[BOOKTOFILMFRIDAY] The Hunger Games

HungerGames_Banner01THIS POST AND THE COMMENTS BELOW CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE HUNGER GAMES (BOOK #1).

For my first Book to Film Friday I thought it would be best to start with the YA Dystopia that, in my opinion, kicked off a whole generation of book to film adaptations; The Hunger Games. Since its popularity exploded seemingly overnight, The Hunger Games appears to have inspired a huge number of similar dystopian, blood-thirsty plots, with every new addition to the genre being compared to it. I really enjoyed this series of books and I remember being impressed with the way they were (and are still being!) adapted to film.

One of the major things I loved about the book series was the way the style really made me feel like a part of the action. I must admit, while at first I found the first person and present tense narrative a little jarring, it really grew on me as I realised the effect it was having. For me, this was a really clever move from Suzanne Collins as it draws the reader straight into the novel, making them really relate to Katniss in a deeply connected way.

I was so happy with the way the movie managed to capture that same feeling. The up-close camera angles and the sometimes shaky filming created that notion of being part of the action and really pulled me in to the story again. I loved how raw and candid the film felt, and for me the whole style and tone worked incredibly well. This was especially apparent at The Reaping; it was scary and way too close for comfort (especially that Capitol film – shudder).

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I thought almost all the actors chosen to play the characters were just perfect. I especially loved Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss; she was mature and strong and captured those complex emotions hidden by a stoney exterior so, so well. She’s a brilliant, talented actress and The Hunger Games really kicked off her career. I remember some people not being happy with Jennifer as she wasn’t ‘skinny’ enough, which drove me crazy. I despise this notion that women have to look a certain way to be successful and Jennifer has said some really poignant words about this very topic. To me, while Katniss was struggling I never pictured her as painfully thin, and even if that were the case I would never expect an actress to put their health at risk to achieve that.

I really enjoyed seeing Woody Harrelson as Haymitch too, brilliant light-relief and just how I pictured him in the book. However, his alcohol issues were resolved more than a little too easily for me. The film kind of diminished his complexity by undermining the way he had learned to cope with the horrors of his own Hunger Games experience and I felt a bit cheated by it. I realise some things need to be sacrified in the process of adapting a film from a novel, but I feel like it shouldn’t have been this.

My favourite scene of the movie has to be Rue’s death. It was handled so sensitively and beautifully that yes, I definitely did cry! Jennifer was brilliant in portraying that raw, sisterly emotion and caused mass heartbreak across the world. It was done exactly how I pictured it in the book and couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out. It’s such an important, pivotal moment in the story, as Katniss experiences loss and realises what is at stake, and it was perfect.

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At the opposite end, I really didn’t connect with the bread scene where Peeta throws Katniss food as she lies starving in the rain. In the book it was a moment something Katniss was truly ashamed of, hating Peeta for seeing that weakness in her, whereas in the film it wasn’t nearly as important. The scene didn’t feel significant or potent in any way, and without the explanation and insight into Katniss’ emotions that comes with the novel it just didn’t come across very well.

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My only real annoyance in terms of deviating from the plot was the story behind the Mockingjay pin. It pains me how different the film version made this; its origins don’t mean anything significant in the film but the pin has such a wonderful back-story in the books. Not only this, they cut out a whole character to make this change and the only person Katniss was friends with! I get the desire to isolate Katniss and make it all about Prim and Gale, but damn does it annoy me!

I hope you liked my first post for this feature! I’d love to chat about your thoughts on both the book and the film and even the rest of the series, so let’s start a discussion in the comments!

Charlotte x

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[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Best sequels

Image Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this weeks list is the 10 best book sequels ever! I really struggled with this list as while I love series, I often find the first book is the best. For example, even though I’ve included Catching Fire in my list, Hunger Games is by far my favourite in the trilogy. It also doesn’t help that I haven’t read a lot of these series in full for a while!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling
It’s always tough to pick a favourite from the Harry Potter series, but I love Azkaban purely for the Lupin and Sirius content. There’s less Voldemort so Rowling could focus on things like characterisation and plot, which definitely set up the rest of the series.

Days of Blood and Starlight – Laini Taylor
I can’t get enough of Laini Taylor’s writing, she’s amazing! The plot is so strong and Karou really grows up, I seriously can’t wait for Dreams of Gods and Monsters!

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
Another sequel with a good plot, I loved going back into the arena with Katniss and seeing the revolution build around her.

