The Hunger Games: things you didn't know
1. The dress Katniss wears after winning The Games is the Panem equivalent of Princess Beatrice's hat
According to design critic Alexandra Lange, the dress Katniss wears after winning The Games in the first film is designed to reflect her lowly status in the eyes of The Capitol. "The winner's clothes didn't shout,'You've proven yourselves worthy to become one of us!' but rather looked like an uneasy fashion no-man's-land: dressy and sparkly but still kind of tacky" Lang wrote. "It reminded me of the terrible Philip Treacy hat that Princess Beatrice wore to the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William: Princess Beatrice is not considered a top shelf royal and in the eyes of the world, the hat just reinforced her lowly status. The media reaction was swift and vicious."
2. You can get your very own Hunger Games Barbie doll (and one man has repainted his to look exactly like Jennifer Lawrence)
Turning dolls into Jennifer Lawrence might sound like a slightly strange hobby. But the results of artist Noel Cruz’s efforts are admittedly impressive. His paintbrush has transformed the rather bland looking official Hunger Games Barbie doll into a remarkably life-like Katniss. The only catch? The doll normally retails for around $24.95 but Cruz’s altered version, which is sold on ebay, will likely set you back at least $500.
3. You can also get your very own Hunger Games underwear
On e-commerce website Etsy, which specializes in unique, often home-made items, you can pick up a fan-made Hunger Games bra from Etsy store Stitch3D (in case you’re interested, you can also find Game of Thrones and handpainted Grumpy Cat bras on the site). Rather more worryingly, over on Café Press, there’s a range of Hunger Games underwear emblazoned with the word “Avox”. Avoxes, in case you’re wondering, are former rebels against the Capitol, punished by having their tongues removed.
pre bonded hair4. And some very, very messed-up jewellery
There’s a big market for home-made Hunger Games jewellery, with the contributions on offer ranging from the relatively attractive – Mockingjay charm bracelets and necklaces – to the downright strange. Want to immortalize the moment Katniss and Peeta decided to kill themselves poisonous nightlock poison berries? Thanks to a host of creative jewellers on Etsy, you now can.
5. Katniss is "almost as good as potatoes"
In the Hunger Games series, Katniss is named after the real-life aquatic plant, which is known for its edible, nourishing root. Her father—who is dead when the book begins—tells her that “as long as you can find yourself, you’ll never starve.” (Fittingly, given Katniss’s skill with a bow and arrow, the plant is also colloquially known as “arrowhead.”) In 1749, the Swedish botanist Pehr Kalm was one of the first westerners to document the American variety of the plant, which is larger than its European counterpart, after he travelled through New Sweden (now Delaware) and southern New Jersey. In his description of his travels, Kalm found the Katniss roots to be dry and palatable when cooked, deeming them almost as good as potatoes.
6. US library-goers tried to get the book banned
On a 2013 list of the top 10 “most frequently challenged” books, released by the American Library Association , The Hunger Games came in at number five, due to its alleged unsatisfactory religious viewpoint, sexual content, and lack of suitability for the intended age group.
remy hair extensions7. Finnick Odair is terrified of giant crabs
Sea crabs, that is. Despite his character’s prowess with a net and trident, Sam Claflin, who plays Finnick in the films, recently confessed to a profound phobia of the large crustaceans. "I think big crabs scare the living daylights out of me,” he said. “I dunno why, maybe because I’m a cancer."
8. Obscure Seventies electronic music is hidden in the soundtrack
While the official sound track to the first Hunger Games films includes tracks by well known artists such as Taylor Swift and Aracde Fire, viewers with a mockingjay-like aptitude for picking up tunes might have recognized some rather more obscure music embedded into the score of the first film. A sample from Sediment, a 1972 track from pioneering Seventies artist Laurie Spiegel, was used to enhance the intense, semi-surreal feel of the Cornucopia scene. The full track is nine minutes long, and was created by Siegel using an analog synthesizer and very retro tape machines.
