Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / The Hunger Games

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    The books 
  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • Mockingjay had Johanna say this:
    Peeta and I had adjoining rooms. We know each others' screams very well.
    • "Give them a good show. That's all they want."
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The series has quite a few of these.
    • Was the anguish Cato expressed over Clove's death a Pet the Dog moment or was he just furious that he lost his last pawn?
    • Katniss: Determinator or Sociopathic Hero Villain Protagonist?
    • In the last book, was Katniss's approval for the Capitol Games a Batman Gambit to catch President Coin off guard or was she genuinely vengeful after Prim's death? Additionally, because the series takes place from Katniss' first-person POV, and her growing paranoia and suspicion increasingly make her an Unreliable Narrator, it's up for discussion which events were someone manipulating things behind the scenes and which were coincidences, and if Katniss' surmised reasons for the actions of those around her are the truth.
    • Does Katniss dislike Johanna because of Johanna's abrasive personality, or because Johanna is the only other competent female she has to work with in the Quarter Quell and Katniss feels threatened by her?
    • The Career Tributes in general: were they human sacrifices raised to die and thus the most tragic of casualties? All of our information on the motivations of the Career tributes comes from Katniss' very sheltered understanding. Furthermore, two of the three Districts immediately joined the rebellion (and the third was sitting right next to a literal mountain of peacekeepers). It's not hard to imagine a more sympathetic narrative for them: they train their children to survive in the games, and use volunteers to make sure that the children sent have the best chance of survival. Meanwhile, the non-Career Districts stand by and let 12-year-olds and the physically handicapped be marched to slaughter.note  It's true they may be brutal, but the alternative is just to wait the Games out, and Katniss acknowledged that if their food ran out the advantage flipped to the poorer districts.
      • To further complicate the issue, Katniss herself is Not So Different from the Careers as from the very start of the Games, she is fine with the idea of murdering others to survive and even has prior "training" in the form of poaching, which is highly illegal. Later on, she, Peeta, and Haymitch train like Careers for the Quarter Quell. If training for the Hunger Games is meant to be wrong, then it is not just the Careers who are at fault.
    • Foxface. Was her decision to never confront anyone directly born out of morality... Or out of pragmatism? She's often interpreted as a Nice Girl and a Badass Pacifist because she's never shown attacking another Tribute, but not always. She may have avoided the others because she knew she was that no match against them, but could have been perfectly okay with the idea of killing them (and simply never had an occasion to do it). Katniss at least believes that Foxface would kill her and Rue if approached for their alliance, but we are never shown anything to suggest (or disprove) this.
      • It's much easier to believe Foxface is a pacifist if one considers that upon an encounter with an unaware, lone Peeta, she stole his food instead of attacking him. In any case, Foxface clearly doesn't use violence in her strategy of avoiding others and looting their supplies, which possibly makes her one of the more moral tributes in the Games.
    • Foxface's death. Many people suspect it was no accident but a deliberate suicide. Since she knew she was no match for the remaining three tributes, she opts for the quickest, most painless way to go and did it in a way that her family at home wouldn't get in any trouble. The first movie throws more credence out there, showing Foxface whizzing through a plant identification test during the training scenes.
    • Peeta Mellark: Devoted star-crossed lover or Stalker with a Crush who uses the Games to invoke Stockholm Syndrome?
      • The movie unintentionally invokes the latter interpretation to some extent when Peeta tells Katniss that he used to watch her walk home everyday.
    • President Coin: Evil or a revolutionary leader doing what she felt she had to in order to keep a new prospective country stable?
      • Especially if you take Snow's words at face value or consider that he might be deluding Katniss. Especially since the key factor to her true face (the bombs) is something that not even the people who made them had an idea of).
      • The book itself seems to stress the Not So Different nature of Snow and Coin, showing that they're both equally evil but Snow is worse than Coin in certain areas while Coin is worse than Snow in other areas. And the Capitol Games proposition seems to reinforce that if Coin got her way, nothing would really change. It would be the exact same world but with the Capitol and Districts' positions reversed. Coin, while possibly having a good excuse for it, was ultimately very power-hungry.
      • Coin is only Not So Different if one takes the narrative at face value. Snow used the Hunger Games as an annual tradition to demonstrate the Capitol's power over the Districts whereas Coin only proposed a final Hunger Games in response to people calling for the deaths of the entire Capitol population; it is a false equivalence to say their motives for the Games are the same, notably since Coin's Hunger Games is a one-time event whereas Snow's Hunger Games are a permanent fixture. If one also goes with the aforementioned idea that Snow is an Unreliable Expositor who has nothing to lose by lying to Katniss, then the observation that Coin and Snow are similar to one another falls apart.
    • During the talk at the beginning of Catching Fire President Snow seems for a moment genuinely concerned about the implications of a new war for the (relatively) few remaining humans, and he did promise not to lie. Of course his concern could always be more about his own hold over said humans than their lives themselves, and Snow has been known to lie: just not when he makes a promise, in which he is always bound to his word.
      • This also goes for his final words to Katniss. Snow claims that he has standards and won't bomb his own citizens. Still, he has more of a motive for the parachute bombings as Coin gains very little from killing the Capitol civilians and her own medics because the rebels were already winning and she was guaranteed to be president after defeating the Capitol. Meanwhile, Snow has nothing to lose and is known for his deceit; in fact, Snow got into power by poisoning his political opponents while poisoning himself to avoid suspicion, and the parachute bombings fits his modus operandi.
