Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Hunger Games debate

I'm a huge Hunger Games fan, and think the books are great.  But then, you hardly ever see people who aren't crazy fans of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series, right? I talked and debated with my sister, Hadley, and her friend Nando about the various reasons why the book didn't have the same effect on them that it had on a lot of other people who read the book. 

Hadley: The thing I like about the books, and appreciate, first of all, I think Katniss is a pretty compelling girl, who's like kind of a badass, and that's going to be rare in books in fantasy or sci-fi. At the same time, I think the writing is not very good, and that's my first criticism. I think it's really, like, fluffy, just bad writing that's only driving the plot forward telling that. And then, I'm just not crazy about the whole premise of kids killing each other, and then I'm really not crazy about the love plot. Also, what's the deal with the names? Why are the names in this book outrageous? So, I get that it's like a dystopian future, right? Part of the reason I feel like the writing's not very good is that I feel like it's just not very fleshed-out, the details of that world, how it came into being, and  why she's writing about it. Like, why is there a breadmaker? Peeta's the breadmaker.

Annie: Hadley--

Nando: Oh my god, I hated that movie.

Annie: God! She was starving, okay? she was about to die! He saved her life! He threw her the bread. Seriously. He saved her life , she returned the deed by saving his life!

Hadley: I just like the romance plot is just- For having Katniss as this female protagonist that's pretty great and pretty strong and interesting, the majority of the plot is about these two guys, and her like choosing between them, and some of them are throwing her bread and some of them are hunting for her, I just I think it's weird.

Annie: Do you think that the idea of kids killing kids is interesting or more horrific?

Hadley: Well, I think it's both.  I  think it's really interesting that these books have taken off not just among kids, among adults too. And I think it's--people say the books are not about the killing, which I think is a really interesting distortion of a reading experience, because the books are really clearly about the killing. Pretty much driven entirely by the killing, and when they're not talking about the killing, they're talking about the guys. Those are the two plots.  It's like, "Which of these two men is Katniss going to end up with?" SO when people say it's not about the killing, I want to ask them if they actually erad the books, because it's actually all about the killing.  And I'm fine with it, I'm not going to pass judgement about why people like to read about kids killing ids, I just think it's really strange that that's what they enjoy. It's a really strange distortion.  LIke when you read Harry Potter, no one's like, "Well, it's not really like the magic." You know what I mean? it's like you took the premise of the book, "Oh lets just throw that out," and then it's like, "Then what's left of the book?" it's weird, right? I mean, what did you find compelling about that, Annie? Why did you enjoy reading about it?

Annie: WEll, in a way, you're kind of like right, because we are kind of like the Capitol because people keep reading and enjoying these books.  It's so weird because it's weirdly compelling. I don't know.

Nando: It's people dying, it's dramatic!

Hadley: What I found manipulative about that was it would be cool if the author put it in perspective of enjying the killing.  Like, If she put it in an authorial perspective. But I don't think she does that.  I think you figured out that the author didn't intend, which is cool and interesting to think about, but's it like it puts no effort into making her readers think through it and that's why people have an easy time saying it's not about the killing, because the author is casual.  I think adults reading the book are just dumb.  Kids are just so manipulated by the books.

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