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Fanfic / Some Semblance of Meaning

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"Once upon a time, in a land too close for comfort... 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 died—rich and poor, tributes and citizens alike. Everyone who did good in their lives."

Some Semblance of Meaning is a Hunger Games fic published on 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, Kit, 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 believes—and 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 qualifies later on as she fights Cassia to protect Kit, killing her.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Lavinia takes to calling Kit "Kitty" or "Kitty Kitty" as she grows attached to him. Vale thinks the nickname suits him while he finds it embarrassing.
  • 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 is a skilled and clever archer but is also hot-blooded, emotional, and rebellious as opposed to calm and stoic.
  • Ascended Fanboy: 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 a child. They name him Kit, in honor of one 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, though 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 don’t hurt innocent things. That’s just wrong. You don’t kill sweet, innocent, harmless things."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Vale has a terrifying temper when you mess with Kit or anyone else she cares about.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Vale is shy and reserved by nature. However, this gives her an explosive temper and she sometimes lets her rage get the best of her. During her session in front of the Gamemakers, she became so angry she did not bother to aim her blow darts, merely firing them randomly in a blind fury. This results in her getting a terribly low score of two.
  • 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 hugs him when he comes onto the stage after he is reaped. She also seems to feel the same way about Lark eventually.
    • Subverted during the reaping. For a moment it seems like one of Kit's older brothers may volunteer for him but they don't do it even as the twelve year-old looks at them pleadingly. In fact, one brother avoids looking at him completely.
  • Big Eater: Kit, despite being only 12 years old and skinny as a twig. He even lampshades it himself!
    Vale: And you're good at keeping the sleeping bag warm—I'll give you that.
    Kit: And don't forget eating. I'm good at that, too; Lavinia would vouch for that.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Kit's name is drawn on his twelfth birthday. Many people note that he would not have had to go through the ordeal if he had been born just a day later.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Vale and Kit both die. Obsidian is left distraught and suicidal and is later killed in an explosion. However, he reunites with Vale and the others in the afterlife and and Damon and Lavinia get married and have a child, naming him Kit.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 goes into the Games as a confident Career who believes being in the Games is an honor and he has a win in the bag. He leaves the Games disillusioned, heartbroken, and distraught and refuses to be called Obsidian anymore.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Fen and Lark from District Five are both reaped. They work together in training and the Games and try to keep each other alive.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: 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.
  • 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 is a remorseless, vindictive Career who is skilled in archery and gleefully tells Vale that she will shoot her just as easily as the targets in the Training Center. She is Obsidian and Vale's final opponent in the Games and successfully injures Vale before dying. Her body is controlled by the Gamemakers to shoot Vale dead.
  • 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 child after 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.
    • Later, Obsidian attempts suicide multiple times after he wins the Games and is left to deal with the subsequent trauma. He doesn't succeed.
  • 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.
  • Dye or Die:
    • Lavinia and Damon run away to District Twelve. Lavinia removes the disguise she has worn all those years, while Damon shaves, dyes his hair, and wears contact lenses.
    • Obsidian runs off to District Twelve and dyes his hair black to blend in.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Is Related: Blink and you'll miss it but the second chapter reveals that Vale is Hazelle's older sister, which means she would have been Gale's aunt had she survived.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Faking the Dead: After the events of the 44th Hunger Games, Obsidian fakes his death in a cave explosion and runs off to District Twelve.
  • False Friend: Phlox. See "Face Heel Turn" entry above.
  • Family Extermination: Downplayed. After Vale's rebellious speech in the Games, Snow ensures that each of her siblings are reaped at age sixteen. This lasts until Laurel is spared due to her friend taking her place. Since Hazelle is Gale's mother Snow likely stopped rigging the reaping to kill the rest of the children.
  • 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. The first chapter outright states that Vale is not going to survive.
    • Kit's suicide attempt is going to fail because of the force field around the tribute building.
  • Foreshadowing: Quite a bit of it, if you're looking for it, in regards to the final confrontation and how it all goes down. Amber tells Vale that she will shoot her dead just as easily as one of the targets in the Training Center. Amber's Gamemaker-controlled dead body does exactly that at the end of the Games.
