Fanfic: Some Semblance of Meaning
"Once upon a time, in a land too close for comfortÖ there was pain. Th-there was pain and suffering and sadness and darkness. The land was divided by barriers that could never be overcome, it seemed. Everything was desolate and bleak.... And then, there was another realm: a place without districts.... A place without districts. A place where there was no pain or suffering, no sadness or darkness. No one got sick, and nobody... died. In that place, there was no war. No bloody battles, no one who would do harm. No bitter cold. Only peace and happiness and love. Everywhere, it was always filled with warmth and light. It was a place without arenas and silly Games. It was there that all the good people went when they diedórich and poor, tributes and citizens alike. Everyone who did good in their lives."Some Semblance of Meaning
(link can be found here
) is a Hunger Games
fic published on Fanfiction.net by author Volcanic Lily about the 44th Hunger Games, which mainly focuses on the experience of Vale Whitaker.
Vale is from District Twelve like Katniss. More specifically, she is from the Seam like Katniss. She is sixteen years old like Katniss. But she is not like Katniss.
The author's summary puts it concisely: "Everyone remembers the tale of Katniss Everdeen. But few recall the story of another sixteen-year-old from Twelve, thrust into the apathetic world of the Games. She wasn't bold or strong; she was hardly even remarkable. All that Vale Whitaker ever wanted was to give her inevitable death some kind of meaning, more than just another pointless brutality in the 44th Hunger Games."
It's true: Vale
certainly isn't the kind of girl who would step forward out of a crowd and declare, "I volunteer as tribute!" In fact, she could best be described as timid and terrified as the story begins (for good reasons: she is going into an arena to fight to the death
on national television, after all).
This story follows Vale as she prepares for the Games and ultimately enters the arena, where she struggles not only to survive but to protect her twelve-year-old district partner
, and to keep a promise she made to her younger sister by keeping her own humanity intact in the process. As trial after trial arises to put her strength of body and heart to the test, Vale discovers that she is not as powerless as she believesóand learns that there is much meaning to be found in risking everything for the people she loves.
Warning: ahead, there are major plot spoilers.
Provides examples of:
- Accidental Murder: Vale inadvertently kills Cassia, the girl from District Seven, when she is trying to protect Kit.
- Action Girl: Several of the female tributes, naturally: Amber, Fen, and Brigid, just to name a few. Vale herself may even qualify later on.
- Adorkable: Vale can be slightly adorkable sometimes, but the cake really goes to, of all people, Obsidian (he was correct when he said that he wasn't like the typical Career). See also: his rehearsal of how he would propose an alliance with Vale, as well as plenty of things he does once they actually do team up.
- After Action Patch Up: Naturally, this occurs a few times over the course of the story.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Well, if you could consider Obsidian to be a bad boy, then Vale does eventually fall for him. Grudgingly.
- Alpha Bitch: Amber Sheen is reminiscent of one, even if this is the Hunger Games we're dealing with (which then makes her more of a Girly Bruiser).
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Kit declares his feelings for Vale's younger sister Laurel during his interview with Caesar Flickerman, fearing that he'll never be able to tell her in person.
- Later, Obsidian confesses to Vale after she is nearly killed.
- Archer Archetype: Fen.
- Ascended Fanboy: It seems that Obsidian used to idolize the tributes from his district who were chosen to participate in the Games. And now that he's one of them... He realizes that it isn't all it's cracked up to be, at least not for someone who still has a conscience.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: In the Training Center, Obsidian is distracted by the "shiny" necklace that Vale wears. He even claims, "I'm like a magpie; my eyes are drawn to shiny things."
- Babies Ever After: In the end, Damon and Lavinia get married and have two children. They name them Vale and Kit, in honor of Lavinia's last two tributes.
- Bambification: When the Careers kill a fawn, Obsidian views it as something awful, because he sees the fawn as something innocent and harmless. It actually drives him to leave the pack and make a Heel-Face Turn.
- Battle Couple: Vale and Obsidian, toward the end of the year's Games... although Vale isn't the best at combat, and Obsidian would prefer that she stay out of harm's way if possible.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Obsidian and Vale, though it's mostly from Vale's side. As the pragmatic voice in Vale's head puts it, "Nothing is fair in love and war. And this might be both."
- Berserk Button: Do not ever threaten Kit's safety in front of Vale. It's what got Cassia killed.
