My Thoughts on the Hunger Games Trilogy

This post contains some spoilers, so don’t read this if you hate spoilers.

I’m currently reading the first book.  So this is really about the two movies Hunger Games (movie 1) and Catching Fire (movie 2).

When I saw the first movie was on video, I watched the very beginning and turned it off.  It looked like it had the potential to be a depressing movie.  I’ve seen the movies Brazil and 1984.  Those depressed me for days.  I’m not a fan of movies or books set in some futuristic time where the state controls everything the individual does.  Why?  Because the oppressors win, and the hero/heroine loses the person they love.  I write romance.  I need my happy ending.

But last month I decided to give the series another chance because my husband had watched the first movie and said it wasn’t as depressing as I expected.  He even said there was a satisfactory romance in it, meaning the boy didn’t die like I thought.  Well, a good romance usually pulls me in, so I figured I’d give it another shot.

I looked for the first movie (Hunger Games) but saw the second one pop up in my search on instant video.  Since the second one (Catching Fire) was free, I decided to give that one a shot.  This way I could test the waters without investing too much into it.

So at the very beginning of this second book, I see Katniss with Gale, and more than that, he kisses her.  My initial thought was, “Oh crap.  She is kissing the guy she didn’t go to the games with in the first movie.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the series, Katniss is the main character.  Gale is her longtime friend.  Peeta was the one selected for the games in the first movie, and he’s the one I was rooting for because from the little bit I watched in the first movie, he looked like the underdog and I have a weakness for the underdog.  Usually, it’s the underdog who will lay down his life for the girl he loves, so I want to see the underdog win her.

So when I saw Gale kiss her, it was a major letdown.  Because what if she ends up with Gale?  Peeta was alive in the second movie, but Katniss wasn’t interested in him.

I was ready to turn the movie off when the heroine was told she needed to pretend to be interested in Peeta.  And this is when I paused the movie and did a search for it on the internet to get spoilers about how this movie was going to play out.  Before I was willing to invest any more time into what was a promising premise, I needed to be assured the entire series would end the way I wanted it to.  I checked out all the spoilers I could find and was relieved that she does end up with Peeta in the end.

So you see?  Spoilers can actually help sell books and movies in certain conditions. 😀  But it is a good idea to warn the people that the review contains spoilers so those who don’t want to know what happens won’t get upset.  As for me, if the movie or book is not a romance, I love spoilers that let me know how the romance plays out.  If the hero and heroine don’t end up together, I won’t invest my time in it.  This is a personal preference.  I know some people don’t care either way as long as the story is good.

I did watch movie 2 in its entirety.  Then I went back and bought movie 1.  (Later on, I went back and bought movie 2 even though it’s still free.)

Quick side note: There are some people who claim that no one finds value in anything free, but I love these two movies, and I bought the one that was free.  I then went and bought the books and even bought the soundtrack.  If someone loves something enough, they will be willing to buy it or buy things that go along with it.  So this is why I don’t consider “free” a bad thing.  I get a lot of flack (from other writers) for having some of my own books free, but you know what?  Free is an excellent way to let someone test the waters to see if the book (or movie) is a good match for the person who is investing time into it.  Not only have I ended up buying movies and books that were free, but I usually go to You Tube, listen to songs (for free) for the purpose of picking which ones I like enough to buy off iTunes.

Okay.  Back to the post…

I liked the second movie more than the first because in it, Katniss falls in love with Peeta.  Yay!  My favorite part of the whole movie is when she tells him, “I need you” and kisses him.  Of course, then they are separated again.  But I’m okay with this because I read the reviews on the third book and talked to someone who read the whole series.  Peeta ends up with her, and she has children with him.

I do plan to see the last two movies in the series, but I don’t think I’ll read the third book.  It sounds like there isn’t really a lot of Peeta in there (and he’s my favorite character).  It also sounds like it’s a lot more “war intense” than the first two books.  I’m not reading this trilogy for the “we’re going to knock down the tyrannical government” theme; I’m reading it for the romance.  I am reading book 1 right now and will read book 2 next.  The reason I’m even reading the books to get a deeper point of view in what Katniss is thinking about Peeta during the events in the movies.  I will probably skip book 3 except for the epilogue because someone who likes the same kind of romances I do told me it’s worth reading.  Sorry to those of you who love stuff like battle scenes and such.  Those don’t interest me at all.

