Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 18

In the eighteenth chapter of The Hunger Games, everything is fucked up and awful. This is supposed to be a YA book??? COLOR ME SURPRISED. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.

I sort of want to take back my prediction about Rue. I don’t want this true anymore.

This chapter is some of Collins’s best writing and exists as justification for why the book was written in the narration style she chose. The urgency makes more sense than ever, as we’re left to experience the heartbreak and trauma as it unfolds.

The boy from District 1 dies before he can pull out the spear. My arrow drives deeply into the center of his neck. He falls to his knees and halves the brief remainder of his life by yanking out the arrow and drowning in his own blood. I’m reloaded, shifting my aim from side to side, while I shout at Rue, “Are there more? Are there more?”

Just…it’s matter-of-fact. It’s just the reality of this now. Katniss has now killed three people and she didn’t even hesitate with this boy. He’s dead just seconds after the arrow enters her neck.

Shit is so goddamn real, guys.

Rue has rolled to her side, her body curved in and around the spear. I shove the boy away from her and pull out my knife, freeing her from the net. One look at the wound and I know it’s far beyond my capacity to heal. Beyond anyone’s probably. The spearhead is buried up to the shaft in her stomach. I crouch before her, staring helplessly at the embedded weapon. There’s no point in comforting words, in telling her she’ll be all right. She’s no fool.

Wow, this is seriously awful. I am not very attached to anyone in this book at this point, but Rue is about to die. And I kind of feel horrible about it? Not gonna lie, this is legitimately sad to me.

“You have to win,” she says.

“I’m going to. Going to win for both of us now,” I promise. I hear a cannon and look up. It must be for the boy from District 1.


“Sing,” she says, but I barely catch the word.

Oh…could you not? Like…oh, this is going to be awkward. Is this kind of over-the-top cheesy? I mean…I know if fits. Music means a lot to Rue and Katniss. (Music reminds Katniss of her father.)

I get it and I get why Collins put it here. I imagine to some people this is gut-wrenching and I don’t blame them, but it’s just a bit too much for me. THIS IS JUST A PERSONAL PREFERENCE, I DO NOT BLAME COLLINS FOR THIS.

Though, the final lines of the song are pretty damning.

Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true

Here is the place where I love you

Ok, that is a pretty heavy. I just have a cold, empty heart for this kind of stuff. But I realize what Rue means to Katniss, how she represents Prim and how she also represents trusting, loving innocence. And it’s gone.

Heavy metaphor, sure, but I appreciate it just the same.

For a moment, I sit there, watching my tears drip down on her face. Rue’s cannon fires. I lean forward and press my lips against her temple. Slowly, as if not to wake her, I lay her head back on the ground and release her hand.

Yeah, ok, this is really goddamn sad. If I had any tears left after reading Harry Potter, I might have shed a tear here. BUT I DIDN’T BECAUSE J.K. ROWLING STOLE ALL MY SAD.


I can’t stop looking at Rue, smaller than ever, a baby animal curled up in a nest of netting. I can’t bring myself to leave her like this. Past harm, but seeming utterly defenseless. To hate the boy from District 1, who also appears so vulnerable in death, seems inadequate. It’s the Capitol I hate, for doing this to all of us.

You know, I hate them too. Like a seething, bitter hatred. I don’t even care about Katniss that much and I hate them for exposing her all the other Tributes to this bullshit.

It’s this moment that Katniss has a revelation: Peeta’s statement on the roof of the Training Center finally make sense. Katniss is owned by the Capitol. She murdered three people and just watched a twelve-year-old girl die in front of her, ostensibly because of her. The only act left, the only form of rebellion that makes sense, is to show that they aren’t completely owned by the Games.

A few steps into the woods grows a bank of wildflowers. Perhaps they are really weeds of some sort, but they have blossoms in beautiful shades of violet and yellow and white. I gather up an armful and come back to Rue’s side. Slowly, one stem at a time, I decorate her body in flowers. Covering the ugly wound. Wreathing her face. Weaving her hair with bright colors

They’ll have to show it. Or even if they choose to turn the cameras elsewhere at this moment, they’ll have to bring them back when they collect the bodies and everyone will see her then and know I did it. I step back and take a last look at Rue. She could really be asleep in that meadow after all.

Goodbye, Rue. You were probably the most interesting character of the bunch and your time was too short. I’m gonna miss you.

I’ve no idea where to go. The brief sense of home I had that one night with Rue has vanished. My feet wander this way and that until sunset. I’m not afraid, not even watchful. Which makes me an easy target. Except I’d kill anyone I met on sight. Without emotion or the slightest tremor in my hands.

Well, this is scary turn of events. Has Katniss come unhinged? The thing is that she’s been built up as this dependable, focused individual and Rue’s death has now caused her to become…well, empty.

It doesn’t help when Katniss appears to get Rue’s gift from her sponsor, which arrived too late. LIKE SERIOUSLY GUYS, WAY TO RUB IT IN HER FACE. But Katniss does regain her composure to begin to do anything she can to subvert the Games:

I lift my face and step into the falling rays of sunlight. “My thanks to the people of District Eleven,” I say. I want them to know I know where it came from. That the full value of their gift has been recognized.

Definitely my favorite part of this chapter. Sure, it’s tiny, but it’s a gesture that’s so outright defiant of what these games are meant to do: homogenize and dehumanize. Sure, Katniss has the emotional depth of a spoon, but she’s not dense.

There are only six tributes left. Holy shit.

Heaviness infuses my whole body, as if there’s liquid lead in my veins. I’ve lost the will to do the simplest tasks, to do anything but lie here, staring unblinkingly through the canopy of leaves. For several hours, I remain motionless. As usual, it’s the thought of Prim’s anxious face as she watches me on the screens back home that breaks me from my lethargy.

I blame this lethargy on a combination of shock and depression. I remember how lethargic and unmotivated I used to be back when I suffered from depression and this is strangely reminiscent of those moments. But Prim (and Rue, in a way) help Katniss get out of her tree, pack up and consolidate, and figure out what on earth she’s supposed to do.

I can’t answer that question or any of the others that Katniss has. What exactly do you do after all this? Where is everyone? Are they coming after her to exact revenge?

I really think I stand a chance of doing it now. Winning. It’s not just having the arrows or outsmarting the Careers a few times, although those things help. Something happened when I was holding Rue’s hand, watching the life drain out of her. Now I am determined avenge her, to make her loss unforgettable, and I can only do that by winning and thereby making myself unforgettable.

Calling it: Katniss is going to kill Peeta. I mean, she has to, right? This will be her justification and I imagine the guilt of it will carry over to the next book.

But I’m surprised by how quickly the guilt wells up in her over what she’s done so far.

I hear Gale saying, “How different can it be, really?”

Amazingly similar in execution. A bow pulled, an arrow shot. Entirely different in the aftermath. I killed a boy whose name I don’t even know. Somewhere his family is weeping for him. His friends call for my blood. Maybe he had a girlfriend who really believed he would come back….

I think this guilt will also extend to the rest of the series. (Which, by the way, I was thinking…there’s no way the next two books will features Katniss playing the Hunger Games, right? Don’t answer that.) Katniss is going to have to come to terms with what she’s done so far and I imagine that there’s only worse shit to come.

And yet…Collins still manages to surprise me. Trumpets sound in the arena, which is rare, but it means that the Gamemakers are going to make an announcement to all remaining Tributes. Katniss says this is usually reserved for an announcement of a feast to goad those still alive into one area for the final battle, but hey, guess what? Not at all what happens here.

Claudius Templesmith’s voice booms down from overheard, congratulating the six of us who remain. But he is not inviting us to a feast. He’s saying something very confusing. There’s been a rule change in the Games. A rule change! That in itself is mind bending since we don’t really have any rules to speak of except don’t step off your circle for sixty seconds and the unspoken rule about not eating one another.

My prediction, when I read this, was that the Gamemakers would institute a time limit on the Game in an attempt to speed things up. Oh, how wrong I was.

Under the new rule, both tributes from the same district will be declared winners if they are the last two alive. Claudius pauses, as if he knows we’re not getting it, and repeats the change again.

The news sinks in. Two tributes can win this year. If they’re from the same district. Both can live. Both of us can live.

Before I can stop myself, I call out Peeta’s name.

Well, holy shit, Suzanne Collins. So now Peeta is (probably) going to survive??? Since Katniss obviously has to win, now there’s the chance for Peeta to as well? OH, GALE IS GONNA BE SO JEALOUS.

It’s a neat twist. I dig it so far. But…there is still the chance that Peeta is going to die.

I see that we’ve now made it to Part III. “The Victor.” Holy shit, we’re almost to the end!

About Mark Oshiro

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

333 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 18

  1. thefbm says:

    [youtube Z_jw3z68TW0 youtube]

    Okay now reading review.

