Mockingjay Discussion 7: Gale Hawthorne

Ah, poor Gale! He is the hero of District 12 and of Katniss’ family for rescuing as many residents of the Seam as he did from the fire bombing, but the experience of seeing his community destroyed and Peeta being hijacked seems to have taken him around the twist. Gale winds up designing weapons and explosives that are as bad because taken from the same twisted playbook as the Capitol. Katniss’ final decision for Peeta rather than Gale because she did not need “Gale’s fire, kindled with rage and hatred” seemed about right. We knew that Gale raged against the Capitol, but, if you were like me, you didn’t seem him embracing war crimes as in burying people alive needlessly or creating sequentially fused bombs to take out rescue workers to defeat his enemies.

Was that too big a jump for the man of the Seam or about right? Does it capture, in contrast with Peeta’s PTSD agonies, another side of how war changes those who fight them?

Comments

  1. Since I am responding to so many of you and keep disagreeing with everyone, let me just say I in no way think my way is “right” it’s just how I read it, and I like hearing how others with different life experiences read into things differently. So I hope it’s coming across that way. 🙂

    PK9 – My impression was that Peeta was always Katniss’ choice. She feels that hunger certain times when kissing him, that she never felt with Gale. She holds his pearl to her lips (“a cool kiss from the giver”). She only finds comfort from her nightmares in his arms. She runs to his arms when he is rescued wondering if he will kiss her. But subconsciously she never allows herself to name her feelings until the war is over. For some in the face of war, love is something you grasp onto and claim and relish because you don’t know when you will lose it. But for Katniss, it is something she can not allow herself to have (and lose). It is one of her strongest means of survival, to not go to that place. I think as she struggles with the hijacked Peeta she deals more and more with the loss of a love she never acknowledged. After the war, i think she is so lost in grief that again she cannot deal with love and name her feelings for Peeta. But as she begins to recover and grow again she is able to do that. Choosing Peeta and telling him she loves him, is not a default choice. Peeta was always her choice whether she allowed herself to admit it or not. Realizing she loves him, and telling him, is Katniss’ victory, her declaration that war is over, the games have ended and a life she never imagined she would be able to have (remember she said from HG she would never get married) is finally possible.

  2. Rachel: No really I feel the same way- It’s good for me to hear different perspectives on this as well- because then it kind of opens my mind to something that I may not have thougth of…
    I just was so sad by a lot of things in this book- so actually this is therapeutic for me to get into these discussions- even Prim dying- what the heck!!! The whole series started b/c Katniss was trying to save Prim- and a year or two later, she dies anyways- oh so wrong!!! I also feel that yes although Katniss loved both Peeta and Gale (different types of love)- her love toward either of them, even Peeta is not strong as theirs for her- I just think Peeta’s love for her was so strong- always, and I don’t think she even came close to giving that type of love back- and I also believe that Gale loved her just as intensely, but in a different way, and of course as we all know, her feelings didn’t come close… Katniss is a lot like Gale in a sense that she is a survivor as well- she will do whatever she’s gotta do to “make it”- which was obvious from Hunger Games and Catching Fire- As Peeta is very forgiving, Katniss is not so forgiving (again a lot like Gale)- it’s just really sad that it had to come to that at the end…I do believe that at least Peeta and Katniss drew strength from eachother at the end of it all- where as Gale will probably be really screwed in the head… tragic really for somebody who did so much for all of their freedom…

  3. Jae- Me too. No one else I know has finished the book yet, and it is killing me not to be able to talk about it. There is so much to process. Especially Prim!! Finnick too hit me hard. I think that is when some of the harshness of the war first really hit home for me, was when he died so quickly and there wasn’t even time to mourn.

    I agree in HG and CF Katniss love (subconsious) was not as intense for Peeta as his was for her. Then again Peet’a love was based on never having had a conversation with her. So while intense, it was somewhat superficial since it was not wholly based in the reality of who Katniss was, but rather who Peeta imagined her to be.

    I thought when Katniss was dealing (or rather not dealing) with hijacked Peeta she came to realize how much she had taken his love for granted. I think she even thinks this to herself when they are in the fur cellar.

    Hijacked Peeta, stripped of his original love also has to learn to love Katniss for who she actually is. He sees all sides of her, including the bad ones.

    My hope (I don’t have any concrete example to pull this from, it’s just what i hope happened), is that when they “grow together” Peeta’s love is based firmly on who Katniss is, good and bad and that Katniss forms an attachment to him that is equally strong as his is to her, realizing what it is like to lose his love and never taking it for granted again. So that together the love they form is true and strong on both sides.