- Also, in Obsidian's own words, "You donít hurt innocent things. Thatís just wrong. You donít kill sweet, innocent, harmless things."
- Beware the Nice Ones: Vale when you mess with Kit or anyone else she cares about.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Vale again.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Obsidian comes off as rather silly, what with his friendly attitude toward Vale and his comment about liking shiny things. Then, the Games begin....
- Big Brother Instinct: Along with her own siblings, Vale feels a sort of Big Sister Instinct towards Kit, and she also seems to feel the same way about Lark eventually.
- Big Eater: Kit.
- Bittersweet Ending: And how.
- Black and Gray Morality: Comes with the territory. Although Vale is hesitant to fight, she will do what it takes to protect herself and her ally. And of course, some of the tributes (such as most of the Careers) are much worse and even kill for fun.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Averted with Kit. Also averted with Obsidian and even with Ford from District Four, who did go along with the other Careers but only because he was seemingly afraid to cross them.
- Blondes are Evil: Amber Sheen.
- Blood Knight: Several of the Careers (Amber, Achilles, Brigid) are shown to kill merely for the enjoyment of it. In fact, when they go for several days without encountering another tribute, they even attack an innocent fawn. This is what causes Obsidian to leave the pack.
- Boyish Short Hair: Fen, whose red hair is as short as her little brother's.
- Braids of Action: Phlox has these.
- Brainy Brunette: Vale is pretty smart and, like most people from the Seam, has black hair. Another example is District Eleven's Phlox, who is so clever that she even managed to trap Obsidian and steal all of his supplies, although he broke free before she could kill him.
- Break the Cutie: Vale is broken by Kit's death at the hands of a mutt. She eventually gets somewhat better, but she never really forgets.
- Break the Haughty: Although he enters the Games with Career-like confidence, Obsidian is broken by the fact that the Games are not what he dreamed they would be. He feels great remorse for his kills, and this is why he doesn't ally with Vale the first time he gets a chance (along with the fact that Phlox had just allied with her, Fen, and Lark): he fears that he would probably kill her, as well.
- Bridal Carry: Obsidian carries Vale like this after their skirmish with Chas, as he's helping her get down from a tree.
- Broken Ace: Obsidian can be viewed as this.
- Brother-Sister Team: Fen and Lark from District Five.
- Brown Eyes: Fen, Lark, and Phlox, among others.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Apparently, this was true for Kit towards Laurel Whitaker... until his interview with Caesar Flickerman.
- Cheerful Child: Laurel Whitaker—at least, as much as one can expect from someone whose sister has just been selected to be in the Hunger Games, an almost-certain death sentence. Kit would be this, if not for the several times that he gets depressed about the bleak future of the Games, enough to attempt suicide on the night before they begin.
- Children Forced To Kill: Comes with the territory.
- Conflicting Loyalty: At the start of the Games, Obsidian seems torn between his allies in the Career pack and the friendship he seems to feel for Vale and Kit. He leaves the pack when they kill an innocent baby deer for the fun of it and never looks back.
- Continuity Cameo: Several characters from the Hunger Games series make appearances, although the fanfic occurs thirty years before the original series. Hazelle, Vale's youngest sister, is said to be the same Hazelle who will become Gale's mother. Then, of course, Caesar Flickerman appears to conduct the tributes' interviews. Apparently, Katniss's father, still a child, lives down the street from Vale's family, and Vale reportedly once had a crush on a boy named Saben Undersee, who could be the future mayor or a relative. Obsidian once mentions having two younger brothers- twins, named Castor and Pollux. Also, young Effie Trinket eventually makes an appearance.
- Cool Sword: Obsidian uses one. So does Achilles.
- Covered with Scars: Obsidian, due to his years of Career training.
- Cowardly Lion: Vale. Despite her crippling fear, when it comes down to defending the people she cares about, she's no pushover.
- Crowning Moment of Funny: Many of Kit's lines.
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: A lot of Vale's moments with her family or with Kit.
- Cry into Chest: Vale cries into Obsidian Citrine's jacket one night when she thinks she's losing her mind. This marks a shift into their relationship, from "tentatively non-hostile acquaintances" to actual friends.
- Cute Bookworm: Vale not only loves books but dreams of writing her own someday.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Vale. Let's not forget that the girl has exhibited a knack for tying her own fingers together on multiple occasions.
