Chapter 22 & Chapter 23 THG Read-again
(Day 14 I think?)
“You just let me take care of you for a while.” This soft boy. Katniss deserves this.
“Why did you, anyway?” “Why? You know why,” Peeta says. I give my head a slight, painful shake. “Haymitch said you would take a lot of convincing.”
“I don’t want Cato to kill Thresh at all. I don’t want anyone else to die. But this is absolutely not the kind of thing that victors go around saying in the arena. Despite my best efforts, I can feel tears starting to pool in my eyes.” Katniss! After nearly being cut into pieces by Clove! Does not want revenge anymore. She’s already tired of all the deaths and the killings.
Katniss finally admitting to herself that she doesn’t want to lose Peeta for more than just practical reasons. Up until now she keeps hiding under the excuse of the sponsors, and about going home and facing her district... this poor emotionally traumatized girl. She’s so afraid to care for people, she couldn’t even admit she was attached to Peeta when she was risking her life for him.
“I wish I could pull the shutters closed, blocking out this moment from the prying eyes of Panem. Even if it means losing food. Whatever I’m feeling, it’s no one’s business but mine.” I believe this is the first time we’ve seen Katniss actively wish that cameras weren’t on her.
Also! Their first real kiss! The fact too that Katniss points out it’s the first kiss they’re both fully aware of... no wonder she didn’t feel anything in her earlier kisses. Peeta wasn’t even himself. It probably felt wrong, like kissing a drunk person.
“This is the first kiss that makes me want another. But I don’t get it. Well, I do get a second kiss, but it’s just a light on the tip of my nose because Peeta’s been distracted.” You can HEAR the disappointment in her tone.
I know Katniss and Peeta decided the storm was for Cato and Thresh (and maybe it was as well) but I’m wondering if it’s partly for them? To keep them trapped in the cave, having to huddle together for warmth.
“It strikes me that my own reluctance to sing, my own dismissal of music might not really be that I think it’s a waste of time. It might be because it reminds me of my father.” YOU DON’T SAY KATNISS. YOU DON’T SAY.
“For a moment, I’m almost foolishly happy and then confusion sweeps over me. Because we’re supposed to be making up this stuff, playing at being in love, not actually being in love.” Katniss, I love you honey, but you are very slow at this.
Katniss saying she wants to pull away and close the shutters again... she really means it when she says “You don’t have much competition anywhere.” She’s not faking that, but the issue and the thing she’s forcing is barring her soul to the audience. Whooo, it’s so complicated and messy.
Jesus Haymitch, that is a really ridiculous display of food.
But now I’m wondering... what is Haymitch’s end goal here? If he could afford to send them that much at once, he’s not holding out because he needs to drum up the sponsors. I think he is communicating with Katniss, to get her to cozy up to Peeta, because he must be aware in some way that they might not both get to come out alive. Either he knows the rule change is temporary and he’s actively trying to push them toward each other, or he’s worried if they aren’t in love enough then they won’t go through with the rule change. Regardless, I think this has become about more than sponsors at this point.
I like seeing Peeta be the practical one here about the food. Because Katniss is usually the one to be pragmatic with this sort of thing, so it’s nice change of pace.
“... best thing that ever happened to you...”
“I don’t remember that last part,” I say, hoping it’s too dim in here for the cameras to pick up my blush.
“Oh, that’s right. That’s what I was thinking.”
Peeta you smooth sonuvabitch.
But I also do just feel so sad for him here. I don’t blame Katniss for what she’s doing of course (especially because she thinks he’s playing too) but he’s so obviously gone for her.
“Long ago, when the Games began, the Capitol had built a dozen fine houses in each district.” Actually, no. They didn’t build the houses until later. But Katniss doesn’t know that (and I wonder if Suzanne didn’t know that yet at this point either). I do wonder when they built them. Snow mentioned it in his epilogue, so my theory is that they were built between the 10th and 11th Hunger Games, and they moved the previous victors into them.
