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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Hunger Games (or The Topic Formerly Known As Hunter Games) (Page 4)

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Author Topic: Hunger Games (or The Topic Formerly Known As Hunter Games)
Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Liz B:
Update:

The kids are looking forward to this. One boy said he didn't think you should be allowed to plan ahead of time, but he was overruled. (Actual quote: "Shut up. This way the book will be better.") Tons of questions. Samples:

When will it be done? How will you get it to us? How long will we have to read it? Do we have to read I Am Number Four to participate? Do we have to keep reading it if it's not any good? Are we the only class doing this? How violent is it going to be? What did you tell him about how edgy it can be? Will we be able to read it on our kindles? Does this count toward our reading for class? Can we discuss it for book club?

I love middle school.

Update of my own:

Writing has commenced.

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Jeff C.
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I just went and saw the Hunger Games and I quite enjoyed it, except for one part:

The love triangle.

As I understand it, this part works much better in the books, but in the movie it's sort of reminiscent of Twilight (the guy "back home" even looks a bit like Edward). It really disappointed me that they did this, because the main character is an awesome character with a lot of depth, but the love story ruined it for me. Did anyone else feel that way?

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Lyrhawn
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I thought it was actually rather downplayed in the movie. It DOES work much better in the books, because you can see Katniss' conflicted feelings over the two of them. But even then, it seems like she could probably do without them both if she had to, though, she certainly seems to lean toward Gale.

In the movie, the love angle with Peeta is pretty much downplayed in general, I thought. They didn't spend nearly enough time on the cave scenes or anything after it for me to believe they were genuinely in-love, which made the scenes where Gale was watching them make out on TV sort of fell flat to me. The love aspect, despite actually being integral to their survival, didn't seem all that important or believable in the movie.

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Corwin
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I thought the love triangle was probably the most overplayed and badly done part of the books, but I guess that's just the Y part of the YA. [Wink]
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
I just went and saw the Hunger Games and I quite enjoyed it, except for one part:

The love triangle.

With you until that last line. What bothered *me* was this is a serious game, and bets are placed on the contestants. How in the hell would anybody place bets on anybody when their sponsors can send them stuff, and a body of people with computers actively try to kill them off?

I mean that's all I could think about when they started the fire to try and flush her away from the border. They are launching fireballs at her, and if she dodges the wrong way, she's flat out dead. She's running at a dead sprint for several minutes, and when she collapses by some rocks they fire another fireball right at her. Then, after that whole thing has just concluded, before she can even stop to catch her breath, "LOL here's that team of five people that we know have been roaming together, now that we've shuffled you to them, they can kill you without a fuss! Hope nobody put any bets on Katniss, who by the way we ranked 11, so I'm sure the odds were high in the first place."

And then a few days later, "Ha, random monster dogs we can summon at any place! Lets hope none of the computer people are on the take, because they pretty much decide these contests."

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fugu13
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quote:
How in the hell would anybody place bets on anybody when their sponsors can send them stuff, and a body of people with computers actively try to kill them off?
People bet on things in the real world that are totally random (and a guaranteed long run loss); betting on something involving significant skill where underdogs frequently pull out amazing feats is a slam dunk betting extravaganza.
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Jeff C.
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Yeah, actually, now that you mention it, it's a bit strange to have a room full of people who can kill anyone at any time for any reason and it's totally fine. Seems like it would hurt the objectivity of the game and the rules.

The movie would probably have been better if the conflict had more to do with the dynamics of the fighters, rather than the interference of the guys in the white room. The main character gets injured from the fire, after all, and it is a huge hinderence to her. I'd have rather seen her get hurt from a fight with someone.

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Hank
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
I just went and saw the Hunger Games and I quite enjoyed it, except for one part:

The love triangle.

With you until that last line. What bothered *me* was this is a serious game, and bets are placed on the contestants. How in the hell would anybody place bets on anybody when their sponsors can send them stuff, and a body of people with computers actively try to kill them off?

I mean that's all I could think about when they started the fire to try and flush her away from the border. They are launching fireballs at her, and if she dodges the wrong way, she's flat out dead. She's running at a dead sprint for several minutes, and when she collapses by some rocks they fire another fireball right at her. Then, after that whole thing has just concluded, before she can even stop to catch her breath, "LOL here's that team of five people that we know have been roaming together, now that we've shuffled you to them, they can kill you without a fuss! Hope nobody put any bets on Katniss, who by the way we ranked 11, so I'm sure the odds were high in the first place."

And then a few days later, "Ha, random monster dogs we can summon at any place! Lets hope none of the computer people are on the take, because they pretty much decide these contests."

