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Last time on the childmurder games, the obvious happens.


The boy from District 1 dies before he can pull out the spear. My arrow drives deeply into the center of his neck.

You know, that raises an interesting question, namely why was he stabbing the harmless twelve year old already trussed up in a net while Ms. "I scored an eleven by still unknown means and also killed half your group with torture wasps" is charging?

I mean, the yell and charge thing isn't the best plan, because it's easy for someone to quickly stab before you get there, but he waited until she actually ran into the clearing. Priorities.

Also, the District 1 kid? If he can make net traps to catch Rue, then he could catch wild animals and the whole destroy-the-food plan looks more shakey.

One look at the wound and I know it’s far beyond my capacity to heal, beyond anyone’s probably. The spearhead is buried up to the shaft in her stomach.

Yeah, that's pretty nasty. But part of why it's awful is that stomach wounds generally don't kill all that fast. Her intestines have been punctured and the intestinal cavity is now compromised. Because of the way humans are built there's no direct bloodflow into the area, meaning any foreign material just sits and festers until you die.

But it'll take days for that to really get going. With surgery, it's completely survivable even once the infection sets in, although your odds of actually making it go down the longer you wait. The capital has magic science, so I would assume that as long as she's technically breathing, it's well within their ability to fix.

And yet, somehow I doubt that this will actually come up.

Now, in fairness, if the spearhead is actually in her stomach, as opposed to her "stomach", ie intestinal cavity, it's possible it clipped her diaphragm or something, or if it's really long nicked an artery. But in general, these wounds are not instantly fatal. It is possible to bleed to death by stabbing, but seeing as Katniss isn't mentioning the area being soaked in blood and the spears haven't been stated to be razor sharp, I don't think that's happening.

Rue asks if she blew up the food and then makes Katniss promise to win. So we're definitely not seeing any moral dilemma about winning then. Rue asks her to stay and sing to her, so Katniss does.

Rue’s eyes have fluttered shut. Her chest moves but only slightly.

The perfect victim. No mess, no screaming, no blame, just the delicate waif succumbing to her injuries.

They’ll want me to clear out now. So they can collect the bodies.

This is actually a weird thing. They always remove the corpses, but wait until surviving kids are away. This is important enough to them that they would knock out the cannibal player before he could mutilate any of his kills - which only becomes weirder given that we now know that there's only a single feed, so even if you accept that for no reason they don't want to show cannibalism, they could have just cut away to something else and let him do what he wanted.

So they seem to have issues with desecrating bodies. It'd be nice to have this developed, especially if it's a shared cultural feature between the districts and capital or if it's a weird capital-only fixation. I feel it should be mentioned that America's considered anomalous for having an obsession about bringing back every body, and I wonder if there's any connection to it here.

I can’t stop looking at Rue, smaller than ever, a baby animal curled up in a nest of netting. I can’t bring myself to leave her like this.

It's so nice when people die in neat, cute, heartrending ways so they can be a motivation to you.

To hate the boy from District 1, who also appears so vulnerable in death, seems inadequate. 

Wait.

What.

Hey, remember that girl, you bitched that she was dressed sexy and then that she had a stupid name and then you dropped torturemurder death wasps on her and watched her thrash and twitch on the ground as she died in agony? Does this ring a bell, Katniss?

And that other girl, the one you saw stagger off into the bushes to die out of sight, how about her?

Those two girls who you never saw kill anyone and you killed in a horrible way, do they get sympathy?

No? Just the boy who stabs a defenseless child. Okay then.

You know, when I started the whole male/female count thing I wasn't expecting it to be quite this stark. Jesus christ there is something wrong with the author.

It’s the Capitol I hate, for doing this to all of us.

This just occurred to you? We're two thirds into the book. This is the eighteenth chapter.

Gale’s voice is in my head. His ravings against the Capitol no longer pointless, no longer to be ignored. 

You mean you didn't agree then!?

Jesus christ Katniss. When you said he ranted about it I thought it meant he shared your views. So he was the only one with either a conscience OR a brain in your little duo?

Rue’s death has forced me to confront my own fury against the cruelty, the injustice they inflict upon us.

So this is basically textbook fridging, right down to the bad writing of JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WHY DOES IT TAKE A DEATH RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU BEFORE YOU START GIVING A FUCK?

She thinks back to Peeta's words about showing the capital they don't own him.

I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do there is a part of every tribute they can’t own.

Finally.