    • CINNAmon says:

      I thought this vid is very well made, but it irks me that Rue is blond and fair, when she's supposed to be black. And how Glimmer is still alive at this point, because she died in the tracker jacker chapter. But then again, I might be nitpicking…

      • thefbm says:

        Actually I think that's suppose to be the tribute from 2, to be honest. I know Rue isn't suppose to be blond and fair, but she made me believe she's Rue, and that is all I need.

        • leenwitit says:

          It's definitely Glimmer, they name her in the credits. That whole beginning scene is a little weird, since it isn't based on anything that happens in the book and she looks nothing like her description.

        • Roxie says:

          I need Rue to be black.

          • theffectshecanhave says:

            i really think they'll white-wash this movie.
            but i really hope they don't.
            and rue doesn't necessarily have to be black.
            she could be native american/indian/asian (maybe?)
            they say she has dark velvety skin or something like that.
            but they don't say black.
            i personally like alana locke. <3

      • leenwitit says:

        They do acknowledge in the video description that Rue does not match the description in the book, but they wanted to showcase the skills of that particular actress who they think would be good as Prim. It wasn't really made to be a tribute to the Hunger Games ("tribute" now sounds weird in this context), but to show off these particular people's mad acting skillz.

        Also, if we are nitpicking, Katniss's braid should so not be that long because most of it was already burned off, and she is supposed to cover the wound in flowers which she does not. But I am a nitpicker 😛

      • MowerOfLorn says:

        I agree its a bit irking when they change the race of a character, but it honestly doesn't bother me as long as the actor/actress is competent enough to pull off the part (unlike a certain 'Last Airbender' movie I could mention…). I really think that Rue's actress was brilliant there, along with Katniss'.

        Actually, the whole video was well-done. Good job to the creators!

      • corporatecake says:

        I also found it extremely distracting that Rue wasn't black, but considering that this is made my amateurs who may or may not know a black girl of the right age who would be interested in doing this, whereas a studio production has no such limitations.

        BUT, if it makes people feel better, Collins did write the script for the movie and I think that she's going to be a producer, so she will definitely have more say in who gets cast, and hopefully would be able to put her foot down on blonde hair, blue eyed, white girl Rue.

        • exbestfriend says:

          Actually all the people involved are professionals, they just did this for free in their spare time.

        • Roxie says:

          here's hoping!
          That's one thing I liked about the Twilight movies. They inserted more people of color and made sure the wolfpack was actually played by Native Americans. So you know, it can be done.

          • corporatecake says:

            I hadn't actually thought about that. Though it would have been nice if Jacob actually were Native American, rather than a white kid with bronzer. :[

            I resolved after Jacob Black/Avatar the Last Airbender/every other damned white washed movie out there, that if I ever write a bestselling book with characters of color and studios come knocking for the movie rights, I'm making it a provision that the minority characters have to have actors cast in the appropriate ethnicity. Like how JKR made the people making HP use British actors.

            • grlgoddess says:

              Actually, I'm pretty sure that Sharkboy is part Native, so it isn't a complete whitewash.

              • drippingmercury says:

                He says he's primarily German, French, and Dutch with "distant" Native American heritage. It doesn't sound like he identifies too strongly as Native American, which is pretty different from someone raised in a Native community.

    • Andrew says:

      I've been waiting so long to post this! Brilliant.
      All the love <3

    • Warsongraven says:

      That was heartwrenching, but also beautiful. I am crying and I can't stop. T_T

    • This seriously had me in tears. Ugh I can't even type about it because it's making me tear up again

    • theupsides says:

      I cry every time I watch this.

    • Katrina says:

      …….. Is Rue's mockingjay tune the Power Rangers theme??

    • RuhBecks says:

      I've read "The Hunger Games" several times and have never cried reading it…

      But yeah. I saw this video a little while ago and BAWLED MY EYES OUT. I DON'T cry watching movies, reading books, or generally at anything media related so it was really strange for me. I think it's because the girl in this reminds me a lot of my little sister.

    • erin says:

      I watched this two days ago, and just started bawling. Then I watched it again, thinking I'd be okay now that I knew what was coming… and started bawling again. :'(

    • Moonie says:

      My English teacher actually told me to watch this, very glad I did. So well done. Their Rue is good, but daaaamn Katniss is AMAZING.

    • RaeLynn says:

      wowwww that actually made me cry! and I didn't even get an ounce of emotion from the book… For me, with books, it's usually the opposite.

    • RaeLynn says:

      AND, I think that girl needs to play Katniss… she looks perfect for the part and she's great at acting (although, I kinda pictured Katniss less attractive)

  2. CINNAmon says:

    Hey guys! I'm a long time Hunger Games fan, but I'm new to this site. This is so awesome!! I can't wait to re-read Catching Fire with you guys!

    Look at this fanart of Rue & Katniss T_T

    Anyway, for your own sake (because some people actually do this), DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT read the summary on the cover of the other two books.

    Have fun with the rest of the series!

  3. potlid007 says:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    I dunno…the whole two survivors thing seems too convenient to be legit. I call bullshit on the Gamemakers.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    Seriously, get strangled by NAthan Fillion Capitol. kthxbye

  4. Shanella says:

    I cried when reading this chapter. SO FULL OF SADNESS!
    At this point I had given up all hope for Peeta, but, I was glad for this little twist. Somewhere in the back of my head I thought they both had to win but didn't know how that would work out. This part brought me a bit of joy.

    Go District 12.

    So about 10 days have past and only 6 out of 24 tributes left. Collins makes no jokes in killing off her characters. It's at this point that I appreciate the anonymity of the other players.

    • Andrew says:

      If we knew anything about them I would just be a big bawling wreck every time I read a bit more of the story.

      • paulineparadise says:

        this. I wouldn't be able to handle it. That's why I won't read any 'backstory' fanfiction – it'll make it even more sad.

      • TyBlack says:

        This is what is gonna make the movie the saddest thing ever cause you know they are gonna have to give them at least a little backstory.

  5. Andrew says:

    This chapter is my favourite of the trilogy. It's just so brilliant and intense.

    Also, I was thinking yesterday "What Would Katniss Do?" I believe the answer is "Put a fucking arrow in your neck"

  6. Pan says:

    I wasn't touched by this. At all. I really tried, I knew that I was supposed to be sad, that it was a tragic death and so on and so on – but it didn't work. Partially, because it was clear from the beginning, that all the other tributes (except Katniss) are going to die, so it was … pointless? not rational? to get attached to any of them. But mainly, I feel betrayed. Rue was introduced as the cute girl, that couldn't harm anyone – but scored a seven in training. A SEVEN. How did she do this? How did she even survive, before she met Katniss? What was her secret talent? Apparently, there was none, because she died just as harmless as she lived.
    But then, the scene with the bread got me. It portrayed the suffering and the hate towards the Capitol of the poor Districts better than anything that happened on the 200 pages before. It was the first scene, that caused any emotions. (Apart from "Oh, I'm sorry that this guy is gone…")

    Different topic now:

    Please Collins, don't let this happen and make all but one die.

  7. Openattheclose says:

    I love that the people of District 11 give Katniss the bread that was meant for Rue. The Capitol uses the Games to keep the Districts fearful and to keep them from trusting other Districts. They're not allowed to leave their own District, so pretty much the only impression they have of the others is watching the children from other Districts kill their children. I love that the Games actually brought them together this time.

    Rue 🙁

    <img src=>

  8. tethysdust says:

    Oh Rue, we barely knew you. That was pretty sad. The singing part was a bit too cheesy for me too, though. I feel like it would have been more effective if that song had been mentioned before. For instance, she could have flashed back early in the book to singing that song to Prim, when she was 11 and thought they both were going to starve. Anyhow, it's very sad Rue is dead. I liked her more than the other characters :/.

    I can't help thinking, that twist is so unfair. I mean, not like the games are particularly fair to begin with, but now it will be two teams of two fighting the remaining two stragglers (Foxface andd Thresh). They don't stand a chance! I guess they never did, really, since they aren't the protagonists. So now we have Peeta, Katniss, Cato, Thresh, Foxface and an unnamed girl remaining. I'm guessing Ms. Nondescript is probably going to go next.

    • fizzybomb says:

      She's not completely nondescript; we've met her before, at the start of the games. She's the one who threw a knife into the back of that guy and made him cough blood into Katniss's face.

      • tethysdust says:

        Oh, that was her? I didn't realize that somehow, thanks :). I'll refer to her as knife-thrower in my head then!

  9. Ida says:

    This chapter hit me hard. It's just a book, but my anger at the Capitol…. Blood. Is. Boiling. Umbridge. Style.

    Rue's story ended to fast. She had five younger siblings that she helped take care of for Bobs sake!:( Ugh… At this point I was ready to step into the book and kick some Capitol ass.

  10. vaporeon13204 says:

    Rue's death is just so sad. ='( Quite a chapter though. That twist at the end caught me off guard. o.o Can't wait to see what happens!

