It seems relevant after my last article on the Twilight Saga to draw attention to the latest craze of books now hitting the big screen: The Hunger Games. American author Suzanne Collins created the trilogy; ‘The Hunger Games’ (2008), ‘Catching Fire’ (2009) and ‘Mockingjay’ (2010) which gained so much success - having now been translated into 26 different languages - that this March saw the release of its first film. ‘The Hunger Games’ is set in our world, but in a post-apocalyptic time. The Capitol is the cruel Government of the twelve districts of Panem, which was once North America. As punishment for a revolution in the past, the Capitol created the Hunger Games. One boy and one girl (aged twelve to eighteen) are chosen from each district to fight on live television until only one child remains. Our main character is Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers in the place of her younger sister Primrose for District Twelve. The male “tribute” for the district is Peeta Mellark, the son of a baker, who is in love with Katniss. During the Games, Katniss uses his love to her advantage, so that the wealthy audience can send her food and medicine. All the citizens from districts four to twelve hate the Capitol because of the oppression, poverty and violence that they suffer. Katniss angers the Capitol during the Games when her new friend Rue from District Eleven is killed, and she shows compassion by laying flowers on her body. Furthermore, at the end of the Games, only Peeta and Katniss remain, so each refuses to kill the other. Instead, they agree to eat poisoned berries together so that there is no winner for the Capitol. In response, rather than being humiliated in front of the districts, the Capitol allow the couple to win together. The other districts watching the Games have now witnessed an act of rebellion, and they want more. Thus, a second revolution is about to be born… ‘Catching Fire’ is about the development of this revolution. The Capitol are furious at Katniss for starting a second rebellion, so they create a special version of the Hunger Games for all the previous victors, which means that she and Peeta must return. During these games, they create a team of victors, who manage to destroy the arena and escape to District Thirteen, which most people thought did not exist. However, the Capitol capture Peeta, and they destroy District Twelve. ‘Mockingjay’ tells the story of Katniss leading the revolution of the Capitol and President Snow. The rebels use her in the media as the symbol of their rebellion. They rescue Peeta, but he has been tortured and now he hates and fears Katniss. A team of rebels including Peeta and Katniss then go on a mission to assassinate President Snow in the Capitol, but Katniss’ sister Primrose is killed by a bomb. Katniss later discovers that the president of the rebels made this bomb, so she kills her own president in place of Snow. She then returns to her home, District Twelve, to try to recover with Peeta. At the end of the book we see them married with two children. Personally, I thought the books were very thrilling, and I would definitely recommend them. However, it disturbs me to think that these games could be a possibility in the future. “Reality TV” is extremely popular in English speaking culture, and violent films and videogames have a lot of influence nowadays – it would not take much effort to combine these two together…
What do you think of the Hunger Games books?
Do you think such a terrible future could really happen?