That Rue was more than a piece in their Games. And so am I.

YES!

A few steps into the woods grows a bank of wildflowers.

...what?

Slowly, one stem at a time, I decorate her body in the flowers. Covering the ugly wound.

Yeah, I bet that covering up the horrible thing that just happened will totally show the capital that what they're doing is horrible. Because they're been so bothered by that before.

What the fuck book.

They’ll have to show it. Or, even if they choose to turn the cameras elsewhere at this moment, they’ll have to bring them back when they collect the bodies and everyone will see her then and know I did it.

WHY WOULD THEY CARE

Then I walk away without looking back.



So, I was talking about the fact they seem to really want the bodies. You know what Katniss could have done? She could have sat there. Refused to walk off and let them collect the body. And Rue did ask her not to leave. Now, they could probably have done something to knock her out, so it might not have actually worked, and she'll have to leave eventually to get food and water. But that would be a statement.

She could also have burned the body. She's even got a ready-built fire a little way off. Refuse to let them have it. Or, if she just wants to get back at the capital, she could butcher the boy's body. Take it apart so there's nothing neat to bring back. She knows how to. Does Katniss' district share the same belief about corpses as the capital, or is it only their overlords who are bothered? Tear the kid apart. Refuse to let them have a body to pretty up and display.

Instead, Katniss' great act of defiance is, once again, to go along with exactly what the capital's doing.

One of the birds sings Rue's song.

The ones that mean she’s safe.
“Good and safe,” I say as I pass under its branch. “We don’t have to worry about her now.” Good and safe.


The perfect victim dies quietly and quickly, so you don't have to be inconvenienced by actually helping them or anything.

I’d kill anyone I met on sight. Without emotion or the slightest tremor in my hands. My hatred of the Capitol has not lessened my hatred of my competitors in the least.

Why do you hate them? One kid killed Rue. Six kids, of which only two are left, killed the rest. The other kids seem to have spent the childmurder games hiding and dying. But over and over again, Katniss insists the other players are enemies.

Suddenly, a package floats down.

It's bread. Specifically, District 11 bread.

What must it have cost the people of District 11 who can’t even feed themselves? How many would’ve had to do without to scrape up a coin to put in the collection for this one loaf? It had been meant for Rue, surely. But instead of pulling the gift when she died, they’d authorized Haymitch to give it to me.

WHAT THE FUCK.

The world does not fucking revolve around her!

They can't feed themselves! The money spent on that means that many more people are going to starve to death in that district. It is not moral to give a mouthful of bread to the main character at the cost of a hundred mouthfuls for everyone else!

Even the idea it was for Rue beggars belief, because we know everything sent is ridiculously expensive and Rue was doing well on the food front. While the gift would have been kind, making sure Rue's siblings don't FUCKING DIE is a bit higher priority here. But then giving it to Katniss? At the cost of their own people, when Katniss is a skilled hunter?

For whatever reason, this is a first. A district gift to a tribute who’s not your own.

There are no words.

Katniss says thanks to District 11.

I want them to know I know where it came from. That the full value of their gift has been recognized.

The full value of the gift is human lives, Katniss. You are killing people by proxy here.

Anyway, Katniss dreams of Rue singing, blah blah happy perfect girl. You know, she's yet to feel the slightest bit of guilt over this. You know, stuff like "maybe if I'd noticed things were wrong sooner I could have..." or even blaming herself for getting Rue involved at all. Because that's not the point, the point is what a good victim Rue is.

When she wakes up, Katniss displays her first accurately portrayed mental illness. She's depressed.

I give myself a series of simple commands to follow, like “Now you have to sit up, Katniss. Now you have to drink water, Katniss.” I act on the orders with slow, robotic motions. “Now you have to sort the packs, Katniss.”

Now. This is pretty good, really. But it doesn't really hold true.

See, a lot of mental disorders can be held off by massive stress, like say being in the childmurder games. (This is why the capital trying not to let a nutcase win is dumb, plenty of kids will have their breakdowns immediately after, not during.) Katniss is in imminent death and has a clear goal, even if I don't agree with her logic of Rue's dead, therefore I shoot other children, so she shouldn't be falling apart.

It's not impossible, just not really the best choice.

Rearranging the order of events would help a lot here. If Katniss was dazed and despondent yesterday, rather than out for blood, and got the gift now, then proceeded to shift into RAEG mode, it'd be a lot more reasonable.