  11. Karen says:

    Before I can stop myself, I call out Peeta’s name.
    Don't feel bad, Katniss because I DID THE SAME THING. Peeeeta!!!!!! Now that I've gotten my creepy fangirling out of the way… on to the meat of the chapter.

    It doesn’t help when Katniss appears to get Rue’s gift from her sponsor, which arrived too late.
    I read that section as indicating that the bread was actually intended for Katniss. I mean, maybe it would have gone to Rue if she had lived, but she died before they could send it, so they used their money to give the bread to Katniss. Going against everything that the games are supposed to be about (turning the districts against each other), Katniss formed a bond with Rue. They talked about their home districts. They exchanged information and when Rue died, Katniss showed her respect and honored her. The people of District 11 gave the bread to Katniss in recognition of that.

    It’s this moment that Katniss has a revelation: Peeta’s statement on the roof of the Training Center finally make sense. Katniss is owned by the Capitol. She murdered three people and just watched a twelve-year-old girl die in front of her, ostensibly because of her. The only act left, the only form of rebellion that makes sense, is to show that they aren’t completely owned by the Games.
    YES. This is the heart of the matter. And it's one of the themes of the book that I love the most. When you're in this oppressive society and everything seems hopeless and you feel like you have no power, the only thing that is left to you is your mind- your essential self. The Games try to take that away from you by turning you against other oppressed people. They try to turn you into a murderer and to see your fellow tributes as the enemy. But if you remember who the real enemy is- The Capitol, then maybe you can retain your essential self and maybe you can find little ways to rebel.

    P.S. I got my 14 year old cousin reading these books. She finished the first two and she loved them. I am going to take this opportunity to be the obnoxious older cousin who studied English to work on critical literary analysis with her by talking with her about these books. I AM COOL, OK? IT'LL BE GOOD FOR HER.

  12. Person says:

    I loved Rue and cried during this chapter! Rue is still my favorite character from THG. There are some good versions of the song on youtube, normally called Rue's Lullaby. Some are terrible though.

  13. Stephalopolis says:

    Oh Rue. We only knew you for a short time, but I really found myself loving you. Even more so after your “funeral”. Why do the things we love always get stabbed? Rue…Dobby…Two can survive… Dun dun dunnn. How will this play out? We’ve only got two pairs left and a few oddballs.

    • Oh man, you just had to bring Dobby into this

    • Openattheclose says:

      "Rue…Dobby…Two can survive…"

      At first I read this as some sort of death match between Rue and Dobby, and I was all sad, because I couldn't possibly watch one of those two kill the other. Then I read the whole thing over again and felt silly.

      Seriously though, I would so want Dobby to win. Sorry Rue.

    • exbestfriend says:

      Why DO the things we love always get stabbed? This is the literary question of the year.

      Also let us be real, Dobby would have killed Rue and made Harry a sandwich before the wall of fire thing even happened, possibly before the 60 second wait period was over since he can apparate without being held to normal wizard rules.

    • andreah1234 says:

      I totally LOL at this. And then I remember how sad it was 🙁

  14. xghostproof says:

    This chapter, just…man. I was so sad and frustrated throughout this chapter, because Rue seriously grows on you. I mean, I shouldn't have been expecting some "everybody awesome lives" ending, but I really wanted Rue to live. At least the end of the chapter puts a tiny pinch of hope back into the Games, right? I may have been so happy I fist-pumped. Thankfully, no one was around to see that display.

  15. monkeybutter says:

    I never expected Rue to die so soon, or for the Capitol to give both Katniss and Peeta a way out before the very end, so this chapter was a bit of a shock, followed by a sense of oh god, what can go wrong now. I thought Rue would die in some tragic final bloodbath. Oops. I'm torn between liking the fast pace of the story and wishing that Collins spent more time on the side characters, because I wanted more about Rue. Ah well, I still really like the mix of mournful and suspenseful in this chapter.

    • Kate Monster says:

      No, I felt the same. I was like, "But….but…they JUST became friends!" but at the same time, I think I kind appreciate how quickly happens, because at least I didn't have the whole rest of the book to form an attachment to Rue. I think if she had been given any more than 3-4 chapters, I would have been even more devastated…

  16. As serious as this chapter is (punctuated by the video up at the top of the page) when you called Katniss out for having the emotional range of a spoon, all I thought of was Hermione screaming that at Ron.

  17. Beth says:

    I call bullshit. The Gamemakers have been shown to be strategically brilliant and total assholes. I just can’t see them letting two win.

    • DameDallas says:

      Interesting theory. You think they are just teasing and are going to want a final betraying bloodbath at the end?

      • jennreyn says:

        So if I’m reading the chart right, Districts 2 and 12 are the only ones with both tributes left, right? So if the rule applies it can only apply to Cato and the girl or Peeta and Katniss.

        I feel like it wouldn’t be introduced if it wasn’t going to happen, in which case I feel like it’s a little bit of a contrived way for Collins not to have to kill Peeta… either that or Cato/district 2 girl will kill him and Katniss will go apeshit and kill both of them.

        And does anyone else think that the “don’t eat the tributes” rule isn’t even because the capitol has some decency (THEY OBVIOUSLY DON’T) but rather them not wanting any of the non-careers to ever have a filling meal?

        • Randomcheeses says:

          Or because it's just too disgusting to show on tv, even for them? They don't want to freak out their precious capital citizens, after all (who, it's been shown, are shockingly naive in some ways.)

        • corporatecake says:

          The taboo against cannibalism is one of those deep-seeded, primal taboos. It's not surprising that that's where the Capitol draws the line when it comes to decency. People overcome their reluctance to kill all the time, but to eat people? That's a line that's much harder to cross.

        • notemily says:

          I thought it was because they didn't want people to not want to watch the games. I mean, everyone is supposed to watch, but there are some things that aren't "entertaining".

          • Kate Monster says:

            Yes, I think this rule was instituted to keep people watching. Especially given the "star-crossed lovers" plot line that Haymitch and Peeta constructed. I think it's mentioned in an earlier chapter that this has given the citizens of the Capitol a renewed interest in the Games, no?

            On an incredibly depressing side note, I originally typed "I think this Rue was instituted". D:

        • Hieronymus Graubart says:

          Since the rule about not eating one another is "unspoken" I wonder if it was even set up by the capitol or if it is an unspoken agreement of the victims to keep a rest of their dignity.

          But I'm not reading the book, so I may be imagining things.

    • Exactly. If they're cruel enough to let 12 year olds die for their entertainment, they're not above changing the rules to get someone's hopes up only to take it away from them right at the end.

    • Steeple says:

      When I saw the rule change, I had two thoughts: "COPOUT" and "Oh shit this is a setup for the Capital to fuck them over even more. Somehow."

      Although even as things stand, I'm sure the action will escalate as Cato and the D2 girl will be targeting Katniss and Peeta. The Capital made those targets a bit bigger and, who knows, maybe Foxface will take advantage of this district v district grudge match to stay safe or pick them off.

      I need to stop reading Liar Game orz

  18. theupsides says:

    This chapter is so tragic, but I like it for what it does for Katniss. Rue's death is a catalyst for her. She has a renewed sense of purpose and determination. It's awful that Rue had to die in order for Katniss to realize who her real enemy is, but I'm glad she's getting there. I really like how she remembers what Peeta said to her on the roof that night, and that she's finally starting to understand. We might have a real rebel on our hands now!

  19. pennylane27 says:

    Katniss has the emotional depth of a spoon
    Is that a Harry Potter reference? 😀

    Ok, so this chapter. Horrible death, I know that she had to die, but please Collins, give her a less painful death. She was so little! Really traumatising stuff right there for Katniss. The singing didn't bother me that much, but then again, I didn't pay much attention to it because of the horror. Rereading it I guess it is kind of cheesy, I don't know.

    Oh, and I appreciate Katniss acknowledging that she has now killed three people, but that it's ultimately the Capitol who is to blame. I REALLY HATE THEM.


    • andreah1234 says:

      "Is that a Harry Potter reference?"
      Why yes, I think it was. Mark is making random Harry Potter references to things that have no relation to it what-so-ever, HE IS ONE OF US NOW MUAHAHHAHAHAHA *evil laughter*

      MOAR Peeta is always good *nods* Too bad he will have to die or suffer horrible pain (or both) at some point *cough*

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I imagine at this point I will start dropping HP references into my daily speech. 🙂

  20. Kelly L. says:

    I did! I did! Then again these books made me cry like a hundred times so I'm not really probably the best example…

  21. Kelly L. says:

    I think this chapter marks kind of a turning point for Katniss, because it kind of renews her focus on winning the Games, and fuels her hatred of the Capitol even more. A lot of things click into place, just then, including what Peeta had said about the one thing they can't take.

    And she is effing PISSED now, I would not want to cross her path at this point.