    • Johanna: Flavours of Jerk with a Heart of Gold or Alpha Bitch? A good chunk of the narrative displays her negatively (in Catching Fire anyway), but many of her words and deeds suggest otherwise. At most, she's intentionally portrayed as a Broken Bird.
    • Gale: Tragic Unlucky Childhood Friend whose long friendship with Katniss entitled him to believe a romance was possible, or manipulative Dogged Nice Guy who had no right to be pissed about Katniss "only" being his best friend?
      • Gale's prejudice towards the more "privileged" members of District 12 can take a darker turn in the latter two books. He was interested in running away from the District with his and Katniss' families, but when Katniss suggested they bring Peeta along he immediately shuts down the idea entirely. Was this because he was now committed to the rebellion or was his Crazy Jealous Guy tendencies going overboard. Later in Mockingjay it's revealed that he led the survivors of District 12 to District 13. He made sure to rescue his and Katniss' families, but once again neither Peeta's nor Madge's families are among the survivors.
    • Madge: Did she rush through a snowstorm during a major Peacekeeper crackdown to bring Gale medicine just because she wanted to help someone in pain... or because, as Haymitch theorizes, she's in love with him?
      • There are those who theorize that Madge was in love with Katniss instead of Gale. Due to being Katniss' Only Friend and vice-versa, even though she could've been popular, she chose Katniss instead. The most convincing argument is Madge giving her mockingjay badge (an irreplaceable heirloom) to Katniss as well as kissing her on the cheek when saying goodbye. The hostility towards Gale can be easily interpreted as jealousy. Her showing up in a snowstorm at Katniss' door was maybe less for Gale and more because she knew how much Gale meant for Katniss.
    • Caesar Flickerman: Mouthpiece of the Capitol and closest thing to President Snow's Dragon? Or Stepford Smiler legitimately doing what he can to help the tributes gain sympathy?
      • There's nothing that really supports Caesar as a heroic character. Every moment of his kindness occurs when he is on television, which means almost nothing since his job is to make the Hunger Games more interesting for the Capitol audience while downplaying its cruelty. In addition, he does nothing remotely rebellious or rather anything that suggests that he isn't fine with the existence of the Hunger Games like his fellow Capitol employees, Cinna and Effie, do.
    • In the 74th Hunger Games, Seneca Crane's and the Gamemakers' decision to give Katniss an 11. Was it their way to reward her boldness? Or was it a way to punish her for shooting an arrow near them, by making her the prime target of the Careers?
    • During the feast at the Cornucopia, Thresh takes both his and Cato's backpacks before running off. Did he intend to lure Cato out, so he could kill him and therefore eliminate his most dangerous enemy, or was it a Heroic Sacrifice to distract Cato from chasing Katniss and give her a chance to get away?
  • Angst? What Angst?: In Mockingjay, Peeta shows a remarkable lack of grief over his dead family. It's justified at first since he's Brainwashed and Crazy for the first third of the book, but it's still a bit jarring that the Mellarks' deaths get brought up once and are never mentioned again. There is the implication that he didn't care as much about his parents' deaths since they were abusive towards him (his mother was at least), which muddies the water further.
  • Badass Decay: Invoked purposefully with Katniss in the third book. Once an ever-fighting tribute, now a trauma-stricken shell. But don't worry, she gets better at the end. Resulted in a bit of Angst Dissonance for at least a few fans.
  • Broken Base: Mockingjay pretty much splits the fanbase into three sections. The first loves the book because of how well it portrays the Real Life effects of war. The second partially dislikes the book because so many horrible, horrible things happen to Katniss and/or such and such character dies, but otherwise they're okay with it. The third dislikes the book because they perceive the quality of the writing as having decreased. Then there are those small fourth and fifth camps, the former loving the book as unconditionally as the first two but not picking up on the themes, and the latter disliking the book simply because they thought it was boring and they were annoyed with Katniss's psychological state.
  • Complete Monster: President Coriolanus Snow, as the overseer of the corrupt Capitol government that created and runs the child-murdering spectacle of the title, commits an insane number of atrocities all in the name of keeping his power. In the first book Snow tortures Seneca Crane because Katniss and Peeta, without his interference at all, figured out how to survive The Hunger Games together and beat the system. In the second book, Catching Fire, he has the Quarter Quell's rules changed to having two previous Hunger Games winners from each district to compete, simply out of spite. He has Katniss's friends tortured or murdered to break her confidence, even forcing her to watch Cinna's beating before the Quarter Quell. Katniss and Peeta got off lucky however as most other Hunger Games winners, Finnick Odair included, were forced by Snow to prostitute themselves out to other Capitol residents. In the final book Mockingjay, Snow firebombs Katniss's home in District 12 and later tries to frame President Coin. He authorizes the painful brainwashing of multiple citizens, one of whom, Peeta, has had his mental faculties destroyed for months, which will affect the way he processes events for life. Possibly his most heinous action occurs during the war between District 13 and the Capitol, where he offers innocent Capitol children shelter in his home only to use them as human shields to protect himself.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: It's a trilogy about a dystopia that forces kids to fight to the death for entertainment, so it's fairly understandable that the story would be quite difficult to get through for some readers. However, this trope really comes into play in Mockingjay, as it sees District 12 being flattened by bombs, killing most of the populace, Peeta being brainwashed to hate Katniss and only really snapping out of it near the end, a full-blown war breaking out with many casualties, Katniss being used as a pawn by the rebels with the eventual realization that the Rebel Leader is really not much better than President Snow and many fan-favourite characters getting killed off, including Prim, Katniss' sweet and innocent little sister who she had been trying to protect all along. Katniss herself is slipping in and out of a Heroic BSoD throughout the book due to her Trauma Conga Line and even appears to be close to losing her mind near the end, which the readers all get front-row seats to on account of her being the narrator. Although it ultimately ends on a largely positive note, the sheer amount of depressing content was a turn-off for some readers.
