Guest Post: Hunger Games ‘Shipping Notes

The fourth in a series of Hunger Games posts by Mary Baldwin College professor Louise Freeman:

Random musings

Prim points out after the first Reaping that if Katniss wins, they’ll be “as rich an Haymitch.”  But the state of his house makes it appears as though Haymitch still lives in poverty, despite a quarter century of Victor’s income, with no dependents to support.  It takes him 25 years to hire a maid?  What’s he supposed to be spending all his money on?  And don’t tell me liquor; with the income of a Games champion he could set Ripper up for life if she agreed to run a personal still for him in his cellar. My only thought is that he funnels his money to revolutionaries. Or perhaps he forged alliances with the other Mentors by providing for the families of the Tributes they lost, as Peeta tried to do for Rue and Thresh’s loved ones.

District 12 is in Appalachia, likely in the coal-rich mountains of West Virginia, given the heavy snow the region gets.  The agricultural District 11 is further south, likely in the inland Southeast, perhaps extending to the Midwest breadbasket states.  We don’t know much about the location of District 4, other than it’s on the coast, but the seafood –rich area makes the Gulf and/or Atlantic coasts a likely candidate.  If true, it seems that the three districts with tributes most crucial to the revolution (Katniss, Peeta, Thresh, Rue and Finnick) are all from the South.  Is this just coincidence?

As for the shipping questions, I don’t think the question is as clear as, “Will Katniss choose Peeta or Gale?’  Even assuming both choices survive Mockingjay, I think other pairings will be explored. I don’t think, after two years of manipulated and televised romance, Katniss could ever be sure any feelings she has for Peeta are real, and she’s far too guarded of her emotions to try to embark on a marriage without that certainty.  As for Gale, like Harry’s and Hermione’s, their relationship is too sibling-like to blossom into romantic love.  It didn’t happen for Harry and Hermione in the tent; it didn’t happen for Gale and Katniss in the woods.  Katniss is likely to be destined for someone else entirely, but who?

One possibility is that, just as the Seam-Merchant pairings (the Everdeens, then Peeta/Katniss) are a factor in uniting District 12 in rebellion, the key to long-term success in the revolution against the capitol will be first communication between, then later unity among the different Districts. If the Sorting Hat was portkeyed to Panem, it’d be singing for a long, long time.  What better way to foster that than if the respected District Victors started romancing each other?  I see Finnick as a good match for Katniss, particularly since mad Annie’s life insurance premiums are likely to be even higher than Peeta’s.  Both have been manipulated into a false public persona by the Gamemasters, Katniss as the devoted lover, bride- and mom-to-be, when she actually desires neither romance or especially parenthood; Finnick into a “love ‘em and leave ‘em” playboy heartthrob, when in reality he is devoted to a crazy girl back home (Bronte’s Rochester in reverse?). And Katniss’s initial revulsion to him (as opposed to her relative indifference to Gale and Peeta as romantic partners) reminds me of Princess Leia’s initial “I’d rather kiss a Wookie!” rebuff to Han Solo, and Ron’s initial dislike of Hermione, and Lily’s loathing of James… and we know how all of those turned out.

As for Peeta, he’s now being held prisoner with Johanna, raising the possibility of an alliance centered around preserving themselves, not Katniss.  Both Johanna and Peeta state explicitly that they have no loved ones back home to return to; unlike Finnick and Katniss, the jabberjays trap can’t unhinge them. (This raises the question, is Johanna genuinely alone in the world or just from a family as heartless as Peeta’s?) If Peeta realizes Katniss can never genuinely love him, he might well find relief for his loneliness in Johanna’s fiery spirit. And poor, long-suffering Gale?  He safeguarded Katniss’s family during the firebomb raids; perhaps, like Little Women’s Laurie, he’ll find his life partner in the more refined younger sister (after she grows up) rather than in the tomboyish older sibling to whom he was first attracted.

