Hunger Games Notes: First Things, Shared Text, and Cake!

My inbox filled up with Hunger Games notes this morning I am just now getting around to sharing.

First Things ran a wonderfully thoughtful piece by Aaron Rogers on the central place of sacrifice in the Panem trilogy and especially Katniss’ difficulty in accepting sacrificial love as a gift rather than a debt for which she must pay in kind. (Hat tip, Kathleen!) The author is hesitant at best in making the ‘Peeta as Christ figure’ connection but his conclusions are important, I think, both in the life of every believer who feels burdened or obliged in faith and, a point he doesn’t make, in grasping why Peeta comes into her life when he does — only at her greatest need and as she sacrifices herself for the family she loves. Do read the whole thing and let me know what you think: ‘Debt, Gift, and Sacrifice in The Hunger Games.’ And yes, I loved the opening paragraph:

The book, The Hunger Games, is of course better than the movie. The book’s story moves with the internal dialogue of the teen protagonist, Katniss. In contrast, the film’s story moves along through events external to Katniss. As a result of this shift, the film throws away our window into Katniss’s mind and, significantly, into her moral psychology, both of which are by far the most engaging part of the book (and the entire trilogy of books for that matter).

Shared Text: BookByte, the textbook re-selling firm online is running a promotion this week called ‘The Plunder Games.’ The gag line is “Not Quite as Deadly. No Less Epic.” The books are quickly achieving shared text status due to the hit movie which makes me doubt their staying power, even if millions learn about and actually read the novels after meeting JLawr/Katniss and President Sutherland/Snow. I hope I’m wrong because the books merit their mania status without the cinema hype.

About this advertisement, Prof. Baird-Hardy pronounced, “Tesserae for Textbooks!” It’s a much better tagline (no gagging), if, I suppose, a little too close to the truth behind the ‘deal.’

The Hunger Games Trilogy Cake: A picture here is worth all the words I could use — and I urge you to go to the wonderful web site,, to see all the other pictures of (and read the full story of) this spectacular Hawaiian treat. Hat tip, John Patrick!

Please share your favorite Hunger Games links crowding your inbox in the comment spaces below, as well as your thoughts about Katniss and sacrifice, Tesserae for Textbooks, and letting Panem fans eat cake!


  1. Two Online Pieces that Echo or Explore the Hunger Games Much as the First Things piece does:

    Glamour of Evil or Glimmer of Hope?, Patrick O’Hannigan, The American Spectator

    This is a review of Christian reviews of The Hunger Games which comes down strongly for the edifying message of the series while noting and rebuking those who work too hard to find fault.

    One of the odd notes here is the spot-on observation that there is no explicit evidence of a surviving Christian tradition in Panem as represented in the books or film, not even in the names, which highlights that it is only Christian ethics bleeding into politics that prevents the kind of slaughter-for-entertainment depicted in the stories. But, really, there is a lot of Christian symbolism in the books and not to note Peeta’s gift of himself, the bread, and the Pearl as Christian points is near willful blindness in a discussion of the series’ Christian elements or virtues.

    What The Hunger Games Teaches Us About Receiving Gifts, Jason Braaten, GottesDienst Online

    More on the idea of ‘works righteousness’ that ‘faith alone’ Protestants as well as traditional Christians are wary of and that Hunger Games explores.

  2. Regarding Christian imagery, what do you make of Snow’s statement in Mockingjay when the elite sharp-shooting team is attacked by Peacekeepers and presumed dead? Snow says: “Tomorrow morning, when we pull Katniss Everdeen’s body from the ashes, we will see exactly who the Mockingjay is. A dead girl who could save no one, not even herself.” This echoes statements in the Gospels at the crucifixion of our Lord. “He saved others, let’s see if He can save Himself.”

  3. Welcome to HogwartsProfessor, Jason Braaten!

    I think you’ve nailed it. In the heart of the Rubedo and the beginning of the finale’s ‘Hunger Games’ (Katniss’ run through the Capitol pods and muttation obstacles), Snow declares her dead in words suggesting her Phoenix-like resurrection to come. As he says this, our heroine is descending into the hell of the sewers…

    Great catch!

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