Tuesday, April 17, 2012

10 reasons why The Hunger Games is the new Star Wars

Source: Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox*


I work at a bookstore, and I used to be truly astonished to watch The Hunger Games and its sequels fly off the shelves for months on end.

Used to be, that is, until I read them.

First, a couple of disclaimers:
1. I hardly ever read fiction, but I devoured these books.  They were entertaining and compelling on many levels.
2. Suzanne Collins' writing prowess is not why people are reading these books.  It's the incredible story she told.  (So don't get all up in my bonnet about her not being Charles Dickens.  I know, and I don't care.)

Despite my enjoyment of the books, I still struggled to articulate why millions of people would be drawn to this story.  This question became even more pronounced as my more conservative friends decried the violence in the books while missing the larger story.

Several days after finishing Mockingjay, the last book in the trilogy, I realized that The Hunger Games is the new Star Wars.  (Since the remainder of the Hunger Games trilogy is yet to be filmed, I will mainly be addressing story similarities here.)

Here's why:
1. Katniss = Luke.  Both have lost one parent and become alienated from the other because of the surviving parent's grief-stricken reaction.

2. This profound loss during formative years ingrained a survivor's mentality into each character.

3. Both Katniss and Luke have an internal sense of what is just based off of the injustice each has witnessed.

4.  They also have nothing major to lose in pursuing this sense of justice past what others in their day are willing to stomach.  In doing so, they neither start nor finish but provide necessary momentum for the rebellion.

5. The Empire = The Capitol.  Unwitting citizens fall in line with a corrupt government to ensure safety and provision even at dire costs.

6. These stories both came at times of political upheaval in our country.  They cause us to shudder at our similarities and breathe a grateful prayer for our remaining differences.

7. The heroes require other rebels to take up the cause.  It could not be fought alone.

8. Luke and Katniss both have to fight significant inner demons to stay on the right path.

9. Both protagonists transform from vulnerable near-orphans to militia leaders, stronger than they ever imagined themselves being.

10. Sanitizing movies dilutes the power of the story in order to appease audiences who are too young to really understand it.  Han shot first.  Katniss shot a guy through the throat.  Peeta lost his leg.  Don't ruin it!

What do you think?  Are there other similarities?

*This blog does not claim ownership of these images or titles.

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