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HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Thirteen - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Thirteen
Okay. Haymitch has managed to avoid having any of his close friends drawn from the reaping ball, but the first name to come out is Ginger McCullough, a girl who was shot in the knee over the winter and can't even get up the stairs without help.

I asked a few days ago in a post which I realize now was f-locked (why I did that, I don't know)... in canon, do we ever see Haymitch treat Effie badly? Not just impatiently. I feel like we must (he's drunk and impatient and she's a little infuriating), but now that I'm thinking about it, I can't recall any instance where he was cruel to her, or even insulting to her. The worst I remember is the drunken hug on the platform, and she was the irritated party there.

Chapter Thirteen
The tributes are supposed to stand during the reading of the Treaty of the Treason, and I know that if Ginger asks to sit, it will be seen all over Panem. I stand up beside her to give her a crutch on the other side.

Glass smirks and reaches into the boys' reaping bowl. He pulls out Elmer Parton's name. Elmer comes up to the stage quietly, his eyes cast down. He's not sickly or injured, but unless the arena can be worked like a math problem, he's not strong. He stands on my other side. I think for a minute that it would be good for him to take my place and help hold Ginger up, but that's not the way things are done at reapings. The tributes, being prepared to battle to the death, don't generally acknowledge each other. It would show the other freshly minted tributes that they might be weaknesses for one another.

But there are old women weeping at home in the Capitol over the poor little girl, some cold corner of my brain whispers. And if they see him helping, they'll want to reach out and…

I shut the voice out. The best they could do is save one of them, and they'll know it. They'll paralyze themselves wondering whether to help the poor little girl or the gallant boy helping her, and end up giving me nothing.

Mayor Hammond does his best to read the treaty quickly, but it seems to take forever before he finishes, and I can see sweat running down the sides of Ginger's face. She's breathing shallowly, and she's very pale. By the time we're escorted to the Justice Building, I can tell that she's about to pass out, and as soon as the cameras are shut out, she stumbles and falls against my side.

I look at Elmer. "I have to get her to the meeting room. I'll…" I don't know what I'm supposed to say.

He shrugs. "'S okay," he says. "I don't expect you can do much with me, anyway."

As the Peacekeepers lead him in the direction of the smoking room where Gilla went last year, I scoop up Ginger and carry her to the sitting room where Maysilee went. I set her down on the couch. There's a familiar-looking basket of bread on the end table.

"I'm pretty much dead, right?" she asks.

"I'll think of something."

"There's nothing to think of."

"Don't talk like that, I'll --"

But I am interrupted by the high voice of Ausonius Glass outside the door. "Yes," he says. "Go in. Say goodbye. And think about how every parent in the Capitol felt when they knew their children were dead. Just like your little cripple is. She won't last the first minute."

Ginger gasps and starts breathing too fast. I don't know what to say, so I just squeeze her shoulder, then go out past her parents and pull Glass away from them. They go in, and I hear everyone crying before I get the door shut.

"What was that?" I demand.

"I didn't lay a hand on them," he says, holding up the twisted remains of his fingers. "I believe that was the deal I was informed about."

I let him go. "Snow should have ripped your tongue out, too."

He gives me a disdainful sniff. "You're expected downstairs to meet with the families if they wish. I can't imagine why they would. Duronda usually met them in the entrance hall." He turns and walks away.

I go downstairs to the entrance hall. The mayor looks at me with a certain degree of sympathy, then comes over and says, "No one expects a miracle in the arena. But try to stay sober for them."

I nod. The preps will have something, and I'll take it.

Elmer's father, like my mother, wants to wait for the last visiting spot, so he can be the last to see his son off. He comes to me first. His admonition to stay sober is less kind than the mayor's: "If I find out my son died because you were too drunk to help him, I'll kill you myself."

"I wouldn't argue with you," I say.

Mr. Parton nods. "He's a smart boy, like yourself. You won."