(Between this and the mother, I wonder if the author's had issues with depression. They're the only things that have any sort of accuracy to them.)

Looking through the packs, she finds the kid was carrying a pack of dried fruit.

To me, this is a sign of extreme arrogance. Why bother to carry food when you have such a bounty back at camp? When you will kill your enemies so quickly you’ll be home before you’re hungry? I can only hope the other Careers traveled so lightly when it came to food and now find themselves with nothing.

What the fuck. It's "arrogant" to make sure to carry some food in case something happens? Like, for example, exactly what you did, and if the other kids did it they'll be better off, and really, since when is traveling light because you assume no one will take your stuff and nothing will delay you the non-arrogant option?

Katniss shoots three grooslings and cooks them over the third signal fire, hoping Cato shows up so she can shoot him too.

But he doesn't.

Either too far to reach me or too sure this is a trick or ... is it possible? Too scared of me?

But of course they have no idea who lit the fire. If they know anything, they know that Rue was involved in setting the first two, and even that doesn't seem too likely. The only kid who knew Katniss was working with Rue is dead as well.

Also? They think it's a trick, Katniss, that's what the fires were last time and it ended with everything of theirs blown up. Of course they'll be suspicious of another unusually smokey fire exactly like the first two.

 I find myself wishing I could tell Peeta about the flowers I put on Rue. That I now understand what he was trying to say on the roof. 

No, Katniss, you don't. Or, depressingly, perhaps you do. Perhaps that kind of thing really is all he meant.

Katniss thinks she can win this.

 Something happened when I was holding Rue’s hand, watching the life drain out of her. Now I am determined to revenge her, to make her loss unforgettable, and I can only do that by winning and thereby making myself unforgettable.

It's hard to think of a more disrespectful way of handling the fridging. "I'll make everyone remember her by doing something that is completely in my benefit and will make me well-known myself." Seriously, book?

She waits, but still no one arrives.

Maybe the other tributes are out there beating one another senseless. 

As I said, by all appearances no one but the trained kids and Katniss are actually fighting.

 I keep seeing Rue speared, my arrow piercing the boy’s neck. I don’t know why I should even care about the boy.
Then I realize . . . he was my first kill.


This is looking like it's going to be the worst chapter so far. Well, book, let's see how you do.

I guess technically I’d get credited for Glimmer and the girl from District 4, too, for dumping that nest on them. But the boy from District 1 was the first person I knew would die because of my actions.

Yeah, because when you were plotting to make sure the wasps were completely awake in the hopes they'd manage to kill the entire group you definitely weren't thinking they'd die because of your actions at all.

And as long as you weren't thinking that, it makes total sense that you could watch them die by your actions without a flicker of conscience, because it's only "technically" true you killed them and as long as by the letter of the law there's some ambiguity, of course you have no reason to actually care.

I hear Gale saying, “How different can it be, really?”
Amazingly similar in the execution. A bow pulled, an arrow shot. Entirely different in the aftermath.


Oh shut the fuck up.

You wanted to kill an innocent girl because you were mad about her lighting a fire. A girl who then did die because you sat and hated her instead of warning her, and died a horrible death at that.

You wanted to kill Peeta as well.

You did kill two more girls in a horrible way and attempted to kill all six kids in the group.

Your actions then got the boy in charge of the mines killed.

At no point have you so much as blinked, Katniss. What exactly makes shooting someone the big turning point?

I killed a boy whose name I don’t even know. Somewhere his family is weeping for him. His friends call for my blood. Maybe he had a girlfriend who really believed he would come back . . .

You know Glimmer's name. Or does she not count as a person because she lacks a dick?



Okay yeah fuck it book. We're switching topics because I refuse to dignify this with further ranting.

So hey, girlfriend. It's interesting that there don't seem to be any gay people here. Considering this is the future and that generally America's been getting more and more laid back about this particular subject, that's interesting. It's possible the districts might have swung back to conservative, since they are pretty isolated and when you're oppressed it's always nice to have someone to oppress, but I really doubt the capital would care. (It might be an interesting commentary on the way in which we think violence is more appropriate than sex, but they like to parade kids around naked, so that doesn't fly.) And besides, this place keeps having random comparisons to Rome, and if you try to tell me Rome was a bastion of straightness I will laugh myself sick.

And if the capital does it, Katniss should know about it because it'd be broadcast. So the fact everyone assumes relationships must be a girlfriend and boyfriend affair means gay people don't exist in this world.

