Did you know ‘The Hunger Games’ is a popular book series? I have read the series, and am giving you a recap. Just in case you really don’t feel like doing any of the reading. The novels are written by Suzanne Collins. The first of them is ‘The Hunger Games’, followed by ‘Catching Fire’ and ending with ‘Mockingjay’. The story follows Katniss Everdeen in her journey through the Hunger Games and politics that follow. Ahead, there will be spoilers, so if you do not want to know any of this information before the movie comes out, I would suggest you end your reading here. We’ll be recapping all the books before the movie comes out. This really is just an overview with some spoilers, so for those of you who are die hard fans of the book you’ll see I’ve left some details out. I’m really excited to see how the movie is going to portray this amazing tale, and hope they do the books some justice!
58 years before 16 year old Katniss Everdeen was even born, The Hunger Games were created. In a time where the greedy Capitol of Panem rules over all, The Hunger Games were created to show that The Capitol still controls everything, even your children. The concept of The Hunger Games is simple enough to grasp, of the 12 surviving districts of the rebellion, the 13th being blown up by The Capitol, 2 children, 1 boy and 1 girl, between the ages of 12 and 18, are chosen at random to participate in a brutal battle for survival. They are called Tributes. The Tributes are put into an arena, randomized each year so no one can fully prepare for what is going to happen, and set to kill each other until one Tribute remains. The victor is crowned, and is given a special home in their district, filled with food and money to survive for the rest of their life. The victor’s district is awarded food once a month as well, instead of just a small ration of grain and oil that a child can sign up for. The small ration puts their name into the bowl for The Hunger Games; the more times that you are added, the higher the risk you are to become a Tribute.
At a young age, Katniss lost her father to a mine collapse in District 12. Her mother went catatonic in the loss, leaving her younger sister Primrose and herself to survive. Nearly on her deathbed, Katniss sells Prim’s baby clothes door to door with no takers. After finding empty trashcans everywhere, she is granted a bit of luck when a young Peeta Mellark sees her in her dire state. He burns bread for her, getting hit for it in the process, and throws it to her without his mother knowing. The next day, Katniss couldn’t bring herself to thank him, but swore she would keep her sister and herself alive. Her father had taught her hunting skills before his death, and she took to the woods to survive, sneaking through the fences with her best friend Gale. This goes on for four years. Each year, when the children are picked for the Hunger Games (a day called the Reaping) there is always a special feel to the air of District 12. They had only one victor in the Hunger Games, and that is Haymitch. Haymitch is now drunk more often than not, and doesn’t hold much in the personality department. As Effie Trinket comes to announce the participants, Haymitch falls over drunk onto her. Effie picks the ladies first, proclaiming the Games slogan “May the odds be ever in your favor!” and picks Primrose Everdeen as the Tribute of District 12. Before Prim can accept though, Katniss rushes forward and stops her, volunteering to go in her place. This is unusual, especially in District 12, where the Hunger Games are essentially a death wish. From the men’s side, to Katniss’ horror, Peeta is picked. Katniss still feels like she owes him for the bread all those years ago, and vows that he should be the one to survive if she does not. The participants from both sides are given time to say goodbye, and during that time Katniss is pinned by the Mayors daughter with a Mockingjay. Mockingjays are a muttation (genetically altered animal) from the Capitol, one that backfired on them.
The beginning of the Hunger Games is actually 2 weeks in the Capitol, living the lavish lifestyle of those who regularly live there. Never ending amounts of food, money, and clothing. In the beginning, there is a parade that Katniss’ and Peeta’s stylists Cinna and Portia, with the help of their team, make them the stars, actually setting them on (fake) fire. During the interview, Peeta lets a bomb drop that changes the game for Katniss: He’s in love with her. Haymitch, Cinna and Portia decide that to work the pair as Star-Crossed Lovers would appeal to the audience, and to people who can send gifts during the games called Sponsors. The pair score highly in the rankings, making them targets for the more experienced Tributes. Peeta and Katniss bond before the Games begin. Peeta tells her that he wishes he could show the Capitol that they don’t own him. He wants to be more than a piece in the Games.