"I did. But I had a lot of lucky breaks."

"But -- "

"I'll do everything I can for Elmer," I promise. "I will. I've known him a long time, and he's always been decent to me."

"Decent" may be an overstatement, and "known" certainly is, but we've been in the same grade at school all our lives, and he's at least not been obnoxious. I will do everything I can, but Mr. Parton and I both know that it won't amount to much. He doesn't pretend otherwise. He goes off with an odd dignity. I think Elmer's mother is dead. He'll be alone tonight.

Ginger's parents come after their visit with her, and they can't seem to actually form words. Mrs. McCullough just clings to my jacket and weeps. Mr. McCullough looks lost. Some family member finally leads them away.

I sit down on the bench.

"Haymitch?"

I look up and find Danny in his whites. He's carrying a box. "Danny… what are you doing here?"

"I dropped off the bread, and decided to stick around and see if either of them needed a visitor. You mentioned it last year. I thought it sounded like a good idea. I went in to see Elmer first, since his dad wanted to see him last. He's pretty scared."

"I know."

"I guess you would. Anyway, I thought you might need a visitor, too."

"I'm the mentor. I'll be back one way or the other. I don't get visitors."

"What can I do back here?"

"What's to do? You watch the Games, like you have to. And you most likely watch them die. Because I don't know what to do."

"In other words, the same as it was for forty-six years after Duronda won." He looks at me steadily. "It's not your fault."

"It will be if it's because I screw up."

"You and twenty-odd other mentors."

"Stop, Danny. I can tell myself all of that. It's not going to make any difference when they're in boxes."

He nods. "I know. But… we won't hate you here, any more than people hated Duronda."

"You won't," I point out. "They will."

"Let me do something to help you."

I think about it. I guess there is something that Danny would be better at than I ever would be. "I don't know if you noticed," I say, "but my escort's a bastard. I'll rein him in when I can, but if he says something… you help the families, okay? You know. Be nice to them. You're good at that."

"Okay."

"And I think Mr. Parton's all alone. Maybe you could --"

"He is, and I will."

"Do you know where he lives?"

"I'll just follow the camera crews."

"Thanks." He holds up the box. I recognize it as one of the bakery's shipping boxes. "Here," he says. "Carrot cake. Maysilee did tell you to try some. There's enough for all three of you."

I take it. "How much do I owe you?"

"It's a gift, Haymitch. Warm up to the concept." He smiles and rolls his eyes at me.

"Well… how much would it be worth?"

"Why?"

Of course, it's because I intend to pay for it as soon as I get back, but I say, "For all I know, I'll have to report it as a sponsor gift."

"It's a gift to you. Mentors don't have sponsors."

I guess I can ask his dad. I nod. "Thanks."

"You can do this," he says. "And we're with you here, whether you believe it or not. You're still District Twelve… whether you want to be or not." Out of nowhere, he hugs me. I am so surprised by this that I don't even think to respond to it. Hugging each other is not something boys do in District Twelve. I haven't been hugged since Gia left. This is distinctly not the same. His mouth is beside my ear, and he whispers, "Open that box when no one's around." He pulls away.

I make a face and raise my voice. "Dammit, Mellark, if I wanted someone's tongue in my ear, I'd've called your girl."

"Oh, that'll teach me to try and be supportive."

"Yeah, well…"

"Anyway, it wouldn't work. My girl has better taste than me, obviously." He makes a show of preening.

"I'm not sure on the evidence that either one of you has any taste." I kick him out, and shift the box around carelessly, like it couldn't matter less.

I never paid any attention to what happened with Duronda after the reaping, and of course, last year, my mentor was still in District Two when the four of us were carted away, so I have no idea where I'm supposed to go next. This, of course, is the escort's supposed job, but Glass was too busy insulting bereaved parents to fill me in on the protocol. I find the segment producer among the technicians, and he says I'm supposed to be on board the train already when it leaves. They'll be shooting video of the tributes, and the team isn't really supposed to be in the middle of the shot. There is a car waiting in back.