That must have been some impressive series of vaguely explained disasters to remove something that's present across the entire animal kingdom.

That night, Katniss hears trumpets, which means an announcement. Sometimes they do things like put out food and tell the kids to go fight it out for it.

I wouldn’t go in for the food, but this could be an ideal time to take out a few competitors.

A few kids, Katniss.

But that's not what the announcement is. It's a change in the rules.

both tributes from the same district will be declared winners if they are the last two alive.

This is so fucking stupid.

Why that little rider about only if they're from the same district? Why not make it any two kids? They didn't just rewrite the rules so Katniss and Peeta could both survive, but so that it only applies to someone in their situation. Really, this is "Draco and Hermione are head boy and girl and that means they have to share a room!!!!!" level of plot. Only at least those stories have the decency to be directly about it, so it's more like that plot twist getting thrown into a story about, I don't know, dragon rights.

It's terrible writing. And of course it comes on the heels of Rue dying, because Rue being alive would be inconvenient here.

Making it so any two kids could live would allow for some moral questions. Granted, the book would probably just blow them off, but still.

Let's say Rue is still alive, as she should be, but incapacitated. For starters, now Katniss is on a time limit - she has to kill the other kids before Rue dies. Or Katniss might manage to get to the point there's only three kids left, at which point she'd have the option of suiciding in the hopes they'd be able to fix Rue up in time, and the longer she delayed trying to kill the last kid, the more likely Rue would die. And she should see this coming.

And, of course, with both Rue and Peeta alive, Katniss would be in the position of having to pick who lives.

Or there's the issue of how bloodthirsty she is. Katniss has consistently insisted the other kids are evil and she wants them dead. What happens if Rue is probably dying and won't make it even if the games end, and Katniss has the choice of killing her and ending the games so she and the other person make it, but it's a trained kid, who Katniss hates, and she's tempted to keep Rue alive simply so she can kill the other kid? This is marginally more sympathetic than it first appears, since she's risking her own life as well.

But no.

Before I can stop myself, I call out Peeta’s name.

The only way this book can surprise a reader is if you don't realize just how incredibly predictable the author's willing to be.

And on that note we enter PART III: THE VICTOR

Date: 2011-04-07 02:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ember-reignited.livejournal.com
Then I realize . . . he was my first kill.

I actually shouted "FUCK YOU" at my computer screen. Wow, wow, WOW.

Date: 2011-04-07 07:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
The worst part is I think the author thought this made it better, rather than worse. Almost everything seems designed to make it okay for Katniss to act the way she already intended to, which I think is intended to make her seem less sociopathic rather than more.

Date: 2011-04-07 05:15 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm surprised that you didn't mention thesong. You know "Deep in the meadow, under the willow" or whatever.

I actually grew bored of the book right after that announcement about the two district tribute rule change. I mean, I thought Rue was pretty cool, and I thought that the Hunger Games would be an action packed novel. Not a sappy romance.

Not to be a spoilsport, but don't bother reading the sequels. There's even more romance going on, and really sickening stuff. If I hadn't been so entertained in the series and other characters, I would have spewed and ditched the trilogy long ago.

Date: 2011-04-07 07:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
I skimmed the song. Anything you noticed about it?

The more people badmouth the sequels the more I want to do it. I live to tear things apart.

Date: 2011-04-07 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ember-reignited.livejournal.com
I really hope you do Catching Fire because I have heard that in Catching Fire there is a girl who was a "career" tribute and won and she is kind of "evil" but also kind of a protagonist? And she probably clashes with Katniss because that's how those characters work, right? Basically I am prepared to love her.

Date: 2011-04-07 05:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
Oh god that sounds like it'll be a trainwreak.

It'll be "I am a special exception and it's tots okay to keep demonizing everyone else like me" and "I was wrong about everything but I can be fixed!!! You've shown me how to be good, Main Character who murders children." with a dash of "I make no decisions and am a pawn to those around me."

I can't wait.

Date: 2011-04-08 01:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] purplekitte.livejournal.com
There is also Duke Devlin. Do not look directly at Duke Devlin. He's very pretty, folks. And he's not even in the noxious love triangle.

Date: 2011-04-08 08:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ember-reignited.livejournal.com
...okay, I'll bite. How is a YuGiOh character in these books?

