment. I think the main issue is prioably Coin's dismissive tone and not necessarily the treatment of disabled people in District 13?

      • iolchos says:

        right. Coin is legitimately trying to set herself up as morally decent in this conversation, "Of course we don't hurt mentally disabled people!" but she's doing it in such an asshole way

  70. LOTRjunkie says:

    Wow. Y'all have no idea how close Gale's attitude hits to home. Because I'm Chinese and after a lot of crap between China and Japan (the Rape of Nanjing in particular), my dad really hates Japan, pretty much like how Gale hates the Capitol. The thing is, I can really understand both my dad and Gale's hatred, since I've been writing a paper about the Rape of Nanjing, also known as the Nanjing Massacre. If y'all can stick with me while I give a brief history lesson, I'd like to talk about the parallel.

    Nanjing is a city in China, and in a six-week period from December 13, 1937 on, Japanese soldiers invaded Nanjing and killed Chinese people left and right. Scholars estimate that about 300,000 people were killed and somewhere around 20,000 women were raped. Girls younger than eight-years-old and women over the age of seventy were raped and beaten as viciously as possible. Even if they weren't murdered immediately, many died afterwards from the extent of their injuries. Often, the soldiers would film their encounters to keep as souvenirs. In my research, I read the story about the discovery of a house where the Japanese soldiers had gone in, raped, and killed every person they found in that house, including a one-year-old child.

    Japanese soldiers often forced Chinese men to commit necrophilia, killing any who refused. They also forced the men to commit incest, forcing sons to rape their mothers, fathers their daughters, and brothers their sisters. Japanese soldiers would disembowel, decapitate, and dismember their victims. They nailed prisoners to wooden boards and ran them over with tanks. They would crucify the people to trees and electrical posts, carve long strips of flesh from them, or use them for bayonet practice. At least 100 men had their eyes gouged out or their noses and or ears hacked off before being set on fire. In Hsiakwan, along the banks of the Yangtze River, Japanese bound captives together in groups of ten and pushed them into a pit, where they were sprayed with gasoline and ignited.

    The thing that strikes me as horrifingly similar to the Hunger Games, however, are the killing competitions that Japanese officers held. The goal was to kill the most Chinese people in the fastest amount of time possible. Eight soldiers would split into pairs. In each team, one would behead the prisoners with swords while the other picked up heads and tossed them into a pile. There are photographs of Japanese soldiers beaming as they stood among dead bodies ( The killing of these Chinese people was regarded as entertainment to the Japanese soldiers, also evidenced by one incident where 200 men were executed in ten minutes to amuse members of the Japanese military.

    I haven't told these stories simply to scare you people, especially because I already edited some explicit stuff out. I told these stories so you can see why a sweet, loving Chinese man like my dad can passionately hate Japan and similarly, why a totally awesome character can passionately hate the Capitol and transfer that hatred onto its people. When I was reading this stuff, I started to feel a little hatred for Japan rising up in me, too. When I read this, I can understand the hatred both feel.

    I'm not saying that my dad should continue hating Japan and I can't say that I truly hate Japan, either. I just believe there is a point where you need to forgive them, even if you still kind of feel like they don't deserve it. (My personal faith also has a lot to do with this.) I think you can't hold the people of a country that did such things to your people accountable individually. I have Japanese friends and I'm not going to blame them for the Nanjing Massacre. I have an interest in Japanese culture and I can't bring myself to believe that I have to drop all of that because of the past. I think that both Gale and my dad are too wrapped up in their hatred to see that the people are not neccessarily defined by what their country did. They're a part of it, yes, but they're still not the same. Personally, I consider the prep team to be like the Japanese reporters who eagerly wrote about the killing competitions I previously mentioned. They helped to perpetuate the deaths and they took entertainment from it. I hate that. I hate how they could do that. I'd like to get a good punch at one of them if I could. But I don't hate the people themselves. I think they were caught up in the wrong ideas and should be held accountable, but they're still people and I would never want them to be treated like how the prep team was treated.

    Basically, Gale, Dad, you both need to remember that these people are still individuals and that these individuals are still people.

    I'm sorry about the tl:dr, guys. I wanted to give a little insight into how Gale feels and got a little caught up in it…

    • I have nothing pithy to say, but I'm rather in awe of this comment. You have explained Gale in a way that no one else ever could. Your comments about hating the deeds but not the people moved me deeply. Forgiveness is the hardest thing in the world, and it was once described to me as being a choice one must make every day, regardless of whether or not you ever feel it. To me, forgiveness is the greatest leap of faith mankind takes.