It isn't waiting alone. Glass is sitting in the back seat. He looks disappointed to see me. Apparently, I was supposed to be wandering around like an idiot, and maybe missing the train.

"I need the schedule," I say.

He looks down his nose at me, then takes one of his little pincers and snags a piece of paper from a briefcase beside him. I take it. I should have been on the train ten minutes ago, but the driver, at least, seems not to be on Glass's side here. Once we're on the train, dinner is in an hour. I remember Gia spending time teaching everyone proper Capitol manners. I barely remember them, but I guess I could give that a go. I doubt Glass will bother. After the meal, we'll watch the reapings to see the other tributes, and I'll try to figure out what to do. Other than that and meals tomorrow, there's nothing scheduled on the train.

When we get there, I find Lepidus in a state, moving out the clothes that are the wrong size for the tributes to a closed storage car and directing interns (Plutarch Heavensbee among them) to pick good colors for Ginger and Elmer. He has a computer of some kind in his hand, and it's giving him readouts from pictures just taken on the platform. I ask him if he can get Ginger a walking stick. He tells me that we'll need to talk later; he's too busy now.

I make my way to the mentor's compartment, which is the same one I traveled in for the Victory Tour. Once I'm there, I open Danny's cake.

I see why he was urgent about the subject -- the message is not at all well-hidden. It's just a piece of berry-stained paper tucked into the folded part of the box. I take it out. Across the top, Danny has written, "CMGFSEAOTRTLMRROREENAMIVOIIDCENNNITN." He's drizzled a grid effect over the cake -- six by six. I fill the letters out into a quickly-drawn square and read them on the verticals. It's a code so simple that Chaff told us not to use it, but it's quicker to remember in a hurry than my shorthand. "Came on morning train from District Eleven."

Chaff has been more careful with the code, using mine and breaking it up in odd places. He doesn't bother trying for any kind of logical grammar, just using the symbols to express ideas… which are pretty clear. The gist of the message is that he got word from spies in the Capitol -- mentors are being shut out of the pre-Games, which will now be controlled by the Capitol staff. At first, I puzzle over why this is so important that he'd risk using Danny to tell me, but it dawns on me with mounting disgust. The Capitol is a step ahead. They are taking away any power we might have to set the narrative of the Games. And I will not be able to influence anything about how my tributes are presented. That's why Lepidus couldn't talk to me, even when I asked him for something.

Glass must have made his own deal to counter mine. I have put some controls on what he can do to my tributes in private… but now, the escorts and stylists will have full control in public.

I'm guessing he means to wait for an opportune time to put me in my place with this.

There is no handy fire, so I rip the message up into small pieces, eat a few of them, and flush the rest down the toilet.

I can't do anything about it now, other than not give Glass any chance to lord it over me.

By the time it's gone, the train is moving, and District Twelve is slipping away behind it. I go to the preps and ask if they have any of the medicine Gia gave me last winter. Fabiola brought some. I put it into a glass of water and wait for it to take effect, then go to the parlor car. Elmer is staring morosely out the window. Ginger is on a long couch, her leg stretched out in front of her. It's badly swollen. She's crying, and singing something under her breath. It takes a minute for me to recognize it as a catchy commercial jingle that's been on lately. I think it's advertising some kind of hair product that no one in Twelve could afford to buy.

They both look up at me. By the look in their eyes, they're already dead, and wondering where their names will show up on the memorial.

I take a deep breath and sit down. "Okay," I say. "Let's get the obvious out of the way. How bad is the leg if you get a little rest?"

"I'll be lucky if I don't fall off the platform and blow myself up," Ginger says flatly. "Would that be quicker than getting speared? Which will hurt less?"