    Also, it made me smile a lot when she instinctively cried out Peeta's name at the announcement. I think she does feel more for him than she is letting on, which is good, because otherwise I was going to write her off as selfish and heartless. Liiiiiike, me. Sigh. TEAM PEETA ALL THE WAY! (are there teams? is there even a Team Gale? idk.)

  22. Randomcheeses says:

    I call bullshit! No way the Gamemakers are going to keep that rule! They're going to find some way around it. Bastards.

    Also: RUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! T_T


  23. bluejay says:

    This chapter is so sad! I knew that Rue had to die, but I still wasn’t prepared for it. Katniss singing her to sleep was really moving for me, I suppose because I tend to express my feelings by singing and so I could really put myself in her shoes at that moment. The announcement at the end was intriguing. I wasn’t sure whether to feel hopeful or to worry that it was just setting us up for more tragedy. Because Ms. Collins has already made it clear that she isn’t afraid to have horrible things happen to her characters!

  24. jennreyn says:

    So if I’m reading the chart right, Districts 2 and 12 are the only ones with both tributes left, right? So if the rule applies it can only apply to Cato and the girl or Peeta and Katniss.

    I feel like it wouldn’t be introduced if it wasn’t going to happen, in which case I feel like it’s a little bit of a contrived way for Collins not to have to kill Peeta… either that or Cato/district 2 girl will kill him and Katniss will go apeshit and kill both of them.

    • Yusra says:

      I think it was introduced because the Gamekeepers want to keep the star-crossed lovers thing alive. Wherever Peeta is, he's obviously still playing on being madly in love with Katniss.

      • Randomcheeses says:

        Ooh! And Katniss just called out his name, so it's probably reasonably easy for the viewers to believe that she's madly in love too.

        • Yusra says:

          Precisely! And then, when they viewers least expect it, they'll get her to kill Peeta off! Oh so tragic; the couple torn apart for eternity. Those in the Capitol will just lap it all up. It's all a show to them.

          Note, this is an actual prediction of mine (albeit made when I was reading the book). Peeta cannot survive this; it won't make good TV

  25. corporatecake says:

    I cried like a baby!

  26. jsh357 says:

    Mark, I just want to say that it was also after reading this chapter that I realized how effectively the story is written, in spite of all the flaws I have noticed (and you have pointed out). Perhaps the most interesting thing is that in spite of the whole Hunger Games thing being so vile and detestable, by the end of this chapter I was hoping that everyone else in the Games would die besides Katniss and Peeta, and upset that Rue hadn't been the one to win.

    And then I realized that maybe that was the whole point–effectively, I have become one of these viewers from the Capitol who is getting off on watching these people risk their lives and slaughter one another. I didn't even realize that until analysis (thank god for reading on chapter at a time), but wow, that is quite an achievement on Collins' part, whether intentional or not. I am going to give her the benefit of a doubt and say it is intentional, and I have to wonder if the average "young adult" reader would pick up on it at all? I certainly hope so.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      It's very Haneke, but not with quite the effectiveness he has, but yes, I agree.

    • Karen says:

      I agree with this comment. It took me a while to pick up on that because the first time I read the books I was so intent on devouring them. But yeah… Collins has put the reader in the role of the Capitol audience.

  27. cait0716 says:

    I did not see this twist coming. But it's certainly interesting, and even in the context of the games that have been going on for 74 years it makes sense. If you watch reality tv, they're always coming up with little twists and rule changes to throw the contestants off and keep the audience engaged. Since they have this whole "star-crossed lover" thing to play with, they'll milk it for all it's worth.

    I liked the idea of Katniss singing to Rue a lot, but I'm less interested in reading lyrics. If it were some crazy e-book and you could open a file and listen to the song instead of reading it, that'd be cool. I wonder how long until that actually happens…

    • LadyLately says:

      You can go on Youtube and find like 30 billion different versions! However, I would caution against it if you haven't read all 3 books yet, because the video comments/fanart slideshows can be spoilery.

      • cait0716 says:

        Yeah. I was more envisioning something where I'm reading the book and then when I get to that passage, the words go away and are replaced by an illustration of Katniss holding Rue while the song plays. Then when the song is over, the words come back and I can continue reading. I wonder if there'd actually be a market for books like that?

  28. Rebecca says:

    I always read it as the bread was from district 11 to Katniss, not to Rue…

    But I can't wait to read more of what you think of this book. Unfortunately I realised that I did not own this book, I had borrowed it. So I can't read along. All fun!

    I like Katniss because she reminds me a lot of myself, albeit recently I have become about as emotional as a 9 month pregnant woman, rather than having the emotions of an ant, like Katniss. But I recongnize myself in a lot of what she says, feeling powerless, and being overwhelmed by emotions to the point of just not having them anymore to protect herself. If I'd say her MBTI personality, it'd probably be INTP xD

    Look forward to seeing the next chapter (Sundays are boring, cause you don't update then…)

  29. Silverilly says:

    Katniss has the emotional depth of a spoon? When did she become an insecure ginger boy?
    Anyway, I didn't cry at this scene either, even though it was really, really sad and the idea of Katniss singing Rue to "sleep" is an effective sadness-inspirer for me. But I cried during like the second chapter, so there you go.

    Also, you're still not prepared and NEVER FUCKING WILL BE.

  30. corporatecake says:

    This chapter, man. I cried, I'll admit it. I didn't even like Rue that much, I mean, she was cute and it was sad, but Katniss singing to her was just… ;_;

    Yes, the reveal! Ostensibly, whatever the Gamemakers' grand plan~ is, their highest calling is to put on a good show. It's down to six tributes and maybe they feel things have gotten monotonous, or people in the Capitol are Peeta/Katniss shippers. This certainly provides some interest. And, because Collins is like our Gamemaker, I think that she had to pull a twist like this, because "Katniss hides in a tree, kills some people, shoots a rabbit, hides from the Careers" would have gotten monotonous for us, too.

  31. Garth says:

    I admit that up till now I haven’t been caught up in the story the way everyone else has, it’s Ok but it’s not a great as everyone keeps telling me it is. Until now. Rue’s death is amazing, that cliff-hanger is not*.

    Fuck you Suzanne Collins, grow a pair. This is contrived. I see what you’re doing here, you are writing the story so that Katniss gets as little dirt on her hands as possible, cause that might make her a tad unsympathic. You refuse to flesh almost all of her opponents, cause that might challenge your readers, ramp up the horror to levels that they will not accept. At any point where Katniss has to start consider killing a likable character to make so that she doesn’t. You are playing it safe, or as safe as a story of this kind can be.

    *Speaking of cliff-hangers, I know how they frustrate you so. Got a suggestion for the next Mark Reads; WWZ. Every single chapter in that book is self-contained.

    • corporatecake says:

      Sorry, but Katniss just killed a person in cold blood. That is unsympathetic, especially when you consider this book within its genre. This is not Stephen fucking King. This is a book targeted towards young teenagers. I don't want to hear any of that "but teenagers can handle it" or "but we shouldn't censor stuff for kids" bullshit. Collins could have wrote whatever she wanted intended for teenagers, it wouldn't have been published. That's not how YA publishing works. There are conventions and there are lines that can't be crossed.

      Katniss murdering Rue would not be acceptable in a Stephen King novel, let alone a YA sci-fi. I'm all for challenging readers, but there are limits to how much a reader will take. This novel is already incredibly horrific, especially considering its genre. And I challenge anyone who has read the entire series not to agree that Collins, for better or for worse, has a steal pair of balls. Why don't you try reading the whole book before making such judgements?

      Oh, but I was just thinking that World War Z would be an interesting Mark Reads book. So kudos for suggesting it.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      You know, it's possible to have serious problems with the way a book is written without resorting to sexist personal attacks on the writer. The sexism is inexcusable and the "fuck yous" are incomprehensible. She possibly wrote a bad book or two or three; it's not like she kicked your puppy.

      And how exactly is Collins supposed to flesh out 24 characters when a key component of her story is that the a number of them are essentially brainwashed Spartan automatons and the government deliberately keeps each district in complete isolation from the others? The problems with Collins's writing don't magically make other approaches to writing the story less problematic.

    • Turq says:

      I wouldn't be so quick to judge, there is still 4 more people to kill! And Twilight was safe. HG is not. It's a story about children killing children, FOR children. While a lot of the characters do not get fleshed out, the ones that do are in depth. On Katniss getting as little dirt on her hands as possible: she is responsible for the deaths of 4 tributes (either directly or indirectly). She might not have killed any.

      • Garth says:

        Yes, but compared to how dark this type of story has the potential to go, this IS tame.

        • Kira says:

          Just because it could be darker doesn't mean it should be. I have a feeling Collins didn't want to mentally scar her teens. Come on. There's been disintegrating flesh, ants boring out of people's wound and into their eyes, and so many people die. Collins does NOT pull punches.

  32. paulineparadise says:

    yup, cried as well.

  33. 1foxi says:

    I did not like the twist at the end of this chapter.. Throughout the book I couldn't wait to see how Katniss was going to deal with killing her competitors, killing people she liked but then boom the plot changes.. Too convenient!!

