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Last time on the murderdeath games, Katniss wanders around for some time until she finds water. Then, forest fire.



Burning branches crack from trees and fall in showers of sparks at my feet.

Uh. Pretty sure once the fire reaches you, you're kind of already dead. Also, the animals should have started moving at smoke, not waited for the fire to show up.

All I can do is follow the others, the rabbits and deer and I even spot a wild dog pack shooting through the woods. I trust their sense of direction because their instincts are sharper than mine.

Yes, because animals never die in forest fires.

You can't outrun a forest fire. I mean it. Worse, Katniss is heading uphill, where the fire will be going faster. She is doing all this when the POND OF WATER is right next to her.

The flames that bear down on me have an unnatural height, a uniformity that marks them as human-made, machine-made, Gamemaker-made. 

This almost works.

Forest fires are not really survivable. Your options are: find a large body of water, find a small body of water, find an open area, make an open area with a firebreak, and bury yourself in the ground. Your odds of surviving decrease severely with each option.

So, some sort of fire-generating machines moving slowly enough the kids can actually escape makes sense.

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how it was made. She's said the trees are on fire. And she's in a pine forest. Which is basically like regular forest, if someone dumped lighter fluid on everything. Oh, and it's extremely dry.

The source of the flame is irrelevant, the fire should have caught.

The audience in the Capitol will be getting bored, claiming that these Games are verging on dullness. This is the one thing the Games must not do.

...The way there's no clear responsibility for anyone is just bizarre. Who's to blame for the games? Katniss has repeatedly characterized the capital as being made up of oblivious airheads who just don't think about what's going on. But the gamemakers aren't in charge either, they're slaves to the will of the population. This kind of thing doesn't just happen. Someone makes it happen.

There is the Career pack and then there are the rest of us, probably spread far and thin across the arena. This fire is designed to flush us out, to drive us together. 

If they gave a damn, why did they set it up so the kids would have to spread out so far?

See, if I was setting this up, I'd plant food and water at regular intervals, and have more varied terrain. So there's plenty around, but the odds of another kid being there is good too. And there's enough cover that you have to actually look around carefully, instead of just walking until you find it.

Katniss collapses behind a rock to throw up, then drink some water, then she takes a bit of a breather, and seriously, how slow is this fire moving?

She remembers the nice pond.

 Would there be any way I could travel parallel to the fire and work my way back there, to a source of water at least?

Running straight away at top speed won't let you escape a wildfire, and here Katniss is somehow able to contemplate going at an angle because it's so slow.

Right as she's considering how to best put this impossible plan into play, a fireball shoots at her.

Book. I am trying to be fair here. I am assuming you were not written with the greatest of foresight.

But this is so fucking stupid.

If the viewers wanted to see kids go through horrible death traps, then why a deathmatch? Seriously, just put them in a trapped maze and see how far they get. The point of making kids kill each other is to see kids kill each other. Either that's what the people want, so you shouldn't be throwing fireballs, or it's not, so you shouldn't be doing the deathmatch thing.

 The fireball hits a tree off to my left, engulfing it in flames.

And not only are they fireballs, they're insta-death fireballs. Personally, I read the whole section as deliberately missing her, because if they wanted her dead she'd be dead. But it still doesn't address the issue that if this is what people want to see, what was up with the last three days?

She seems to get out of range, but then one clips her, lighting her leg on fire. She grabs the burnt cloth, burning her hand as well. We get a repeat of the girl on fire line.

Perhaps, Cinna’s beautiful costumes have even brought on this particular torture for me. I know he couldn’t have foreseen this, must be hurting for me because, in fact, I believe he cares about me. 

CINNA: THE BESTEST MOST WONDERFULEST PERSON IN THE WORLD.

Anyway, she figures she's safe for some reason, forgetting she just thought that seconds ago. She reminds the reader that the real point of the games is murdering each other.

mostly, they manipulate us into confronting one another face-to-face. Which means, if I am no longer being fired at, there is at least one other tribute close at hand.

That kind of makes sense. But it would make a lot more if they were herded by something a little less flashy than fireballs.

So she just starts limping along blindly, and in so much pain she's barely aware of her surroundings.

I’m so weary I don’t even notice I’m in the pool until I’m ankle-deep. 

What.

So three days of searching to find one, and she literally walks into another one.

 I plunge my hands into the shallow water and feel instant relief. Isn’t that what my mother always says? The first treatment for a burn is cold water? That it draws out the heat? But she means minor burns. 

She continues to ramble like a moron. She's sixteen years old. Her house and food is cooked by actual fucking fire. How the fuck did she never figure out you put burns in water? Why is she struggling with this concept? She goes on to ramble that if it works for minor burns, clearly that means major burns like her leg are completely different, despite the fact that this is the exact opposite of how human reasoning works. At no point does she figure out that cold numbs pain.

I try to recall all I know about burns. They are common injuries in the Seam where we cook and heat our homes with coal. 