I’m hoping the last two movies, they’ll 1) let Katniss’ sister live and 2) keep the momentum going between Katniss and Peeta.  Since this isn’t giving in 1st person point of view like the books, there’s a good chance, we’ll get a deeper look at Peeta and what he’ll be going through.  I really hope the last movie ends on a super happy romantic note.  Yes, I know war is terrible and in real life there would be scars from it all, but I’m hoping they’ll be a fairytale-like quality to it, similar to how Return of the Jedi ended for the original Star Wars Trilogy.  *fingers crossed*

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to other genres, but her first love is historical romance. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and a couple of children. To find out more about her books, go to
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27 Responses to My Thoughts on the Hunger Games Trilogy

  1. I read the Hunger Games trilogy, and while it ends well, I had a lot of problems with some of the things the author did. I prefer Battle Royale, which is a Japanese novel that came out about ten years before Hunger Games and has a similar premise (and a much more believable romance). You should check it out and compare and contrast it to Hunger Games. Might even make for an interesting article on how romance is portrayed in these dystopian YA novels.

    • I checked out Battle Royale. The idea has piqued my interest. I was going to watch the movie but was warned of the graphic content, so I’ll read the book. But I am wondering, does the romance have a happy ending? I know it sounds silly, but I like to know the couple ends up together.

      I’m curious, what problems did you have with the Hunger Games series? My biggest ones are killing off Prim in book 3 and the way Katniss ended up similar to her mom. (At least, that is what the reviewers who didn’t like book 3 had to say about it.) To me, there was no point in Katniss saving her sister in book 1 just to have her die in book 3. Then to have Katniss become a shell of her former self seemed pointless as well, but I guess the point is that no one “lives” through the Hunger Games; they only survive, as Haymitch said in the second movie.

      • Well first off, the Battle Royale movie was good, but it made some changes I didn’t agree with. The book’s much better, and yes, the romance ends well. I wouldn’t recommend it if it didn’t. And its development is much more believable than Hunger Games.

        And there’s another thing. I thought the ending of Book 3 was ridiculous. Exile for an assassin of a president? Even in a transitional government, that wouldn’t get off easily in real life. Even if Katniss is the Mockingjay, she would’ve been committed. The exile thing was silly.

        And as for Katniss herself, I thought her character was regressed in the second book. She went from this girl learning to stand on her own to “Which boy do I like more?” It was annoying. And I didn’t get to know Peeta or Gale enough to really like them or understand why Katniss liked them. They’re flat as pancakes, when you think about it. At times they show being rounded, but those moments are few and far between.

        • I appreciate the heads up on the Battle Royale. I’ll be buying the book, especially since you said it’s better than the movie. I like the premise a lot, and since I actually do enjoy horror, it’s right up my alley. I might not like watching blood and guts on the screen, but I don’t mind reading about it. I can always temper down violence in my imagination.

          I didn’t know they exiled the president. I was hoping they would kill him. That’s a bummer. If I wrote the book, I wouldn’t feel right letting him live.

          Even watching the movies, I agree that Peeta and Gale aren’t fully fleshed out. From reading book one, I get frustrated since I’d love to be in Peeta’s head to know exactly what he’s thinking instead of being told what Katniss thinks he’s thinking. This is why I prefer the third person point of view. I personally thought it would have been nice if Gale ended up with Prim years down the road, but again, that’s the romantic in me coming through. I like pairing people up. 🙂

          Thanks for your opinion. I really enjoyed hearing it!

          • You’re welcome. And actually I meant Katniss gets exiled after killing President Coin. Snow just expires. Spoilers!

            And maybe you should also read Snake after you read Battle Roayle. The motivating force behind the story is a romance, after all.

            Anyway, hope you like Battle Royale. It’s my favorite novel these days, so I’m looking forward to your thoughts on it.

            • Why would they exile Katniss? Wasn’t she supposed to be the motivating force behind the whole uprising? You’d think she’d be the leader of the new system. I really don’t want to read book 3 after finding this out. I’m glad you warned me.

