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Getting the broth into Peeta takes an hour of coaxing, begging, threatening, and yes, kissing,

Oh book. And you're written by a woman, this is sad.

After he finishes drinking he goes to sleep and Katniss eats her own food. She doesn't seem to be thinking that she's got a pot and she should consider making more stuff for Peeta to eat. Basically just throw shit in and boil it, whatever ends up in the water is still better than the nothing he's been having. Personally, I'd suggest cooking blood and meat, but we've established Katniss is too picky to cook anything icky like that.

Katniss is about to go sleep in a tree like usual when she remembers Peeta needs defending.

I can’t very well leave Peeta unguarded on the ground. I left the scene of his last hiding place on the bank of the stream untouched — how could I conceal it? — and we’re a scant fifty yards downstream.

a) It's mud, you could just fuck around a bit so it's not person-shaped, assuming it even still is. Then it'll just look like someone dug up some roots.
b) The fact he was hiding there then doesn't mean he's nearby now. I mean, you know he's not able to walk, but no one else does.

It's cold so she ends up getting in the sleeping bag with Peeta and notices again that he's got a bad fever.

I don’t know what to do. Leave him in the bag and hope the excessive heat breaks the fever? Take him out and hope the night air cools him off? I end up just dampening a strip of bandage and placing it on his forehead. It seems weak, but I’m afraid to do anything too drastic.

Katniss does not seem to get what fevers are.

Cooling his head actually is a good idea, because again, you can get brain damage from high temperatures. I think putting a cloth on his neck might actually be more effective, since that's where the blood is flowing in. Depends how bad the fever is. But generally, you don't cool people down with a fever because the whole point of a fever is the body has decided the proper temperature to be is X temp, and chilling them will just make them burn more energy.

Now, if you're in a situation where the primary component of an illness is the fever, and you're in a first-world country with medical care and antibiotics and all that, that's one thing. But Peeta's main problem is infection, and heat slows infection.

So Katniss stays up all night, refreshing the cloth.

trying not to dwell on the fact that by teaming up with him, I’ve made myself far more vulnerable than when I was alone. Tethered to the ground, on guard, with a very sick person to take care of. 

Katniss, you are whiny. You have a bow and arrow, if anyone shows up they'll die. Now, the lack of sleep thing is definitely an issue, but if you were smart you could easily rig something up so you'd be alerted if anyone tried to get into the cave, and as long as you know you can shoot them.

In the morning, she sees he's started to sweat, which means the fever's broke.

So she knows that yet she doesn't know anything else? Like, for example, the fact he's sweating means he's now too hot and should be taken out of the sleeping bag really fast because he can't afford to lose electrolytes to sweat right now?

Also, why would it break and why would this be a good thing? His temperature going down just means his leg will cool and the bacteria will be closer to their optimum temperature.

Anyway, next morning Katniss gets some berries for him to eat.

We finally learn District 2 girl's name.

“Clove? Which one is that?” I ask.
“The girl from District Two. She’s still alive, right?” he says.
“Yes, there’s just them and us and Thresh and Foxface,” I say. “That’s what I nicknamed the girl from Five.


So Katniss knew the name of all the boys and none of the girls.

You know, I'm sure some of this is a coincidence, but only so much can be coincidence.

This is an enormous improvement over the mud,” he says. “Clean clothes and medicine and a sleeping bag . . . and you.”
Oh, right, the whole romance thing. I reach out to touch his cheek and he catches my hand and presses it against his lips.


Yeah, still kind of creeped out.

I remember my father doing this very thing to my mother and I wonder where Peeta picked it up. Surely not from his father and the witch.

And suddenly blinding rage sweeps that aside.

Fuck you, book.

Peeta realizes Katniss hasn't slept and offers to take over keeping watch.

“Go to sleep,” he says softly. His hand brushes the loose strands of my hair off my forehead. Unlike the staged kisses and caresses so far, this gesture seems natural and comforting. I don’t want him to stop and he doesn’t. He’s still stroking my hair when I fall asleep.

This is actually pretty decent, but by now I have no trust in the book and assume it means she's falling for him.

“Peeta, you were supposed to wake me after a couple of hours,” I say.
“For what? Nothing’s going on here,” he says. “Besides I like watching you sleep. You don’t scowl. Improves your looks a lot.”


And this is pretty neutral, except I'm already kind of on edge, so it sort of grates. There are two ways of looking at this: things were fine, so he let her sleep - okay. Or Peeta ignored what she said because he figures he knows better - not okay!

And generally, Katniss has done a hell of a lot better than him at the games and does know what she's doing, so...

