47 thoughts I had while rereading The Hunger Games trilogy

As a teenager in the early 2010s, I was right in the target age group during the big Hunger Games craze. Like pretty much everyone else I knew, I read the books obsessively, counted down the days to movie releases, tried to braid my hair like Katniss, shared “Peeta I knead you” memes, etc.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read any of the books, though. Since the prequel is coming out soon (though I’m not sure anymore if I want to read it) and the world is starting to feel like as much of a garbage fire as the one in this series, I thought it would be a good time to revisit them.

So here are my thoughts upon rereading The Hunger Games trilogy for the first time in…at least six years, I think? Be warned: this post is FULL OF SPOILERS. And also a lot more in-depth analysis than I expected, because I have to use my English degree for something, right? Okay, let’s go!

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The Hunger Games

“Here’s some advice. Stay alive.”

4.5

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1. First of all: I listened to the 10th anniversary audiobooks narrated by Tatiana Maslany and THEY’RE INCREDIBLE. She does an amazing job of conveying the emotion in every scene, which makes sense because she’s an amazing actress.

2. I wasn’t expecting a lot from this reread, since it’s been years and I suspected that a large part of my love for the book came from nostalgia. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it this time around!

3. Not only does it have fascinating political messages (don’t worry, I’ll get more into that), but it’s just enjoyable to read! I listened to the first book in less than two days, even though I already knew what was going to happen…I didn’t want to stop!

4. I was also surprised by how much I remembered. When I was younger, I would reread books I liked over and over and over again, which means that certain things from this book – little details or turns of phrase – were seared into my memory without my knowledge, until this reread pulled them back up. It was a very strange experience.

5. Can we talk about Katniss for a second? There’s a reason she’s considered one of the most beloved fictional characters of this generation. We spend a large portion of this book inside her head while she’s alone, but I never get tired of her voice.

Katniss everdeen gif 13 » GIF Images Download

6. There’s this misconception that Katniss is cold and emotionless, but that could not be farther from the truth. She might act detached sometimes, but that’s mostly because of trauma. I think we have to realize that Katniss is an unreliable narrator; she sees herself as cold, and then immediately latches onto the first twelve year old child she sees and decides she would die for her. That is not an emotionless person.

7. This time around, I very much read Katniss as aro ace. I highly recommend Rosiee Thor’s Twitter thread on the subject, as she analyzes it in much more detail than I could.

8. Suzanne Collins really said eat the rich.

9. Like…what this book says about classism and political oppression?? Defined a generation. It’s not even subtle. This series is so much about how deadly and cruel class division is, and it’s frustrating when people boil it down to the love triangle.

10. Not to mention everything this book has to say about dehumanization for the sake of entertainment. The tributes aren’t even treated like real people by the Capitol; they’re pieces in a game for their amusement. It’s hard not to draw comparisons to reality stars and present-day influencers (which didn’t even exist when these books were written!), and it’s both fascinating and nauseating.

11. My biggest gripe with this series is, honestly, the writing style. There’s quite a few phrases or word choices that feel plain awkward. In comparison to everything else that’s great about the series, it’s a small complaint, but I’m not going to pretend that this series has The Most Beautiful Writing In The World.

The Hunger Games Rue GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

12. Rue’s death makes me cry every time. She deserved so much better. I guess that’s kind of the point of the entire series.

13. Being inside Katniss’ head is interesting because she’s so analytical, always viewing her own and others’ actions through the lens of how it’s perceived by Capitol audiences. She’s able to discern subtle messages from Haymitch based on the timing of his gifts. Even if she doesn’t realize it, she’s already playing the Games by her own rules.

14. Anyways, this first book has always been my favorite of the series, and this time was no exception. It’s fast-paced, gripping, and sets up such a grim and horrifying world that you don’t want to look away until you can find out what happens next. And so, on to the next book!

15. Movie note: I’ve been rewatching the movies along with my rereads. This one is good and holds nostalgic memories for me, but the shaky-cam makes my eyes hurt and I think they get a better sense of the world’s aesthetic in later movies. Not the best of the series.

Hunger Games Kiss GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Catching Fire

“I really can’t think about kissing when I’ve got a rebellion to incite.”

4

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16. The first time I read this book, I didn’t love it, especially given the huge shift that happens in the middle. But the more I read it, the more I appreciate it. Yes, the beginning feels slow in comparison to the end, and for much of the book the overarching conflict is a little unclear. But for a middle book, it’s pretty darn good.