9. You can enjoy "President Snow’s Dove Breasts in Bacon Drippings"
One entrepreneurial fan has produced a collection of recipes, designed to accurately reproduce the types of ingredients available to characters in The Hunger Games. Emily Ansara Baines’s The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook: From Lamb Stew to “Groosling” offers more than 150 recipes inspired by the franchise. Disappointingly for veggies, but perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s a pretty meat-heavy tome: delicacies on offer include “Rue and Katniss’s Apple Smoked Groosling”, and, for more discerning fans, “President Snow’s Dove Breasts in Bacon Drippings”. The latter can be made with actual doves, although the book suggests turkey as a substitute.
10. Fed up with your kids? You could have sent them to Hunger Games Summer Camp
Last year, a US summer camp hosted by the Country Day School in Largo, Florida offered children the chance to participate in a “real-life version of the Hunger Games”. To be fair to the parents who happily sent their offspring, the final “death match” was supposed to be a relatively tame flag-collecting contest. But in an article published in the Tampa Bay Times, writer Lisa Gartner reported on how some of the kids were getting a little too into the spirit of things, exchanging threats such as “I will probably kill you first" and "I might stab you". The article also reported injuries and fighting, with one boy being knocked down and kicked by a group of others. The camp was swiftly closed down.
perruques cheveux naturels11. It inspired a surge of interest in archery
According to Denise Parker, the CEO of USA Archery, the franchise has sparked a surge of interest in archery from young people, especially young girls – many of whom are eager to learn to use the type of bow used by Katniss in the films, known as a recurved bow. In an interview with the Journal Times, Parker said: “What is so amazing with Hunger Games is that you have this character, Katniss, who is confident and beautiful, and the way she uses the bow is an extension of that. That is what really resonates and makes people want to try this.”
12. The Tea Party are big fans
The Hunger Games books paint an allegorical picture of a society where the rich oppress the poor, and citizens are terrorised by a cruel dictatorship. In a rather beautiful example of spectacularly missing the point, the ultra- conservative US group The Tea Party produced a Hunger Games-inspired video, Tea Party Patriots: A Movement On Fire!, which borrows imagery from the films, and appears to call for a very undemocratic overthrow of the US government.
13. The books are full of highlights (for kindle users)
In a 2013 study, it was revealed that The Hunger Game book series includes eight of the top 10 passages singled out by Kindle readers for highlighting. The line most frequently picked out was was: “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.” (Given how easily Kindle screens seem to break, this feels rather appropriate).
14. Jennifer Lawrence’s Hunger Games hair cost $30,000…
In the Hunger Games books, Katniss has dark auburn hair, and the look was recreated for the films. Lawrence, who is naturally blonde, was worried about the damage that repeatedly colouring her hair might do to it, and refused to let stylists experiment on her locks in their search for the perfect shade. Instead, they rented five $6,000 lace wigs in different mahogany hues to determine the final colour.
perruques cheveux15. But she eventually had to chop it all off anyway
Despite her precautions, poor Lawrence’s hair ended up so damaged from the dyeing process, she eventually decided to cut her losses (and her hair) and adopt the short style she’s sporting at the moment. So, while her hair in the first film is all her own, the long dark locks Katniss sports in Mockingjay are actually a wig.
16. It inspired a reality TV show (no, really)
The Hunger Games might have been not-so-subtly satirising the insatiable public appetite for dubious reality TV shows. But has it dampened this appetite? Not at all. The US show Capture, which premiered in July 2013 on The CW, brings 12 teams of two to a 4,000-acre wilderness named the Arena, where the contestants must participate in “hunts” to eliminate other teams as they compete for a $250,000 grand prize. Disappointingly, no actual fighting to the death is allowed.
17. Suzanne Collins doesn’t just do violent dystopian fantasy. She also does cute Canadian bears
lace front wigsBack in the Nineties, Hunger Games author Collins penned episodes of the Canadian animated children’s TV series Little Bear – a gentle, rather charming show about a curious grizzly bear, based on the books by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrator Maurice Sendak. “All the writing elements are the same,” Collins said, when asked how the series compared with her rather more brutal Hunger Games books. “You need to tell a good story…. You’ve got good characters. People think there’s some a dramatic difference between writing Little Bear and the Hunger Games, and as a writer, for me, there isn’t.”
