Nostalgic News: The Hunger Games turns 15!


via The New York Times

On the 14th of September, the novel that spearheaded one of the most beloved dystopian series will be 15 years old. Suzanne Collins’ novel The Hunger Games was published in the autumn of 2008, beginning a trilogy that went on to inspire a prequel and 5 movie adaptations as well as a whole world of fan fiction and lore. The popular YA novel follows our heroine Katniss Everdeen as she enters the 74th Hunger Games, an annual brutal fight to the death between twenty-four children as retribution for a decades-old rebellion against the aristocratic city of the Capitol. After volunteering in the place of her sister Katniss joins the male tribute of her district, Peeta Mellark, and begins the tumultuous journey through the Capitol into the arena. A harrowing discussion of resilience, rebellion, bravery and love, this trilogy is a brilliantly harsh reflection on the cruelty of man.

The books have sold over 100 million copies worldwide with the first instalment selling 800,000 copies in its first eighteen months and spending over 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The first book alone won 54 awards with at least 77 awards for the trilogy combined. The first film stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Liam Hemsworth as Gale; the final side of the love triangle. The narrative of the film stays fairly close to that of its novel though of course never managing to include every little detail in the length of a feature film.

via Vox

The series remains prolific to this day with the next instalment in this world being released this winter as a prequel to Katniss’ rebellious story. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set 64 years before the events of the first novel/film and follows President Snow’s journey as a mentor in the tenth annual games. The movie will star West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler as the tribute Lucy Gray Baird and Tom Blyth as Snow himself. The cast also features such names as Hunter Schaffer, Peter Dinklage and Viola Davis. I for one am excited to see how this narrative expands after devouring the novel form of the prequel during the first COVID-19 lockdown.

On social media platforms, The Hunger Games has had a sort of resurgence in popularity over the past few months perhaps in preparation for the next release. On the popular app TikTok in particular, narratives have re-emerged discussing theories surrounding the events of each game, as well as a large amount of speculation about the lives of briefly mentioned tributes. One of the most fascinating points of this resurgence online is the manner in which people create or discover narratives for characters such as Haymitch for whom we know little about. Debates surrounding the reasoning behind the malicious actions of many characters and discussions of the mentalities of war and dilemmas of morality have been ever-present since the original publication and provide solid evidence of the reason for its lasting popularity. Whilst it still has all the hallmarks of a traditional young adult story such as a love triangle, family issues and adventure as well as the fantastical elements, The Hunger Games deftly incorporates that underlying strand of realism and the fear that comes with it. As a dystopia it works as a warning message whilst still remaining highly accessible and enjoyable in both the novel and film form. In some ways it could be called the perfect dystopia.

As for the book that started it all, fifteen years later the harrowing story of The Hunger Games continues to have a lasting impact on its readers as the world of Panem continues to grow with this upcoming prequel.

Watch the teaser for the prequel: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes below:


About Author

Culture Editor 23/24

Leave A Reply