Thank you, Katniss

November 18, 2015

In eighth grade, I stumbled upon what I can now call one of my favorite series of all time. I was walking with one of my friends to class when she mentioned that she was reading the final book in a series that she had picked up a few days before in the library. When I asked her what book it was, she pulled out from her bag a light blue hardcover with a silvery-blue bird in flight on the front. The title was Mockingjay, and the author was Suzanne Collins.

This is a memory that remains clear as day in my head, most likely because of the impact that book series has left on me. The Hunger Games was the first set of books that I fell in love with after reading Harry Potter. I hadn’t thought I would ever find another character that had as many adventures worth reading as Harry. But one week and three books later, there she was. Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, and my new favorite fictional person.

Thus began the endless searching online for a movie trailer of any sort, followed by many trips to the mall in search of mockingjay pins and flame covered t-shirts. Once the first movie was released, I spent three evenings in the theater, watching it again and again. I never tired of seeing the same actors bring the characters I loved to life on the big screen, and I still don’t. With every opening weekend, I have been ready, pin on my shirt, braid in my hair, and ticket in hand.

This weekend is the last time I will go and see these characters brought to life on screen. The last time I will see a “Hunger Games” film for the first time. The first time I will come out of the theater and know that there will not be another film to look forward to in the series. These books and movies have left a solid impact on my life, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the lessons each character displayed within these pages. Because of the amount of characters in this book, I will only take time to reflect on lessons from three of them.

Thank you, Haymitch Abernathy, victor of the 50th Hunger Games and mentor to Katniss and Peeta, for showing me that running away or hiding from your problems will not benefit you in any way. Your struggles and the way you finally overcame them and dealt with your nightmares taught me that it is better to take them as they come and face them head on. You also taught me that it is better to think things through and consider both sides of the situation before jumping to conclusions. Despite your being a part of the comic relief in such a dark story, you still managed have a major role and impact on the life of the main character.

Thank you, Peeta Mellark, victor of the 74th Hunger Games and soulmate to Katniss Everdeen, for teaching me that love is something you have to work for. Your endless fighting for Katniss and support for her, even when she didn’t care for you at all, was admirable. Your willingness to remain only her friend, when that’s all she asked for, was respectable. And when you were not yourself and saw Katniss as an enemy and could not distinguish between what was real and what was not real, she stood by you through all of that. The same exact way you stood by her. And yet, your fight was not always about love. It was about rebelling against the cruel tyrannical government and making changes and doing what is right. You proved that the boy with the bread was more than just a baker. That you were more than what you appeared to be. You also showed me that the perfect gentleman is not always a prince or knight in shining armor, but instead can be a poor boy from a district stuck in poverty.

And lastly, thank you, Katniss Everdeen, victor of the 75th Hunger Games, Mockingjay, and leader of the rebellion. Thank you for showing me that one person can change the world. For teaching me that personality makes up a lot more than a person’s looks. For proving that even on paper, humans are far from perfect. Nor are heros. There were many, many times throughout the books where you snapped and screamed and lost everything and definitely didn’t look like a leader while doing it. You were covered in blood, sweat, and tears, and you still managed to push onward towards your many goals. Your hair was not brushed, you had no makeup on, and the last thing you were concerned with was whether or not you were wearing something even remotely fashionable. You taught me that each person grieves in their own way. Each person deals with any sort of situation differently. And it’s best to just let them be how they are. You also showed me to stand up for what you believe in, even if you must stand alone. You’ve shown me many things, and I’m very grateful for having picked up The Hunger Games on an ordinary day back in middle school.

Thank you, Katniss.

 

 

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