THG // CF Parallels
End of The Hunger Games the movie
Three completely different men, one thing in common.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about Gale’s role in the series, much of it stemming from a Gale-heavy teaser trailer. I’ve been seeing a lot of references to Gale’s heroism, as well as comments praising him as the true revolutionary or rebel. It’s almost as if the character is being romanticized by some, and I think that’s diminishing or ignoring what I feel is his real purpose in the series, which is to serve as a cautionary tale.
See, Gale Hawthorne definitely isn’t just another side in a perceived love triangle. To me, he’s a personification of a side in the war in a series that ultimately condemns war.
The Hunger Games, Chapter 2
I dropped my gaze, embarrassed, and that’s when I saw it. The first dandelion of the year. A bell went off in my head. I thought of all the hours spent in the woods with my father and I knew how we were going to survive.
Mockingjay, Chapter 24
“Oh, that I do know.” I can just catch Gale’s last words through the layer of fur. “Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can’t survive without.”
Mockingjay, Chapter 27
That what I need to survive is not Gale’s fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.
The scene where Gale is macking on Katniss in D2 is the half-way point of the book. It’s also the chapter where he shows his true colors by suggesting turning the Nut into a death trap.
It’s a turning point in their relationship. Katniss finally overcomes feeling like she…
Okay I understand your rage about lack of Peeta generally/him being an active character, but in terms of Everlark vs. Everthorne, Catching Fire is definitely weighted towards Everthorne. The whole I am his he is…
Hmm, I definitely didn’t see Catching Fire as weighted towards Everthorne. There was a lot of weight towards Gale as a CHARACTER (and I loved that) but not really towards Everthorne in a romantic sense.
I loved the whipping scene in the books (I mean, not loved, but you know what I mean haha) because we get a strong sense of Katniss’s loyalty towards the ones she loves (and yes, she DID love Gale, but not in the same way she loved Peeta). It was like the time she volunteered for Prim, the time she was hell-bent on keeping Peeta alive in the arena. It’s what she does. She protects the ones she loves, and it’s admirable and beautiful and many a time done without thinking and so very Katniss.
(Although I have to say, I didn’t like the way it was shown in the trailer. Didn’t feel very Katniss-y to me for her to just say “go ahead.” I may change my mind when I see the actual movie, but IDK, it just felt really cheesy and overdramatized for the sake for shock value. But I digress.)
The thing about Everthorne is – and I’m not going to get too much into this because it’ll probably end up being way too long (ETA: an obvious lie) – is that they’re at a conflict. Throughout the series, after the first book, they’re at a conflict. And this is important, because what’s happening is that for the first time, they’re very clearly not on the same wavelength.
And one can argue that it wasn’t the first time – that Gale had always been leaning more towards a revolution than Katniss, that Katniss had always just “let him rant”, that she’d never been particularly interested in the possibility of revolt.
And you know what? That is very much true. However, the DIFFERENCE is that this is the first time it’s becoming obvious that they’re not entirely on the same page. But both of them are far too afraid to admit that, even to themselves, because of the close bond they’ve shared for so many years. They’re partners, best friends, and they still understand each other so very well despite their differences, and the possibility that that bond could be severed is…
These differences weren’t obvious because the thought of a revolution just seemed so impossible and ludicrous and far away and just…not real, and Katniss is one to focus on the here and now, on surviving and providing for her family. So it just wasn’t a big deal to her. She never took it particularly seriously.
Flash forward to Catching Fire. Now, it’s all becoming real and a potential revolution is very much tangible, and she can feel it too. She can feel those differences now, because they’re finally actually facing everything that Gale had once only talked about in the woods.
They’re finally being confronted with their differences, and turning their heads away because they don’t want to see it. It’s too frightening.
They’re supposed to be partners in everything, and for the first time…they’re not, and it’s so painful, the way Katniss tries so desperately to hang on to him, kissing him when he’s in pain, trying to keep their bond alive, trying to keep Gale and Katniss alive.
Except she’s fooling herself.
She’s slowly falling in love with Peeta, but the thought of losing the ones she loves – including Gale – is a possibility she doesn’t even want to consider.
