The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Ch. 7 – 8)

I found myself wondering these past few chapters what a different version of The Hunger Games would look like. What if Gale and Katniss were the ones competing instead of Gale and Peeta? What if Prim had actually gone to the games? What would the reactions of other characters if they had been plunged into The Capitol?

Plus, it’s interesting to imagine what type of persona they would have cultivated throughout the games. Would Gale play off on his distrust for others? Would the stylists use Prim’s purity to gain her fans? How would the people of The Capitol react to them? Would anyone feel any sense of compassion for these children being sent off to what is essentially war?

It doesn’t seem like they would care at all. It’s just a television show to them.

Back of the Book (Amazon.com)

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to death before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Still, if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


Disclaimer: My Chapter Thoughts DO INCLUDE SPOILERS. They assume that you have read ALL of The Hunger Games series (books 1-3). They will mostly contain spoilers, however, in the chapter that they are covering.

Chapter Seven Thoughts

Learning about how adept Katniss is with a bow and arrow never really shocks me, but sometimes I feel like it should. It is utterly remarkable that she is so gifted. I get that it’s mostly due to her attempts to stay alive, but it’s still a natural gift. Sometimes I wish I was gifted in the same manner. Her abilities come across as almost supernatural. However, I’m not sure I would like to be so gifted in archery. I prefer things like reading and writing, or drawing. Of course, practice makes perfect. Maybe one day I’ll be so gifted at writing that it will seem superhuman. What do you wish you were extremely talented at doing?

Yet, I don’t think I ever remembered Katniss as particularly petite. Maybe the movie is blurring my memory. A lot of the scenes describe her as much smaller than most of her competition. It puts her at a disadvantage to a degree. But she is better fed than many of the others are and that gives her more strength. 

Seeing the sheer amount of underfed tributes did make me wonder during this chapter what the point was in providing these people with an education. If you aren’t going to care for your citizens, why bother to teach them? The priorities of Panem sometimes confuse me. They seem to have no regard for human life throughout the twelve districts, but they will provide an education for their children. Weird.

Anyways, it always did seem to me that Haymitch was super talented as well. As readers we don’t tend to dismiss him as the same blubbering drunk almost everyone in the book does. We know better than that. But how many of us really acknowledge how intelligent he is? Haymitch is extremely smart and understands The Hunger Games better than almost every one. Even past victors seem to lack the complete understanding he has of how to gain an edge. He is very sly and cunning. I wonder what he would have been like if he had never been entered into the games. Would he be so smart? Perhaps he would be even more sly and intelligent. After all, he wouldn’t rely on alcohol to numb his mind quite so often.

Most of this chapter is interesting but not necessarily worth remarking on. I’d say it comes across as a filler chapter if the things you learn weren’t so interesting. However, like most chapters, chapter seven ends with a bang. Katniss’s private session with the Gamemakers is always thrilling to read about. I remember the first time I read this book I was shocked. What would they do to her for challenging them? I was frightened for her. It seemed like such a bold and fearless move. 

Chapter Eight Thoughts

Katniss’s initial sense of fear after challenging the Gamemakers is always right in line with how I feel. That scene is terrifying. The things that the leaders of Panem do to their citizens are abhorrent. They’re real monsters. Can you imagine trying to challenge such an evil organization? They’re okay with putting children to death. What are they willing to do to people who disrespect them?

I probably would have had a heart attack if I was Katniss. I can’t imagine something worse than having to fight in the games, but I’m sure the Gamemakers can. They’re absolute sadists.

But this scene also makes me wonder what they do if something happens to a tribute prior to the games. In all 74 games it had to have happened at least once, especially considering the extra care The Capitol puts towards keeping the tributes alive prior to the games. Do they draw another person from the district? Or do they simply pretend that the dead tribute entered the games and died on the first day? While the first option seems to make more sense, I think the latter would be what they actually do. The Capitol doesn’t want to look weak or foolish. Having a tribute die before the games would make it obvious that even they make mistakes. It might cause rebellion.

For some reason I remember Haymitch being furious with Katniss for shooting at the Gamemakers. He seemed more amused than anything else. Did he react poorly in the movie or something? I did recently rewatch it and I feel like it’s muddling some of my memory of the book. Of course, I’m almost happy about not remembering everything perfectly because it brings a sense of newness to this read. I always feel like I’m learning new things about the characters even if I’ve read the books dozens of times.

I also remember thinking Katniss’s score of eleven was a good thing. Everyone reacted like it was. Even Haymitch seemed excited. But looking back now it doesn’t seem like an advantage to receive such a significantly high score. Like Katniss mentioned earlier, those with high scores tend to turn into targets early on. Everyone seemed to act like the Gamemakers gave her an extremely high score because of how impressed they were with her tenacity and talent. But maybe they were more annoyed than anything else and wanted to practically guarantee Katniss wouldn’t survive the games. They don’t really want a victor with too much pluck. They want one they can manipulate. It’s how they quell future rebellions.

I think Gale would understand that, watching the games from so far away. Since he and Katniss are perfect hunting partners, they are used to noticing things that the other does not. Maybe he would notice that Katniss’s score was too high and that she should be more wary of the Gamemakers. He always had a deep, deep distrust of The Capitol. That would definitely extend into everything about the games, even the scores. I almost wish we could see what he would be like as a competitor in the games. Can you imagine a version of The Hunger Games where Katniss and Gale are the ones competing? Who would survive? Would either of them be able to live on after that?

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