Katniss gets him to drink more water. He wouldn't eat her meat and it doesn't seem to occur to her that she should be soaking the meat in the water to make a sort of tealike broth.

She checks his leg.

My heart drops into my stomach. It’s worse, much worse. There’s no more pus in evidence, but the swelling has increased and the tight shiny skin is inflamed. Then I see the red streaks starting to crawl up his leg. Blood poisoning. Unchecked, it will kill him for sure. My chewed-up leaves and ointment won’t make a dent in it. 

Now, in the context of my complaining last chapter, this actually makes sense. She washed it with cold water from a muddy stream and got plenty of spit in it, then closed it up to fester. But I doubt the book intends that. And once again: so damn convenient that his wound is only going septic right after she finds him.

Anyway, the best idea here is to hack it open and this time clean it properly and leave it open to the air, ideally near something hot, like a nice fire. A hot compress is even better. (Remember, the other kids now avoid the fires, they think they're a trick. Katniss has repeatedly used fires as a distraction when she's actually somewhere else.)

The reason blood poisoning is a big thing for us is that usually it only shows up in injuries that aren't too treatable. See, normally, if you're injured you're getting treatment already, so if that's not enough for your body there isn't much more medicine can do. Peeta just spent several days lying in cold water with a festering wound and no food. In fact, as blood poisoning symptoms are often caused in part by the immune system ramping up, it's possible his system just overreacted and is about to drive back the bacteria.

I mean, it's pretty serious, but it's only his leg, so still contained. And it's still treatable with surgery - remove some of the infected tissue, and his immune system will only have to deal with what's left.

You know, I wonder if charcoal would do any good? I know activated carbon is used to treat poisoning, I wonder what packing the wound would do. And ashes are part of making lye, and alkaline environments kill bacteria. I mean, it might hurt the flesh around the wound, but I'm currently advocating taking a knife to that stuff. Can't be worse than plastering it with spit-covered leaves.

Katniss, being a wuss, instead thinks the only solution is getting sent drugs.

If Haymitch pooled every donation from every sponsor, would he have enough? I doubt it. Gifts go up in price the longer the Games continue. What buys a full meal on day one buys a cracker on day twelve.

This is terribly, terribly stupid. Much like what I was complaining about with the tessarae, there's an obvious hack here - buy really expensive stuff on Day 1. The smart way to bet is to pick one and give them a big lump sum immediately to get all sorts of stuff.

And looking at the conversion here, it suggests that sending a couple medicines on the first day would have been a great idea. They may or may not actually need it, but it's the only time it can be afforded.

Also, how much would it cost to send her a piece of paper with STOP PUTTING SPIT IN THE WOUND USE THE IODINE. Or, actually, a piece of paper with the kind of plant you're actually supposed to use drawn on it.

Peeta, despite having no useful input when she's actually doing stuff, does know he's got blood poisoning.

“You’re just going to have to outlast the others, Peeta. They’ll cure it back at the Capitol when we win,” I say.

Finally! This is what could have been an interesting thing with Rue's wound, the concept that they're on a time limit. Katniss must murder the remaining other children before Peeta dies of infection, so just hanging out passively as she's done for most of the games (barring the explosion) is no longer an option.

Peeta says they can't risk a fire. Since, once again, arrows, I don't see why not, but instead Katniss finds hot rocks from the sun and uses them to heat a soup of shredded everything. Dammit! Put the rocks on his leg!

She wonders what the other kids are doing. She knows three were relying on the stored food but thinks Thresh wasn't, he probably knows how to find roots like Rue. Again, I don't see why none of the other kids took the crash course in edible plants.

Are they fighting each other? Looking for us? Maybe one of them has located us and is just waiting for the right moment to attack. The idea sends me back to the cave.

Once again, an issue is that I really have no idea what the surroundings look like. If they're mostly open, this is stupid because Katniss can kill anyone who approaches. If not, then quite reasonable, but Katniss should mention that and look for a better location.

Peeta asks for a story, so Katniss tells about how she got the goat.

But carefully. Because my words are going out all over Panem. And while people have no doubt put two and two together that I hunt illegally, I don’t want to hurt Gale or Greasy Sae or the butcher or even the Peacekeepers back home who are my customers by publicly announcing they’d breaking the law, too.

So instead, yet again, Katniss defiantly whitewashes the truth to be exactly what the capital wants to hear.

See, the fact she was hunting to feed herself is actually kind of something you should say. That she had to break the law to live is a condemnation of how the districts are run and condemnation of their laws. What she's doing here, avoiding the issue, leaves the implication you can do fine following the rules. See also BOOTSTRAPS!!1!

