Mark Reads ‘Catching Fire’: Chapter 4

In the fourth chapter of Catching Fire, Katniss takes steps to apologize to two people she has wronged and her and Peeta make their first public appearance on the Victory Tour. There, in a moment of sympathy, Katniss does something that proves to us that we were never, ever prepared. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Catching Fire.

We were seriously never, ever prepared for where Collins takes this story.

But let’s talk about the moments that lead up to the horrifying conclusion of this chapter. Dejected, she returns to her compartment and tries to process the implications of what Haymitch has just told her.

Of course, I could do a lot worse than Peeta. That isn’t really the point, though, is it? One of the few freedoms we have in District 12 is the right to marry whow e want or not marry at all. And now even that has been taken away from me. I wonder if President Snow will insist we have children. If we do, they’ll have to face the reaping each year. And wouldn’t it be something to see the child of not one but two victors chosen for the arena?

There are like…a billion things about this that I hadn’t considered until I read this section. This is truly oppressive bullshit, and it makes President Snow all the more creepy. I mean…forced to bear children???  FUCKED UP, Y’ALL.

Katniss realizes how much insight this might shed on Haymitch, who chose to go it alone and never marry. Did he do all of this on purpose? Seriously, MOAR HAYMITCH IMMEDIATELY.

Of course, I don’t get this at all. Katniss awakes the next morning, which is a travel day, to learn she needs EVEN MORE PREPPING. Everything before this was basically preparation for the preparation. So we’re faced with yet another scene with the trio of clueless prep team members; gone is the usual whimsy, though, which is due to Katniss’s overwhelming and growing panic for her situation. I wasn’t actually irritated by the way she reacted to her team because I understood that Collins was writing her in a way that was a lot more real than I’d come to expect. The news she just got from Haymitch the day before would be enough to unwind any of us, so to see her lash out (even if only internally most of the time) was satisfying.

Katniss finally does have a public outburst, caused by Effie.

At some point, the train stops. Our server reports it will not just be for a fuel stop—some part has malfunctioned and must be replaced. It will require at least an hour. This sends Effie into a state. She pulls out her schedule and begins to work out how the delay will impact every event for the rest of our lives. Finally I just can’t stand to listen to her anymore.

“No one cares, Effie!” I snap. Everyone at the table stares at me, even Haymitch, who you’d think would be on my side in this matter since Effie drives him nuts. I’m immediately put on the defensive. “Well, no one does!” I say, and get up and leave the dining car.

Well, ooops. I think if this had happened in the first book, I might have whined about Katniss being irritating, but I think I’m starting to sympathize a lot more easily with her predicament. I know that I’ve been hard on her (and I still stand by what I’ve said), but seriously…she participated in the Murder Games and survived after doing some terrible shit and everything is still awful for her.

Here’s where the chapter takes a turn for the interesting. (I’m complimenting this, FYI.) Peeta follows Katniss off the train and she worries he’s there to lecture her. Nope!

He takes a deep breath. “Look, Katniss, I’ve been wanting to talk to you about the way I acted on the train. I mean, the last train. The one that brought us home. I knew you had something with Gale. I was jealous of him before I even officially met you. And it wasn’t fair to hold you to anything that happened in the Games. I’m sorry.”

WHOA. Am I going to have to become Team Peeta here?

His apology takes me by surprise.

You aren’t alone, Katniss. Damn, WHAT JUST HAPPENED.

“There’s nothing for you to be sorry about. You were just keeping us alive. But I don’t want to go on like this, ignoring each other in real life and falling into the snow every time there’s a camera around. So I thought if I stopped being so, you know, wounded, we could take a shot at just being friends,” he says.

THIS IS SO MATURE. WHAT IS HAPPENING. WHY DOES EVERYTHING FEEL OK ALL OF A SUDDEN. Oh, this isn’t good, I thought to myself. Collins is clearly setting everything up for disaster.

I don’t want to give Peeta all the credit. Katniss is basically growing up on the pages before us because she doesn’t draw out the apology or try to make excuses for herself.  I’m also glad we don’t have to deal with the frustration of their relationship, at least for now. Instead, we’ve got two people who appear to want to make a real attempt at being friends.

And this is the point where everything starts going downhill.

Not the writing or anything. But this is so fucked up. First, Katniss goes to see Peeta’s paintings and is genuinely interested to see the results of his talent. What she is not prepared for is this:

I don’t know what I expected. Larger versions of the flower cookies maybe. But this is something entirely different. Peeta has painted the Games.


Some you wouldn’t get right away, if you hadn’t been with him in the arena yourself. Water dripping through the cracks in our cave. The dry pond bed. A pair of hands, his own, digging for roots. Others any viewer would recognize. The golden horn called the Cornucopia. Clove arranging the knives inside her jacket. One of the mutts, unmistakably the blond, green-eyed one meant to be Glimmer, snarling as it makes its way towards us. And me. I am everywhere. High up in a tree. Beating a shirt against the stones in the stream. Lying unconscious in a pool of blood. And one I can’t place—perhaps this is how I looked when his fever was high—emerging from a silver gray mist that matches my eyes exactly.

WHAT THE FLYING FUCK. Different people find an outlet for their grief or trauma or terror and Peeta chose painting. HOW SAD IS THIS:

“All I do is go around trying to forget the arena and you’ve brought it back to life. How do you remember these things so exactly?”

“I see them every night,” he says.

JESUS GOD UP IN HEAVEN. Well, now we know how Peeta is coping.

Can things get worse? MOST CERTAINLY. I’ve been curious to learn what the other districts are like and we get our first glimpse at District 11 here. From the description of the huge, open fields, I imagine District 11 is somewhere in the Midwest. What I could never imagine is what surrounds the district.

We slow slightly and I think we might be coming in for another stop, when a face rises up before us. Towering at least thirty-five feet in the air and topped with wicked coils of barbed wire, it makes ours back in District 12 look childish. My eyes quickly inspect the base, which is lined with enormous metal plates. There would be no burrowing under these, no escaping to hunt. Then I see the watchtowers, placed evenly apart, manned with armed guards, so out of place among the fields of wildflowers around them.

What on earth could District 11 need such security for? Why aren’t all the districts this heavily guarded? THIS IS SO DEEPLY FUCKED UP, GUYS. I mean…what the hell?

Now the crops begin, stretched out as far as the eye can see. Men, women, and children wearing straw hats to keep off the sun straighten up, turn our way, take a moment to stretch their backs as they watch our train go by. I ca see orchards in the distance, and I wonder if that’s where Rue would have worked, collecting the fruit from the slimmest branches at the tops of the trees. Small communities of shacks—by comparison the houses in the Seam are upscale—spring up here and there, but they’re all deserted. Every hand must be needed for the harvest.

Maybe this protection is there because the sheer size of this district. I mean, if you have a simple fence like the one in District 12, you could outnumber any guards and escape. This seems like a display of force intended to frighten people into submission.

The first public appearance will be held in the square outside the Justice Building. I expected more people to be there, but I guess they need as many people working in the fields as possible. Why is this all so disturbing to me?

Oh, right, because Thresh’s and Rue’s families are SITTING BELOW THE STAGE.

On Thresh’s side, there’s only an old woman with a hunched back and a tall, muscular girl I’m guessing is his sister. On Rue’s…I’m not prepared for Rue’s family. Her parents, whose faces are still fresh with sorrow. Her five younger siblings, who resemble her so closely. The slight builds, the luminous brown eyes. They form a flock of small dark birds.

Crushing. What an unbelievably sad detail. A flock of small dark birds. Jesus Christ I HATE YOU CAPITOL.