  4. I do believe that Peeta’s love for Katniss is unconditional- he will love her no matter what- thru thick and think- thru good and bad… As far as Katniss goes, I know she loves him, but more than that, she knows she needs him- like Gale said one time, she will choose who-ever that will help her survive- like I said Gale knew Katniss better than she knew herself… She does need Peeta to survive- she is so messed up, she knows only Peeta’s “goodness” and calmness, helps her find some peace- which is what she needs to survive after all that she’s gone through…

  5. Oh I forgot to add, in response to “Katniss is a lot like Gale” I completely agree. They are extremely similar. I think Katniss could have very, very easily taken the same path Gale took in the rebellion had it not been for her time in the games. In fact you see her considering it and even justifying it at times. I think her time in the arena taught her a lot about the consequences of actions (how the people you kill never really leave you), the victory tour showed her those people had families who loved and depended on them as well, and her time in the Capitol also opened her mind to the fact that not all people in the Capitol were evil (they were mostly just very ignorant, like her prep team), and if not for all of that experience, she could have found herself lock step with Gale.

    I also think Katniss and Gale would have been perfect together if not for her time in the arena. And she probably would have grown to love him over time spent in District 12. Then again, I don’t know that she would have ever acknowledged her feelings for him, since she had committed herself to never allowing herself to be married and she seems pretty good at sticking to those type of emotional boundaries on herself. Perhaps if a 13 rebellion took place and succeeded but Katniss was never in the games, and never the Mockingjay, they would have been the ones to be together.

    Gale’s ending is really sad (and one of the harder parts of the book for me). That’s another part that drives home the reality of war for me. Is that the hero becomes one of the biggest victims of the war.

  6. “the hero becomes one of the biggest victims of the war”- Oh so true….

  7. Rachel, just wanted to bring it into the conversation. But what you wrote about Beetee seems spot-on. And that last comment summarized Gale nicely as well.

  8. Someone may have mentioned this before but I think one of the significant parts of this relationship is prim. Katniss may have had reservations about Gale’s character and yes, there were already wedge that were dividing them. But somehow, I beleive, if Prim hadn’t been in the fire fire, then Katniss, while not happy about the killing of children, may have eventually allowed herself to be his friend again, even if it wasn’t as close as before.
    If Prim hadn’t died in that particular bomb, they might have stood a chance. I think thats the saddest part of it all; two people gone with one collossal mistake.

  9. Katniss and Peeta were both broken people, but they were able to mend things given time. I honestly believe that had Gale not been a coward about it (and Peeta not been present as a rival), Katniss and Gale had a chance to repair their relationship. No, Katniss would never be able to look at Gale without thinking about the bomb that killed Prim, but I think what the epilogue proved is that it’s possible for life to go on, even in the face of such a tragedy.

    I think life is full of examples where one person wronged the other in a huge way accidentally, and because of the remorse of that person the other eventually repaired the relationship. But Gale ran. He went and hid in district 2.

  10. That is the one thing that is nagging at me with the ending of this series. Gale is gone. He left. The last time he saw Katniss was before she killed President Coin? Or am I forgetting one small moment.?

    So after she has kids, and her and Peeta live their lives and try to move on…. He still doesn’t come around? Call? Try to repair what seemed like such a strong relationship? Did war do that to the two of them, or was it always going to happen? That depresses me. I never wanted Katniss to end up with Gale in the end….but to never speak to each other again seems like a waste of a magnificent friendship 🙁

  11. “That is the one thing that is nagging at me with the ending of this series. Gale is gone. He left. The last time he saw Katniss was before she killed President Coin?”

    This bothered me too. A LOT. Until I reread the Epilogue. She left some parts to the imagination. As a good epilogue should.

    “eventually Hundreds returned to twelve, Because It’s Home.”

    This allowed me to create an alternate ending in my head and have closure for Gale. So for all of you who need closure for Gale as I did. Overtime Katniss can forgive him and see him for the friend he is. He comes back to twelve if nothing more that to visit. (Where is his family living?) I think Twelve holds Gale’s own Hunger Game nightmares. Just as it does for Katniss’ mom. However I believe they can both one day return after they have healed. Then they can have the closure and friendship that they deserve.

  12. I dont think gale just left her by choice. he had to 4 both their sake. too much pain…gale has stood by her always. but neither r strong enough to face their emotions. they never were. both are very similar. gale truly stood out to me, even more than katniss and peeta. i dont blame him at all 4 prims death. he didnt send that order. i cant believe katniss blames him. i mean i kno she is messed up and she does need to blame somebody bc she cant deal w what happened to prim. but in my opinion it just shows her weakness

  13. I genuinely think that Gale left because he knows Katniss better than anyone. He knows how she works. Only Haymitch comes close.

    “Someone who will not plead, or explain, or think he can alter my design with entreaties, because he alone knows how I [Katniss] operate.” – CF

    Very telling quote.

    I don’t think Gale was a coward by leaving. I think he, once again, foresaw what Katniss would want. He realized he no longer could be a possibility for her, that now his very presence was going to remind him of Prim’s death. I think he knew that Katniss was not going to get past it, and he was not going to forgive himself for it.

    Viddy: I agree with you.

    Jae and Michelle: To be honest, this is one of the events of the book that I’ve had to make more peace with, as well. I think healing is necessary. Especially for them, because their bond was so strong are great. Maybe even Peeta helped Katniss to get there one day, so that they wouldn’t become total strangers in the end. Like, PK9 said, just be able to repair their relationship or salvage as much as they could. (Though some part of me think that would’ve be as painful, to only have crumbs of they once had.)

