Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Chapter 17

In the seventeeth chapter of Mockingjay, Katniss finds an unexpected ally (and someone to bond with) when she has to go through a rigorous and painful training routine. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Mockingjay.

Well, this is all pretty uncomfortable, right? I’m getting a much better sense why there was fandom backlash against this book. (At least this is what I’ve heard, but I could be wrong.) I don’t feel that way myself. It’s painfully obvious at this point that I love fiction that is ~difficult~ and ~challenging~ and possibly ~frustrating~ because I am probably ~mostly dead inside~ or something.

No, but really, this book is really frustrating to read. It’s still very satisfying for me at this point, much more so than the past two books, because Collins isn’t bothering to answer any of these complicated questions she’s bringing up. She can be pretty blunt at times, especially through Katnis, but I’m still impressed that there is actually a whole lot of subtlety to the many character threads working through this final story.

Chapter seventeen starts off with Katniss finding out from Haymitch that she’s not actually being allowed to head to the Capitol. I have to say, I’m impressed that Collins didn’t have Coin say, “OH YEAH, JUST GO, TOTALLY FINE.” I mean, it’s great because Collins acknowledges that Katniss has been kind of occupied this whole time. It’s not believable that she’d be immediately shipped off to battle. I do have to admit that there is a sense of speed to chapter seventeen. I don’t think that it’s rushed, per se, but it’s certainly not sluggish.

Coin gives Katniss only three weeks to train, every day, to get into shape to head off to the Capitol to fight. I guess the “speed” I feel that exists in this chapter is because it does feel like one extended montage of sorts. Unexpected for me, though, was Katniss immediately recruiting Johanna to train with her, since they both have a drastic motivation to head to the Capitol themselves.

The next morning, when we report for training at 7:30, reality slaps me in the face. We’ve been funneled into a class of relative beginners, fourteen- or fifteen-year-olds, which seems a little insulting until it’s obvious that they’re in far better condition than we are. Gale and the other people already chosen to go to the Capitol are in a different, accelerated phase of training. After we stretch—which hurts—there’s a couple of hours of strengthening exercises—which hurt—and a five mile run—which kills. Even with Johanna’s motivational insults driving me on, I have to drop out after a mile.

The only thing I can relate to is having a contusion on my sternum. I wasn’t shot, but I know that physical activity when your chest/ribs are in pain is A NIGHTMARE. Katniss, how are you going to heal in time to go to the Capitol if you’re constantly destroying yourself day after day?

I should have thought of it myself, but what’s District 13’s answer to pretty much everything? Drugs. Katniss’s trainer informs her that there is actually a method to speeding up the healing process. Unfortunately, it is INCREDIBLY PAINFUL.

Twenty-four needle jabs to my rib cage later, I’m flattened out on my hospital bed, gritting my teeth to keep from begging them to bring back my morphling drip.

Yeah, this really grossed me out:

I think I can actually smell the ring of flesh around my chest burning…

WHAT! No, no thank you. But Katniss bears through it, as Johanna continues to go into withdrawal off of morphling thoughout the night as well. The next morning, they’re up early for the next round of training and IT’S RAINING. It’s like the god of the Hunger Games is telling them LOL THIS IS GOING TO BE A PARTY. Johanna is pretty reluctant to train in the rain (WHO WOULDN’T BE), and this gives Katniss the chance to continue to bond with her. They’re both suffering from different ailments and on the second day, it seems Katniss is the one helping Johanna out this time. She even assembles her gun during training when Johanna’s hands are too shaky to complete it on her own. It leads to a great development between the two: they become roommates!

And then Mockingjay turns into a romping sitcom about survivors of Capitol violence! Yay!

Seriously, though, I like this new turn of events. I like that Katniss went to the plate and helps Johanna get discharged from the hospital by offering to room with her across from Prim and her mom. I don’t feel like Katniss is being patronizing here, or that it’s part of some sort of guilt-ridden apology. She respects Johanna and they’re both working together on this challenge. It also leads to a great moment when they first move in together.

I don’t want to talk about Peeta. One of the best things about training is, it keeps me from thinking of him.

“Haymitch says he’s getting better,” she says.

“Maybe. But he’s changed,” I say.

“So have you. So have I. And Finnick and Haymitch and Beetee. Don’t get me started on Annie Cresta. The arena messed us all up pretty good, don’t you think? Or do you still feel like the girl who volunteered for your sister?” she asks me.

“No,” I answer.

“That’s the one thing I think my head doctor might be right about. There’s no going back. So we might as well get on with things.”

Amen to that, Johanna. The two of them have experienced an immeasurable amount of pain at this point of their lives. It’s a section like this that makes me think back to those beginning chapters of The Hunger Games. It feels like it’s been a lifetime since I first opened that book, and I can recall exactly how different Katniss is nearly two years later. I don’t think I anticipated more than one visit to the arena, and I certainly didn’t expect as much death and destruction either. My only hope is precisely that these characters get a chance to heal and move forward from where they are now.

We get a chance to find out what the other characters are up to as the story moves to the end of training, where Katniss and Johanna have both improved drastically from where they were at the beginning. They join Gale, Delly, Annie, and Finnick for lunch; Katniss notes that Finnick has transformed immensely since he got married to Annie:

His earlier incarnations—the decadent Capitol heartthrob I met before the Quell, the enigmatic ally in the arena, the broken young man who tried to help me hold it together—these have been replaced by someone who radiates life. Finnick’s real charms of self-effacing humor and easygoing nature are on display for the first time. He never lets go of Annie’s hand. Not when they walk, not when they eat. I doubt he ever plans to.

AWWWWWWW SO ROMANTIC, RIGHT? Where is our Finnick where is he

Oh wait, let’s interrupt the situation with PEETA SHOWING UP UNANNOUNCED. It’s an improvement of the last visit, but things are still just as tense and frustrating as the last time. Peeta isn’t allowed to sit with anyone without permission, and Johanna doesn’t even hesitate to oblige:

“Sure he can sit here. We’re old friends,” says Johanna, patting the space beside her. The guards nod and Peeta takes a seat. “Peeta and I had adjoining cells in the Capitol. We’re very familiar with each other’s screams.”

Johanna is kind of endearing with her crudeness, isn’t she?

The meal never seems to escape this first moment, though. First, everyone is absolutely silent, which is certainly not alienating at all, right? Right??? Then Peeta says THE WEIRDEST THING IMAGINABLE to Finnick as he and Annie leave:

“You be nice to her, Finnick. Or I might try and take her away from you.” It could be a joke, if the tone wasn’t so cold. Everything it conveys is wrong. The open distrust of Finnick, the implication that Peeta has his eye on Annie, that Annice could desert Finnick, that I do not even exist.

It sucks. I know. I know this is an awful, complicated, and depressing situation. I can’t put myself in these people’s shoes and pretend I know what’s going on, but I also cannot ignore the fact that KATNISS YOU NEED TO SERIOUSLY STOP BEING SO DEFENSIVE WITH PEETA. Peeta is quick to point out that Finnick saved his life for “the rebellion,” because in his mind, he’s not an active participant in any of this. He still has a giant dose of distrust running through his veins for everyone. (Well, not Delly, it seems.) And yet…WHY DOES KATNISS FEEL THE NEED TO GOAD PEETA ON?