  • Designated Hero:
    • Katniss regards Caesar as a good person because he brings out the best in every tribute he interviews. However, given that Caesar is a Capitol employee, his kindness is very questionable, especially since Caesar's job is to make the Hunger Games more entertaining for the Capitol audience, which includes downplaying the Games' cruelty. Also, Caesar never shows any hint that he is unhappy with the Hunger Games, so his kindness makes him more of a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
    • If one believes Snow's words, then Plutarch is another one since Snow names him as the member of Coin's group who helped plan out the parachute bombings that killed multiple Capitol civilians and District 13 medics, yet Plutarch's possible involvement is ignored in the aftermath of Coin's death.
  • Designated Villain:
    • The Career Districts 1, 2, and 4. Despite being regarded as one of the Capitol's lapdogs and one of wealthier Districts, District 4 was one of the first three Districts to start rebelling in Catching Firenote . Of the three Career ones, District 2 was the last to join the rebellion and has the most loyalists within its population, but this is also due to the greater Capitol presence in said District and even then District 2 has its own share of rebels, some of whom are former Hunger Games tributes.
    • The Career pack in the Quarter Quell are this. Two of their members allied with the rest of the tributes in rebelling against the Capitol during the interview phase, yet Katniss and Finnick attack them at the very start of the Quarter Quell when they all were unarmed. Given Katniss and Finnick's actions, it's no wonder the Career pack try to ambush them later.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The Games are hateful, deplorable, they ruin their victors psychologically, and the series as a whole is viciously antiwar … but a major part of the story's appeal is the actual excitement of the Hunger Games sequences… For both the Capitol and the readers!
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Many of the Career tributes are subject to this interpretation in the fandom. Cato is especially noticeable. Of course, it doesn't help that even the nastiest of them are tragic monsters.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Cinna, Finnick and Rue. Especially Rue. She only appears in one book, but she's impossibly beloved by fans. Some fan-circles seem to adore her more than they do Primrose Everdeen.
    • Foxface is a notable example; she only appears for a few scenes in the first book, doesn't get any lines and doesn't even get her real name revealed, yet fans love her for how cunning she is and because she's more identifiable than a sword badass/archery badass/knife badass/rock badass etc.
    • Thresh is pretty popular as well. Him killing Clove with Laser-Guided Karma helps.
    • The Careers - Clove, Cato, and Glimmer (and sometimes Marvel). The ships of Cato/Clove, Clove/Katniss, Clove/Glimmer, Cato/Glimmer and Glimmer/Seneca Crane further prove this - in some places, they're more popular than the Katniss/Peeta/Gale OT3!
    • Johanna, for those who find her... preferable to Katniss. Her popularity has skyrocketed since the movie came out, due to how her rant during the interview and the elevator scene has made her "the best thing about the film"
    • Haymitch and Seneca Crane (the latter helped along by his Badass Beard in the movie).
    • Madge Undersee, the nice daughter of the mayor of District 12 with whom Katniss has an Interclass Friendship. Also the one who gives her the Mockingjay pin, which ends up giving Katniss her nickname in the revolution. Many were disappointed that she was Adapted Out in the movies.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception:
    • You should spell the name of The Boy with The Bread as P-E-E-T-A, no deviations allowed.
    • If you value your skin, do not say Hunger Games is a ripoff of Battle Royale.
    • And for the love of god, do not dismiss it as "Twilight with bows", given that the only thing they have in common is a Love Triangle between two boys and a girl.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • There were seventy-three years of Hunger Games, with 57 Victors of these games alive, before the start of the series. That's a lot of scope for fanfic writing.
    • The story proper ends with Katniss and Peeta beginning a romantic relationship - literally on the night when they first have sex and Katniss says she loves him. The epilogue picks up fifteen years later, at which point they have two small children. Ample room for fanfic writers to fill in the gaps of what happened in-between. Stories focused on what happened right after Katniss said the word "real", or the day following, is practically its own sub-genre.
  • Fanon:
    • In Catching Fire, right before watching the tape of Haymitch's victory (also the 2nd Quarter Quell), Katniss asks Peeta if they also have a tape of the First Quarter Quell, which has led many readers to assume the only other (now deceased) victor from District 12 won the First Quarter Quell, which is not impossible but would be a pretty big coincidence.
    • The fandom, or at least the fanfiction writing portion thereof, has almost universally agreed that one of Peeta's brothers (usually the younger one) is named Rye. The name Graham for Peeta's father has become increasingly popular too. It seems to have been jossed some time ago as Suzanne Collins has reportedly said that Katniss and Peeta named their daughter Willow and their son Rye - after his grandfather, though that doesn't mean Peeta can't have a brother named Rye as well, but fandom does not care.
