2012-01-24

Mockingjay – The Hunger Games Book 3 – How It Should Have Ended – With Hope

by Yo Snyder

When my sister-in-law suggested to me that I read the Hunger Games
trilogy over the holidays, I had no idea what a wild ride I was in for. 
Sure, why not?, I thought.  After all, the movie is coming out soon,
and I like reading the books before seeing the movies.  So I started the
first book of the trilogy, The Hunger Games, not knowing what to
expect.  What I found was an action-packed, emotional roller coaster
ride of a series that I both immensely enjoyed and was immensely
disappointed with at the same time.

Before I go any further, I just want to say that I think Suzanne
Collins, the author of the Hunger Games trilogy, is a masterful
storyteller, and I can only hope to be able to weave together a novel as
artistically as she can someday.  The way she was able to get into the
mind of a headstrong teenage girl and enter her readers into a
completely different earth than we know today is amazing and
compelling.  She also shows great characterization in her books; I
learned to truly care about the main character, Katniss, and all those
in her life.  And what I found even more amazing was that she was able
to pull all this off with first-person narration, which is extremely
difficult.  Her plot was masterful as well, a coming-of-age story filled
with trials, hardships, loves and triumphs.

Yes, it’s like I said: I immensely enjoyed these books.

So where does the immensely disappointed part come in?  In the last
section of the last book.   It’s in that section that the life of
Katniss, this girl I learned to care so much about, completely and
irrevocably falls apart.  There is no real victory for her, no hope for
her to cling to.  Everything she has known and loved has been ripped
away from her, leaving nothing but a poor insane girl in its place. 
Well, okay, there is a sliver of something for her to live for by the
very very end, but even that isn’t much and is still laced with
despair.  After finishing Mockingjay, the last book of the
series, all I could feel was crushing hopelessness and feelings of
“what’s the point of life anyway?”  Just as Katniss had to in order to
cling to her sanity, I had to repeat all that I know is true over and
over to keep despair from overpowering me, “My name is Kay Snyder.  I am
33 years-old.  I am happily married, have wonderful children, and have
purpose in my life and hope for my future…”

And although I know I’m a little late to be jumping on this
bandwagon, this is the message I wanted to share about the Hunger Games
trilogy to anyone who either already read the books, or is late like me
and just considering reading the books.  Yes, I would highly recommend
this series.  If you’re looking for a new book to read, the first two in
the series, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, are two you should definitely pick up.  But if you’re going to read Mockingjay,
let me just remind you of a verse I love from the Bible: “‘For I know
the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts to peace
and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope'” (Jeremiah 29:11
NKJV).   No matter what we go through in life, there is always hope and
there is always a reason to go on because of the intense love God has
for us.

My mother-in-law has done something many times which I think is
funny.  If she doesn’t like the ending of a movie that we have watched,
she will change it.  “That’s not really what happened,” she will say,
“He actually survived.  They found him a couple of days later.  Then he
and the girl got married and had two kids named Evan and Sue.”   Well, I
decided to do that with Mockingjay so that I can better deal with the ending of the series.  But beware of the Extreme Spoiler Alert.  If you haven’t finished the books yet, and think you might want to, don’t read any further!

How Mockingjay really ended, according to Kay:

1.  Katniss was vital to the plan to capture President Snow.  In
fact, without her, it never would have happened at all.  The death of
Finnick and all the others were justified (and not at all pointless)
because of the importance of the mission they were on.  Katniss actually
ended up chasing Snow down in the Hunger Games arena itself (awesome!)
where…

2.  President Snow, after his capture, gave Katniss irrefutable proof
that the bombing of the children with the silver parachutes was done by
Coin.  His irrefutable proof also showed that Coin had sent Prim to the
bombing site on purpose.  This, of course, meant Katniss’ assassination
of Coin was based on something more than mere speculation because we
all know Katniss valued human life (isn’t that why she was always so mad
at Gale?) and would never kill anyone on mere speculation which is
why…

3.  Katniss never killed that girl from the Capitol when they came
into her apartment.  She actually knocked her out with her bow and
gingerly placed her on the sofa.  Peeta saw this merciful act and
finally realized Katniss wasn’t the monster he had been led to believe
by Snow…

4.   He also happened to see the pearl in her pocket when she reached
in her pocket to take out the handcuff key in Tigris’ shop.  Instantly,
he realized how much she really did care for him, and he asked her,
“You keep that pearl because you care for me. Real or not real?” Later,
at the Victor’s Village, Peeta pulled her in his arms and tenderly
touched her neck, apologizing for ever hurting her, which is how we know
for sure he still loved Katniss and wouldn’t kill her in her sleep
someday…

5.  This embrace and apology was, of course, caught on camera because
all of Panem, who never saw Katniss as a lunatic but as a hero who
saved them from not only one but two tyrannical dictators, continued to
gain strength and hope for the future from this couple they have come to
love.

As far as I’m concerned this will always be the way Mockingjay
ends.  (If anyone wants to pass any of my changes on to the people who
are in charge of the movie scripts for these stories, that would be
great because I don’t think I can watch the original Mockingjay
on the big-screen.)  Yes, I wish I could ask for Prim’s life too.  But
tragedy is something we face in life.  We may never have our sister
killed by a bomb our best friend developed.  Or have the love of our
life brainwashed by an evil dictator.  But we may face death, or
sickness, or divorce.  But, unlike Katniss, we have a living hope to
keep going.  Jesus Christ is that living hope.