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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Mockingjay (Or Let Us All Burn!)

Dear friends,

** Pay attention, this post is very long, has a lot of pictures and SPOILERS! but I have poured my heart and soul into it so I hope you guys will read it and tell me what you think! :) **

As you know the last 2 weekend I have presented you each Saturday with a review of Book VS. Movie - for The Hunger Games and for the Catching Fire. This day I shall tell you my thoughts and feelings about the Mockingjay. As you pretty well know by now the 3rd book of The Hunger Games series will also be a movie - actually 2, as they split the last part, and they are already in the post production phase. Thank God most of the movie filming was done (except one last scene, where unfortunately Plutarch Heavensbee was present) as Philip Seymour Hoffman decided to leave us permanently by overdosing... Letting all that aside I can hardly wait for this November to see Part 1 of the Mockingjay - the long wait until November 2015 for the last and final part will be indeed very painful! I often thought - while reading the book - how they will manage to do certain scenes and I must admit that I am betting my money on the fact that Part 1 will finish with the rescue of Peeta from The Capitol, or even with him first seeing Katniss and trying to strangle her...  
I hate to say that while reading the book I had mixed up feelings about it. Somewhere in the middle of the book my husband asked me how I liked it and I answered really truthfully that I was confused! I can say for sure that I loved The Hunger Games and that my fav book of the series was most definetely Catching Fire. Mockingjay started slowly and painfully after which it transformed from a small snowball to a powerful avalanche.
***
Here are my points on the subject:
  • Mockingjay is dark and violent and leaves your eyes dry by the end of the book. The book is very much focused on the War and we can see Suzanne Collins knowledge of the army - gathered from her father. Collins comes from a military family; her father was in the Air Force for many years and also fought in Vietnam. She grew up hearing about war from a young age, and considered that a good education. Lucky for us, Collins wants to share her education with her readers. Here's what she has to say on the matter: One of the reasons it's important for me to write about war is I really think that the concept of war, the specifics of war, the nature of war, the ethical ambiguities of war are introduced too late to children. I think they can hear them, understand them, know about them, at a much younger age without being scared to death by the stories. It's not comfortable for us to talk about, so we generally don't talk about these issues with our kids. But I feel that if the whole concept of war were introduced to kids at an earlier age, we would have better dialogues going on about it, and we would have a fuller understanding. (source)
    Suzanne Collins
  • The book is split under 3 parts: The Ashes, The Assault, The Assasin. The Ashes focuses on her arrival and her new position under District 13 where President Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee wish to make her the image of The Revolution. In return for immunity for her friends - especially Peeta - she agrees to be The Mockingjay. The Assault tells the story of the bombing of District 13 and also of the diversion in order to pull Peeta out of The Capitol. Peeta unfortunately is damaged - he was "hijacked" with the tracker-jacker venom - and when he sees Katniss he tries to strangle her. Once she recovers, Katniss realises that there is no way in which she can help Peeta and starts focusing on killing President Snow. In the meanwhile we also see the lovely and long awaited wedding of Annie - now rescued also - with Finnick Odair. Also Gale, Finnick, Katniss and Joanna start training and are recruited for the new team who is supposed to take on District 2 and after that The Capitol. In the last moment Peeta is assigned to the team as well, even though he is not on his best behaviour. In The Assasin we see Katniss being afraid for her life as Peeta is in her team and not fully recovered. We witness multiple deaths that we wish we did not... and we also witness the rebels capturing The Capitol. An interesting twist of events happen when Katniss is supposed to kill President Snow yet she kills Coin. We see in the end Peeta and Katniss and Haymitch returning to District 12 and starting a new life there.
  • I have to hand it to Suzanne Collins in the way in which she presents the series with such beautiful connections to the Ancient Rome. The Hunger Games has two mythic/historic sources: the myth of Theseus and the minotaur, an Spartacus, a Roman gladiators who ended up leading a rebellion against Rome. We also see during the series different names (e.g. Castor and Pollux in The Mockingjay) and different actions taken from the Roman times (e.g. The Arena of the gladiators, here Tributes, or even the special drink during The Capitol parties, in the Catching Fire, that allows you to throw up in order to eat even more...).
  • The end of the book is very rushed for me, even though the action starts slowly and turns into a landslide I wished things would go a bit slower in the end and we would get to know more. After Prim's death all goes downhill and haywire and I must admit that even though I wished Primrose would still be alive I see her death as a necessary one as this is what pushes Katniss to kill President Coin. And let us face it, President Coin wanted Katniss dead and she would have been as bad leader as Snow - they would have exchange one dictatureship with another.
  • It hurts to see so much of Gale in this part and yet not see their warm relationship - the one between him and Catnip. To be truly truthful I do not think once in this part Gale calls Katniss Catnip but he still looks after her and we see his hurt and suffering - he figures out even before Katniss that the one whom she will choose will be Peeta. To be truly truthful in the movies I like way more Gale than Peeta but the Peeta in the books just sticks to your heart and you cannot shake him off no matter what! You cannot be mad on him for trying to strangle Katniss but you feel sorry and you try to take the blame from him - just as Katniss tries when she realises all the horrors and tortures he has been through at The Capitol. I am happy in the end Katniss and Peeta end up together. Sadly after the taking of The Capitol and Coin's assasination we read only a line or 2 about Gale - that he is sorry his invention killed Prim and that now he has a new fancy job somewhere in District 2... that is not an ending of their relationship! It is like everything just was cut out short with a long sword... I feel no closure on their side! :(
  • Alright, Katniss and Peeta get back to District 12 - also with Haymitch - but the epilogue just gives me taste for more and more. We fins out that time passes and Peeta and Katniss grow closer and closer until they become a family and have 2 children - a boy and a girl. Come on! First of all, remember when Katniss said she would not do children in order to bring them up in this cruel world?! True, there are no more Hunger Games and no more Arena's and a mind of a 16-17 year old girl can turn, but hey! Not to point out the fact that I would have wished for the boy and girl to have names - maybe Prim or Rue and Finnick/Cinna... Their children reveal Katniss and Peeta's hope for a better future. Katniss always has said that she'd never have kids because they would have to face horrors like the Hunger Games. Seems like she's mostly gotten over that fear, and that some of her faith in humanity has been restored, otherwise she never would have had children.
  • Katniss spent all three books of the trilogy playing some version of the Hunger Games. And the last lines of Mockingjay show that Katniss is still playing a game. Now, though, it's a game that reminds her of all the small, positive things in her world:[…] I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I've seen someone do. It's like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than twenty years. But there are much worse games to play. (Epilogue.7-8) This little game keeps Katniss positive and helps prevent her nightmares from taking over her mind. While she'll never escape the Games or her memories of them – and it seems unlikely that Peeta will either – at least the two of them can keep working to create a world where those kinds of events are just memories. (source
  • I love the fact that Katnisses character evolves more and more from being a pawn in the hands of Snow, from being a puppet in the hands of Coin to being a grown-up taking life in her own hands and making her own decisions and seeing the truth in the midst of the lies. Even if she has to say yes for another Hunger Games having Prims memory in mind, she knows this is the only way in which Coin will not see her as a threat, the only way in which Coin will lower her defences. I must say this was very well done indeed! :)
    via
  • Now let us discuss over the deaths in this book... It made me feel like I was reading Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows all over again... You would turn the page and another character you loved and watched develop would die! First it was facing the hard truth that Cinna will not come back, that he is truly dead - even though he left his legacy to Katniss in a special notebook with sketches of her full body armour as The Mockingjay, his final gift! Then we have Finnick, who just got reunited with the love of his life, with Annie. They get married and he gets send in mission to The Capitol, where he dies by the genetically mutations - the mutts. What brings me to tears is the fact that later on in the book we find out that Annie was even pregnant with his baby! At that point I realised that I would have wanted Gale dead rather than Finnick, who was always a good sport and he really knew how to treat Annie. What support will she have from now on and how will she be able to raise her son? Who will give her guidance and grab her from her imaginary world with just a few words?! And please, God, why did Primrose have to die? :( (I mean, I understand this is one of the motives for which Katniss kills Coin) Prim is the cause that Katniss went to The Games and she is the reason she became The Mockingjay. We see her developing from a child to an adult-child taking care of wounded men/women/children and even advising her sister over what she should do... She is such a powerful and beautiful character with so much to say, yet we see her destroyed in a few seconds. In a few seconds she transforms from a future doctor of Panem to a burning flame...
    The reality of her deaths hits Katniss even harder when she has to come to District 12 by herself as her mum refuses to come back and remains in The Capitol to work as a nurse. The hammer falls the hardest when Katniss finds Prim's cat in the house... somehow it managed to get from District 13 back to 12 and then, at that moment, trust me you will begin sobbing as both you and Katniss and the small cat will realise all that was lost... It is also sad when we find at the end of the book that in the bombing and destroying of District 12 the Mayor and his daughter - Madge Undersee, who gave Katniss the pin, according to the book - died. But one thing I am happy we find out toward the end of the book, when Katniss is in The Capitol, is the fact that Effie Trinket is still alive :) Somehow in the movie Madge was not there so I wonder how they will play the girl from District 12 that makes Peeta trust again in Katniss... somehow her names slips from me... maybe it was Daisy? :/ or maybe not...