              I hope to get started on Battle Royale after I finish with the initial edits on the Regency I just finished. I have a January 1 deadline to upload it to Smashwords for a pre-order so it’s ready on B&N and Kobo by February 14. It takes forever to get things on B&N and Kobo when going through Smashwords.

              I’ll make a post on what I think about the book when I’m done. I’m looking forward to it. You’ve sold me on checking out Snake. I’m always intrigued when I know there’s a romance.

  2. I read all three books and they are pretty good. There are some major differences in the book than in movie. In the third book Peeta doessnt show up until the middle of the book but it is worth reading because his mind gets hijacked and embedded with false memories. Katniss does treat him like poo for a large majority of the book but it is really worth the read. I studied these books this semester in college and after analyzing the books I do think you would know the things that were changed in the movie. If you want to talk about this more we talk on facebook sometimes and I would love to tell you about the things I learned in class. You have several messages from me lol my name is Samantha….hope to hear from ya

    • Thanks or letting me know about the Facebook messages. I didn’t know you’d sent me something. I won’t be able to check them until Friday. Tomorrow and Thursday I’ll be out all day with my writing group.

      I read in the reviews that Katniss basically ends up like her mom, and it’s hard for me to see her like that. Then I heard her sister dies, and that’s another hard one for me, too. If I had written this series, I would have done the first two books as they are, except for the first person point of view; I would have done third person point of view so I could give the scope of what’s happening like this did in the movies. In book 3, I wouldn’t have killed off the sister or made Katniss like her mom. Then I would have done half the book from Peeta’s point of view since he is being brainwashed. But I would give them the focus on the second half of the book and give the reader a satisfactory ending to their romance where they truly feel that the characters are connected. From the reviews, it sounds like the readers who were longing for that didn’t get it. I’m that type of reader, so I don’t think I can bring myself to read the final book. I know the whole point in the series is not the romance, but it’s the romance that pulled me in. I’ve been coming up with my alternative third book in my mind so it can go the way I want it to.

      The reason I started writing was so books would go the way I wanted them to. 🙂 I can’t see myself ever writing anything about a police state that needs to be defeated in a rebellion. However, I like the premise of a love triangle where the hero loves the heroine so much he’d do whatever it took to make her happy. Then I’d like to force those two to play the part of a happy couple in front of others. In the end, she would choose the hero. So I’m going to take an outline of the romance in this series and incorporate it into my own work so I can give myself the happy ending I really crave.

      Not sure if all that made sense or not.

      • In my class I learned she took the idea’s from several other author’s stories and combined them along with stories her dad told her about vietnam. Here is a link to where she got the some of her idea’s. . Also if you read the synopsis of the hanging tree movie you will see several aspects that are comparable like how doc saved rune only to make him an indentured servant. that could be compared to Katniss being saved by rebels and turned into the mockingjay. Another story we had to draw a comparison from was The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.
        We talked about why she ended the book the way she did. Most people were unsatisfied with it because it wasn’t a happy ever after. She ended it on a tone of realism. I personally feel like Katniss always loved Peeta because of how he threw the bread to her when she was starving in the first book. There is a big part in the book 1 thats not in the movies about her and Peeta’s relationship. Watching the movie people want her to be with Gale. However he is so full of hate in books 2 and 3 I started to dislike him. In the book the symbolism of the mockingjay pin actually came from a girl named Madge who dies in the book. It belonged to her mothers twin sister who just happened to die in the games with heymitch. lolz anywayz I think you will find the greek mytholgy of thesus and the mintour very intering in comparison.

        • After Rami Ungar mentioned Battle Royale, I saw a lot of people mention the Hunger Games trilogy in those reviews, claiming the author got some of her ideas for Hunger Games from that book. I don’t know if there’s any truth in it, but I think authors get a lot of their inspiration from other creative works, whether they’re books, movies, or even songs. I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s just how the person then takes that idea and molds it into their own story that is fun to see. 🙂

          I’m still working my way through book 1. I don’t read books as fast as most people because I don’t sit down and read more than one chapter at a time. I loved the explanation about the bread a lot more in the book than in the movie. I’d like to think that, deep down, she loved him from the beginning because of that, too. I’ll keep reading and see how things develop.