I shouldn’t rise to the bait, but I do. “Maybe not. But Mags is dead and you’re still here. That should count for something.”

“Yeah, a lot of things should count for something that don’t seem to, Katniss. I’ve got some memories I can’t make sense of, and I don’t think the Capitol touched them. A lot of nights on the train, for instance,” he says.

FUCK. FUCK. It sucks because I think in any other context, I think Peeta and Katniss would need to talk about these things. But now, it’s just Peeta and Katniss lobbing insults at each other. And it’s uncomfortable and it makes me sad and, again, CAN JUST ONE THING GO RIGHT

But Gale simply says, “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself.”

“What’s that?” asks Peeta.

“You,” Gale answers.

“You’ll have to be more specific,” says Peeta. “What about me?”

“That they’ve replaced you with the evil-mutt version of yourself,” says Johanna.

A thousand tears could not properly demonstrate my sadness. What an awful, fucked up situation. Is Peeta ever going to be ok?

As Gale takes Katniss away from Peeta, he makes a really good point that I hope Katniss takes to heart.

“Katniss, as your oldest friend, believe me when I say he’s not really seeing you as you really are.” He kisses my cheek and goes.

And it really is the truth. Sure, Katniss has things she needs to work out with Peeta, and apologies will probably need to be made for what’s happened in the past. But she cannot take to heart what Peeta is saying right now. Also STOP ANTOGONIZING HIM. That’s a good first step.

But this is the difficult hand Katniss has been dealt, so I do want to end this review by stating that I’m entirely aware how hard this is for her. She is a naturally defensive person and she’ll have to make herself vulnerable to have a better chance at a tolerable conversation with Peeta. Well, it’s going to take a lot to help Peeta in general, but I really hope Katniss takes a step back and realizes that she is not helping the situation.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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158 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Chapter 17

    • Julia says:

      And I love the new thingy at the top! This reveiw is great too! I wish there was some gif or picture of finnick and annie.
      UGH! That coversation between Peeta and Finnick freaks me out. What is he thinking? Does he like Annie? Does he hate Finnick? What is his logic? How can ALL of his thoughts not be on Katniss. She was his friend/lover/enemy/mutt thing.

  1. monkeybutter says:

    District 13 has Skele-Gro!

    Somehow, I don't believe that Johanna's head doctor ever had to tell her not to censor herself. I can take her prodding Peeta because that's just what she does, but Katniss is making it tougher. I get why she's defensive: she never had to worry about that kind of criticism from Peeta before. What he's saying is coming from what's been spliced together from the Capitol's recordings, so there's enough truth in it to make her doubt herself, but it isn't the whole story. It seems calculated to ruin Katniss's confidence by making her doubt who she is. I'm glad Gale was there to set her at ease, and you're right, she and Peeta are going to be at odds unless they both take a step back and calm down. Not easy.

  2. pennylane27 says:

    Oh, and YAY on the new banner! I saw it yesterday and squealed. Thank god my sister wasn't around, she already thinks she should have me put in an asylum.

  3. stellaaaaakris says:

    Awesome new design, Mark!

    I'm going to go ahead and give two points to Gale. One for pointing out to Katniss that her faults aren't her only qualities. She needed to hear that and she needed to hear it from someone who argues with her pretty constantly, who she knows has no illusions about her perfectness. I think I'd be a lot more tolerant of Gale if they were just platonic best friends, no romantic interest at all. Because Katniss needs a best friend she can rely on. And I'll give him his second point for realizing that Peeta is as bad as Katniss has been saying. He probably thought she was exaggerating because she tends to feel guilty over everything and place all the blame on herself, making things seem worse than they are. The Peeta Gale knew back in CF, he was hard to hate, in Gale's own words. But with this interaction, it's hard to ignore how completely different he is.

    I like Johanna in this chapter. I think it's very important that she was the one who told Peeta how terrible he was being. I don't remember Peeta and Johanna being particularly friendly during CF, but it's no secret she hates/barely tolerates Katniss. Gale has always been Katniss' defender and Delly likes everybody. But if Johanna is the one who says he's being the "evil-mutt version" of himself, I think that will hold more weight with him. I also liked the description of Delly as a squeaky mouse. It kind of reminds me of me. When I'm annoyed or fed up, I yell, but when I'm extremely upset, my anger manifests itself as tears; it is annoying and embarrassing. But good for you, Delly. Keep telling Peeta how it is; it's probably the only way he'll get better.

    However, I do think that Peeta being able to move around 13 is a sign of improvement. I'm feeling oddly hopeful and upset simultaneously. Also, it bothers me that I would probably react the same way as Katniss. Even if I know it will make the situation worse, I have retort for pretty much everything and I need to answer back. I'd feel horribly guilty afterward, and I'd know it, but that wouldn't stop me.

    • monkeybutter says:

      This is the best I've seen of Johanna so far. I agree that what Johanna said was the most effective way of reining Peeta in because she's neutral and doesn't pull punches. Crying during a fight is the WORST; I feel for squeaky, shrieky Delly. And yeah, I would probably come back with something nasty to say if I was being attacked, too. I can't hate on Katniss for being defensive, but I know first-hand how pointless and destructive that is.

      • cait0716 says:


        I also think that Johanna's honestly is exactly what Peeta needs most right now. He's been hijacked and lied to for so long he must be so confused. I'm sure he welcomes her tendency to just tell it like it is.

        • Hotaru-hime says:

          It probably also helps that Peeta knows Johanna was being tortured right next to him and yet here she is, hanging out with evil mutt Katniss.

    • Hanh says:

      Thank god I'm not the only who would've yelled back. I'm just born with this trigger that is too hard to ignore. My sister yells at me about it all the time. It doesn't change anything though. That is just our bane in life I guess. I also have the stupid creys when I'm super mad. It forces me to storm off because I refuse to let people see me cry. Then I get even madder at myself for not being able to control it. Ugh it's a neverending loop of suck.

  4. Shanella says:

    Love your new banner Mark! =)

    I think this was my least favourite chapter in the book. I am not sure why fans didn't like the book in general, but I did not like this chapter because it seemed as though Katniss couldn't shut up and listen to Peeta.

    However, that would be asking too much, seeing what they both went through, it would be too much to ask her to even have one moment of patience. To be honest, I'm surprised she's not curled up in a ball crying herself to sleep.

    So, while I dislike this chapter, I'm glad it's very real, two people who went through a LOT of crazy things need time to heal, and D13 is not a good environment for that.

  5. monkeybutter says:

    Oh, and I love the new banner! And ANTOGONIZING.

  6. Julia says:

    I think that probably the thing I liked least about Katniss was how short her temper was and how easy it was for her to feel like she was backed into a corner and had no choice but to fight her way out. The negative effects of this are especially apparent when she tries talking to Peeta. Put at least it's consistent with the rest of her personality, so I don't feel like Collins is writing her this way just to create Drama. Basically, I'd rather have a flawed character than a bland one *coughTwilightcough*

  7. Saber says:

    Ok, going to focus on the positives here. FINNICK!!! They're so cute, it's, just, FINNICK!
    But PEETA WHYYYYY U HITTING ON ANNIE? I wasn't the only one who thought that was really weird, right? Though major points to Finnick for being concerned at his mental state instead of defensive. The only time I've ever seen anger in his character is when he's talking about Snow.