Katniss just has to make it through this appearance and appear to be gracious and wildly in love with Peeta. She actually does well by not speaking unless she has to, which is probably a good thing. We all know she can’t improv at all. Peeta, however, is quite good at it.

And then he hesitates before adding something that wasn’t written on the card. Maybe he thought Effie might make him remove it. “It can in no way replace your losses, but as a token of our thanks we’d like for each of the tributes’ families from District Eleven to receive one month of our winnings every year for the duration of our lives.”


Oh my god Peeta WHAT ARE YOU DOING. This is so noble and amazing and I’m seriously going to become Team Peeta but ISN’T THIS LIKE THE WORST THING FOR YOU TO DO TO THE CAPITOL? Oh my god, Katniss was worrying about upsetting President Snow and PEETA UPSTAGES HER.

Shit is so fucked up right now.

I look at Peeta and he gives me a sad smile. I hear Haymitch’s voice. “You could do a lot worse.” At this moment, it’s impossible to imagine how I could do any better. The gift…it is perfect. So when I rise up on tiptoe to kiss him, it doesn’t seem forced at all.

This is cute but I don’t expect it to last much longer than…oh, about thirty seconds. This book seems not to be able to have nice things.

Before they leave the stage, Katniss catches one of Rue’s sisters glaring at her menacingly. It doesn’t take her but a few seconds to realize she hadn’t thanked anyone, especially not Rue’s family. In a moment of improvisation that is actually quite brilliant, she runs to microphone and says the first thing that comes to her mind.

“I want to give my thanks to the tributes of District Eleven,” I say. I look at the pair of women on Thresh’s side. “I only ever spoke to Thresh one time. Just long enough for him to spare my life. I didn’t know him, but I always respected him. For his power. For his refusal to play the Games on anyone’s terms but his own. The Careers wanted him to team up with them from the beginning, but he wouldn’t do it. I respected him for that.”


I turn to Rue’s family. “But I feel as if I did know Rue, and she’ll always be with me. Everything beautiful brings her to mind. I see her in the yellow flowers that grow in the Meadow by my house. I see her in the mockingjays that sing in the trees. But most of all, I see her in my sister, Prim.” My voice is undependable, but I am almost finished. “Thank you for your children.” I raise my chin to address the crowd. “And thank you for all the bread.”

I take it back. Katniss just displayed that her emotional range for sympathy and empathy is far greater than we had judged her for. This is simply fantastic. Really dumb and is going to end badly, but easily the best thing she has ever said.

Then, from somewhere in the crowd, someone whistles Rue’s four-note mockingjay tune. The one that signaled the end of the workday in the orchards. The one that meant safety in the arena. By the end of the tune, I have found the whistler, a wizened old man in a faded red shirt and overalls. His eyes meet mine.

I can absolutely picture all of this in my head. This might be my favorite part of the whole book. CALLING IT NOW.

What happens next is not an accident. It is too well executed to be spontaneous, because it happens in complete unison. Every person in the crowd presses the three middle fingers of their left hand against their lips and extends them to me. It’s our sign from District 12, the last good-bye I gave Rue in the arena.


The full impact of what I’ve done hits me. It was not intentional—I only meant to express my thanks—but I have elicited something dangerous. An act of dissent from the people of District 11. This is exactly the kind of thing I am supposed to be defusing!

I can’t believe it took Katniss just one Victory Tour stop to mess up so righteously. And I have to state it as what it is: one of the most awesome displays of righteous bad-assery ever. Even if it wasn’t intended to be. My respect for Katniss just grew volumes.

That doesn’t mean what she does is celebrated. The power is cut on he mic and she and Peeta leave the stage. When Katniss realizes she left her flower bouquet behind, they both go back to retrieve them and witness the inconceivable:

A pair of Peacekeepers dragging the old man who whistled to the top of the steps. Forcing him to his knees before the crowd. And putting a bullet through his head.

ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS???? JUST LIKE THAT? You know what’s so frightening about this? The fact that the effects of Katniss’s speech are felt so immediately. How did they get the order to do this so quickly? Who else is going to get shot? Oh my fucking god, this is so goddamn awful. FUCK.

About Mark Oshiro

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

229 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Catching Fire’: Chapter 4

  1. AccioUsername says:

    First? Seriously? o_o *goes to read*


    TEAM PEETA FOREVER AND EVER. He's just so sweet and agh. D:

    This chapter made me baww. Katniss's speech about Rue to her family, and the entire district joining together like that, and just omg tears forever.

    Peeta painting scenes from the games is so sad to me. Is it weird that I think of him and Katniss as war veterans, as far as their outlook and actions go? Katniss has changed so much since the first page of The Hunger Games, and Peeta knows how to improve every situation to the best of his abilities, and he cares so much about Katniss, he isn't going to be like either of those douche bags we had to deal with in Twilight. He's actually content with being ~friends~.

    I hated the Capitol before, but now, it's extreme. The old man was hard for me to read. He was an innocent bystander, showing respect. Now I'm wondering what else they did to the people of District Eleven. I really hope Rue's family is okay. I've got a feeling that he's just one of many innocent people to die at the Capitols hands to further oppress Katniss and Peeta. :c

    Agh. You're not prepaaaaaaaaaaaaaared, Mark.

  2. Alison says:

    Gah, nice job Katniss… but anyway, that was such a nice thing that the crowd did. (Even though it will MOST LIKELY have TERRIBLE consequences and stuff.) It kind of reminds me how the District 12 people refused to clap for their tributes after the reaping in the first book. Oh, and I love Peeta so much! 🙂

  3. Gabbie says:

    And, yeah, Peeta's amazing. <3
    In other news: Katniss realizes that it's best for the well-being of the districts to keep her mouth shut, but on the rare occasions when she opens it, BA-ness dominates, man.

  4. monkeybutter says:

    The Victory Tour sure got off to a good start! I have to take back what I said in the last review, sadly. If it takes the better part of a day to travel from Appalachia to the Midwest or Deep South, I have to assume there will never be high-speed rail. At least not out in the poor districts.

    I love Katniss and Peeta for maturing since The Hunger Games. And yes, they both screwed up by speaking their minds, but I think it goes back to what Peeta said on top of the Training building about staying true to himself. Their righteous badassery is so great because it wasn't calculated to do harm to the Capitol, but to do what they thought was right. And it's hard to do what you believe is morally right and deal with the consequences of those actions.

    • barnswallowkate says:

      "Their righteous badassery is so great because it wasn't calculated to do harm to the Capitol, but to do what they thought was right."

      It seems like doing what is right is more powerful, uniting, and unstoppable than anything they could have planned. It's an awesome scene and also an awesome point for Collins to be making.

      These movies are going to be my favorite ever.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Exactly. Their fake romance may have won over voters, but it wasn't the kisses that were damaging, it was them caring about each other's lives more than the Capitol's rules — and that was real. They're making connections with people in other Districts, humanizing the dead Tributes, and that it is incredibly good and dangerous.

        I really hope they get the movies right.

    • Karen says:

      Their righteous badassery is so great because it wasn't calculated to do harm to the Capitol, but to do what they thought was right.
      YES. This is my favorite thing about Katniss and Peeta and these books. It's different from the usual dystopian novel where the main character is actively trying to rebel. Katniss was just doing what she could to protect herself and those that she love. That's what the stunt with the berries was about. It just happens that in order to do it, she had to defy the Capitol and refuse to ply by their rules. And that display was more dangerous than any poorly funded attempt at rebellion in the districts would be.

  5. momigrator says:

    I must say, only 4 chapters in and I'm already far more impressed with this book than I was the first. It's going to be a wild ride, I AM NOT PREPARED.

    • spectralbovine says:

      Yeah, I was expecting it to have Middle Book Syndrome and feel like a wheel-spinning placeholder, but I really liked it, and it may even be better than the first one, although the first book does have the advantage of everything being new.