“I told you, he hates me!” I say, but I can’t help laughing at the image of Haymitch becoming my new pal.” This just reminds me of in MJ when he’s the only one she wants to hug her and I’m so soft for them.
I love Katniss’s reflections on Haymitch here. She can have a new appreciation for him now that she’s been in the Games - and that she equates him mentoring alone with her being alone in the arena. It’s such a nice contrast to her initial realization that she hated Haymitch for making it so hard for never giving D12 tributes a chance. It’s much harder for her to judge him for his actions now that she’s seen the other side of things. Also, I think we’ve really seen her character develop throughout these Games as her ability (or, her willingness to admit her ability) for empathy has expanded. Having different experiences, meeting different people from different backgrounds, realizing some things are harder and more complicated than she expected has changed the assumptions she has about people.
And! The tease about Haymitch’s Games! I don’t remember this conversation so this was exciting to read. “There’s only one way Haymitch could have won, and Peeta says it just as I’m reaching this conclusion myself.
“He outsmarted the others,” says Peeta.”
Damn straight. But not even just the tributes. He outsmarted the Capitol.
Katniss wondering about how she’ll have to be a mentor when she gets out of the Arena I feel like is supposed to be a red herring for anyone reading this book wondering what a sequel could possibly be about. Especially for readers who read these when they first came out (I read them a couple years later) and couldn’t just dive into the next one, they probably assumed the next book would be about Katniss having to be a mentor (with maybe some rebel shenanigans on the side).
Katniss once again exercising denial and pushing past Peeta trying to get her to look at the sky. She really doesn’t want to see anymore deaths.
“But no one will understand my sorrow at Thresh’s murder. The word pulls me up short. Murder! Thankfully, I didn’t say it aloud. That’s not going to win me any points in the arena.” So out of interest, I did a quick search in the book (it’s an e-book) and found the word ‘murder’ was only mentioned once before this, when Katniss was thinking about the Peacekeepers murdering the child Rue told her about stealing the night-vision goggles. Words are powerful and Collins knows exactly what she’s doing here. People don’t call soldiers killing other soldiers ‘murder.’ Police don’t call it ‘murder’ when they kill people. The fact that Katniss is so stunned at her own thoughts shows how deep this conditioning goes. She’s not supposed to think of the Hunger Games deaths as ‘murder’, despite many of them being literal defenseless children.
I think this also goes against a lot of misinterpretations of Katniss and Peeta’s characters. Peeta is not always the consistently softhearted one who is crying over the deaths of other tributes. Here it is Katniss who needs to fight back tears. Which makes sense contextually because of what Thresh did for her, but it is interesting to see Peeta being the pragmatic one. This doesn’t mean he’s cruel or selfish even or go against his kind or noble character traits. It just shows how fixated he is on getting Katniss home.
But if I recall, Peeta is extremely rattled by Foxface’s death later, so I think I have my answer as to whether or not Peeta killed the D4 boy: no. I think at this point Peeta’s only ‘kill’ would be the District 8 girl, and at that point he was mostly ending her suffering. Because Katniss’s relationship with death in general in the Arena is different than Peeta’s is at this moment. Right now, she has more personal experience with death in the Arena (although I’m sure Peeta didn’t love being with the Career pack when they were hunting down tributes).
“I promise to remember him and, if I can, do something to help his family and Rue’s, if I win.” Foreshadowing!
“We make a goat cheese and apple tart at the bakery,” he says.
“Bet that’s expensive,” I say.
Too expensive for my family to eat. Unless it’s gone very stale. Of course, practically everything we eat is stale,” says Peeta, pulling the sleeping bag up around him. In less than a minute, he’s snoring.
Huh. I always assumed the shopkeepers live a soft life. And it’s true, Peeta has always had enough to eat. But there’s something kind of depressing about living your life on stale bread, the hard, dry loaves that no one else wanted.”
