(This is part of a series of “book reports” I’m doing – recording my thoughts on the books I’m reading as part of a general desire to read more. This will typically be talking about what I liked or didn’t and why I did or didn’t, generally related to story-telling. It won’t be a discussion of deeper themes and meanings. Comments are always open to tell me your take. Click here to see all the books I’ve talked about.)
When doing my write-ups on The Hunger Games Trilogy, I trimmed some smaller points out so I could focus on the big things I was thinking. Then I figured why let them go to waste so if you’re not sick of reading my thoughts on the Hunger Games yet, here’s three final things, mostly minor, that annoyed me about the Hunger Games. (If you missed them, go ahead and read My Thoughts on The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, or Mockingjay first)
What’s in A Name?
So, District 13? You’ve been independent for 100 years of independence and you couldn’t come up with a decent name for your country? Freelandia. Undergroundia. IDK, but something. It makes sense enough that the other districts were numbered. They were oppressed (though even they would have had their own names for their district). But 13 is free, the first thing they would have done was name their colony. People name their cars and their computers and their phones. Name your country. And make a flag. Districts love flags.
What was the point of stating “used to be North America?” I’d had this thought early on in book one, but thought I’d wait to bring it up, in case it pays off later. But it didn’t. There was no point to the North America reference at all. Nothing in the book changes if that was left out. We get the idea of one civilization being built in the ashes of another, nuclear age technology, etc, just fine without the reference.
But if you’re going to say this is what used to be North America, there needs to be some pay off. Some direct relevance. Maybe the annual Hunger Games (or some of them) could take place in a bombed out city to remind people of the past. Maybe there’s something in the history of North America that can help them find D13 or overthrow the Capitol. Who knows, but if you bring it up, pay it off, please.
As is, all it does is open way more questions than it answers. What happened to North America? What about the rest of the world? China, Ireland, South Africa? Argentina? Australia?
Reality TV 101, Producer’s Edition.
Something else that I found a bit odd when reading was the constant references to everything happening live. Over a two week-ish period. Surely the fine and intelligent people of the Capital know about editing. There had to have been so much time during the Hunger Games where nothing is happening and such unpredictability as to when things would happen that it seems silly to waste an entire channel to dead air. It’s no surprise the Gamemakers find the need to game the system so much.
Take Big Brother, an elimination-style reality TV show that puts its contestants into an “arena” where they’re watched 24/7 by hidden cameras solves this by, you know, not airing the show 24/7. They air the show three times a week, editing down the interesting things that happen. Everything still happens virtually live and one show is still live.
After seventy-four seasons of The Hunger Games, you’d think the Capitol would have clued into that.
And with that I put the Hunger Games trilogy to rest. The books anyway. Still two movies to go.
If you missed them, why not read