She claims it's to protect the people who buy at the black market. I'm not sure why, since there's no need to actually name them.

The actual way was she and Gale shot a deer. For no clear reason deer are really rare in the area, and this is the third they've ever managed.

we knew from that experience not to go dragging the carcass into the Hob. It had caused chaos with people bidding on parts and actually trying to hack off pieces themselves. Greasy Sae had intervened and sent us with our deer to the butcher, but not before it’d been badly damaged, hunks of meat taken, the hide riddled with holes. Although everybody paid up fairly, it had lowered the value of the kill.

Okay, so I mostly quote this because hey, we get to amend our list to say that Sae gets portrayed positively. She's still a pretty bad stereotype, but at least we have a woman doing something without being evil.

But anyway, this is dumb. It's part of the general failing of the book, the flipflopping between people being desperate and very much not. You would not get a riot over deer in a world where people keep pigs.

The butcher, a short, chunky woman named Rooba, came to the back door when we knocked. You don’t haggle with Rooba. She gives you one price, which you can take or leave, but it’s a fair price.

Another decent woman. The non-nonsense cook is another stock character, and the description is stupid because she's got a monopoly here, of course it won't be a fair price, but still, we now have two random women characters who aren't evil or victims.

I'm even willing to give the book "chunky" even though no one should be fat in Katniss' world. It may just refer to the fact that a butcher would be heavily muscled (although generally, one says "stocky" when they mean that).

Anyway, that's how she actually got the money. What she says is she sold a silver locket her mother had, which is very, very different and implies her family was doing far better than it actually was. If they had a locket this whole time, they were never starving. Just say you shot a deer and sold it, there's no need to detail here.

There’s an old man who keeps a small herd of goats on the other side of the Seam. I don’t know his real name, everyone just calls him the Goat Man. His joints are swollen and twisted in painful angles, and he’s got a hacking cough that proves he spent years in the mines. But he’s lucky. Somewhere along the way he saved up enough for these goats and now has something to do in his old age besides slowly starve to death. He’s filthy and impatient, but the goats are clean and their milk is rich if you can afford it.

So why don't more people keep goats?

(Also, wait, do you mean normally people starve once they're too old to work in the mines because they have no other source of money? And in that case, what's so slow about it? And if so, why do they stop working instead of going until they die?)

Owning a nanny goat can change your life in District 12. The animals can live off almost anything, the Meadow’s a perfect feeding place, and they can give four quarts of milk a day. To drink, to make into cheese, to sell. It’s not even against the law.

SO WHY DON'T MORE PEOPLE KEEP GOATS?

I mean, there are totally communities where people are living so hand to mouth that they can't afford to buy an animal to set themselves into a better path, but this is not one. More, what's keeping the number of goats down? A nanny goat will produce one or two kids a year. Assuming one, that means you get a new milk goat every other year, and goats can easily breed for a decade. So one doe leads to at least five new milk goats before she's too old and gets turned into meat. It should be really easy to get too many goats and lead to overgrazing problems. Now, if they were occasionally getting hit by predators, that might explain it a bit, but we're told the fence works.

I really feel like the author doesn't get that animals producing milk and animals making more of themselves are connected.

Anyway, they see one of the goats has a horribly infected shoulder and he's going to sell it. The butcher woman shows up and, when she realizes Katniss is interested, says she doesn't want it because it's too infected.

As she marched off, I caught her wink.

So we are seeing some evidence that Katniss was getting help and people did like her. But then that raises the question of why she thinks no one ever helps her and doesn't have any sense of community. They bring the goat to Prim.

She was so excited she started crying and laughing all at once. My mother was less sure, seeing the injury, but the pair of them went to work on it, grinding up herbs and coaxing brews down the animal’s throat.

See, and that was an infected wound. No freaking out, no running off and having no idea what they did. She should have seen how her mom handled that.

Huh, it's actually kind of writing fail, because Katniss doesn't seem to even realize she's thinking about how her mom dealt with that kind of injury and should try to remember the plants involved.

“I can see why that day made you happy.”
“Well, I knew that goat would be a little gold mine,” I say.
“Yes, of course I was referring to that, not the lasting joy you gave the sister you love so much you took her place in the reaping,” says Peeta drily.
“The goat has paid for itself. Several times over,” I say in a superior tone.


And it's more look at Katniss being stupid because she doesn't get emotions. Honestly it's Peeta who's dumb - considering the whole STARVING STARVING STARVING thing, it's quite easy to believe Katniss is legitimately happy that they had a source of milk to drink and her beloved sister will be able to grow bones. It's also a bit weird that he'd think none of Prim's happiness was that she was going to get milk and cheese now. Once again, the whole exchange seems to be ignoring the fact they were going hungry.

