Another ‘Hunger Games’ Media Contact: 14 Questions For You

Last Monday, The Oklahoman published an article on the series of three lectures I am giving this month at Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City (read that story and watch the video here). The talk was a blast and I hope the Full Circle SRO audience re-appears tomorrow for my exploration of Catching Fire. Part of me has to wonder if they will, of course, because there won’t be a big push in the capitol city’s only news daily.

I was interviewed last week, however, albeit an interview that you are invited to participate in as well. A serious reader of the first rank on the Left Coast — she has organized fandom conferences for both Harry Potter and Twilight, the latter, incredibly, held at Forks High School — sent me fourteen hunger Games questions for Panem Parishioners (the true believers?) a reporter had asked her to share with those in the know. I complied (the questions and my answers are below the jump) and I pass them on to you. If you’d like the reporter to get your feedback for a Hunger Games story going out before the movie premiere, send your answers to me at john at HogwartsProfessor dot com. I’ll pass them on!

1. When and how did you become interested in “The Hunger Games” books?

Summer, 2010. Readers urged me to interpret the series in light of its alchemical symbolism, etc.

2. What do you like about the books?

The political and spiritual allegories wrapped up in a page-turning dystopian adventure…

3. Tell me about your “Hunger Games” fandom. (For instance, how many times have you read the books, did you force all your friends to read the books, do you have any merchandise or memorabilia, are you planning to join the book club at Barnes & Noble, etc.?)

I’ve written more than 50,000 words on the subject for Hunger Games fandom to enjoy at my web site,

4. Were you a fan of “Twilight” and/or “Harry Potter” before “The Hunger Games,” and did your interest in one or both of those have anything to do with your interest in “Hunger Games”?

I’ve written and edited six books on Harry Potter and one on Twilight; the reason readers asked me to comment on Hunger Games was because of this expertise.

5. “The Hunger Games” is basically a story about kids killing other kids, and it’s rather dark and violent. What do you think about that?

I think that’s spot on, as Ron Weasley might say. Dystopian fiction — think 1984, Fahrenheit 451, RollerBall — isn’t for the faint of heart.

6. Are you looking forward to the movie version of “The Hunger Games”? Do you have any special plans for seeing the film?

Yes. And No. Movies act as trailers for books that inspire them. I expect even more people to read Hunger Games after the movies come out.

7. From what you’ve seen from movie trailers, photos, etc., what are your expectations for the movie?

It will be an Irony Fest — a blockbuster action film based on a book about the barrenness of a culture that loves blockbuster action films.

8. What do you think of the casting of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss? What about the casting of the other characters? Are there any actors you’re skeptical about?

Did you see the photo shoot of Ms. Lawrence for Glamour and GQ magazines? She has great stylists, that’s for sure. And, again, the irony of all this is almost too much to believe. [Not so hard to believe now that the Four Corner marketing plan has been revealed in The Wall Street Journal. Scroll Down home page for HogPro discussion.]

9. What do you think is most important for the makers of the film to get right? Do you have any worries or concerns about the movie?

Putting the title of these books on the marquee will fill seats and create more readers. The books fill and change hearts; the best the movie can do is get movie-goers to read the books.

10. What do you think about the movie’s PG-13 rating, despite the book’s dark and violent themes?

I don’t know anything about this.

11. Do you think the film could become as popular as the Harry Potter or Twilight movie franchises?

No, but only because there are only three books in the series versus Harry Potter’s seven and romance is a relatively small bit of The Hunger Games compared to Twilight.

12. The studio has said they may divide “The Hunger Games” series into four separate films. Do you think that’s a good idea?

It will make them more money and create more interest in the series of books, so I’m all for it. Who loses?

That said, Twilight’s finale Breaking Dawn was originally two books so making it two films was a no-brainer. Here, as with Deathly Hallows, it’s all about the money.

13. What other young adult books would you recommend to people who like “The Hunger Games” and are looking for other books to read?

Collins’ Gregor the Overlander books are wonderful fun, Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl books are a delight, and, if they like dystopian gore, the Chaos Walking trilogy is a mind bender.

14. Please tell me your full name, age and the city you live in. Also, if you don’t mind, a contact phone number in case I need to clarify anything or ask further questions.

John Granger, 50, Oklahoma City, [Ten Digit Phone Number]

That’s it for the interview! You can send me your complete set of answers or just post the ones that strike your fancy (include the question number, please!) in the comment boxes below. If you’re within easy driving distance of OKC, I’ll see you tomorrow at Full Circle to discuss the artistry and meaning of Catching Fire. 12 Days to the Hunger Games movie (caution: link to Capitol countdown!) …


  1. Louise M. Freeman says

    1. I was intrigued by an NPR interview with Collins, but was hooked when my 13 year old came home with the series and I read it along with her. We eagerly looked forward to the arrival of Mockingjay together. After that, I found myself discussing the series with a lot of my college students, particularly in Mary Baldwin’s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted. I was delighted to come back to after a several months absence and find the books front and center.

    2. The characters, the brilliant satire, particularly of the reality TV genre and the “heartwarming Olympic athlete stories,” the almost venerated position of books in District 12 and the political commentary.

    3. I’ve encouraged both my students and professorial colleagues to read the books. I’m hoping to encourage more scholarly appreciation of the series. As with Harry Potter, Headmaster Granger’s discussions on religious and alchemical symbolism really enhanced my appreciation. John was kind enough to publish a few of my commentaries here, and eventually offered me a faculty position.

    4. I’m much more of a Harry fan than a Bellas. I read Twilight at John’s recommendation but somehow it never grabbed me.

    5. It is violent, but it’s violence with a purpose, as are many works that comment on the horror of war and terrorism. I think the books are appropriate for high schoolers and mature middle-schoolers, but I would prefer not to see them pushed to younger ages.

    6. Very much so. My daughter (15) wisely decided not to try the midnight premiere on a school night, but I’m attending Friday with her, her classmate and a colleague from work. I’m also hoping to host a pre-movie discussion with students on campus.

    7. Like with Harry Potter, some of my favorite details will undoubtedly be omitted, so I imagine there will be some disappointment there. I’m most looking forward to seeing Woody Harrelson as Haymitch… a far cry from his “Cheers” persona.

    8. I haven’t seen enough of Jennifer Laurence’s movies to comment. Peeta looks more like I pictured Gale, and vice-versa. Rue is adorable and (spoiler, in the unlikely event that anyone reading this has not read the books) her demise is likely to be the most heart-rending since Dobby’s.

    9. I think it is most important that they keep the romance what it is through most of the trilogy…. a Games strategy and nothing any character can count on being real.

    10. I’m glad they pulled off a PG-13, since I’d hate to tell my daughter she can’t see the movie for one of her favorite books. I hope they can depict the violence in a way that is suspenseful, not gory and remember that Jaws was a lot scarier before they showed the mechanical shark. The later movies will be even more challenging on this front.

    11. Not more popular than Harry. I’ve never seen the Twilight movies, so I can’t say, but a lot of people who liked those books hated the movie. Ditto for Percy Jackson. Hopefully Hunger Games will be more like Harry Potter in that regard.

    12. Whatever they need to do to tell the story right.

    13. Ally Condie’s Matched Trilogy should be next on your list.

    14. Louise Freeman Davis, Crozet VA,

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