  34. bread says:

    This chapter is a turning point for me. I started reading this book with the mentality that Katniss should be better than this and not kill anyone or at least have it be a big deal when she does, morally speaking. I think some people even commented that if they were in the Hunger Games, they would rather die by their own hand than to be murdered or become a murderer.

    After Rue died, I was all about KATNISS KILL NOW! Who cares about everyone else, just kill the whole lot. I sort of became a monster just like the Capitol. However, that anger makes us blind to the fact that everyone in that arena are victims, even that douche Cato, and killing them doesn't really make Katniss a victor or a badass, she will always be a pawn no matter what she does. Even if she did take out all the tributes with amazing archery and skill, she is still just killing a bunch of victims.

    It really does make you rethink war and how heinous it is. Sure, in war we can claim that we are fighting for freedom or whatnot but how often do we ship off innocent young men and women to die in a battle in a faraway place while we watch the updates from the comforts of our own home? All the time. However, because we believe that we are fighting the bad guys, all of a sudden it makes it okay to kill people.

    • calimie says:

      everyone in that arena are victims, even that douche Cato

      Exactly. Even the boy who killed Rue, as much as it hurts to say. They both probably volunteered but, as Katniss says, they had lives in their districts and now one of them is dead and the other one will probably die too.

      Your last paragraph is completely right. The victims become 'collateral damage' and nobody cares, even if the bombing of their town could have been completely averted, no one will suffer the consequences.

    • tethysdust says:

      I've been reading the Lucifer Effect recently, and it has some really interesting discussion of the situational and systemic causes of evil. I think that, no matter how good or moral or normal a person might seem, they would probably do horrible things when forced into something like the Hunger Games. I don't know if I believe that any of us can truly predict what we would do in that same situation.

      Even so, I really wanted Katniss to realize what you're saying, that all the people in the Games are victims. However, given her circumstances, I can see where she would feel no guilt for her actions. It makes sense, but it does bother me.

  35. thatonegirl says:

    So why change the rules right at this point? Because sad Katniss isn't must see tv? Because it moves the plot? It feels a little too convenient for me, too. But if it means more "my buns!" cartoons I guess I'll take it.

  36. bendemolena says:

    Can I tell you all how hard and long I cried when I read this chapter? And I mean straight-up, ugly crying. I have a brother Rue's age, and I'm just as protective over him, we're like a team. This chapter hit me in the gut. I'd take /all of the bullets/ for him but I can't fathom the feeling of hopeless and loss that Katniss must have felt, drawing connection from Rue to Prim.

  37. Claudia says:

    Best version of the song I have found so far. It literally brought me to tears.

  38. residentgamer says:

    LOL I was going to point out the HP reference. 😀

    And yeah, I sort of agree with everyone about the twist being a bit too convenient.

  39. BradSmith5 says:

    Excellent review, Mark. What in the world was that boy that captured Rue thinking, though!? He lured Katniss out and then wasted time killing the powerless hostage? It's like he just decided to be a jerk instead of playing the game™.

    I'm not gonna get too angry over the news at the end, though; Collins could be copping out or setting us up to be spanked. What I didn't like is how the legendary commentator Claudius Templesmith appears on the screen and then…we don't hear a word he says! This is happening in present time! I know you can do dialog, Collins, what in the world are you holding it back for!? During the song earlier you might as well have just typed "I sang about life, love, and hope. It was beautiful." RRRRRGH.

    I realize now that this murder game is missing something that all others have: a psychopathic Master of Ceremonies! I mean, what would "The Running Man" be without Killian? Or "Madworld" without the Black Baron? I just saw Rue die to a nobody! Give me someone to HATE, Collins, before my RAGE explodes at your own book!

    • rowenaravenclaw says:

      I totally agree with this! Collins has a habit of TELLING instead of SHOWING us what's happening at many crucial moments throughout the series. I WANNA SEE IT! I'm pretty sure mark has pointed to an occurrence like this previously. I'm interested to see how well the movies make up for the varying in perspective.

      Thank you for the wonderful reviews Mark, but you are STILL SO NOT PREPARED!

    • lossthief says:

      Did you just trademark my running joke? BASTARD.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Yes, Lossthief! I will do whatever it takes to survive in this cutthroat arena! Let the Hunger Games begin for real! Again! Bwa,ha,ha,ha,ha-ha! 😉

    • Ida says:

      IWe’re not suppose to hate Rues killer. He is in the same boat as Katniss and all the others after all and is only trying to survive. And ultimately he is not actually a bad guy, but the leaders of the Capitol are, because they are the ones who are forcing the kids to kill each other. It is even mentioned in the text.
      “To hate the boy from District 1, who also appears so vulnerable in death, seem,s inadequate. It’s the Capitol I hate, for doing this to all of us.”
      The boy from District is suppose to be a nobody. He is just a kid fighting for his survival just like everyone else in the arena. So your argument kind of falls flat there.

      We as readers are not allowed to feel good about hating him even if he did commit murder, and I really love that storywise. He is more of a tragic character than an evil one. It shows that Collins is able to create a world where everything is not simply black and white.

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        Katniss also says "My hatred of the Capitol has not lessened my hatred of my competitors in the least. Especially the Careers. They, at least, can be made to pay for Rue's death."

        I get that Collins is going for shades of grey, but I don't think she's really achieved it yet.

        • Ida says:

          Hum. I don't know what to say to that. It's looks like a inconsistency in Collins writing to me, or maybe Katniss is only unable to hate the dead boy, simply because he looks so innocent in death? Or something……

          It seams to me that after she realized the Capitol is the real enemy she shouldn’t be thinking that about the other tributes. IDK…

          Nicely stopped tho.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        That's the problem I'm having: I can't hate The Capitol as a whole. We saw earlier that good people live there; some of them are slaves, some are kind like Cinna. Where are the citizens that delight in this carnage? Who is the guy pressing the flamethrower button? I wanna be angry at these guys but I don't know who they are!

        • Ida says:

          The most of the Capitol is a bunch of spoiled, brats who think the Hunger Games is great entertainment and yes some of them are actually good people, which I like. It’s the leaders of the Capitol that we are suppose to hate. (And it’s the districts who are the slaves not the citizens of the Capitol.) I personally didn’t need to know who they were at this point to be able to hate them.(Kind of like how I didn’t need to se Sauron in LOTR to know that he scared me silly.) Just to see what all this is doing to the people of Panem and especially to the children in the arena, and know that nothing will be done to help them, should be enough.

          But if what you need is names and faces I’ll just say that there’s still the rest of this book and two more left to read.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yes! The kid got it ass backwards! It's not like he didn't know Katniss was coming, so why give her an advantage and a motive to kill him?

      Ida's right. You're supposed to hate the Capitol. I'd like more backstory about the other tributes, but I've made peace with the fact that the book wasn't written that way. You're supposed to be as disconnected from them as the rest of Panem is. Claudius could jerk them around more, but he can't be a complete asshole without making the Capitol seem like the bad guys to the viewers. An emcee who tortures the participants doesn't work for this world.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Aw man. I wanted to see Katniss dish out another ironic doom to the host, while using his own one-liners against him! What kind of murder game IS this!? 😉

  40. ilram says:

    Yay you named Foxface haha 🙂

    This chapter was so sad. I hadn't expected Rue to die because I read the first book in one day so I didn't really think about it. I know with this kind of setting a lot of people will have to die but because I couldn't stop reading I was just reacting to whatever was happening at that point. It was such a sad scene though.

  41. Sizzlelucid says:

    I was a sobbing mess.

  42. skillwithaquill says:

    The lullaby made me cry like crazy. And it made it all the worse that I kept matching the lyrics of the song with the tune of the lullaby from Pan's Labyrinth. :(:(

  43. Sizzlelucid says:

    My initial thoughts when I read this chapter for the first time were:

    1) PEETA!
    2)Thresh is going to be pissed that right after Rue's death there just happens to be a rule change about having two people from a District win.

  44. stellaaaaakris says:

    So I have a fluctuating tolerance for cheese, sometimes I adore it *cough* Peeta-confessing-his-love-for-Katniss *cough*, sometimes I hate it (e.g. most chick flicks in history). The singing I didn't really mind because I didn't actually read it…um what? Yeah, I have a tendency to skip over songs and poems in books, or most long italicized portions in general. Meaning I only ever skimmed the Sorting Hat's songs and the only bit I forced myself to sit through and read was the clue for the Second Task because I thought that would probably be important for the plot. I am a Seer.

    I like this chapter mainly because it makes me feel ~something~. Hope, despair, anger, I felt it all. Collins never made me feel particularly attached to any of her characters (besides Peeta…and Rue a bit before this chappie). I do appreciate that since I understand that they're all going to die, but still no emotional investment. This chapter had to go and change all of that. Now almost all the characters left have names. Oh boy, shit's going to get real, isn't it?

