So, what's the fuss about The Hunger Games?
While some of you have read the Suzanne Collins series multiple times, those who haven’t opened them might be a little confused. Thought The Hunger Games was about a food-eating competition gone wrong? Might wanna get up to speed with everything and read this ultimate guide…
The Basic Story
In The Hunger Games, the world as we know it basically does not exist. The book says the ocean covers most land now, and what’s left is a nation called Panem—right around where the U.S. is today. Pamen is divided into 12 districts, all in charge of producing different things for the country, and the Capitol, where everyone lives extravagant lives.
Seventy-four years before the story takes place, citizens in the 13 districts revolted against the Capitol. The Capitol defeated the districts, and even demolished District 13, which is why there are only 12 in the story. Angry at its districts for rebelling, the Capitol begins a tradition called the Hunger Games to remind the districts of what little power they have. In these annual games, a boy and girl tribute are sent to the Capitol to fight to death until only one survivor remains. It is a televised event, especially for those in the Capitol.
The Hunger Games story opens just before the 74th Hunger Games, with Katniss Everdeen narrating. Katniss, 16, is from poor District 12, which is in charge of coal mining. When her father died in a mining accident, Kat’s mother became too depressed to do anything, leaving Katniss as the breadwinner for her mom and younger sis, Prim.
Katniss befriends Gale, a boy who also lost his dad in the mining accident, and they hunt and barter illegally together to provide for their families. They dislike the Hunger Games and Katniss is nervous because Prim is now 12 years old and eligible to participate. Tributes are selected in a lottery-like system called the Reaping, and it’s Prim’s name that is called to be District 12’s girl tribute. Katniss immediately volunteers in her place, and along with Peeta Mellark, the boy tribute, is sent away to compete.
Katniss has lived most of her life struggling to survive, and has a different attitude than most girls her age. She can be stubborn, but is determined to return home from the games, as she promised her sister. Katniss’ survival skills are important during the games, but she also learns more about herself than she expects. She doesn’t know Peeta much beforehand, but remembers that he once gave her food when she was starving, and feels like she owes him.
District 12’s boy tribute was raised as the baker’s son. And since he didn’t grow up starving, he led a slightly better life than other kids of District 12. Peeta makes up for all the feelings Katniss seems to lack. He is good-natured and determined to show the Capitol that they don’t own him. He also reveals that he’s had a long-time crush on Katniss, which certainly affects how things go during the games.
Katniss’ hunting partner and bestie is like her, but more angry at their way of life. He despises the Capitol and even talks about running away from the district life. When Katniss volunteers as a tribute, he is confident she will survive and promises to provide for her family while she’s gone. A question of possible romance between Gale and Katniss begins to develop in the first book, but gets complicated with Peeta.
Katniss’ 12-year-old sister is caring and nurturing, which is shown by taking care of her two pets: A goat and cat. She is Katniss’ reason for everything, and her primary determination to survive the games.
In THG, past district winners of the games serve as mentors to the fresh tributes. Haymitch is District 12’s only winner. At times, he just seems like a nasty old drunk, but he is shown to be helpful and resourceful to Katniss and Peeta.
The District 12 Team
Each district’s tributes are assigned a prep team to help them get ready for the games. Effie Trinket, a bubbly and elegant woman with pink hair, is Katniss and Peeta’s escort. Cinna serves as their stylist. Venia, Flavius and Octavia are other members of the team who help beautify Peeta and Katniss.
Most of the tributes go unmentioned, but a few are memorable. Rue is a 12-year-old tribute from District 11 who reminds Katniss of Prim, and they become allies in the games. There is also a redheaded tribute whom Katniss names “Foxface,” Rue’s fellow male tribute, Thresh, who is remarkably huge and strong, and the District 2 tributes, Cato and Clove, who have trained for the games most of their lives.
So, there you have it! Be sure to check out the big screen adaptation of The Hunger Games when it premieres March 23.
Wanna meet some of the stars before the flick hits theaters? Some are embarking on a national mall tour March 3-10. CLICK HERE for more deets.