Date: 2011-04-08 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] purplekitte.livejournal.com
There's a character who first appears in the second book who's entirely character consists of being an in-universe mementic sex god. Or at least I think that's all his character, because every time he appears in a scene, I start humming Duke Devlin's theme song and warning messages as soon as someone mentions how pretty he is, and this is distracting from whatever it is going on. I am told this is terribly annoying for everyone else in the room, but I found him hilarious.

Date: 2011-04-08 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ember-reignited.livejournal.com
That sounds amazing. I can't wait.

Date: 2011-04-07 05:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gyllespi.livejournal.com
Heyyy, hope you don't mind me friending you so I can officially be stalking these reviews instead of doing it covertly. I started reading them about the same time I started reading The Hunger Games, which is to say I hadn't finished it before I started reading your commentary. For the sake of a less skewed viewpoint, I finished the book before returning to its reviews and, I gotta say... despite everything, I kinda started to like it. You know, in the way you like that slacker kid at the bottom of the class who could be pretty brilliant if she just put some effort into doing work. I think I enjoyed Hunger Games more for its missed potential than any of its actual writing or story choices. That, and... okay, I'll admit it now, I turned into a sucker for the romance. S-shhhh.

Anyway, reading over the commentary now I'm glad to see you've pointed out a lot of the same things that bothered me about this book. The character of Rue -- and her death especially -- was handled with all the grace and subtlety of a hundred-pound anvil from the sky. It read like the author was trying so hard to tug at our heartstrings, but couldn't be assed to come up with anything original. There were just so many things that could've been done differently to make it stand out, and none of them even had to be that innovative! Making Rue, whose motives Katniss trusts more than Peeta despite knowing her less and for a shorter time, a backstabber or killer hiding behind the facade of an innocent child, could've provided an at least slightly exciting twist -- especially in contrast to Peeta, who has of course been on her side all along though Katniss is always suspicious of him. Ahhh, man... after I finish the series I'm going to go hunting for Hunger Games goodfic, because other writers must have been diligently filling out characters or situations where Collins never did. Otherwise I'm just going to have to write something myself. Because seriously -- so much potential! SO MUCH WASTED POTENTIAL. It's enough to make one weep, it really is.

Ehhhh this got rather long and rambly, hahaha. I'll probably keep my mouth shut from here on out, but for what it's worth I'm really enjoying reading these after finishing the book! You're doing such a good job of finding its numerous flaws (and the occasional bright points), I simply have to applaud.

Date: 2011-04-07 07:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
^_^

The book is easy to like, I think, because most of the stuff I complain about are things the book was trying to use narrative slight of hand to make you not notice. If you go along with what it says, Katniss only hates the deserving, didn't meant to hurt anyone, etc. Each point is presented quite reasonably, and only falls apart on examination. (And it's always, always easier to write a story minimizing horror, since we the reader aren't actually there and it's easy to be detached.) And while the writing isn't very good, it certainly does the one thing it needs to, which is be easy enough to read that you can skate over the problems easily.

I often enjoy books in the manner of writing my own mental fanfic for how it should have gone. Got quite a few books into the Drizzt series like that before the writing finally got too awful, and enjoyed 9/10ths of various other bad fantasy literature on the same principle.

Making Rue, whose motives Katniss trusts more than Peeta despite knowing her less and for a shorter time, a backstabber or killer hiding behind the facade of an innocent child, could've provided an at least slightly exciting twist

What's actually a bit weird is that the book mentions the strategy of appearing harmless, waiting for the other players to kill each other off, then murdering the survivors, and does so very early on. I mean, I'm not sure how believable it'd be for Rue to manage that at twelve, but ignoring she's a little kid her actual actions fit in perfectly. She helps Katniss, a non-career kid, kill two and cripple three. She was already hanging around Katniss at the training, and from the interview she knows Katniss volunteered herself for the games because of a twelve year old sister, so she likely knows Katniss won't hurt her. The plan to attack the career kids was extremely dangerous for Katniss and pretty safe for Rue. And Rue's general lack of fear or acknowledgement that she's either going to die or she'll have to kill at least one person is rather unrealistic in itself. (Almost like there was no need to worry about the endgame with Katniss since she was slated to die early.)

so much potential! SO MUCH WASTED POTENTIAL. It's enough to make one weep, it really is.

Only looked at the very oldest fanfic, but there's one that's about what if Rue didn't die...and also what if the rule change said three of them could live for no reason, way to epically fail author.

But the couple alt Hunger Games stories looked better written than the book, and I can only assume fandom's improved a great deal since then.