THEN WHY DON'T YOU KNOW ABOUT BURNS

This is a really annoying thing I see a lot. It's like for some reason authors have the idea that their character actually knowing things is bad, they need to be uncertain about everything and just happen to be right.

She goes on to talk about how she'd seen a badly burned leg once and been so horrified she had to run off and hide while her mom dealt with it.

What’s funny was, Prim, who’s scared of her own shadow, stayed and helped. 

Eh. This is a really cliché setup.

No, everyone isn't necessarily strong in their own way. A lot of people who are squeamish about hunting are squeamish about injuries. And a lot of people who hunt aren't squeamish about injuries. I'm really sick of the standard divide. But of course Katniss can't handle healing and Prim can, healing is feminine and Katniss (as the only assertive character) is only allowed masculine traits, and a big deal must be made of how this means she fails at the female counterpart. Really, she's lucky she can cook.

My mother says healers are born, not made.

Nope, definitely made.

I can’t show weakness at this injury. Not if I want help. Pity does not get you aid. Admiration at your refusal to give in does. 

How the fuck does this work?

Okay, so, the sponsors support whoever they expect to win, because they bet on you. So naturally the best way to get aid is to act like you'll win without it, and you don't need them to give you money for them to win their bet? Also, acting like you're in love will get you money somehow.

Except for a few black marks, it’s relatively unscathed. My jacket’s another matter. Stinking and scorched, at least a foot of the back beyond repair. I cut off the damaged area

...why bother? You're not winning based on neatness. If anything, the irregularity might help your camouflage.

She falls asleep by the pool, but she's found. Luckily, she hears their approach and bolts away. With her leg injured she can't outrun them, so she gets up a tree.

She figures they'll still get her. But then she realizes they weigh more than her.

 There’s a reason it’s me and not Gale who ventures up to pluck the highest fruit, or rob the most remote bird nests. I must weigh at least fifty or sixty pounds less than the smallest Career.

On the other hand, she's got all her stuff with her, adding to her weight, while they can leave theirs on the ground, and they don't have to get all the way up, just close enough to peg her with a throwing knife.

Now I smile. “How’s everything with you?” I call down cheerfully.
This takes them aback, but I know the crowd will love it.
“Well enough,” says the boy from District 2. “Yourself?”
“It’s been a bit warm for my taste,” I say. I can almost hear the laughter from the Capitol. 


Why. Just why.

So one of the boys is going to go up. A girl offers him the bow and arrows, but he says he'll use his sword. No. Throwing knives. This isn't hard.

The girl with the arrows, Glimmer I hear someone call her — ugh, the names the people in District 1 give their children are so ridiculous — 

Note this is the second time Katniss has specifically noticed the District 1 girl to bitch about something completely irrelevant. What the hell book.

So, the girl climbs up as high as she can go, then stops.

She tries to shoot me and it’s immediately evident that she’s incompetent with a bow.

a) so why's she not using throwing knives then?
b) WHY THE FUCK IS SHE INCOMPETENT WITH A BOW?

A bow is an awesome weapon. It's the winning move here. These kids were trained specifically for the games, they should be crack shots.

The only way this even begins to make sense is if bows aren't usually used. In that case, the reason the bow is there this time is because Katniss used it and the gamemakers put it in for her. I actually wouldn't find that too unreasonable in itself - if they're not usually around, then it makes sense for kids to not be trained to use them, but if a kid happened to know for some other reason and showed it off, it might be amusing to provide it for her. The problem is that there's no reason for them not to be provided normally, unless it's because they break the game, in which case they shouldn't have given Katniss one...

See, if she was really good at a sling this whole fuckery could be avoided.

So, the girl misses and Katniss grabs the arrow.

 I wave it teasingly above her head, as if this was the sole purpose of retrieving it, when actually I mean to use it if I ever get the chance. I could kill them, everyone of them, if those silver weapons were in my hands.

...so yeah. Our winner.

The Careers regroup on the ground and I can hear them growling conspiratorially among themselves, furious I have made them look foolish. But twilight has arrived and their window of attack on me is closing.

START A FIRE.

Even if they were somehow too stupid to figure out the person in the wooden tree could be hurt by smoke and fire, there was just a whole fire to clue them in. They're still coughing and hoarse from the flames earlier. Katniss is trapped in place and heat rises.

Instead, Peeta tells them they might as well give up and wait until morning, and once night falls Katniss ties herself to a branch again.

But then she sees someone watching her from another tree. Rue is there, unnoticed by everyone, and she points at something.

Okay, decent cliffhanger here. I'm suspicious of Rue deciding to expose herself to Katniss, when Katniss utterly failed the numerous chances she had to make friends with the kid, but hey, she doesn't know about Katniss' psychopathic tendencies, while the trained kids are an obvious threat.

Anyway, this was a decent chapter. Most of the focus was on Katniss actually doing things. The flaws were largely consistency ones, but the actual ride of events worked well. You just have to go with the way the book claims reality works.
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farla

April 2011

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