Katniss Everdeen – strong, confident… and caught between two options. What’s up with the Hunger Games Love Triangle?
I have a confession to make – the first Hunger Games movie didn’t grab me straight up like it did everyone else. Fans of the book were thrilled to see one of their favourite series getting the trilogy (and now quadrilogy) treatment on the big screen, although the purists will always say the book was better. It also successfully introduced non-readers to the world of Katniss Everdeen, a strong female heroine who shines as a female protagonist thanks to Jennifer Lawrence’s performance.
I enjoyed the second one quite a bit better and went out recently with one of my housemates to go see Mockingjay Part 1 at our local Hoyts. After some people told me it was better than Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (which I thought was amazing and they were wrong in my opinion), I had to go see what the fuss was about. And I enjoyed it. I wish they explained a few key points from the end of the previous movie, but it was still pretty good.
But the whole time there was a story element that they kept hammering on that was a lot more pronounced in the third of the series, and that is the love triangle involving Katniss, Peeta, and Gale.
So I thought I’d share some of my reactions to this conundrum. I haven’t read the books so anyone who has could clarify some things a bit further than my understanding of the story allows, but here’s my reaction to the Hunger Games Love Triangle.
Torn between two choices
The setup of the Love Triangle is a classic problem in human relationships. People search far and wide to find someone they would like to spend their days with. Enter Katniss, who is stuck in a common predicament that many have found themselves in. In her search, she runs into two people who could potentially fit the bill. Yeah, so Katniss would have only had Gale in her life if it wasn’t for the Games, but the circumstances of life put Peeta and Katniss together in a faked relationship in order to survive. Only over time, Katniss finds herself forgetting Old Mate Hemsworth and desiring the heroics of the “stereotypically less masculine” Peeta.
So which one do you go for?
Following completion of Mockingjay Part 1 The Movie Not The Book That I Haven’t Read, it would seem Katniss has made her choice. Gale literally throws himself at Katniss the whole movie, doing everything in his power to love on her, only to have Katniss string him along and act in love with both gents. But clearly, her heart is still set on her fellow Game 1 victor – at least for now.
Find out what she does in the next exciting episode of Dragonball Z.
Nice guys finish in equal position
The thing I’ve found refreshing in this love triangle, and perhaps what makes the choice for Katniss much more difficult, is that both Peeta and Gale are incredibly sacrificial and worthwhile. You have Old Skool Friend Gale who does everything to protect Katniss and stand up for her and look after how she’s feeling, but by the same token, you have Peeta, who was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice numerous times to keep his love safe.
They say nice guys finish last, but it is their niceness here that seems to win Katniss over.
Or is it?
Either way, fans are split on who Katniss should decide to give her love to. Some describe Peeta as just too nice and innocent to be strong enough to look after Katniss. Others comment that that’s exactly what she needs. Some view Gale as egotistical or too showy. Others view his protective and courteous nature as outstanding boyfriend material.
At any rate, nice guys are winning the day here… kind of.
Gale, The Afterthought
As a guy, I couldn’t help feeling the whole of Mockingjay for Gale. It just seemed like no matter what he did, he just couldn’t cut a break. Katniss had communicated affection to him previously. She still involved him so much in her world. She even kept kissing him and resting her head against him.
But she didn’t love him.
And so Gale finds himself in that territory where many guys put themselves – that nice friend who is still around when you need it. He still cared for her, so he would do anything he could to see her best interests protected and advanced. He went in to the trap in the Citadel, he was there for support in all the emotional videos, he was there to listen and to hold and to love,
And in some ways in his hopefulness, he strung himself along.
Who is it to blame in those situations? Is it the confused girl Katniss for sending mixed signals? Or is it Gale who is not getting the hint of her confusion/disinterest?
And what is it that will eventually win her heart over? Ultimately, that decision lies with Katniss #MockingjayPart2
The Pain Connection
The Hunger Games is largely a story about pain. You have the pain of the Districts under the oppression of tyranny, you have the pain of the parents and families of the Tributes, you have the pain of Katniss in all her ordeals, and you have the pain of Gale and Peeta suffering their own unique situations.
Gale points something out to Katniss after she once again kisses him – “You’re attracted to pain”. That seems to be the case here, with every single utterance about Peeta in the most recent film not about his character or friendship, but about the despair he is going through.
Something about the human spirit is attracted to the pain of others. We often go searching for the stories of those who have faced great despair and overcome. We value those who have fought through dark times.
I wonder what impact that has on our attraction to others. The Hunger Games narrative is raising an interesting question here.
What does the woman want?
At the end of the day, Katniss is very clearly distraught and confused about many things in her life, including her decision between Peeta and Gale. She’s obviously a victim of PTSD, with so much death and tragedy in her life. She carries the weight of all the Districts, the Resistance, and her family. She has to keep a brave face on at all times.
And oh yeah, she has to make a decision between two guys.
She represents dimensions of decision making at both extremes. At the one end, she has all the reason in the world to be unsure of herself and of what she wants. On the other end, there are two guys who are getting hurt by her actions and inactions. One party will want to extend sympathy and counsel to her. The other party will say, “Make a decision, woman”.
So the story continues as it does for many people, until a point of decision in all three of the people in question. Whether or not Gale finally decides to give up, whether or not Peeta actually still cares for Katniss, and whichever option Katniss finally decides to lock in and stop messing around.
Or maybe some other completely different combination of decisions. That’s what it is to be human.
The ability for people to make their own choices changes everything.
Perhaps the story of The Hunger Games is far more relatable than we’ll give it credit for. Maybe that’s one of the reasons for its massive popularity. Either way, it’s Love Triangle presents us with a lot of food for thought and some poignant storytelling about some very big issue.
Or maybe that’s one guy’s reaction to the whole story that tries to be way too logical.
Over to you – what do you think of the Love Triangle? Is it different in the book? Have I missed something that you thought was important? Join the discussion below