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Showing 26-41 of 41 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012 8:51:58 AM PDT
DC.Teacher says:
Perhaps the point is that we have a false view of heroes and heroines, but that living through war destroys people (even the survivors) and that there we should not be so quick to glorify it. By any measure, Katniss demonstrates bravery, courage, perseverance, and other traits that we would call heroic. But she is no hero. She is so badly abused and manipulated in so many ways and for so long that we should not expect her to overcome, but that we can only be glad that she survived at all.

The most heroic thing any of the characters can do is to memorialize the past while taking their pain and grief to the grave in order to protect the next generation.

Posted on Jun 3, 2012 2:44:34 AM PDT
The biggest issue I had with it was how hard and fast the deaths seemed to come at this juncture, taken en masse they served to detract from the emotional impact any particular one was able to have. Essentially Briggs is the last one to have any true in-the-moment emotional resonance. The blank dull depression and after-the-fact nature of taking it straight from Prim's death to her mental pseudo-recovery phase takes a moment that should be a sharp twist of the knife and transforms it into a rusty dull ache instead.

Likewise the manner surrounding the death is just too circumspect to hold up and feel valid. If time had marched on over the course of the novel to where the novels stretched over a period of a couple years longer it might work, but an immediate front-line presence for the just barely teenaged prim along with the firebombing was just too flawed, too easy to punch holes in. Yes it could elicit a potential immediate response-- but surely the powers that be would have to count on someone with that strong of a sense of vengeance putting two and two together.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2012 5:57:04 PM PDT
Well, if she hadn't died, I think the message could have been just as significant. She could have been paralyzed or lost a limb or two to convey the point of war being unmerciful. I mean, the death of Finnick, whom readers had spent two books becoming emotionally invested in, was shocking enough. (after letting it sink in, and my anger subside) I can understand the p.o.v. that Prim's death is supposed to create so much more depth to the meaning of Collins' trilogy, but imo, initial reactions are the most honest...and my first reaction after finishing Mockingjay was to cancel my Amazon.com pre-order of Hunger Games blu ray, and wish I had never seen the movie or read the trilogy. I'll consider purchasing the box set if the screenplay is more audience friendly with the ending.

Posted on Jul 2, 2012 2:30:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2012 2:32:05 AM PDT
mendel says:
Death is portrayed in different ways in this trilogy. Hunger Games deaths are heroic, with cannon shots and a sparkling night sky remembrance - but then they're propaganda performances. The deaths in the third book, including Prim and Finnick, but also Darius and Lavinia, the two Avoxes, are different. Sure, the first kind of death is more "audience friendly". It's the kind that Hollywood tends to portray. But the second kind is just as real, and I admire Suzanne Collins for putting it into her trilogy. Her trilogy might not be "All Quiet on the Western Front", but it definitely comes close to its YA version. ;-)
If you'd rather watch propos, well, then stay away from Mockingjay.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 1:30:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2012 1:31:22 PM PDT
Everyone has an opinion, and imo, every enjoyable book or movie isn't equal to a propo, and there are many enjoyable books/movies where beloved characters die **Avengers spoiler**(Coulson in the Avengers for example) and the audience doesn't feel quite like its been a waste of time. If the writing would have properly built up to Prim's death, it would have been more acceptable, and I'm hoping the screenwriters will adjust accordingly in the movie to make it more enjoyable. The ending leaves me with the feeling that eventually "capital-like" mentality will make a comeback regardless of who is in charge. Also, I would have rather seen Katniss killed off in front of Prim. That would have been just as meaningful.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 2:32:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2012 2:39:07 PM PDT
mendel says:
I'm sorry if I expressed myself badly, I didn't mean to imply that every book that treats death differently from Mockingjay is war propaganda. I am going to try to better explain what I meant.