Not to quibble with your quibbling, but A) if the stylists are forbidden to bet, then anyone with any power is surely forbidden as well, and B) the technology used in the movie is must more precise than that in the film. In the book, it describes using the traps to cause enough chaos to keep things interesting, not to target specific participants. I agree that the change makes the betting in the film much less realistic.
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Rakeesh
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Let's not forget that, so far as I could tell in the books, 'disposable income' (and resources, time, etc.) are one of the names of the game. The games themselves, openly no less, serve no purpose other than to flaunt the Capitol's power over the districts, alongside carefully keeping them divided and conquered. Rampant, open public betting by the elite and everyone else would be encouraged.
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Shanna
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Yeah, there's really no objectivity. A couple of my coworkers and I were trying to explain the Hunger Games trailer to someone who hasn't read the books. They were confused as to why the guy was saying "Happy Hunger Games." Was it a holiday? Was it a sport? It is more like the Olympics or more like the Superbowl?

But its nothing so lofty. Its reality entertainment at its most despicable. It reminds of of that stupid reality show a few years where viewers voted on who was going to get married.

As for the love triangle, it WAS beaten to death in the books. But as an idea, it works. I especially liked Lyr's comment that Katniss could probably do without either of them. The poor girl has this loyalty to Gale, her oldest friend and the person taking care of her family while she's fighting for her life, and then there's Peeta who is her best shot for making it back alive and she has no idea if he's being genuine or playing the game. And she's freaking Katniss who would probably prefer to sneak by on her own skill and sheer stubbornness, even if it would end up getting her killed. I like the idea of that tension between independence, loyalty, and having to rely on someone else.

But yeah, that didn't happen in the movie and its my biggest complaint. I think Jennifer Lawrence did, however, completely rock what they gave her to work with. I could feel her prickly attitude rolling right off the screen.

And just real quick because I can't find my copy of the book, did the whole "two tributes can come out alive if they're from the same district" thing happen in the book at the same time in happened in the movie? Cause it felt really early and kind of out of left field in the movie?

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
quote:
How in the hell would anybody place bets on anybody when their sponsors can send them stuff, and a body of people with computers actively try to kill them off?
People bet on things in the real world that are totally random (and a guaranteed long run loss); betting on something involving significant skill where underdogs frequently pull out amazing feats is a slam dunk betting extravaganza.
I haven't read the book, so I'm sure there's explanation I just haven't got, also, perhaps seeing a new game play out once makes it hard to grasp, whereas if you had seen a few the name of the game becomes more apparent.

It's not so much the loss of money I'm surprised at, or the randomness, it's the seeming *non-randomness* of the officials actually forcing the game to pan out a certain way. The rules are modified on a whim, the board is modified on a whim, it's not left to the contestants to play it out while being officiated over, it's officials deciding who lives with little more criteria than what would be more interesting to them.

I mean granted in a football match, an official decides to book a player and hands out a red card taking a player out of the match and leaving one team a player short the rest of the match. And in the Colosseum beasts would be let out (though most of the time they couldn't get them to fight the gladiators) creating a random element. But in this game sponsors can send you seemingly anything small enough to fit in those containers, and the officials, essentially are trying to murder contestants.

People might still bet on that, but coming into it the first time, my gut instinct is you would have people extremely pissed and feeling cheated out of their money after a game like this.

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Samprimary
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quote:
What bothered *me* was this is a serious game, and bets are placed on the contestants. How in the hell would anybody place bets on anybody when their sponsors can send them stuff, and a body of people with computers actively try to kill them off?
Which bets are you taking about that are bothering you? People bet on reality tv, even when it is as arguably scripted. Not that the point of the hunger games is to create a sport for betting, mind you. It's got a much different established social purpose.
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Corwin
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'Hunger Games' sets box office records

Third-best opening weekend of all times. We're definitely getting the sequels. [Smile]

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kmbboots
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My nephew (a big fan of the books) really loved it. I liked it a lot. The shaky cam was annoying but the casting was great. I am not usually a Woody Harrelson fan but he was perfect in this and Donald Sutherland was exactly right as President Snow. We didn't see much of her but I loved Paula Malcomson conveyed the sense of the mother without having to say anything. It will be interesting to see more of her later. The only exception was Peeta. He did a fine job, I just don't find him appealing which is probably nothing to do with him.

I thought a couple of the changes they made really set up the next movies very well.

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fugu13
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quote:
People might still bet on that, but coming into it the first time, my gut instinct is you would have people extremely pissed and feeling cheated out of their money after a game like this.
I think you don't have much connection with the mind of a gambler [Smile]
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
quote:
People might still bet on that, but coming into it the first time, my gut instinct is you would have people extremely pissed and feeling cheated out of their money after a game like this.
I think you don't have much connection with the mind of a gambler [Smile]
Not currently, but I've certainly gambled. Black Jack, Big Two, Roulette, etc. Certainly not regularly.