    • Katniss and Peeta getting married is never mentioned in the books. The movie actually suggests that they don't marry, since their children are credited as having their mother's surname, meaning that Katniss either never married Peeta or she didn't take his name. In any event the fandom pretty much universally agrees that they are husband and wife by the time of the epilogue. Though some Take a Third Option and suggest they had a toasting ceremony but never a legal one.
  • First Installment Wins: The series is called "The Hunger Games" trilogy for a reason, aside from the fact that said games are the focal point of the entire series.
  • Foe Yay
    • Cato/Katniss seems to have a fair amount of popularity.
    • There is quite a bit of subtext between Katniss and Johanna, if one looks at it the right way. Katniss' narration detailing on Johanna stripping in the elevator and oiling herself up for a match in the training arena, for example.
  • Follow the Leader:
  • Fountain of Memes: Peeta. The most popular are pointing out that he was on fire too, bread puns due to his family being bakers, and Advice Peeta..
  • Friendly Fandoms: The Hunger Games fans tend to get on pretty well with Harry Potter fans, possibly because they're both children's/young adult novels which also deal with more mature themes and appeal to adults, have decent film adaptations and have heroines who are seen as proactive, well-rounded characters. Another reason is possibly that they're united in their shared rivalry with Twilight.
    • That said, there is a little friendliness with Twilight due to Stephenie Meyer being a fan of the Hunger Games, which helped bring some Twilight fans into the fold.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the first book, Katniss temporarily becomes deaf in one ear due to an explosion. During the filming of an underwater scene in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, her actress Jennifer Lawrence punctured her eardrum and couldn't hear out of one ear for months.
    • In late 2016, a Russian reality show (Game2: Winter) with the a similar premise and a few of the same features as the Hunger Games was announced, with murder and rape permitted.note 
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The Establishing Character Moment (omitted from the film) that has an incredibly drunk Haymitch making a very public pass at Effie, to which she responds with characteristic cool disdain, basically kills any potential Ship Tease between the two. This is funnier to re-read it after you've seen the Mockingjay movies, in which they get Promoted to Love Interest for one another. Their final scene together in the last film, where they kiss goodbye and express the hope that they'll see one another again soon, is about as far from that No Yay first scene together in the books as it's possible to get.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: While Everlark is the most commonly used name for Peeta/Katniss, some fans prefer calling them "toast". She's the girl on fire, he's the boy with the bread, and the District 12 wedding ritual involves toasting bread.
  • Idiot Plot: Has its own page.
  • Informed Wrongness: The Career Districts are often depicted in the wrong for training their tributes for the Hunger Games; however, given that the non-Career Districts are fine with sending tributes, who may be as young as twelve or even have physical handicaps, go into the Hunger Games unprepared, it's hard to fault the Career Districts for training their tributes, especially when their volunteer system helps their people earn more tesserae without any further risk and potentially grants them further benefits if their tributes wins the Games.
  • Iron Woobie: Peeta is arguably the biggest Woobie in the series. Starting from the beginning; He comes from a abusive home. Once selected from the game, his brother doesn't offer to go in his place like Katniss did for Prim. His own mother told him to his face that Katniss had a better chance for survival than he does. Once in the game, Haymitch puts all effort for sponsorship for Katniss as he also considered her the more likely of the two to survive. Peeta loses a leg protecting Katniss. He accidentally walks into a forcefield and nearly dies. He's left behind in the Quarter Quells and gets captured and tortured by the Capitol. His family dies during the bombing of District 12. He's made Brainwashed and Crazy, and even when rescued by District 13, he's used a tool by President Coin in order to get Katniss killed. Despite all of this, Peeta more or less takes it in stride and refuses to let it break him.
  • Les Yay:
    • There is some subtext between Madge and Katniss. Think about it, she is hostile against Gale in her introduction in the first book, only to turn to Katniss and wish her good luck as if nothing happened. And in her first scene in the second book, the first thing she says is telling Katniss how beautiful she looks.
    • Johanna and Katniss, too, especially in Catching Fire, especially Johanna oiling up in front of her and Katniss's dramatic reaction to seeing her undress (admittedly in a public elevator, but still).
  • Magnificent Bastard: Plutarch Havensbee is a commander of the Second Rebellion who infiltrated the Capitol and climbed through the ranks to become Gamemaker for the 75th Hungers Games and President Cornelius Snow's right-hand man. Plutarch would pitch his idea to have previous winners compete again to Snow, where Plutarch would orchestrate their escape and recruit them to his rebellion. Plutarch also persuaded Snow to commit more crimes at a faster rate while Plutarch created propaganda against Snow to unite all the districts against the tyrant. After successfully invading the Capitol and arresting Snow, Plutarch gives Katniss Everdeen subtle hints that Alma Coin was behind the bombing that killed her sister Prim, leading to Katniss killing Coin. After defending Katniss for Coin's murder and with both Snow and Coin dead, Plutarch is given the power to chose the next president, with Plutarch making sure that whoever he picks will rule the recently liberated-Panem the way Plutarch sees fit.
  • Memetic Badass
    • Thresh. Inevitable for a guy who spent half the time he appeared crushing heavily armed people with nothing but a rock.
