Guest Post: Hunger Games Mark Evanses & Names

More from Prof. Louise Freeman at Mary Baldwin College on neglected details in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games!

Mark Evanses

(What is a ‘Mark Evans’? People we’ve heard mentioned in the story but not been told about who could turn out to be important later, or could just as likely be nobodies. Read here for the Harry Potter reference.)

  1. Peeta’s brothers. We know Prim from the get-go. We at least meet and learn something about Gale’s siblings: their ages, genders, the fact that little Rory registers for tesserae and was starting to learn hunting. All we know is that Peeta has two older brothers, one likely too old to be in the Games, the other eligible but who Katniss flatly states “won’t” volunteer to take his kid brother’s place.  Either Brother #2 knows of the Pearl Plot and realizes Peeta’s the best to court the Mockingjay, or he takes after his mom.
  2. The third District 12 Hunger Games Victor. We know nothing about this person, other than he/she is deceased and presumably won before Haymitch did.  It seems strange to mention this person and never follow up.  Will this person turn out to be a grandparent of one of our protagonists or a relative of someone else we know? Was he/she a contemporary of Mags who inspired revolution by carefully mentoring Haymitch?
  3. The fourth District 12 tribute from the 2nd Quarter Quell. The first called was a anonymous Seam girl, the second Maysilee Donner. Katniss is too taken aback by the revelations about Maysilee and the sight of her mother as a child to notice when the first male tribute is called and only appears to pick up watching again when Haymitch shows up on the tape. Again, it seems odd for Collins not to describe Tribute #3, not even in the nondescript way of QQ Girl #1. Could this man have an unrevealed connection to one of the current players?  Or could Peeta, yet again, be hiding something from Katniss and launch into the details of Maysilee, “Pearl” and Mrs. Everdeen as a means of distraction?

More Fun With Names

The grand slam multiple meanings award goes to Purnia, the female Peacekeeper who successfully ends Gale’s beating.  Assuming it is short for Calpurnia, we have:

1) Lex acilia calpurnia: the ancient Roman law against political corruption. [The Capitol presumably isn’t a big fan of this one!]

2) Lex Calpurnia: even more ancient Roman law that established the first Roman court [If there were any courts in District 12, Romulus Thread ignored them].

3) Julius Ceasar’s wife [Is there a name from that play Ms. Collins didn’t use?  I’m expecting Pompey Soothsayer to be a key new character in Mockingjay!]

4) the wise and protective maid from To Kill a Mockingbird.

As long as we’re hanging around Gale’s whipping pole, we should also look at the unfortunate Peacekeeper (later Avox) Darius.  While his name sounds like it fits in with the other Latin-sounding Capitol names (Romulus, Flavius), he should instead remind us of the Biblical Darius, Babylonian king who came to respect the one-time prisoner Daniel, who only reluctantly administered the required lion’s-den punishment to this righteous man and who, once Daniel’s God delivers him, turns the tables on Daniel’s accusers, casts them into the pit instead and orders his own pagan nation to worship Daniel’s God. Voiceless or not, I think the Capitol will regret keeping Darius alive.

Finally, let’s not forget she who is, at Quarter Quell #3, almost certainly the oldest living female Hunger Games Victor: Mags.  That name, like today’s “Maggie” is probably also derived from Margaret.  If Mrs. Donner-Undersee is indeed the “mother of pearl” revolutionary, certainly Mags must be considered the grandmother.

Comments

  1. I don’t find the lack of names anything to read into. Peeta’s brothers are probably dead, the other tribute probably just didn’t matter, and the first victor 12 had likewise probably wasn’t important.
    But the other look at names is certainly interesting and something to consider when looking into what may happen in Mockingjay, especially Darius.

  2. Yeah, the lack of names is definitely nothing to read into. In Suzanne Collins’ other series, The Underland Chronicles, a whole slew of characters go unnamed for the entire series – including the protagonist’s father, who’s quite important, and the protagonist’s surname, etc. They’re never mentioned and never important. Additionally, her other series also gives the characters names from Shakespeare or Greek Mythology, and the meanings of those names never hold any significance either. Sorry! I think these points might be a little far-fetched, though it’s a good one.

  3. Louise Freeman says

    Just curious, how does the Underland Chronicles compare to Hunger Games?

  4. I quite liked The Underland Chronicles, as much or more so than The Hunger Games, but they’re definitely for a younger audience. I read them when I was eleven or so. Still, you should give them a try! Her writing’s always great.

  5. You know what’s funny? I actually didn’t enjoy The Underland Chronicles as much as THG books, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. 🙂 I just finished them in the last couple of months, and maybe I was just expecting something else, but I was a little disappointed. Like THG, there’s adventure, suspense, and all kinds of violence, but I think the ending really ruined the books for me.
    The Underland books follow the same structure, though… each book is split into three parts with nine chapters each. There are the Roman/Shakespeare references, too. But neither of those impacted the plot much. Some characters go nameless, other characters are there but don’t move the plot (the Grandma?), others end up being important after seeming inconsequential. The “mean” mentor character has an important back story that he keeps from the main character, but that becomes important in the story’s resolution. The main character becomes the central figure in a war that isn’t his, and everyone involved knows more about his role/fate than he does (and won’t tell him about it). He learns more about the “puppet master” of the story and tries to do things on his own terms, etc.
    I saw a lot of parallels with the Hunger Games books, but maybe that’s because I read them first! I think people who like Suzanne Collins should check them out, but otherwise I don’t think I’d recommend them.

  6. I have read somewhere that Peeta’s brothers are named Matza and Challa. Matza was too old but Challa could have volunteered to save his brother but as Katniss said on reaping day family connections only run so deep and what she did was rare.

  7. Arabella Figg says

    Let the Melmark brothers rise. 😉

  8. Louise Freeman says

    I’d say most of my speculations are half-baked, at the very yeast. The only reference I’ve seen to Challa and Matza were on a fan-fic site.

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