  6. Sam says:

    What gets me about this chapter is how real everything is. Collins has a choppy way of writing that irritated me in the first book, just as it did you Mark. By the second book, when you are used to it, it seems to bring a real-worldliness to the scenes. I think that's why the man getting shot shocked me so. It was sudden, in your face, and not alluded to in any way. She cuts from Katniss realizing that she has just accidentally done something awful, straight to the immediate reprucussions for district 11. It is so much more terrible than imagining what may or may not happen to the people of district 11…you see it in all it's choppy, real glory.
    And so begin the real Games…the political ones. Shit is about to get fucked up.

    • Warmouh says:

      I love the writing style myself. It's a good action style. Could you imagine Smeyer trying to write an action scene with all that purple prose hanging around its neck?

  7. barnswallowkate says:

    I imagine Katniss doing a mental facepalm when Peeta says what he says.

    Even when Katniss is trying really hard to do what the Capitol wants, she ends up doing the exact opposite just by being who she is. She can't put out her own metaphorical fire AND IT'S CATCHING! I think that's why I am loving her so much. Also why she suddenly reminds me of Steve Urkel ("Did I do that??").

    I can't wait to see this on screen. They better get someone good to play Katniss.

    • Roxie says:

      Hailee Steinfeld!

      • exbestfriend says:

        Yesterday I heard she was in consideration for Katniss and that made me super excited. She was the first actress I've heard mentioned that could really handle the role. Also the first to kick me off the Kaya Scodelario wagon, who would be pretty and could handle 95% of the role, but I have doubts.

  8. Craig says:

    You really do swear a lot! But you are passionate to say the least.

    • Trapp says:

      Well, Mark is Mark is Mark. Siriusly dont change.

    • Sherry says:

      If Mark's book reviews offend you, read the New York Times review. {shrug}

      • exbestfriend says:

        For a second there I thought you were making a dig at Dale Peck in this Sunday's Book Review because as much as I love reading him tear people apart, it is also pretty insulting. But now I realize what you were saying is that they don't curse in their book reviews.

        So pointless comment is pointless I suppose.

  9. herpestidae says:

    You have yet to reach the most Fucked up part of this book. And even when you think you've reached it, you still haven't. You are not prepared, Mark.

  10. Andrew says:

    Unrelated: I want to recommend some good books but I'm not sure where the best place is to post it. Is here okay or is there a specific post somewhere that I can comment on?

  11. Lemone says:

    This is a real hook chapter. Ther first 3 were good, granted, but they only made me go ‘well I’ll just read ahead for when Mark gets there since I don’t have anything else to do’ but this one made me go Ffffff and finish the book asap.

    Anywho, District 11. I’m pretty sure the reason the security is so high there is because they’re the farming district. It’s to keep people from ststealing food for themselves or smuggling it to other districts. One of the biggest weapons the Capitol has to keep the districts in line is the scarcity of food. The hunger games, the tesserae, etc.

    • bluejay says:

      That makes sense, and it reminds me of when Katniss and Rue were eating groosling in the arena and Rue was so excited because she'd never had a whole leg to herself before.
      … how depressing.

      • pennylane27 says:

        And how the Peacekeepers shot that boy who had kept the night-vision glasses. The more you think about it, the more depressing it gets, doesn't it?

    • bookling says:

      I think you're right about the food. The Capitol has to control food production very carefully.

  12. Will says:

    I want Peenis to punch Snow in the mouth. He is one fucked up son of a bitch.

    • agirlinport says:

      I think that may be the most ridiculous sentence ever written, taken out of the context of Catching Fire. Love it!

    • EldaTaluta says:

      Peenis will assassinate Snow at some point during this series! Calling it now!

    • theanagrace says:

      I need to read more slowly, because I read your comment as: "I want to Peenis punch Snow in the mouth."

      I giggled, but still, that is not what you intended. Even if it was a disturbingly funny mental image.

      I'm going to isolate myself from others now, before I harm someone with absurdity. 😛

  13. pennylane27 says:

    I love how Katniss admits to herself that she could do a lot worse than Peeta. I know that the idea of forced marriages is deeply fucked up, but I think it's an amazing thing that she is at least acknowledging that he is good and that she has some feelings for him nonetheless. I was surprised by the amount of maturity and growth shown in this chapter, by both of them.

    So when Peeta says he wants to share their winnings I was like "That's so sweet darling, but not really the best idea right now!" and "Katniss you fool, why didn't you tell Peeta what's going on?" Her speech is so damn moving and beautiful I couldn't help but liking her even more.

    And then the old man whistling and the salute so beautiful and then OMG THEY KILLED HIM JUST LIKE THAT THIS CANNOT BE MORE AWFUL. Honestly, that's how my mind phrases things like this.

  14. liliaeth says:

    I really need to start rereading Catching Fire, so I don't accidentally use spoilers again, seems like I mentioned something about this chapter in the last review that I hadn't even noticed I did.

    • cait0716 says:

      I've been trying to only comment on what Mark actually writes in the review. I figure that if I basically quote/paraphrase him, I can't spoil him. Right? Especially since this entire book is just one big blur for me.

    • Kripa says:

      Do what I do and reread one chapter at a time, one ahead of wherever Mark is. Speaking of, I gotta go reread chapter 5.

      • liliaeth says:

        That might be best, but even then. I've been reading the Hunger Games the past week or so, and I still keep forgetting what happens in what chapter 🙂

        • Kripa says:

          Just don't read ahead. That way you ONLY have the one chapter that comes after Mark's last review, until he puts up the review of that chapter, in your head.

  15. DTDRC says:

    "Victors' children have been in the ring before…it happens too frequently to just be about odds, Gale's convinced the Capitol does it on purpose, rigs the drawings to add extra drama."

    Made me start questioning how much rigging the Capitol does. Do they only interfere when victors' children are involved or do they have a hand in every reaping choice? Do they "cast" the kids like reality shows with a mix of young and old,a "token" disabled kid, etc? How disturbing.

  16. theupsides says:

    This is such a great chapter. The amount of character growth and plot building in just this chapter is amazing.

    It's like the tension finally breaks between Peeta and Katniss. They've apologized, and they can move on. They can leave the arena behind. And it's then when you realize that it's not all about the arena. Katniss can't imagine much better than him! The problem is she never gets a minute alone to actually figure this out, especially when they have to act like they're already in love. How sad is it that he paints the Games over and over, but that he thinks it's better than waking up with a knife in his hand like Haymitch? These two can't get a break.

    What I really like about Peeta offering that gift to those families is it really is indicative of the kind of person he is. He's a truly generous and caring person. Some might think it's stupid, that he didn't think of the consequences of his actions. But that's kind of it. He's kind of an altruistic guy. Also, Katniss and Haymitch have purposely kept him in the dark about everything EVER, so he never knows when he should be especially careful. I think this is a moment where you realize that hey, Peeta has the power to do great things, he deserves to be trusted.

    • shortstack930 says:

      "Peeta has the power to do great things, he deserves to be trusted."

      AGREED. They need to stop babying him.

    • notemily says:

      I love how he channels his nightmares into painting. Peeta is so great. He's the boy with the bread (nurturing and life-giving), he does the cakes (artistic), he paints the Games (turning tragedy into art). He's never the weapon or the violent one. I love that.

  17. cait0716 says:

    Not prepared. Not now, not ever. I'm not sure I'm prepared for you to read it.

    I love how mature Peeta and Katniss manage to be. They're like actual human beings who realize that they're in a crappy situation and should try to make the best of it by at least attempting a genuine friendship.

    Also, I think I would rather live in District 12 than District 11. 12 seems slightly more lenient, what with the malfunctioning fence and thriving black market.