I clench my teeth. I was pretty sure I was going to die at this point last year, too. "We're going to get you off the platform," I tell her. "I don't know how, but we will."

"I could carry her," Elmer offers.

"No!" She frowns at him. "You'll lose time."

I shake my head. "They never put two tributes from the same district next to each other. You'll probably be pretty far apart, so we can't plan on you carrying her."

"If I'm close enough, I will."

I nod. Ginger's right that this will slow him down, but so will worrying about her. "Let's find some other solutions."

"Some other girl should have volunteered," Elmer says. "They can volunteer, right? I heard that happens sometimes."

"No one else wants to die either," Ginger says.

"Someone with a fighting chance should have stepped up." He seems to realize that this didn't come out quite right when Ginger picks up her pillow and starts crying into it, and he comes over to sit by her and pat her shoulder awkwardly. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way."

"Yeah, you did. And you're right. But I didn't exactly run up to volunteer for Gilla last year, did I? So why should anyone try to save me? I wasn't going to be any good in the mines anyway."

I stand up. "Enough!"

They both look up at me, startled.

I have a headache, and I lock my hands behind my head. It feels like I'm trying to hold my brains in. "I'm here to help you, not figure out who to blame for you dying. Ginger, if you get a good night's rest before the Games, will your leg be strong enough to not collapse when the platform comes up?"

"I don't know. There are good days and bad days."

"Then let's hope we get a good day, and I'll see if I can make the Gamemakers think it'll be more interesting if they give you a decent brace. If we can get you off that platform and into whatever wilderness they've got out there, I think maybe… " I stop. I don't think she can make it through to the end, no matter how far away from the Cornucopia she gets. I think she's going to die, and die badly. Elmer might last a little longer, but not much. I need to lie to them. I need to tell them they both have a chance. Nothing comes out of my mouth.

"You think maybe what?" Elmer prods.

I close my eyes. "I think maybe the limp won't be as big a problem once she's clear of the Cornucopia," I try. "And you… don't even try to get in there."

"You did. You got a good bag of supplies."

"I also got a huge piece of luck, with everyone else being distracted. You can bet they'll be watching for a quick break from my tributes this year. I'm sorry, but it's true. They'll all think I'm telling you to run for the bags as quickly as you can. Whoever's beside you will be watching for it. So don't do it."

"So where we going to get food?"

"It'll have to be sponsors. I don't know how to work the system yet, but I promise both of you, I'll learn fast. I won't let you starve to death."

They seem ready to cautiously accept this. Elmer sighs. "So, maybe I can't carry you, but let's find each other as soon as we can. That way, we can share whatever Haymitch gets us --"

"Oh, that's not going to go over well."

I look up. Glass has come in. I have no idea how long he's been standing there. "Why wouldn't that fly?" I ask. "Maysilee and I shared. The audience loved it."

"The audience tolerated it because the field had already been narrowed, and she, at least, had shown some excuse for still being alive. But seeing two weak tributes begging for presents? Not a chance."

"Maybe they'd like to see district partners work together," I suggest.

He bristles. "There is no such thing as a district partner. Have you learned nothing about the Games? The districts destroyed themselves and each other in the Dark Days. The Games exist to make sure you never forget that. I assure you, no one wants it to become a tale of maudlin sentiment. They expect district children to be the barbarians you are. And you always will be." He looks at me. "And remember -- all of that chivalry last year ended up with an axe in a pretty girl's skull. You're no better than the rest."

"Never said I was."

"And if you truly intend to master the complexities of the mentor system, might I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the orientation booklet left in your quarters? As I just passed by and saw it still sealed in plastic, I must assume you had other business there earlier."

Since I didn't really look around when I ran in to read Danny's note, I can't say for sure that there was no wrapped up orientation booklet, but I have a sneaking suspicion that there wasn't -- that Glass just put it there to make me look incompetent.

"I'll have a look later," I say.

"It's quite complex. You should read it. I'll… prepare the tributes for a meal."

