About the Book
- Suzanne Collins
The Great Peeta vs. Gale Debate
Peeta: 15 points
Gale: -127 points
District 13: 88 points
Katniss: -4 points
Okay, so there are a couple of standard things to get out of the way before we get going here.
1) This post is covering Mockingjay Chapters 1-15. Yes, I want to not be writing and instead finish reading and then talk about the entire book, but that is coming in like a day, and I can wait. Plus, it’s kind of interesting to talk about it in chunks like this, because I can make bold predictions and many of you will know how wrong I am BUT YOU CAN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT YET.
2) Because we don’t want any spoilers on this thread. We’ll be finishing up the book tomorrow, but for now Erin and I get to talk about Chapters 1-15 only. If you’re caught up, keep reading this post. If you’re behind, don’t go past this section because THERE WILL BE NOTHING BUT SPOILERS.
3) I didn’t pick this as the stopping point; Erin did. To be fair, she chose it before we knew what was going to happen, but Jesus, Erin – you picked a doozy of a sentence for me to walk away from the book on. Don’t worry, that isn’t a spoiler.
BUT EVERYTHING FROM HERE ON OUT WILL BE.
Okay, so first off let me just get this out of the way:
Also, let me just say that I really hope they don’t let the Wachowskis direct the Hunger Games movies. The deeper underground they go in District 13, the more I keep picturing the shitty sequels to The Matrix against my will. Then I shake my head and squeeze my eyes and make myself picture Brazil (the movie, not the country), and everything seems much more proper. In fact, if they gave this series to Gilliam I think it would be full on art (if it ever got finished).
Things really heated up in the Peeta v. Gale world in this section, and while I’ll never admit that Erin’s right about anything other than dance parties, it does seem pretty clear that Suzanne’s moving us toward a conclusion designed to put Katniss in Peeta’s arms and is sort of cruelly trying to turn the audience away from Gale no matter what. Let’s look at the score card:
- Gale lied to Katniss about having seen the Peeta announcement: -4 points, until you remember that Peeta spent an entire book lying to Katniss because Haymitch told him to, then -4 points off Katniss for being whiny.
- Peeta warns District 13 of imminent attack, thus saving everyone’s favorite character, Buttercup +15 points
- Gale tells Katniss that “he knew she would kiss him because he was in pain”: fucking lame move, -8 points
- Gale leaves on the mission to save Peeta, even though he knows he’s the competition : okay, +8 again
- But here’s where Gale loses me pretty much entirely – pg. 198, when he tells Katniss that he can’t kiss her because, “it would be like kissing someone who’s drunk.” WTF, Gale? KISSING DRUNK PEOPLE IS AWESOME. Especially if you’re drunk, too. It gets all sloppy and leads to mistakes and everyone knows that mistakes are very valuable learning tools, so kissing drunk people is highly educational even while being super fun. Not wanting to kiss drunk people? Super lame: -75 points.
- Oh, and then damn it – wanting to kill everyone just because District 12 got bombed? Also super lame: -50 points.
So yeah, at this point Gale is way behind, and I’m sure Erin is just waiting to hear me talk about how she’s right and Peeta’s awesome and all of that. But here’s the rub:
Peeta has been “hijacked.” Really?!?!? That’s ridiculous. Because OF COURSE NOW KATNISS WILL WANT HIM.
The most obvious rule from the popular, unpublished self-help book for needy boys that I intend to write sometime in my late 40s, How To Escape The Friend Zone And Finally Get Laid, is that the number one thing the Needy Boy needs to do is suddenly and inexplicably stop caring about the girl (or at least pretend to). Seriously.
Of course, by not just having Peeta start liking other girls (which would totally have been enough to get Katniss to start drooling over him all the time anyway) but then having him actually try to kill her, Suzanne is taking a cue from Stephenie and going into the full on Stalker Fantasy genre. That scene along with Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” makes this officially the Summer of Abusive Boyfriends.
And yeah, Peeta’s been drugged and made to do it and blah, blah, blah. But I can’t get past seeing that hijacking as a lazy plot device. There are still many more chapters to go, though, so maybe I’ll come around? I’ll just feel cheated if I don’t get to see what Katniss would have done if Peeta had been Peeta and Gale had been Gale.
And for the record, I think that Peeta still could have won. Gale being a dick now that the revolution is on makes total sense. He was older when the mine accident killed his father than Katniss was, and he was full of testosterone. That made him hate in a manner much, much deeper than Katniss does. I think that Katniss could have cured him of that hatred if they lived in a different world, if they’d been allowed to grow up at a reasonable pace instead of forced into it by the games, and if they had metaphorical President Snows to fight against instead of the actual one. But the fact that they live in a world where that can’t happen is enough of a tragedy on its own. He would have sacrificed himself for the cause no matter what happened with Peeta, and the scene when he describes his selfish thoughts at seeing Peeta in the hospital is pretty amazing…
Ultimately, of course, Snow is an idiot. He tried to break Katniss by sending Peeta after her, and instead he most likely made Peeta the happiest man in Panem.
Anyway, I can’t wait to see how wrong I am about all of my suppositions. I love to write with conviction because it’s so much more fun when I get to come back and eat my words later. But for now I’ve gotta go. Katniss has been shot, and I need to get back into the Games.
I won’t comment on this thread anymore, though, because I’ll be further along. But Erin, I look forward to seeing what you think of this segment. Personally, I’m getting to be more and more Team Finnick after all. My favorite bit of relationship advice comes when Katniss asks him if he loved Annie right away. “No,” he says, “She snuck up on me.”
Even though it’s probably being used to set up the way Katniss feels like Peeta will sneak up on her, it’s pretty badass. Finnick is awesome.
About the Contributor:
Henri Mazza loves all things narrative whether they’re books, movies, comics, music videos, video games, or commercials that make him cry.