17. The love triangle has always been my least favorite aspect of the series, so I was dreading getting into it in this book. But to my surprise, this time around I saw it less as Katniss choosing between two boys and more of her figuring out her ideology.

18. Allow me to explain: how Katniss feels about Gale and Peeta tracks closely with how she feels toward the Capitol and the idea of rebellion. The two impact and interact with each other. Every time Katniss’s mind significantly changes in her position on which boy she prefers, it’s largely because of something the Capitol does (peacekeepers beating Gale = Katniss kissing him; the Capitol forcing her and Peeta back into the Games = Katniss realizing how much she cares for Peeta). The reverse is also true (Katniss realizing her feelings for Gale aren’t platonic = her wanting to comply with Snow to protect him).

19. It’s a love triangle, yes, but it’s so heavily influenced by Katniss’s relationship to the Capitol and the rebellion that it’s impossible to separate the two. And this time around I really appreciated how Suzanne Collins used that romantic subplot to demonstrate Katniss’s changing worldview.

20. But also, why is Gale the Worst.

21. Seriously, he guilts Katniss for faking a romance to save her life and makes her feel bad for caring about Peeta, then puts her and her family’s lives in jeopardy because she won’t choose him?? THE WORST.

Peeta Mellark GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

22. On the other hand, I absolutely ADORE Peeta. Yes, he gets frustrated by Katniss’ indecisiveness, but as soon as he learns about the danger they’re in, he backs off and gives her the space and the support that she needs. KING.

23. Seeing Katniss and Peeta become a team in this book – not just two people clinging to each other in order to survive, but two people who know and trust and deeply care for each other – is absolutely amazing.

24. Not gonna lie, one of my favorite moments of the whole series is when all the tributes are being interviewed and each one of them helps plant the idea that the Games are wrong, and then BOOM, Peeta comes along to drop a baby bomb and the crowd goes NUTS. AND THEN all the tributes stand up holding hands??? CHILLS.

Animated gif about love in The Hungergames by Lara Thierens

25. Johanna Mason for most underrated character of the decade.

26. Speaking of great characters, can we talk about Effie Trinket’s “redemption arc”? At the beginning of the series, you never expect to like her at all, but then she comes to genuinely care about her tributes and I end up crying when they part. She’s clueless but she has her heart in the right place.

27. Cinna was 12-year-old me’s favorite character, because I was obsessed with minor characters, and I’m still not over his death.

28. It’s still so! darn! satisfying at the end when Katniss finally remembers “who the real enemy is” and points her arrow to the sky and blows everything up! I want to stand up and cheer!!!

29. And what a bummer note to end on, finding out that her home has been burned to the ground. Oof. I guess we’ll just have to find out what happens in the next book…

30. Movie note: This is easily my favorite movie of the series. Not only does it look amazing, but they managed to stay incredibly faithful to the book while still nailing it on the pacing. There were so many little details from the book that they could have easily left out, but adding them just gave it flavor. This is how you do a movie adaptation.

Katniss Everdeen Catching Fire GIF - KatnissEverdeen CatchingFire ...

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Mockingjay

“If he wants me broken, then I will have to be whole.”

3.5

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31. Mockingjay has always been my least favorite of the series, but in some ways I think it’s the most conceptually complex. Suzanne Collins spent the series building up this anti-war metaphor, and in this book she finally sends it home, and it’s fascinating.

32. Up until this point, we’ve viewed the Hunger Games and the rebellion as two separate, opposite things. But now, we finally see that they’re not very different at all. The rebellion, for all its noble ideals, is just another war, another struggle for power. Time and time again, we see comparisons between the war and Katniss’ experiences in the Games, and we finally see how alike they truly are. In war and in the Games, it’s easy to forget who the enemy is.

33. There’s this part when Gale designs a trap that would mean taking control of the District Two but killing a lot of civilians and innocent people. Gale’s argument is that there are no innocent people in wartime; those civilians had aided the Capitol, so they were the enemy. Katniss, in response, compares it to being in the Games. She killed people in the arena because she felt like they were her enemy. But the real enemy, in both cases, was the Capitol – not some civilians who had no choice or some kids whose names were chosen in the Reaping. In losing sight of the real enemy, they show how no one truly benefits in wartime. Not even the winners.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1': Best Moments In GIF | Gfycat

34. Okay, not gonna lie, this book is slow compared to the others. It feels repetitive: Katniss is injured, spends a lot of time recovering, feels useless, wants to join the fight, gets injured, repeat. There’s a lot more than what’s happening on the surface, but the surface is a little dry.