    • Katniss herself naturally gets some of this treatment.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • A strategy board game was made, which successfully takes the event Collins has spent three books showing as horrible, life destroying, and a sign of just how evil humanity can be, and makes it a fun game for 2-6 players. Some fans are ecstatic.
    • Many fans, like the Capitol crowd, were completely star-struck by the love triangles, intense action sequences and pretty costumes, to the point where wanting to be a tribute became the new "wanting to attend Hogwarts". (Though this exists, of course.) The final book didn't go over too well with these people.
    • A lot of fanfiction involves sending OCs to the Hunger Games, and it's treated like a fun game rather than a dehumanizing death-match. Oddly, few of them ever get the real violence; they usually just hang around making OC's, reaping, and maybe chariots/interview scenes. Then they realise they're going to have to start killing these characters they've created off and lose their nerve.
    • There are people who see Katniss as a role model. For her character and survival skills, maybe. But for her actions? Katniss is pretty clear that she does not want people in-universe looking up to her or imitating her for that.
    • People who are in it for the Love Triangle. By the third book, Katniss is completely exasperated that everyone is so interested in her love life when there's bigger things at stake. This may also be a Take That! at the Publisher, who insisted that Gale be made into a Love Interest instead of Katniss' cousin like he was originally envisioned.
    • Several Hunger Games fan films exist on YouTube, with people in the comments wanting more to be made.
  • Moe:
    • Prim. Especially when she was younger. Though she grew out of it as the series progresses.
    • Rue even more so. This makes her death especially painful.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • President Coin when she kills Prim and the Capitol children. Don't believe Snow's words? Well, either way, she crosses it as she tries to set up another Hunger Game.
    • In-universe, Snow crosses it when he reaps the victors for the Quarter Quell. That's what finally starts unrest going in the Capitol itself and causes several prominent Capitol citizens to do a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Clove taunting Katniss about Rue's death before trying to slowly cut her to death.
    • The Gamemakers of the 74th Hunger Games making Katniss and Peeta can both survive the Games, then yanking it away from them, only relenting after the two seemingly attempt to Take a Third Option of being Together in Death.
  • Narm: Has its own page.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • While people point to similarities with Battle Royale, the concept of a government-run competition in a dystopian future in which the participants are killed for the spectatorship of others has existed as far back as Stephen King's The Long Walk and The Running Man. (King himself pointed this out in his positive review of the first book.) And even further back than that if we include the Real Life gladiatorial fights in Rome.
    • In a similar vein, the series is sometimes accused of ripping off Twilight, solely on the basis of having a Love Triangle. Love triangles in literature predate Twilight by millennia, the Ur-Example being Helen, Paris, and Menelaus in Classical Mythology.
    • The series' famous three-fingered hand-sign is the same as the hand-sign used by Scouting youth groups across the world. Which is kind of ironic, given how the Scouts try to each moral values through wilderness expedition while the Hunger Games similarly sends kids out into the wilderness though with the goal of killing each other.
  • Periphery Demographic: See What Do You Mean, It's for Kids? below.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: One of the running jokes in the Fandom is that the name for Katniss/Peeta would be either Katpee or Peeniss, which is why fans tend use their last names instead, resulting in the more tasteful "Everlark."
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: A common complaint about the series is the emphasis on the Love Triangle among Katniss, Gale, and Peeta. The romantic subplot very often overshadows the more important plots, such as the cruelty of the Hunger Games, the beginnings of the Second Rebellion, or the discovery that District 13 wasn't actually obliterated. It gets to the point that Gale and Peeta are more concerned about Katniss's romantic choice between the two of them rather than about the war against the Capitol.
  • Rooting for the Empire: The fandom has no shortage of fans who prefer the Career tributes to Katniss and Peeta, finding them equally sympathetic (or even moreso), considering that they have been brainwashed and bred since birth to kill other kids in a horrific child murder reality show.
  • Sequelitis: Affects the latter two books in the trilogy. Catching Fire is often regarded as a repeat of the first book on some level, and the book's emphasis on the Love Triangle among Katniss, Gale, and Peeta doesn't help. Mockingjay suffers from this to a greater degree; not only does it still focus on the romance at the expense of the more important war story, it also has pacing problems with the protagonists not engaging in the actual war until the third act and with an ending that seems rushed to many.
  • Ship Mates: Katniss/Peeta and Gale/Madge or, after Madge's death, Gale/Johanna.
  • Squick:
    • The description of Glimmer's death by tracker jacker wasp venom in Book 1.
    • Cato's final hours before being put out of his misery, being mostly eaten by muttations.
    • The idea that some of the tributes used sexual appeal to gain sponsors is disturbing once you remember that they're all teenagers about to fight to the death for entertainment. Taken Up to Eleven with Finnick, who reveals that after his victory, he was used as an unwilling sex slave to Capitol people (most likely including men and women).
    • It's completely canon that some tributes are presented during the chariot portion of the games completely nude, presumably for the sexual gratification of the viewers. These are all kids between the ages of twelve and eighteen.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Gale's plan for utilizing avalanches to kill the soldiers in the Nut is labeled "evil" by the other characters, but given that District 2 is in a war against the Capitol, killing enemy soldiers with avalanches is not any less ethical than killing them with bullets and explosives. The only part of Gale's plan that was morally ambiguous was his denial of giving the Capitol soldiers and loyalists an option to surrender.