    • Hieronymus Graubart says:

      You only skimmed the Sorting Hat's songs? Oh, dear. I spent hours on analyzing the Sorting Hat's sorting criteria and explaining it to my niece because the official translation got it all wrong.

  45. tethysdust says:

    I forgot a few things in my last comment! I wanted to mention that this is the first chapter that I've felt the possibility that Katniss might actually become a rebel. This is the first time she has felt like she wanted to oppose the system, instead of barely squeaking by within it. I think that this is mostly due to a combination of Rue's death and her own increasingly unsteady mind and emotional state. I don't think Rue dying would have hurt her nearly as much if she hadn't got her all tangled with Prim in her mind. I'm finding Katniss a lot more interesting lately.

    Also, the way Rue's death scene played out reminded me very strongly of Pan's Labyrinth.

  46. Beci says:

    Actually sobbed during this, i couldn't see the page and my tears make the page all soggy. 🙁

  47. lossthief says:

    p.229: That's a really quick drowning apparently.
    p.229: This is what being innocent gets you in "Gritty" fiction, Rue. Try being a gruff but lovable asshole next time. Then you'll live until the third book when it's time to show everybody how serious the situation is.
    p.230: Now we've got out drawn-out, tragic death scene. Cue the tears.
    p.230: "Sing." oh fuck no.
    p.230: "My throat is tight with tears." What? I mean…I get what you're trying to say, but still…what?
    p.230: This rhyme scheme is almost as awkward as the sorting hat's.
    p.231: "My throat releases the tears." So apparently Kat's lachrymal glands are in her throat?
    p.231: "…the mockingjays take up my song." To take a line from Filmbrain: SYMBOLISM!!!!!
    p.232: "It's the Capitol I hate…" Hey, Kat finally gets it.
    p.232: "There's no way to take revenge on the Capitol. Is there?" She asked, not realizing there were 2 sequels.
    p.235: Well, that's actually pretty sweet. D'awwwwwww.
    p.236: I'm confuzzled. Is Kat angry that the guy was carrying food, or because he was only carrying a little?
    p.237: This brings up what I've been wondering for a while: Where the hell has Thresh been in all of this? Did he kill the boy from District 10?
    p.238: "Now I'm determined to revenge her." I may be wrong, but shouldn't it be "avenge"?
    p.239: "…he was my first kill." Again, the disintegrating corpse of a girl with a stupid name doesn't count?
    p.239: Hey, this is actually really interesting. Kat's having to humanize her enemies, rather than just seeing them as ruthless monsters. Please keep this up.
    p.240: Oh lord, I knew it. I guess there's not even a struggle for it? Bleh.
    Overall, there were parts of this chapter I really like, but other I really disliked. The singing was just so over the top that it took me out of the story, though I was glad to see Kat figure out that here true enemy was the Capitol, not just the other tributes. I liked the scene with the bread, and I'm glad that Kat started facing the fact that the people she's fighting are humans too. All too often this would fall to the way side, saying that the careers are "evil" and thus everyone must hate them and is happy they're gone. The twist at the end though? Bleh, it just felt so contrived. I really don't like the way they just dropped it on us without a struggle.
    Grade: "C"

    • tethysdust says:

      p.236: I'm confuzzled. Is Kat angry that the guy was carrying food, or because he was only carrying a little?

      That kind of confused me, too. I think she was irritated that he was only carrying sweet snack-type foods, due to his arrogance about his food stash.

      • exbestfriend says:

        I also took her anger to also be about excess in general. Since she grew up hungry and had to work hard for the food she ate, I cannot imagine she had a whole bunch of snacks at her house. Because of her history she has a different relationship with food and if she had been given an option to pick from the stash she would have picked a protein or bread. Not something like dried fruit, which is tasty, but not really nutritious.

    • Yusra says:

      No, Glimmer doesn't count since Katniss did not actually, physically kill her. She just sort of let the Tracker Jacker do the work… Whereas this boy, she pretty much shot him. It registers more as her kill, here, I s'pose. But then again, I haven't killed any one, so I wouldn't know.

    • Reonyea says:

      p.231: "My throat releases the tears." So apparently Kat's lachrymal glands are in her throat?

      OMG, this! I was completely absorbed in the chapter – I am a complete and utter sap so was crying my yes out then I was like…wait, what, she's gargling tears? When she cries her tears pour down her face, into her mouth, and collect in a little bottle until her throat releases it and she vomits tears all over Rue's face? It did provide some comic relief, but I doubt that was its intention…

    • corporatecake says:

      Katniss's anger at the boy carrying only fruit still confuses me, and I've read this book more than once. Is she not thinking clearly? As far as a high-energy snack goes, dried fruit sounds like a pretty good one to me. It's got plenty of nutritional content, it's filling, and it's light weight. There's a reason they put raisins in trail mix.

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Nice observations. And now that you mention it, we haven't even SEEN that Thresh guy have we? He might be angry that Katniss got the bread from District 11 instead of him. Hide the bread, Katniss! Thresh the Skull-Cruncher approaches!

      And 'revenge' can be used as a verb, but only if your protagonist is ANGRY enough.

  48. kajacana says:

    I didn't like the song. I rarely like songs or poems in books, because they so often come across as cheesy. Songs are problematic because you can't actually HEAR how they go and that's like half the point or more. Poems… well, just because you can write a book doesn't mean you can write a good poem. That said, I did appreciate this moment between Rue and Katniss. It was a little awkward, but sweet and meaningful, and all in all I think it fits the story.
    Also the rule change blew my mind. I remember being like… wait… THEY CAN DO THAT?!?!
    Also also, I want a shirt or a bumper sticker or something that says "I left all my tears in Chapter 33 of Deathly Hallows."

  49. momigrator says:

    That change of rules seems like a cop-out to me. I mean, this is my first time reading this series so I don't know how it'll effect the other books, but really? Come on. Cop out. Just seems to convenient.

    • liliaeth says:

      But that's the point. They are the unwilling stars in a TV show, and it's the 'show' that puts in the new rule, because the viewers are liking the star crossed lovers story.

  50. Reonyea says:

    I cried too. But I cry at everything. But I was in tears when I read this on saturday night, right before my friends showed up for dinner!

  51. Cally_Black says:

    I have not looked at the comments yet, and I am sure someone else has posted this video(because it is amazing!). I have been waiting to post this since Mark announced he was going to read the Hunger Games, so I'm going to post it, and if someone already has…this video is so awesomesauce that it needs to be posted multiple times anyway. Not my fault that Mark always posts while I'm at school, so by the time I show up all of the fanart and other various things I wanted to post are already taken.
    [youtube Z_jw3z68TW0 youtube]

  52. Penquin47 says:

    ::sigh:: Those of you who've already read the books must have been laughing so hard. Me and my "I'd want to set up a multiple winner rule change even though I know it's not good storytelling." Note to self: this Christmas break, less gaming more writing a publishable work. (If I ever do, is it wrong to hope that it becomes a Mark Reads?)

    Rue's death worked for me. Yes, it's somewhat cheesy, but it was also very touching. I think in the movie, this will be even better – they can play Katniss gathering the wildflowers, taking care of Rue's body, etc. while she sings, and have the end of the song coincide with the hovercar showing up.

    Prediction: Thresh tries to join with Katniss and Peeta, while Foxface works against them. Another prediction: we will never learn Foxface's real name, because Suzanne Collins hates having to make them up.

    • Penquin47 says:

      (continued – I *hate* the length limit!)
      What I'd REALLY like for the movie, since there's no way to do it "in Katniss's head", is to see the movie as clips from the actual televised parts. We could see clips of the training, interviews back home, the action in the game, interviews with the sponsors explaining why they chose to sponsor a particular person, interviews with Haymitch and his counterparts explaining strategies, and of course the opening and closing ceremonies. Interviews with the Gamemakers about why they scored candidates the way they did. And of course, hear the anthem and see the daily recap of the dead. Having not read the sequels, obviously I don't know if this could work, but I don't see any reason it couldn't.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I feel like the movie will do Rue's death better than the book.

    • Amy says:

      Haha I’ve been laughing at the comments from the first chapter. Not in a demeaning way, but like “they have NO idea”.

    • liliaeth says:

      Thing is, I suck at finding out people's names and I don't even have the excuse that Katniss has of trying to distance herself from the others. It's the risk of the pov that Collins has taken, we don't always know the names of the people that surround us.

  53. Mauve_Avenger says:

    This chapter was very "meh" for me. The flowers were a nice touch, but the singing and the "Prim…oops, I meant Rue" thing felt really forced and made it hard for me to take this chapter seriously.