    And Johanna, I love you. She tells it like it is. I think that's part of how she copes, with some sort of self-inflicted-exposure-therapy. Or maybe I've been reading one too many psychology books. But the idea is that she just keeps thinking about the capitol's torture until thinking about it doesn't hurt.

    Did I miss anything? OH yes, what's this? Gale saying something sweet instead of harsh? Yay! I'm going to leave this with NO NO NEEDLES SLIZZLING FLESH WHY DO YOU KNOW EVERYTHING I'M AFRAID OF COLLINS?!

    • andreah1234 says:

      I wasn't the only one who thought that was really weird, right? Though major points to Finnick for being concerned at his mental state instead of defensive. The only time I've ever seen anger in his character is when he's talking about Snow.

      No, you weren't. Finnick really IS awesome for undestanding and not jumping to the "you ain't touching my woman!". And even if Peeta is going through a hard time I really think it was wrong for him to do that. Also: FINNICK!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    • accio doublestuff says:

      I wasn't the only one who thought that was really weird, right?

      yes, this was extremely weird. I took two things from this:

      “You be nice to her, Finnick. Or I might try and take her away from you.” It could be a joke, if the tone wasn’t so cold. Everything it conveys is wrong.

      1) this may be a sign that the old peeta is coming back. he is actually making an effort to make a joke, to be social, like his old self would have done.

      2) this shows just how much the capitol has really stolen from him. peeta's greatest gift was his way with words, his ability to always say the right thing. here, he is completely robbed of that – and his words alienate everyone around him.

      so, step in the right direction, but still very sad.

      • Gabbie says:

        THIS! I completely agree with #2, I noticed that as well. And the way Finnick responds is like an example for Katniss not to be so hostile, but more concerned.

      • Lynn says:

        Great points. I had assumed when I first read it that it was number 2. But now it might be number 1 too or some combination. Especially since we find out that he ends up later arguing with himself. As sad as this chapter was the self arguing let me know that as far gone as Peeta is right now that the old Peeta is still somewhere buried deep inside. I just hope that he comes back!

        • just sayin' says:

          …Wait, does your third and fourth sentence count as a spoiler? Anything that starts off with "since we find out later" = a spoiler, right? 🙁

          • pennylane27 says:

            No, quote from the book: “He started arguing with himself like he was two people. The guards had to take him away. On the good side, no one seemed to notice I finished his stew.” Johanna, later in the chapter.

          • Lynn says:

            As Pennylane27 pointed out for me (thanks by the way) the later I was referring to was later in this very chapter. The feeling I got when I started the chapter, and Peeta was so weird and different, was that he was completely lost and irretrievable. But then Johanna tells Katniss that after Delly chews him out he starts to argue with himself. It gave me the smallest kernel of hope that he old Peeta is in there somewhere and not lost. At least that is what I am really hoping for!

        • Hanh says:

          I hope we get some kind of amalgamation of the two Peetas. I wasn't too fond of the saint version.

  8. mr.mowgli says:

    "Even with Johanna’s motivational insults"

    i love you johanna!

    I think Delly should move in with Katniss and Johanna it would be such a great thing to read about.

  9. CuriousApe says:

    Love the banner! And omg this book. It's so depressing and wonderfully so.

  10. cait0716 says:

    List time? List time!

    1) Hooray new banner! It rocks!

    2) <3 Finnick. There should be more guys like Finnick.

    3) I adore Katniss and Johanna as roommates. Their dynamic is so great.

    4) Peeta = 🙁

    5) Gale = 🙂

    6) Collins rocks for not shying away from consequences and hard truths

    7) I love this book

    8) I hate Mondays. Wait that's not related to this chapter. Oh well, it's the truth.

  11. Puel says:

    Love the new banner design!

    Am slightly disappointed you left out one of my favorite lines this chapter, Finnick's "Oh, Peeta. Don't make me sorry I restarted your heart."


    Reading this chapter, there was also a distinct part of me that kind of hoped Katniss would bypass the Gale-or-Peeta drama by hooking up with Johanna instead. At least in part because the reactions of everyone else in District 13 would be priceless.

    I can't even begin to untangle the giant mess that is Katniss and Peeta's relationship right now, but ow. Oh honeys. I agree that Katniss going on the attack isn't exactly the best way to handle Peeta, but that fight response is so ingrained in her (and her PTSD doesn't help matters). I wish there was a space where they could sit down and have a conversation without it degenerating into an exchange of insults, but I'm honestly not sure where that space is right now. Collins never makes anything easy, does she?

    • JoanieM says:

      Katanna = my Katniss OTP, no joke. I couldn't mention it until this chapter because if asked to explain, I knew I wouldn't be able to resist being all "roomies! helping each other through training! <3" But really, Johanna is one person that Katniss doesn't have to front around, or feel like she's being manipulated, or anything. They don't really like each other, but they are honest about it and because of that they can work together well. It's refreshing.

    • zuzu says:


      YES I agree but in my head, since they're from District 4, they frolic on the beach or a boat and live in a place like Shell Cottage.

  12. iolchos says:

    it's amusing to me because I have no soul
    BUT my favorite part was Johanna afterwards talking about its resolution, "The whole cafeteria was riveted!"

    • SecretGirl says:

      The whole cafeteria was riveted and the best part was no one saw her stealing Peeta's stew! Of course, that was immediately followed by remembering the days at the capital and the whole tortured screaming that lasted longer than an hour (so, so, sad).

  13. bell_erin_a says:

    Your new header? It is awesome!

    It’s like the god of the Hunger Games is telling them LOL THIS IS GOING TO BE A PARTY.
    I think that's pretty much the only thing we can assume at this point. You think shit just got real and awful? HAHA SUCKER, HOW ABOUT A REAL PARTY? Um, anyway. ON TO THE LUNCH OF PARTIES AND SUPER AWKWARDNESS!

    “Peeta and I had adjoining cells in the Capitol. We’re very familiar with each other’s screams.”

    Everything it conveys is wrong. The open distrust of Finnick, the implication that Peeta has his eye on Annie, that Annie could desert Finnick, that I do not even exist.
    I know this “new” Peeta means they can restart their relationship or whatever shit, but I seriously miss the old Peeta. 🙁 Also, yeah, you owe Finnick something. Because if you weren’t included in the list of people to rescue when the arena exploded, you should have been. In which case you wouldn't have been hijacked, wouldn't be sitting there in that situation, etc etc… I'm not sure if that even makes sense, but let's face it: you owe Finnick Odair because he is awesome.

    “You missed the best part. Delly lost her temper at Peeta over how he treated you. She got very squeaky. It was like someone stabbing a mouse with a fork repeatedly. The whole dining hall was riveted.”
    LOLOLOLOLOLOL Johanna, you win everything, ever.

    And now, please excuse me while I go pick up the pieces of my heart that just shattered all over the floor. I can’t handle this book.

