Monday, August 30, 2010

While re-reading Mockingjay...

I noticed a line that stood out EXTRA BIG the second* time around:

"The very notion that I'm devoting any thought to who I want presented as my lover, given the current circumstances, is demeaning." - Katniss Everdeen

Look, I thought I was done writing (even obliquely) about Mockingjay, but I guess not. Never fear, this post will contain no spoilers, because that is not my bag.

But I have to say, this whole "Team Peeta" versus "Team Gale" nonsense has to stop.

Look, I like both Peeta and Gale. They're great characters, and not just because they're both enamored of our gal Katniss. They have their own motivations and psychology. Their points of view are not intended to simply bolster or contrast Katniss' opinions and actions, but to reflect that they are two different people, separate and apart. They have their own reasons to rebel, rage, to express compassion or determination, affection, humor. I've read various complaints that this boy or that boy should have just supported Katniss, he should have just agreed with her because he cared about her, he should have done this, he should have done that … and I can't help but wonder if the complainer (a) just didn't get it, or (b) is so narcissitic that she (it's always a she) believes love means inevitable capitulation, or (c) they're so na├»ve that they believe love means sunshine and kittens, and it always ends well.

But that's enough about that. I mostly find myself baffled that a story that is about rebellion, the nature of war, and humanity could be so fundamentally misunderstood that all that matters is OMG WHICH ONE IS SHE GOING TO PICK?!?!?! Even when Katniss, Peeta and Gale each take a turn patiently explaining to the reader that, PS, it's a secondary consideration.

But Blogwriter, you say. If it's all about rebellion and war, why did Suzanne Collins even include the ooey-gooey stuff?

Well, I'm no mind reader, I say with sufficient false-modesty, but I'd imagine for the same reason she included flashbacks to Katniss' childhood, anecdotes about her father and sister, lyrics to songs, jokes, details about fashion and makeup. Because life isn't all blood and guts, even when it's mostly blood and guts. Because Peeta and Gale have their own interests in the big battle. Because they're important to Katniss ASIDE FROM any romantic entanglements. And because if you eliminate humanity from a story about war, you might as well be watching your own Hunger Games, just betting on various character to win.

So it doesn't matter who she picks? you say, sure I've painted myself into a corner this time.  (Who knows, maybe I have.)

Of course it matters, I reply, getting annoyed with my own internal debate at this point. But see quote above? Even KATNISS knows it matters less than other things. Unlike a certain "saga" (and yeah, I read it, and enjoyed it on a certain level) where the romance was the main plot, so much so that you kind of forgot that there were supposedly some bad guys out there somewhere (and some really lame action scenes to muddle through), the romance is just one thread of many because that's how life is. Sometimes it's the most important, but sometimes it's not. Yes, Virginia, there is life outside of bridal edition fashion magazines.

Sorry for the rant, folks. But I find myself stunned to see how many readers of this fantastic series resemble Katniss' prep team of Octavia, Venia, and Flavius, characters so ridiculous that Katniss can't even be bothered to think of them as people.

* I usually read a book twice because I have a tendency to subconsciously skim the first time. I also have no qualms re-reading a book I've read many times before, much like I have no qualms re-hashing the same old gossip with my friends. I am a creature of multi-faceted redundancy.

1 comment:

  1. 1. Amen.

    2. I am getting so much crap for saying people are dumb for focusing on the Gale/Peeta thing.

    3. People are dumb.

    4. Suzanne Collins is not.