Date: 2011-04-07 02:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gyllespi.livejournal.com
Yeah, I think that if I were reading this without the commentary I would have an easier time accepting Katniss as a "good" protagonist, instead of the bewildering bundle of moral contradictions she's pointed out to be. Now she's still an interesting character, but it's because of her completely messed-up sense of priority and logic instead of her being mostly relatable with a few confusing flaws. I hope her attitude toward the Games becomes more understandable in the later books, though, 'cause I was honestly expecting this one to end with her rejecting them entirely and attempting revolt against the Capitol instead of... what actually happens. That's pretty much the only reason I'm finishing the trilogy before attempting any AU of my own, despite the wealth of unexplored ideas that are briefly touched upon but dropped before they can be considered in any detail.

About the abrupt rule change, I will say this without being too spoilery: I think the fact that it came out of left field is justified later on, although Katniss' reaction to it (as it is with most of the rules that the Gamemakers set up for her, i.e. playing along with it instead of questioning anything) is not. It was actually a plot element that the author pulled off, in my opinion, though I look forward to seeing your thoughts on it later in the book.

Date: 2011-04-07 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
Oh, I have no problem with the abrupt rule change, just specifically the part about only people from one district. There's a huge difference between making a rule so it can apply to the characters and making a rule that as much as possible can only apply to the characters. That's what pushes it into "must share a room for no reason for the year" level of plot, that the specifics seem to be written from a narrative perspective. I mean, if they're really star-crossed lovers suddenly getting an out, they should team up even if they have the option to partner with anyone.

Date: 2011-04-07 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonsab.livejournal.com
To be fair, I think the "from the same district" thing was in part to keep the aspect of competition going — this way it's still only one district that gets the prize, which, at least in theory, pays lip-service to that "the Capital is sowing disunity among the Districts" idea.

Date: 2011-04-07 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
Yeah, but people would want to join up with their own district anyway. You're not going to get disunity by telling people they aren't allowed to work with each other, you get it by giving them a technical chance and watching them not take it because you're already set stuff up so they hate and fear each other.

Date: 2011-04-07 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gyllespi.livejournal.com
Oh yeah, I definitely meant that part of it too. I don't want to give anything away, but again, I think it worked comparatively well when you find out more information about it later on. The comment about fostering competition between Districts also makes sense to me; I hadn't even considered that aspect of it before.

Date: 2011-04-07 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ember-reignited.livejournal.com
a backstabber or killer hiding behind the facade of an innocent child

These aren't even mutually exclusive. That's what the Hunger Games should be full of: killers and backstabbers who are also scared children.

Wouldn't that be a great wake up call for Katniss? Just barely surviving a backstabbing attempt, and then when she confronts Rue her being all, "Oh, come on, Katniss, like you weren't planning to do the same thing the moment it was down to us."

Date: 2011-04-07 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gyllespi.livejournal.com
Yeah, exactly! Another thing I wanted but didn't get was Katniss feeling relieved, and then guilty for being relieved, that Rue was killed by someone else so she didn't have to do the deed herself. That's the sort of thing that could really mess someone up, growing attached to them and simultaneously hoping someone else kills them. I could understand Katniss not thinking about that when Rue was alive because a lot of people might just refuse to consider it out of denial, but in the aftermath it was all righteous rage grrr arghh! and not the slightest hint of "oh, thank goodness I didn't have to be the one to put her down." Which I would have expected from most protagonists, and especially ones as self-centered as Katniss has proven to be.

Date: 2011-04-07 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
Attachment should be a bitch here. What's particularly disappointing is that while a lot of the psychological stuff may be blunted by years of exposure to the games, the one thing that should still mess with everyone is that it's hard to hurt people you know and really hard to hurt people who help you. Even the trained kids should have trouble because they're working in a group. A combination of desperation and fear would likely be enough for the actual kills, but followed by depression, self-loathing and nightmares.

Date: 2011-04-07 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
Except Katniss would just be all "No I wasn't! Because I'm great at just not thinking about stuff until later, I mean I totally would have but I wasn't planning it or anything."

And then she'd stab Rue and the moral would be that it's okay to stab children because only Katniss is a good person.

Date: 2011-04-07 09:18 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
LJ says there are 6 comments on this, but I only see two... o_O

Well, three now, technically.

Date: 2011-04-07 09:18 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh. So now they all show up. Weird.

