The Hunger Games was $9.96.
Okay, here is where I admit; I (at the time)(two days ago) had neither read the books nor watched the movies because while I love dystopia, I only read it now when written by fanfic writers. I got it mostly because I thought Child might like it (and I had a promotional credit to burn) and if it got on my nerves, I'd just write a DW post while watching about how much I hate it, which was the plan this afternoon because the next best thing to falling in love with a form of media and writing all about it is hating it and writing all about it.
I'm on my third watch now.
To be clear here: I had not read the books nor watched the movies but I osmosised (apparently accurately) the entire plot of the first book.
(The only genuine surprises was how fucking young Prim and especially Rue were. And Rue was tiny. Which is why I am not ashamed to admit I cried through Rue's death and the flowers and the reaction of her district. Uh, twice.)
What I"m trying to work out now--other than which days this week work is light so I can time my reading, since obviously, when the two come into conflict, reader's gonna read--is if I would have liked the books back in 2008. More specifically, I remember when hearing about it, it sounded like a cool idea but parts seemed way over the top, like the entire population of the Capital and the popularity Circus Maximus et Technologicus (...I wonder if I need that 'et').
Everyone has meta'ed these books and movies into the ground, thank God, so I can happily be wrong about everything here and no one will care.
Sure, I had a low opinion of exploitative reality TV but come on. It's one thing to be super into Big Brother and watching in horror as people voluntarily decided a good life choice was to be on a show called 'Housewives of --' and then watched an entire 'Housewife Of --' industry develop. But I just couldn't take seriously an entire population could manage en masse to get that callous about human life, especially children, especially without any plausible deniability on what you're really doing (you're calling it a fucking Reaping? Really?) . It's not that de-humanizing entire swathes of the human race isn't one of our more popular hobbies (top five pretty much since forever), but generally we make up reasons and pretend they're plausible super hard and also that we totally have one as a friend but they aren't like the other ones and this is now getting depressing, so.
In a surprising turn of events, I didn't consider the incredibly obvious form of plausible deniability that can be easily found in the medium of reality TV; whoever competes get to live a (super short, sure) life of luxury and be the focus of massive public adulation and three meals a day (and dessert) with the dazzling of winning an entire life. After what, to the Capital people, seems like a miserable existence of back-breaking labor and poverty and starvation and beige-toned everything, surely they would want to come to the Capital and try to win endless riches, live a life of ease, feed their entire district for a year, and learn what color is; they could become Capitol people! They just don't know better; they probably think their lives, no matter how hard it is, are worth living.
Two kids per district per year; it's not that many. Each district probably loses on average twice that a month to starvation, accidents, disease, infection (depending on size of district and their product), but whatever the death rate, the Capitol people likely think in those conditions they drop like flies or something.
Like, it's sad--they're so young! from such disadvantaged backgrounds!--but when the Capitol's population gets formally introduced to them, they're not underweight kids in all the shades that don't appear in the rainbow; they're introduced as superstars who look older, dangerously determined, and not at all stolen from their families using a lottery that raises the odds of their death in public combat every time they want to lower the odds of their death by starvation (which on a guess are already pretty fucking high when they willingly take extra food at the low low price of another piece of paper with their name on it for the lottery).
Katniss wasn't what I expected either; I had a very different impression about her from what I read.
Most interesting though; it's not often a character can and will kill without hesitation or (much?) remorse but also make a concerted effort to not be in a position where that's a requirement. Sure, the guy who killed Rue was her first kill in the heat of the moment, so it could be argued until then, she wasn't sure she could do it and therefore was putting off inevitable death, but I'm not convinced.
(Maybe book Katniss is more angsty about it? I really don't want her to be. Sure, I'm probably overthinking it, but only two character types are permitted not to be angsty at minimum about killing people (even by accident); sociopaths who generally treat murder like a hobby they're super into and Gruff World Weary Unshaven White Guys Who Have Seen Too Much Shit (largest subcategory: former soldier) and have sworn never again but will by the middle of the book and half the time discover Feelings. I mean, I am not against people being emotionally devastated by killing another person--I'm a fan, really--but the assumption that feeling bad is literally the only reason everyone on earth isn't gleefully racking up a body count or serial raping their weekends away between laundry and Netflix binges seriously needs to be rethought like a lot. Feeling are to ethical and moral decisions as clouds are to accurately navigating the Atlantic in a rowboat. And that digressed a lot, moving on.)
Note: I completely forgot Lenny Kravitz was Cinna, and as I spent a considerable amount of my late teens (...and early twenties) listening to him sing Again on repeat-one for probably an unhealthy [number of units of time measurement] and writing Jenn Kravitz (in my head)(...mostly) in cursive with a tiny heart over the i over and over...what the fuck is up with him looking even better than ever in his life? What was that wearing stubble about? This is worse than Chris Pine appearing in a beard and kilt (and in a lake very visibly kiltless, thank you) on Netflix without warning, Jesus.
Also, note; I'd be dead at the Games fairly fast.
I mean, set this in my teens: the getting away part wouldn't be (much of a) problem, as I was a sprinter in high school and I assure you running away is totally my jam ('to fight another day' is a lie; there will be no fight, only run). I grew up climbing trees, on cars, on roofs, inadvisable rock structures, more places I feel are irrelevant or just don't want to admit, so yes, difficult but again, at least something I have verified I can do with a low to medium chance of killing myself doing, and I value that since there aren't many of those. Now, of course I'm going to die if there was a straight fight, or if there were traps, or arrows, swords, knives, clubs, branches, fists, basically if they find me, but come on, that's the games and dying in honor, which I can safely say is not my destiny. Frankly, I wouldn't hold out for even 'not breathtakingly humiliating' pre-, in media res-, or post-mortem
It's the wasps.
No, not getting stung: that would be reasonable, understandable, something family and friends could admit with pain but without shame instead of desperately changing the topic to literally anything else and/or denying I ever existed (more likely). It would go like this: I'd be in the dark in a tree, sociopaths below, willing to die of starvation and dehydration up here if that's how it's gonna go (...honestly, probably not but I'd be super convincing to the tree). And all they gotta do is point up and say "Hey, I see wasps!"
I'd cut that rope and be dead of a broken neck on the ground before the exclamation point. And I just know they'd play that fucking clip forever. Assholes.
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