I start to argue, then realize this is the moment he's been waiting for -- to tell me in front of them that I'm not in charge of anything before the Games. I nod. "Yes. Thanks for letting me know. I'll see you at dinner." I look at Elmer and Ginger. "Don't let him get to you. Consider him the first person you have to be better than. Which is a pretty easy challenge."

I go back to my room. The door to the parlor slams tightly.

The booklet is, in fact, sitting on my bed… in exactly the place I sat down earlier, so I am now completely sure that Glass just planted it. I pull off the plastic wrapping.

It's a glossy thing, with a picture on the cover showing victors milling around pleasantly in a huge room full of screens. Mags Donovan and Woof are chatting pleasantly in the foreground. There's a bar off to one side, and it looks for all the world like they're at some kind of exclusive nightclub. The title is "The Games For Victors."

I open it to find a rather maniacal welcome back to the Capitol ("You won the Games, and won our hearts!"). All victors, whether mentors or not, are welcome in the Capitol for the duration of the Games. Mentors, once our "duties have been discharged" (in other words, once the tributes are dead), are free to enjoy all the Capitol has to offer. The first few pages show restaurants and clubs, the next few are occupied with the fine shopping we will no doubt want access to. Complex and important things, I'm sure. In the Capitol, we won't even need to carry money -- our accounts will be accessed through our thumbprints. I wonder if this is true of the many illegal purchases which I'm sure are available. Could one of Snow's lackeys buy a night with me by entering a thumbprint somewhere? Most of the shop ads have notes of which districts they like to support. None of them list District Twelve.

After the ads, there's a five page listing of rules of conduct (alliances must be formally agreed to by mentors before resources can be shared, mentors and victors -- whether in the Capitol or at home -- are to be available and presentable for television spots during the Games, mentors are responsible for training of the tributes, victors are expected to meet with sponsors as directed, etc). There is a directory of willing individual sponsors (though we are encouraged to seek out all other avenues), again with mentions of favored districts, this time with their donation amounts from last year.

There are fourteen of these sponsors marked with an asterisk to denote them as new listings this year. All of these are District Twelve sponsors. None of them made large donations in comparison with other people on the list, but I will contact all of them, once I find out what the protocol is. Even their small donations dwarf anything that sponsors at home could send. I read the short biographies, and I see the pattern right away: All women, all older, all single. I hope they weren't looking for "company," because I'll have disappointed them since, but each one is allowed a small comment about why she loves the Games. While most of the career sponsors list excitement and action, all of my sponsors (and Maysilee's, of course) said something about nobility.

I guess I've probably already disappointed them on that score, too.

The price list for arena gifts, which will change by the day, will be posted in the Viewing Center. I never bothered to look at it from home. I could barely keep a roof over our heads; I didn't have anything to send tributes. But some people followed the sponsor boards to entertain themselves and place bets, and I have a distinct memory from my early childhood of one of my father's drinking buddies shouting, "They're charging that for a bottle of water! I could buy the bar for that!"

Old man Murphy, then on better terms with the miners, said, "I'd sell it to you for that and retire!"

After the lists, there's a complicated set of protocols for actually contacting potential sponsors. I'll need help with that. I'm guessing that Glass won't be of much use, but Chaff and Seeder have been doing this for a while. They'll probably help. Of course, once the Games start, sponsors can call in at any time, and that's only a minimal amount of manageable red tape.

Despite Glass's urging me to read it immediately, there is nothing at all that I can do for them from the train. Everything will need to be done in the Capitol.

A light goes on, indicating dinner, and I go to the dining car, carrying the cake. The feast is laid out and Elmer and Ginger are staring at it wistfully. They've changed and cleaned up, but not been through a proper prep, so they look like they're playing dress-up. As I come in, Ginger reaches out for a chicken leg.

"No!" Glass says. "Not until you can recite the proper order of the meal!"

