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During the opening ceremonies, Cinna and Portia dress Katniss and Peeta in flames and they draw much attention to themselves.

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Hunger Games (event)

During training, Katniss reveals her archery skills to the Gamemakers and scores an amazing 11 out of Peeta gets a lower score and asks to be coached separately. Peeta also announces in an interview that he has a mega crush on Katniss. Is this all just a strategy to gain audience support and sponsors? Katniss thinks so, but it works well for her too, so she plays along. All 24 of the tributes are transported to the arena to fight it out. Katniss is on her own at first, but then she discovers that Peeta has teamed up with the Career Tributes β€” the strong kids from the rich districts in Panem who actually want to go to the Hunger Games.

They eventually corner her in a tree, but she drops a tracker jacker nest on them that's like a genetically mutated killer wasp and scores a bow and arrow in the process. After this, Katniss teams up with Rue, a tiny girl from District 11 who reminds her of her sister Prim.

The two are able to take out the Career Tributes' food supply, which totally infuriates their leader, Cato. Also, Peeta doesn't appear to be teamed up with them anymore. Where is he? Unfortunately, Rue is killed around this time by one of the Career Tributes. Katniss honors her body by covering it in flowers.

After Rue's death, the announcer, wanting to bring back the romance story between Peeta and Katniss, changes the rules of the game: two people from a single district can now win. Before she can stop herself, Katniss calls out Peeta's name.

The Hunger Games (novel) - Wikipedia

Katniss goes hunting for Peeta and eventually finds him. He is wounded and camouflaged in the muddy bank of a stream. She nurses him back to health and realizes that by playing up the romance angle, they can get gifts from sponsors. Eventually, Katniss and Peeta must face off with Cato, the only other surviving tribute, but before that they are all pursued by wild dogs which are actually genetically mutated killing machines. Finally, Katniss shoots Cato and he falls into the pack. They've won, right? An announcer comes back on and says the rules have changed back: only one winner allowed.


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Katniss and Peeta can't kill each other, so they make a show of taking poisonous berries in an act of double suicide. When we enter the story, Panem is a powder keg and Katniss the spark. DL: A connection you made early on was with mythology, particularly the myth of Theseus.

Final Thoughts

How did that piece come to fit? The connection to the myth of Theseus happened immediately. As a young prince of Athens, he participated in a lottery that required seven girls and seven boys to be taken to Crete and thrown into a labyrinth to be destroyed by the Minotaur. In one version of the myth, this excessively cruel punishment resulted from the Athenians opposing Crete in a war.

You can see depictions of this in ancient sculpture and vase paintings. After I read that book, I could never go back to thinking of the labyrinth as simply a maze, except perhaps ethically. It will always be an arena to me. DL: But in this case, you dispensed with the Minotaur. Instead, the arena harkens more to gladiator vs. What influenced this construction? SC: A fascination with the gladiator movies of my childhood, particularly Spartacus.

Some novelists start with a character and then find a story through that character, but with The Hunger Games I believe you had the idea for the story first, and then Katniss stepped into it. Where did she come from? SC: Katniss appeared almost immediately after I had the idea, standing by the bed with that bow and arrow. I used archers very sparingly because they required light and the Underland has little natural illumination.

But a bow and arrow can be handmade, shot from a distance, and weaponized when the story transitions into warfare. She was a born archer.

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Her name came later, while I was researching survival training and specifically edible plants. In one of my books, I found the arrowhead plant, and the more I read about it, the more it seemed to reflect her. Its Latin name has the same roots as Sagittarius, the archer. The edible tuber roots she could gather, the arrowhead-shaped leaves were her defense, and the little white blossoms kept it in the tradition of flower names, like Rue and Primrose.

I looked at the list of alternative names for it. Swamp Potato. Duck Potato.

Katniss easily won the day. I thought the book would be in the third person like The Underland Chronicles. Her deep love for Prim. Those are the elements that seemed essential to me. With some stories, revealing that could be illuminating, but in the case of The Hunger Games, I think it would only be a distraction unless it was part of a new tale within the world of Panem. DL: When did Peeta and Gale come into the equation?

District 12's black market is called what?

SC: Peeta and Gale appeared quickly, less as two points on a love triangle, more as two perspectives in the just-war debate. Gale, because of his experiences and temperament, tends toward violent remedies. DL: Why is Peeta a baker?

It seemed in keeping with his character to be a baker, a life giver. Bread can contribute to life or death in The Hunger Games. DL: When it comes to larger world building, how much did you know about Panem before you started writing? I knew 12 would be coal and most of the others were set, but I had a few blanks that naturally filled in as the story evolved. When I was little we had that board game, Game of the States, where each state was identified by its exports.

And even today we associate different locations in the country with a product, with seafood or wine or tech. No district exists entirely by its designated trade.

DL: Where do you write? Are you a longhand writer or a laptop writer? Do you listen to music as you write, or go for the monastic, writerly silence? SC: I write best at home in a recliner.