It’s Hunger Games Day!

There are certain movies that seem to be made for groups of girls to go in droves. Twilight. Sex and the City. Any style of Traveling Pant.

The Hunger Games is the latest. I’m so excited to see it (Team Peeta!), and it seems that by the end of this weekend every single one of my friends will have made their way to watch the teenage death match.

Obviously I’m pro anything that inspires the ladies to make it a girl’s night. But here’s what’s funny: Katniss herself has no female friends.

What’s that about? I know she’s got Gale, but he’s no BFF. They kind of want to jump in the sack, after all. And Prim, too. She’s a little sister–such an adored one that Katniss will throw herself in a blood bath–but she’s no bestie.

The same was true of Twilight’s Bella Swan. Before she met Alice, Bella had no friends. (No, Jessica does not count.) I wonder if movie producers think it’s too much to throw in these “extra” characters. That friends don’t propel the narrative or something. Personally, I would have loved to listen in on the early chat between Bella and her BFF where she says “Edward’s super hot but why is he so pale???”

Or Katniss. If she had a best friend, she’d be able to get to the bottom of the whole “he loves me, he loves me not” drama with her hunting partner.

It’s not really believable that neither Katniss or Bella had any interest in having friends to kick back with. I mean, a girl can only handle so much drama. Or hunting. Sometimes we just want to chill.

Not that anyone is arguing The Hunger Games is realistic. And I still pre-ordered my ticket like the rest of the world. I mean who could resist this…

Will you be seeing The Hunger Games this weekend? With your besties? And why don’t you think Katniss has a single BFF?


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38 responses to “It’s Hunger Games Day!

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Rachel, it was great meeting you this past Tuesday at our book club meeting. I don’t know the story of the Hunger Games, so probably will not see it, at least right away.

    Hope you enjoy it. You’re right, a girls’ night out is the best!

    Celia – Deerfield

  2. Jen Thompson

    I never really noticed it before, but your right, where have all of the girls gone??? I think I’m going to see it on Sunday, I only read the book yesterday but I’m well and truly hooked. I’ll be going with my brother though, hmmm maybe I need to find some new girl friends haha 🙂

  3. Great observation about both “hits.” I don’t know why these leading ladies don’t have any girlfriends, cause it’s not the same for guys in “hits” like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings??

    I am not going tonight but will hopefully go soon with my two daughters. I never really thought of going with someone else as they have asked if they could see it. Hmm, maybe that thing about setting time aside for friends again…

  4. Cat

    I guess I didn’t find it too strange because I don’t have many female friends myself. I don’t want to read into the character development of Katniss too heavily, but I know personally that after my father died when I was 15, the relationships with many of my girl friends became strained. It was like there was a void of commonality, where they were focusing on nail polish and I was wondering if my mom was going to be able to keep the house. When I started dating my first boyfriend at 16 (now my husband) I finally had a social life. And the girls certainly remained my girl friends throughout all of high school, but after senior year ended they all sort of drifted out of my life.

    Now that I’m 30, I do wonder if I became a loner because of my father’s death or always sort of was. I yearn for those true female friendships. I desperately miss my friends from high school but have never been able to truly reconnect, despite getting back in touch with them. I do have several female friends, two of which are truly amazing. And I have some amazing good female acquaintances that never have reached the friend stage because they have daughters my age. But the majority of my friends are guys.

    People may now feel free to say I have daddy issues and am trying to replace male role models in my life, blah blah blah. If I do? So what. Happily married. Just honestly wish I did have more female friends around my age in my life.

  5. I am a HUGE Traveling Pants fan. Did anyone read the new one “Sisterhood Everlasting” when they grow up? Ahh the last few lines really got to me.

  6. That’s a great observation about the friends issue. I haven’t read the book so can’t really comment. My question is why go watch a movie to see teens fighting to the death acted out? This doesn’t make me want to see it. Maybe this is one reason I have a hard time going out with friends? I don’t like the popular thing?