    • andreah1234 says:

      but let's face it: you owe Finnick Odair because he is awesome.

      I think we all owe Finnick Odair because of that. *wink wink nudge nudge*

  14. arnenieberding says:

    The moment you said sitcom, I couldn't keep the idea of a live audience out of my head.

    *Peeta shows up unannounced*

    ~AUDIENCE goes oooooooooooooh~

    Johanna: We're very familiar with each other's screams.

    ~AUDIENCE doesn't know what to do. One painfully awkward laugh.~

    Thanks for using the "~" by the way. I don't have it on my keyboard, but now I just could ~copy paste~ it. Even though I don't really need it. But. ~Come on~

  15. andreah1234 says:

    JOHANNA. IS THERE SOMETHING ELSE IN THIS CHAPTER OTHER THAT JOHANNA?. God, I love her. I think the reason why I love her character so much is because she really brings the honest to district 13 and I think it's something Katniss has been needing. And she incredibly badass, bitchy, sarcastic and just AWESOME. Plus, sleepovers with Katniss and Johanna?, SIGN ME UP RIGHT NOW.


    Peeta, I know that you're hurting and that things are wrong for you and shit, but that doesn't gives you the right to be so rude and heartless to, well pretty much everyone. And don't mess with Finnick, 'cuz I love you but I will metaphorically smack you if you keep doing it. Gale was okay in this chapter though, THERE I SAID IT.

    On a side (and happier) note: I LOVE THE NEW BANNER. Good job dude! (to whoever did it).

  16. theupsides says:

    I can't even be upset with Katniss for being so defensive and antagonistic, but it's definitely not helping things. It's like she's so angry, so sad, and she misses (the real) him so much, that she can't help but lash out. This is very real and fits well with her character. It's just not very productive in this case.

    The fact that Peeta is out and about is somewhat hopeful, though. It has to be an improvement from being chained to the bed. His memories are still all muddled, and then those that aren't don't seem trustworthy to him anymore. I feel like he really could benefit from conversations with Katniss, or with anyone, really, that were less antagonistic, and a little more helpful.

    Katniss is wallowing in some self-pity right now, which is fine, but I'm glad Gale told her that she was wrong. That Peeta is not seeing her clearly. She really needed to hear that from someone she trusts. This is the Gale I like!

  17. mugglemomof2 says:

    Mark, don't you think Katniss is lashing out and being defensive because of how hurt she is over all this? She took Peeta's love for granted. Now she can't get it back. This is her way of deflecting all the pain she is obviously feeling.

    • inzhuna says:

      I agree. Katniss is in so much pain, she is so frustrated and desperate. I kind of feel like she is spiraling down, that this darkness and depression is sucking her in more and more. And she is going into a fight. I am scared of what she might do. 🙁

      • Gabbie says:

        *LE GASP!* What if she doesn't vote for Buttercup in the election after Mags kills Snow!?

    • Lynn says:

      I agree too. She had really bonded to Peeta and that Peeta is gone for her. She is angry and lashes out at this replacement for all that she has lost. And she really lost a lot. It might not be the best response, but it seems fairly true to Kantiss' nature.

  18. bendemolena says:

    Solution to EVERYTHING:

    Katniss and Johanna need to just escape Thirteen and go live together in the wild with Buttercup. And remain FUCKING FIERCE while doing so.

    Seriously, imagine that trifecta of unabashed fierceness? OH WAIT. Too fierce, your brain will melt.

  19. HanLin says:

    Hooray for Johanna! She is my favorite character. I love seeing her and Katniss's relationship grow and change. Also, Katniss, I know you are in pain, but stop pissing Peeta off. You already know that he is trying to kill you, so why bait him more? I loved Peeta so much, so it really makes me sad that he has turned into this evil-mutt person. He used to be a pure symbol in the book, so kudos to Collins for being an unpredictable writer! I think Mockingjay may be my favorite book so far…

  20. inzhuna says:

    Yeah, I've read about the fandom backlash too. I don't know how Mockingjay ends, but this reminded me of the ending of Animorphs, where a similar thing happened. A lot of people were angry at K.Applegate for not writing a the ending they wanted, and she ended up writing a letter for all fans explaining why she did it, and why it's hard for people who have been through the horrifying experiences of war to have any happy ending, unfortunately. And I found it really sad, that people did not seem to get why it was actually so appropriate and corresponded so well to the message of the whole series – that war is a horrible, horrible thing (although I have a problem with the very last bit of the last book; folks who read will know what I'm talking about). I am not saying anything substantial since I am harbouring hope Mark will get to read Animorphs one day. I think you would also enjoy all of the moral/philosophical dilemmas present throughout all the books, Mark! 🙂

    Cool new header!!!

    Oh, and I have a suggestion that's been in my mind for some time. Mark, what do you think about creating a forum for this site? I love all the people who post here; it'd be wonderful if we had a place to chat about all the things ^_^ Just a little idea. 🙂

    • shortstack930 says:

      I read how a lot of fans didn't like Mockingjay because it was too depressing. But is it supposed to be a happy book when they're in the middle of a rebellion and people are getting tortured and killed left and right? I think Collins did an excellent job.

      • inzhuna says:

        Oh, I agree with you. I have my issues with Collins' writing, but in this regard she is amazing without doubt. I guess it has to do with a lot of fiction glorifying rebellions when in reality it's just not a pretty thing.

      • FlameRaven says:

        I'm going to blame the marketing for at least part of this– there seemed to be a lot made of the "Team Peeta or Team Gale?!" nonsense in an attempt to follow the Twilight marketing/spending spree, and I think that hurt Mockingjay's reception among one group of fans, because they were expecting a love triangle and much more focus on romance. Since that isn't really the point of these books at all, people were disappointed.

        Although I'm not sure why anyone who had read the series thought it would go differently. This book started out with the premise that an oppressive government forces children to murder each other and makes everyone in the country watch. There is not going to be a happy ending in there, ever.

        • I agree, the marketing didn't help. But likewise I also don't understand why everyone thought Mockingjay would be all about the love triangle anyway. The first two books made it obvious that Collins is not obsessed with the romance and the love triangle is actually a tiny tiny subplot (and in my opinion the poorest part of the book) and not even the focus. But no, everyone was all "she ruined the romance part! It was horrible!". Plus I just hate when everyone decides a book was bad simply because they didn't like the ending. Just because it didn't go the way YOU wanted it to go, doesn't mean a book is bad people. I've noticed this happens a lot with major book series though. I recall similar reactions with Harry Potter and of course Twilight (though that was horrible to begin with and the fans may actually have a point there).

      • bookling says:

        I don't want to say too much here, but Mockingjay was emotionally exhausting for me. Moreso than even, say, OotP was, because you never get a break. It's just this unrelenting sadness and terrible things happening and you don't even have the Weasley twins to lighten things up.

        Which is not to say that it shouldn't be depressing, just that it makes it hard to read.