The Eternity Cure – Julie Kagawa
The Eternity Cure was so fast paced and every turn was completely unexpected. I love the way Kagawa writes and Allie is such a great protagonist.

Son of a Witch – Gregory Maguire
Gregory Maquire has turned Oz into a dark world and it was amazing to continue Elphaba’s story with her son. The story is original and fits perfectly into this more sinister Oz.

Insurgent  – Veronica Roth
While I didn’t think Insurgent was quite as good as Divergent, I really enjoyed visiting all the factions and following Tris as she tries to uncover the truth before it’s too late.

Since I didn’t make it to 10 make sure you comment below with your suggestions and ideas! Do you tend to prefer the first book or their sequels? 🙂

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Most memorable secondary characters

BlogMy first ever Top Ten Tuesday, hosted weekly by The Broke and Bookish, was a tough one. I spent a lot of time thinking about my choices and remembering why I absolutely adore, or despise, these secondary characters! I hope you like my choices and I look forward to reading everyone else’s picks!

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10. Caleb Prior – Divergent Series (Veronica Roth)

Tris spends so much time thinking of herself (forgivable, she is the narrator after all) we never get a chance to pick her brother’s brain. Even though he regularly pops up throughout the series his motivations remain a mystery, and it would be interesting to hear the thoughts behind his, often surprising, choices.

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9. Ron Weasley and Hermione Grainger – Harry Potter Series (JK Rowling)

No list about secondary characters would be complete without a nod to JK Rowling. Harry Potter is rife with minor characters as friends, enemies and creatures, arguably the most influential and important of which being Ron and Hermione. They’re the brains and heart behind Harry’s quest, always pushing him onwards and keeping him alive until the next challenge is thrown at him.

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8. Moiraine Damodred – The Wheel of Time Series (Robert Jordan)

This slot could have been filled by a number of similar characters, the classic mysterious and wise mentor to the protagonist. I chose Moiraine as she’s a complete badass, an incredibly powerful Aes Sedai who made it her mission to find and train the Dragon Reborn, fending off Trollocs and Forsaken with barely a bat of an eyelid and trailing all over The Westlands to keep Rand in check.

7. Dorothea SaDiablo – Black Jewels Trilogy (Anne Bishop)

Evil in the way only a woman can be, Dorothea is cut throat and devious, taking pleasure from her power and the ways she can wield it. The main antagonist in The Black Jewels Trilogy and The Invisible Ring prequel, she is memorable for her cruel and unusual ways of controlling men.

6. Kelsier – Mistborn Trilogy (Brandon Sanderson)

Vin’s mentor in Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy is a rebellion hero. Powerful and dangerously charismatic he inspires a full scale revolution, giving us the most unforgettable scene in The Final Empire which encompasses everything he stands for.

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5. The Tralfamadorians – Slaughterhouse 5 (Kurt Vonnegut)

Without these little green men Slaughterhouse 5 is a completely different novel. It is the philosophies and beliefs of these aliens that shape the novel, whether Billy is hallucinating or not. Billy used the Tralfamadorians to cope with the horrors he’d seen in Dresden, without them he would never have ‘travelled’ through the fourth dimension or learnt about the illusion of free will. Perhaps an unusual choice but the science fiction slant on what would otherwise be a literary anti-war novel is definitely unforgettable.

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4. Rue – The Hunger Games (Susanne Collins)

Easily the most heartbreaking moment in The Hunger Games, Rue’s death symbolises everything Katniss hates about the Capitol. Innocent Rue was not only a memorable character but created, for me, the most memorable scene of the entire series.

3. Zuzana – Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series (Laini Taylor)

Zuzana is the perfect sidekick. She’s fierce, loyal and most importantly, hilarious. She offers the comic relief to an otherwise heavy series with her animated ways and is the reason Karou has such an affection for the human world.

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2. Joffrey – A Song of Ice and Fire (George RR Martin)

No one who has read or seen Game of Thrones could forget Joffrey. The truly abhorrent eldest child of Cersei Lannister, he is cruel, spoilt and hated by his kingdom. Joffrey is without even one redeeming, humanising feature. Perhaps the most through-and-through evil character I’ve ever encountered and definitely memorable for it.

1. Tiny Cooper – Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green and David Levithan)

There is no other place than first for Tiny Cooper. He is loud, fabulous and completely steals the show. He stages the biggest school musical to ever grace Chicago, falls in love four times a week and eventually becomes the glue which holds the entire story together. Tiny is the embodiment of a memorable secondary character as he struts his giant way through life.

Make sure you comment below with your suggestions and most memorable secondary characters!