  7. You make a good point. I wonder if most authors prefer to just concentrate on one important relationship. Perhaps keeping that main relationship front and center prevents it from be diluted or diminished by any others. Being a sucker for all things young adult, I also watch The Vampire Diaries. One of things I truly appreciate about that show is how the main character’s friendships with her girlfriends are portrayed. They really support each other in a very realistic way – well, as realistic as possible, given the show is about vampires! Enjoyed your blog! Have a great day.

  8. Oh, I’m going! And I love this post. I’d never thought about it that way, but you’re right. Maybe the authors knew that if the ladies had a bestie they wouldn’t be as all-consumed with, well, the things that consumed them. Sharing a burden lightens the loaf, after all!

  9. Totally pre-ordered my tickets. So excited!

    I think it makes sense for Katniss not to have a lot of friends in these books, particularly the first one, considering how focused she has to be on helping her family survive. When one has to be so concerned about when one will eat next, friendships can go farther down the priority list. Gail becomes a beneficial friend for her, because he helps her with her family’s survival, as well as her own.

    There is potential for friendship with the mayor’s daughter, but their background differences put a wedge between them that she and Gail can relate to other more in regards to.

  10. Hi just read your top tips for blogging and came to your website! Very useful btw! And this post is very interesting, I have never thought about the friends thing before until now, it makes perfect sense, however I have never noticed it when watching the films. Hoping to watch Hunger Games tomorrow on my “date night” with the BF!

  11. Darlene

    Hi Rachel! It was great meeting you last night!

    When I was reading the book, I guess I assumed that Katniss didn’t have any friends because she didn’t have time to — she was so focused on keeping her family from starving to death. She had Gale, yes, but he started out as a hunting partner who could help keep her family fed (and she his). I guess it’s not unlike today’s times, where if someone’s really focused on, for example, not losing their house or being able to feed their family, they might not be able to make time for friends.

    I think it’s in the last book in the series when she admits that she didn’t have friends pre-Hunger-Games because she wasn’t a friendly person. So there’s that too.

  12. Kristen A.

    Gale *was* her BFF before the whole wanting to jump in the sack thing got pushed to the front- which was why I was Team Gale while reading the first book, although my mind changed when… well, I won’t mess it up for people who haven’t read the books. I’m a big fan of friends to lovers and my favorite rom com is When Harry Met Sally.

  13. As always Rachel, you bring up an excellent point. I agree with MegansBeadedDesigns. For Katniss’ character, it makes sense for her not to have a ton of friends. It’s her dilemma — her need — at the beginning of the books. In this desperate state, she has little time for friends but she also doesn’t want to become emotionally attached to people she might lose. It’s difficult for her to love because anyone she loves may be taken away in an instant. One of the things my girlfriends and I really liked about Katniss, especially for young viewers, is the fact she is a strong female character who isn’t mooning over a boy. In fact, she doesn’t want to get married. She is also a character who doesn’t compromise herself and becomes a symbol of hope for an entire nation. She becomes so much of a cult hero, she threatens to overthrow a dictator.

    Rachel, I think you raise an interesting overall question. What examples are we giving our next generation of women? Right now in Hollywood, everyone is hot for YA. What book series are worthy of adapting? And what messages are we sending? I think Katniss is worthy. I hope the “girl on fire” catches fire. (I think it’s safe to say she’s gonna have a big weekend.) As a result of “Hunger Games,” I hope we see more distinct, unique young women characters who have a perspective on society as a whole. Perhaps, more of them will have wonderful besties.

    I agree with Susan M. Schreiber. “The Vampire Diaries” does a great job at finding storylines that continue to highlight the best girlfriend relationships realistically in a far from realistic world.

    Are there other book series that capture those relationships as well as keep the reader turning pages into the night? If so, I’d love to be turned on to them.

  14. I definitely plan to see the Hunger Games as soon as I can!

    And as far as Katniss not having friends, well, they’re in a post-apocalyptic country where they are very poor and she needs to illegally hunt in order to feed her family. So, I mean, does she really have a chance to make BFFs? Not her main priority, I think all would agree. She’s a very serious young woman because she has to be. Her father died, her mom fell apart and her sister was much too young to be of any help so naturally it fell to Katniss to protect and support her family.

