Recently I got to rewatch the movie adaptions of my all time favourite book series, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games novels. This and binge watchig of some fitting YouTube content created the urge to blog about it, a lot. But there are so many themes that I am gonna divide my ideas into a series of Blog Posts entitled “Kate on the Hunger Games”. I am gonna assume you have read the books or seen the movies in the way I write these Posts, so SPOILER ALERT!
I have decided to start with the one that everyone alway complains about having become a central theme in the movies media reception. I am talking of course about the Katniss-Peeta-Gale Love triangle.
I totally get that the love triangle isn’t what is memorable about the Hunger Games stories but godammit I was twelve when I first read the books. I still assumed that every good book had to have a love story (apologizing to the Aromantic community at this point) and didn’t get that standing up for shit and making your life not-suck may be more important. So my friend who was “Team Gale” and I who was “Team Peeta” started debating them all the time. My friends arguments were that Gale was much cooler and mine were that Peeta was much cuter. We were good at arguments as you can tell.
In the following years along with my feminism and my gay grew my ability to underline my standpoint with fitting arguments. So now I’m gonna use that to go all “Team Peeta” on you.
Number One: Gale is a fucking jerk
While a case can be made that Katniss failed to pick up on Gale’s fairly obvious feelings for her before he just attack kissed her at the start of Catching Fire, she had much more important shit on her mind. Like surviving for example. She didn‘t believe Peeta either until he told her to her face. So Gaaaale… just kissing the girl you like so you to have done it “at least one time“ is a dick move. Appart from the borderline sexual harasment it‘s also a nice way to screw up the girl suffering from some heavy PTSD who is gonna have to believably pretend she loves another guy for like EVER and make her feel guilty about things she has no fucking influence on. That kiss helps Snow imensly in pressuring Katniss to keep up her and Peeta’s love story.
Gale just doesn‘t stop whinig about Katniss having faked a romance with Peeta on national television, except her making very clear to him REPEDEATLY that she did it to survive. Exspecially considering in how much of a means getting justified by a cause mindset he falls during Mockingjay, he should stop bothering her about it. Leave the poor woman some space!
It is of course really not fair on him but it is on none of them and all Katniss ever does is trying to protect everyones lifes so Gale‘s feelings getting hurt in the process is a bad but unavoidable side effect. It‘s not like Peeta gets spared either, he just never complains about Gale the way Gale does over him. And to be fair Gale actually does complain more in the movies then he does in the books.
Number Two: She never wanted to be with Gale anyway
Katniss mentions again and again that her feelings for Gale are platonic and that she sees him as more of a brother. While she at first doesn‘t have feelings for Peeta either, she starts developing them over the course of Catching Fire.
While at the beginning of Catching Fire no one, including Katniss herself, beliefs the love story from the first book, by the beginning of Mockingjay most people do. Snow himself decides to torture and hijack Peeta while it would have been much easier for him to kidnap and torture Gale who was in District Twelve at the time of the games and not nearly as much in the public eye. Finnik later pinpoints the moment he and probably Snow too started believing that Katniss really loves Peeta, when he recounts her reaction on him nearly dying in the arena.
Number Three: Peeta is the one she can‘t survive without the most
In Mockingjay Katniss overhears a conversation between Gale and Peeta, where Gale first whines that she never kissed him like she kissed Peeta THAT ONE TIME and then both of them agree that she is gonna choose the one she can‘t survive without the most.
Katniss, at least in the book, gets offended by that statement but it holds some truth. Up until the death of Prim Katniss‘ every descision is either determinded by ensuring the survival of herself and those she loves („those she loves“ being mostly Gale, Prim, her mother and Peeta) or revenge on Snow for the things he has done to her and this very same group of persons.
The plot shows that Katniss does not need either of them to survive but that Peeta is the one that can help her heal. She manages to get out of her depression after Prims death purely by herself and her hate for first Snow and then Coin. After she kills Coin she attempts suicide, which Peeta manages to stop and then tries to slowly kill herself trough Morphine but finds hope again in music, a reorcurring theme in the books, and comes back into life on her own AGAIN. Afterwards it is Peeta not Gale that goes back to District twelve and they both help each in other recovering from their traume, just like they comforted each other during the Tour of the Victors in Catching Fire.
Gale‘s personality, beliefs and company can never help Katniss as much as Peeta‘s which leads me to…
Number Four: Symbolism
Gale and Peeta are set appart in their aesthetic, personality and philosophy.
Gale is descrbibed in the book as looking very similiar to Katniss, so much so they can pass as cousins. He also resembles her in many other ways having lost his father in a mining acccident like she did and sharing many of her beliefs and feelings. Much like Katniss Gale is also a skilled archer, though not as much as she is. They both despise the capitol and want to protect their familys. In book one Gale proposes to flee trough the woods and Katniss turns him down because she thinks their families wont make it. In book two the roles are reversed and Gale insists on staying to protect the district. Katniss sees Gale as someone who like her, is on fire. Over the course of the story he develops an “ends justify the means“ mentality and a deep hate for the capitol. He is not afraid to use violence even from the start when he tells Katniss that there wont be a diffrence between shooting people and shooting animals.
Peeta is described as looking more similar to Prim and Katniss’ mother, with blue eyes and blonde hair. He grew up welthier than Katniss, but with an abusive mother. He is much calmer than her and not as much of a fighter. While he is exceptionally strong, what helpes him survive in the games are his charisma and painting skills. He isn’t a fan of the capitol either, but doesn’t have as strong a bond to his family as Katniss and Gale do to theirs. Peeta tells Katniss that he doesn’t want the games to change him as a person and they don’t. It takes torture and science to make him cruel and even then he comes back to his more gentle personality. Katniss conects him to hope and dandelions.
At the end of Mockinjay Kantiss says (sorry if this quote is not accurate I am translating from my german copy):
“That I don‘t need Gale‘s fire, which is fed by rage and hate, to survie. I have enough fire of my own. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that symbolises rebirth and not destruction. A promise that life goes on, regardless of our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give that to me.“
She sees in the end that while fire is what helped her trough the games and the war it isn‘t what she needs to heal. She needs to hope that Peeta stands for.
If you disagree with me feel free to leave a comment. I love a good discussion as long as anyone stays respectfull.