    • Coin's plan for a final Hunger Games with the Capitol's children was a compromise that would satisfy the Districts' hunger for revenge while killing off the least number of lives possible. Nevertheless, this is regarded by the narrative as Coin crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: Certain people dismiss the whole trilogy as "an American rip-off of Battle Royale", despite the fact that the worldbuilding and plots of the two works, beyond the basic concept of "forced Gladiator Games with teenagers", are completely different and that Gladiator Games has a whole trope page of its own.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Katniss's relationship with her sister is never really explored, when it was supposed to be the driving force in the first book.
    • In Catching Fire, the opportunity was wasted for Katniss to be a mentor and show us what things are like for the other victims of the games. Failing that, the opportunity was wasted for Katniss and Haymitch to go in together and give us a different flavour to the games/alliance thing, instead of rehashing the first game's plot of having Katniss protect Peeta and vice versa.
    • The first book puts Katniss in a battle to the death with 23 other randomly-chosen people, painting the decision to kill or be killed as an enormous moral quandary, but coincidences and Laser-Guided Karma ensure that she can win the whole thing without hurting anyone who isn't actively trying to kill her at that exact moment.
    • Some fans feel Katniss volunteering as tribute did this, and that Peeta protecting Prim in order to re-unite the sisters would have made for a much better story.
    • Several fans expressed interest in seeing the proposed 76th Hunger Games, consisting entirely of Capitol children, actually play out and were disappointed that they never eventuated due to Coin's death.
  • Too Cool to Live: Finnick, Thresh, Mags, and Foxface.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Gale in Mockingjay. While his anger at the Capitol is understandable, and he's not wrong to point out that innocent people will need to die to bring it down, it gets hard to sympathize with him when he seems so totally unconcerned with the massive civilian casualties his plans are likely to cause. It was especially jarring because he seemed to dismiss Katniss' own experiences, even though she was the one who took part in the Games twice.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Haymitch groping Effie during the reaping is Played for Laughs at the expense of Effie. Nowadays, most readers would regard Haymitch's actions as sexual harassment and would consequently find the scene a lot less humorous.
    • Likewise, Chaff kissing Katniss on the lips without her consent would be a lot more controversial today, particularly when considering the age difference between Chaff and Katniss. Worse is that Katniss is clearly uncomfortable with Chaff's kiss, yet the other characters view it as nothing more than a small joke on Chaff's part.
  • What an Idiot!: Has its own page.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The age recommendation for these books - 11, 12, 13 - is surprising to some parents, reviewers, and even older teen readers. Maybe it's the inclusion of decapitation, suicide, torture, mutilation, child prostitution, death by fire or venom, being buried alive, and other psychologically and emotionally disturbing content that raises their eyebrows.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?: The books are told in the first-person by a sixteen/seventeen year-old girl. Casting Carolyn McCormick, who is in her fifties and most definitely sounds her age, to read the audio books makes for a very jarring experience.
  • The Woobie:
    • Virtually anyone, with special mention going to non-career Victors.
    • Of course, even some of the Careers get shades of woobieness, most notably Finnick.
    • Katniss herself. She's lived her life in dire poverty, her father's dead, she's forced twice into an arena where the only way she can survive is to become a murderer, she's forced to be in love with someone she barely knows, whose memories were then twisted to hate her, she's caught up in a war between Evil vs. Evil which keeps on getting everyone she cares about killed and tortured, and the leader of the side she's on is trying to get her killed, and she knows it.
    • Peeta was tortured viciously for six weeks with tracker jacker venom, until most of his happy memories were twisted into terrifying ones, and he couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't.
    • Finnick was forced into prostitution at fourteen, on pain of the deaths of his loved ones, and spent nearly two-thirds of the last book so worried about Annie that he could barely function.
    • Pollux, though a minor character, still managed to be a woobie, what with his being an Avox who spent five years doing forced labor underground, during which he didn't see the sun once. Then his brother Castor gets killed.
    • Jerkass Woobie: Haymitch. He spends most of his time getting drunk and generally acting like a cynical Jerkass, but once you learn about the hell he went through at the hands of the Capitol, you really can't blame him.
    • Johanna Mason also qualifies as a Jerkass Woobie. She's a rude, self-centered and easily provoked individual and also one of the few non-Career victors who seems to enjoy killing. On the other hand she's been through a lot, she was pressured into becoming a prostitute by the Capitol, but when she declined, they "taught her a lesson" by executing her family members.

    The movies 
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The film seems to present the possibility that Foxface purposefully killed herself with Peeta's nightlock berries. During the training montage, a scene of her matching and identifying plants from memory is shown, indicating that perhaps she knew all along what she was doing, and didn't actually make a fatal mistake. Since she was weak and starving anyway, and knew she couldn't match the other remaining four tributes, she opted for a quick, painless way out instead, and covered it up as an accident so that her family back home didn't get in any trouble. This goes all the way into Heroic Sacrifice — in eating the Nightlock berries before Peeta does she stops him from accidentally poisoning himself and Katniss. Whether this is intentional is anyone's guess but quite posssible.