    • Puel says:

      That's a really great comparison, inzhuna, and one I'm nodding enthusiastically at because Animorphs was my childhood love. And one of the reasons I think the Animorphs books — and Mockingjay — are so fucking great is because they explore the consequences and repercussions of violence in a way that most literature aimed at children and teens really doesn't. And yeah, a lot of people's narrative mileages may vary as far as what they like in their kids-against-the-system stories, but y'know what, some of us like the pain.

      (I do think I know which bit you're talking about, and to that bit I say: I am side-eyeing you. I am side-eyeing you HARD.)

      • inzhuna says:

        Side-eyeing right back at ya! 😀

      • iolchos says:

        upvoting this so hard. I read the Animorphs when I was going through some serious crap in my life (like, family members dying) and most literature aimed at my age group, or peddled to me through school, simply did NOT connect with me, or seem to make even the barest attempt of handling adult issues like death and all that. Love for the Animorphs cannot be overstated, honestly. If I were a kid right now, I'd probably have latched onto the Hunger Games trilogy with the same fierceness as I did the Animorphs back then.

        (plus you know, the Animorphs is HILARIOUS and has fantastic sci-fi world building)

        • Puel says:

          I reread the series this summer, and I was really impressed by how well the books held up — the Animorphs definitely still sound like teenagers, but they're trying to cope with the pressures of waging a guerilla war that they really have no idea how to fight at first, and I love how different all their ways of coping are. (And how a lot of the time, their victories are less along the lines of great strategic successes and more along the lines of "we lived to fight another day.") I didn't have family members when I was dying (*hugs*), but I always felt like Animorphs was more honest with me than a lot of other series I read.

          I also have so many fond childhood memories involving Ax and cinnamon buns. (Bun-zuh.)

          • iolchos says:

            thanks for the hugs {hugs back}
            it's true, though, that the books didn't condescend to children as unable to cope with difficult things (it focused squarely on children's abilities or lack thereof to cope with difficult situations, actually), and I think that's a big reason why so many people have strong, fond memories of these books and why they've held up, as you say. The characters were real, we felt for them, and their conflicts and emotional struggles resonated. That's why I think that Harry Potter will last, as well (well, and it's brilliant) longer than some other franchises.

            Plus, cinnabuns. Everytime I see a cinnabun, I buy one. It's an affliction.

            I saw someone on tumblr recently quoting the line where he tries to go shirtless because he's been watching "The Young and the Restless" and that's his barometer for how humans act in polite society, and all I could think was, "Finnick Odair is young. And occasionally restless." MY MIND.

            (is it so bad I was thinking of an Animorphs/Hunger Games crossover, too?)

            • inzhuna says:

              Animorphs/HG crossover? Brilliant! Hmmm I think Katniss wouldn't mind having a bunch of badass kids who can turn into animals on her side… Especially Rachel! 😀 Can you imagine the awesomeness of Rachel+Johanna?! And Finnick+Marco? 😀 😀 😀
              A agree with you both, that Animorphs was very honest. I love Applegate for how she never was scared to deal with difficult issues; she didn't underestimate her readers for not being able to understand them. Like Collins, she also never gives any clearcut answers, she presents these dilemmas for what they are – confusing, frightenning dilemmas, with no black and white solutions.
              I wonder if Applegate and Collins read/like each other?

              • iolchos says:

                if Applegate and Collins become friends and then write something together I WILL DIE OF HAPPINESS (metaphorically)

          • puffybubblezz says:

            Gotta love Ax. His quotes could cheer any kid up. I love to collect his quotes:

            <Tobias! It's me, Aximili. Reassert your individual consciousness.> -Ax
            <Say what?> Marco laughed. <Reassert his what?>

            "Fifty-six thousand? Not millions, at least? Mill-yuns. Millie-yuns." He laughed. "I like that word. It makes nice sounds in my human mouth." -Ax
            "Yeah. It's a swell sound. Sometimes I just lie in bed for six or seven hours doing nothing but saying 'million.'" -Rachel

            "Humor is more common among humans than among Andalites. I think they have to resort to humor. It helps them deal with the embarrassment of being so wobbly on their two ridiculous legs." -Ax

            By the way, does anyone need the pdf copies of the entire series? It's not available online anymore. I think it's a tragedy that huge fans can't read the series. I'll send a copy to anyone who needs it.

            • iolchos says:

              you can still get it on ebay, or other online used book shops, and they're reprinting the series as well starting this year

    • warmouth says:

      Animorphs! *drive by fangirls*

    • puffybubblezz says:

      I agree with you, many people ignore the horrible effects war can have on people, expecting the characters to magically bounce back and have happy endings. It's very hard to understand how much war can change people.

      Oh my god, I totally remember being in junior high and finishing Animorphs and going, "What, what, I DO NOT LIKE this ending." It took me years to understand that the ending was very realistic and was unavoidable. Does this count as spoilers? 😀
      I think I know what last bit you're talking about, and high five to another Animorphs fan! I totally hope Mark reads Animorphs.

    • knut_knut says:

      I read a few reviews from disgruntled fans complaining about Katniss' depression, saying she could have acted more like Harry Potter or something along those lines. I don't really think it's a fair to compare Katniss and Harry but I thought it was interesting.

      • Puel says:

        It is interesting, but it's also kind of judgey (and more than a little ableist) to talk about how a person living with depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder should behave. I can understand people disliking the book because it's hard to read about that kind of depression, when it feels like there's nothing stable beneath you anymore and very little to keep you engaged with life. It was one of the reasons why reading Mockingjay was kind of like getting brass knuckles to the gut repeatedly for me, because I've been on both sides of it. It's painful to go through, and it's painful to watch people you really care about go through it. But I think that's one of the reasons Mockingjay is so powerful, too, because even though things steadfastly refuse to go right for Katniss, she never gives up. People try to limit her choices and control her actions every step of the way, but she works to subvert those constraints and fight for the things that are most important to her, and I have so much respect for her for that. No, her actions don't always make everything better, but she's trying, and to me that's one of the most powerful statements about oppression you can make.

        It's hard as hell to read, and again, I can see where it puts some people off, but for me, Mockingjay is a surprisingly validating experience. Heartbreak and all.

        • inzhuna says:

          Hm, I think Harry has the advantage of having had more time to prepare for his war (although on the other hand he did face Voldemort when he was much younger than Katniss) and also that Ron and Hermione were always there for him no matter what, whereas Katniss has a lot of issues with her relationship with Peeta, Gale and Haymitch; she does have Prim though, but she can't allow herself to rely on her. I don't know. It is a very interesting comparison to think about, I'd have to have much more time to form a coherent opinion on this. I definitely think, though, that accusing Katniss of being weak is very unfair. You're right about her not giving up. She has something worth fighting for, just like Harry.

    • Depths_of_Sea says:

      Yeah, the fandom backlash for Mockingjay has always perplexed me. Especially the whole "It's too depressing!" thing. These aren't exactly very NICE books to begin with, I mean, in the first book we had GIANT MUTATED WOLVES DESIGNED FROM THE DNA OF DEAD KIDS that slowly, slowly mauled and ripped apart the last competitor. I'm not sure how the rest of the series was supposed to be any less traumatic and horrifying.