Propaganda works because it places death in a specific context, making us feel fear or anger and thus moving us to a certain way to feel, think and act. The "hospital bombing" propos does this both within the book (the Capitol fighters are immoral scum) and without (we readers get reaffirmed who the villains are). Other literary contexts/effects could be shock, sadness, or relief (e.g. when a villain dies). The question is now, was there an effect that Suzanna Collins was going for with Prim's death, and what was it?

I must admit, I was shocked at first to see Prim appear and die in so few lines; I couldn't believe it at first (maybe she survives the burns somehow?) and finally had to accept it (Buttercup). This happens mainly because I had hopes for how the book was supposed to go on, and this narrative development dashed them, for a reason that wasn't really clear to me. (Many readers apparently feel similar about Finnick.) (and yes, I was trying to allude to some of the "stages of grief").

The point of note is that my experience mirrors what Katniss must feel: her hopes for the future are dashed, her life is finally out of her own control (with the exception of killing Coin), and thus she spins into a deep depression that only deep grieving and prolonged, steadfast love can finally alleviate. (It wasn't as bad for me, but then Prim wasn't my own sister.) I like to think that this is what SC wanted to tell us about death: that it sometimes seems to strike out of nowhere and make no sense. Everyone knows someone who surprisingly died of some accident in the prime of their life. Many of the books at the end of her interview that's posted on Mockingjay's Amazon page (in fact all of them that I've read) deal with death, taking it similarly seriously.

So, I guess my point really is this: if an "enjoyable" death in a book or movie is one that makes narrative sense, then a death that makes no sense (at the time, anyway) can't be enjoyable. It isn't. It takes time to get over it.

Now maybe the author could have explained this in more detail, afterwards. But I don't feel she had to. By refusing to frame Prim's death in a context that tells us what to think or feel, she allows us the experience to feel the impact ourselves. Nothing she could have added could have been as strong as that. (Well, and if you don't like what you feel, why is that?)

Mockingjay is the best book in the series.

P.S.: Killing Katniss would have ruined the ending, because Prim isn't the main character. We know next to nothing about what Prim thinks and feels, so we can only show the aftermath of the war (and her final stand!) on Katniss herself. For that, she must still be alive in the narrative.

Posted on Jul 3, 2012 5:55:34 AM PDT
Matthew says:
I was initially struck by the irony and seeming futility of the fact that Katniss volunteering for the Hunger Games to spare her sister only to set in motion the chain of events that leads to her death like so many other readers, but then something occurred to me. She didn't simply just spare her sister's life by taking her place, but spared her from becoming a killer and spectacle - a toy or a piece of meat for rabid television viewers.

Posted on Jul 3, 2012 7:56:58 AM PDT
Tim Martin says:
And that would have "taken everything that she was"

It's funny that you mention this cause I was thinking the very thing last night.

Posted on Jul 9, 2012 6:41:01 AM PDT
Jennifer says:
All through MJ, Katniss is pawn in some sort of game. She becomes the MJ and all the rebels adore when she sees first hand in district 8 hospital. But she is being used by Coin to unites the rebels, much like how she was being used by Snow to try and quell the uprising in CF. She goes a meeting with coin and other surviving victors and some of them still vote for another hunger games of the capitol children. She realized nothing has changed and that coin was another snow and voting yes or no wouldn't have mattered. So in front of cheering adoring crowd televised to all Panem, the symbol of the rebellion kills the leader of the rebellion. Prim had to die in order for her to take action. I can't believe people are saying that Katniss is not a heroine. Because in that moment she stopped being the MJ that everyone adored and was Katniss Everdeen and stopped any more children being reaped by the games. Prim's death and even Finnicks death was so that she would destroy the hunger games. In the epilogue it says there no more games, the arenas have been made into memorials. So the point was not to save Prim, but to save every child like Prim out there from the same fate.

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 11:21:01 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 11:22:27 AM PDT
satsuma says:
I think that to many people, Prim's death was just too easy a choice for SC. Many people here have argued that if Prim hadn't died, Katniss wouldn't have killed Coin, and Coin would have become another President Snow, and that nothing would have changed in Panem. And they accept how the author makes Prim into a sacrificial lamb, whose death was sad, but necessary to ensure that Panem becomes a better place. But many others can't buy into this idea, and find it too cruel and heartless to say, "Prim is dead, and Katniss permananently damaged, but that was a necessary price to pay for the Greater Good".

