The Hunger Games is now a popular book trilogy, and an even more popular movie franchise. The story of impressive teen Katniss Everdeen sacrificing herself to save her little sister and inspiring a revolution won millions of hearts in recent years; and yet, there are still people who refuse to read the books and watch the movies, mostly because of certain misconceptions they have about the entire concept. Well, no more. We’re a few month away from the release of Mockingjay: Part 2, so now is the perfect time to clear out these misconceptions and urge book and movie enthusiasts to give The Hunger Games a shot. Because believe me, it’s worth it.
For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, here’s a short synopsis. In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided into 12 districts, plus the Capitol. Two young representatives from each district, a boy and a girl, are selected each year to participate in The Hunger Games, a reality show broadcasted across the country. The aim? The participants are forced to kill off the competition until there’s only one of them left.
Katniss volunteers as tribute for District 12 after her little sister Prim is selected by lottery. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, need to stay alive in the games, where they compete against other teenagers, some of whom were training for the competition their entire lives. Katniss leaves her family and her best friend, Gale, behind, and embarks on a dangerous journey that will have unexpected consequences for the entire nation. The movies star Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, and Elizabeth Banks, among others.
No that you’re up to date on the plot, let’s see why some of you may be reluctant about picking up the books or checking out the movies. May it be because of these five common misconceptions?
It’s only for girls
Umm, no. Yes, there’s a strong female lead, but that doesn’t mean the books/movies can’t appeal to everyone. Sure, there are a couple of love stories involved, but sappy is the last thing The Hunger Games is.
The girl in question uses a bow and arrow to hunt both wild game and humans. Plus, the romance is just a side plot – it occurs as several teenagers fight until their deaths for the pleasure of the Capitol. We’re treated to kissing scenes, but we also witness some pretty depressing death scenes and some riveting fight scenes. There are mutant bees attacking the contestants, for the love of God. The trilogy is in no way all rainbows and unicorns.
And last but not least, I think we can all agree that Harry Potter proved once and for all that guys will see a young adult movie or read a young adult novel without it having to star Megan Fox or have her on the book cover. This type of gender stereotyping should once and for all be obsolete.
It’s only for teens
We politely disagree. Here’s the inside scoop: as the action progresses, The Hunger Games becomes a lot about war. About revolution. About people fighting for their freedom and their rights. And, most importantly, about the devastating effects this fight can have on a nation and on an individual. It’s a universal theme anyone can get behind, regardless of age.
Moreover, the books/movies echo a lot of awful real-world scenarios from the present. Violence, war, public executions, prisoner torture – these are all cruel realities some countries are still struggling with. It’s a disturbing story we can all learn something from.
Did I tell you that kids are being forced to kill other kids? That competitors not only have to survive the attacks of others, but also specific traps associated with each game environment? About the mutant dogs, the acid clouds, the evil monkeys? About the badass heroine who is far from perfect, but is doing everything she can to survive? That doesn’t sound boring at all, right? The pacing of the books/movies is slow at times, but some scenes are extremely suspenseful and will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.
It’s all about the love triangle
As a matter of fact, the love triangle isn’t even front and center. We all know it’s there, but the main focus is on Katniss, on her evolution, and on the rebellion. (As a side note, in the movies Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen beautifully. Her performance as a troubled teenager thrown into a fight she didn’t ask for is stunning.)
Unlike many other YA heroines, Miss Everdeen couldn’t care less about falling in love or catching a boy’s attention. She has more pressing problems, like making sure her family has what to eat, surviving a deadly reality show, and inspiring a nation to fight for justice. She’s tough and independent, yet vulnerable enough for the reader/viewer to relate to her character and her struggles. The romance is there, but it’s not in your face. It’s neither too cold nor too hot. It’s just right.
It’s too shallow
I have to admit that before reading the books I feel into this trap as well – I thought that The Hunger Games was a breezy read, a mix of romance and action perfect for a day spent of the beach. I wasn’t expecting it to have so much depth, as the trilogy is so much more than what it may initially look like.
It’s about not losing yourself, staying true to who you are and who you want to be. It’s about a dystopian future, but it’s frightening how that horrible future seems actually possible, and maybe even closer to our present than we’d like to admit. And, as I’ve stated before, it’s about rebellions, and wars, and corruption. It’s not just teen fiction, it’s science fiction. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’re missing out.
Convinced to give the trilogy a chance? You’ve got some time to catch up. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 hits theaters on November 20. Until then, may the odds be ever in your favor.