    • Alternate theories have cropped up over Effie's sigh of relief when she pulls Haymitch's name from the Reaping ball in Catching Fire — was she relieved because she thought that now Peeta, at least, was safe... or because she figured all along that Peeta would volunteer to go in with Katniss and, therefore, she knew Haymitch was safe?
    • Mrs. Everdeen in Mockingjay Part 2: A former broken bird who finally fought through the loss of her husband and younger daughter to restart her life training new healers, or a current broken bird who abandons her daughter - her last living relative, a psychologically and physically damaged teenage girl who had to pick up the slack when Mr. Everdeen died - and leaves her to fend for herself.
  • Award Snub:
    • The MTV Movie Awards came under fire for excluding Katniss from their Best Hero nominations, which happened to be entirely made up of male characters. This was especially bad due to the inclusion of John Cale, Channing Tatum's character from "White House Down," as the character wasn't very recognizable as opposed to the actor himself.
    • At the 2013 Kids' Choice Awards, Jennifer Lawrence lost two awards to Kristen Stewart. As popular as Stewart was from Twilight, most people agreed Lawrence would be taking home the two awards. She has won every Kids' Choice Awards nomination since.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Arcade Fire's "Abraham's Daughter," which plays during the credits, perfectly captures the emotional frame of the whole movie. With symbolic lyrics to boot.
    • Heck, pretty much all of the companion CD would count. T-Bone Burnett, the producer (previously of O Brother, Where Art Thou? fame) was careful to follow along with District 12's Appalachian music roots and included a lot of lesser-known but extremely talented artists. Doing It for the Art!note 
    • Taylor Swift's song "Safe & Sound," released late 2011, was mutually helpful, turning many people into fans of her and introducing many teenagers to the series through music. Her song "Eyes Open," while a little more rocking, has fitting lyrics for Katniss.
    • James Newton Howard's score is also effective, and not only because of its incorporation of "Abraham's Daughter."
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Peeta. He's either a genuine All-Loving Hero who deserved Katniss' affection or he's just The Load for her and she could've done better with Gale. Him being an Adaptational Wimp and somewhat Wangsty doesn't help.
    • Gale as well. Some prefer him over Peeta, since he's more attractive and badass (being played by Liam Hemsworth certainly helps), others call those same fans out, since he's a Blood Knight whose actions might have cost Prim's life, as well as the lifes of hundreds of Capitol children.
  • Catharsis Factor: The only antagonist who doesn't get Alas, Poor Villain in some way is Clove purely because she's just that loathsome. She gets beaten to death by Thresh after taunting Katniss about Rue's death. She calls for Cato's help but he never shows, making it both a Karmic Death and Break the Haughty at the same time. There were reports of cheering in the cinemas when she was killed off.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: A few background characters who were largely overlooked in the books have received a lot more attention from the fans thanks to the film:
    • Seneca Crane, almost entirely because of his beard.
    • Effie, mainly due to the Memetic Mutation.
    • Caesar Flickerman, due to a wonderfully flamboyant portrayal by Stanley Tucci. And because of his awesome theme music.
    • Very soon after the movie was released, Google was bombarded by searches for Isabelle Fuhrman, the actress who played Clove. Despite being mostly a One-Scene Wonder, Fuhrmann has been widely praised for her ferocious portrayal of the character, some even calling her superior to how they imagined Clove in the books.
    • Foxface, who makes no alliances and is shown to be quick and clever and apparently without a mean streak.
  • Fan Preferred Pairing:
    • Cato/Clove, as opposed to Cato/Glimmer.
    • More than one person came out of the movie shipping Seneca/Haymitch.
    • Along with Effie/Haymitch. It helps when Elizabeth Banks (Effie) ships it just about as hard as the fans.
  • Fanon: Foxface's real name being "Finch" due to being called by that name in the Brazilian and Italian dubs.
  • Fight Scene Failure: When Cato snaps the younger tribute's neck. You can't expect minors to pull that off convincingly, but they are minors acting and adding a crunching sound effect would have certainly pushed the films rating up from PG-13.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: District 11's three-finger salute, which Katniss raises in solidarity with them and turns into a symbol of rebellion, was used in real life by people in Thailand protesting the 2014 coup, enough that the military (which was very much aware of its origin) made it illegal.
  • Girl-Show Ghetto: Averted with a vengeance. The Hunger Games have gone on to become one of the highest grossing films with a female Lead, and one the highest grossing films in North America period.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Some don't believe Thresh truly died because it wasn't seen, and others believe Foxface was just so smart that she was able to convincingly fake her own death. This should be impossible given that the Tributes have trackers implanted into them just before the games, but hey, people love to argue...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misaimed Marketing:
    • Given it was 2012's first smash hit, it received merchandising. Given it's based around teenagers killing each other in a Crapsack World, it's mostly nonsense.
    • Throughout the books (but especially the first), the Capitol uses violence as entertainment, and then draws attention to the (faked) romance to entice viewers further. Guess how the movies are marketed.
    • Not to mention Covergirl releasing a line of Capitol-inspired makeup. Y'know, the people whose fashions are either incredibly gaudy or nightmarish? They even has Effie Trinket as the covergirl. Wait a second...
    • This receives a biting Take That! in Catching Fire, when a young girl tells Katniss that she's going to volunteer just like her when she's old enough. The expression on Katniss' face is one of silent horror.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • Thanks to Katniss's Mushroom Samba, we only see glimpses of post-Tracker Jacker Glimmer, but they're more than bad enough. The fact that Glimmer Dies Wide Shut doesn't help.
