It was the most curious little thing.
The golden pin was introduced to the readers as Katniss and Gale were interacting with Madge, Mayor Undersee’s daughter. The tesserae system was mentioned not long after and we had a glimpse of the invisible division between the rich and poor; the merchant and the people from the Seam.
Nonetheless, Madge did not seem to care about it and apart of Katniss, I was quite surprised when she gave her the pin. Token from the district, she said. It sounded insignificant at first. Who would worry about a pretty brooch while being trapped in the arena with other 23 kids trying their best to murder you? Call me insensitive but I would have not even cared.
But the thing about Suzanne Collins was that she is a master of simplicity. It’s all in the little things. How love actually started an uprising. How a handful of berries fueled the revolution. How a whistle started a collective stand. How an innocent song translated as a tool for action. How a flower suggested hope. How a painting made powerful men cringe. How a book full of lost memories healed broken people.
Back to the pin.
It was once belonged to Maysilee Donner, Madge’s late aunt who was Mayor Undersee’s wife’s twin sister. She was reaped 24 years ago in the 50th Hunger Games, otherwise known as the 2nd Quarter Quell. Unfortunately she didn’t make it back home and the victor for that particular year was none other than Haymitch Abernathy, Katniss’s and Peeta’s drunken mentor.
You could tell that Madge wanted to be just like her aunt, another brave soul. Unfortunately the odd was not in her favor. Theoretically, she could have waited for the coming year, when she would stand another chance in The Reaping but she decided to give the pin to Katniss. I do wonder that if for the briefest moment, she’d failed to do so…What would happen then? Would Katniss still be The Mockingjay? Will the bird stand a chance to be incorporated as the symbol of the revolution? Assuming everything else went according to the story; Katniss would still be recognized as The Girl on Fire. Wasn’t fire enough? Why did the writer have to invent a long story for an accidental hybrid bird mutt for the simple purpose of fueling the revolution?
Say we reverse the situation. Say Madge was picked by Effie instead of Prim. Would there still be a revolution? Was there really a plot designed by the rebels? (read a well elaborated plan called The Pearl Plot by Hogwarts Professor. Some people might agree but I did not buy it.) Would Madge even survive the 74th Hunger Games and gave the same impact to Panem as Katniss did?
Very curious indeed.
Personally, I think fire is not a good choice because it could easily manipulated, tamed, crushed and put out. It doesn’t have the will and reason to survive, like the mockingjay.
As shared by Katniss, it was a slap in the face for the Capitol. The Jabberjays, a carefully engineered weapon backfired as the rebels figured out their sneaky purpose. The birds were left to die but they found new life instead by mating with the mockingbirds. The mockingjays, the instant result of two species had the best of both worlds. They can repeat a range of human vocal sounds and recreate songs.
This is foreshadowing another string of stories.
We perfectly knew that The Hunger Games was designed as the ultimate weapon by the Capitol. Imagine their surprise when a boy had such an impact in his interview only by using simple words and then a girl sang her heart out for her fallen ally. Like the mockingjays, they used love as their defense.Together they survived the looming death by protecting each other. Can’t you see? They are the mockingjay.
“Of course we will go into this as one.” [Catching Fire, Chapter 15]
By chapter 2 in the first book, you should have seen it coming. That moment when Collins mentioned ‘the first dandelion of the year’ right after Katniss avoided looking at Peeta. You know, when she thought of the hours spent in the woods and then a bell rang in her head. She knew exactly how they were going to survive. That is a BIG deal. She was almost dead and was hoping to die. This moment made her hesitate to kill Peeta and was quite panicked when Effie picked him in The Reaping. This little bread tossing moment made her trust him.
Also it was her first connection with a person and decided that Peeta=dandelion=hope.
Meanwhile in Mockingjay, Gale had this prophecy. “Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can’t survive without.”
Very clever. She survived because of hope and hope is dandelion and dandelion is Peeta.
It’s funny how Gale wished that he could have volunteered in the First Games. He didn’t, of course because he had more important things to do; welfare of his family, Katniss’s family, etc. Let’s just imagine him volunteering for a second. Is there any chance that they would alter the course of the Games? Would they still have 2 victors? There’s a big chance that Gale and Katniss would be strong allies from the very beginning (no public love confessions. Gale don’t do feelings out loud) They might win too given the particular skills that they developed through out the years; trapping and hunting. Still this won’t change the fact that the nightlock berries were in abundance in the arena, Katniss might figure the same trick to save both of them. She’s smart and we know that she won’t be able to kill Gale.
There would be some problems there. Can you detect it?
Firstly Katniss won’t realize the big picture. She had a conversation on the roof with Peeta and he planted a seed in her thoughts about not wanting to be a piece in the Games. She might not meet Rue (who probably would be killed by the Careers anyway but her death would have gone unnoticed, insignificant, meaningless just like other tributes) because Katniss was in a stronger position. Rue’s death (in the book) was important because it made Katniss realized that Peeta’s words made sense. With an ally like Gale, she’d just kill without remorse and focused on going back home, to Prim. In the mean time, she’ll hate the Capitol more by the minute.