  18. exbestfriend says:

    This chapter is hard to comment on because of the giant ball of depression at the end.
    <img src=""&gt;

    But seriously, Team Peeta 4 Life!
    <img src=""&gt;

    *edited because I initially posted this comment from my cellphone and I can't figure out how to include gifs that way. No changes were made to my actual statements.

  19. bookling says:

    God, this chapter always makes me cry. Peeta's gift to Thresh and Rue's families is amazing, and then when everyone salutes Katniss in the end…

    <img src=""&gt;

    I also love when Peeta asks Katniss if they can just try to be friends. I appreciate that they have some muddled feelings for each other, but the whole forced marriage thing makes me so upset that I'm glad Collins didn't force the relationship at this point. I don't know if I could bear it if Peeta was still acting hopelessly in love and Katniss had that guilt on her shoulders, too. She's got enough shit to worry about, you know?

    <img src=""&gt;

  20. Randomcheeses says:

    Team Peeta forever! But oh God, Katpee, don't you ever think about consequences?!!

  21. Keysmash says:

    haha Mark, you quoted just abut the entire chapter 🙂 but kinda hard not to, this one was AWESOME on so many levels. I agree with MissImpertinence, I'm afraid that Rue and Thresh's families will have to pay for this, too. (And has anyone noticed the names??? Thresh works in wheat fields, Peeta works in a bakery, and Katniss collects wild edible plants.)

    I also want to see how Collins handles Katniss meeting the families of the Tributes she killed. Didn't she kill BOTH of District 2's tributes? And what about Foxface's family? I want to know her real name, too. HURRY UP AND READ MORE!!!!!!!!

  22. Many Rainbows says:

    Seriously, sitting here reading this, reading the books.. it just hit me (and i admit, i am a tad slow).. Haymitch, Katniss, and Peeta all have PTSD. No wonder Haymitch is so fucked up. I mean, if he was part of the Quarter Quell where twice as many tributes had to go into the arena.. that meant him and 3 others from District 12 were there. Were they his friends? Does he see their families every day back home in district 12, which is a constant reminder that he beat their family members, he survived to have the fancy house and guarenteed food and riches, while all his fellow tributes families got was memories of their loved ones being killed? I mean, sure, as the winning district, they had the grain and oil parcels every month for a year or whatever- but what kind of reward is that for never being able to see your son, your daughter, your brother or sister, neice or nephew, whatever, ever again? Do they blame him? does he THINK they blame him, and therefore perceive every look from them to be one of blame and hate? if so, no wonder he drinks himself into stupidity! (not that i EVERR think drinking is a solution of ANY sort, but you know what i mean)
    And as for Katpee… here are two kids, suffering from PTSD, barely having time to register and process what happened in that arena, to come to terms of their actions, what they saw and heard, what they had to live through. They have been faced with the impossible: PROVE you are madly in love or more people die AND IT WILL BE ALL YOUR FAULT. They have had no one to talk about it all with- they do not want to burden family and friends with all of that, because why drag more people into their madness? Cannot really talk to each other about it- up until this chapter, Peeta was mad at Katniss and talking to her as little as possible. And haymitch has troubles of his own, so while he would understand, he is a drunk- he sought healing from a bottle, so NOT the best person to ask for help on this issue. So how do they work out the trauma? How do they deal with the nightmares, with the simple moments that hit them in such a way that they feel they are back in the arena, fighting for their lives?

    wow, long reply was long, sorry! 😛 but shit is getting so real…

    • andreah1234 says:

      Long reply= <3 <3

      RE Haymitch: I think you are spot on. And I want to add something, not only did he had to be a part of the games which it's awful by itself, but he also had to train children, no more yourger that himself to kill or be killed, and he had to live with the fact that most of the time they did not come back. That would fuck up anyone. And really makes me wonder so many things about him that I just want MOAR Haymitch, I want answers NOW.

      • Many Rainbows says:

        it just really amazes me that in this future, not only do they throw kids into an arena to KILL EACH OTHER, but provide NO counseling or support after the fact. just say "hey great, you killed a bunch of people and managed not to starve to death or get killed by any of our fucked up traps! now you are rich and have to train other kids to do the same exact thing! what do you mean you can't do it? you HAVE to, or we will fuck your life up even MORE!" *shudders*

        • Anri says:

          Well, to provide counseling afterwards would be to acknowledge that there's something wrong with the Games – and as we all know, the Games are awesome, and winning them is an honor! (Hooray…)
          It really does make you wonder: how many tributes, especially those who aren't Careers, become completely suicidal/completely crazy? I know the suicidal part has been brought up, but can't you imagine a tribute who goes completely insane afterwards? How sad and fucked up would that be?

  23. Kripa says:

    I always figured 11 was in the Southeast, like from South Carolina on the north, Florida on the south, and Mississippi to the west.
    Also, I'm surprised you didn't note how Katniss and all the other girls are expected to be completely free of body hair, while more than a few of the boys get away with keeping theirs. Besides all their other forms of oppression, the Capitol is also sexist.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Not only sexist, but they have very particular views about beauty. I wonder if they would have removed the rest of Peeta's terminal hair if it wasn't blond. I also envisioned the Deep South, maybe even into Arkansas and Missouri, but the Midwest works for amber fields of grain.

      • LadyLately says:

        I think, because all plant-type food comes from 11, that the district might be sort of….T-shaped? But upside down? So as to have a wider variety of climates and thus crop variety. I also the think the high-speed rail is still entirely possible, as they're probably just staggering the appearances so the Tour lasts longer, you know? I mean, in the last book, they reached the Capitol in like a day, and District 12 is stated to be pretty far from it.

        • monkeybutter says:

          I think an upside-down T is the best description; starting in the Prairies or Northern Plains, then spreading out once you get down South. Maybe they could move workers around according to labor demands and seasons. I will keep hope alive for improved railroads!

      • thatonegirl says:

        I was thinking they tried to make the tributes look as little kid-ish as possible by taking away their body hair/preventing the boys from growing beards. (Can I seriously get this for my husband?) But what I want to know is when Katniss had time to notice (lack of) body hair on anyone other than Peeta.
        I also thought Deep South because the Midwest is WAY TOO COLD in the winter to have the kind of weather she's describing.

        • exbestfriend says:

          Yeah, but if you are going to feed everyone in Panem, there are certain crops that won't make it in the South. Then again you would imagine that the Capitol genetically engineered the plants to OBEY like they do everything else, so maybe that is not an issue.

      • Kripa says:

        Yeah, but Katniss was protesting the waxings on account of it was during winter months, and her prep team says, "Nope, it's warm in District 11!" It's not warm in the Midwest from November to February, though it is warm in, say, Florida. Hence, 11's got to be in the Southeast.

        • monkeybutter says:

          Oh, I agree, I just think that District 11 is huge and could extend into the middle of North America to maximize food production. This chapter is definitely in the South, though.

  24. frances says:

    "You could do a lot worse!"

    I love that but man it hurts. Poor katpee!

  25. karadudz says:

    This chapter is one of the ones that makes me torn about whether I like Katniss' character or not.

    For example that part where she was making a speech to D11 and thanking the tributes and the district for the bread but at the same time we all know what a stupid idea it is that she's doing a kind gesture. She can be so smart and yet so stupid at the same time. BUT IT WAS SO KIND I DON'T REALLY KNOW WHAT TO MAKE OF IT.

    But then again (as you've pointed out and I have never realized this before) Katniss is growing up through these pages. She does sound like she matures from book to book but then gah she's just so oblivious to things most of the time.

    ANYWAY. Intense chapter ending. What with the old man and the salute and the shot to the head.

