When I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I was excited to be presented with a YA novel featuring a female protagonist who didn’t focus solely on love. There are two “love interests” presented in the books, but Katniss’ romantic relationship to them isn’t tied to her personal success or the success of the rebellion that she fosters. The trilogy instead focuses on how Capitol city is populated by frivolous people who are more interested in fashion and romance than the children dying in front of their eyes. The characters Katniss and Peeta learn how to play up their fame and reputation with these shallow Capitol residents while still performing the necessary steps to free their people. Oddly, this entire scenario is reflected in the reactions to the movie version of the series.
This is where it gets eerie. The media zeroed in instantly on the “love triangle” that the books so nicely subverted and following the release of the first movie, interviewers constantly asked Lawrence and other cast members if they were on “team Gale or team Peeta” (Gale being the other male love interest.) This incessant line of questioning took the place of asking about the overlying themes of child murder, oppressive regimes, and popular media’s misinterpretation of information. As pointed out by my friend Susan McGalla, the way the media reacted to The Hunger Games series is exactly the behavior that the books warn against.
So good job pop media. You really helped Collins make her point.