35. And the love triangle is at its most annoying in this book. Mostly because I dislike Gale so strongly.

36. The conclusion to the love triangle, though, is pretty darn satisfying. (Mostly for the above reason.) But it also tracks with the anti-war message of the entire series. Katniss represents rebellion. If Gale is war and Peeta is peace, then Katniss choosing Peeta means ending a rebellion with peace instead of ongoing fighting.

37. (NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT GALE MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE ONE WHO KILLED HER SISTER??? I’m never going to stop being mad about that.)

38. Since Peeta is one of my favorite characters, it’s heartbreaking to see him in the state that he’s in. I know it makes sense narratively and thematically, but I’m sad! I want Peeta to have nothing but happiness and fresh baked bread and sunflowers for the rest of his life, and this is what he gets instead?? It’s not fair, I tell you, not fair. That seems to be a theme for this series.

Finnick Annie Mockingjay Part Finnick And Annie GIF | Gfycat
here, let’s just pretend he gets to be happy for once 😭

39. Likewise, Finnick’s death always feels so sudden and unfair. I prefer to just pretend it doesn’t happen, because it breaks my heart. Ugh I’m gonna cry just thinking about it.

40. This book is just bleak. One horrible thing happens after another and we watch the main character nearly lose her sanity. If I were reading this series for the first time now, I would be shocked to hear that young kids read it.

41. One time at work, a woman was asking for book recommendations for her pre-teen son, “nothing too violent…he’s read The Hunger Games but nothing worse than that” and I was like MA’AM THAT IS A VERY HIGH THRESHOLD.

42. I’m still, after all these years, conflicted about the ending of this series. I genuinely cannot decide whether it’s a hopeful ending. Yes, they’ve defeated the Capitol and put in place a (hopefully) better regime than before. But as Plutarch says, “We’re fickle, stupid being with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.” There’s this sense that no matter how much suffering everyone has endured over the course of this series, they’re still going to make the same mistakes over and over again.

43. Like, just the fact that the victors decide to hold one final, symbolic Hunger Games with the children of Capitol leaders?? I understand that they’re all angry and traumatized, but it goes against everything that they’ve learned! Katniss votes yes, for Prim – a child who died to suit someone’s agenda – and now she’s going to condemn other children for the same purpose?? It infuriates me, and yet it makes perfect sense given the situation, which only makes me angrier because we truly never learn.

Fading Out On Prim Like That Katniss Everdeen GIF - Find & Share ...

44. I’m not one of those people who hates the fact that Prim dies because ~it defeats the point of the whole series~. Honestly, I think it brings the whole point of the series home. Katniss originally got involved in the Hunger Games in order to save her sister. Over the course of the series, her number one priority is protecting her family. But she gets so caught up in the conflicts between the Capitol and District Thirteen and all their conflicting agendas that she loses sight of this, and she ends up losing the one thing she set out to protect. Nobody wins in war.

45. The scene at the end when Katniss yells at the cat never fails to get me choked up. It’s the moment she finally acknowledges Prim’s death and it’s absolutely heartbreaking.

46. And the final ending… *sigh*. It’s fine, I guess. It feels a bit too neat. They win the war and go back to District Twelve and everything is fine again? Yes, it’s satisfying for Katniss to finally look at the world’s brokenness and say “you know what? That’s somebody else’s problem now” — after she’s given up everything to fix it — but at the same time, it doesn’t feel finished. I’m not convinced that the problems we’ve seen throughout the series are fully resolved.

47. Movie note: I’ve only rewatched Mockingjay: Part 1 so far. As an adaptation it’s pretty good, managing to include a lot that would normally be left out. Though it is pretty slow and definitely feels like a first part. I haven’t seen Part 2 since I saw it in theatres, so I’m definitely curious to see what I think of it now.

Jennifer Lawrence Aim GIF by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 ...