    And it’s not the movie producers that choose not to put these characters in, at least in your two specific examples (Twilight and the Hunger Games), it’s the authors. They may also have this idea that things like these wouldn’t happen to “Miss Popular” or the “girl next door,” they may actually prefer their characters to be on the outskirts, you know?

  15. Jocelyn

    I also pre-ordered my tickets (even for the Davis Theatre in Chicago, not taking any chances!) to see the movie with my boyfriend.

    And I just started reading your book so I’ve been thinking a lot about friends. I don’t have a BFF in your sense of the word, so maybe that’s why I relate a lot with Katniss (although thankfully I’ve never had to fight to the death!). I think in her case it also serves the greater story for her to be a loner, as she becomes part of a group of other loners.

    It’s funny, I even saw Bridesmaids with my boyfriend, which is like the ultimate relatable and modern BFF story. Of course I walked away laughing, but also longing for that sort of person in my life. Am I missing out not having a BFF? Probably. But I think I’ve been forced to be very self-reliant.

  16. Well put. Both characters seem to be “made whole” only by the insinuation that a man will be able to fill any void in their lives. Katniss less so than Bella, but still, the focus on male “friends” is an interesting trend no doubt. Glad I happened upon your blog!

  17. Sounds awesome! I will have to check out the book. Might I suggest you check out “the house of thoth” www; or I have published my sci-fi thriller on line, it will be available for free on that site until it gets published for ebooks hopefully soon. I will then remove it from the web, unless you are in the middle of the book. Anyway, If you like the books/movies you may like this one. I love your posts. Great name. Have you seen Bridesmaids? I am waiting for it to come out on-demand. Have a great day!

  18. Janet

    Bechdel test, Bechdel test, Bechdel test! Hollywood can’t tell a story about women without having it ultimately be about men, and rarely are meaning female relationships portrayed in a serious way. I wonder if it’s also partially financial…. maybe women will go to movies with a lot of men in them, but men won’t go to movies with a lot of women in them? Gender rules are not balanced… e.g. parents have no problem buying their little girls a tool set, but they think twice about buying their little boys a baby doll.

  19. Happy Hunger Games Day! I think that Katniss’ lack of BFFs stems from the fact that she has intentionally closed herself off to others. Her mother is not capable of taking care of her children, so the burden falls to Katniss. She loves Prim more than life itself, but feels protective of her- they are not on the same level, like BFFs are. Unfortunately for Katniss, both guys in her life (who could be potential BFF material) are in love with her, which makes friendship difficult if not impossible. She is not willing to open up and share her “inner life” with another girl. It’s too much of a risk for her, and like others here have mentioned, she has bigger problems to worry about.

    I will be seeing the movie in a couple of hours with a friend. Can’t wait!

  20. I just saw the movie! By myself, I might add. Damn, your insightful musings make my need for female camaraderie so obvious! But sometimes you have to be your own best friend, right? Plus, I don’t know any girls who devoured The Hunger Games quite like I did. BTW the movie is actually a lot better than I expected. Usually book-to-movie adaptations fall flat.

    P.S. I just finished your book. Girl crushes, all the way!

  21. How wierd is this, I read your blog before i started watching the news this morning. The news was talking about the Hunger Games. Before I read about it on your blog, I never even heard about it. Talking about staying ahead of the news. Wow! I probably won’t be at the midnight show but will probably watch it sooner or later. Enjoy the show!

  22. Reblogged this on The happy unperfect girl webzine and commented:
    A great movie I’d like to see…

  23. I’m seeing it tomorrow… but without having read the book. I’m curious to see if it lives up to the hype if I don’t know what to expect.

    What I HAVE been reading is your book – I’ve almost finished it and I’m loving it. It’s making me think about my own friendships, how I made each of them, and others that have slipped or that I didn’t pursue. I thought I’d come by and say hello and add to the stream of, “If only I lived in Chicago/you lived in Scotland…” remarks!