  71. This is why Katniss, Johanna, and Buttercup need to run away together. Finnick and Annie (who does not yet have an appearance but I'm hopeful that she will) can come too.

  72. kellylea says:

    I KNOW RIGHT. I was so pissed that Cinna got ONE sentence. One fucking sentence. Like an afterthought. Because Collins is evil and heartless.

  73. KitaYsabell says:

    First off, I would like to say that I have only actually read 'Hunger Games', and therefore do not know anything that is going to happen. I this happens to be a spoiler, I am going to laugh my ass off.

    Second, Y HALO THAR WATERSHIP DOWN. Seriously. First District 13 cribbed their rules and systems for enforcing them straight from Efrafa, and now they've taken their design cues from Cowslip's Warren. Big, underground room with space for the entire population? Jeez, that's not even trying to cover it up.

    Which is my problem with this series in general. It feels amateur. A great writer (I can't remember which one) once said something to the effect that half-decent writers borrow, good writers steal. And stealing means making it your own and blending it seamlessly with your own ideas. With this series, the edges of cribbed works still stick out. I mean, you don't even have to be that perceptive to see the "like Battle Royale, but…" of the Games themselves, and now this?

    And don't even get me started on the Mary Sues. I'm guessing that at some point Collins went back and made Katniss more rounded as a character, but couldn't quite bring herself to sand the shine off her dad and Cinna. I'm sorry, I'd love to love our favorite fashion anomaly (GOLD EYELINER IS INVISIBLE, and if you're writing about a fashion-centric society YOU SHOULD PROBABLY KNOW THIS) but he's just so god damn ~special~ from the minute he walks on-stage, and we're never given a reason for it. I once said that if Cinna wasn't gay, I'd kill fictional kittens. In all honesty, I'd go with ANY reasonable explanation for his ~specialness~ but it's still isn't looking good for those fictional kittens. (Keep an eye out for them in the next couple of years, BTW)

    Is the series worthless? No. But… Collins? Spend longer on the next one. Read more. And take some time to go over the seams, so you can reference your references and not just looked like you ripped something off.

    • Kira says:

      Katniss's dad is probably hyped up because she loved him and he's dead. It happens a lot that you remember people as being more super special awesome than they actually were. Cinna quite honestly didn't get enough screen time to be a Mary Sue.
      Yes, an underground bunker has been done before. But Watership Down isn't the only place. It's basically impossible to be totally original, and even if you've never read something, it can seem very similar.

    • Erm, speaking as a cosmotolgist and makeup artist, gold eyeliner isn't invisible… I've used it for fantastic metallic effects. I know it's frivolous to bring up, but since it's my livelihood, it was itching at me.

  74. Frianna says:

    This chapter makes me hate President Coin EVEN MORE.
    On my first read I felt confused about the prep team’s torturing, but really? They were tortured for a few slices of bread? It’s actually really interesting to read how Katniss and and the other rebels get away from the Capitol’s power and end up under Coin’s authority.
    Also, I liked that moment, when Katniss and Gale go hunting (well, I loved almost every Gale moment, because we see so little from him in the first two books).
    Oh, reading these reviews wakes so many memories up. Now I want to read the books again…

  75. demented says:

    Cinna was by far my favorite. He needs his own series!

  76. blessthechildren says:

    Everything HG related has been so serious/sirius… I miss the good old days of Harry Potter and Twilight insanity – we need some more fun reviews like the Buttercup review. I enjoy the seriousness of your reviews, Mark, but I miss the "Weasley Parties" and gif parties and the like. This feels more like a stiff book club than the insane, quirky, wonderfully analytical guy who freaked out over every chapter and did massive AIM brain-dumps with Kasper. I hope you aren't stretched too thin doing all the reviews on both sites!!!


    • blessthechildren says:

      I should concede that this book is much darker and more severe than either Harry Potter or Twilight. Well, HP is extremely dark in some parts – HELLO IMMORTAL DEMON VOLDEMORT WHO DIVIDES HIS SHOULD WITH THE MURDER OF MOMMIES AND BABIES. HOW ARE YOU DOING POSSESSED HORCRUX SNAKE NAGINI, LIVING INSIDE THE ROTTING CORPSE OF AN OLD WOMAN?

  77. fredrick says:

    so… you think they SHOULD punish someone as fragile and damaged as Annie?

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  79. Howlynn says:

    But if the prep team is there — who else is? Cinna could be there and she didn't even look — or ask.

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