Date: 2011-04-07 05:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
Yeah LJ's a mess. Apparently our Russian overlords and Russia's actual overlords disagree. I feel like we should apologize for expecting them to be an arm of Putin.

Date: 2011-04-07 10:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] antialiasis.livejournal.com
both tributes from the same district will be declared winners if they are the last two alive.

...well, wow. That's so bad it's almost impressive.

I had had this book recommended to me as the kind of thing I'd definitely like, and sort of meant to try reading it at some point, but never got around to it. As I've followed this I've been asking myself what I would have thought of the goings-on if I actually had read it, challenging myself to honestly evaluate whether I would in fact have liked it. I know a whole lot of the nonsense would have flown right over my head because I'd have just taken the author's word for most of the research issues, and I don't think I'd quite have noticed the treatment of the female characters in comparison to the male ones (I tend not to really add them together in my head like that without prompting). And I suppose maybe I'd have been sucked in by the action and not spent enough time thinking about the morality of Katniss's actions to properly pick up on just how sociopathic they are, though I do like to think it would have bothered me that she doesn't consider the girls killed by the wasps as kills at all.

But here and there come these things that are just so completely, blindly stupid that they wholly reassure me that no, there is no way in hell I would not have thought this author was a hack. If the book is about people participating in a game with rules that require one of two friends to kill the other, the reader is going to spend the whole book looking forward to seeing how that's resolved. I mean, I fully expected it to be in some clichéd way that didn't force them to properly confront the moral dilemma (Peeta sacrificing himself to take down the last other tribute and let Katniss win was my bet) or maybe that they'd be the last two left, try to force a stalemate and eventually make the Gamemakers realize that the public would rather see them win together thanks to the whole star-crossed lovers angle than more artificial natural disasters to kill one of them off. But what the hell, author, you don't just go and change the freaking rules before it has even become an issue. How can anyone read this and not throw the book across the room?

Date: 2011-04-07 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
Oh, there's nothing wrong with liking it. I liked it, in a very forgettable way with a dash of "good fanfic rewrite concept" and a bit of headdesking at the bursts of obvious stupid. And I wouldn't have noticed the gender thing if I hadn't been told it was feminist and decided to pay attention - I meant to just have evidence that it was merely okay but not actually challenging anything in the way actual feminist works should.

The real thing is expectation. The capital-is-evil bit is very clumsily added in as plot device, the actual plot is just Katniss faces adversity in a story that honestly is not all that dark. There's no horror that innocent people are dying or anything, they're all assumed evil. So of course there isn't going to have to be any real sacrifice.

Date: 2011-04-07 05:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
Oh, and the wasp thing is a sort of casual retconning. Like I could see her dropping the hive and hoping to drive them off and so the fact they died wasn't her intent while she deliberately killed the boy. Except that's not how it actually happened, and in fact she's spent this whole section of the book constantly thinking about killing people.

Date: 2011-04-07 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joyeuxnoel.livejournal.com
I'm surprised you didn't mention Katniss's slip in calling Rue "Prim" since I think that was actually done well.

Also, I kind of have to wonder if the moral disconnect is more of a reflection of the society (which we really haven't seen enough of) or if it's due to Katniss's point of view. Because honestly, she never really comes off as well adjust and normal. To me, she always seemed to fall more on the line of antisocial and paranoid than anything else.

I really think the book both suffers from not touching the other kid's points of view, especially since most of them seem to be running and hiding or doing what they can to stay alive rather than going "crush, kill, destroy" save for the careers. (This would also put Katniss in a more negative light, imho.)

As for Katniss's "I killed someone!" realization. I kind of found it hard to swallow that it just clicked with her. However, I think if you look at it more like it's the first person she wanted to kill rather than just kill to survive, it makes a little more sense. I can buy that's she's been lying to herself and trying to rationalize her other actions with a "it's them or me" context so I can buy that shooting the kid was more because she wanted to than about helping Rue.

In regards to the bread, I can see the District pooling their resources to help Rue. It might not have been necessary but I think morally it would have helped a lot. Plus, I'm not sure Rue received any sponsor gifts so having something from her district would have been a nice reminder.

Now, giving it to Katniss is just kind of... yeah... I could understand if it somehow came from Capitol and they were all, "Oh, the children from the districts really aren't savages!" mentality but to buy that the Districts think that poorly of each other that an act of kindness and decency would mean that much is a pretty cynical state of affairs. Then again, the world as a whole need to be developed and/or shown more, imho.

