Mascots, justice, and the role of Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Cause when the blood begins to flow
    When it shoots up the dropper’s neck
    When I’m closing in on death

    And you can’t help me, not you guys
    And all you sweet girls with all your sweet silly talk
    You can all go take a walk
    And I guess that I just don’t know
    And I guess that I just don’t knowReport

  2. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Wow. “Hunger Games” sounds crazier than I thought it was.

    Is this one of those over-analysis things, like when people write about the deeper themes expressed by Twilight Sparkle’s actions in “My Little Pony”?Report

  3. Avatar FridayNext says:

    I challenge the concept that Hogwarts was a strong educational system. It is one of the worst schools in English literature with bad teachers and awful curriculum that stressed memorization and obedience over free thought and creativity. And, ultimately all of the safety precautions put in place to keep the students safe fail.Report

  4. I finished the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy just days ago. They were surprisingly good. At first I found the first book a bit hard to swallow–the idea that people, even cowed ones of a tyrannical government–would thrill to watching children kill each other seemed far-fetched. Of course as it turns out the great majority of the citizens do not thrill to it, nor is it intended to be enjoyed by them; it is just another means of demonstrating power and control. And the author’s telling of the heroine’s participation in the games, and her reactions to what was going on, was superb–realistic and chilling.

    Katniss is also a well-written teen-age girl. She’s imperfect and is more aware of her imperfections than her good qualities. She is socially awkward, but not unloving or unloved. And throughout she struggles realistically with the reality of being a pawn to first one power group then another, and never–until the end–in control of her own life.

    The love interest is resolved intelligently, too. Rather than having a sort of deus ex machina (or deus ex Graingera) come along and solve it, the heroine makes a choice, based on what she comes to understand of the two men she loves. It’s a critical moment for her, the moment when she has to cast off someone she deeply cares about, has to take a sort of final step toward growing up, and is the moment when she finally can begin to take control of her own destiny.

    If there is such a genre as young adult dystopian literature, this is a fine example of it. I often pick up my teen-age daughters’ books so that I can better understand her world. Some are dreck (and she’s reasonably aware of that). Some surprise me–expecting nothing more than something roughly equivalent to Twilight, I instead found something that I was delighted to know existed, and that I wish had existed when I was her age.Report