- Dark Action Girl: Amber.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Vale has a minor one, in that her best friend was killed in the Hunger Games four years previously at the age of twelve, by the male tribute from District One. (Vale's own extreme mistrust toward Obsidian can be somewhat attributed to this.)
- Dead Guy Junior: Lavinia and Damon end up naming their two children after Vale and Kit.
- Deadpan Snarker: Kit. Vale herself can also get a little snarky, mostly around Obsidian.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: In a platonic way, Fen. She warms up to Vale after she sees how much Vale cares about Kit, and later, how Vale tries to protect her and Lark when Phlox turns on them.
- Determinator: Vale, among others.
- Deuteragonist: Although the spotlight mostly stays on Vale, occasionally the POV switches to other characters, especially as the Games progress. The main candidate for this seems to be Obsidian. He does become the de facto main character after Vale's death.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Kit dies in Vale's arms from injuries he obtained in a fight against a mutt. Later, Vale dies in Obsidian's.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: After being traumatized by Vale's death and his own subsequent "victory", Obsidian lashes out at his caretakers who call him by his given name, instead telling them to call him Sid.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Despite his status as a Privileged Rival to Vale, Obsidian also tends to play this role to her, at least for a while.
- Dreadful Musician: Vale cannot sing. At all. She even attempts to pull a Katniss and sing Kit's favorite song to him when he is dying, but he asks her to stop because she's so terrible. Luckily for her, she's a very good storyteller to make up for it.
- Driven to Suicide: Kit attempts to kill himself by jumping off the roof of the Training Center on the night before the Games. Also, Blake from District Eleven killed himself after he and Phlox escaped the bloodbath.
- Dumb Blonde: Initially, Obsidian seems like a subversion; he comes off as quite clever, watching the other tributes for strengths and weaknesses while revealing none of his own. Then, he gets into the arena, and the logic in his choices becomes questionable at times.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Apparently, Lark's middle name is Asphodel. His mother allegedly thought it was manly at the time. Vale and Obsidian later discuss their own middle names (Chastity and Agamemnon, respectively), though the latter doesn't actually find his middle name as embarrassing as Vale thinks he should.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In his interview, Obsidian reveals that he volunteered not only because he wanted to compete in the Hunger Games but because his thirteen-year-old cousin was the male tribute who had been selected. (Then again, Obsidian isn't quite evil, to be honest, even if he is part of the Career pack.)
- Everyone Can See It: Several people seem to be well aware of Obsidian's feelings for Vale, even before he realizes them: Phlox, Laurel, Amber, even Caesar Flickerman.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Amber just cannot seem to understand why Obsidian would be so "dysfunctional" as to care about others and want to protect innocent "weaklings." And she views love as a foreign concept.
- Evil Is Sexy: Amber, who plays up the alluring angle in her interview and is one of the most depraved tributes.
- Eyes of Gold: Amber has amber eyes, of course.
- Face-Heel Turn: Phlox allies with Vale, Fen, and Lark because she plans on trying to kill them all in their sleep. Thankfully, she fails.
- False Friend: Phlox. See "Face Heel Turn" entry above.
- Fiery Redhead: Fen. Her brother Lark seems to be an aversion.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Vale with Fen and Lark, as well as with Obsidian.
- First Kiss: As Vale laments being reaped, she thinks of the fact that she'll never get her first kiss. Naturally, she does get it later- from Obsidian. Her reaction is... not exactly what he'd been hoping for.
- Floral Theme Naming: Another thing derived from the source series. Several characters are given floral names: Laurel, Briony, Phlox, Tansy Leefinch ( the real name of Lavinia Gilden), etc.
- Foregone Conclusion: There are only four District 12 victors, three of which are accounted for, with only one established to be dead by the time the 74th Hunger Games rolls around.
- Foreshadowing: Quite a bit of it, if you're looking for it, in regards to the final confrontation and how it all goes down.
- Friendly Rivalry: Obsidian views rivals Vale and Kit as friends. (This is a bit one-sided, though.)
- Freudian Excuse: All of the Careers. Whether some of them are downright loathsome or not, they couldn't help that they were trained from birth to be murderous Blood Knights.
- Genki Girl: Lavinia Gilden, Vale and Kit's escort and makeshift mentor.
- Girly Bruiser: Amber.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Vale has recognizable versions of these in her mind: the "pragmatic voice," who tries to convince her to trust no one in the arena, and the "idealist," who is Vale's more trusting and dreamy side. The final confrontation is truly more between these two voices than anything else.