Peeta says he promises to pay her back for all the trouble as well.

It’s my new best friend, Claudius Templesmith, and as I expected, he’s inviting us to a feast. Well, we’re not that hungry and I actually wave his offer away in indifference when he says, “Now hold on. Some of you may already be declining my invitation. But this is no ordinary feast. Each of you needs something desperately.”

So obviously, it's medicine for Peeta.

You know, this is actually a bit off. Peeta and Katniss are both still technically in the game, so they should each be sent something here.

“Each of you will find that something in a backpack, marked with your district number

Okay, so this is even worse than just saying to pair up by district, because remember, both kids from the second district are still alive. So it's blatantly just for Katniss and Peeta, as they're the only ones who both want the same item dropped. I mean, yeah, the other district is working together so they'd probably divide up whatever's in the bag, but it should still be one bag per person.

All the items will be dropped at the cornucopia at dawn. You know what would be a great idea? Going there, hiding, and shooting everyone.

Actually, that'd have been a good idea in general. Katniss has yet to care about the implied time limit. She's still a reactive character. There are four other kids left alive, she has more than four arrows. She's mentioned several times that sometimes they put out food for kids to fight over, and three of the four were using the blown-up supplies for food. So why wouldn't they be drawn out by the promise of food? Katniss could go there as well with the intent of picking them off, and then there'd be the issue of how long can she afford to wait there for people to show up and risk leaving Peeta?

Peeta tells her not to go, and she says she isn't.

“You’re such a bad liar, Katniss. I don’t know how you’ve survived this long.” He begins to mimic me. “I knew that goat would be a little gold mine. You’re a little cooler though. Of course, I’m not going. He shakes his head. 

Fuck you, Peeta, the goat was a gold mine. Milk is valuable.

“All right, I am going, and you can’t stop me!”
“I can follow you. At least partway. I may not make it to the Cornucopia, but if I’m yelling your name, I bet someone can find me. And then I’ll be dead for sure,” he says.


Here's where gender dynamics get interesting.

In general, the female character objects and is told she can't stop him from going, but the male character objects, then threatens something and says she can't go or else. Basically, women can't control men but men can control women.

Now, yes, Peeta has good intentions here, but he's also being really controlling and honestly, this is almost a temper tantrum. Crawling out yelling will not only get him killed but make it more likely Katniss dies as well, and he must know that. And Katniss accepts this instead of getting upset that he won't let her decide, and she also doesn't call his bluff.

I'm sure it's supposed to look really noble on Peeta's part, but consider how badly hurt he's been to protect Katniss, and yet he doesn't respect her making the same decision. Especially when she's the competent one of the pair.

The air’s gone cold even though the sun’s still up. I’m right about the Gamemakers messing with the temperature.

If they could do that, why didn't they just warm things up that one year everyone kept freezing to death? Pay attention, book.

While Katniss is trying to figure out what to do, a new gift arrives. It's some knockout drug. So she mashes it up with some berries and feeds him it.

“They’re sweet as syrup,” he says, taking the last spoonful. “Syrup.” His eyes widen as he realizes the truth. I clamp my hand over his mouth and nose hard, forcing him to swallow instead of spit. He tries to make himself vomit the stuff up, but it’s too late, he’s already losing consciousness. Even as he fades away, I can see in his eyes what I’ve done is unforgivable.

Their relationship really sucks.

Chapter 21 opens with Katniss covering the cave with rocks. She leaves a small opening, but it no longer looks like a cave.

if I don’t make it back from the feast, Peeta will be hidden but not entirely imprisoned. Although I doubt he can hang on much longer without medicine. If I die at the feast, District 12 isn’t likely to have a victor.

Huh. That's actually...kind of bad. Under the circumstances wouldn't it be better to leave it open so someone would come and finish him off?

I’m going to have my hands full. My ability to kill at a distance is my greatest asset, but I know I’ll have to go right into the thick of things to get that backpack

Or you could wait for other people to go for theirs, then shoot them.

She rests and waits for the dawn, thinking about what people at home are doing. She figures they're probably watching her.

I wonder if he’s hoping that Peeta makes it as well. Gale’s not my boyfriend, but would he be, if I opened that door? He talked about us running away together. Was that just a practical calculation of our chances of survival away from the district? Or something more?

Well, so much for the not-my-boyfriend thing. HATE.

I’m about to leave when I remember the importance of sustaining the star-crossed lover routine and I lean over and give Peeta a long, lingering kiss. I imagine the teary sighs emanating from the Capitol and pretend to brush away a tear of my own.