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Were/Are you a Hunger Games fan? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of the series? Who is your favorite character?

x Margaret

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42 thoughts on “47 thoughts I had while rereading The Hunger Games trilogy

  1. Wow, I absolutely loved reading this! I’m amazed that you put this together, it’s such a comprehensive collection of thoughts. After going through this, I definitely want to reread this trilogy- I think it’s been a couple of years since I last read it, so I’m due for another reread. I also haven’t ever seen the movies, so maybe that’ll have to be something I do as well! I know a lot of people love them, and I do love the series, so that’s something I should look into. Oh my goodness, I really enjoyed reading this post, thank you so much for writing it! Now I have a lot of food for thought. 🙂 (And I have to say, I must agree, Gale is the Worst.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! 😊 Haha I’m glad I was able to make you want to reread the series…there was definitely a lot for me to think about this time around. Ooh, I hope you enjoy the movies too if you watch them! I think they’re pretty good, for YA adaptations. Haha so glad you agree that Gale is the worst 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. English degree put to good use 😁 Love the thoughtful analysis here. I also haven’t read these since they first released, and this post was like a little reminder of what it included. Plus I got some laughs from the woman at the library 😂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved reading all your thoughts, Margaret! I was never a huge Hunger Games fan. I’ve seen all the films, some in theatres, some on Netflix, and always with big enough time gaps between that I forgot some plot elements. They were enjoyable, and I SOBBED at Rue’s death.

    I have no idea when I first read The Hunger Games, but I only read book one and at least once it was for an English Lit analysis class. You nailed it when you said how amazingly the book handles topics like class inequalities. I had the best discussions on it with my prof. And I didn’t know there was going to be a prequel? Interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Sha! I’m always surprised by how many people never got into The Hunger Games, because when I was younger it felt like EVERYONE had read them. That’s cool that you got to read the first book in an English class, though! There’s definitely a lot to think about in terms of class inequality. And yes, the sequel is meant to come out soon, though I have pretty mixed feelings about it…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, the prequel is from the point of a future authoritarian dictator, which is not the kind of book I’m eager to read in this day and age 😬 I’m waiting to hear people’s reactions to it before I make a proper judgment, but I’m not as excited about it as I could be.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh. Huh. That is something that would be hard to really enjoy. Like… we want to read about people taking down the authoritarian regimes, not digging into the minds of people who run those regimes. Huh again. I’m curious why Collins chose that direction for her next book.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Really enjoyed reading your thoughts, Margaret. The Hunger Games series is one my favorites. I love the characters and what it has to say about society and class and violence–destructive to both the victims and the perpetrators. And this line encapsulates the main message of the entire series: “No one truly benefits in wartime. Not even the winners.” Thank you for reminding me how wonderful it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Omg I lOVE this post it takes me way back… Hunger Games was one of my first ever YA books I felt so edgy and mature reading it in sixth grade haha. Finnick deserved better… still sad about his death noooo, and Rue’s death is so sad too :(( Also nOOO #TEAMGALE Peeta is literally so useless… although tbh your reasoning here makes a lot of sense and if I read the books for the first time now I might be Team Peeta too but I swear my nostalgia and memories of sitting around at lunch dissing on Peeta’s uselessness with all my friends might have made me a bit biased

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I’m glad I could create some nostalgia for you! 😀 It’s hard for me to think about this series without being taken back to middle school. And I completely agree that Finnick’s and Rue’s deaths were the saddest 😥

      Oh nooooo #TeamPeeta! 😂 I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree… (this is bringing me back to long arguments with teammates during soccer practice in eighth grade 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post so much!! 😀 I’ve been thinking of rereading the Hunger Games, because – like you – I had so much love for it when I was a teenager. Also, shameful confession: I originally read my friend’s copies, but a couple of years ago I bought the trilogy so I could reread it… that never happened, obviously. I loved reading your thoughts so much, and I agree – Gale is an awful character. I always felt like he was controlling and annoying as hell, while Peeta was more selfless and just a better person. Also, yes, Finnick’s death KILLS ME every single time. I remember reading about Collins’ saying that she regretted killing Finnick, so there were rumors before the final movie that he might not die in the movie… AND THEN HE DID. I was heartbroken, smh. Ahh, this is genuinely one of my favorite posts ever, made me so nostalgic. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay I’m so happy you loved reading this! 😀 Rereading THG is always a good choice, in my opinion. Agh yes, Gale truly is the worst, especially compared to selfless and amazing Peeta. I didn’t know that Suzanne Collins regrets killing Finnick, but it makes total sense to me! If only he’d been able to stay alive in the movie… 😢
      Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy your rereads when you get to it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. AHH I LOVE THIS! I need to re-read this so badly (how did I not realize how dick-y Gale is till Mockingjay?). I loved Finnick and Cinna so much actually maybe I shouldn’t re-read it too much pain ah (I need someone to re-write Mockingjay with Finnick and Annie frolicking in a flower field)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! 😀 Haha yeah the pain is real losing those amazing characters…but I think the series is always worth a reread despite the pain 😉 YES I would absolutely read that rewrite – can Finnick and Annie just be happy please??