18. It’s all bread and circuses in Panem
Panem, the name given to the fictional country of The Hunger Games, is taken from the Latin phrase “Panem et circenses”, which translates, aptly enough, as “bread and circuses”. The phrase describes the use of diversionary techniques by leaders who want to generate public approval, whilst hiding some of the less savoury aspects of their regime. In Panem, the televised annual Games echo the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome, and distract the public from the grim reality of their situation.
19. When it comes to cats, Suzanne Collins knows exactly what she wants
The black and white cat who doubled up as Katniss’s moggy, Buttercup, in the first Hunger Games film was criticised by the author for being nothing like the scruffy yellow feline described in her books. For Catching Fire, director Francis Lawrence duly opted to replace the unsatisfactory animal with a new, yellow cat. “It's funny because now people are split,” he later said. “Some people think we should have continued on with what happened in the first movie. And some people are really happy. You never win.”
20. Jena Malone accidentally surprised a stranger whilst filming the nude elevator scene in Catching Fire
The scene in question, during which Malone’s character Johanna Mason provocatively strips in a lift in font of Peeta and Katniss, was filmed in a 49 floor Atlanta hotel. Unfortunately for Malone, the hotel was in use at the time of filming. During one take, the lift doors unexpectedly opened, to reveal a very surprised man, clutching a tray of coffees.
cosplay wigs21. Donald Sutherland really, really wanted to play President Coriolanus Snow
In fact, he was so eager to play the despotic leader of Panem, that he wrote Gary Ross, director of the first Hunger Games film, a three page letter detailing why he was so attracted to the part, and explaining what he believed were the three most important aspects of Snow’s persona. “I didn't want to write to you until I'd read the trilogy and now I have so: roses are of great importance. And Coriolanus's eyes. And his smile,” Sutherland wrote. “Those three elements are vibrant and vital in Snow. Everything else is, by and large, perfectly still and ruthlessly contained.” The actor’s dedication paid off: Ross not only gave him the part, but also penned a number of additional Snow scenes, set in the president’s rose garden, so that Sutherland could really bring the character to life on scene.
22. It’s “a great source of mathematical inspiration”
Rather endearingly, US sociology lecturer Michael A. Lewis, who frequently uses statistics in his work, believes that the Hunger Games books and films can “easily be used to turn students and others on to some of the different, but no less compelling, thrills that can be found in mathematics”. In a paper, published in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Lewis cites the books’ Tesserae system – in which poorer families can opt to enter their children’s names additional times in the Hunger Games lottery in return for a meagre supply of food – as the perfect way to teach children about statistics.
23. Katniss’s surname is a Thomas Hardy tribute
Well, a Thomas Hardy reference, anyway. (We just wanted to use the word “tribute”.) According to Suzanne Collins, Katniss is like Far From the Madding Crowd’s Bathsheba Everdeen, in that she can’t make up her mind about what she wants, and unwittingly causes pain to others through her indecisiveness, especially in matters of the heart. Other, perhaps more obvious influences tapped into by Collins include the ancient Greek myth of Theseus (in which seven young men and women must be sent to be eaten by the Minotaur), reality TV and her own her father's experiences in the Vietnam War.
24. President Snow has a really sore mouth
You may have missed it, but during one scene in Catching Fire, Snow can be seen spitting blood. This charming habit isn’t because the President needs a dose of Corsodyl – it’s a visual way of conveying the character’s fondness for poison. To evade suspicion, Snow swallows poisons, then takes an antidote afterwards – but the process leaves his mouth full of sores. In the books, the condition is hinted at by the putrid smell of his breath.
25. The viral campaign for the first film was run by unpaid volunteers
In a rather unethical but unarguably economical move (the Capitol would approve), the online viral marketing campiagn for the first film was run by unpaid fans of the books. A Daily Dot article revealed that one of the volunteers chosen to be a "Recruiter" for the campaign, Sarah Fe, was only 14.“It’s kind of affected my school life, because it’s more interesting than learning,” she said at the time.. “I spend 70 percent of my spare time with Capitol stuff. One morning I woke up with a message from them saying: ‘Citizen, the capitol has selected you as District 6 Official Recruiter.’ We don't know how they chose us, or why.”
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