Not long after, the 74th Annual Hunger Games begin. Haymitches advice was to stay away from the Cornucopia, where all the goods are stashed before the Games, stay alive and find water. Katniss sees a pack by her feet, and dives after it before heading into the woods. One of the other tributes throws a dagger at her, snagging it in her pack, giving her at least one weapon to start off with. Katniss hightails it into the woods, where she begins her search for water. The day passes and the arena gets hotter, with no water to be found. At the end of the day, the anthem of the Capitol blares through unseen speakers, and digital projections of the dead are seen in the sky. Katniss is pleased to find that Peeta isn’t one of them, although reminding herself she may have to kill him in the long run to save herself. She then finds herself in an alliance with Rue, a 12 year old girl who reminds her of Prim, from District 11. The two take on the Careers, the more experienced group from the higher ranking districts, by dropping a tracker jackers on them. Tracker jackers are another form of muttations from the Capitol, being deadly technological wasps. During the tracker jacker attack, Katniss gets stung a few times, causing her to have hallucinations and pass out for days. She sees Peeta during her hallucinations, yelling at her to go away. She isn’t sure if they are real or not though. When she comes to, Rue cures her tracker jacker stings with a home remedy that she learned in District 11.
After the tracker jacker attack, Rue and Katniss devise a plan to take down the Careers. Knowing that the Careers always go to the cornicopia and get all the food in the first minute, they decide to destroy their food. Careers come from the higher districts. These districts do not know what it is like to go hungry, whereas Katniss and Rue do. During the time where they are getting the plan together, Rue tells Katniss the reason she trusted her right away was because of the Mockingjay pin. Rue’s work in the orchard gave her a love of music and mockingjays, which earned her trust for Katniss. After the plan is ready, Rue hugs Katniss goodbye, surprising her. It reminds Katniss of home, with Prim. But Prim has people taking care of her, while Rue only has her.
They put the plan in motion. Rue is off starting fires while Katniss watches the Careers food pile. Everything is stacked out in the open which confuses Katniss. One of Rue’s smoke signals go up, which leaves the food pile alone. Katniss watches as the Tribute she calls Foxface sneaks up, dancing in a weird way to get to the food pile, steals a few things and leaves. Katniss realizes at this point the ground is laced with land mines. She quickly comes up with a plan to blow up the land mines, which will destroy the food and the boy from District 3. Using 3 arrows, she cuts a hole in a burlap sack, freeing apples onto the mines below, blowing her off of the tree she’s hidden in and onto the ground.
Katniss struggles to get to her feet, but is so dizzy. It doesn’t pass. She puts her hand to her left ear, which comes away bloody. She realizes that she lost hearing in her left ear. She covers her head to hide the blood. She hides just in time for the Careers to return to the mess she created. The boy from District 3 had survived, although not for long as one of the Tributes named Cato realizes he did his job too well, breaks his neck to kill him. The Careers take off into the woods, presumably to look for the bomber, while Katniss hangs in the bushes until the next day.
“Let the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games begin, Cato’ I think. ‘Let them begin for real.”
Katniss struggles to get back to the rendezvous point, but is surprised that Rue has not returned either. She sits up in a tree to wait, getting more and more worried. A little past midday she goes searching for Rue. Right as she hears Rue’s signal for being okay, she hears a child scream. Then another, this time followed by her name. Katniss yells back that she is coming, but is too late as Rue is murdered before her eyes. Before she can think about it, Katniss buries an arrow in the Tribute from District 1’s neck. Katniss sings to Rue as she dies in her arms, fulfilling her wish to hear music as she goes.
Deep in the meadow, under the willow
A bed of grass, a soft green pillow
Lay down your head, and close your sleepy eyes
And when they open, the sun will rise
Here it’s safe, here it’s warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you
Deep in the meadow, hidden far away
A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray
Forget your woes and let your troubles lay
And when again it’s morning, they’ll wash away
Here it’s safe, here it’s warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.
As Rue’s cannon fires to signal her death, Katniss shows a bit of rebellion. She decorates Rue’s body in flowers. It is her way of putting into action Peeta’s words from earlier about not wanting to be a piece in the Games, of being a human being. She knows the camera will show the act. She wanted it to look like Rue was sleeping. Rue’s melody continues to play throughout the Games.
As Katniss struggles with the death of Rue, a special announcement is made: Both tributes from the same district will be declared winners if they are the last two alive. Before Katniss can even stop herself, she calls out Peeta’s name. Katniss realizes that Peeta was never a danger to her, and cautiously takes off to find him. It takes her a day, but she finds him badly wounded, camouflaged under weeds next to the river. She tells him that he’s not going to die, now that they are on the same team. He reminds her that they are madly in love, so feel free to kiss him. It makes her laugh, before she gets to work tending to his wounds. The cut is deep in his left thigh, along with being badly bruised, burned and having tracker jacker stings. She realizes that he is burning with fever as well, which is why he has no appetite. She manages to get some dried apples in him as she continues to work on his wounds. The leg makes her want to run away, the thought of the wounds make her physically ill. He tries to make her laugh as she tries not to lose the food she’s eaten on the leg.
