We are a Part of the Games

Photo by @wenonsaturn on Pinterest

Hunger Games mania is BACK! The beloved series and genre of YA Dystopia have had a re-launching on social media over the last month, due to Netflix users being able to rewatch the series for a limited time. This is all promotional marketing for the new movie in November, “Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes,” a prequel by Suzanne Collins discussing President Snow’s early days in Panem. But how does this movie that we’ve grown up with affect us today?

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Why does dystopia matter?

Dystopian literature was so popular during the 2010s, but what exactly is it? According to Miami Dade College, “A dystopia is a hypothetical or imaginary society, often found in science fiction and fantasy literature.” It has changed over the years, but dystopia allows us to discuss the potential realities of our ever changing world.

Suzanne Collins created the “Hunger Games” through her experience as a military brat and our society today. After flipping through channels watching a news anchor discuss the Iraq War and then watching reality TV, she realized that mass death and our perception of reality had been warped.

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“Remember who the enemy is.”

Whether you watched the movie 10 years ago or yesterday, the themes in the series are strong. People missed out on them, however, due to the love triangle of it all… I’m looking at you Gale and Peeta Stans (Tiktoker Spidermanhoodie discusses this). Even with the love triangle though, this series does a great job showcasing that war should not be in mind unless it is necessary for an end goal.

But some people still do not understand the entire plot and just enjoy the characters and actions of the “games.” Tiktoker and Sexplorer, Nia Òla, discusses this on their page and why this series was made by Collins in the first place. As humans, we would rather see the spectacle of violence portrayed on the big screen and in our homes until it actively affects us.

People forget that the basic premise of this story is centered around children and by the end of the series, Katniss is only 17 years old after finishing becoming the catalyst of the revolution.

In the actual story, Katniss is also described as darker skinned and there have been many discussions on casting within this film and “The Hunger Games” as a whole (Yhara Zayd on Youtube has a great video analysis on this). Katniss in her journey as a woman in this story is about sacrifice and what parts we play in society to make a difference. In every step she took, she always had someone in the back of her mind who she was taking care of.

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“Nobody Decent Ever Wins The Games.”

These elements of the story and the way that our society digested them are important. “The Hunger Games” was the jumping point for YA dystopia to do well as a genre. Books like the “Uglies,” “Divergent” and “Maze Runner” to name a few. But none of them truly lived up to the hype that this series created for teens. Sadly this is due to great storytelling and the notion that in anything capitalism can be critiqued and used for its own advantage.

Another fact is that “The Hunger Games” was also marketed very well from Subway cups to a museum dedicated to the making of the films. This is contrary to the point Collins discussed in her film of showcasing why capitalism is wrong.

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“The Hanging Tree”

“Are you, Are you coming to the tree”… those words ring in people’s minds when they think about both Mockingjays and “Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.” This song is important to the series as it expands the origins of the story and relates to Katniss on her journey of selflessness. Collins in her series drives home the point that without community, revolution is not possible. This song and its history describe this notion and are a letter to the people of District 12 and its readers.

Lucky Leftie, the star of Hungergamestok, dives deep into Hunger Games lore and the themes that play out throughout the series. Leftie shared her thoughts on the song and its history for viewers piecing together elements only book readers might understand.

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All media teaches us life lessons we might not understand now but are important to our future. Collins does a great job exposing the world of revolutionary thinking from a young age. If you ask any Gen Z/millennial they might tell you their favorite couple or character, but they also learned how oppression can manifest in today’s world.

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