    I think that Gale looked out for Katniss from D2, even if she didn’t know. Much like she asked where did he go to and thought of him when she entered the woods. I don’t think she forgot about her. Gale’s mom may have even stay in touch with Katniss’ mom, as well.

    One thing I’m sure is this: Gale needed to find as much peace as Katniss, before even attempting to reach out again. And I don’t think he would’ve attempt it before making sure that’s what she wanted to.

  14. I think part of it is that Gale never apologizes. Not even a “I never meant it to happen, and if I played any part in it I’m sorry.” Even freakin’ President SNOW apologized. Gale just leaves with a “Does it matter?”

    I know there are some arguments that he does it for Katniss, to give her to Peeta who might be better for her. But the way the end is written, it sounds like he decided to go to D2 without any knowledge that Peeta would be returning to D12. Leaving Katniss with no one but Haymitch is pretty mean.

  15. Joan and Jae. I agree. I am sure he looked out for them from D2 as all friends continue to do even after they grow up. (why else is facebook so popular. Humans have a need to stay in touch with those they love)

    I don’t think he abandoned her. I think Prim’s death was more than he could handle. After all it was he who took care of them while Katniss was in the arena. He was the one that thought to check for Katniss’ family during the raid not Katniss. I think he blamed himself for it, and seeing Katniss only reminded him of that. I think until he was able to realize that he didn’t make the decision to use that bomb, Coin did, He wouldn’t be able to be with her.

    Also I wonder if Katniss’ arrow would have gone for Snow if Prim had lived. Then nothing would have been solved.

  16. Louise M. Freeman says

    I see Gale as more genuinely repentant than some. An apology would have been insufficient and upset Katniss more than comforted her, so I think Gale knew better than to try. When Katniss returned to her home, she finds her treasured possessions there, with the exception of the Mockingjay pin (which vanished with the rest of the uniform, replaced by the paper robe) and the pearl, which presumably went up in smoke with Katniss, if it was still in her pocket. Gale had saved those treasures from the firebombing and, if he had not brought them to the house himself, he probably saw to it that they made it there. He is also the one most likely to have suggested Greasy Sae, his old friend from the Hob, as her caregiver. In his own way, I like to think he was making her District 12 exile as pleasant as possible. He also likely knew Peeta would go there as soon as the government would let him. He included the locket, which suggested he knew he was out of the running. He loved Katniss enough free her to be with Peeta and distance himself.

    And, by choosing District 2 for his exile, he keeps himself far away. His “fancy job” that gets him on television is likely an important job, and the most important job in 2 is rebuilding after the attack. I think if the collapse of the Nut is to remind us of anything, it’s the bombing of Hiroshima. The war may have pushed Gale into designing a weapon of unimaginable horror, but his penance was returning to help rebuild.

  17. neither katniss nor gale reaaly can get eachother out of their system. theres just too much history btw them. whether she realizes or not she will always love gale. she is yelling 4 him to kill her after shooting coin. she asks 4 him to greasy sae even when she is mentally unstable at the end. she eve tries to go to their spot in the woods but is too tired to make it. even near the end in the woods shes hoping he comes there silently like he used to. i truly believe that nobdy knows katniss better than gale. he had to leave. it would only hurt her. ultimately he always wanted her safe and happy. gale was never good w words, just like katniss was never good. he doesnt have to say sorry. its obvious he is even beyond sorry. in this situation saying sorry would not b enuf. i think one day when they both r ready this will be adressed between the all of the pain, sorries, apreciation, and always having eachothers back will come up. i have to believe that. bc even thru distance i know gale will always have her back and watch over her.

  18. PK9, Gale just leaves with a “Does it matter?”

    Because that’s how Katniss operates, and Gale knows it. I think Katniss gave up on Gale before Gale gave up on Katniss. Gale gave up on Katniss after she couldn’t answer if it didn’t matter or not. It clearly did, and he knew that she was going say that. Her silence was her answer.

    “We stand there, face-to-face, not meeting each other’s eyes. ‘You didn’t come see me in the hospital.’ He doesn’t answer, so finally I just say it. ‘ Was it your bomb?'”

    My interpretation is that he didn’t see her in the hospital because (1) he was mourning Prim and his indirect involvement, and (2) because he knew what would happen next, he anticipated once again the way Katniss would operate.

    I do agree though, by the way the end is written, that Gale leaving for D2 had nothing to do with Peeta returning or not to D12. (After all, Katniss had no choice but to go to D12 after Coin’s assassination, and that was yet to happen.) I saw it as him realizing that, Peeta or no Peeta, he just would not be the person Katniss needed to “survive” after war.

    Like he told Peeta, “Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can’t survive without.” Not even Peeta refuted. Another of the many blunt truths Gale said in Mockingjay.

    I think it was very brave of him to leave, actually. I don’t think it was an easy decision, letting go. I only have respect for his character for doing that.

    I do see where you are coming from, though.