      • iolchos says:

        I guess people thought they'd earned their happy ending and that Mockingjay was going to be sunflowers and rainbows and "yay the districts are good and the Capitol is failing!"

        granted, I had really been hoping for a KatPee reunion with cartoon hearts and sparkles and bubbles, and rose petals, like this
        <img src=""&gt;
        and hopefully while Toki ni Ai Wa plays


        • Depths_of_Sea says:

          …oh my that is too adorable.


          • iolchos says:

            (but the image file says "Kira Lacus Hug" so maybe those are the characters?)

            • inzhuna says:

              If you want to see the most heartwarming reunion ever, google Christian the lion! That video manages to make me cry every single time!

          • QuoteMyFoot says:

            I believe it's from Gundam SEED. Or some Gundam, anyways. Wikipedia it! I haven't seen it myself but my friends give it a pretty good rec.

    • Bealocwealm says:

      You should upvote the Animorphs suggestion, you guys. < < Because how awesome would it be? I keep reading them (I finally got past the 22nd, and am now farther than I ever got when I read them as a kid) and thinking HOW WOULD MARK REACT TO THIS OR THAT AND WHAT WOULD HE THINK OF THAT AND THIS

      My thought being that the series IS a bit long to do in his standard chapter-by-chapter format, BUT each book is very much like a TV episode in length and format, so it could be book-by-book? Eh? eh? Am I a genius? (But seriously I have put Animorphs in the Suggestions thingy.)

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

  21. finnickodair says:

    Judging by her behavior in this chapter (and Buttercup's actions as perceived in my head), Johanna and Buttercup are the ultimate kindred spirits.

  22. ldwy says:

    This gif is clearly Johanna and Katniss.

    "Fine. I'll train. But I'm going to the stinking Capitol if I have to kill a crew and fly there myself," says Johanna.
    "Probably best not to bring that up in training," I say. "But it's nice to know I'll have a ride."

    Haha, I think this humorous, sharp banter will come to be the picture of Johanna and Katniss' relationship.

    "Haymitch says he's getting better," she says.
    "Maybe. But he's changed," I say.
    "So have you. So have I. And Finnick and Haymitch and Beetee. Don't get me started on Annie Cresta. The arena messed us all up pretty good, don't you think? Or do you still feel like the girl who volunteered for your sister," she asks me.

    My god, I love Johanna in this chapter, she's fantastic. Blunt and tactless and exactly the kind of real that Katniss needs. I'm glad they're becoming friends. And what she says here fuels the little bit of hope I have regarding Peeta. They're all messed up, but there's nothing to do but go forward. Obviously, Peeta has a few more obstacles to hurdle before he can achieve this (to put it lightly) but I feel like by the end he'll be able to do the same. Who knows, maybe I'm deluding myself, because I love him and want him to recover but I'M STILL HOPEFUL DAMNIT!

    The dinner is so sad.

    I can put myself in everyone's shoes, empathize with the way everyone is feeling and reacts. But man, it's hard to read. Everyone is so hurt and sad and I just want them all to be happy. And then we get this.

    "I told you he hated me," I say.
    "It's the way he hates you. It's so…familiar. I used to feel like that," he admits. "When I'd watch you kissing him on the screen. Only I knew I wasn't being entirely fair. He can't see that."

    Gale! For once your jealousy can actually lead to something pretty good. Some new understanding. He's really not pressuring Katniss here, he's helping her understand. That as much as Peeta keeps hurting her, he can't see that he's not being fair to her. That once again, the Capitol is the true enemy. I really liked this part. And then Gale reassures her that she's not a bad person, that all of the awful things that have been amplified or invented for Peeta are not the truth of her. He is back to being a good best friend. And I'm glad of it. He doesn't seem to have any agenda of his own her, he's just helping his friend.

    Ugh, and then after a little happy, of course more awful comes. Johanna stating so bluntly about how Peeta argued with himself like he was two people???? Oh my gosh, it makes me so sad and upset for him. I cannot even imagine the horrors of being in his situation to have your self modified and ripped in two and mangled and messed up. I want to give him all the hugs. And then we learn how hearing each other be tortured, suffer agonies, was part of Johanna's and Peeta's torture. Again, this doesn't really surprise me, knowing all we know. But it horrifies and dismays me.

  23. shortstack930 says:

    Was anyone else reminded of Harry regrowing his arm in COS while Katniss was taking drugs to mend her ribs? LOL

  24. ldwy says:

    AWWWWWWW SO ROMANTIC, RIGHT? Where is our Finnick where is he

    I know, right?

  25. shortstack930 says:

    Johanna is definitely one of my favorites. She's just so blunt and uncensored and completely unashamed about anything, which is awesome. I like how she pointed out to Katniss how Peeta isn't necessarily the only one who has changed since the Games, they all have in different ways. Katniss needs to realize this in order to cope with Peeta and stop being defensive and antagonizing whenever he's around her. Even though she's extremely upset and emotional about him, she's only making it worse by arguing with him in his condition.

  26. Stephalopolis says:

    "Johanna is pretty reluctant to train in the rain"

    I didn't catch this the first time I read this series, but now I'm thinking Johanna's reluctance has to do with being caught in the Blood Rain Downpour in Catching Fire's Hunger Games. I know it would make me reluctant to go back out in what I thought was just "rain."

  27. Kate Monster says:

    "We're very familiar with each other's screams."

    When I read this the first time, I could NOT have been more disturbed. It's so abrupt that you almost have to do a double take on the line. But when I started processing it, I actually had to set the book down and give Collins a high five on the astral plane because SHE WENT THERE.

    I hadn't heard about this book getting backlash in the fandom. Why does this always happen with final books in series? I mean, sometimes it makes sense (*coughBreakingDawncough*) but I loved Mockingjay. It's so intense and wonderful! And, well, heartbreaking because PEETA. But I don't get the hate.

    <img src=""&gt;

    • shortstack930 says:

      I think it got a lot of backlash because a lot of the fans were young girls who only cared if Katniss ended up on Team Peeta or Team Gale, which in my opinion is absolutely not what the books are about. When the book ended up not entirely surrounding the "romance", some fans were upset. I, however, love the fact that Katniss's entired world doesn't center around her choosing one guy or the other.

      • Kate Monster says:

        Agreed! Completely not what the books are about at all. But like I said below, Collins even deals with that in a fairy logical manner compared to other popular fiction series. I like seeing Katniss go back and forth. I can usually guess who the main character will end up with in these sorts of plot lines, but I have to admit there were moments in this book where I wasn't at all sure. And to know that I wasn't sure because Katniss wasn't sure, to me, shows a great deal of skill on Collins' part. 🙂

    • cait0716 says:

      I think there tends to be backlash with the final installment in a series because fans get so invested in the characters/story and decide on the ending that they want to tie everything up nicely. The mismatch between what they want and what the author says happened results in rejection. You're right about it happening a lot.

    • Lala says:

      Unpopular opinion time! I am one of the people that who didn't like Mockingjay as much as the other books. I didn't think it was bad and I didn't hate it like a some of the fandom did, but I was left feeling unsatisfied when I was reading it. One of the problems I have with it is that Katniss doesn't seem to really do a lot. She seems to just be there while everything else is going on or she is being drugged by District 13. She doesn't have any real power in 13 and I wish she would fight for it instead of going along with everything. In the first two books, she was in the thick of all the action and now she is pushed to the sidelines. And that is totally okay if Collins wants to do that to Katniss, but I almost wish she would switch POVs or something instead of telling Katnisss what happened when she was drugged up.