- Gray Eyes: Most Seam residents are said to have gray eyes, and those of Vale and her siblings are said to be a blue-gray color.
- Green Eyes: Obsidian has these, as does Ford.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Kit, as well as, apparently, Vale's late best friend Briony. Also, Obsidian, though his heart of gold is hidden beneath a thin layer of "jerk".
- Handsome Devil: Obsidian is perceived as this, although Vale believes him to be more of a jerk than he truly is.
- Happily Married: Lavinia and Damon, eventually.
- Heel-Face Turn: Obsidian's can be said to happen when he leaves the Career pack after they go too far.
- Heel Realization: Obsidian has one as he begins to notice the way the other Careers behave and as he thinks on the kills he has made.
- Heroic BSOD: Vale has one of these after Kit's death.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Vale has her moments of this. Due to her inclination to trust (almost) everyone, she makes an alliance with Phlox, who tries to kill her and her other allies. Vale is contrastly disinclined to trust Obsidian, who has been quite kind to her, all things considered.
- Later on, during their alliance, we learn that Vale also misjudges Obsidian by thinking that, as a well-trained and strong Career, Sid must not have any problems, while he is simultaneously plagued with constant questions about the morality of his actions, as well as the fear that he is Not So Different from Amber and the other Careers. Sid also misjudges Vale by thinking that she is a Purity Sue type who could never hurt anyone and therefore lacks the kind of worries that consume him.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Obsidian and Vale. Obsidian is said to be tall and muscular, while Vale describes herself as scrawny and shorter than average.
- I Am Not Pretty: After Vale's makeover, she is stunned when she sees her reflection, because she has never felt pretty before in her life. (It's implied that she's wrong, though, or at least that certain people think differently.)
- I Gave My Word: Vale promised that she would give meaning to her near-certain death sentence of going into the arena by protecting Kit. And that's precisely what she's going to do.
- In-Series Nickname: Kit is sometimes referred to as "Kitty" and variations, while he usually refers to Obsidian Citrine as "Citrus." Laurel is the first to refer to Obsidian as "Sid" (although the author has been doing it for a while). Vale will eventually begin to do it, as well (instead of referring to him as "He-Who-Is-Ridiculously-Named"). Also, Vale is occasionally referred to by Sid as "sparkle girl," and Damon refers to her as "the girl who wore stars on her heart," which she likes.
- In the Back: When Obsidian is leaving the pack, he ends up stabbing Ford in the back. This comes back to haunt him, and later on, in his fight with Achilles, the latter mocks him for being a backstabber. Then, when Obsidian has him prostrate on the ground and is preparing to kill him, Achilles asks him to just let him turn over first, so he won't stab him in the back, and lets him stab him in the chest instead.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Kit has these. Vale and her siblings also have blue-gray eyes, and she, Laurel, and Hazelle would definitely fall into this.
- Irrational Hatred: Vale's hatred of Obsidian falls into this. Although he is a Career tribute, he is actually quite kind to her and actually spares her life several times. Eventually, she warms up to him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Obsidian, though fairly easy on the "jerk."
- Jumped at the Call: Unsurprisingly, the Career tributes. (Then again, Obsidian apparently volunteered mainly to keep his little cousin from having to go into the Games before he was ready.)
- Kid Sidekick: Kit to Vale.
- Kill the Cutie: Poor Kit. Poor, poor Kit.
- Light Feminine Dark Feminine: Vale would be the light feminine, whereas Amber would be the dark feminine.
- Little Miss Snarker: Kit could be considered a male version.
- Love Confession: Naturally, this fanfic has several of them. Kit's confession to Laurel in his interview, Blake kissing Phlox right before he kills himself, then Obsidian's to Vale later on, Damon and Lavinia...
- Love Is a Weakness: From Obsidian's point-of-view, we can gather that Careers have had this drilled into their heads ("In the arena, your life comes first and foremost. If you have a choice between saving your best friendís life and your own, leave the poor sucker to get eaten by mutts" comes to mind). We can also gather that he wasn't listening.
- His district partner, Amber, is definitely of this mindset, partially due to the fact that her older sister was killed at the end of the 40th Hunger Games by her district partner, who she had fallen in love with. Amber herself does not believe in love or compassion, and she is thus convinced that this will give her the strength to win.
- Luminescent Blush: As a Shrinking Violet, Vale is naturally prone to this. Kit also has his moments whenever someone brings up his crush.