  24. Hi Rachel, Great post and so very true. I have been enjoying your blog quite a bit lately, so I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Come on over to pick it up! I think you might have gotten one of these before, but keep up the good work!
    – Margaret

  25. Megan Nyberg's Meditations

    I read The Hunger Games on Sunday night and immediately texted my friends to find out if they were going to the movie. All of them had pre-ordered tickets for the midnight show. I jumped online and attempted to pre-order but the system was down. Completely freaking out that I wouldn’t be able to see the movie with my friends, I proceeded to text more friends to see if they were going. My fear of not having a friend to see the movie with was more then I could bear! I lined up some back up friends, but they were unnecessary because I swung by the theater and purchased tickets in person, thus securing my place next to my closest friends (former co-workers) and a million teenage girls.
    I cannot imagine being Katniss and not having a girl friend to talk to, although it seems like she would have become friends with Madge had it not been for the whole fire thing…I don’t know if they’d have discussed Peeta vs. Gale, but Madge did kind of give her a BFF pin…

  26. I think stories like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, in which the main protagonist is male, portray the leading character on an adventure with his best buddies. Buddies who have his back whatever the cost. On the other hand, stories in which the main protagonist is female, have the tendency to focus on a love triangle, in which the female is at the center. While the male protagonists relies on the opinions of his comrades, the female protagonist is often left to ponder the consequences of her decisions in complete solitude.

  27. The reason that Katniss probably doesn’t have a bestie will be her unlikableness 🙂 (Is that even a word.)
    Like Haymitch says, before Peeta made her seem desirable, Katniss was not at all memorable at the Hunger Games. She doesn’t know how to make friends and her badass nature would win her boys but not girls. After all, we would like our sisterhood to contain a little heart, wouldn’t we?

  28. Katniss does consider Gale to be her best friend. Madge definitely had potential to be a bestie, but, as others have pointed out, when one’s entire focus is feeding one’s family, it’s hard to garner friendships. I don’t want to spoil the movie, but I didn’t like how the writers changed how Katniss obtained the mockingjay pin (deleting her one female friend in the process).

    • Cat

      I cannot agree more regarding the obtaining of the pin. It definitely disappointed me, and I probably wouldn’t have thought as much of it had I not read this blog. I was talking to two of my neighbors – girls age 20 and 21 – and they felt the same way. I think by removing Madge we won’t see a certain aspect of the the story the same way.

  29. Yes, I also thought it would have been more fun if Bella discussed Edward with at least one girlfriend…maybe one non-vampire girlfriend. You know, it was all supposed to be a secret but she could tell it to someone and that would add more intrigue…what if the friend tells? What if the friend prefers Jacob to Edward? You know, stuff like that could add amazing new dimensions to the plot.
    Anyways, it was still a good story.
    Haven’t read Hunger Games, just the reviews but I’ll fish it out as soon as possible.
    Guess some people are just not cut out for the whole best friend ish while some have best friends in droves.

  30. I totally went with my girl group! I love ladies nights! I’ve read the first two and am now in the middle of the third. I think Katniss doesn’t have a true BFF because of her underlying commitment issues. She doesn’t want to lose someone close to her due to the reapings, or the demanding lifestyle of the mines. She does have a friend who is a girl… Madge! Even though she isn’t in the movie, in the book, the gift she received – the mockingjay pin- signifies her ties to District 12, and as a friend of the Mayor’s daughter. Katniss prioritizes survival over friendship.

  31. I haven’t read all the comments but has anyone already made the obvious observation that the author of the book is in fact a woman? I never had an issue with her not having any female friends. I’ve known a lot of women who don’t. It seemed pretty realistic to me anyway.

  32. megacolby

    Reblogged this on Colby is Mega.

  33. So what did you think of the movie?

  34. Hmm, anybody else notice that Hermione Granger’s best friends are both male? And I seem to remember that it’s based on J.K. Rowling’s own friendships. Maybe JK needs a BFF?

  35. Layla

    “If she had a best friend…”
    She has one, it’s Gale!

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