  19. Posted before seeing Louise M. Freeman. Great observations about Katniss’ possessions being in D12 when she gets there, and why he would pick D2 to live afterward. Excellent! Just wanted to say that.

  20. to Louise: thanx for that perspective. It really makes a lot of sense to me. I really wish the author would srite some more about these charaters bc theres too many unanswered questions. and ! truly feel that Gale is the silent hero in this book. He did so much and never left her side. Its unfortunate that Katniss was so quick to blame somebody who would have easily died for her.

  21. So many comments to read though! Good discussion, I agree that Collins seems to be using Gale to state that one shouldn’t use the same tools and tactics of what we are trying to overcome, very relevant in today’s geo-political situation.
    Gale and Beettee design the bomb, and when Katniss criticizes their targeting innocents, Gale responds that they’re just doing to the Capitol what the Capitol has been done them. Vengence. Katniss isn’t convinced.
    Gale’s weapon ended up being used in a way he never imagined, and he knows and is haunted by it. It’s similar to many scientists who worked to develop the Atomic bomb, they thought it would be used as a scare tactic against Germany and never imagined that it would be used on people.
    I always liked Gale, but I liked him less in this book because of his willingness to sacrifice others, not just himself, in his fight against the Capitol. In another thread somewhere on here or the Hogshead someone pointed out that Gale was losing ground by coming down on what Katniss deemed the wrong side of every philosophical argument they had. It did make me sad how much the war changed Gale, and Katniss and Gale’s friendship in particular. They went from devoted childhood friends at the beginning of the series, to being completely estranged at the end of the war. It was sad to see communication between the two of them deteriorate throughout the last book. I don’t doubt that Gale loved Katniss and wanted her happiness (but as he admits, unlike Peeta, he didn’t sacrifice everything for her), but the weapons he helped create ended up creating a chasm that neither of them could cross. Another example of the lasting impact of war, very sad.

  22. The thing about the HG is that we only get Katniss’s perspective, so when she looks at Gale, we only know what she sees. She sees Prim. There’s no question of Gale’s involvement (whether direct or indirect we don’t know). But what does Gale see when he looks at Katniis?
    I think that District 2 is his purgatory. SC doesn’t tell us what his job is, but I imagine it’s somewhere that is in direct view of the Nut. Because that’s a reminder for Gale of all that he lost in the war.
    Also, I agree with Louise M. Freeman , that he may have been watching out for Katniss all along. She still feels his presence in their woods, and I don’t think he will ever leave her. And from the Gale that I know, she will never leave him.

  23. Thank you everyone for such a great discussion on one of my favorite characters in the trilogy. My mind (and heart) is a jumble of emotions trying to get out.

    Poor Gale indeed. It must have taken extreme love and self control for him to see Katniss knowing it will most likely be their last.

    While I understand Katniss’s extreme sadness at losing Prim, I cannot accept how she would completely sever her friendship with Gale.
    The final comment on Gale “I dig around inside myself, trying to register anger, hatred, longing. I find only relief.” Relief? Relief he isn’t around? Relief he is safe after Coin’s assassination?

    Katniss started a book with things she wanted to remember and none of those entries included Gale. Not any memory of even the pre-war, best hunting partner, person who knows her better than anyone, Gale. She can look past her horror of (the scent of) roses and even fight to keep alive victors that found joy in killing her and her allies, but not look past something that Gale had no control over. The epilogue takes place 15 plus years later and yet no mention of Gale.

    Her sadness over Prim’s death is no excuse for the complete avoidance of everything Gale, especially after 15 years of forgiving everyone else and dealing with things that remind her of Prim. (Surely Dr.Aurelius would not have thought this avoidance would do any good mentally and psychologically.)

    While I feel Gale has to accept his own hand in Prim’s death, I also feel if Katniss wanted to keep their friendship alive (no matter how late in life), he would welcome it. Given what happened, he cannot be the one to initiate communication. She has to. And while Prim was her little sister, I’m sure Prim meant a lot to Gale as well. While Katniss had others that really know her help her get over the grief (Peeta, Haymitch, etc.), who did Gale have? Gale didn’t leave Katniss alone in her time of greatest need. Katniss left Gale in his. In my mind, Katniss doesn’t deserve Gale.

    Michelle – I like your alternate ending idea. I might have to use it to keep my sadness at bay. =)

  24. I also wanted to add that I’m not forgetting Gale’s hand in Prim’s death. I don’t consider it his fault. Three things had to happen for Prim’s death: 1. creation of the bomb. 2. using the bomb and 3. allowing Prim (an underaged child) to be in the front lines. Gale had nothing to do with the last two. In my mind, blaming Gale for Prim’s death is like blaming the inventor of the spear for Rue’s death. If it wasn’t a bomb of Gale’s design, it would have been a bullet from a Peacemaker, a pod designed by the Capitol or weapon designed/used by the rebels. Once Prim was put in the front lines, her life was in danger.