- Magnetic Hero: Vale is one of these, as evidenced by her alliances. There's Kit, Fen, Lark, Phlox (though she quickly betrayed her), Obsidian...
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Lavinia shows shades of this in regards to the soft-spoken stylist Damon.
- Manly Tears: When Obsidian tears up onstage during his interview, Caesar Flickerman tells him they were very manly tears. This isn't the last time that Obsidian is brought to tears, either.
- Master of the Mixed Message: Vale views Obsidian as one of these. On one hand, she hates him and thinks he is a huge jerk, but on the other, she can't seem to understand why he does certain things, such as sparing hers and Kit's lives.
- Meaningful Echo: Vale's "bedtime story" to a dying Kit is later used again in the climax of the story.
- Meaningful Name: Vale will point out that her name means "low place," and it can also refer to a lament. Also, Amber has amber eyes like her name implies, and Kit's last name, "Littleby," references his smallness.
- Meet Cute: Vale references this trope by name when she is trying to convince the pragmatic voice that Obsidian is not in love with her, listing their lack of this as one of her reasons.
- Memento MacGuffin: The necklace given to Vale by her sister Maybelle. It's not really plot-relevant in any way, aside from the fact that it provides Vale with a link to her family, and she sometimes imagines that clutching onto it gives her some of the fiery Maybelle's strength. In the end, the last time she clutches it, she thinks that this time, she is "drawing not upon her sister's strength, but on her own."
- Messy Hair: Kit apparently has messy hair and disliked it when his stylist tried to make it neat.
- Mood Whiplash: Happens quite often, as the story often fluctuates between humor, heartwarming, and angst, even over the course of a single chapter.
- Morality Chain: It's safe to say that Obsidian thinks of Vale as his morality chain. Vale, meanwhile, thinks back to the promise she made to her sister Laurel, that she wouldn't sacrifice her morality in the arena, whenever she considers doing anything morally reprehensible.
- Most Writers Are Writers: Vale wants to be a writer. This affects her perception of events at times, and her storytelling actually comes into play when Kit asks her on his deathbed to tuck him in, and she tells him about a "land without districts" where good people go when they die, and later, when she echoes that story during the final confrontation.
- Mouthy Kid: Kit Littleby, full stop.
- Mr. Imagination: Vale can be a female version, due to her writing aspirations, but this is mostly in the past tense, seeing as she obviously has little time to daydream now.
- My Eyes Are Up Here: Vale uses this in her first conversation with Obsidian, who had been admiring the sparkly necklace her sister gave her. He calls her "sparkle girl" and tells her that it's shiny and pretty, and she responds, "Yeah, my eyes are pretty, too, One- not that youíre looking at them." (That may have been the moment when we realized that Vale was a Tsundere.)
- NaÔve Everygirl: Vale shows shades of this.
- Narrative Profanity Filter: The fic uses this on occasion, usually in the format of "[character name] cursed" or similar statements.
- Nice Guy: Lark and Damon. Kit is also a nice kid at heart, though he does have his bouts of biting sarcasm, and both Obsidian and his cousin Glint are Nice Guys, as well, in spite of what one would assume.
- Non-Action Snarker: Kit.
- Not So Different: After he allies himself with Vale, Obsidian confesses that he's concerned that, despite calling himself "not the ideal Career," he isn't so different from the rest of the pack at all. Amber throws this in his face later, as well, as she's giving him a "Reason You Suck" Speech.
- Oblivious to Love: Vale could easily be accused of this. Also, Obsidian, in that, by the time he finally realized his feelings for Vale, several others--Amber, Phlox, Laurel, and possibly even the head Gamemaker--had already picked up on it long ago.
- Official Couple: Damon/Lavinia, Obsidian/Vale (at least while both of them are alive), and eventually, Laurel and Sid's cousin Glint.
- Opposites Attract: The soft-spoken Damon and the energetic Lavinia, to say nothing of Vale and Obsidian.
- Overly Long Name: Vale makes it clear that she finds Obsidian's full name—Obsidian Agamemnon Citrine—to be "ridiculously long."
- Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: A non-protagonist example can be found in Ford, who sides with the rest of the Career pack out of fear of angering them.
- Portmanteau Couple Name: The writer and some of the readers like to use "Valesidian."
- Power Trio: When Vale teams up with Fen and Lark, they form one of these. Technically, in that grouping, Fen would be the one who is dubbed "The Hero."
