The Trials of Katniss

I am sure you're wondering why I have a random beautiful girl on the side of this post. Who is this person? Why is she on Amanda's blog? Where have I seen her before?

Well, I will satisfy your curiosity presently.

It's Katniss!

This is Jennifer Lawrence and she will be playing Katniss in the Hunger Games movie. She was nominated for an Oscar this year for Winter's Bone, and if she doesn't really look like the practical, ruthless, skillful, compassionate, faithful Katniss you imagined, just pull up some of the pictures from that movie.

Your faith will be restored.

I have really high hopes for the Hunger Games movie. My one big concern is that they'll do what they did to The Golden Compass and miss the entire point. I hope it doesn't look or feel like Twilight. There is going to be a pretty girl torn between two different and worthy guys, but Katniss is NOT Bella, and I hope that they don't portray her as some romantic damsel. She is NOT romantic. All of the romance in the books comes from Gale and Peeta, NOT Katniss. But Jennifer Lawrence can play it well, I think. I saw the clips from Winter's Bone, and she looked awesome. If she's tough like that, she'll make a good Katniss.

The actors for Gale and Peeta have been cast too, and I am pleased so far, although I have never seen the movies they're in. From their photos, I think they are a good foil for each other. The actor who plays Gale is kind of exotically beautiful, and the one who plays Peeta is kind of down-home beautiful. Gale and Peeta both have their strengths, and they are both good people. They have hard decisions to make, and they do the best they can, even when they make mistakes. I like the dichotomy of the two. In the books, I waver back and forth between favoring them just like Katniss does.

I am sure you have read The Hunger Games, but just to be safe:

It's different for Katniss though. She is unromantic. She is practical. She has always been accustomed to putting survival first. I'm a lot luckier. I don't usually have to wonder whether I'm going to survive. Things that threaten my are usually beyond my control: the chance that an airplane I'm on might fall out of the sky, for example. No one can defend themselves against catastrophe.

But of course, I don't live in a post-apocalyptic version of the world. My strength is not continually tested. Sometimes I wish it were, and others, I'm just glad I live in a fairly stable world. On the one hand, I would like to prove to myself that I'm not completely useless. I would like to win a fight, scheme my way out of danger, be determined the fittest in a life or death crucible. On the other hand, I am just glad I don't have to.

One of the reasons I love the Hunger Games trilogy is that I can expound upon it like this. Another strong reason I love them is because it challenges my morals. It challenges what I find acceptable. Katniss is placed in a terrible situation, and she has to make some gut wrenching choices. For her, the choice is constantly between the lesser of two evils. Her position in her world is always precarious. She is balanced on knife's edge all the time. And yet she finds ways to be compassionate in her compassionless world.

In the arena, every person is a danger. No one can possibly be your ally, because every person must be your enemy. Katniss and Peeta solve this in the only way possible: A stalemate fueled by compassion. It was incredibly brave. And had a low chance of success. Most people wouldn't be strong enough to resist the temptation of a rules-devoid battle to the death, especially if you were among the last few. If you killed a few of your opponents, and began to have faith in yourself, if you thought, once, "I could win this. I could survive. I could beat all of the other people." You might be sucked into the glory of it all. A gladiatorial glory. A fight that previously filled you with terror now fills you with power. You feel like you could survive anybody. Bring em' on, and you'll lay them out. I am convinced that Katniss could have prevailed in the arena. But she chose not to.

Looking back with our 20/20 hindsight, and our detached, objective view, it seems obvious that this is the answer. But if we were experiencing it (as we do, from Katniss' eyes, in the present tense, while reading the book) how many of us would make the right decision?

Hard to know.

But I am glad none of us ever have to find out.

"I spread out my fingers, and the dark berries glisten in the sun. I give Peeta's hand one last squeeze as a signal, as a good-bye, and we begin counting. "One." Maybe I'm wrong. "Two." Maybe they don't care if we both die. "Three!" It's too late to change my mind. I lift my hand to m mouth, taking one last look at the world. The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare." - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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