    Now I must share with you a wonderful song from The Mockingjay. A song I hope will be featured also in the movie. his song was taught to Katniss Everdeen by her father, Mr. Everdeen, when she was young. Her mother, Mrs. Everdeen heard her singing the song and watched Prim making necklaces of rope to go with it with Katniss. Fearful, Mrs. Everdeen yelled at Mr. Everdeen, who told Katniss to forget the song lyrics. This caused Katniss to run into the meadow under a tree crying, and of course remembered every word of the song. After Mr. Everdeen's death, the song played itself over and over in Katniss's head.
    When she was younger she didn't know what it meant, but eventually she understood that the person singing the song was a dead man calling for his lover to come join him in death. Before her mother banned it, Katniss and Prim made rope necklaces like in the song. It meant that a life of torture must have not been worth living. At one point in revelation, Katniss really understands what this means, because she knows that being tortured by The Capitol is a much worse fate than death. Katniss sings this to Pollux after she plays with the mockingjays. This song is mentioned many times throughout Mockingjay.

    Are you, Are you
    Coming to the tree
    Where they strung up a man they say murdered three
    Strange things did happen here
    No stranger would it be
    If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree

    Are you, Are you
    Coming to the tree
    Where the dead man called out for his love to flee
    Strange things did happen here
    No stranger would it be
    If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree

    Are you, Are you
    Coming to the tree
    Where I told you to run, so we'd both be free
    Strange things did happen here
    No stranger would it be
    If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

    Are you, Are you
    Coming to the tree
    Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.
    Strange things did happen here,
    No stranger would it be,
    If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.


    P.S. I urge you to read these series and take your mind off the movies. Unfortunately I did not manage to read The Hunger Games before watching the movie but I had the honour of reading the Catching Fire and The Mockingjay before I saw the movies. And I am proud of that as once again the books beat the movies big time ;)

    P.S.S. I also read recently that they will try to recreate digitally for a last scene the honorable Plutarch Heavensbee - now I am really not sure what to think of that! - as Philip Seymour Hoffman still had 7 more days of shooting before all was wrapped up...
Yours truly,
A LadyBug that loves The Hunger Games series