- Puppy Love: Kit and Laurel. Unfortunately, by the time of his confession, he'll have no chance to see her again and learn for certain that she returns his feelings.
- Privileged Rival: The Careers, of course.
- Protectorate: Vale is fiercely protective of Kit. Obsidian is also fiercely protective of Vale.
- Quirky Curls: In contrast to her other siblings, Vale's sister Maybelle is said to have wild, curly hair. This represents her brash, stubborn personality.
- Rage Breaking Point: Obsidian is willing to put up with the other Careers' indifference to the death of one of their own. He's even willing to keep his mouth shut when they maliciously joke about killing Vale next, just after the death of Kit. But when they kill a defenseless fawn for the fun of it, that's going too far for him.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Vale can be called the Blue Oni in contrast to the Red Oni of Kit, Fen, or Obsidian.
- Replacement Goldfish: Vale comes to see Kit as another sibling that she wants to protect. Then, after his death, she teams up with the siblings from District Five and comes to view Lark in a similar light. The text says, "Vale told herself that she would help Fen to protect her brother. If she was helpless and hopeless to save Kit, at least she could try to help Lark for as long as she could. Kit, Lark, Averill [Vale's real brother]... Sometimes, even when she was wide awake, the names seemed to blur together in her mind."
- Rich Bitch: Though not as well-off as citizens of the Capitol, District One is still quite wealthy compared to Twelve, and this is visible in Amber.
- Sacred First Kiss: Vale thinks of her first kiss as a very big deal... and lashes out at Sid after he kisses her for the first time without warning.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Damon and Lavinia, very much.
- Although Vale's default personality is not bold and energetic, her and Obsidian's interactions come off this way at times, due to his calm demeanor and the way that she tends to go into Tsundere mode around him.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Vale's attitude in the end when she defies the Capitol during the final confrontation. Katniss would be proud.
- Second Love: Glint Citrine is this for Laurel, several years after Kit's death.
- Self-Sacrifice Scheme: Fen tells Vale that, if the final confrontation was between herself and her brother Lark, she would die so that Lark could win and make it home. This doesn't come to be.
- Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Evident in the attire that Vale and Amber wear for their interviews.
- Serious Business: The Hunger Games, naturally.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Vale after her trip to the Remake Center.
- Shipper on Deck: Fen comments, during a discussion on her brother's cold-hearted ex-girlfriend, that she wishes that Vale had been born in District Five, implying that she thinks Vale would make a better match for Lark.
- Also, Laurel seems to like Obsidian, and she seems fine with the fact that, in her words, "I think he likes [Vale]ó like, like-likes her."
- Shout-Out: Several, when one is looking for them (or occasionally, they'll just be pointed out in the author's notes): The Twilight Zone, The 39 Clues, Taylor Swift, Paramore, The Music Man, Hercules...
- Shrinking Violet: Vale, especially at the beginning of the story. Her little sister Laurel may also qualify.
- Sibling Team: Again, Fen and Lark of District Five.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Fen and Lark. Fen is a clever, mistrustful Fiery Redhead who really, really hates the Capitol, to the point where she wants to rebel, whereas her younger brother Lark is openly kind, trusting, and mellow.
- Also, Vale and her bold sister Maybelle seem to be quite different.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Obsidian toward Vale, apparently. He doesn't even respond to district partner Amber's advances, except with disgust- and apparently, she's quite pretty.
- Sleep Cute: Vale and Obsidian, eventually. Even before that, a platonic, sibling-like example could be found in Vale and Kit. The open trust that this action displayed was one of the things that kept Obsidian from killing them when he came across them.
- Smug Smiler: Several Careers, notably Amber.
- Speech Impediment: Vale sometimes tends to stammer when she's nervous.
- Stalker with a Crush: Obsidian definitely gives off these vibes. And if that's true, then...
- Stalking Is Love: ...Vale does warm up to him.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Vale and Obsidian, no matter how much the former tries to fight it.
- Stars Are Souls: Referenced in the 73rd chapter, when Vale is stargazing and comments about how stars last forever, and Obsidian tells her that they fade and die like people do. She then tells him that, like people, they might go out eventually, but while they live, they're all given an opportunity to shine, and once they die, more stars are born to take their place, so the sky is never dark.
- Stepford Smiler: Obsidian is the first type, in that he sometimes uses lighthearted jokes and smiles to mask his more troubled and unhappy side.