I also headdesked at the rule change. I mean, really? REALLY? WTF? Talk about left field.

Date: 2011-04-07 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
Eh, the Prim think was rather predictable. Also, during my rants I occasionally flipped the names around and had to edit because they're practically interchangeable, so I feel sort of like...Rue shouldn't have needed to be exactly like Prim to count, her being a scared kid when Katniss has spent years taking care of a younger sibling should have been enough.

In regards to the bread, I can see the District pooling their resources to help Rue. It might not have been necessary but I think morally it would have helped a lot.

Unfortunately, it's stated that everything sent costs far more than the price of the item normally. I'm not sure what the conversion rate is, but whatever it is it's enough that the richer districts don't seem to support their trained kids. So yes, it would have been incredibly nice to Rue and remind her that her district cared, and a small sign that not everyone is a sociopath. But it also means her five younger siblings may starve to death this year. If in her district, poverty was an issue of new clothes and not going hungry, it'd be different, but we're told they're starving like the rest.

but to buy that the Districts think that poorly of each other that an act of kindness and decency would mean that much is a pretty cynical state of affairs.

It wasn't even that much. Katniss killed the boy who killed Rue, which is what she was supposed to do to survive anyway. I guess it might be the flower thing alone, but Katniss doesn't even know if they showed it and anyway, the flower thing is just not a big sacrifice on her part.

More, District 11 still has another kid in the games, so it's not simply that they're sacrificing, but they're actually hurting their own surviving kid.

Date: 2011-04-07 06:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joyeuxnoel.livejournal.com
:|a

Setting aside plot purposes, altruism (or stupidity) is the only reason I can see District 11 even bothering to send Rue bread. There's really no reason to do it at all. I doubt that District 11 thinks that Rue can win-- their other tribute seems like a better bet.

I guess it possibly makes sense if the gifts aren't refundable, but even in that context it looks foolish since Rue seemed to be doing okay. I could also buy that Katniss really has no idea what life is like in the District so she could be exaggerating but if the prices are that inflated...

Mergh. The details in this book are like a house of cards. Poke too hard and it all comes crashing down.

Date: 2011-04-07 07:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
It explicitly says it's possible to cancel a gift and they chose not to, because it's that important we know Katniss is special special special.

Date: 2011-04-07 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joyeuxnoel.livejournal.com
My bad. I forgot that part.

The gifts really confuse me because are there set rules? (I imagine there have to be some so the other Districts don't send other tributes bombs or something.) Can they give weapons? Are there a set selection of items to give, do they just pool money?

It's so annoying to have questions which will never be addressed.

Date: 2011-04-07 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
It seems like it's just money and the mentor picks the gift, except the fact it's District 11 bread implies that they can pick the gift. I guess the simpler version is that they send a request it be their bread so Rue would know. I would assume it's possible to send weapons but just not worth the cost when there are weapons everywhere.

Probably you can send anything, though personally I'd think a set selection would be better so people don't try to find loopholes.

Date: 2011-04-07 02:42 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The song isn't much, but I expected you to say something about the lyrics or something. Like, is she whispering the song, or is she bellowing it out for all to hear?

It is rather comical that despite this all basing itself on Roman things there aren't any mentions of gay couples or anything. I recal reading the Merchant of Venice, and towrds the end two male characters kiss, but I'm pretty certain that it had to do with the fact that they were best friends and everything. They could at least mention gay people and lesbians.

Maybe Suzanne Collins is a stereotypical christian?

Date: 2011-04-07 05:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
I presume pretty quiet, since she's all choked up and it looks like a lullaby. I'm curious what sort of thing you'd say.

I just googled to see if she's another Mormon gone bestseller, and hit a lot of biographies that didn't mention it, then this gem (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_Suzanne_Collins_a_Christian).

But I really doubt it has to do with her being Christian. Even assuming she doesn't personally think they're sinners, most people have the attitude it just shouldn't be talked about. Like, they have no problem with gay people existing, but why do they have to be so noticeable, with the public handholding and saying they're homosexual out loud and other such shocking behaviors? I don't think it'd have occurred to her that gay people just generally exist and should be showing up eventually by force of statistic.

Date: 2011-04-07 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] actonthat.livejournal.com
I was right! Woot! (Except for Rue living, but that was more wishful thinking.)

Hahahah this is fucking terrible.

Date: 2011-04-07 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
Yep. To predict the book, just assume nothing ever happens that isn't the most convenient way for things to go.

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