I am always so curious about D12’s economic structure, because I feel like it’s so much more nuanced than Katniss is aware of. She sees it as the ‘have’ and ‘have nots’, and divides it into Seam vs merchant class. But Maysilee’s family is clearly D12 rich, while Peeta’s seems to be more D12’s version of middle class. Is it inherited wealth? Does the Capitol pay the officials in D12 directly? Do some people in D12 have passive income - like does Peeta’s family have to pay rent and taxes on their bakery to someone in D12? (It’s mentioned in TBOSAS that the districts have to pay taxes, and I assume it is to the Capitol, but is there anyone in the districts also profiting? I’m thinking about the Mayor’s daughter in TBOSAS and her fancy car).
But anyway, it makes sense to me that Peeta’s family would live off stale bread and the cheaper stuff. Especially if they’re operating on a thin margin like food makers often are, and they’re trying to reduce waste. I can picture his mom being really strict about it, and his dad sometimes sneaking stuff under her nose like when he gave Katniss her cookies (which has more meaning when you understand that they probably can’t just afford to be handing out cookies for free all the time.) Also! This answers Katniss’s question when she was surprised that Peeta’s dad actually shared the squirrels with the whole family and they weren’t just a weird thing he liked. She assumed that Peeta’s family could afford better meat than that. But more expensive meat is probably rare in Peeta’s house, because it’s seen as an unnecessary expense when they have plenty of (stale) food.
Final note: the mention of the goat cheese and apple tart is cute because it’s been previously established that Mr. Mellark trades with Prim for her goat cheese, so that’s most likely Prim’s goat cheese that Peeta is mentioning and that just ties back to the story of Lady and gosh I love this book so much.
Katniss reflecting and realizing how empty her life would be without the constant need for acquiring food. How telling of how much her fight for survival has consumed her entire being. Not having room for music and stories in her life, not finding joy in beautiful things, not seeking friendship or even recognizing that Madge was her friend. And of course, not allowing herself to consider the possibility of exploring her sexuality or finding love.
“Because if there’s one thing being a victor doesn’t guarantee, it’s your children’s safety.” She says this with so much certainty that I wonder how many victors’ children have been Reaped. Surely not all of them, but it must have happened before. I’m sure that’s a threat held over victors’ heads.
“...who can spin out lies so convincingly the whole of Panem believes him to be hopelessly in love with me, and I’ll admit it, there are moments when he makes me believe it myself?” KATNISS-
Okay, jokes aside though, I’m realizing now that even though I’m sure he’s playing some of it up for the cameras, I think the only lying we’ve seen Peeta do in this book is when he convinced the Careers he was going to help them murder Katniss. Most of her being convinced of his silver tongue and ability to lie is based on her believing he’s not in love with her. So we know that Peeta is a talented actor but... I wonder if he’s actually as good as Katniss thinks, or if he’s just so good at being genuine. I don’t think he really puts on as much of a mask as we see from Katniss when she’s out of the Arena, or that we see from other characters.
Katniss wanting so badly to be good friends with Peeta after they get out of the Arena makes me feel the sting of Peeta’s coldness to her. I don’t blame Peeta for that at all, he was hurt and betrayed, but it just makes me sad for Katniss. And obviously she has feelings for him, we’ve seen them, but they need time to develop. She needs to be able to close the shutters and block out the world on her own. Unfortunately, the world never really lets her, always pushing their expectations on her.
Peeta calling to Effie in the arena and throwing away his fork is such Katniss level sass, but also such a cute callback to Katniss being petty and eating with her hands on the train. In spite of Peeta’s shock and horror at being Reaped, he probably really admired her for that.