    I'm pretty sure everyone's telling you this Mark but omg. YOU ARE NOT PREPARED. At. All.

  26. stellaaaaakris says:

    I miss Thresh. Rue, too, but I think she at least gets the love she deserves. Thresh was off page/screen almost the entire time, I didn't get my fill of him.

    I always assumed District 11 was in the South, not the Midwest. I've never been to the Midwest, so correct me if I'm wrong, but if it's snowing in West Virginia (where I place District 12), isn't it cold in the Midwest too? Also I imagine plains to be like the Lion King with one tree surrounded by lots of grassland (clearly I've only traveled the east coast in the US). And Rue needed lots of trees to practice her mad flying skills, so I thought the orchards of Georgia or Florida would be a good place for District 11 (if they're not underwater). Plus, the South is where they had plantations and such back in earlier of American history (today too? I honestly have no idea).

    Look how mature Katpee is! Not like Gale who ran away after kissing Katniss. Can't blame him too much since I'd probably do the same thing but I don't claim to be mature. Also I'm not one of the characters in a novel.

    While I love Katpee's speech and actions, I was definitely going, "Nononononononono. Bad idea, bad life decision." And the bit with the old man makes me so sad. It's just so immediate and horrible.

    Collins' style of writing has really found its pacing in this book. The beginning of THG, it was really grating, but now, it really helps me sympathize with Katniss and it makes what happens that much more terrible to witness.

    • Warmouh says:

      It's possible that they could be in the Michigan/Wisconsin/Ohio part of the Midwest that doesn't really fit in with the rest of the Midwest. Michgan actually has quite a fruit belt around the state, especially up against the lake so it wouldn't be hard to practice your mad flying skills there. As for the weather, it can be kinda hit and miss. It probably wouldn't be warm if it's snowing in Applachia, but the Great Lakes do keep it relatively balmy. After all, here in Michigan we didn't get any snow for Christmas and in the southeast they got relatively buried. /End Michigander info dump.

      I would really love to see some sort of list saying where all the Districts are. I'm also confused at the scale of size of all the Districts.

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        Really? I didn't know that. I live in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region and I don't understand how water affects weather all that much. In Upstate New York, the lake effect seems to have the opposite effect (I'm also not from Upstate New York, so I may be mistaken. I'm basing this off of bits and pieces of the news.). They get bombarded with snow while the rest of the area, while cold and maybe has a little snow, gets off pretty easy.

        As for the fruit trees, I completely forgot. I mean, obviously I know not all the fruit grown in this country comes from Florida and Georgia, but I had forgotten that I had a college friend from Michigan and she'd always come back to school with pies made with Michigan fruits. Yummy!

        I too would like to know where all the Districts are. I've googled Panem maps and I disagree with all of the ones I looked at, some by a lot. I have my theories, but they could definitely have had support if Katniss had paid more attention during the chariot rides of THG so I could see what the other tributes were dressed as.

        • Warmouh says:

          Our fruit is the best, I'm pretty sure. It makes me so sad that the cafeterias on my campus have the worst apples ever. Even in season they are mushy and just terrible. And I go to like one of the best agricultural schools in the nation, we should know better!

  27. KellynotKatniss says:

    Okay, so this has nothing to do with this post, but did you know that Suzanne Collins wrote for Clarissa Explains It All? She is now my hero and I want her to be my BFFE!

  28. cait0716 says:

    I couldn't pick a team while I was reading the books. I loved them both so much. Katniss has the history with Gale and they're so similar in so many ways (eldest child, lost father in mine explosion, breaking the law to provide for their families). But she went through some traumatic shit with Peeta and he's a genuinely good guy, too, who clearly cares about her deeply (witness his request to be friends, rather than pining away after her). I wouldn't want to be in her position.

  29. Warmouh says:

    Since I know how to post pictures, let me pic spam this message.

    Oh Katpiss, it really sucks for you. You deserve all the hugs. All the awkward bro hugs for you since that's all I'm really good at.

    <img src=""&gt;

    But OMG Pita-cakes, this is where I really started liking you. In all the gloom and doom you manage to be relatively upbeat and kind. I want my own pocket Peeta.
    <img src=""&gt;

    The part with Peeta and Katniss speech is excellent and the salute was intensely powerful. Sure, you'd always pissed with the Capitol, but this is the first time you just want to just want to say fuck you and throw a burning couch through a Capitol building window.

    <img src=""&gt;
    (Oh please let someone get this joke, I just finished this anime and must share my love of it with the world)

  30. Karen says:

    What on earth could District 11 need such security for? Why aren’t all the districts this heavily guarded? THIS IS SO DEEPLY FUCKED UP, GUYS. I mean…what the hell?
    Well, District 11 produces agriculture. We've see how important controlling the districts food is to maintaining the Capitol's power. When you're working so hard to stay alive, it's hard to put together an uprising. I mean, we saw that with Katniss. Before the Games she was all about hunting to stay alive, but she didn't really know what to do with herself once she had the freedom and wealth to not need to hunt. Time and freedom is dangerous for oppressive regimes.

    He takes a deep breath. “Look, Katniss, I’ve been wanting to talk to you about the way I acted on the train. I mean, the last train. The one that brought us home. I knew you had something with Gale. I was jealous of him before I even officially met you. And it wasn’t fair to hold you to anything that happened in the Games. I’m sorry.”
    The first moment I fell in love with Peeta was when he was up on the roof in the first book, talking about how he wanted to remain true to himself within the framework of the Capitol's Games. This was the second moment I fell in love with him. It takes a lot to apologize like that. And I love that he had the humilty to do so. And I love that he recognized that he was behaving a bit immaturely and he wants to make an actually effort to get to know and be friends with Katniss. TEAM PEETA FOREVER. And when I say that I don't mean it in a ~love triangle~ Who Will Katniss Choose? kind of way. I mean it in a in general. PEETA IS THE BEST ALWAYS kind of way. lol..

    And seeing how he's dealing with the Games through painting these horrific pictures. 🙁 The Games fuck you up. Peeta is creating physical representations of it, but both he and Katniss have been well and properly psychologically messed up by their experiences.

    Also, KATNISS IS THE BEST. I love her. I think she is an absolutely brilliant protagonist, and I love that a protagonist who is so well developed is a female. YA fiction needs more well developed female characters like Katniss and less Bella Swans. I love that even though she's not really a revolutionary (she really doesn't want to start a rebellion- she only care about keeping herself and her loved ones safe), she can't resist the impulsive urge to give the Capitol the metaphorical finger by displaying unity between the districts. Well done, Katniss. ILU, but you just created a major problem.

  31. Kate says:

    I couldn't really see how there was a Team Gale at this point…yes, he's in love with Katniss, but she's only ever seen him as a brother/father figure. It's hard to move on from that feeling, especially when there's not any hope for a future there anyway with the Capitol controlling her entire life.

  32. Vas says:

    Can I make a series recommendation? The Giver matches up so well with The Hunger Games, and there are 2 or 3 other books that are sort of sequels to it (set in the same world, but different villages).

    • bendemolena says:

      YES TO THE GIVER. Though personally I really didn't like the subsequent two. : They just.. didn't mesh with the first.

    • booksinbulk says:



    • Lindsay says:

      Omg yes! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who wants Mark to read The Giver, Gathering Blue, and The Messenger.

    • spectralbovine says:

      Whaaat, there were other books? I may or may not have read The Giver back in the day, but I really do need to read it to make sure. Classic YA dystopia!

      • Lindsay says:

        The other two are "Gathering Blue" and "The Messenger". I don't think they are as good as "The Giver" but I still enjoyed them.

    • Openattheclose says:

      YES TO THE GIVER. My favorite dystopian novel ever! I want Mark to read it so I have an excuse to go buy it.