I'm actually pretty okay with how this is going for the moment. She's doing it on her own. I can't shake the thought the book may think she's being evil for it, but whatever, it's practical.

I still sorely miss having the use of my left ear. I don’t know what the explosion did, but it damaged something deep and irreparable.

Uh, you live somewhere with mines and explosions, how can you not know about burst ear drums.

Never mind. If I get home, I’ll be so stinking rich, I’ll be able to pay someone to do my hearing.

...So.

This is what I mentioned in the first interlude. Katniss doesn't seem to want to help anyone else, she's just mad about her own treatment. She doesn't think that, with her money, she can afford to help other people who would starve, or perhaps reform things (again, the abused orphans come to mind). She thinks she'll be well off.

This is especially problematic because Katniss is suggesting she'll be incredibly wealthy. Haymitch being constantly drunk only means he's getting a reasonable stipend, enough to pay for cheap alcohol all the time. If winners are fabulously wealthy, though, they should be able to easily pay for a couple meals for other people.

Anyway, she's wearing Peeta's jacket as well as her own, and she's still quite cold. See, this is why it'd make sense to strip clothes from the dead.

She hides in the underbrush and waits.

Just as the first ray of sun glints off the gold Cornucopia, there’s a disturbance on the plain. The ground before the mouth of the horn splits in two and a round table with a snowy white cloth rises into the arena.

Uh. Isn't this the same area that got dug up, then had mines reburied, then had the mines all explode?

The table has just clicked into place when a figure darts out of the Cornucopia, snags the green backpack, and speeds off.

It's a smart red-headed girl whose name Katniss proceeds to not know. Anyway, yes, she's pretty cool. Katniss explains that no one else will attack because they don't want to risk losing their own pack or exposing themselves to the attack of whoever else is there. That's why she didn't try stealing anyone else's, that'd have made the person go after her. She spends some time seething about how much smarter the girl is.

Huh. I’m always dreading the others, but maybe Foxface is the real opponent here.

She's also never hurt you or anyone else at all, so stop being a dick.

She’s cost me time, too, because by now it’s clear that I must get to the table next. Anyone who beats me to it will easily scoop up my pack and be gone.

Uh, what? You have arrows. Anyone who goes near the table you can shoot. Plus there are still three backpacks and it's possible the next person will try the same strategy as her, leaving the other two alone in the hopes the person won't want to expose themself.

So she runs out because the author just fucking says so, okay.

Fortunately, the first knife comes whizzing in on my right side so I can hear it and I’m able to deflect it with my bow. 

I am pretty sure you can't do that.

She shoots back.

the point punctures her upper left arm. Unfortunately, she throws with her right, but it’s enough to slow her down a few moments, having to pull the arrow from her arm, take in the severity of the wound.

Uh. Getting shot is actually kind of a big deal.

I keep moving, positioning the next arrow automatically, as only someone who has hunted for years can do. I’m turning to fire again when the second knife catches me in the forehead. 

Yeah you really should have seen that coming. It doesn't hit anything important but she's got blood in her eyes and can't see well.

And then Clove slams into me, knocking me flat on my back, pinning my shoulders to the ground, with her knees.

But she's got throwing knives. Does no one understand the ranged part of ranged weapons?

hope for Prim’s sake it will be fast. But Clove means to savor the moment. Even feels she has time.

Wow.

So officially: no, the evil thing was not Katniss being an unreliable narrator, the book is just that bad.

She's trained. She should know better than to spend time on a kill when there are another three people out there.

 No doubt Cato is somewhere nearby, guarding her, waiting for Thresh and possibly Peeta.

Uh, what about her guarding Cato? Why is guarding something only boys do? If Cato gets attacked by either one of them he may well lose. She should want to finish up as fast as possible so she can get back to him and they can return to the two-against-one advantage they'll have in the remaining fights.

Clove opens her jacket. It’s lined with an impressive array of knives. She carefully selects an almost dainty-looking number with a cruel, curved blade. “I promised Cato if he let me have you, I’d give the audience a good show.”

THIS IS STUPID

For some reason, she goes on to say that "we" killed Rue.

We’re going to kill you. Just like we did your pathetic little ally . . . what was her name? The one who hopped around in the trees? Rue? 

She shouldn't know who killed Rue, because the person died immediately after. The only way this makes sense is if, again, the only kids who ever do any killing are the trained ones, and if she somehow assumes Rue took him out in the process, which is all kinds of unlikely and makes it not something to really brag about.

And she doesn't know they were allied, either.

