Any conversation about The Hunger Games invariably leads to a discussion of the love interests. Like almost all other YA out there, there’s a triangle. In this book, young Katniss Everdeen must choose between long-time friend and co-hunter/starving child Gale, and skilled laborer and generally better off, Peeta. I fall in the Peeta camp. But before I can get into the why of it I feel that I should explain the how.
(Warning: Beware of possible SPOILERS for all 3 books in the series.)
I came to The Hunger Games while interning at a Literary Agency that focused on YA. I hadn’t read a ton of YA before, only the ones that managed to make enough noise as to reach me in my lofty tower of SciFi/Fantasy exclusivity. (Oh, how I have branched out since…) So I’m mainly talking Harry Potter (Woot!) and the Twilight Saga (Kill it with fire!).
I decided to pick up the first one and quickly devoured every book in the series. (I started reading them the week that Mockingjay hit the shelves and finished all three by the end of the following week.) I never once fell into the Gale camp for a lot of reasons, more on that later, right now I would just like to share what exactly makes the Baker of District 12 unmatched in either love or war. So without further stalling, let me tell you why Peeta is really the only choice Katniss has in this crazy messed up world.
Now, I’m not one prone to swooning, and so my approach to this argument may be a bit more…male…than my competitor, in that I feel that I am at a disadvantage, but like a good Texan, I’ll fight to the death over a lost cause any day of the week.
Mainly my argument falls to one central theme: Brains Over Brawn. I’m partial to brainy heroes, I confess. But let’s strip Mr. Mellark down to his component parts. At his very worst, he is an emotionally manipulative con man. Playing the crowd’s emotions against themselves and guaranteeing a win. Now before you get all judgey, Katniss herself does this. She knows that the only way out of the first games is to play up the emotions. Haymitch knows it. Cinna knows it. Hell, even President Snow knows it. It’s just a matter of survival, and that is what this whole deal is about.
At his best, Peeta is a loyal, self-sacrificing, and fearless guy out to help the people he cares about, no matter what the personal cost. You simply can’t ask for anything more than that. He is there for Katniss when it counts the most and when the world is coming down around both of them he is there also, keeping his cool. Might as well be named Luke at this point. Pretty sure he could eat fifty hard-boiled eggs at any rate. Let’s see ol’ Gale manage that!
I’m looking for the movie to capture Peeta’s brains, and not turm him into just another bruiser. That’s not what Katniss needs, and that is NOT what gets people through the games, as Haymitch would be sure and tell you.
So let’s hear it—who’s with me? Vote Team Peeta (one vote per person, please, but comment as many times as you’d like!) in the comments and let me know why YOU love that delightful doughboy of District 12. And watch this space, ’cause on Wednesday, things’ll really heat up when Heather and I publish our rebuttals. (And really I could use all the help I can get...)