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Peeta vs. Gale: It’s On!

Henri revives the Great Peeta vs. Gale Debate to review Mockingjay, the final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy.

Peeta vs. Gale: It’s On!

Super duper important - this post covers Mockingjay chapters 1-5. Erin and I are going to read it in chunks and discuss here on the blog over the next couple of days. There WILL BE SPOILERS for that part of the book, but there will be no discussion of anything past Chapter Five. And if you're going to comment, don't comment on anything from Chapter Six on under this post; save it for the next post, due sometime at the end of the day today.

For now, Erin and I are going to revisit our Peeta v. Gale debate while also reacting to everything else in Mockingjay in real time. This is a first for me, btw - all of my other YA books have been experienced purely through audio book. But I don't like the lady who narrates the Hunger Games trilogy on iTunes any more than everyone else likes Suzanne Collins' voice when she does readings, apparently, so I guess I'll just go read it out loud to myself.

Anyway, I'm going to read now, my initial thoughts on chapters 1-5 will be after the jump. Don't read that until you're caught up! I hope chapter one is all about Cinna making out with Peeta...

AGAIN - EVERYTHING FROM HERE ON OUT IS FULL OF SPOILERS FROM CHAPTERS 1-5. IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED CHAPTER 5 YET, STOP READING THIS AND READ MOCKINGJAY INSTEAD.

Okay, so putting the book down to write for a couple of minutes is kind of tough. But five chapters in, Mockingjay is definitely off to a great start!

Here's what we know:

District 13 fucking sucks! That's a fun development. I've been rooting for revolution all along (which is a large part of why I'm so pro-Gale), but seeing that the people that stand to gain power in the post-revolution world are just as shitty as President Snow's people is nice. I would like a dystopian novel that at least offered hope at getting to a regular topian world somehow, though.

If Snow is sending evil flowers and the rebels are making prep teams hang out in cells with drains over a couple of slices of bread, who the heck are we able to actually root for? Makes me wish Katniss and Gale had just run off into the woods back in the first book.

Cinna may be dead, but Buttercup is alive! I'm still thinking Cinna's actually fine, though. The line about how he's "believed" to be dead is too open ended. Yes, he was able to design her Mockingjay outfit before the Quarter Quell even got going, but he's more than a designer. Until I see a well-tailored suit on a dead body, I'm holding out hope that he'll be back.

As for Buttercup... that is one tough kitty. 18:00 - Cat Adoration. Awesome. I hope something comes from his open window later that's more significant than just Katniss hearing something out of the window and then blah, blah, blah. We'll see.

Most importantly, let's tally up the score in . . .

Peeta Vs. Gale!

Peeta is great with words. That's really nice. Unfortunately, he's retarded with thoughts, and that makes his words come out all wrong. Maybe he's just trying to save Katniss, but no matter how hopeless the world may be, spouting out President Snow's propaganda in the hopes that Katniss will survive is just annoying.

Peeta:

+1 for oratory skills

-1 for spouting some bullshit

Of course, that's just Katniss and Gale theorizing about his speech, but still. Gale, on the other hand, saved pretty much every character that mattered from District 12 by being the only person in the District to know about the swimming hole that lets you be invincible from fire bombing. Pretty badass. Too bad Peeta's family doesn't matter...

I also like that Gale is someone Katniss can tell secrets to. That's telling. And when they hunt they're two parts of one being. No words are necessary between them at all, meanwhile Peeta is able to lobby for a ceasefire using only words.

But. Asking Katniss about why she cares about her prep team reveals Gale's one real weakness. While Peeta sucks because he's blinded to the misery in the world since all he cares about is Katniss, Gale is too focused on that one small goal of overthrowing the authorities. I'm not saying he needs to keep Katniss on a pedestal above the rest of Panem the way Peeta keeps doing (because, yuck), but that level of not understanding what it would have been like to actually go through something as harrowing as the games is kind of shocking.

Gale:

+2 for saving District 12 people

+1 for being a safe place for secrets

+1 for being able to hunt in silence

- 2 for not understanding that seeing people who've cared for you held in chains in a giant toilet might be upsetting to you.

Gale's still in the lead 2-0 for now, but there's room for change as we hear from Peeta directly.

But Katniss is still being used like a Calvin Klein model or something, and Prim is still the awesomest thing in the book. I'm sleeping for a few hours before going back into it in the morning, but I look forward to comments ABOUT CHAPTERS 1-5 ONLY, and I'm anxious to see how Erin takes Peeta's interview and finds some justification for his shitty behavior. I'm also anxious to see more of what Haymitch has to say...

I should wake you up more often, little duck,

Henri

 

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Henri Mazza's photo About the Author: Henri has been the creative director at the Alamo Drafthouse for the past six years. He loves all things narrative whether they’re books, movies, comics, music videos, video games, or commercials that make him cry.
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