  25. to Indigo: I completely agree w everything you said. I also am very disappointed in Katniss. yes, she deserted gale. The guy who always looked out for her and her family. She is the only one who can help Gale get past this. But whatever, Katniss can be selfish and a user. She has shown this w Peeta as well many times. She was being mean about Peeta many times as well in this book. And actually it was Gale who always ended up saying something 2 defend Peeta. I think Gale will always love her. I really dont think gale did anything wrong in this book.He did what he needed to so that the capitol didnt control after the war. That would have been devestating dor everybody and he knew it. again gale got screwed in this book, and to me he was the tragic hero.

  26. The Peeta Lover says

    Thanks all for the great disscussion to help me clear my thoughts out about Mockingjay. special thanks to Indigo, Joan, Jae, and Louise. Although i dont blame Katniss for being mad at Gale for the first couple weeks after Prims death. but 15 years? that is certainly not acceptable, and i think Katniss is being stuborn and stupid to waste 5 years of close friendship for one tragety. especialy when Gale would have taken a bullet, arrow, spear, knife, or whatever other torture device you can think of, for Katniss (or any member of her family) without hesitation. Shutting yourself up in District 12, not bothering to be by Gale in his time of need, dispite the countless times he was there for you, not even once telling him, after 15 years that you dont blame him for Prim’s death is not helping Katniss’s cause. she mkved down pretty low on the totem pole for me in Mockingjay.

  27. To the Peeta Lover: I agree. I really liked Katniss in HG and CF- I thought she was a strong character, but in this book, I was disappointed in the choices she was making. I know she’s gone through a lot, but she’s not strong like she was. It was always Prim, Haymitch and Gale who kept helping her see all sides. She wasn’t even so nice to Peeta- the guy saved all of Dist 13 at his expense- and he’s messed up when he returns… he’s going thru rehab, and because she doesn’t like hearing what he has to say, she leaves??? Really???? Again, pretty shallow of her- Katniss runs when she has to be strong emotionally, unless she is forced to face it. Peeta was always good with making her face things in his own calm way…Gale was too much like her in terms of not being able to communicate or show emotions- he’s also the type to avoid… so when he said to her he would have to be dead to not have remembered that kiss… or even then he still would, or when he had tears in his eyes (cuz you know he probably never shows that side of him); or that maybe he is the guy in the Hanging Tree… It broke my heart… Gale stood out to me in this book- I was really drawn to his character- his strength, his love for Katniss, his determination to win the war (bc really can you imagine if the Capitol won???) All of their life would be even more horrific right now- he knew that- and he stayed strong and made some tough choices- and unfortunately that’s the nature of a war… you really can NOT be wooshie waashie when you’re trying to win the war- yes it sucks, and yes many people will die, many innocents will die, and yes even your loved ones… but it’s what happens in wars- it’s reality… and in this case, there had to be a war against the Capitol, b/c of what was happening to the districts for so many years… So yeah I really don’t understand when people say bad things toward Gale- to me he really did what he had to do, and still always had her back, always protected her, till then end…

  28. Thank you for this discussion! None of my friends have read mockingjay so I have no one to discuss it with.
    This makes me feel better because I was really sad about the ending with Gale, I wish they could’ve stayed friends. I loved Peeta but gale was very special also and For a second I thought gale really left because he just didn’t care and neither did katniss.

    To me it seemed like katniss thought that gale abandoned her in the final ten pages, or was she just trying to reassure her self that he’d be better off with out her?

  29. To tell you the truth, I was sort of upset at the ending of the book. Sooo many things left unanswered!! But what I was most confused about is how Gale was just kicked out of the picture. And also it upsets me that Prim had to die, since she was the whole reason Katniss went to the Hunger Games, and the rebellion started. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book but the ending was not how I think I would have written it

  30. Yeah what the heck!!! The whole thing started with her trying to save Prim- and then Prim dies a year later anyways- what a let down… Really I just don’t get it- just like Finnick and Annie finally get together for him to die anyways- really??? I just don’t get it- the fans want to feel good after so much these characters went through- and I’m sorry, I felt even worst at the end of the series… many questions unanswered, and I’m very bitter about the whole Gale thing- not fair after all that he did! I think I’ll be bitter about it for a long time…And I’m not sure what Katniss meant with feeling relieved about Gale- maybe because he was ok??? I mean she was still thinking about him at the end… when she envisioned him coming to her in the woods, her asking Greasy Sae about him, her trying to get to their “spot” in the woods…Gale should have challenged her more to confront her feelings about him- but again, that’s not Gale- oh well, it is what it is… maybe if SC hears all these reviews, she may consider writing another book to give us closure to all this… like I say I feel really empty at the end of the series- and the epilogue- weird… I was like what??? 15 yrs later you have kids? What the heck! And she still sounds jacked up- and she doesn’t mention all those important people in her life at all- no Gale, no Haymitch, no mom, no Johanna, no Annie…. Yeah, I’m all worked up still- lol!!!! Thank God for these boards so that I can discuss all of my POV… and let it all out… my friends are not done reading it yet…and thanks to all of you for all your POV as well…

  31. She always said that she didn’t want to bring kids into a world where they could be subjected to the Hunger Games. The epilogue shows that the oppressive Captiol regime really is over… the world is a better place because of the revolution and she felt safe enough to bring children into it. So I think her having kids at the end makes sense (though it’s kind of annoying that her only reasoning is, “Peeta really wanted them.”)