Nothing about this makes any sense. The only way she could know what happened was if they were close enough to hear Rue calling for Katniss, in which case they should have been there to kill her.

Thinking, the only way it could make sense is if they caught Rue in the trap, then left her there for some time, then finally the District 1 kid got bored and went to go kill her right as Katniss was in range to hear Rue calling for her. And that's way too complex to be something we're just supposed to assume.

“I think . . .” she almost purrs. “I think we’ll start with your mouth.” I clamp my teeth together as she teasingly traces the outline of my lips with the tip of the blade.

So fucking stupid.

 But as I feel the tip open the first cut at my lip, some great form yanks Clove from my body and then she’s screaming.

This is what I mean about there being no real suspense. Events just don't follow logically. I don't mean in the sense that it's a plot hole, but just that everything always happens too perfectly when there's not reason for it. Clove isn't attacked early on in her monologue, nor after actually hurting Katniss.

Anyway, Thresh is furious.

“What’d you do to that little girl? You kill her?”
Clove is scrambling backward on all fours, like a frantic insect, too shocked to even call for Cato. “No! No, it wasn’t me!”
“You said her name. I heard you. You kill her?” Another thought brings a fresh wave of rage to his features. “You cut her up like you were going to cut up this girl here?”
“No! No, I —” Clove sees the stone, about the size of a small loaf of bread in Thresh’s hand and loses it. “Cato!” she screeches. “Cato!”


Fuck off, book.

Remember, we're told that Peeta and Katniss holding hands was a huge deal. We're told that Rue followed them around at the training center. And then Rue ends up allying with Katniss. If Thresh gave a fuck about Rue, he could have been kind to her when she was actually still alive.

But hey, who cares about Rue really? What matters is how much RAEG people get to feel over her death. She's a victim, not a person.

And don't think I can't see what you're doing with how you describe Clove, either.

So Thresh smashes Clove's skull in, who, again, did not actually kill Rue.



So let's talk about heroism and fairy tales. It's quite common to have the morality tale where doing something good leads to a reward later.

There are some important things to remember in execution, though.

One is proportion. Katniss consistently gets rewards grossly out of proportion for her actions. Katniss allies with Rue and gets immediately healed, paid back in food, then help to blow up the trained kids' supplies. Katniss avenges Rue and gets a kill, Rue's stuff and the other boy's stuff, then bread, and now a rescue and the death of one of her opponents.

Two is consistency. See, the point of the morality tales is that the person is generally a good person and does things without reward, because we know that happens a lot and it's nice to see an exception where it's rewarded. But Katniss just isn't, no matter how you look at the story. We see no suggestion she's done other decent things in the past and every time she does something at all decent, she gets many immediate returns. The only exception to this is Peeta, and that's a whole nother ball of issues.

And three is...well, to a point the stories I'm talking about here aren't necessarily about heroes, merely comparable. Ideally, an actual hero's reward for a good action is a small thing that's the last bit you need in a tight spot, after the hero's gone above and beyond to help someone before. The dynamic is reversed with Katniss, who makes no real sacrifices at any point. (A sacrifice would have been giving up her food to Rue because the girl was hungrier than she was.) A hero is someone who struggles. And part of struggle is doing the right thing when it's hard, not always finding yourself in a place where the easiest thing will get you lauded.

“What’d she mean? About Rue being your ally?”
“I — I — we teamed up. Blew up the supplies. I tried to save her, I did. But he got there first. District One,” I say. Maybe if he knows I helped Rue, he won’t choose some slow, sadistic end for me.
“And you killed him?” he demands.
“Yes. I killed him. And buried her in flowers,” I say. “And I sang her to sleep.”
Tears spring in my eyes. The tension, the fight goes out of me at the memory. And I’m overwhelmed by Rue, and the pain in my head, and my fear of Thresh, and the moaning of the dying girl a few feet away.
“To sleep?” Thresh says gruffly.
“To death. I sang until she died,” I say. “Your district. . . they sent me bread.” My hand reaches up but not for an arrow that I know I’ll never reach. Just to wipe my nose. “Do it fast, okay, Thresh?”
Conflicting emotions cross Thresh’s face. He lowers the rock and points at me, almost accusingly. “Just this one time, I let you go. For the little girl. You and me, we’re even then. No more owed. You understand?”


This is absolutely awful, in other words.

Also, Katniss could easily be lying about any of this, and I have no idea why Thresh can't talk properly.

I understand that if Thresh wins, he’ll have to go back and face a district that has already broken all the rules to thank me, and he is breaking the rules to thank me, too.

Shut up about how special she is, book.

Thresh grabs the bags and takes off.

