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Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Guy I Was Crushing on in The Hunger Games

Remember Jess Witkins talking about her vivid dream of participating in The Hunger Games last Friday? Well, it was the last straw that made me read the series. Finally. (I’m almost finished!) But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start from the general and go onto the specific from there…

According to a good friend of mine, dystopian is the new vampire in Publishing trends, and she’s right of course. Right now, I am enjoying every dystopian book I can get my hands on, and even though I’d never admit I do it because it’s trendy, maybe that’s the thing I’ve always done. I like commercial music and I did bite for Twilight when it was living large.

But there’s another thing also. While I was reading about those vampires and wizards, I was also plotting a story of my own. At first, I was shocked to realize it wasn’t my usual fantasy, but a science fiction story. In fact, as the story progressed, it turned out to be dystopian in its core. Which is funny because the idea came to me before I ever read any dystopian books. Though perhaps I may have been inspired by movies like Equilibrium and Children of Men.

So I have thought about it, and I’m pretty sure the only dystopian book I had heard about was 1984, and I thought it was a spectacular idea. I think my interest in this genre stems from my thoughts about history and the world we live in today. It’s apparent that society and the media go to great lengths to keep us in check. It’s always been like that. And so writers have portrayed this in their works of fiction for a long time now. Only… it’s spreading like wildfire now, of all times.

But instead of analyzing this any further – I think you can manage on your own – I’d like to bring my attention to three particular stories I’ve been engrossed in this summer.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Hunger Games (trilogy) by Suzanne Collins

I actually wanted to start with a comparison/meta-review of the three in different aspects. But then I decided to just wing it, seeing as I haven’t finished Divergent and Mockingjay yet.

So today’s post will concern the men in The Hunger Games. I’ll take my time to talk about the men in the other two books soon, but for now, my full attention goes to Gale, Peeta, and Finnick. And while I am very annoyed at Katniss’s lack of sexual drive, I am also in awe of the author’s savvy ways of hooking the female readers and giving us all what we need without estranging anyone by focusing on one male character, but letting us choose the worthy contender for ourselves.

Granted, Peeta featured for the most of the beginning, but we see a lot of Finnick and Gale later on. And yes, I know Finnick is no contender for Katniss’s affections, seeing as his heart belongs to the mad girl from his district, Annie. But I wanted to mention him because he has a very important function in the series.

He’s the guy every girl wants. Moreover, he’s only arrogant on the surface, and apparently has the ability to be deeply in love with one girl, even though he can have any other – sane – girl he wants. I have to say, I like Finnick a lot myself, but not as much as I love Peeta.

He will be played by Josh Hutcherson, who is known for Bridge to Terabithia.

Peeta is my ideal man on paper. In life, I fall for the guy with an edge, but on the page, I fall for the honorable man who makes me feel safe, through the eyes of the protagonist. He appreciates beauty and uses his words both as weapons and cures. He has this silent strength that makes it impossible for the reader not to root for him. Throughout the course of the books, I kept wishing that Katniss would change her mind and decide to be with Peeta in the end. And hey, don’t tell me what happens, because I’ve 200 pages left to read. (Just in case, I won’t read your comments before I finish the third book, which I expect to do tomorrow morning.)

See, I think that Peeta should get Katniss in the end, because he truly deserves to be happy, and there can be no happiness with any other girl. He is too selfless to take what he wants, so I say ‘let the Universe give him what he deserves’, right? Peeta may be the guy who grows on you slowly, but he is also the one who stays with you forever. Once he’s in your heart, he stays there.

The good, honorable man will always win me over in the end.

Gale will be played by Liam Hemsworth, maybe known for The Last Song.

As for Gale… I understand why Katniss would want to have him by her side forever. Katniss’s bond with him is eternal. She trusts and confides in him, and the years have reinforced their bond, which all boils down to her having conflicting emotions about him. Because if I had a friend like Gale, and I knew he loved me, I would have been afraid I’d lose him eventually, so I’d hold on for all I’m worth.

And yet… is this love? Or is it friendship on fire? Some say it’s all the same, but I think that Katniss’s heart grew fond of him to the point of fear of losing him. Gale is fierce and strong and righteous, but he’s such a mystery to the readers that I feel like the three men’s inception was purely strategic. Like an equation, where there’s the eye-candy, the selfless hero, and the fierce warrior. And each of them holds a different piece of Katniss’s heart.

But no matter who wins at the end, Peeta or Gale, I think that we have all had a chance to fall for one or the other – or someone else entirely – because the author smartly gave us choices. And she didn’t do what the authors of the Vampire stories do all the time – the one thing I ABHOR. She didn’t tie the heroine to one guy. She didn’t confine her protagonist to one future. And even though Katniss was rarely free to do what she wanted, she always had the choice between the two men in her life.

Because the heart won’t listen to reason or orders. It’s a force of its own.

So… which guy were you rooting for? Who was your crush in the books?


I leave you with the sneak peak for the movie (coming next Spring):