      Also, I know that Collins is trying to show us that war is bad and depressing, but I need some happy moments. So far, the only thing that hasn't been horrible in this is Finnick and Annie's wedding, oh and Supreme Lord of Everything Buttercup. Even rescuing Peeta and Johanna ended up with Peeta trying to kill Katniss.

      But I do like this chapter because Johanna rules and I love the bonding between Katniss and Johanna, and I just love Johanna am happy that she is getting more screen time (page time? IDK) Actually, I like reading about the bonding between Katniss and the other victors more than the (mostly) horribly awkward conversations between Katniss, Peeta and Gale. Also, Finnick and Annie are pretty much adorable and cuter than a box of kittens and unicorns. And then Peeta has to come and be weird to everyone. I miss the old Peeta. Please come back to us old Peeta, come back!

    • rowenaravenclaw says:

      I agree with most of the points in this post and its replies in regards to what i loved about this book, but i think my fav of the series still ends up being catching fire for reasons that are not yet discussable cause SPOILERS.

  28. lisra says:

    "This is gonna suck."

    Hooo boy.

  29. Lily says:

    i was so excited to read the review that i didn't even notice the new header. Dx
    shows how obsessed i am. (;

  30. ldwy says:

    Bahhh, my big long thought while reading comment is in limbo with the mods. I mean, I'm sure it will come back eventually (? I hope so) but I can't for the life of me think of what might be in it that would trigger the wait.

    • ldwy says:

      YES it seems to have appeared. Okay, sorry for the griping 🙂
      Cancel that, I edited a typo in it and it disappeared again. Oh well, maybe someday.

  31. canadadian says:

    Where are my pocket Finnick and Johanna? WHERE ARE THEY. In fact, can I just put in a request for every character Mark has ever liked in the least to be shipped to my house in pocket format? Please do so immediately, JKR and Collins.

    • Gabbie says:

      I've had this discussion with friends who are also fans of THG, but:
      Hunger Games dolls.
      Some of these included…
      Katniss – arena clothes, Mockingjay uniform, hospital gown. Bows and arrows, and a syringe included
      Peeta- complete with a baker's outfit, his arena outfit, and a pirate outfit for the kids
      Haymitch – includes plastic flask and a button on his back that, if you push it, he'll say drunken slurs
      Effie – with over 10 different wigs!!! (and if you dunk them in warm water, they sparkle or something fun like that)

      • theresa1128429 says:

        I would buy that lol!

      • pennylane27 says:


        Also, half-naked Finnick with a trident?
        Bed-pooping Buttercup?
        Roses-and-blood-scented Snow?

        … Wait, no, that's too creepy.

      • iolchos says:

        for some reason "a pirate outfit for the kids" had me laughing the hardest

        the Gale doll should come with a pickaxe, some rope, and a belt of dead animals, and a change of clothes from Seam clothes, miner's uniform, to District 13 uniform (which comes with a rifle). The Gale doll is not sold in all countries on account of being slightly TERRIFYING.

        the Johanna doll comes with an axe, and all her clothes are held on by velcro. If you push a button on her back, she'll tell you to go to hell.

  32. lilygirl says:

    You Are Not Prepared says it all. The Mockingjay haters are in a little rainbow hole somewhere. This is my favorite book because it is a slap in the face, an elbow to the gut, a kick in the shin. Physically, emotionally, mentally it just gives it to you non stop. War is hell, everything fubar, things are broken and all the Kings Horsese and all the Kings men cannot put them together again. Life has real choices and real consequences, the shit is real

  33. Pk9 says:

    I'm not the first to notice, but…

    This is what they injected into Katniss:

    <img src=""&gt;

  34. warmouth says:

    I think this book maybe my favorite in the series. I love how dark and serious it is. It definitely hooked me in and left me feeling someting (albeit a feeling of dread) as opposed to the first book, where I was like "Meh. Guess I'llkeep reading. It's all right."

    <img src=""&gt;

    Did Johanna and Katniss just become best friends?

    <img src=""&gt;

    OMG Peeta and Katniss get along

    <img src=""&gt;

    Or I'll make you. What, I don't love this gif. You should immediately stop judging me.

  35. embers says:

    I feel sorry for Peeta: he must know by now that none of his family got out of District 12, he is really completely alone in the world.

    I love this book, I love Johanna, and I love the new banner!

  36. theanagrace says:

    This is perfectly symbolic. I just left the lunchroom at work because there are SUPER AWKWARD conversations going on and I don't need ant negative karma today, so I went on the computer and happily read about someone else having a SUPER AWKWARD conversation at their lunch.
    I like that Gale is finally giving Katniss some positive support after all his recent douche-baggery, I think even though Johanna's negative reinforcement is helping her out, happy thoughts are good too.
    And Finnick and Annie totally made me think of that disgustingly adorable couple we all know that sit on the same side of the table and use pet names for each other and make kissy faces all day long. (I am occasionally guilty of this myself) SO CUTE!!!

  37. Gabbie says:

    Here's the only fanart I could find of AWKWARD LUNCH IS AWKWARD:

  38. ShiiShii says:

    Oh no, this is not the reason why the backlash exists, at least for me. I am one of the people who ended up not liking this book, but lemme tell you all right now that it's kind of rude to see people be like, "Aww Haters gone HATE", "they're hiding in a hole" and shit, when we're free to have our own opinions. Being incredibly ridiculous and over dramatic of said opinion is another story.

    Now I obviously can't spoil cause this is Mark Reads, but I can say that I was still loving this book at this point. I had absolutely nothing wrong with Mockingjay.

    Frankly, I don't want to resort to shouting "OPPOSITE OPINION TIME" when I speak my thoughts on this like the poor soul a few chapters back. Let's all be reasonable and enjoy the series for what it is, not bash the people who disliked Mockingjay.

    Good day to you.

    • bendemolena says:

      +1. Fucking signed. This was around the point where I started to dislike the book, admittedly, but it wasn't really for the reasons everyone's really going on about. I ended up disliking the book for other reasons, and you obviously did too, but what sucks is that we can't defend our opinion here yet without getting spoilery. :<

  39. Lipton says:



    What I meant to say is, I frigging love this book. After reading Hunger Games I was all "Yeah, that was fun" but after reading Mockingjay I immediately wanted to make everyone I know read it so that I could talk to them about how FRIGGING AWESOME it is. More than anything I appreciate how realistically Collins portrays the kind of mental and emotional trauma someone would have after enduring those kinds of experiences, and that experiencing that trauma doesn't make someone weak or worthless. That it's okay to be fucked up and you can still kick ass.

    But anyway, where is my Finnich? Or my Johanna? I'm not picky, you guys, I'd take either one, though both would be the best.

    Also, it's a Montage.

  40. notemily says:

    Love the new headers, Mark!