So in a way, SC is contradicting herself here, and I think that's why so many people are disturbed by Prim's death. So, we're supposed to think it's horrible for people like Coin to sacrifice children for the greater good, but it's perfectly fine for SC, as the author, to sacrifice Prim for the sake of a (somewhat) Happy Ending in which Katniss, having lost pretty much everything, at least gets to have kids who will at least get a better childhood than their parents did.

That makes me wonder; what would have caused more criticism? The ending we get, in which Prim dies, but Coin is dead, and Paylor apparently leads Panem to a better future? Or, an ending in which Prim lives, but Coin rules, and most likely continues to perpetuate atrocities?

Also, if we accept that Katniss wouldn't have killed Coin if Prim had lived, that seems to make the act of Katniss killing Coin about mere personal revenge, nothing more. And by doing this, you could argue that SC robs her of a chance for personal growth. Apparently, we are to accept that Katniss, to the end, remains an essentially selfish person who only cares for a select few people who she counts as "family". That she doesn't care about the hundreds of Capitol children who both Snow and Coin sacrificed for their version of the greater good, only that the one person she was sure she loved, Prim, was taken away from her. Or that, at least, it takes Prim's death to actually open her eyes to the fact that "something is wrong about a species that sacrifices children to settle their differences".

BTW, I actually find Snow to have some responsibility for the children who are bombed in MJ. For Coin wouldn't have been able to bomb the children if Snow hadn't put them there in the first place as human shields. It seems that Snow gambled that Coin wouldn't dare risk the negative PR that would ensure if she bombed the children to get to him, and was outfoxed by Coin doing exactly that, but disguising the bombers with Capitol insignia, so that not only do the rebels evade blame for committing such an atrocity, but manage to use the situation as a PR move against Snow. Maybe this is why Katniss doesn't bother to make deep inquiries into the situation, she realizes that Snow can't smear *all* of the blame onto Coin.

Now, another way to interpret what happens is that SC didn't mean for Katniss to only care about Coin's evilness because it costs her Prim. But that by taking Prim away, SC makes Katniss into a character who, like Haymitch and Johanna, have nothing to lose because the people they love are already gone. That if Prim lived, she'd have hesitated to make any moves against Coin, not because she didn't think Coin was a threat, but because she would worry about what would become of Prim. That Prim might be outright killed in revenge, or at least lose her chance for a medical education.

All that makes me wonder, though. If Prim hadn't been killed, how would Katniss have voted when Coin put the "Capitol Hunger Games" to a vote? I can see several possibilites.

1. She'd have voted "No", which would have been sincere. She'd have no reason to vote "Yes"just to ingratiate herself into Coin's good graces, because she wouldn't have enough evidence of Coin's evilness to want to kill her. Even if you're in the "Katniss voted yes as revenge against the Capitol because at that time, she still thought Snow responsible for Prim's death" camp, if Prim was still alive, Katniss wouldn't have cause to want revenge to that extent.

2. She'd have voted "Yes", because the mere fact of Coin considering restarting the Games would have convinced her that Coin is evil. So, much as it seems she does in the actual book, she would vote "Yes" to convince Coin that she's on her side, but would have secretly decided to kill her, or at least scheme to get her out of power.

3. She'd have voted "Yes", for the same reason Johanna does. That even without Prim's death, Katniss would be so angry at the Capitol at the end of MJ, that she'd find the Capitol Hunger Games to be justified. This seems to be the logical conclusion to draw, if you assume that if Prim hadn't died, she never would have realized that yes, it is evil to sacrifice children for the sake of the agendas of adults.

