Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins: Review and Imaginary Casting

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

Favorite Quote:  “I just want to spend every possible minute of the rest of my life with you,” Peeta replies.

CF starts with Katniss preparing for victor’s tour at her house in Victor’s Village as it is approximately 6 months after the games.  While preparing, Snow visits and basically threatens all the people she loves if she causes anymore problems and tells her that he knows about her sneaking out of the fence to hunt with Gale and their kiss (just once!).  After the straight out threat she confides in Haymitch who confirms her thinking, she will have to marry Peeta regardless of what she may want.  While on tour they sell the romance as best they can but notice several changes to the districts.  Hostility, shootings, etc have given Katniss hope of a possible uprising.  At the Capitol Peeta proposes, she accepts hoping to satisfy Snow and they return to District 12. 

After the tour is over and Katniss tries to return to normal she goes hunting again with Gale.  SIDE NOTE:  Really?!?  After the most horrible man in the country tells you he knows what you are doing and you know it is illegal and you do it AGAIN?  That bothered me a bit.  While out she tries to convince Gale to run and take their families, which he mistakes for some declaration of love (which I love that he says he loves her and she responds “I know”,  I guess I’m mean like that, lol. )  After she lets slip about what she knows of a possible rebellion he refuses to leave and decides to fight.  That day they learn of changes to D12 as there is a new Head Peacekeeper who catches Gale with his game and lashes him.  (to which I say I’ve always thought he deserved some kind of punishment because they should have known better to not to go back, at least for a long time)  At this point Katniss realizes she must choose to stay and fight.  While trying to think up a plan, they announce what the special twist will be for the 75th Hunger Games since it is also the Quarter Quell, a 25th anniversary where is always a little something extra thrown in.  This year the tributes must be pulled out of past victors.  Katniss being the only female from D12 she is automatically in the games and will now have to go against either Peeta or Haymitch. Peeta is ultimately made Tribute with Katniss.

They all train together, their goal to be more like the “Careers” and to be prepared for the Games this go round. Once they go through the training again, both receiving a score 12, a first in the history of the games (not a good thing, as it will make them targets) they move on to the interviews, where Peeta and his ingeniousness sells the crowd that he and Katniss are already married and, by the way, she’s pregnant.  I love Peeta still trying to save Katniss even though he knows she will do whatever she can to save him.  As always he spouts something swoony again, that his life is worthless without her in it. 

As far as the “love triangle,” as always I don’t even really see it.  After being forced to accept that she will have to marry Peeta if she wants any chance at surviving under the Capital’s thumb (despite not wanting to marry EVER or understanding her feelings for Peeta), she “chooses” Gale by saying she will fight in the rebellion. But even then, she really doesn’t not choose Peeta either, its again all in her head. She still puts up a front for her fans by trying on wedding dresses and being lovey dovey with Peeta, making Snow think that she’s being a good girl and following his rules.  That’s why the Gale stuff doesn’t bother me as much, but I kind of hate Katniss at times for being so indifferent to Peeta who openly pours his heart out, willing to give his life even though he knows she wouldn’t freely choose him.  Case is point as to why I hate Gale:  Gale is a DB and won’t even take gloves because he thinks they were Peeta’s, not that he care what happens to him.  Gee, who’s the better guy here?  

Pecans:  5/5   Was there any doubt??

Maggie’s Picks for New Characters/Possible Casting Ideas: 

 Plutarch Heavensbee – New Head Gamemaker – Good guy disguised as a Capitol lackey.  So who can look like he means business but deep down is a good guy?  I say Jeffrey Dean Morgan.  He’s a big guy that looks intimidating but is a big softie (at least in everything I’ve seen him in :P) Or someone else I think gives the same effect?  Joe Manganiello aka Alcide from True Blood.  Woof!

 

Romulus Thread – New Head Peacekeeper of D12 – Ah, the newest DB on the block.  Who can I see as a horrible person that relies on fear for order?  Sam Rockwell.  He plays bad guys so well I don’t care too much for him in anything because I associate him with evil.  Perfect choice.

 

 

Finnick Odair – District 4 – Ok Mr. Misunderstood, hot damaged guy…I pick Jesse Williams.  Come on!  That is exactly what I see in my head.  Gorgeous, looks like he would hurt someone if needed but will still help your grandmother cross the street.   

If I have to pick a runner up so to speak I go with Zac Efron. God bless America, that boy is beyond words.  (Too big of a name for the others in my opinion but geez, look at that pic!)

 

Beetee – District 3 – There isn’t much given about Beetee, but I think he warrants a casting choice.  I had a few thoughts but as I was perusing the blog world I came across someone else’s choice.  Michael Emerson. Perfect fit!!!

 

Mags –District 4 – Eh.  I only have two older women I cast for almost everything. . .Betty White and Cloris Leachman and to me neither fits here.  Since she isn’t in here for as long as her district partner I think an unknown is fine.