- Tag Along Kid: Kit seems to fear that he is this to Vale, only good for keeping their sleeping bag warm and little else. Ultimately, he is fatally injured trying to help Vale fight off a mutt, and as he dies, Vale tells him that he was a brave, loyal hero .
- Tear Jerker: From about a couple chapters in and onward. And it only gets worse from there. See also: Kit's death.
- The Cynic: The pragmatic voice in Vale's head.
- The Hero: Vale.
- The Hero Dies.
- The Ingenue: Vale could be called this.
- The Pollyanna: Lavinia Gilden /Tansy Leefinch always seems to be trying to look on the bright side... even when it comes to the Hunger Games.
- The Power of Friendship: How Vale makes it so far in her Games, not by fighting everyone but befriending them. See also: her alliance with Kit and Fen and Lark, and then Obsidian....
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The pragmatic voice in Vale's head seems to greatly enjoy giving her these. Also, Amber delivers a particularly cutting one to Obsidian... and he gives her one right back even though he's in tears, rebuffing all of her points epically.
- The Reveal: A big one comes right before the Games: Lavinia reveals that she is not actually from the Capitol. She was originally from District Twelve, from the Seam like Vale. She stowed away to the Capitol after her older sister Violet died in the Hunger Games and eventually became an escort for her home district.
- The Sneaky Guy: Phlox—so stealthy that she was able to lurk at the outskirts of the Careers' camp, stealing supplies, for at least several days straight, without ever getting caught.
- The Storyteller: Vale.
- Apparently, Lavinia, as she tells Vale's story to Katniss Everdeen in the end, after the events of the Hunger Games series.
- There Are No Therapists: Becomes evident after the Hunger Games end. Hunger Games victors often come back shattered, and this is no exception.
- Title Drop: Happens a few times. The first time occurs when Vale first boards the train to the Capitol and promises to be Kit's ally. "She had already come to the decision: she would do whatever she could to protect this little boy. She was going to die defending him and bringing comfort to him. At least that would give her death some semblance of meaning."
- Together in Death: In the "land without districts," Vale is reunited with the friends she lost in the Games: Kit, Fen, Lark... and eventually Obsidian, when he dies in an explosion not much later.
- Took a Level in Badass: The Vale at the end of the Games is much less weak than the Vale at the beginning (even if she is still nowhere near being on par with Katniss).
- Traumatic Haircut: Vale receives one from Achilles during the latter's fight with Obsidian. Achilles grabs her and puts a sword to her neck, and when Obsidian tells him that he'd better not hurt one hair on her head... he grabs a fistful of Vale's hair and slices it right off.
- Tsundere: Vale might not seem like it at first, but she's a definite Type B. (The author really enjoys commenting on it.)
- Even the pragmatic voice comes across as a tsundere in Chapter 75, when it compliments Vale during a fight, only to tell her that it's not like the pragmatist likes her or anything. Then, it calls her an idiot.
- Unkempt Beauty: Vale, inferably.
- Upbringing Makes the Hero: The promise that Vale made to Laurel that, if she's going to win the Games, she will win them honorably serves as a Morality Chain to her, and that and her upbringing seem to keep her grounded in the arena. Contrast, say, Obsidian, who struggles with doing the right thing due to the fact that "the right thing" for him often means going against the way he was raised to behave.
- Uptight Loves Wild: Damon and Lavinia again.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Amber cannot seem to comprehend why Obsidian insists on caring about and protecting Vale, even though she is an "innocent, helpless weakling." Obsidian later comments that love is like a completely foreign concept to her.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The ending shows Lavinia, now old with grown children of her own (who are named after Vale and Kit), relating Vale's story to Katniss. We also find out that Laurel ended up with Obsidian's cousin Glint, and that both families survived the bombing of District Twelve and the war on the Capitol.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Vale has an idealistic side, which is often in contrast with "the pragmatic voice" in her mind.
- Wild Card: Fiero Vespillo, the head Gamemaker considers Obsidian to be the "wild card" of the 44th Hunger Games, although truly, he does not fall into this trope; Vespillo simply does not understand him, probably due to his own lack of sympathy for others.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Mentioned during the fight with Achilles. Vale generally hates to agree with the pragmatic voice about anything, but after Vale stabs Achilles in the stomach to escape him and thinks that she'd rather kill him than watch Obsidian die, the pragmatist approves, and she thinks, "For once, your approval doesn't fill me with shame."