Lastly, if we get an epilogue in which any of the District 12 protagonists manage to reproduce, Little Women may also provide their daughter’s name.  Meg’s child was named Margaret, “after her mother and grandmother” but called Daisy, “so as not to have two Megs.” In other words, she received a flower name like Katniss, Primrose and Rue, but one also synonymous with “pearl:” its scientific (hey, another Latin name!) translation is margarita. Could there be a better name for a baby born into a rebuilt District 12?


  1. Fun ideas! I’ve really enjoyed all of your posts on the Hunger Games. I wonder if Haymitch was funneling some of his money/resources into district 13. It’s a good point that very little of it was being spent on him.
    And just to throw this out there, did anyone else wonder if Annie was more pregnant than crazy at the reaping? For some reason that popped into my head and I haven’t been able to shake it since. That might help explain Finnick’s comment about Katniss’ crying outburst being from hormones/the baby when Peeta “dies” in the arena. (Is that common knowledge about pregnant women?) It could also be handy if they need a revolution baby since Katniss is supposed to be pregnant.
    I would love it if we got some sort of epilogue in Mockingjay, but after finishing Collins’ Gregor books that seems unlikely. The Gregor series ends with basically no resolution for the main character. He seemed worse off than when he started – which is bizarre because hope is such an important theme in the series. I won’t keep going down that (off-topic) road, but I will say that after reading the Gregor books I would not be surprised to see Katniss alone at the end of the series.

  2. Louise Freeman says

    I must admit, Anna being pregnant did not occur to me, but it’s always possible.

  3. Assuming the deaths of his parents, the child of the Victor couple could be Ms. Collins’ alchemical “philosophical orphan,” especially of Katniss adopts the child at story’s end.

    As I’ve written elsewhere, Katniss almost certainly will not be part of a couple at trilogy’s end. Or should I just say “I would not be very surprised if Katniss is not married to anyone at these books’ finale”?

  4. I always enjoy reading your posts. One point that always bugs me….I often see people assuming that district 4 is on Atlantic or Gulf coasts but to me that makes no sense. From what we know of the geography of district 11, 12 and even 13 and from the victors’ train ride through all the districts in numerical order, I would imagine it would be difficult for District 4 to be near 11 and 12. I always imagined District 4 on the Pacific (possibly Pacific NW) coast. There are fish and a fishing industry there, too. Also spearing fish is a more typical fishing method among the (indigenous at least) fishermen of the pacific. The coasts (both east and west) may not even be where we are used to them being in this postapocolyptic (and post global warming/glacial melting) world.

  5. Jackeline says

    Interesting musings indeed. Your thoughts on Haymitch are very possible and quite fitting, even though I must admit that I hadn’t thought of it before.

    About the shippings, I actually do not think the romantic aspect of Mockingjay will be quite substancial, particularly because I bet the book will mostly center on the Rebellion. I also think it is unlikely of Katniss to end up with neither Gale nor Peeta, much less with anybody else. If any of the other characters do develop a relationship, which I also think is unlikely, I certainly hope that they seem plausible and realistic…Thankfully Collins has proven to be a great writer and I’m sure that what will actually happen in Mockingjay will surprise us.

  6. The fact that Haymitch does not hire a housekeeper is not evidence that he is secretly funneling money anywhere. It can easily be explained by Katniss’ own observations that 1) Haymitch does not trust anyone enough to even sleep unarmed or with the lights off and 2) Haymitch doesn’t enjoy the luxury of his home because it’s a constant reminder of who owns him. Just because you have money, it doesn’t mean you have to spend it.

    I don’t see the brother/sister vibe in Katniss/Gale at all. I see Katniss being so closed to the idea of any relationship that she doesn’t even realize that Gale’s fallen head over heels for her. He frikkin’ kissed her. Aside from the Pearl Plot conspiracy theory, there’s nothing else that could explain that if their relationship was purely brother/sister.

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