          I’ll check out the link you posted to get better insight into the author’s inspiration. 🙂

      • oh one more thing lol. Katniss didn’t end up like her mom in my opinion. She did end up exiled in district 12 but I think thats as far as I would go with saying she ended up like her mom. Her mom abandons her basically after Prim dies, Katniss is the one that calls her when she is able to start grieving. Her mom will not go to district 12 because it’s too painful. Katniss helps with rebuilding the district and eventually is able to have children. She still has nightmares and major ptsd.Her and Peeta make a book of not just their experiences but other peoples as well. She is happy but i do agree i would have liked a warm and fuzzy ending.

        • You have a much different reaction to the ending than the people who left 1 and 2-star reviews on book 3 did. That’s why I’m not sure about reading the third book. It sounded depressing with the way they described how Katniss was a shell of her former self and how she chose to be with Peeta simply because he was there, not that she really wanted to be with him. Now I’ll have to rethink my position on not reading the last book. If it’s as you say, then it’s not as bad as I fear. 🙂

          I’m curious, why did they exile her? Was it because her use had worn out so they dumped her there? (The “we” I talk about is the group that rescues her at the end of the second movie. I’m not sure what to call it. Maybe the rebellion?)

  3. dorothypaula says:

    Reading your post on the movies hunger game, etc., I understand even better why I like your writing style so much. You see, when I’m interested in a romantic movie, I do the same thing, look for the spoilers. I usually go to Wikipedia or Wiki and read the plot. For most books and movies, Wikipedia tells you the entire story. I did that for Winter’s Tale. When the book came out some years ago, I tried reading it, but it just didn’t grab my interest, plus it was huge. The advertisement for the recent movie looked interesting. I went to Wikipedia. Spoiler coming: It had a happy ending, but not as the romances you, Janet, our fellow romance writers, and I compose. Kind of like the movie with Christopher Reeve, “Somewhere in Time”.

    I loved the original Star Wars Trilogy and read quite a few of the Star Wars books that followed. In case you don’t know, Leia and Han married and had three children, all Jedi. The book I loved the most was titled “The Courtship of Princess Leia” and it was basically a romance, complete with a rival for her hand in marriage. It also contained some humor. Spoiler coming: When Han realizes he has a worthy rival, he kidnaps the Princess and takes her to another planet in the hope of convincing her he is the right man for her. It’s all on the up and up, of course. Lots of adventure, romance, and an honest a-goodness happy ending. The author’s name is Dave Wolverton.

    I’ve been a fan of the Star Wars movies since 1979 and even before I knew that Luke was Leia’s brother, I wanted her to end up with Han Solo. See, I have the underdog syndrome also. You can tell that from several of my books. Okay, I got carried away. Sorry about the long post. By the way, I finished listening on the Kindle to your book, Just Good Friends. Loved it! Thank You, 🙂

    • I went to Wiki first for the whole synopsis. Then I went to Amazon to get a deeper look into the third book for the Hunger Games. I know real life and such pops up, but I don’t read or watch fiction to get a dose of reality. That’s what the nonfiction is for, and I already watch plenty of documentaries and read plenty of nonfiction books. So I want to escape, and nothing intrigues me more than a heartwarming romance. So before I get invested, I need to know how things will play out.

      The reason I got hooked on Star Wars was because of Princess Leia and Han Solo. I didn’t care a whole lot about the Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker part. It was the romance that captured my attention. 🙂 I was rooting for Han, too, and was thrilled when they finally admitted their feelings for each other. I did feel that George Lucas only skimmed the surface of their romance and wanted to know more, so I’ll check out the book you mentioned. I did know they had children, but I didn’t know how many.

      I read a couple of Star Wars books by Timothy Zahn because my friend told me Luke Skywalker finds his perfect match, Mara Jade. I only read a couple of Timothy Zahn books. My friend (the sci-fi lover) was enraptured by the battles and the villain and the fight between good and evil. I was only interested in seeing Luke find love.