Cato kneels beside Clove, spear in hand, begging her to stay with him.

This, though, I actually like.

You've got to assume the kids knew each other. They're both raised in the same district, and supplying two kids a year, every single year, means a lot of coordination involved. I imagine they likely aren't ever close friends in the district, because they know at least one of them will die, but at the same time, when the games begin they know they'll team up and work together until nearly the end, knowing they have a good chance of surviving if their district trained them well...and yet that if their district did its job, they might end up being the last ones and have to try to kill each other. The announcement must have meant a lot to them.

And now she's dead when they'd almost made it out alive.

Cato will be on one of our trails. Either Thresh’s or mine. 

Only one of you killed Clove, so I think it's pretty clear which.

 Thresh has Cato’s backpack containing the thing he needs desperately. If I had to bet, Cato headed out after Thresh, not me. 

Or I guess we could return to assuming he's just a dick, because that's been so interesting so far.

Katniss' head is still bleeding badly, but she gets back and jams the needle in.

Without hesitating, I jam the needle into Peeta’s arm and slowly press down on the plunger.

Because the book has long ago used up my goodwill, I'm going to say that probably needed to be injected into an actual vein, not just stuck in his arm at random.

Then Katniss passes out as part of the endless treadmill that is injuries in this book, because she's just fixed the previous problem.

Date: 2011-04-08 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] actonthat.livejournal.com
Why does Peeta like her, anyway? There's a lot of tell-less-show going on here. The author keeps telling us how infatuated with her Peeta is, but she clearly dislikes him and they treat each other poorly. They don't seem to get along and don't really even know each other very well. I can see why Stephenie Meyer endorsed this book.

Also, this whole play-romance they're doing is becoming more and more rape-y as it goes on. At first I wasn't taking your condemnation of it particularly seriously, but "Getting the broth into Peeta takes an hour of coaxing, begging, threatening, and yes, kissing," is just so many different kinds of creepy and wrong.

Date: 2011-04-08 08:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
...because she's hot. That's pretty much why.

I'm actually not sure why precisely I find the romance so squicky. The majority of stuff that's bothering me would be okay in a different situation, but I guess I can't shake the initial feeling of Nice Guyism from when Peeta confessed his love, and the prostitute yourself for the crowds thing isn't helping.

Date: 2011-04-09 03:40 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The romance should be replaced by action. All the kissing is ridiculous, and definitely over the top. In general, romance pretty much sucks, but there's something about love-hate relationships that I can appreciate. There's not too much romance, and the present kissing canbe balanced with arguing and misunderstandings. But, you can do the same with close friendships too, so romance is really only around for reproduction.

If Hermione/Draco was canon the pairing would definitely be a love-hate one. Argues about differences, plus some smacking Draco fun! That's got to be the best romance set up, right? Why can't it be the same for Peeta/ Katniss? Can't Katniss smack him and tell him to deal?

Date: 2011-04-09 03:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
If you think it's all kissing no action now, just wait until you see the next chapter.

In fairness, there's a reason, Katniss is trying to act sweet constantly because she figures it's what people want to see. (Huh, there's actually a bit of meta there, I wonder if the author realized how very boring it actually is.)

Love-hate is a good centerpiece because it's conflict, and when there's no conflict it's boring. I'm totally fine with romance being a part of a relationship, but unless it's actually done something it's not interesting and should sit quietly and not interrupt when the plot's talking.

I kind of suspect this is at the heart of some ship wars. Take the non-blue-catpeople Avatar, for example. Katara/Aang was good for the show, because it works well as part of their general relationship. Katara/Zuko was far interesting as a romance, but would never have worked on the show because it'd have needed to be the primary plot. (Or they could have just thrown them together late in the game, but the whole point of what made that interesting was the tension between them, so brushing it aside kills the ship for me.)

The Katniss/Peeta thing's only point of conflict is suspense on if Katniss will fall for Peeta (obviously) and the tension while Katniss tries to act the part (nonexistent). They have nothing in common and no real chemistry together.

Hm...it occurs to me that there actually is the fanfic version of this and I don't hate it. There are stories that just center on a couple hanging out together being happy and doing mundane things. I think it's the style - with fanfic, authors know you're a fan of the character, and more specifically, they know what sort of stuff makes you love reading about a character. Katniss and Peeta have none of that spark. They're terribly boring to read about as people, and the style doesn't highlight them decently at all. There's no cute character moments, no reason to enjoy them being together.

Date: 2011-04-09 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ember-reignited.livejournal.com
I think it's the style - with fanfic, authors know you're a fan of the character, and more specifically, they know what sort of stuff makes you love reading about a character.