    The District 11 bread would have made more emotional impact if there'd been any earlier indication that ordinary people from the districts can be sponsors. It would have been better if Katniss had mentioned it before (say, by noting that no one in District 12 was hopeful/rich enough to sponsor their tributes). The way it's been set up, there was no reason to think of the sponsors as anything more than cold, unfathomable Deus ex Machinas who just want to win their bets when the Games are over. As such, I kinda assumed that the District 11 bread gift was set up by Haymitch, hoping to rake in Rue's former sponsors by painting Katniss as the sentimental, sympathetic tribute.

    I liked it when Katniss started thinking about the Games as a whole and showing that she's not a pawn of the Capitol; I started hoping that this was the start of her transformation into *la fillette revolutionnaire.* Then she said she wouldn't have any qualms about killing the rest of the Careers and thought of the possible banquet as a way to kill more competitors, though, so my hopes were extremely short-lived.

    Claudius Templesmith's announcement made me think that perhaps Peeta has been just off-screen, helping Katniss without her knowing, rather like Snape did for Harry. But while Peeta is good at camouflaging himself, I doubt he'd be better than Rue at moving stealthily, and Katniss was able to spot Rue pretty easily. As such, I can't really see a 'Peeta's been secretly helping Katniss all along' plot twist coming to fruition without it seeming cheap.

    So, in conclusion: =/

  54. crazyravenclaw says:

    I was surprised at how moving parts of this chapter were (although I did think the singing was a little…much), but your comment about Katniss having the emotional range of a teaspoon is spot on, and this is the chapter when I finally understood what bothered me so much about her. I'm not going to try to articulate exactly what it is, because I'm not sure I really can, but I think her behavior in this chapter exemplifies it.

    When Rue dies, Katniss mourns her. When she mourns for Rue, however, she continues to compare Rue to Prim. I liked that comparison as a reason for Katniss and Rue to become friends, but I hated that it continued to be so important after Rue was established as an individual with her own family, thoughts, and talents, especially after her death. I thought Rue was far more interesting than Prim ever was, and considering that the purpose of Rue's character seemed to be to show that the dying tributes were individuals, not just numbers or placeholders, I was really disappointed that Katniss still couldn't see her (and mourn her) as more than a placeholder for her sister when Rue was wonderful in her own right.

    It's one thing to look at a newspaper article about a twelve-year-old dying and say, "That could be my sister. I don't know this girl, but I feel sad because I can imagine the loss this girl's loved ones must feel." (Even though you'd never say that unless you were a robot because it sounds completely unnatural.) It's another thing for Katniss to look at her friend, lying dead in front of her, and say, "That could be my sister. I feel sad because she reminds me of my sister, even though I actually knew Rue and she is clearly NOT my sister. I am going to compare her to my sister even though I knew her and therefore shouldn't need a reference point from my own life in order to comprehend this loss, because apparently their superficial similarities are the only reason I had any compassion for my friend Rue, who happened to be the same age as my sister."

    That's harsh, but Katniss's unwillingness to view others as anything more complex than what they symbolize in her mind (Peeta as the boy with the bread, Haymitch as the possible key to her survival, Rue as the twelve-year-old Tribute who reminds her of Prim) really irks me, and I think Rue–not what she represents, but Rue as her own person–deserved a lot more respect than I felt she was shown here.

    Oddly enough, it was recognizing why I was angry at Katniss that finally allowed me to really enjoy the rest of the book. I don't know.

  55. 4and6forever says:

    There's no people acting out the scenes, but it is well done, even if the autotune is rather disctracting. [youtube uCmoAuZgsnE youtube]
    BRB, going to cry in a corner. :'(

  56. Phoebe says:

    i still dont get why the hovercraft didnt appear right after she died. how did katniss have time to go into the forrest, back again, and decorate rue? i havent read this in a while, so i forgot.

    • corporatecake says:

      The tributes have to be a certain distance away before the hovercraft will come.

      • lossthief says:

        But wasn't Kat freaking out about the hovercraft when she was trying to get the bow and arrows off of Glimmer?

        • corporatecake says:

          She was also hallucinating and therefore not completely lucid, plus no one had been near enough for a while, so the hovercraft might have already shown up.

      • Kate Monster says:

        I've been trying to figure out why this rule is in place– is it ever distinctly mentioned? I have mental images of past tributes trying to escape by clinging to the bodies of their competitors and that's just…ick.

        • corporatecake says:

          They haven't addressed why that is, but that seems like a pretty good reason. :\ I bet someone would have tried it in the early Games. But in general it just prevents any kind of interferences, and also allows tributes a way of picking stuff off their dead opponents without worrying about the Capitol sneaking up on them and taking the bodies away too fast.

  57. Revolution64 says:

    I was trying to read along with you, but I failed. So I finished yesterday.

    Anyways, when I read this I thought, this is way too convenient. It's either a trap, or terrible writing on Collins' part.

  58. dumbxblonde07 says:

    Ugh, Cato and his girl are also contenders for the double-win… I feel like that'll make their alliance stronger because they know that eventually they won't have to turn on one another.

  59. fizzybomb says:

    On the subject of the "Prim–I mean Rue" thing, I think it's because Katniss was having a flashback to singing for a very ill Prim, and she was mixing up the memory with the present.

  60. Mowgli3 says:

    I think you misinterpreted the gift from District 11. I don't think the bread was ever meant for Rue– she never really demonstrated a need for food, especially once she teamed up with Katniss, right? I think the people of 11 just sent it as a "thank you" to Katniss for respecting/helping Rue, and it had never been intended for Rue.

    Poor Rue. 🙁

    I also don't think the singing was over the top at all– if you were dying painfully, wouldn't you want something to take your mind off the horrible fact that there is a SPEAR IN YOUR BODY? Sadness forever. 🙁

    Also, I forgot that Katniss and Rue only spent one night together. It's really a testament to how terrible the games are that such a short amount of time can make people have such a strong bond.

  61. xkcdhobbes says:

    At first, I disliked the new rule of teams, but then I remembered that there is another district with 2 people (which evens out the play) and that the game makers can't really do anything else since making Katniss kill Peeta (or vice versa) would really be bad on the watchers who wouldn't like that much. The first thought that passed through my mind when I read the new rules is that Peeta would die nonetheless. And now that I read the title "The victor", I feel like there will only be one victor! (but then again maybe it's just due to the fact that I am uncertain if victor takes an s in the plural form. I'm also assuming that "the" Victor isn't a fancy name for some dude called Victor, which would be really funny)

    • BradSmith5 says:

      HAHAHAHAHA! Oh man, Hobbes, that would be hilarious. At long last we meet the game master, Victor! Do not mess with 'The Victor!'

  62. Cally_Black says:

    I admit I cried like a baby at Rue's death. I was holding up well at first and just kept telling myself, "I'm not going to cry, I'm not going to cry." And I just had tears in my eyes, so I was doing fairly well. Then I started crying a bit during the song because I found it sweet and I am a complete sap. All of a sudden I remembered that this is being cast on LIVE TELEVISION and that the districts are FORCED to watch it, and that Rue's whole family had to watch her die. That's when I lost it. Can you even imagine what that would be like, her younger siblings having to watch their big sister die like that? Her parents? Oh goodness when I think of how her mom must have felt watching her baby girl die like that…:'(

    Also it reminded me too much of Dobby's death not to bawl.

    I don't think the twist at the end is a copout. Did you expect it? I didn't expect it…at all. Plus, just because the option for them to both survive is there, it doesn't necessarily mean they will. (Not a spoiler, just a fact) We're only a little over halfway through the book, there's still the possibility for EVERYTHING to go wrong(or right). Another thing was earlier a lot of people were saying they didn't know why this Hunger Games was so special, and why not another Hunger Games story be told? Well here's a reason. A game change rule that has never happened.

    Is any of that spoilery? I don't think it is. I went and re-read Mark's spoiler guide, because I siriusly don't want to spoil anyone. I tried to just point out the possibilities for stuff that could happen when I first read, and point out how this HG differentiates from others, from what we saw this chapter and in past chapters. ~Does not want to spoil~

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      It's not a spoiler at all. Actually, I pretty much said the same thing (much more briefly) above.

  63. Moonie says:

    One of my favorite chapters in the series. So good. Also RETURN OF PEETA???? YESSSSS

    Off topic, but whenever it gets cold I want to reread His Dark Materials. Helps I read the series for the first time in winter. MARK YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT SO MUCH. EEEEEEE. I am such a HDM fangirl like woah

  64. ldwy says:

    Hey guys, Mark, et al-
    I've not been able to comment the past few days, life's been super crazy. But I have been able to read all the reviews, I'm really enjoying them. Anyway, here's the notes I made after this chapter:

    ““Don’t go.” Rue tightens her grip on my hand.
    “Course not. Staying right here,” I say.”

    “But if this is Prim’s, I mean, Rue’s last request, I have to at least try.”

    The two lines above brought back the awkwardness of this writing for me. Because largely, I’ve been so engrossed in the story I haven’t noticed. But these lines pulled me out of the story for a moment. But regardless, I am very invested in the story at this point, and this part was soo sad, anyway. I’m glad Katniss never had to kill Rue. And decorating the body with flowers was nice symbolism and a lovely stand against the capitol.

