MuggleNet Academia: Harry Potter and the Hunger Games — District 9 3/4?

HogwartsProfessors Elizabeth Baird-Hardy and John Granger talk with Drs Amy H. Sturgis and Lana Whited at MuggleNet Academia about the new book Critical Insights: The Hunger Games. The book, edited by Prof Whited, includes essays by a host of Potter Pundits, to include Profs Baird-Hardy, Sturgis, and another HogwartsProfessor faculty member, Louise Freeman. Keith Hawk produced the show, as always, and it was a rollicking adventure, trust me.

First, find out how Hunger Games resolves the Gordian Knot of Dystopian fiction, what the series draws from Appalachian culture, and what serious readers of Harry Potter recognize in Katniss’ adventures from their experiences within the Wizarding World. Then? Let me know what you think of the show in the comment boxes below! Enjoy!


  1. As a big fan of The Hunger Games, I thank you for this fascinating discussion of my favorite young-adult series. I especially enjoyed the observations about THG’s two dystopias’ similarities to Brave New World and 1984, as well as the similarities between The Girl on Fire and Pentecost.

    I am also a fan of the movies as a representation of the books, although I believe the books are far better. I took exception to the remark that Jennifer Lawrence was cast because she is eye candy. Actually, most girls and young women I know are thrilled with Lawrence as Katniss, in part because she is *not* the stereotypical eye candy that Hollywood casts in young-women roles. In fact, Lawrence has spoken out against the photo-shopping that distorts images of young women in the media. The eye-candy commentator noted Lawrence is a brilliant actress, and that is why her casting as Katniss was important, even if her physical looks did not match Katniss’ self-description in the books, as my teen-age daughter noted. Lawrence’s acting skills include an astounding ability to convey many emotions through her expressions, voice modulation, and body language — such as a feeling of discomfort when dressed up in evening gowns and heels, or the realization she has been fooled, or the decision to seek revenge, or her tentative singing, or being stricken with grief. Few actors or actresses in their teens or early 20s are capable of such depth, and, for once, the capable older actors did not outshine or overshadow all of the young actors in a movie ensemble, thanks to Lawrence. Just as the people of the Capitol were mesmerized by this unlikely heroine, Lawrence was equally impressive to most fans of THG movies.

  2. Thank you, Diane, for your thoughtful note.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree, however, about the choice of JLawr for Katniss Everdeen.

    Three quick notes on this point:

    (1) The woman is an excellent actress. Full stop.

    (2) That she was cast to play a very young woman, undernourished, not feminine — in fact, the father figure in her family, and short, especially relative to the brawny Peeta was a mistake. A buxom, tall, and full bodied lass who has not missed a meal in the two decades of her life is inappropriate for this role, however accomplished she is as thespian. Robin Williams was a funny man and decent actor; he would have been a mistake as Peeta, Haymitch, or Cinna.

    (3) The ‘eye candy’ remark was intentionally provocative. Did you know that Ms Lawrence did a just-short-of-pornographic photo shoot with Esquire after the success of Winter’s Bone so she would be more attractive to producers of blockbuster movies for the larger studios? Forgive me, but a glance at any of the posters used to promote the films is sufficient explanation for why she was cast in a role for which she was obviously not fit.

    The Hunger Games films have been the greatest exercise in sustained high irony in the young 21st Century. Lawrence, talented as she is, being cast as Katniss, Pippi Longstocking with a bow and arrow set, was the first signal that the Gamesmakers had hijacked the message of the series to make a profit by putting young boys’ butts into movie theatre seats to watch JLawr kill teenagers a la the Capitol and its citizens.

    Thank you again for your kind note and thoughtful exposition of the opposing view. We’ll have to agree to disagree, nonetheless, as I said.

    Much more on this subject here:

Speak Your Mind