Also fanfic has a broader chronology to work with than the canon, and curtainfic does not take place in the middle of childmurder games.

Date: 2011-04-09 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
But if it didn't suck, it wouldn't be inappropriate curtainfic, it'd be called a breather period or something. And I'd be saying something like "okay, so it doesn't really make sense that they're left to be cute together for so long, but I don't care".

There's a certain level of joking around that would lead to me complaining that hey guys, childmurder games! but just chilling in the cave and running around getting food would be fine if I liked the characters.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:33 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
damn it, I promised myself that I would not read your recaps until I read the actual book but I am basically failing.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
If you don't have access to the book in physical form, you can always get it online. ...through legal channels I mean yes.

But I am pleased to hear I am addictive.

Date: 2011-04-09 07:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] negrek.livejournal.com
So much this. D:

Date: 2011-04-09 09:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syneblue.livejournal.com
I have a theory that Katniss, instead of being poorly written, might just be a mathematician.


Example:

A mathematician is working at his desk. He puts a cigarette down but misses the ashtray - it rolls onto some papers and his desk catches on fire.

The mathematician runs to the fire extinguisher, and puts out the blaze.

The next day the mathematician flings a cigarette into the wastepaper basket, which catches on fire. The mathematician runs to the wastepaper basket, grabs it, and pours the flaming garbage onto his desk.

Then he goes back to work. Because he already solved that problem.

Date: 2011-04-09 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
See, the difference is, the mathematician is at least consistent there, and therefore smarter than Katniss.

Katniss puts the fire out and then whines the burn marks are a bigger deal than the flames.

Date: 2011-04-09 03:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maimh.livejournal.com
You know, I can actually accept Clove and her behavior.
Trained kids only have the game as the goal of their life, is is a fact. The others "only" have the risk of ending in the game, where she sure of it. I would not be surprised if they got warped early on.
After all, if Katniss are so eager to play to the Capitol, Clove might have been playing for a group of very bloodthirsty viewers. After all, this is the childmurder games, theres got to be people out the who get a kick out of little girls cutting up each other in horrible ways.

Oh and yes, I mentioned earlier that Katniss was called Kattua in my country, and you are right about the translater thinking it was a made up word.
The plant is called Katteurt in the danish version, and that makes is even more stupid, since it means cat-herb, so the translater actually made a new name for her, from the words cat and herb.
To make it even worse, katteurt is actually the danish name for catnip, so I really don't get what the translater was thinking.

Date: 2011-04-09 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] farla.livejournal.com
But that's just it, the kids should be trained out of being aggressive and losing their temper because that's not good for their chances. And the closer they get to the end, the less point there is risking yourself in the hopes of courting sponsors. Thresh is still there and he and Cato are evenly matched, so she should want to get back as fast as possible to help in that fight. The fact is, if she'd killed Katniss then, they'd probably have won the game. (And if she was playing to her sponsors she should have started cutting up Katniss rather than monologuing - and again, she'd have lived because Thresh wouldn't have attacked.)

If Katniss and Peeta, and the red-haired girl, were the only other ones left, I could see it happen. Here's how it could have gone:

Red-haired girl grabs the pack. Katniss realizes that next both District 2 kids will go for their stuff and they'll take her pack as well, so her belief that she needs to go first now makes sense. She runs out and gets hit by Clove. Clove believes Cato is quite safe, instead of potentially getting into a fight with Thresh any second now and needing her to help. So she's got time to tear up Katniss. It's still a bad idea, but it's now a much more reasonable bad idea.

Katniss yells for Peeta. Clove, for a second, wonders if maybe Peeta is there and about to attack Cato. They do know that somehow Peeta hasn't died from what they thought was a fatal injury. Her grip loosens and Katniss grabs a rock off the ground and smashes that into her head (Bows take muscle, Katniss should be physically rather strong.) She escapes because Cato's more concerned with the dying Clove than her.

To make it even worse, katteurt is actually the danish name for catnip, so I really don't get what the translater was thinking.

Wow that's some pretty major translation fail, because her nickname is Catnip, it's what Gale calls her. So they'd have had to change the nickname to something else in the process. Just making up a random word would make more sense.

Date: 2011-04-10 07:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maimh.livejournal.com
Ah, yeah you are right, I guess I am just trying to view the other kids beyond "really evil"

Sigh, they could just have kept the Katniss name, even if they thought it was a made up word, it would have made more sense then using a name that is already used for a real plant that looks nothing like the describtion.
Well, they would have had to change the nickname anyway, Katteurt really isn't good for nicknames in danish. But it is still no excuse for it.

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