The Hunger Games Trilogy
by Suzanne Collins
5/5 – Leo Turnbull
The Hunger Games trilogy is a set of very intricately planned books that have lots of twists, yet are easy to understand. Each book makes you think about the story in a different way.
The stories are set in Panem, a country created in the place of North America after all the other countries have in some way fallen. In Panem, there are twelve “districts” (areas), each having its own trade and industries. Life is tough in the districts, with starvation being common. However, there is also the Capitol, which is the capital city of Panem. There, the citizens are pampered, and often don’t have to work, living off the goods the other districts are forced to provide.
Katniss Everdeen, the main character in the story, has a younger sister called Primrose who is selected out of thousands to compete in the “Hunger Games” – a reality TV show, watched by the citizens of the Capitol. These annual games force two “tributes” between the age of 12 and 16 to be randomly selected from each of the twelve areas and be put in an arena to fight to the death. The older you are, the higher chance you have of being picked, so Katniss is distraught when her twelve-year-old sister is picked. She decides to volunteer instead of her beloved sister. This happens very early in the story, and is the first show of Katniss’ courage. The first book is about Katniss’ struggle to win the games – and kill 23 other children – to return to her family.
By this point, Katniss has been shown as a caring character, who can also have a fiery temper when provoked. She also disregards the strict laws for her area, often going hunting in the woods. She is quick-thinking, but is strongly protective of her sister and mother, who she has to provide for. Katniss feels that it is her duty to protect her sister from anything that mght happen to her.
Along the way, she meets Peeta – the other tribute from her district – and the story changes. To try and get the people in the Capitol who watch the Hunger Games to like her, and in turn give her supplies in the arena, she has to pretend to be in love with Peeta.
By the second book, Katniss has made enemies with the powerful president, Coriolanus Snow, and all the things which seemed important in the first book seem more insignificant. Katniss and winners of previous Hunger Games start rebelling, gradually gaining the support of the other districts. This is a reminder to stand up for what you believe in.
As the rebellion grows, things get harder on Katniss, and she is forced to accept that she needs to adapt to change, because without change then nothing would happen. This is also true in the real world, as if we don’t accept change then nothing can ever move on.
My favourite character is Haymitch, Katniss’ tutor for the Games – a former winner of the Hunger Games – who is funny, yet almost always drunk. His main piece of advice to Katniss is “stay alive”, but he is more caring than he lets on, and is still haunted by past memories of when he was part of the Hunger Games. I like the way which he provides a lot of humour in the books, but he is a more complex character who helps you reflect on the impact the Games have on people over years, comparing the struggles that Katniss faces with those that he faced 25 years ago.
As the stories continue, you begin to get an insight into how the characters feel. Collins makes it easy to empathise with them, making the story more powerful. For example, Primrose at the beginning is shown as a weak twelve-year-old, who loves nothing more than her cat, but by the third book she is helping to heal the wounded and has grown a lot. The story as a whole has inspired me to realise that change is inevitable and can be scary, but it is important to accept and help it happen in the best possible way, instead of just letting events take their course. This trilogy has also been very influential in my reading, as it has turned me towards the genre of dystopian fiction, and I intend to read more novels of this type.