      As a side note, I ended up writing the Raz series because of the Star Wars and Xanth series (the Xanth books being light fantasy with some fun romance and a lot of humor). But my heart was always in the romance in all of these, including my own books, even though they were fantasy. In the end, I gave up fantasy and thrillers and went to romance, which probably saddened my friend a bit. 🙂

      I saw the first 3 Star Wars movies, but going into it and knowing what happened to Anakin, I never did connect with those movies and haven’t seen them more than once. But I’ve seen episodes 4-6 many times. Even though I plan to watch the final Hunger Games movies, I’m doing so with a lot of apprehension because I know this movie is not a romance at heart and that the point of the series is not to give people a romance. A lot of reviewers who were unhappy with the third book were unhappy because of this. I understand why they were upset and gave the last book such low reviews. What they were hoping for didn’t happen. They wanted more Peeta and Katniss like there was in the first two books. But the book didn’t deliver on it. The two ended up together, but not in the warm and fuzzy way I like. George Lucas did it right. He gave us the warm and fuzzy feeling with Han and Leia. I think that’s part of the appeal of the Star Wars franchise.

      I’ll stop rambling now. 🙂

  4. *spolier alert- They exiled her because she kills the rebel leader after the rebels take the capitol. She does this because she talks to snow about prim and he reminds her that they made a deal never to lie to each, and after she confronts him. When she thinks it she realizes that coin sent prim to her death, There is more to Snow and Katniss’s conversation than that I just gave youI I just gave you the short version, I hope you check out the link My teacher said that Collins used that story because it was one of her favorite greek mythology story, As for people saying she is a former shell of who she was. I can see there way of thinking. However, we have to remember she is only 17 and she didn’t really know who she was yet. my computer is about to restart I have more to say lol…. i’ll be back.

    • I just think Katniss was to young for people to say she was a former shell of herself. On that note what about Gale he changed drastically in the books as well. He became full of anger. I just don’t think that it’s far to say that about someone so young. I also think that is a point she is making. War changes people, experiences change people. Look at Katniss and Peeta they went through a lot more than Gale. As you read the book Katniss has moments where she could have crossed the line and stood in that place of anger with Gale.The same can be said of Peeta. This book while it does have romance isn’t a romantic novel,the romance is secondary. That’s why it didn’t have the fuzzy romance and ended on a tone of realism. Sorry my last post was written poorly. My computer was about ready to restart.

      • It’s true this isn’t a romance, nor has it been labeled that way. So no one can really decry the fact that it doesn’t have the warm and fuzzy feeling. This is why I hesitated to even watch the movies. It’s a toss up on how things will end up, and it’s why I read up on all the spoilers I can. 🙂

        I’m sure the author was looking at it through a more realistic lens. It’s probably why this series is so popular. Maybe this series is a good lesson on how each person has to decide what they’re going to do with the bad things that come into their life. Do they let anger destroy them, or do they do their best to forgive and move on?

    • Was the rebel leader the new game person? I can’t think of his name off the top of my head. I haven’t seen the third movie yet but hope to next month. It’s just too hectic right now with school being out for most of this upcoming week, and this isn’t a movie my kids would enjoy. Did the book ever reveal how Snow got to be the way he was? He’s an intriguing character.

      I think a lot of the myths inspire some of our best stories. They’re timeless tales.

      That reminds me. I still need to check out your first chapter on the blog you have. 🙂

  5. No, Plutarch is the new game master and is a big part of the rebellion. Coin is the head of the rebels, and a cold hearted woman a lot like snow. It does talk about why he likes roses so much which you find out more about his rise to power when reading about this. I will tell you the third book is hard to read because of the violence and death of some of the characters you may have become invested in. It’s a bittersweet ending. You may like the divergent films and books they are both fairly good. Thanks for reading my blog I appreciate it:)

    • Plutarch. That was the guy’s name. No wonder I couldn’t remember it. Coin must be a new character in book 3, unless she was somewhere in one of the two movies and I missed it.

      What are the divergent films?

  6. uggh, for some reason it wouldn’t let me post my comment. here is a link from the author’s blog. I just saw MockingJay part 1 it’s awesome. I liked it because it has other viewpoints besides Katniss. Gale has a major pov which lead me to rethink my thoughts on him. I won’t spoil it for you lol..I’m stoked the school paid for us to go watch it 🙂 I agree that it would have been nice to read in third person so we could see the pov of a few others. Often times I won’t read a book in first person, nut I’m glad I did this one.

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