  41. theresa1128429 says:

    Hooray for Johanna! She always has the right thing to say (and that's not sarcasm). I'm very proud of her and Katniss training so hard, but I am still waiting for my key to the room..

  42. SophiePatronus says:

    I had a bit of a hate-love relationship with Mockingjay the first time I read it. It really feels like a slap in the face and it took me awhile to really realize how naive I was being in expecting that it would be anything different. Now, I love it for how real it is.

    One valid complaint at this point: Collins's whole plot device of something awful happening or being introduced, then the chapter ending, then the next chapter starting with Katniss recapping for us what happened, like, two days later after being drugged to sleep.
    I get that writing it this way makes it all the more apparent that D13 takes advantage of Katniss and constantly drugs her without her consent, but that doesn't mean we can't experience her immediate reactions.
    Any thoughts? I'd love to hear if anyone else noticed this, and if so, what they thought of it…

    ALSO: Collins probably grew so fond of Buttercup that she couldn't help but make Johanna his human counterpart. 😀

    • ShiiShii says:

      I definitely noticed this, and it started to aggravate me because, like you, I wanted to see immediate reactions, not just Katniss saying, "Oh well…here's what happened! :D" I think that's why I loved reading the attack on District 8, because it was HAPPENING, not just told to us by Katniss.


    This chapter is so odd when Peeta comes in. He seriously is a Mutt form of himself, but I feel like Gale kissing Katniss on the cheek is a bigger form of antagonization than the insults. Mostly because it connects back to the feelings and memories he can't justify just yet so it just sets things even more on fire in his brain on what to feel

  44. Pseudonymph says:

    Mark, can I just say that I love how you talk about characters as if they actually exist? You are so considerate toward them and their feelings – it's wonderful!

  45. Lynn says:

    I was so sad to see the extent of what the capitol did to Peeta in this chapter. I started to loose hope for him until we find out that he started actually arguing with himself after Delly challenged him. This tells me somewhere in there is the old Peeta. Of course knowing Collins all of this will still only be taking us down heartbreak lane. So sad!

    I am glad that Johanna and Katniss are starting to bond. Katniss needs some good friends who don't expect anything from her. Gale did a good job with is comments about who Katniss really is, but I still feel like there is a gulf between them to some degree that used to not be there. It is nice to see Katniss finding someone new to be friends with. And her last no pressure friend, Finnick, is pretty busy with Annie now.

    • ldwy says:

      I started to loose hope for him until we find out that he started actually arguing with himself after Delly challenged him. This tells me somewhere in there is the old Peeta.
      Exactly this. I'm still very very nervous, but I am not without hope.

      And she's always been such a loner, I too am happy to see her developing new friendships.

  46. Depths_of_Sea says:

    Johanna OWNS this chapter and my heart completely. (Along with Delly. <3)

    "You missed the best part. Delly lost her temper at Peeta over how he treated you. She got very squeaky. It was like someone stabbing a mouse with a fork repeatedly."


  47. RainaWeather says:

    This chapter is pretty much where I started to ship Me/Johanna Katniss/Johanna. I love Johanna's blunt, rude and totally spot-on comments. Sometimes you need to hear the truth from someone who does not give a damn about your precious feelings.

  48. kajacana says:

    My heart melted when Katniss and Johanna became sorta-kinda friends. They're both so tough, and on top of that they don't even like each other… and yet they can finally look past that, at least enough to lend each other some much-needed support. It's a huge moment of maturation/character development for Katniss, and I love it. Also Johanna is a BAMF and I love seeing her interact with Katniss in a way that doesn't put her BAMF-ness front-and-center, like usual.

    Also Mark I love the new banners, they are awesome!!

  49. trash_addict says:

    Peeeeeeeeeta 🙁

    I feel like some hugs would help the boy *astral plane hugs to Peeta*

    Edit: Even though she doesn't seem too big on hugs I think Katniss deserves one too. *astral plane manly-pat-on-the-back, at least*

  50. helenablythe says:

    I think that one of the things I appreciate most about this series and about the way Collins writes the situations is how she doesn't let us fall into easy and simplistic judgements about the characters. In the previous chapters, with all of Gale's cold hearted (in my opinion) or at the least entirely practical and utilitarian war strategy, I could write him off as deservedly out of the running. He's too violent and dark for her, they'd be horrible together, he's just not a really good person, etc. But with this chapter, we see so much more Gale. His honesty, his affection, his integrity. He really could have used all of this as a way to manipulate Katniss away from Peeta and toward him as a refuge. But I don't think he does. He's supportive without it being for his advantage.

    I like it. I like not being led by the nose and forced into some pre-made box of like/dislike that the author constructs and angles everything towards.

    I keep hearing about fandom uproar, though I have to say that none of the people I actually know had a problem with the content of the way it ended. And that's all I'll say about that since I fear to inadvertently spoil things. But fandoms…hate's part of the fun timez!

    see more Gifs

  51. Laurysa says:

    I can sorta understand why Katniss is reacting so defensively. When I was younger, I had a lot of bad stuff happen to me, and it really rattled my mom's mind. There were times I thought she was going to have to check herself into a mental hospital. (In the end, she didn't, though) But I just remember how angry I would get at her sometimes for abandoning me when I really needed it. I knew that she couldn't really help it, that her mind was completely astounded at what had happened, but I still would get angry at her for not being able to cope at the time. I would try to not get angry, but who can REALLY control how they feel? When I'm sad, I'm sad, even if it's over something stupid. If I'm angry, I'm angry. I can pretend to be something else, but I'll still feel how I feel no matter if someone tells me that what I'm feeling is wrong.

    On a completely unrelated note, I really think it's interesting to see the comparison between The Capitol/Panem and the Roman Empire. The Capitol is just like Rome, enjoying all the benefits of the "conquered" lands and feeling like they are entitled to everything. Have you noticed that a lot of Capitol citizens–and I think the tributes from the Capitol buddy district 2–have Latin names? Katniss almost reminds me of the goddess Diana too. And there was some Roman myth that I can't remember the name of that sorta resembles the book. (And with leet wikipedia searching skills, I think I found it) Read the Minos and Theseus portion about how 7 Athenian girls and 7 Athenian boys were sacrificed to the Minotaur because Athens lost a war with Minos. I don't know, I just think it's fairly interesting. It makes me wonder if Collins specifically used these myths/parallels or if they just happened to exist. Personally, though, I think it's intentional.

  52. vampira2468 says:

    Again, Katniss just bugged me as a character

  53. Hanh says:

    They make them run 5 miles? Yeah I'd be dead, too. And stop fiddling with those guns. Johanna needs an arsenal of assorted axes.

    Johanna is pretty reluctant to train in the rain (WHO WOULDN'T BE)
    Why that would be me, Mark. I actually love working out in the rain. I don't know if it's atmospheric change in pressure or something but I feel so alive during storms. I LOVE IT.

    I really want a Fannie backstory please. How did they meet? When did they fall in love? Was it before or after the games? You're gonna tell us more about this right Collins?

    I think I'm even more dead inside than you, Mark, because I loved reading all the dialogue. I have a sickening fascination with watching trainwrecks. I must be the only one who likes new Peeta minus the choking people part.

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