Firstly, I want to re-cap/talk about the book. In preparation for the premier, I re-read Catching Fire the day of. When I first read the trilogy, this was my absolute, hands-down favorite. (I actually haven’t read Hunger Games more than once. I’ve started it a few times, but haven’t completely read it more than the initial first time.) I cried through the entire book, and it was where I fell in love with Peeta. During HG, I was strictly Team Gale, because he was a much more masculine, un-emotional basket case character than Peeta. But, because Peeta IS all of those things, he and I are exactly alike. In HG, Peeta is very much a lost puppy when it comes to Katniss. In Catching Fire, the way he acts is so close to my heart. While it kills him to keep up this act knowing Katniss doesn’t feel the way he does, he goes with it. It’s better to be able to act in love with her for a little while than never, I guess.
The first time reading it, I wrote about it. I’m just copying and pasting now:
Like Haymitch told her, “You could live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve [Peeta].” It’s so true. He’s too good for her. He loves her. “If you die, and I live, there’s no life left for me at all back at District 12. You’re my whole life…I would never be happy again…It’s different for you. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be hard. But there are other people who’d make your life worth living.” He means Gale, mostly. He’s basically telling her he would die for her so she can go back to her mother, sister, and Gale. But he will die loving her. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had come down to the two of them if he would kill himself just so she could be the Victor. The entire time reading, I cried. I cried because I wanted to love Peeta as much as Katniss should, but I can’t. Because Peeta is me.
Gale doesn’t deserve Katniss. She doesn’t deserve him. They’re relationship is weird. At first they were like brother and sister, but deeper than just that. Like it was obvious they would someday end up marrying, but they hadn’t grown past their need to protect each other and their families. Gale didn’t seem to show any real romantic interest until Katniss returned from the Games. As a romantic, I hated that. At least Peeta didn’t hide it after he said it to all of Panem. Gale and Katniss pretended their kiss never happened for a long time. By the time Gale told her he loved her, she was too confused by her own feelings between him and Peeta.
Katniss has a stronger life bond with Peeta, because of the Games. But Gale has kept her mother and sister alive, as she has his family. She begins to need Peeta for comfort and safety, while keeping Gale for the safety of her mother and Prim. As far as SHE is concerned, she needs Peeta. But she and Gale are the same. They both lost their fathers in the mining accident, hunted together, and lived in the Seam together. While Peeta knows nothing of the suffering they went through together before he suffered in the Games.
But Katniss herself is confused because of the pressure put on her by the Capitol. President Snow threatened her into staying with Peeta, by threatening Gale. It’s almost like that scene in Phantom of the Opera; she will be unhappy either way because her loves for Peeta and Gale are so different.
I think she is destined to be with Peeta. Not just because he’s the other main character, but because of fate. Of course it’s just a book, but within the story, fate still has to happen. Because Peeta’s father was in love with Katniss’s mother, and she chose a coal miner instead, it is kismet that Katniss will choose the baker’s son over the coal miner.
My feelings about all of this has not changed even in the second time around reading it. Still, this time, I didn’t cry like I wanted to. I couldn’t even tell where I would have a reason to cry. Also, I remembered the make-out sesh on the beach to be much longer and even better than the cave scene from HG. In re-reading, I was very disappointed in my expectations from the first read. I didn’t remember the book being SO MUCH about the space between the 74th and 75th games. During the first read, the games seemed to be so much longer. The story didn’t progress quite as quickly as I recalled. Of course, I read all three books in just a few days, so I was running on new-book adrenalin and couldn’t sleep until I had finished the stories. Reading Catching Fire as a stand-alone for purposes of preparing for the movie may have made my experience much different.
But as for the movie, I was very pleased. I think one reason I love it so much as a movie adaption is the script’s use of actual lines from the book. Even less-than-iconic lines were used in both the book and movie, and I think it helps make the film seem like a better adaption. Even with details being left out (LIKE PLUTARCH’S FUDGING WATCH OR THE WHOLE CHARACTER OF MADGE IN HG), aspects of the book are so well added back through the dialogue. That’s something I wish had been done more in Harry Potter, for example. SO MANY great lines from the books were left out of the movies.