Sunday, November 24, 2013

Six Reasons Why We Love Katniss Everdeen

The Hunger Games Trilogy
My wife has read all three of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I have not, but I have seen the first two films based on the books, and after seeing the second one, Catching Fire, this weekend, I came home and started reading the third book, Mockingjay in order to discover the ending. 

Why? 

I became intrigued with the main character, Katniss Everdeen, the Victor from District 12 and the Mockingjay. It was not Jennifer Lawrence's performance in the films alone. She captures our imagination and pulls us into the story by her acting. No, my intrigue came from our love for her character as the heroine of the saga.  

Why do we love her so much? 

Here are six reasons why I think we love Katniss Everdeen so much.

1. We love her because she is a reluctant rescuer.  Katniss was thrust into her role by fate and choice. She did not seek to be the heroine, but as she realizes the importance of her life in connection with the well being of others, she reluctantly accepts and embraces her place in the larger scheme of things. We want our rescuer to save others out of calling and duty rather than driven by ambition and fame. We love Katniss because she did not seek her place of heroine but accepted it and played it well.

2. We love her because she put her life on the line for her family and community. Her motivation for all she does is her love for her sister, family, and her community. Her sister, Prim, is her first mission. Family and community friends drive her next. The Revolution grew from those roots, not a lust for power or authority. We love those whose motives are those things that ultimately matter most to all of us.

3. We love her because her childhood skills serve her best to survive. Instinct and skills learned outside the fence of District 12 are what make her a Victor and ultimately the Mockingjay. Her dependence on what she knows from life and natural instinct do not come from her formal training. We love those who have a knack for survival. We lean toward those who have more natural skills than degrees. 

4. We love her because she does not fear evil in its highest places. President Snow has a death grip on her world, and he holds every card of power to manipulate and destroy people for his personal gain. The Capitol embodies the dominion of evil that rapes the other Districts to maintain its lifestyle of opulence while others starve and are slaves to the system. Katniss refuses to fear the evil President and the dominion of his power. We love those who acknowledge evil and resists those who embody it. We want someone to stand up to those who abuse power at the ultimate cost of others. Katniss does this for us.

5. We love her because her love is torn between two men. Gale, her childhood hunting companion, and Peeta, who willingly suffered after he gave her bread on a rain-soaked day, tear at her heart everyday. We wonder if she truly loves either one, or, does she play act her affection simply to survive? We all relate to Katniss sometime in our lives. Whether it is a junior high crush on two people at once or affections torn between family and career, the liquid-like love of our hearts seduces and governs our lives every day.

6. We love her because we see ourselves as the people living in the Districts. The people in the Districts represent the human condition, and we know this. We know evil exists and has personified itself on our planet. We know life is taken from us by decree and incident. We sometimes feel like slaves to powers beyond our control. We long to be freed from evil's influence. We want more for our families. We long deeply for a rescuer to end the systems of oppression and darkness. Suzanne Collins has painted our deepest fears and longings as the backdrop for her story. The plot of Katniss, her family and their plight irresistibly expose our fears and hopes.


Whenever a series of stories like Hunger Games captures our nation's psyche I cannot help but wonder what it is that draws us to them? I believe in this case it is our connection to the larger story and our longing for a rescuer like Katniss and the new life for which she fights.

I relate to these stories like you do. I may, however, have a different attitude toward them. I believe The Hunger Games story finds its finale in the Story of Jesus, who rescued us from Evil, defeated death, and gives us new lives to live now and for eternity.  His story is not fiction. His story is the Story behind the stories. We who have been rescued by him hope you will see this reality too. 

I invite you to ask yourself why you love the films and books of The Hunger Games so much. Find a friend who will hear your honest thoughts, and let the journey go from there. Who knows? Maybe you will find you have been rescued and have a new meaning for living.

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