  32. Britt, I think Katniss talk is a bit out-of-topic, but in short, I think she says “But Peeta wanted them so badly” because even though the Capitol regime and the war is over, her struggle isn’t.

    Saying things like “that’s when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I’ve seen someone do. It’s like a game. repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than 20 years” does not imply peace of mind nor safety. Someone in another site pointed out as well how she refer to her kids as “the boy” and “the dancing girl”. Katniss does seem detached at the end.

    I think Katniss had a lifetime struggle. That’s why she holds on to Peeta, who ultimately represents what she needs to survive: hope, “the promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our loses. That it can be good again.”

    Indigo, great posts up there.

  33. I guess I should have clarified that I was responding to the previous post by jae: “and the epilogue- weird… I was like what??? 15 yrs later you have kids? What the heck!”

  34. For real…You know as much as I wanted Gale to end up with her, the story ends the best way, and it hard for me to admit that!!….Its gonna take me a few days to come to grips with it. All three books brought one fantastic adventure…

  35. Mrs. Hawthorne says

    I feel like Gale’s character was just thrown away at the end. I mean, the author spends a lot of the series letting the reader get to know Gale and like him. He is really helpful and comforting to Katniss, and a good asset to the war. But in the end, nothing really happens. As Katniss puts it, he ends up with a fancy job, kissing another pair of lips. His new job isn’t even mentioned, and he never even sees/talks to Katniss after the war.

  36. Interesting, the term “thrown away”, Mrs. Hawthorne…as I am sure many real surviving war veterans live out their lives feeling that way. A fulfilling life is one with perceived purpose; I believe Gale found purpose in D2 that either did not conflict with his old life in D12 or helped him balance the lost relationship with Katniss.

    I certainly would argue that alot happens for Gale. Apparently his “fancy” job in D2 periodically lands him on the Panem screens for all to see. I wonder how that makes him feel? Invaded? Put upon? Wishing he had more privacy? Somewhat more understanding of Katniss’ need for closure and the freedom to live her life beyond the Games? And if this newfound fame has come with new friendships and a potential romantic relationship, all the better.

  37. Ummm not sure if Gale really craved fame- I don’t even know where that came from to be honest. I think he got the job b/c he earned it from all of his efforts from the war. He really is a great leader- and as far as his personal life goes, I think he also is not good with facing his emotions (like Katniss)- and I can see him burying himself in his work- to stay busy and find some type of purpose- no doubt I think he’ll do great things b/c he just has that personality. Although he will always feel empty b/c he obviously lost something very precious to him. As I feel that Katniss still feels empty at the end, even in the epilogue. And no doubt he’ll always make sure Katniss is ok even from afar, b/c he’ll always love her. I think ultimately he just wanted her to be happy- and seeing him would cause her pain (although this is pretty shallow of her in my opinion). Anyways like I say, this book just gave me more questions and made me feel even worse… for all of the characters that I fell in love with… nobody really seemed happy at the end…

  38. for all of the characters that I fell in love with… nobody really seemed happy at the end…

    I think there was only one character in the entire book who was really happy in the end.

  39. to PK9: Peeta?

  40. President Snow. He died laughing. 🙂

  41. lol! Too funny!!!! So true… 🙂

  42. George THANK YOU, that totally made my day! *snickers* 😉 I think I’d agree with you.

  43. I was wondering about after Katniss shot Coin and was in solitary confindment. What do you guys think happened with gale? I mean, do you think he understood why she did it, tried to get her out or testified for her? Do you think he wanted to see her, do you think he tried? Or did he just leave to district 2 without knowing what would happen to her? I know we don´t know this from the book but I wonder what your opinions are.

  44. jae: Plutarch Heavensbee. Nothing seems to bother him.

  45. I’ve thought about that as well- and I do believe because of Gale’s role in the war, he was probably promoted to some big position. And knowing Gale, as much he really understood Katniss (even better that she understood herself), he was not surprised at all at her shooting Coin- he knew that Katniss recognized that Coin would just be another Snow… and he probably totally suppported her decision on that (esp since he probably found out that Coin sent the order to drop the bombs that killed Prim)- and because I think his opinion mattered when it came to pardoning her- I think he played a HUGE role in making sure she didn’t get executed… I also think he’s the one who made sure that all of her “things” that mattered to her was sent to her house at Dist 12. I also think that he sent Greasy Sae over there to watch over her until Peeta got there- he knew Peeta was going to go to her as soon as he got better- I have to believe this b/c Gale would have done anything for Katniss and there’s no way he could turn his back on her- that’s why she was screaming for him to kill her after she shot Coin. But he didn’t do it- first of all, there’s no way he could, but also because he knew he could use his influence to get her out of there… this is my perspective…

  46. Louise Freeman says

    Good question. I’d like to think that if he didn’t understand at first, he’d have understood the moment Peeta (or whoever) told him about the plans for continuing the Hunger Games. I think the death of Prim would have been a splash of cold water in his face, and made him back off of his “win-with-the-most-lethal-weapon-you-have” mentality. He clearly cared for Prim, having saved her life twice (and her cat’s once) and he had younger siblings himself. And there’s no indication, even at his “war crimes” worst, he would have advocated deliberate torture and murder of the innocent children of an enemy that had already been defeated.