    • The film's depiction is actually toned down considerably from the book's description, which involved disintegrating skin and Katniss grabbing ahold of the bones of Glimmer's ribcage to roll the body over to get to the quiver of arrows.
    • Not so much for folks who might have motion sickness if they're watching the first movie. The Shaky Cam does not help matter (and this movie was also an IMAX release, woe to anyone who was watching that with that condition).
  • Periphery Demographic: Unlike Twilight, The Hunger Games films have attracted male audiences like Harry Potter. While the crowd is still more female, many guys show up for the action, the captivating plot, and Jennifer Lawrence. Both the original and Catching Fire ended up grossing more domestically than any of the Twilight and Potter movies ever did to boot.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble:
    • Due to it being a film rather than in first-person narration like the book, some people don't get a good sense of how and why Katniss is faking her feelings for Peeta, and interpret it as a more typical romance under fire. However, the movie does give some strong indications (Haymitch pointing out how the "star-crossed lovers" thing is useful; Haymitch's note with the soup saying "You call that a kiss?", indicating Katniss has to play up the romance to get popularity and sponsors). And at the end Peeta acknowledges it was artificial, though he wants to have something real. The real difference from the book is that in the movie it seems more like Peeta's aware all along that Katniss is faking for the cameras, whereas in the books he thought her feelings were genuine and was very hurt to learn otherwise after the Games.

      This gets better in Catching Fire, with the circumstances making it much easier to make clear that they're playing up the relationship for the cameras.
    • Also, it's very hard to build Gale as a proper alternative when he gets almost no time with Katniss, or indeed, in the film. Again, in Catching Fire, this does get better.
  • Special Effect Failure: Most people agreed that Katniss's flaming dresses were... underwhelming, especially considering that the audience, knowing it's CGI, experiences none of the awe of the Capitol citizens watching someone burst into flames right in front of them. It doesn't help that it becomes an Overly Long Gag.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Many people weren't happy that District Four wasn't one of the Career Districts as it was in the books. Fans also complained that the District Four female was killed in the initial bloodbath rather than by the tracker jackers (like Glimmer was).
    • Fans also didn't like how Thresh was killed by the wolf mutts instead of by Cato.
    • The Mockingjay badge being an item Katniss bought instead of being a gift from Madge doesn't make any sense, since it removes the narrative significance of it and there's the Fridge Logic of Katniss being able to afford a badge made from solid gold.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-universe, Tigris has had a few too many surgeries.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The premise sounds like it's not for kids, but the books the film is based on are classified as Young Adult fiction, and the movie's rating and level of violence are toned down in keeping with that ( the scene where Rue is killed is much more graphic in the books).
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: In a way. It clearly does make political points and several issues are discussed, including socio-economic inequality, media manipulation, government corruption and incompetence, and Bread and Circuses style politics. However, much like Firefly, both sides of the American political spectrum have loudly declared that the Capitol represents the other party and Katniss represents themselves the minute the movie came out. Although they do parody American pop culture and especially reality TV, the books and movie are much more about marketing, imperialism, and one culture dominating another than any one nation's domestic politics.
    • In a way, attempting to claim that anyone in America could represent Katniss after America's long history of imperialism (especially in Latin America) is almost comically missing the point.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?:
    • Katniss, while her race is never clarified, is described as resembling today's Native Americans, with long black hair tied in a braid, a small stature, olive skin, and grey eyes. Jennifer Lawrence did a good job, but her skin definitely isn't olive and her hair is neither straight nor black. It would be one thing if just the hair was different, but it's like they didn't even try to find someone who matched the description in the book.note 
    • A lot of fans complain about the casting of Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, due to him being short, brown-eyed and (apparently) not attractive enough. Made fun of by Honest Trailers when they wonder why they didn't cast Liam Hemsworth as Peeta instead if they wanted audiences to root for Katniss/Peeta over Katniss/Gale. This went away with the sequels - where Josh Hutcherson was able to get more to work with.
    • As of the films' end, Liam Hemsworth is the least favourite casting choice - due to some feeling his performance was far too wooden.
    • People thought this happened to Rue. There was a case of backlash where people complained about her being portrayed by a black actress despite being dark-skinned in the books. Many of them said that they'd seen 'dark skin' and just pictured her as tan, or completely ignored the description thinking she was white like Prim, and then did not want to change their minds on the girl that they'd pictured.
      • Similarly to Rue, Thresh’s casting announcement also got backlash for getting a dark-skinned actor play a definitively described dark-skinned character.
    • People were livid when Buttercup appeared in the first film as a black and white cat despite being distinctly described as a yellow/orange (he was even named for his color). It's hard to argue "Ability over Appearance" for a cat. It got so bad that Suzanne Collins herself demanded that Buttercup be recasted, and the original cat was eschewed for a far more fitting orange cat in the future films.
    • Haymitch is described as being black-haired and having a notable gut due to being an alcoholic. They casted Woody Harrelson, who is blonde and slender. However, many have praised his performance, arguing that Ability over Appearance is in play.
  • The Woobie: Both Rue and Primrose, who are both killed by the enemy at such painfully young ages.
Advertisement:

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report