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been rereading and rewatching the books and movies, too, and i definitely hear you about the shaky cam! Also yeah, I don’t get why people think Katniss is so cold and heartless only because she doesn’t subscribe to the bubbly personality we expect girls in media (and irl) to have? Because anyone who reads the story should notice that she’s literally willing to die for a lot of people.

    Definitely with you on the Peeta/Gale triangle being soo influenced by Katniss idea of the capitol. It’s like they’re symbols, also, of different ideas of how you should handle a rebellion. Peeta is all like, fight for a better world, but Gale keeps wanting to fight for revenge. It’s so interesting, and I’m still upset everyone used to think it was just a dumb love triangle when it has so many layers.
    Johanna Mason IS the most underrated character. And Cinna ❤

    It's really a show of Collins' amazing work that such an ultra violent book can be viewed as not too violent :'D because when you look at everything that happens, there's A Lot of killing and A Lot of torture, even off-handedly. But she manages it to do just so that teens can read it.

    I personally /really/ think Katniss voting yes for a new Hunger Games is just a way to make Coin feel safe, like Katniss is on her side, so she will let her guard down. So Katniss can shoot her. There's this tiny nonverbal communication thing again with Haymitch in that scene, and while we're not told what's really happening I feel there's something significant there, and I think (but this might just be wishful thinking) that she was planning to kill Coin all along here. And Haymitch understood that, so he voted yes as well.

    And yeah it definitely doesn't feel resolved in the end! But I think that's maybe the point? Because problems like that take time, and trauma like that never fully goes away. They will always live with the damage that war caused, in every way. That's maybe the point Collins tries to make, nobody wins a war, and winning a war never feels completely satisfying?

    Oof this series is so good!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this wonderful comment! 😀
      Oh yes, absolutely – Katniss is such a caring character, even if she doesn’t show it in the ways that we might expect from a female character. But that’s what I love about her!

      I absolutely love that reading of the Gale/Peeta love triangle. And it fits so well, both with Katniss choosing to make a better world rather than revenge, and with why I don’t like Gale much at all 😅

      Johanna and Cinna are amazing! ❤
      And yes, I agree that Suzanne Collins handles the violence so well, considering that it's a book for teens. Even if it was a little shocking to me now, it wasn't too much for me when I was the target demographic, which I think says a lot.

      Ooh, I'd never considered that reasoning for Katniss voting yes at the end, but it makes a lot of sense. There is definitely a lot of nonverbal communication between Katniss and Haymitch throughout the series, not all of which we're meant to understand, so it would make sense that this is one of those instances.

      And yes, I do think the unresolved ending is purposeful and fits pretty well with the themes of the book. Though it is definitely sad to see how that trauma lingers 😢 The idea that winning the war is not truly satisfying is a tough note to end a series on, and I think Suzanne Collins did as well as she could have with it.
      Ahhh there's so much to talk about with this series! 😀 I loved reading your thoughts!

      Like

      1. Isn’t that super interesting though, that stuff about the shock level of violence, because I had the exact same expetience. When I read it as a teen it was exciting but not rlly shocking but now as an adult I reread it and?? it’s so brutal? plus I only now realized how YOUNG they are!!! I wonder why we feel the violence more now that we’re older 🤔

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So true! I was definitely younger than Katniss the first time I read THG, so back then my reaction was probably “well, she’s older than me so she can handle it,” whereas now I’m like “oh this is horrifying she is so young!!!”

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Okay, I think reading this post is the best thing I did all week. Aaahhh so much nostalgia!!
    I agree with literally everything you’ve written, from being obsessed with Cinna, to crying when Katniss screams at the cat, to seeing Katniss, Peeta and Gale as rebellion, peace and war, and oh my god, I absolutely love this post. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

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