For the past three years, a Hunger Games movie premiered in theaters during the month of November. It was something fans looked forward to all year. I know I looked forward to each November because a movie would be released. A little-known fact about me: from age 15 to 19, this series meant everything to me. Seriously, I was obsessed, especially with Peeta. My room back at home is lined with posters. (I think I had a problem…) In the last year, my love for it has gone down, but it will always hold a special place in my fangirl heart. It also helped that the films were usually released around Thanksgiving, so it was like a double win. However, this year The Hunger Games fandom has a void in their November. The franchise is officially over.
I remember my senior year of high school when Catching Fire came out. I was dressed in my Katniss and Peeta shirt and had my Mockingjay necklace on. I know, I was super cool in high school…After the cliffhanger of the first movie, I was eagerly anticipating the second film. And it certainly did not disappoint. My friends and I went after school one day, and I have never cried so much during a movie. Catching Fire had been my favorite book of the series, and the movie did it justice.
Flash forward to my first year in college and Mockingjay Part 1 was finally in theaters. After the awfully devastating cliffhanger from the second movie, I was ready. I was also finally able to make a midnight showing of the film. The 8 a.m. the next morning was painful, but so worth it. Also, poor Peeta!
Then comes Mockingjay Part 2 released in November of 2015. I was hesitant to see it because then it would really be over. Fortunately, I had the flu opening weekend, so I couldn’t see it until the next week anyway. Little did I know that it would require my friend dragging me out of the theater crying my eyes out. Not only was the franchise over, but the ending of Mockingjay still kills me.
It sounds like I’m being over dramatic (maybe I was), but the series helped me. At the time of the first movie, I hadn’t wanted to read the books. They just didn’t appeal to me. I did go see the movie, though. I am such a bandwagon fan! However, after a horrible sophomore year of high school, I decided to see what the fuss was about. What I didn’t expect was to find a role model in fictional characters. Katniss Everdeen was a mere year older than me at the time I read it. I read about her courage and her bravery, and I wanted to be like her. Minus the rebellion and deaths, but I wanted her courage. It came at a good time because I had been bullied, and I was able to read about Katniss’ courage and apply it to my own life. If something needed to be changed, you had to do it yourself.
I’m writing this as an ode to The Hunger Games and as a thank you to the series that helped me see the bigger picture. It’s more than about killing and a cute boy with bread; it’s a series about hope and courage and reality. It has given a new perspective of the harsh world in which we live. But with a fleck of hope, it can be conquered. All it takes is some really great people to stand by your side and the ability never to give up. So I give the three finger salute to a series that has impacted thousands, millions of readers and viewers alike. You will be missed!