I appreciate Collins reminding us about Katniss’s arrows. It makes it seem so much more real - and also subverts the ‘infinite ammo’ trope archers often have in movies (...including movie Katniss)
Peeta in the pine forest is a comedy, but yet another reminder that Katniss is not necessarily benefiting herself by working together with Peeta right now. This is not me saying Peeta is a total burden. Peeta has some really excellent moments in the Arena, but survival isn’t his forte the way it is Katniss’s and the whole point of this is that Katniss is actively pushing past her survival instincts in a way that subverts what the Arena is supposed to be about. It’s supposed to be a reminder that people are selfish and will do whatever it takes to survive if there isn’t order and control.
“I feel like I’m eleven again, tethered not to the safety of the fence but to Peeta, allowing myself twenty, maybe thirty yards of hunting space.” A really excellent way of putting this, not just to describe the physical space, but also to explain Katniss’s mentality and vulnerability (and that she’s allowing herself to be vulnerable again.)
“Because that’s what happened with Rue, and I watched her die!” Oh, Katniss. I’m so sorry honey.
The nightlock! Okay, so Katniss says she’s never seen them in the Arena so the ones I pointed out at the beginning probably were Rue’s berries, not nightlock. But she still does say they don’t match any she learned about in training (it’s her father that saves her life here), so my point about Foxface probably not realizing they were poisonous still stands. Especially because she also takes the cheese.
I wonder if they were genetically engineered by the Capitol as a weapon, like the Tracker Jackers? I don’t know if we ever learn whether or not that’s the case, but it would make sense. A way of poisoning rebel soldiers trying to hide out in the woods. And then a way of keeping the people in the Districts from wandering away from their ‘safe havens’ in their towns.
“In answer, I hold out the berries.” I got chills reading this line, thinking about the next time that Katniss will hold out those berries.
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It’s sophomore year at Panem High, and what seems like an ordinary year is about to be turned upside down by the different pasts, personalities and psychologies of the 74th Hunger Games tributes + a few others. A realistic take on what happens if they exist in the modern-day AU and how they would interact.
Glimmer - ultra popular cheerleader with a few woes on her mind
Marvel - highly popular & feared centre of the football team who almost has it all
Clove - newcomer with ancient secrets
Cato - most popular & feared captain of the football team who’s hard to know
Foxface - genius who skipped a grade and keeps herself to herself
Thresh - musician & track star, who rejects the football team
Katniss, Peeta & Gale - Katniss' & Gale work together after their fathers died in the same work accident, Peeta had baked her cookies after his death, but when sophomore year brings changes in the wind, is her relation to those two boys really as stagnant as first seems?
Madge & Delly - on the student council, polite and friendly with everyone else, but beneath the bubbly surface what’s really going on?
+Rue/Prim/Rory/Vick/Posy (bigger roles as the story goes on)
Words: 2295, Chapters: 1/?, Language: English
Fandoms: Hunger Games Series - All Media Types, Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Categories: F/F, F/M
Characters: Glimmer (Hunger Games), Marvel (Hunger Games), Cato (Hunger Games), Clove (Hunger Games), Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne, Madge Undersee, Delly Cartwright, Foxface (Hunger Games), Thresh (Hunger Games), Rue (Hunger Games), Primrose Everdeen, Mrs. Everdeen (Hunger Games), Hazelle Hawthorne, Rory Hawthorne, Vick Hawthorne, Posy Hawthorne, Mrs. Undersee (Hunger Games), Mayor Undersee (Hunger Games), Original Characters
Relationships: Glimmer/Marvel (Hunger Games), Cato/Clove (Hunger Games), Katniss Everdeen/Peeta Mellark, Glimmer & Marvel (Hunger Games), Cato & Clove (Hunger Games), Katniss Everdeen & Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne/Madge Undersee, Gale Hawthorne & Madge Undersee, Thresh (Hunger Games)/Original Character(s), Rue (Hunger Games)/Original Character(s)
Additional Tags: Romance, Alternate Universe - High School, High School, Alternate Universe - Normal High School, Football, American Football, Cheerleaders, Student Council, Secrets, Teenagers, Teenage Drama, Teen Romance, Drama & Romance, Angst and Romance, Mental Health Issues, Mental Instability
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