 

Johanna Mason – District 7 –  Mila Kunis or Emily Vancamp.  Honestly if I’m going to pick I choose Mila.  She is a great actress, I’ve seen her serious as well as funny side and they are both great.  Plus her voice is just enough to kind of annoy you which would fit well with Katniss’s dislike of her.  🙂

~*~

When I first read Catching Fire two years ago, I knew that Katniss woudl have to go back into the arena and I wondered how they would pull it off.  The best thing about the first book was the time spent there, so it would make sense that she would go back.  I don’t profess to have any clairvoyance, but damn, I’m good.  I think it’s brilliant the way it’s written. 

Snow showing up at Katniss’ house, showing her that he can get to her, letting her know he knows about her dalliances outside the gate, that freaked me out.  She thought she would be safe, playing to the audience, and he would leave her alone, but noooo!  Evil Man!  Such a great villian!

Peeta in this book really breaks my heart.  If I were him, and I’d been in love with Katniss lo those many years, I would be trying to convince myself that she couldn’t have been faking ALL OF IT.  I guess he’s a stronger person than I am, I would still be carrying a torch.  But he stays out of her way. 

I totally understood Katniss’ feelings for Gale.  On the first read, I was right there with her, not knowing who to choose.  Even though I loved Peeta, Gale is more physically my type (I don’t like blond men).  The part where she recounts Gale’s kiss, I got swooned, I ain’t gonna lie. 

Again, with this book, the best part is all the time in the arena.  I am very much looking forward to watching that on the big screen.

Pecans: 5/5

Dixie’s Picks for New Characters/Possible Casting Ideas: 

 

Finnick Odair, District 4 Male Tribute–someone who is very good-looking, but can play swarthy and vulnerable?  It has to be Hotty McHotPants, Chase Crawford.  I wouldn’t turn him away.

Plutarch Heavensbee, Head Gamemaker–Victor Garber.  I love him.  He plays ernest and trustworthy very well. 

 

Mags, District 4 Female Tribute–Older woman, not in the best physical state, who volunteers. She was also Finnick’s mentor.  I think Kathleen Joosten would be perfect.  She has spunk and looks like she could take care of herself. 

 

Johanna Mason, District 7 Female Tribute–Credentials include:  ability to look vulnerable and non-threatening, but lethal, smart, and uninhibited.  I think Kristen Bell would pull this off with both hands tied behind her back.

Beetee, District 3 Male Tribute–I picture an older man, slight, scattered but intelligent looking.  For that I would pick Joel Grey, but I think he may be too old.  If they want to go for someone younger, Alan Tudyk (although he’s not short, he can pull of absent-minded pretty well). 

Wiress, District 3 Female Tribute–She’s a little out of her head, although we don’t know why.  But she’s very smart.  For her I would pick Lili Taylor, who I think could take us all on in a game of scrabble.

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins: Review and Imaginary Casting

  1. Candice March 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm Reply

    I love your take on Catching Fire! It’s my favorite of the trilogy… mostly because of Peeta. I especially love your casting calls… I love several of these people! Hopefully Hollywood will take at least some of them into consideration!

    Finally “While out she tries to convince Gale to run and take their families, which he mistakes for some declaration of love (which I love that he says he loves her and she responds “I know”, I guess I’m mean like that, lol. ) ” – This reminds me of this Star Wars show on VH1 where they discussed the movies. There’s one part where they’re discussing the scene where Han Solo gets dipped in the… um… whatever that stuff is and Leia says “I love you” and he replies back “I know.” One of the commentators says something like “Han just replies “I know,” like a pimp.” This scene from CF so reminds me of that!

    • Gone Pecan March 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm Reply

      that’s totally the first thing i thought, too, candice. except, i mean from the actual movie, not the VH1 special 🙂 but i am a star wars geek, so it’s okay. ~dixie

    • Gone Pecan March 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm Reply

      I just love it bc I’m not Gale’s fan. Plus she isn’t the ‘girl’ in either relationship with Gale or Peeta. ~Maggie

  2. Lucy March 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm Reply

    Excellent casting choices. The pictures of Michael Emerson and Betty White as Beetee and Mags cracked me up. I can see Zac or Jesse as Finnick, and I hear Taylor Kitsch being mentioned a lot for the role and he might work. I like Kristen Bell for Johanna and Lili Taylor is awesome and I had never considered her for Wiress.
    I don’t see the love triangle either, but it will probably be played up for the movie anyway. Snow is so scary in CF, and he is set up perfectly for that villainy role in the HG movie. I don’t mind Gale too much in CF, but Peeta really shines in this book. Great post – it makes me want to read Catching Fire again!

    • Gone Pecan March 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm Reply

      It made us want to keep going! We should have Mockingjay up soon! ~Maggie

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