bet you all thought ‘end of an era’ meant i was giving up blogging hah
I went to see Mockingjay: Part 2 a few nights ago. I was blown away. Of course, at points it felt a little dragged out, as any book split into two films does. But that was okay. I didn’t really want it to end.
The Hunger Games was the first YA book I read. I was in a charity shop (I always thought this was in 2008 but it must have been 2009 at least, now I’ve done the maths), and it was on the adult shelf my dad was looking at. I picked it up because it was that cool collectible edition with the changing cover. It looked quite good. I put it back because my dad said it looked a little violent.
A girl tapped me on the shoulder when she saw me put it back. She looked about sixteen, and when I think back to it, she was actually a bit like a present version of me, with blondey-gingery hair and glasses… But anyway.
“I really recommend that book. It’s SO good. You’ll love it!” She said. I smiled at her, gave my dad a pleading look as if to say “It can’t be that violent, then!” And persuaded him to buy it.
I read and reread it all the way up until the end of year six. I was so stunned by the story. It was nothing like the younger-age books I’d had access to read before. This was full of violence, gore and rebellion, but an underlying message about how powerful it can be to act against the bad things in society. I was in love with it. I had never loved characters so much before.
My friend in primary school and I took to obsessively talking about it at every given chance, and hanging out on the Hunger Games Wiki page. (If you look hard enough on there, there’s a bunch of blog posts by Wiki users creating their own Hunger Games fanfiction. I’m so glad I’ve forgotten my username. I’m not reading through my rubbish again 😛 )
I had finished all three books a while before the movie had been announced. I was ecstatic when I found out I’d be able to see it on a big screen. This was huge, as huge as Harry Potter to me, if not an even bigger thing, because I was actually starting to communicate online with people from the fan-base, which I hadn’t been able to do when Harry Potter movies were being released. I would take over my mum’s computer every day after school to obsessively refresh Hunger Games news sites.
Just before Catching Fire came out, I started to really discover fandom culture. I joined some of those fan groups on facebook for various books and films. While I was taking in all of this new fandom culture, I was also starting to ‘properly’ blog, and I was being sent increasing amounts of teen books to review. It was so exciting – I jumped from The Hunger Games to The Enemy by Charlie Higson, then to Divergent by Veronica Roth, then to a plethora of other things. I started going through the teen section of the bookstore. I was a pain in the butt to everyone I knew, because I became overexcited when anyone referenced Katniss.
It was great.
Catching Fire and Mockingjay: Part 1 were so brilliant. I’m so glad to have grown up from the ages of 9 – 15 with these films. I think it’s the perfect time for them. They introduced me to so many things.
Without The Hunger Games, I don’t think I’d be the YA reader I am today. Without The Hunger Games, I don’t think I’d really think the way I do now – the books introduced me to the idea of questioning norms and the way the media can distort things. It’s scary, how close some events in the stories are to real life. There’s serious life lessons in them.
To be honest, The Hunger Games led me to discovering so many new things online and in fiction that my visible obsessiveness died down a little. I haven’t seemed as excited about the last two films’ releases – I’ve hardly put anything on social media about them. But inside, this fictional world still bears a lot of meaning and is one of the most important things I’ve read and watched.
Mockingjay: Part 2 came out the week before my mock exam week, so I couldn’t see it for a while. When I did, it was a bit overwhelming. When the credits started to roll, I was hit by the fact that there wasn’t going to be another film next year. This was the end of them, this was it.
It feels a bit like the end of an era. It is the end of an era. I’m probably going to look back on this post in a few years and groan about how soppy I can get over this stuff, but ah, well. Because The Hunger Games really is an important series to me.
To the girl who told me to buy that book – thank you.