Were you gambling, would you bet on those games?

edit: "Those games" being Hunger Games.

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umberhulk
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The love triangle was definitely down played, but any more focus on it would've been annoying.
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umberhulk
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Also

No Country movie > No Country book.

They're both great, though.

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imogen
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Yeah, I don't get the Hunger Games love, either. I think it's one of those things, like the whole "The Girl Who...." phenomena, that appeal to people who don't generally read much.

Way to be judgmental Tom! [Razz]

For the record, I read a whole lot, and I really really like The Hunger Games.

(Could never get into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo though.)

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kmbboots
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I enjoyed them and I read at least 60 books last year. I think they have some flaws, but still enjoyable.
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Jeff C.
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I'm reading the first book now (about 70 pages in) and while I find the first person present tense a little weird, the world-building and characters are mostly fun enough to hold my interest. I'll probably get through all three books before the end of April, unless I find something more interesting.
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Lyrhawn
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I've thought about the first book a lot more since I read it, and while I still have my issues with it, I'm starting to appreciate the themes it addresses.

The most obvious scene is simply spectacle. The Hunger Games are the Reality TV of Panem. It's a commentary on how dehumanizing these events can often be, and how society descends into a "bread and circuses" like atmosphere.

There's also a sort of rural vs. urban, core vs. periphery, celebration of the common man theme going on here. Collins might not necessarily being doing social commentary with this section today (though I don't know how you escape the class elements there), but she's certainly saying something about the nobility of the rural, ascetic and the avaricious hedonism of the urban elite. Katniss' utter disdain for them, and the way its written to have us identify with Katniss thus make us hate them as well. It's a little subtle in the book, though less so in the movie.

On another note, there's an internet kerfuffle over casting at the moment. Lots of people are pissed that the casting director made Rue black. Frankly, I'd be more insulted by the fact that the rioting agricultural district was entirely black. Nicely playing on racial stereotypes there. I thought the girl who played Rue was delightful. I didn't even remember that she was supposed to be blonde.

I think it also raises an interesting question I've been toying with in the book I'm writing over the next couple days. I was thinking about making of the main characters black, but I'm conflicted on which to do it with. There are three sort of archetypes for my main characters, though they all also get major plot points over the course of the broader story. One of them is incredibly intelligent but a little socially awkward. She's very invested in her own intelligence but will later find that her knowledge is magically bestowed, which causes a bit of an identity crisis when she asks herself what she is without her brains. There's a male character who's a bit of a joker, witty, not the best at school, but with a dark past. He finds out he's the descendent of some pretty terrible people and wrestles with what he perceives as some dark side demons. I was thinking about making one of them the black character, but no matter what I do, I feel like I'm coming up against racial stereotypes and politics that automatically change the character. Make the wisecrackin' boy with ancestry issues and anger problems the black kid and he's a negative stereotype. Make the brainy girl with insecurity issues the black kid and she's either a stereotype or looks like I'm intentionally trying to defy a stereotype. So I'm not sure how to deal with that other than to just leave them all white, but I was hoping I could defy the all-white cast that tends to make up YA pop fiction.

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imogen
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Lyrhawn, Rue's not meant to be blonde - in the book she's described as having 'dark brown skin' with brown hair and eyes. Suzanne Collins has confirmed both she and Thresh were written to be African-American. (African-Panemian, I guess.)

This tumblr is pretty excellent (language warning) - both at calling people out and at the actual content of the book. Hunger Games Tweets (You have to go through to page 3 or so to get to the tweets and responses). Or an article here.

A lot of people are arguing that the racial make up of district 11 is also very intentional - overtones of slavery, obviously. Not so much a racial stereotype as a deliberate reference.

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Lyrhawn
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I'm not sure it works for me. Or rather, I'm not sure what she's trying to say by it as commentary on today's culture.
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Jeff C.
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Where did this whole "Rue is not black" thing come from?
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Lyrhawn
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I'd never even heard about it until I read an article about upset fans. I don't even remember her being described in the book.

I also can't imagine getting that pissed about the skin tone of a peripheral character.

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J-Put
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I think the single line that establishes her race was overwhelmed by the many lines about the resemblance to Prim, who was described as blonde.
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jpgray
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quote:
Originally posted by J-Put:
I think the single line that establishes her race was overwhelmed by the many lines about the resemblance to Prim, who was described as blonde.