When she says “anything is unthinkable,” I don’t believe she means it in the sense that she’s in love with Gale and that not being with him romantically is unthinkable. It’s unthinkable in the sense that, losing someone she’s been loyal to all these years is actually just literally unthinkable to her. She doesn’t want to think about it, doesn’t let herself think about it. It’s something she just doesn’t even want to consider.
And Gale knows she’s fooling herself. The best part is that they both start to realize they’re fooling themselves. And they still understand each other very well, know how the other functions, know that they’re breaking. They can feel themselves breaking, can feel the other drifting farther and farther away –
But neither of them wants to admit it, not even to themselves.
So that’s my take on Everthorne throughout the series. I don’t know if the original submitter will ever get the chance to see this, but if he/she does, I hope this makes sense!
Best take on Everthorne that I’ve seen.
Yep. It’s Peeta’s turn.
The Everdeens live in a section called the Seam. They are the poorest of the poorest people in the poorest district of Panem. The characteristics called for olive skin, dark, straight hair and grey eyes. The Everdeens are fairly an exception since Mr. Everdeen, a hunter/coal miner got married to someone outside of his circle, something unthinkable for the society. He chose the daughter of a merchant. Mrs. Everdeen left everything just to be with him.
One thousand points for Peeta for having one thing in common with Mrs. Everdeen – ditching family and friends for love.
O.K now let’s see if Peeta has a lot of things in common with Mr. Everdeen.
1) Both are really charming. We never found out if Mr. Everdeen was as good with words but his actions are often mirrored in Peeta’s. Like when he caught Katniss’s hand and kiss it. Katniss remembered that her father did the same thing to her mother. There is a paragraph in which Katniss tried to imagine being in love. Her only reference was her parents.
“Never been in love, this is going to be a real trick. I think of my parents. The way my father never failed to bring gifts from the woods. The way my mother’s face would light up at the sound of his boots at the door. The way she almost stopped living when she died.” [The Hunger Games, Chapter 19]
Let’s analyze a bit.
a) Never failed to bring gifts? Come on! I’d checked this one with the cheese buns.
b) Face lighting up? Remember how giddy she was before Peeta choked her? Even Haymitch was getting that vibe.
c) Stopped living when she thought that he died? No explanation needed here. She literally gave everything up.
It’s all of the above!
It’s amazing how only Peeta could make Katniss realize why indeed she used to like singing. He connected the dots to her father. Remember, she wasn’t really keen on singing when she met Rue though she did sing when Rue died. For the first time, she laid down her guards and showed her feelings. Note that she was determined to wipe all sort of expression when she was reaped. You can see her journey as a person trying to suppress feelings to someone baring her soul on live national television.
“It strikes me that my own reluctance to sing, my own dismissal of music might not really be that I think that it’s a waste of time. It might be because it reminds me too much of my father.” [The Hunger Games, Chapter 22]
If Peeta’s best way to channel his feelings was painting then Katniss’s was singing. She did, eventually in Mockingjay while waiting for her trial. She is finally free.
2) Both men love beauty and art. Though a hunter and a baker didn’t seem like professions that have things in common, (except that they’ll use a knife at some point) Mr. Everdeen and Peeta had serious admiration for eccentric beauty and art.
I think the fact that Mr. Everdeen was married to Mrs. Everdeen showed that he valued certain traits and character that he did not find in the Seam (she’s a healer), and for him that’s beauty. So does Peeta. He admired Katniss as she continues to impress him from being the little girl singing openly in public to the young girl with unreadable face that shoots squirrels right in the eye. For him, that’s beautiful.
Mr. Everdeen as we know had a talent in singing and must have had some skills in drawing too. If not, how would he fill that edible plant section in the medicinal herb book? Some basic drawings would have been required. That was how Katniss and Prim learned to recognize the stuff that they can eat.
Peeta, in turn has a talent in drawing and had no problems continuing with the legacy.
3) Both recall security. O.K, here’s the deal. When you sleep, normally you would take the most comfortable position or when you are threatened with danger, you put on a defensive mode. So when someone sleeps and put their arms around you to protect you, which indirectly means that you can do whatever you want and I have complete faith in you, but if anything bad happens, let it be me who gets it first.