    I’m kind of disappointed that a rule change has come into effect that could allow Katniss and Peeta to both win. I wanted them to somehow have to beat the system, be tricky, but instead, the system just changed.
    So apparently Peeta is somewhere slowly bleeding to death right now? And the capitol/gamemakers know that because they ~see all~, so I wondering what they have up their sleeves…presumably, they want Katniss to spend her time trying to find/save Peeta…

  65. lamuerta says:

    DISCLAIMER: I'm not even reading the books, only Mark's reviews, so this is purely off the top of my head.

    Am I the only one who has a bad feeling about this rule change? :S If they can change rules so easily, won't they just change it at significant moments to whatever makes better TV?

    I kind of like how there's no time limit though, it's more interesting this way. In Battle Royale, because there was a time limit, people were drove to murdering each other out of desperation and survival instinct. For this one, I suppose if all the tributes banded together and decided to sit it out, there's nothing the Capitol can do?

    • Turq says:

      Well, they could drive them apart or blow them up…
      Again with the "defy us and you'll be sorry" theme.

      • lamuerta says:

        What if they each took a corner of the place and refused to look for each other? If the Capitol is doing all the killing, how inventive can it get? Burn, poison, drown. Burn, poison, drown.

        • lamuerta says:

          Oh, wait. I keep thinking this is a low-tech society. So how much control over the arena do the planners have? Can they make earthquakes and stuff?

          • corporatecake says:

            I have no doubts that the Gamemakers could make earthquakes. Plus, Katniss got her taste of what the Gamemakers will do to drive people together or spice things up with her wall of fire. Trying to resist by separating and refusing to kill each other? Would probably just get you a fireball to the face.

          • bendemolena says:

            If they can do WALLS OF FIRE I don't think they'll be running out of murder methods any time soon.

    • Ken says:

      "Am I the only one who has a bad feeling about this rule change? If they can change rules so easily, won't they just change it at significant moments to whatever makes better TV? "

      That's the whole point! They fuck with the contestants and the setup any way that they think will make better TV.

      Peeta's whole twu luv setup/announcement (real or not) brought about the fan reaction that ultimately led to this rule change. Really brilliant on his part. Now whether it'll make better TV to stick to the rule change and let these lovers live happily ever after or twist it again to give them a tragic ending… well, the odds are still better than they started off being before Peeta introduced this element.

      It's an obvious parallel to our reality shows, with the phrase "cutthroat competition" taken literally.

      "For this one, I suppose if all the tributes banded together and decided to sit it out, there's nothing the Capitol can do?"

      Except set things on fire or blow things up or send vicious creatures after them. Tributes sitting around a campfire singing kumbaya doesn't make good TV after all!

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I got the impression that rule changes are extremely rare (if not unprecedented) and the Gamemakers just did it this time because people aren't dying fast enough for their liking. I'm guessing that right now the only surviving tributes are staying in their own territory and laying low. The trouble of tracking down one's district-mate alone would be worth it, because it would keep people moving and more likely to run into the traps set by the Gamemakers.

      If the tributes banded together and refused to kill each other, I imagine the Gamemakers would do anything they could to bribe them into it, and if that failed they'd just kill them all and then punish all the districts to keep it from happening again.

      • Ken says:

        Or just tell them "if we don't have a winner in X number of days we'll just drop a shitload of trackerjackers into the arena. Last one breathing gets the antidote and the crown."

  66. spectralbovine says:

    (Which, by the way, I was thinking…there’s no way the next two books will features Katniss playing the Hunger Games, right? Don’t answer that.)

    I'm not going to answer that, but I just wanted to comment that I had the same thought while reading the first book. Because all I really knew about the series was that there were Hunger Games. It didn't really occur to me that there was more to it than that. Then I wondered whether three whole books in the Hunger Games was even possible, maybe if you were really really granular and it lasted months or something. I didn't know what to expect! (And, like you, I deliberately tried to avoid finding out whether the other two books also took place in the Hunger Games. And then I think I got spoiled by an ill-advised Internet search. DAMN YOU INTERNET.)

    So anyway, my point is, it's fun to see your reactions as someone who knew even less about the series going in than I did!

  67. Cathy (catd94) says:

    Honestly, I really really hated the singing
    Like, I was all )': about Rue,
    Katniss started to sing and then I was all -_-

    At the end of this chapter though, I was like

    and yea

  68. pennswoods says:

    <img src="; alt="Katniss holding the bread from District 11" title="Thanksgiving">

  69. Leesh says:

    When I saw the new rule I was like
    <img src=""/&gt;

    I'm calling bullshit too. Seriously, Collins isn't a damn Smeyer. She won't hesitate to kill people off if necessary.
    She's already done it before.

    I just don't see her as an author that makes some fairytale happy ending like Meyer did. UGH, BD's ending pissed me off. (which is surprising seeing as how the ENTIRE saga was like nails on a chalkboard)

  70. evilapprentice says:

    "Yeah, ok, this is really goddamn sad. If I had any tears left after reading Harry Potter, I might have shed a tear here. BUT I DIDN’T BECAUSE J.K. ROWLING STOLE ALL MY SAD."

    Died laughing. Died.

  71. lebeaumonde says:

    "It doesn't help when Katniss appears to get Rue's gift from her sponsor, which arrived too late. LIKE SERIOUSLY GUYS, WAY TO RUB IT IN HER FACE. "

    The gift was to Katniss for her beautiful farewell to Rue. 🙂

  72. Jen says:

    I rolled my eyes at that announcement when I read it the first time. It seemed like a Meyer thing to do, to make an exception, so no one of consequence has to die.

  73. Hieronymus Graubart says:

    Concerning the plot twist, I can imagine that, after Rue's "funeral", the game makers got a lot of feedback from spectators saying that they had liked to watch a team that was emotionally attached, and that they wanted more of this. So, even if the game makers had not planned to milk on the "star-crossed lover" thing, they had to do it now.

    I'm not reading the book, but from what I see this doesn't look contrived to me. And if Peeta's confession and Katniss' actions made the spectators want to have a change of rules, they did beat the system in a certain way.

  74. tookiecj says:

    I read the part about the gift from District 11 as a token of gratitude to Katniss for helping the little girl from their district who they probably all cared about (she's so sweet, how could they not?), so to thank Katniss for helping her even in death they gave her the bread.

  75. Lynn says:

    Mark, this is my first post on your site but I wanted to commend you for your reviews. I like the way you talked about the singing not being your thing without bashing it. It was a classy way to discuss it.

    Normally I am not one for singing and poems. but this didn't bother me here. I can see for some people that it was a powerful moment and I can understand why, even if it isn't my thing.

    When I thought about it I realized that the district people have so little and Katniss in the arena has virtually nothing. She wanted to give Rue something and this is all she had to give her- a lullaby to send her on her way out. In my comfortable world that is so much closer to the capitol than the districts I will never feel the full meaning of that song. But for oppressed people where everything is taken away from them, I can understand that music is one thing that can't be taken away. So from there I was able to understand the meaning of the song as Katniss' only way to comfort Rue and make her feel like she was dying with a loved one rather than alone is a horrid place.

  76. ColdDesert says:

    You keep on mentioning Gale and it constantly confuses me, since for me he's a character of minor importance so far- at least for me.
    I didn't like the change of rules, just too convenient.

  77. Warmouh says:

    Oh Rue. ;_:

    And then Rue shouts avenge me and then Katniss runs off to fight the Ruskies and the Cubans in the mountains…wait wrong thing, sorry.

    Does anyone know if there's some list showing where each District are? I'm going to pretend District 12 is the Midwest so we can have Rue.

    • FlameRaven says:

      Actually, District 12 is implied to be Appalachia, so probably Kentucky/Tennessee, which does have a lot of coal mining. District 11 with its focus on agriculture is probably the South? Georgia/Florida or something.

      Somebody should definitely make up a list, although I don't think we really learn much about any other districts until the later books.

      • Warmouh says:

        That's what I was guessing. And I would guess District three would probably be the rust belt. But after that I think I'm stumped.

  78. lisra says:

    I just read the chapter. I'm crying now.

  79. PK9 says:

    I think this is the point where everything changed for me. Up until this chapter, my theory was that Katniss was going to find some way of breaking the Games, escaping from or destroying the arena and the system. I had identified Peeta and Rue as two very sympathetic characters who were likely to survive, and possibly the mysterious Foxface and Thresh as well. My reasoning was that Suzanne Collins chose to write about the 74th Hunger Games, not Games #1-73. So something must have been different about this particular iteration. This would be the formula for this type of story.

    However, Rue's death destroyed that theory. For the first time, I began to realize that it was entirely possible that only Katniss would survive. Then the rule change at the end just confused me even more. So I read the final 9 chapters with no clue as to what might happen.

Comments are closed.