    Whether he’d have wanted or tried to see Katniss is uncertain; he may have realized he’d said his last good-bye. But I think it’s likely he’d have testified in her behalf if needed, if it was to save her life. I don’t think he’d ever stop doing that and, as I mentioned before, I think the presence of her book, bow, etc. in her District 12 exile house are evidence of his continued care.

  47. Thank you for your insights! I agree with both of you but since nothing was actually stated in the books its good to hear someone else back it up. thanks!

  48. Poor Gale :'(
    I was extremely sad to find out what happened to Katniss and Gale in the end. I was “Team Gale” even before Peeta was even introduced in HG, his character is just intriguing to me.

    To me, what Gale did in the end of MJ was not a form of cowardice, but of bravery. He must be hurt badly by Prim’s death, especially knowing that it was one of his inventions that killed her. I don’t think he could forgive himself for it. I think after Katniss asked him whether or not it was his bomb that killed Prim, he knew his chance was gone. He knew leaving Katniss was the best solution for both of them, since Katniss now would only see Prim’s death in him. I respect him for not pursuing her or pressuring her to keep the relationship going, because it would only hurt Katniss, and he surely knew that. It must be really hard for him to do this, since he was in love with Katniss (probably as much as Peeta was). As he said to Peeta, Katniss would choose the one she couldn’t live without. By this time Gale knew Katniss would be better off without him, so he withdrew. He knew Katniss better than she knew herself (Collins stresses this in all three books).

    Overall, I really liked the ending of MJ, but I just wished Collins made Katniss rationalize Gale’s actions instead of just not caring and letting go that easily. “Kissing another pair of lips.” Really? Really?? I guess Katniss didn’t know him anymore. I don’t think Gale could ever get over her, especially that quick. She also chastised him for not killing her when she was dragged by the guards after shooting Coin. I mean, did she really think he could just shoot her like that? No, that would be stupid.

    Gale probably suffered more than Katniss post-war. He didn’t have anyone (his family most likely moved back to D12), he felt guilt over Prim’s death, he tries to let go of Katniss…

    What I choose to believe what happened:
    After Katniss shot Coin and called Gale to shoot her, Gale tried to get to her but got beaten by the guards. He then testified for her trial to save her from being executed. He sent her stuff back to D12, and Greasy Sae to take care of her. He probably watched over her from afar too. He kept himself busy with his job in D2 to forget the past and move on.

    I really really hope Collins will write a Gale spin-off *crosses fingers*

  49. Oi— I think you people are missing the essence of Gale.

    Gale was in love with Katniss, but even the way he fell in love with her shows into his character. He “discovered he minded.” There was never this selfless passion like Peeta’s– it was originally a protective instinct. Like everything else I’m about to say about Gale, there’s nothing wrong with that.

    The point is that Katniss was not his top priority. In Catching Fire, when he discovers that several of the districts are rising up [right after Katniss asks him to run away] that shows up clearly, to me and to Katniss. In a sense, it’s healthier than Peeta’s obsession, except for the fact that it’s replaced with an all-consuming fire to KILL the Capitol.

    Katniss felt the fire for killing as well [I KILL SNOW] but the main message of the series is that the revenge, the crushing, isn’t what matters [in the end, Katniss chooses to sacrifice her own vendetta against Snow and kill Coin, actually putting things on the road to recovery]– it’s getting things back on track so that innocence can exist once again. Gale and, at moments, Katniss, forgot what exactly they were fighting for. Well, actually, I don’t think Gale was ever fighting for the return of innocence…

    I was originally extremely attracted to Gale because he actually had a vision for something other than Katniss, in contrast with Peeta. His fire appealed to me. It was annoying how dependant Peeta was on Katniss.

    But even at the beginning we see that Gale is a cold, hard, strong, fiercely protective hunter with a lot of fight [she thinks about his sexy hands making traps to kill animals and his desire to rile up the miners]. He’s defined by his hatred of being trampled on. He’s been trampled on his entire life and he can’t stand it another second. He needs to fight. It’s his own desire to be liberated that fuels him on as well, not just a need to banish cruelty.

    There’s something missing in Gale.

    “Mockingjay” doesn’t indicate, in any way, that Gale regrets the bomb. In fact, it seemed evident to me that he viewed the whole thing like, “boy, I sure feel bad about Katniss, but it had to be done.”

    His attitude about the war never changes. He’s okay with sacrificing a few so that he’s not trampled on.

    I don’t think he was “running away” to D2, either. He’s goal driven [not fame driven] and he’s going to find the next thing to conquer.

    Did he abandon Katniss? Well, if you think about it, he never went to great lengths to pursue her. They were hunting buddies. He was in love with her.