4. She'd have voted "No" simply because Peeta had already voted "No" and been pretty adamant that any version of the Hunger Games was evil, and she's using Peeta as her moral compass...BUT if Peeta had suddenly "gone mutt" again and voted "yes", she'd have voted "yes" as well.

But it seems that both option (3) and option (4) seems to make Katniss into a selfish monster. I think this is a major reason the death of Prim doesn't sit well with many readers. It's what SC seems to be implying about Katniss, that only when her own flesh and blood was targeted by Coin, does she act against her. That otherwise, she would've been just fine with the fact that innocent children were killed, as long as those deaths didn't affect her personally.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2013 10:31:24 AM PDT
E. thompson says:
The reason Collins wrote the ending this way, with Prim's death, was to remind readers that we--the rebels--are not that much different from them--the Capitol. Coin is the final target of Katniss's blame for Prim's death, but there is a suggestion that even Gale, who possibly helped design the bomb that killed Prim, also had begun to resemble the kind of leaders that dominated the Capitol. By ending the series with Prim's death, Collins refuses to do the victory dance in the end zone with clear victors and clear losers. Everyone loses when greed, the desire for control and superiority, and violence come together. Boggs's warning to Katniss at the end not to trust anyone, and Katniss's final realization that Coin has been playing the Districts and Capitol against each other for her own gain, drives this message home.

Posted on Oct 13, 2013 7:40:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 13, 2013 7:42:51 PM PDT
Meg says:
Prim's death personalised the consequences of Gale's double exploding bombs -ie. the destruction of those who came to offer aid. Potential victims were abstract figures to Gale before that. The irony is that the first explosion killed Capitol citizens (the enemy) but the second explosion killed Rebel aid workers (allies). I think it was another device of SC to illustrate the tragedy of war. It also fitted with other aspects of the plot.

Posted on May 18, 2014 1:57:28 PM PDT
I haven't even read the book yet but .. I don't now know if I should should I?

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2014 11:34:43 PM PDT
Meg says:
I don't know why you're asking that question. If you're not sure because of how some people have interpreted some of the plot elements you need to be aware that they may not be correct. This is especially so for why Katniss votes the way she does. It's easy to miss clues (as Satusma has above). If you decide to read it (and it's a good book) clear your mind of what you read here and come to your own conclusions.

Posted on May 29, 2014 3:55:58 PM PDT
I am in the camp that thinks Prim's death was necessary.

Prim has been the motivation for nearly all of Katniss's actions. The night in the rain when young Katniss tried to sell Prim's baby clothes for food money, Katniss hunting in the woods, even volunteering to take Prim's place in the 74th Hunger Games was motivated by Katniss's need to protect/take care of Prim. The loss of Prim creates a new level of conflict for Katniss- where did she go wrong? Was there anything she could have done? Also- with Prim's death and relocation of her mother and Gale, Katniss now finds herself having to live her own life without worrying about taking care of somebody else. The character can now move forward.

Whether you think the rebels or the capitol was responsible for the bombing, the fact remains that Prim was on the scene of a battlefield well before she was of age to be considered a soldier, let alone without any training (or minimal training.) It is likely that Coin intended something to happen to Prim even if she wasn't in charge of the bombing (and she may well have been.) Don't forget the advice of remembering who the enemy is.

Pointless death? War sucks. Good people die for no good reason.

The laws of writing stories demand that something happens to Prim. While her life was far from ideal, Prim had a relatively sheltered and desirable life wit a sister that kept her fed and no real issues in the district, at school, etc. The universe hates characters that get by without paying a price.

I think there is plenty to criticize about this book. I don't think the fact Prim died is one of them.

Posted on May 29, 2014 11:57:41 PM PDT
@Jason the Rational: I agree with you about the loss of Prim creating a new level of conflict for Katniss. She is grieving the loss of her sister and dealing with the loss of her identity as Prim's protector.
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Participants:  34
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Initial post:  Aug 25, 2010
Latest post:  May 29, 2014

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Mockingjay (The Hunger Games)
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (Hardcover - Sept. 2010)
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