  33. Karen says:

    I think it's the first display of how ruthless the Capitol can be in their pursuit of maintaining power. The Games are a huge structure to do so, but those death occur within a specific framework. This one was just sudden. A reminder that if you step out of line, you will be killed.

    • shortstack930 says:

      And the first public display of just how serious of a threat Katniss is to President Snow, that they don't even hesitate to murder the first person to show any sort of support for her.

  34. Flumehead says:

    What was shocking about this chapter was the death (or were the deaths) at the end. The deaths of the other tributes in the previous book, although not inconsequential, were to be expected. They had to die for Katpee to survive, whereas this innocent old man was killed in public for simply showing respect for them. It was quite disturbing how the Peacekeepers managed to act so quickly and so brutally.

    Mark, Mark … You are so, so not prepared. At all.

  35. Gembird says:

    It's basically the opposite of Twilight, where the love triangle involved two guys that nobody in their right mind would ever bother with.

    Actually, to be fair, this series is the opposite of Twilight in every possible way.

    • 1foxi says:

      I don't know, I find a lot of similiarities between Hunger Games and Twilight. The difference however is that HG doesn't suck.

      I do like Peeta and think he is adorable, and sweet to Katniss. They have been through so much together already, but I do feel for Gale. They are both great guys, but as of right now I am Team Gale.

      I can't wait to see how this whole thing turns out.

    • shortstack930 says:

      Yes and in Twilight both guys were like "OMG PICK ME PICK ME" while both Peeta and Gale are satisfied just being her friend and letting her choose her own life.

      • cait0716 says:

        I don't know that I'd call them satisfied. But they do seem to understand the importance of letting her come to her own decision about the whole thing.

  36. feanna says:

    M guess would be that (at least part of) the reason that District 11 is so heavily guarded is that they are the main food supply for Panem. This might include heavy measures (even more thatn "normal") to keep the population under control and also the need to keep people from the outside out and the food from being smuggled.

    • theanagrace says:

      Could also be related to the fact that they have tools, which could be used as weapons, in a pinch. All the myriad factors come together to say, 11 is not a happy place!

  37. Cally_Black says:

    I haven't posted any fanart in a while, so here:

    Not Better Just Different by julvett
    <img src=>

    Also, Mark you were not prepared and Peeta is wondeerful.

  38. Gembird says:



  39. Shanella says:

    I think the part with the old man was my favourite. I loved him and simply cried when he got shot. Even reading it again brings the familiar sting to the back of my eyes. *sniff* farewell old man.

    I have to say, I loved how Collins just gets right into the action of things. It definitely reminds me that I'm in an oppressive society where the government doesn't care about hiding how it deals with threats to itself.

  40. AccioUsername says:

    I'm really afraid of them taking it out on Peeta, Katniss, & Gale's families. Nothing good can come of this, obviously :/

    I didn't buy them, I'm reading them online along with mark. and have all three books. (:

  41. lebeaumonde says:

    The scene where the man gets killed for the whistle is literally the most fucked up thing in this book.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


    • DTDRC says:

      Actually I think the whistle was the sign to do the "last goodbye" to Katniss, and that's why he was killed. Still fucked up, but it was more an act of defiance to the capitol than of support for Katniss.

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        That's what I thought, too. Katniss mentioned that it was too perfect not to have been staged, so it's something they've probably been planning (and hiding from the authorities) for ages. The Capitol definitely knows the political situation in District 11 better than Katniss does, and they obviously perceived it as a threat.

  42. Dani says:

    I've liked Gale from the beginning, even in the first book where he hardly had any page time, and when it became obvious there was going to be a "love triangle" (for lack of a better term), I was/am Team Gale. I mean, I've always liked Peeta as well, but if I was in Katniss's place, I think I would choose Gale. 🙂 So you're not alone!

  43. FlameRaven says:

    I think my favorite thing about Katniss is how she basically can't do anything that doesn't piss the Capitol off. I mean really. EVERYTHING she does somehow manages to make things worse. And yet at the same time she manages to be totally oblivious of it. That is a very special skill and I think it's one of my favorite things- the way Katniss is at the center of all this madness and yet more or less unaware of her real effect. I'm pretty sure that's what Peeta meant in the first book "she has no idea the effect she can have." It's really not any physical beauty. But she inspires people. And she has no idea, which is a very realistic teenage thing. <3

    Also, this is probably the reason Katniss tends to shy away from heartfelt expressions of emotion. When she does, things go bad. D:

    • shortstack930 says:

      Excellent comment, I totally agree with you. Peeta wasn't telling her "omg you're so pretty" but rather that she has the ability to inspire people and people really admire her for it.

  44. 4and6forever says:

    Yes, Katniss. Peeta is a good choice. Look at your other options: a mean, ranty, strongly politically viewed and vocalized, violent, and really insensitive guy (Gale) or the Goat Man.

    • bibliotrek says:

      I don't ship Katniss/Gale, but seriously, how is Gale violent? And what's wrong with being "strongly politically viewed and vocalized"? It's not like he's trying to foment rebellions with his political views; he's just opposed to the Capitol's oppression. That's quite a good quality, in my books.

    • Ronnie_Soak says:

      Nah, the Goat Man has been reserved exclusively for Prim 😉



      Off topic comment is off topic (Sorry!)

    • Gabbie says:

      Personally, I'd choose the Goat Man. :$

      • Ronnie_Soak says:

        HAHAHA!!!! So you're partial to Eu de Goat then?
        Never been a fan of it myself, but even Goat Men need some lovin' ^_^

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      She's also got Haymitch. Never forget that.

  45. exbestfriend says:

    Just as a clarification on my part, when I say I'm Team Peeta, I'm not trying to hook him up with Katniss. I'm Team Peeta because I like his character the most. (If Haymitch wasn't a lousy drunk, I'd be Team Haymitch, but I don't even think Haymitch is Team Haymitch) Peeta is just a really good person and although Katniss made a very respectful and emotional statement, she only did so AFTER Peeta spoke out.
    I'm Team Peeta and I'll be Team Peeta even if Gale and Katniss wind up together and I will not allow their relationship to change what I feel about them.

  46. Robyn says:

    Welcome to the Team! I've been on Team Peeta all along ^^

  47. This chapter is them doing EVERYTHING ABSOLUTELY WRONG AND RIGHT AT THE SAME TIME. I wanted to diiiiie when I read this.

  48. Maddi says:

    I love how Collins makes us rethink Panem. We only get to see District 12 and the Capitol, so we assume that Katniss and her family have it as bad as you could possibly have it, and then we go to another District and find that it only gets worse. You're so unprepared for the level of suffering.

    • liliaeth says:

      I love that even though 12 is one of the poorest of the Districts, that that doesn't mean Collins is going to act as if Katniss has suffered the most of any other Tributes.She allows Katniss to realize at several moments, that her life might not be the worst thing imaginable.

  49. bendemolena says:


    But yeah I like Gale better than Peeta because of sexy man hands and also because I find Peeta just.. too nice. And kind of boring, cause being nice just sort of seems to be 'his thing'. (Though both of them have been written fairly thinly, in either boy's defense. \: ) She seems to have more a symbiotic relationship with Gale.

    Though for real, I reeeeeeeally wanted Katniss to just be like, 'Fuck all'a y'all,' and hook up with Madge, Cinna or NOBODY. Preferably nobody.

    • 1foxi says:

      But yeah I like Gale better than Peeta because of sexy man hands and also because I find Peeta just.. too nice.

      ^ THIS. Gale is a man, Peeta is just a nice boy.

      • Claire says:

        Strongly disagree. Peeta has made at least as many responsible adult choices/moves as Gale, who can barely keep from yelling anti-establishment things at the mayor's daughter.