That is one heck of a security.
Katniss immediately points this form of safe feeling to her father.
“Since my father died and I stopped trusting my mother, no one else’s arms have made me feel this safe.” [The Hunger Games, Chapter 22]
That was a huge compliment. She was the one doing all the protecting until she met Peeta (and she lets him. She pushed away her own mother from any emotional attachment) and he was not even up to that challenge, being sick and injured but he did it anyway. That’s his instinct – to protect Katniss though he knew very well that Katniss could have done a better job herself.
Curiously, though Gale and Mr. Everdeen shared the same profession, being a hunter and coal miner, Katniss rarely talk about the similarity of both men. All that I can remember was that she mentioned that she trusted Gale’s hands (as opposed to Peeta’s arms) but no direct mention of Mr. Everdeen. I think Gale does have protective instincts but he didn’t offer much of it since he saw that Katniss was pretty good in her own way. Say he did offer it, she might have rejected it.
Ask yourself why. Why would she accept the protection of a stranger, an injured boy rather than the arms of her long time hunter friend that was fully capable of doing so without much effort? There must have been serious dangers in the woods. They have been hunting for years but sadly nothing triggered memories of her father or even mellow feelings.
Peeta, it seemed was not the only one with the crush.
So, because of the trailer, there’s a lot of Gale talk. A lot coming from all over the place, and that’s fine, some people I agree with, some I don’t. Although the (probably hundreds of) pages of things I’ve written about Gale are now lost in the wild world of the internet,…
I mostly agree with posthungergamessyndrome. Obviously there is no way to hold fictional characters accountable in the same way as an actual person, but to me a deeper understanding of characters and text inevitably includes some kind of ethical judgment on a given character’s behavior. (And that is just as true as those who tend to be more pro-Gale as it is to those of us who are more critical.)
I certainly agree that there are characters other than Gale who do ethically questionable things, and would love to have a conversation about Beetee’s role in all of this, or the way Haymitch as a manipulator. I think these are all really interesting conversations. Let’s have them!
But these issues are largely irrelevant in discussing Gale’s role, to me. It doesn’t matter that other people also did questionable things. Other people’s misdeeds do not justify one’s own.
I have a lot of thoughts about Katniss’ mission to the Capitol. I think it was a spectacularly bad idea, although it’s worth noting that most of the soldiers who went on the mission knew what was going on and chose to participate. But yeah, the plan was ill-conceived, and her shooting the nameless woman isn’t justifiable.
However, I disagree that these actions are comparable to Gale’s in building the double exploding bomb. Context and intent matter. I read Katniss’ action as the desperate impulse of someone who was frantic. It was a questionable decision, but a split-second one under duress. To me this is in no way comparable to the deliberate act of weapons design, which is undertaken in an entirely different state of mind and timeframe. There is also the issue of intent.
To me, the fundamental issue with the bombs is this: They were deliberately designed to kill more people, and made no distinction between civilians and combatants. (Because apparently the regular bombs aren’t enough?) That is the crux of the issue, and I have never seen a Gale fan adequately address it in my view—or even acknowledge that that was in fact the intent, despite the fact that this is quite explicit.
I note that while Katniss is far from unambiguous, her intervention in District 2 tried to ensure that fewer people would be killed, not more. Nor did she, at any point in the war, deliberately set out to kill more people than necessary. I think her similarities to Gale are often overstated. I don’t think they’re identical at the beginning of the books, and they certainly aren’t after two and a half books of divergent experiences. I agree that Gale is a cautionary tale of sorts, but I’m quite tired of hearing that we oughtn’t criticize him because we haven’t lived his life or that it’s somehow unfair to do so or that we have to criticize half of the other characters while making our points. By this logic, no character from a book should ever be discussed in anything less than a glowing light, and that’s pretty boring.
I think the ethical scale of all of the actions I mentioned are kind of less important than the fact that, to the characters themselves, there was a line that they did not cross, and then they did, which is more of what I intended with the original post. I probably find Haymitch’s the least “wrong” of the bunch, since no one died, and I think it’s pretty clear that Peeta would have happily sacrificed himself to torture to make certain Katniss got out alive… or maybe not… I have to think about it.
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