That’s not a dynamic character. She is just as the same before and after the Games.
Then assuming that Snow went through the same road and put them both in the Quarter Quell, we can see that they would kill others, just like the first Games. They’re strong but they might have Finnick and the rest as allies and later rescued to District 13. It’s obvious that at this point Coin won’t resist keeping her nose out from their business.
Say Gale was kidnapped by the Capitol (it’s very unlikely but can we just imagine?) and was hijacked and sent back to District 13. Will he get better? We will never know. I think he’d be worse than Peeta and if we could replace Peeta with him, he would be the guy that will be by Katniss’s side. We can say that he would not try and invent bombs or ensnare a mountain. That’s just not his style. He will not even agree to any kind of violence and would serve as a better speaker to move the crowd.
Maybe. If he step up, put aside his timid self and open up to the crowd but I doubt it. He’d be the baker at District 13 or maybe won’t even make it there since all of his family couldn’t. He’d just die like the 90% population of District 12. His unrequited love burned with his ashes.
Too many probabilities! All of bad ones!
Panem surely have uprisings because two rebels won the first Games but in the end, it’s Coin that would win. Unfortunately, Prim would live and so does revenge in their fiery hearts. They will agree on the next Hunger Games exclusively using Capitol’s children and the history repeats itself. In maybe 100 years there will be more revolutions, the same as the failed first (The Dark Days) and second one (Katniss’s spark) because punishing people in The Hunger Games is not the most original or smart way to calm the districts. Fear will not repress hope, not for long.
And as for Katniss, there’s a possibility that she will end up alone, drunk as a skunk, unable to sleep due to recurring bad dreams. She was kinda like Haymitch. She won’t be able to forgive herself with all that killing. She never did. Even if she end up with Gale, it would be more of friends but there is no way in her right mind that she would have children with him. She even said it ‘was just a mistake‘ in Catching Fire.
She would never be happy with Gale. There was too much hatred, blood and fire. Keep in mind from the very beginning that this book will not have a pretty ending but with Gale, the very reason this kind of book is written is not being justified.
More war? More killing? More hatred? This will not do.
End of our long imagination. Back to the books.
Apart of me thinks that Gale wished to volunteer because he saw how much pain Peeta was in and that somehow got Katniss’s attention. Remember he used to make her felt guilty with this excuse? He is willing to be in such position of pain in exchange for Katniss’s love. He was even jealous when he saw Peeta’s antics, as if Peeta did that on purpose. I don’t think he ever understand the kind of love that Katniss and Peeta shared. Who else would put Katniss first? And who else would put Peeta first? Both are committed to be dead just to put the other as their priority. Not even Gale measured up to this level.
On the other hand, it was Peeta that she always knew would be a great parent and vice versa. Why would you freak out at having baby with a guy while quietly enjoy pretending to be pregnant with another’s?
Because the boy with the bread gave her hope and she made it through the rain.
Can’t you see?
There is a lot of things to discuss and I might as well start the ball rolling on the very first page.
1) I have read in certain website discussing the same matter that Katniss waking up not finding her sister close by is foreshadowing something already. I don’t know if it’s the reaping or someday she will leave her (dead) along with her mother (to District 4)
2) Buttercup was mentioned very early in every book. Surely the author meant something. There might be no love between Katniss and Buttercup but surely he is important. There is an interesting theory that Buttercup was Katniss’s alter ego (link provided) Well the name already suggested cat-like, also she was nicknamed ‘Catnip’ by Gale and remember who provided shelter for Katniss in the Capitol in Mockingjay? Tigris, the cat. It’s Buttercup’s presence that made Katniss came to terms with Prim’s death.
3) I always have this impression that The Meadow is deemed as a beautiful place by Katniss. A place she was able to play and be a child for once.The story started with a picnic with Gale overlooking the Meadow (last look on her childhood) This is also the place where she hid (a place for refuge) when her mother was angry when she sang The Hanging Tree (her father knew exactly where she was), a safe place for the people from District 12 to be when Capitol brought the bombs, for a tiny moment the author mentioned the tiniest detail about a place Meadow-like, where the hummingbirds were studied at Beetee’s work place in 13. Note the color mentioned. She saw a spring-green (her favourite colour) hummingbird (a bird, she’s the mockingjay) feeding an orange (Peeta’s favourite colour) blossom (a flower, as represented by dandelion) That was how the bird survives. At the same time, Gale was putting on an idea how to snare hummingbirds and playing up to their instincts. Here she find some of his ideas conflicted with hers.
The Meadow Song was sang to Rue, the same song she sang to Prim. Both very innocent, loved and dead, under different circumstances and both affected her differently. One towards the Capitol and another towards the Rebels/Coin. This simple song actually started her fire, made her act upon her hatred towards the Capitol (wreathing Rue in flowers)/Rebels (shooting Coin) and also when she realized what Peeta said suddenly made sense after all.
And of course, The Meadow was also the place where her children play in the Epilogue, happy like her many years ago. The epilogue would not happen if she chose Gale and Panem would still have The Hunger Games.
What do you think?