        • bendemolena says:

          Peeta has had a relatively comfortable life compared to Gale, though. Sure he has to eat stale bread but he's never had to be the one to provide for his family and worry about who will and won't be fed tonight, has never lost a crucial family member the way Gale did. Before the Games, he hadn't felt the Capital's oppression and hold over their lives to the extent that Gale did/does. Gale was forced to become a man, whereas Peeta was generally allowed to remain a boy. I can never hold Gale's anger toward the Capital against him.

    • notemily says:


      that is all

    • Robin says:

      I also am Team Katniss. I wanted her to ride off into the sunset with her awesome asexy self.

  50. Hotaru-hime says:

    Shit gets serious fast.

  51. booksinbulk says:

    I've read these books a few times each now and never really gave much thought to a frightening and somewhat weird aspect of the games. If a 12 or 13 year old was chosen in the Reaping and somehow managed to win, even a 14 year old, they are still SUPER young and then technically become a mentor. What happens when the people chosen next year are two 18 year olds or something? It's a little strange to think about a 13 year old, even if they were a victor, trying to mentor and coach someone potentially 5 years older. Do you think the fact that they are a victor changes their perspective, forces them to mature, etc, so that they are able to somewhat coach the new tribute? Or are the psychological, social, emotional, mental limitations of their young minds still a factor? I guess we have to assume that any 12-14 year old victor is bad ass enough that any of those awkward, shy, timid moments and feelings young teens face are not factors?

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Yeah, I have no answer to that. Creepy!

    • Erin says:

      They may not be the only Victor in their district. District 12 only has Haymitch (and now Katniss & Peeta), but districts that win more regularly (like the Careers in 1 and 2) would have more than one victor to mentor new tributes, so a young kid wouldn't necessarily be mentoring on their own. Someone had to mentor them, right? Makes me wonder who mentored Haymitch. I guess he either didn't have a mentor or his mentor died… On the up side, District 12 now has 3 mentors.

      • booksinbulk says:

        Well that's part of my question. I know there are other mentors, but I'm basically wondering how much of a role they play. Take the Careers who win often…does that mean the tributes from districts 1,2 and 4 have like 50 mentors? Does the most recent victor play a more crucial role in being the new tributes mentors? I WANT TO KNOW IT ALL.

  52. ilram says:

    I love Peeta so much. He is so perfect.

    The Capitol truly is evil. Especially president Snow. :/

  53. paranoid android says:

    1. Thank you so much, Mark, for making me aware of this series!

    2. I just received my copy of "Mockingjay" in the mail and it's covered in STEPHENIE MEYER QUOTES all over EVEN ON THE SPINE ARRGGGHH DO NOT WANT

  54. Karen says:

    OT question, but could anyone tell me how to post images? I am fail and I can't figure out how to do it on this commenting system.

  55. Treasure Cat says:

    Katniss' clumsy-but-well-intentioned speech is all very nice, but I dont think it is nearly as great or awe inspiring as most of the comments are suggesting, or the reactions in the book make it out to be. But then again I have problems with Collins' motivation for many many things in these books, which is something else I put aside for the sake of the story.

    I can’t believe it took Katniss just one Victory Tour stop to mess up so righteously. And I have to state it as what it is: one of the most awesome displays of righteous bad-assery ever.
    Mark, what are you doing using the word righteous, stop it, you are not even a stereotypical surfer dude XD

    • exbestfriend says:

      My reason for enjoying the speech was that Katniss recognized how other people helped her and that shows a level of maturity that she did not have in THG. Other than that, she wasn't even going to say anything until Peeta spoke up and was actually AMAZING and AWE INSPIRING. Katniss just did the right thing, which is an improvement from last book. One of the things that I enjoy about these books is how Collins is not afraid to let her characters mature and grow from chapter to chapter or page to page. It's by far the most subtle undercurrent in the books, but that may be because she isn't writing conversations between Haymitch and Katniss explicitly stating how much Katniss is maturing and without Collins banging me over the head with it, I consider it to be subtle.

  56. jennywildcat says:

    I was so touched when Peeta offered part of their winnings to Rue and Thresh's families, but nothing – NOTHING, I SAY – got the waterworks going like Katniss talking to Rue's family about the arena. ESPECIALLY that Katniss sees Rue in Prim and vice versa (I have three younger sisters – one is a dead ringer for Prim, personality-wise – so that contributes to my inelegant blubbering over these two characters). When the old man whistles Rue's song and the people of District Eleven salute Katpee… I am a sucker for well-played emotion and this is one scene I want to have done well in a "Catching Fire" movie.

    So here I am, enjoying a sweet, emotional exchange between Katpee and the citizens of District 11. BUT THEN, Collins just HAS to go and do this to me:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Penguin Knockover">


  57. wheenona says:

    Ugh, that whole scene with the old man whistling and his execution.
    <img src=""&gt;

    • bendemolena says:

      I read that scene at WORK and after I did I had to pop into the back room for a few minutes because I was utterly useless. 8C

  58. Celina says:

    I had to re-read the last sentence in this chapter so many times. I couldn't believe it. I mean, it fits right in with the type of government and the plotline, but I was SO NOT PREPARED for it.

    I really loved this chapter, though. I thought Katniss got a lot more likeable and Peeta broke my heart in ever single way.

    And I second the MOAR HAYMITCH.

    Mark, you should do one-off reviews of well-known books. Like where you review the entire thing. And you should put up a suggested reading list because I'm ALWAYS looking for new books. (:

  59. theanagrace says:

    Shit is realer than 3D-HD-in-SMELLOVISION! We could not be prepared even if we were boy scouts!

    Speaking of boy scouts, I remember from girl guides, and from scouts (my whole family was in guiding and scouting for years) there's a song that we would sing at the end of the day on camps. It has a four-note section that I imagine is what Rue used for her end of day tune. The words that go with the notes are "grant us our sleep" I think, and the four notes would be A F G C (C being middle C and the other notes above it, so A down to F up to G down to C, for anyone who wants to go hear it). It's a little bit melancholy, and makes me sad to think of it. Gah, my imagination wants to make me cry!

  60. Leesh says:


  61. Kripa says:

    Bah, forget Team Gale AND Team Peeta. Why not be Team PeeGale? HawtPee? PeeThorne?

    • cait0716 says:

      HawtPee sounds like an unfortunate STD side effect. Peeta really just has an unfortunate name as far as this name combination thing goes.

      • 1foxi says:

        Nearly all the names in this book are tragic.

        • liliaeth says:

          It could be just me, but I think Collins hates those cutesy ship names and wanted to stop them from the start by giving one of the main chars a name that just can't be used to form one of those.

  62. exbestfriend says:

    I think I remember that too, but who knows where I read it or if I'm imagining it since you said something. I just get so nervous about that kind of stuff. This has nothing to do with what you've said, but, there are a number of things people say that makes me think "Oooh, spoilers." but if I were to say anything, it would just drag attention to it. But what I'm trying to say is, I don't want to be *that* person, so I'm going the zero disclosure route.

    Also, the little rain drop that rolls off of Ten's nose may be the saddest rain drop in the world 🙁

  63. SusanBones says:

    I loved Peeta in this chapter. His apology is perfect. I really like the way he handles his nightmares by painting them. And I like that Katniss was honest and said that she hated the paintings. This exchange also reminds us that these two people are the only ones who can really understand what it was like to be in the games. They have something in common that Gale or any other person will never understand.

    And it was totally unexpected for Peeta to give his winnings away to those two families. I wonder if the Capital will really let that happen.

    I liked seeing what District 11 was like. The uprising is interesting. I guess that District 12 is very different in it's complacency.