  • 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 is a bubbly and cheerful woman who remains positive and upbeat throughout mentoring them.
  • Girly Bruiser: Amber is described as beautiful and likes wearing pretty dresses and jewelry during her interview and the set up to the Games. She is one of the most dangerous and skilled Careers and makes it to the final three along with Obsidian and Vale.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Happily Married: Lavinia and Damon eventually marry after Vale's Games.
  • 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.
  • Hope Spot:
    • During Averill's Hunger Games, he gets away from the Bloodbath, only to trip on a rock, crack his head open, and get stabbed before he can even try to get up.
    • When Laurel is fifteen, she fears that her name may be called, but it is not. The next year, it is, but her best friend quietly takes her place.
  • 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 contrarily 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 peaceful 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.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Vale and Kit make some laurel wreaths before they go to sleep, assuming they are safely hidden from the career tributes. Obsidian steals the flower crowns to indicate that he knows where they are hiding but doesn't intend to kill them.
  • 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 friend’s 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 has an attitude and often says a witty or snarky remark. Lavinia tells him to balance this sarcastic aspect with his innocent side during the interview to make him stand out to the crowd.
  • 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 you’re looking at them." (That may have been the moment when we realized that Vale was a Tsundere.)
  • Naïve Everygirl: Vale is not nearly as world-weary as Katniss and is often caught off-guard by how cruel reality can be. She struggles to keep from shaking during the parade and thinks she can at least hit a target with an arrow despite having never fired a bow before. At times she forgets that she is headed for the Games and that the tributes around her are her opponents.
  • 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: At twelve years old, Kit is not much of a fighter and stands no chance against the older trained combatants like the Careers. He makes up for it with a dry wit that verges on the edge of cynical. When Lavinia asks him about his "angle" for the interviews he snarkily responds with "What angle?" to her delight.
  • 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 and Obsidian/Vale (at least while both of them are alive).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Schmuck Bait: When the Capitol sets a trap for Obsidian, he can tell just how obvious it is. It doesn't stop him from falling for it anyway. Maybelle's necklace has gone missing, and the mines are closed for the day. As he retrieves the necklace, he finds a piece of obsidian, cementing his suspicions. Just before he can get out, an explosion kills 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.
  • 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.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Vale after her trip to the Remake Center.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The old victors in District One who play roulette because they feel they have nothing left to lose. Also, Obsidian, post-Games.
  • 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]— like, like-likes her."
  • Shrinking Violet: Vale is very shy and self-conscious, especially at the beginning of the story.
  • Sibling Team: Fen and Lark of District Five are two siblings who are reaped for the Games. They train and work together to survive.
  • 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.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Vale's rebellious speech doesn't seem to have any effect on the masses, but once President Snow finds Obsidian associating with her family, he orders Obsidian's assassination and reaps each of Vale's siblings when they are sixteen years old.
  • 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: Obsidian constantly watches Vale during training, which creeps her out. Vale does eventually 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.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Amber has amber eyes, of course.
  • 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 .
  • That Man Is Dead: Obsidian comes to accept his nickname, Sid. After he wins, he refuses to go by his real name. He eventually runs away to District Twelve and takes up the name Sidney Whitaker.
  • The Cynic: The pragmatic voice in Vale's head has a bitter view of the world and wants her to put her survival above things like morals and human decency to match everyone else in the Games. She tries to ignore it so that she can keep her promise to Laurel that the Games will not turn her into a killer like other victors. It urges her to abandon Kit when the Games start to save herself and wants her to tell Obsidian to kill himself, which he would willingly do, so that she will win the Hunger Games before she dies from her injuries. She refuses both times.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Vale has an idealistic side, which is often in contrast with "the pragmatic voice" in her mind.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Lavinia has been disguised as a Capitol native ever since she was ten. Vale and Kit find out when she takes off her makeup and lets her accent slip.
  • 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."

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