Yeah, that's why I was surprised that the actress casted for the role is black. I don't have any problem with it and I think she did a great job with role. I think I pictured the character as being white while I was reading the books because of the constant references to her being similar to Prim.
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Raymond Arnold
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I thought of her as black the whole time.
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Lyrhawn
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Article about angry fans
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Ginol_Enam
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The whole thing just makes me sad.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Article about angry fans

That's so silly. I can't believe people were making such an uproar over it. People should at least check the book before they jump to such a racist conclusion like that.

This reminds me of when they changed Nick Fury to a black guy in the comics, then cast Samuel L. Jackson in the role for the films. Who cares what color someone's skin is, so long as they can portray the character? Regardless, this wasn't even the case with Rue, apparently, since her character was already black before the movie.

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Lyrhawn
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Another article from a slightly different perspective

Interesting how Hollywood views racial casting in purely economic terms. Also interesting how the casting director says that if a fan is pissed about hair color, there might have been something wrong with the storytelling. And I guess if they're getting to those sorts of petty complaints, he might be onto something.

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Liz B
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Liz B:
Update:

The kids are looking forward to this. One boy said he didn't think you should be allowed to plan ahead of time, but he was overruled. (Actual quote: "Shut up. This way the book will be better.") Tons of questions. Samples:

When will it be done? How will you get it to us? How long will we have to read it? Do we have to read I Am Number Four to participate? Do we have to keep reading it if it's not any good? Are we the only class doing this? How violent is it going to be? What did you tell him about how edgy it can be? Will we be able to read it on our kindles? Does this count toward our reading for class? Can we discuss it for book club?

I love middle school.

Update of my own:

Writing has commenced.

Awesome! I have been offline for a while, so I missed this announcement...the kids are still interested, and they asked about it just yesterday.

So what's the status?

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MrSquicky
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I'm a little surprised to see the books described as amateurish. They struck me as having several deft touches. The first person narrative (and yeah, I know, for book snobs first person narrative is almost always bad) was the perfect choice for telling this story and hitting the themes. Along with this, there was a fair bit of subtlety I saw worked into the writing that I thought showed a good deal of skill.

I think it sort of fell apart in the last book during the assault on the capitol because of the insistence that "This is going to be like a Third Hunger Games!" with the bizarre defense plans and flow of the action, but overall, I thought it was pretty well done.

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Lyrhawn
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In hindsight, I think the plot and subtext were well done. I also didn't mind the first person narrative. I found I never really got used to the present tense, but maybe that's just me.

It was the actual writing that bugged me though. I mean it was better than Christopher Paolini, but not particularly impressive. Adjusted for scale, as a YA Fiction book, I guess, maybe it was pretty decent? But for writing in general? Meh.

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MrSquicky
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I read through them pretty quickly, but I honestly didn't notice any problems with the writing. When I thought about it at all, I thought it was suited for Katniss's character. So, for me, it was immersive. If you can think of any specific examples, I'd be interested to read them.
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Lyrhawn
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I'd have to look at it again. I also zipped through the first one pretty fast. I might revisit it after this semester is over to take another look.
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Darth_Mauve
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There is of course the issue of population scale. Since Star Trek visited worlds every week with populations of about 15--all living in the one city in that whole world, the idea of population scale seems to be a non-issue.

Katliss comes from one of 12 (13?) territories in North America. Only 1 child from each territory is chosen for the games. Her territory is Appalachia. Her territory, from reading the book and looking at the movie, consists of maybe 200 people. No, there were 50 to 100 kids being chosen, so we'll say 1000 people in the whole territory. It has two small towns, or two halves of 1 small town. "the Crease" where the miners live and the rest of the district where craftsmen live and work.

That is 12000 people in the entire continent.

Of course the Capital shows more than that viewing the parades. The Capital looks large, so there may be a million people in the Capital, supported by only 1000 or so people in each district?

I became confused trying to figure that out.

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scholarette
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I thought district 12 was just a tiny one while some of the other districts might be huge.
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Lyrhawn
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I got the impression from the book that the districts were all huge and covered the entire former America. But there had to be more than just a little village mining coal. She described 12 as covering all of Appalachia, didn't she?

I just sort of assumed that there were more towns dotted throughout the district, but I guess that doesn't make sense considering the Reaping among other things.

Still seems kind of odd.

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Jeff C.
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You have to keep in mind that this is the future, after the flooding, fires, and other various disasters have destroyed the landscapes. There wasn't just a rebellion, but a couple of wars and diseases, so a lot of people are dead. When you think about it like that, it sort of makes sense.

Anyway, it wasn't the first person narrative that jarred me so much as the present tense aspect of it. You just don't see any books that use that combination very often. It's just....different.

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Liz B
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In Catching Fire, Katniss is surprised at how huge District 11 is compared to District 12. She thinks that they must have rounds to the reapings.
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Liz B
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In the beginning of Mockingjay District 12 is established as having a population of around 8,000.
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