  64. spectralbovine says:

    We were seriously never, ever prepared for where Collins takes this story.

    Now I don't remember what happens at the end of this chapter, so I will keep reading.

    Can things get worse? MOST CERTAINLY.
    That is always the answer, Mark. Always.

    Oh my god Peeta WHAT ARE YOU DOING. This is so noble and amazing and I’m seriously going to become Team Peeta but ISN’T THIS LIKE THE WORST THING FOR YOU TO DO TO THE CAPITOL? Oh my god, Katniss was worrying about upsetting President Snow and PEETA UPSTAGES HER.

    Katniss just displayed that her emotional range for sympathy and empathy is far greater than we had judged her for. This is simply fantastic. Really dumb and is going to end badly, but easily the best thing she has ever said.
    Yeah, it's a really lovely moment. About to be followed by an even more tear-inducing moment. AND THEN SHIT GETS FUCKED UP BECAUSE WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.

    You know what’s so frightening about this? The fact that the effects of Katniss’s speech are felt so immediately. How did they get the order to do this so quickly? Who else is going to get shot? Oh my fucking god, this is so goddamn awful. FUCK.
    Collins really creates a scary fucking dystopia. I love it.

  65. notemily says:

    The creepiest part of this chapter, besides the obvious GUY BEING SHOT thing, is a little line I barely noticed the first time around. When Katniss is being de-haired by the prep team, she thinks back to the Games: "Not one of the boys grew a beard, and many were old enough to. I wonder what they did to them."

    This creeps me the fuck out. Because first of all, WHY would the Capitol stop the boys from growing beards while in the arena? I mean, it's the HUNGER Games, and having some scruff on your face just adds to the image of living in the wild, right? So unless beards are REALLY out of fashion in the Capitol, the only reason I can think of is that they wanted to make them look more like CHILDREN. Which is FUCKED UP. jkklfdf;jfsdjkldaflk

    And second of all, what DID they do to them?? Permanent hair removal? Can they never grow a beard now? Or did it wear off after a while? KATNISS PLEASE ASK PEETA THIS, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW. YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU ARE DONE TRYING TO SAVE THE LIVES OF EVERYONE YOU LOVE AND STUFF

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Yeah, that bit always bothered me. I assumed Peeta was allowed to grow a beard again (if he could, since some 16 year olds don't yet – once again emphasizing the point that these are children ) after he left the arena, like Katniss could with her leg hair.

      On a related note, I always imagined Haymitch as having some scruff. Don't remember if there is any canonical support for this, but that's how my brain pictures him. Which means either the Victors are eventually allowed to have facial hair or that back in the 50th Hunger games facial hair was in style and they didn't alter them in that way.

      • notemily says:

        Oh, that's a good point, I always picture Haymitch with a few days of stubble as well.

        (Can I just say how much I love that Katniss likes her leg hair. How refreshing is that? Most teenagers these days are like "ew hair groooosss" so to have that in a young adult novel is great.)

      • notemily says:

        Also, the idea that maybe facial hair was in style 25 years ago reminds me of Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps. Because I'm weird.

  66. Treesa says:

    I got all teary-eyed just reading this review, so you can guess I was a complete mess when I read this part in the book for the first time. And just when I thought I was getting used to Collins' infamous omg-last-line-of-the-chapter bit, she had to pull that one off and I remember literally GASPING. That's gonna be quite a scene if Catching Fire will be made into a movie as well.

    I already liked Peeta in the first book but my love for him was solidified in this book. We get so wrapped up in Katniss' thoughts, obviously, so we can't know what is going on in Peeta's head. I have to forget that at this point Peeta doesn't know a damn thing about the trouble that him and Katniss are in. He's doing and saying these things because he's just that kind of guy. I love the fact that Peeta really didn't have much to do with Thresh and Rue, but he knows how integral they were in keeping Katniss alive so I think he feels very grateful to them.

  67. Kadi says:

    You know what’s so frightening about this? The fact that the effects of Katniss’s speech are felt so immediately. How did they get the order to do this so quickly?

    I have the feeling that President Snow is watching their appearances really, really closely. Or delegating someone else to do so. I would guess he gave specific orders on what to do at the least hint of uprising.

  68. notemily says:

    Ohhh dude that's interesting. So the workers of D11 are the slaves? That makes sense since as a slave you could have horrible things done to you if you spoke out against your masters in any way. 🙁

  69. Tabbyclaw says:

    You know what’s so frightening about this? The fact that the effects of Katniss’s speech are felt so immediately. How did they get the order to do this so quickly?

    I find this comment slightly strange, as I don't think there'd have to be a specific order. "If someone Starts Something that looks like it's uniting the people in some kind of protest, shoot him in the head in public" sounds like SOP for your average oppressive government.

  70. tethysdust says:

    See, this right here is why Pres. Snow's plan was not a very good one. He REALLY should not have let the security of his rule depend on the acting abilities and forethought of a traumatized, short-sighted teenager. I'm really hoping that was not the whole plan, or I'm starting to have a hard time believing Panem could have lasted for 74 years.

    I liked Katniss' improv speech. She STILL can't think of Rue in any terms except 'like my sister, Prim', but I guess she never did get to know her very well. Poor Rue :(.

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Yeah, they didn't really have much time together. But Prim also reminds Katniss of Rue, when they were interviewing her and she looked like she was going to take flight. So it's a two-way street kind of thing. And very tragic.

  71. Kelly L. says:


    Also: this made me cry. The speeches, the crowd's reaction, the fact that the whole thing just kind of blew up. It makes my heart hurt.

  72. ReptarLives says:

    This might have been said before (I haven't read the comments), I think District 11 can allude to the "old South". Think about it- agriculture being it's only resource, abuse at the hands of the guards, having to produce the food, but not being allowed to have it themselves, all genders and ages forced to work, constant surveillance, the fact that the workers outnumber the guards, dismal housing. Since the only families to be described are Rue's and Thresh's, we don't know if it is connected to race or not. But I think it's Collins way of saying that we never escape history and it's bound to repeat. I mean, the Games themselves (which has been pointed out numerous times) are reminiscent of gladiators.
    *end of Brain Fart*

  73. Newbia says:

    "One of the few freedoms we have in District 12 is the right to marry who we want or not marry at all."

    Was I the only one who thought, "Yeah, fuck you, Prop 8!" when I read this?

  74. Mauve_Avenger says:

    Horribly jaded as I am, my first thought on reading Peeta's apology was that he's probably turning into the Nice Guy(TM). Which admittedly would be a very interesting place to take this narrative, as long as it's dealt with in the right way.

  75. blessthechildren says:

    My soul needs a bandaid right now – it's bleeding. :(….
    IN the Holocaust, the elderly were some of the first to die because they were weak targets and cost too much. I just came from a Holocaust Museum, and so this is where my bruised soul is dwelling right now. I hope Rue's and Thresh's families are okay.

  76. trash_addict says:

    THIS IS SO MATURE. WHAT IS HAPPENING. WHY DOES EVERYTHING FEEL OK ALL OF A SUDDEN. Oh, this isn’t good, I thought to myself. Collins is clearly setting everything up for disaster.

    Collins never lets us have nice things 🙁 Well, for more than a moment, anyway.

  77. Alice says:

    I am a sap, but Peeta and especially Katniss's speech makes me tear up every time. It's so perfect.

  78. lisra says:

    This was very.. touching.. to read, this chapter. Thanks Mark for those reviews, because I can read them after I finished a chapter and get a bit away from the utter terribleness that is happening. ho boy, how will this end..

  79. annabanna says:

    hye guys do any of you know were i can read catching fire on the internet ??

  80. celeste says:

    one stop it takes to FUCK ALL THE SHIT UP.

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