After struggling with the wounds, she manages to hide Peeta in a cave. For the first time, they kiss, for which Haymitch sends a pot of hot broth to help with Peeta’s healing. It takes an hour to get it in him, but he finally downs it. As he sleeps, Katniss struggles with the thought that she’s more vulnerable being with another person. Katniss checks on the leg wound, saddened to find that he has blood poisoning. As she feeds Peeta, she tells him a sweet story on how she got a goat for Prim. After she tells the story, an announcement comes from the Capitol: There is going to be a feast. It doesn’t mean food, because there is something that each tribute needs desperately. But Peeta tells Katniss she can’t go. He promises that he will follow her if she does. Haymitch decides to help out then, and sends Katniss Sleep Syrup to knock out Peeta. She mixes it in berries with mint leaves to trick Peeta into eating it. He gives her an unforgiving look as he passes out.
The next morning at the Feast, Foxface takes a risky move and darts out right as the table appears with the pouches for each district. Katniss yells at herself for not taking the risk. Katniss goes next, but right away one of the other Tributes, Clove, starts throwing knives at her. A brutal fight ensues between the two, but Clove pins Katniss down. She tortures her a little, saying she’s going to cut her slowly. Before she can start though, Thresh, the other tribute from District 11, picks her up. He smashes her skull. Thresh looks at Katniss, letting her go and says that they are even for Rue now, for District 11. Thresh takes the bags that Cato and Clove needed, darts away. Katniss does the same, but in the opposite direction. Her head is bleeding into her eyes, but she makes it back to the cave with enough consciousness to medicate Peeta before passing out.
Katniss wakes up to Peeta taking care of her. The cut in her head is deep, so he feeds her, rubs warmth back into her feet and makes sure she drinks plenty of water. Its storming now, with leaks in the cave they catch water for stews. Peeta finally breaks down and tells Katniss not to die for him. Her vulnerability shows as they have their first real kiss where neither was sick. Later, Peeta tells Katniss when he fell in love with her, a story which brings out her vulnerability again. Haymitch tells her thats what he’s looking for by sending them a feast, including her favorite lamb stew.
Later, Katniss takes Peeta hunting. With his injured leg, he’s far too loud, so she sends him to do gathering, teaching him a simple whistle to tell each other they are alright. When she doesn’t hear anything for a while, she panics and finds him. He’s gathering berries, which turn out to be Nightlock, a deadly berry. Foxface dies suddenly, which they figured out she was stealing from Peeta’s gathering point, eating the Nightlock and dying. Katniss decides to try and outwit Cato as well, the last Tribute other then them standing. She puts the rest of the Nightlock in her pouch.
The Gamemakers drive the final 3 into conflict by sending out a new type of Muttation. They are like huge wolves, but they have a human aspect to them. Katniss recognizes them as former Tributes, ones that have died during this years Games, that have been turned into this. Peeta and Katniss soon realize that they will have to battle Cato and the wolves. Cato has Peeta in a headlock, slowly killing him until Katniss shoots an arrow, throwing him off guard and to the wolves. He takes a long time to die though, with Katniss sympathy killing him with an arrow to his head. Katniss and Peeta soon discover though that the rules changed back to the original format, leaving only one Tribute to live.
We both know they have to have a victor…
After arguing who will die, Katniss devises a quick plan. The two of them empty the Nightlock left over from the pouch, and hold them up for the cameras to see. On the count of three they were to swallow it. But before they do, they are interrupted by the Captiol, announcing them both the winners of The Hunger Games.
Katniss and Peeta are taken to hospitals where Katniss’ ear is repaired and Peeta has a fake leg put on, the wounds from the fighting leaving his leg unable to be fixed. Katniss is stopped by Haymitch before she goes on air for a post-winning interview with Peeta. He whispers warnings to her that she is in trouble. Katniss soon realizes that the Games are not over for her.
This is only a somewhat brief overview of the first book of The Hunger Games trilogy. I think the topics discussed are the ones that will be brought up in the movie, which some would prefer to just see that instead of reading everything.
With that being said, what do you hope to see in the first movie? Do you think I missed some plot points that you think will be there? Do you have high expectations for this film, or do you think it will just be a movie loaded with special effects and no substance?