    He decided it was time to let her go. Or maybe he was finally flabbergasted with how screwed up she is.

    I think his decision to pursue success in D2 reflects what’s inside of him, like all choices do. It’s another way for him not to be trampled on. Hey, I just realized this, but in order for him to be with Katniss, he would have had to let her trample upon him a little, or at least his decisions. He would have had to regret the bomb.

    Gale’s world doesn’t revolve around Katniss. It revolves around a need to achieve, to hunt, to fight until he’s really free. To be shackle-less.

    At first glance, that’s noble.

    There’s nothing holding him to anyone. He did something neccessary. He ended the war. He is a hero. He has no roots. He didn’t need Katniss, even though he loved her. He doesn’t have any regrets. I can picture him sighing, shaking even, but thinking, “Poor Katniss. It’s her loss.”

    Katniss didn’t end up having to choose. Peeta was the one who NEEDED her. He came back. And stuck around.

    It’s sad. With Gale’s decision…

    Katniss realizes it. She feels relief. I realize it too…. I see Gale for what he really is.

    Gale is a jerk.

  50. Interesting points of view Grace.
    I also see Gale as “a cold, hard, strong, fiercely protective hunter with a lot of fight.” Gale is not a wilting flower, crying in the corner, waiting for Katniss to call.
    I agree his love for Katniss was not the all sacrificing love like Peeta’s. Like you, I was more drawn to Gale’s fire than Peeta’s self sacrifice and dependence (which was a bit much for me to swallow).

    I also don’t believe Gale was fighting for the “return of innocence”. I always thought he was fighting for freedom from Capitol oppression.
    However, I do disagree with the statement that Gale lost track of what he was fighting for. (Katniss is a completely different story.) On the contrary, I think Gale was so focused that he was willing to go further than the other rebels (blocking up the Nut, using Snow’s tactics in his traps, etc). By the time Mockingjay took place, he was like an overstrung bow waiting to be let lose with the Capitol in his sight. The fact that he could do nothing to prevent Katniss from being taken away for the Capitol’s Games and enjoyment only add fuel to the hatred he was already feeling at the beginning of Hunger Games.

    “Mockingjay” doesn’t indicate, in any way, that Gale regrets the bomb. In fact,
    it seemed evident to me that he viewed the whole thing like, “boy, I sure feel bad
    about Katniss, but it had to be done.” His attitude about the war never changes. He’s okay with sacrificing a few so that he’s not trampled on.

    — While I agree that he is willing to sacrifice a few for his greater good, I do not think the few includes those he loved. I saw that clearly in his actions:
    1. Gale saved everyone he could when the Capitol attacked District 12 to the extent where he was providing for 900 or so people. If he is willing to sacrifice Prim (someone he probably considered his own family), then I doubt he will think twice about sacrificing the extra 900 mouths to feed. Why save them? He would have just saved his family and be done with it. And yet he saved as many as he could and kept them alive long enough to get saved by District 13.
    2. When District 13 was attacked, he stayed behind to save Prim and the items that he knows is special to Katniss. What is the point of saving Prim only to say “oh well, it had to be done” later on? Surely, Prim dying early on would have fueled Katniss faster to join his cause in destroying all things Capitol versus having Prim die in the end when they were already invading the Capitol and going to kill Snow.
    Actions like these make me believe that he never included his loved ones in his willingness to sacrifice for his version of the greater good.

    Like you, I also do not think he wasn’t “running away” to District 2. With his experience on traps, hunting, fighting for the militant rebels and working with Beetee, I think District 2 is where he felt most comfortable. He cannot bring himself to go back to District 12 (whether due to being too emotional to live with the wreckage of everything he knew [we saw this when they went back to film] or giving Katniss her space) so might as well go to the district where he can be of most use and do what he knows best. I thought of it as a practical decision (very Gale-like).

    I do disagree that his decisions were made to be “shackle-less”. He has family. He has always shown that he will do what it takes to support his family and when needed, even Katniss’s family. Hunger Games opens with Gale and Katniss talking about running away. It was Gale, not Katniss, that said they couldn’t do it because they had too many kids. And as I pointed out above, he was willing to protect and provide for others when the need arose. This does not seem like the actions of a person whose goal is to be “shackle-less”.

    While I think Gale is far from a wilting flower, crying in the corner, waiting for Katniss to call, I also don’t picture him saying “Poor Katniss. It’s her loss.” and moving on, unaffected, the rest of his life.

    Overall, I feel it was a fitting ending to the story. Peeta and Katniss balance each other out. Peeta even redeemed himself a little in Mockingjay (in my eyes) by finally seeing Katniss for who she is before loving her again. The only thing lacking was Katniss’s complete avoidance of everything Gale. I do not want Katniss and Gale as lovers. I want Katniss and Gale to grow up, accept the fact that war changed their world as they knew it but their friendship is solid, move past their loss over time and be involved in each other’s lives however small. (Not necessarily a whole drawn out paragraph. I would be happy with one line saying Gale would visit every so often and would teach her kids how to hunt when they grow up.)

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