"They're hungry," I say. "Let them eat."

"I am in charge of their behavior," he tells me. "They will not eat until I can be certain they won't embarrass me."

I look at Elmer. "Gia taught us this stuff last year. It's just counting… like math with really weird variables."

"Not really," he says. "But thanks for trying."

"First course," Glass demands.

"Hors d'oeuvres," I say. "Otherwise known as dumb little things that don't fill you up. Then soup, fish, meat, poultry, maybe some fruit or vegetables, then some other damned thing that's supposed to clean up your mouth, then dessert." I put down the box from the bakery. "Let's have dessert first, before Danny's frosting melts."

"I told them to answer it, not you."

I roll my eyes. "First one to shoot it back at me gets the biggest piece."

Between them, they manage to get the courses I just listed right, and I give them the cake first. I don't give any to Glass, who pretends that he wouldn't eat something made by a rube anyway. Maybe it's petty, but so was holding their dinner hostage over something they'll never need to know.

I send them to bed and tell Ginger to put a pillow under her foot to keep it elevated. I think that's the right thing to do. I probably should have called the Keytons to ask before we left. She's humming another commercial as she goes.

I ask Plutarch to make sure I'm up before breakfast, since I don't want Glass playing keep-away again. I get to the dining car, take more medicine to keep off the need to drink, and wait for them. I make sure they start eating before Glass gets in. If the Capitol's going to kill them, I want them to take as much as they can from it first.

Ginger is walking a little bit better, and I see that someone has wrapped a cloth around her knee. She'll need some strength to get through the day. I try to warn them about the upcoming prep in the Capitol, but I can see that neither one of them really believes me when I say that strangers are about to scrub them down, moisturize them, and make them smell like autumn leaves. It actually gets a giggle out of Ginger, and she asks if it's another game where they need to memorize something silly.

Between breakfast and lunch, we watch the reapings around the country. There's a cruelly pretty girl from One, the usual pair of volunteer goons from Two, a boy in Three who looks like Ginger could best him, a couple of lithe eighteen-year-olds from Four… pretty much what we'd expect. They watch with only vague interest. I watch more carefully. Maybe some of them could be allies. Certainly, most will need to be avoided. Chaff's tribute looks like he could lift both of mine over his head. If he's close to Ginger, maybe he could get her off the platform without slowing himself down. Finally, they show us. Ginger realizes how awful she looked, needing help up the stairs. Elmer decides he looks "about in the middle," which I can't argue with, but a twelfth place finish in the Hunger Games won't mean a whole lot.

After lunch, the train dives into the tunnel through the mountains, and emerges alongside the Capitol.

I'm back.
21 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 15th, 2014 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)
If I can make a polite suggestion to Haymitch -- the next time he feels the need to set something on fire, can it be Glass? (Although since Effie's what, in middle school right now? it looks like he's stuck with Glass for a while yet).

The Capitol Victors' booklet is disturbingly convincing. It's like Disneyland if Disney made snuff films. "Welcome to the Magic Kingdom ... OF THE DEAD!"
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 15th, 2014 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, forgot to add -- I saw your Haymitch/Effie question earlier and didn't answer because I don't have all three books in the house and so can't be absolutely certain; I don't remember Haymitch being overtly nasty to Effie, either. The platform grope in the first book is about as bad as it gets, of course, it might not be the first time he's fallen all over her while drunk, and that would get old extremely fast.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 15th, 2014 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I have all the books, and I could probably sort through them. Just thought someone might have a quick answer, like, "Yeah, don't you remember when he...?"

The drunk grope has become more interesting to me. Actually, his whole opening scene is. Not only is there no small amount about his relationship with Effie implied by the fact that, when not confined by rationality, his response to her is obnoxious affection, but there's also something Katniss sort of breezes over, which is that when she's about to cry, that's when he humiliates himself with the dive off the stage. Reading it the first time, I thought, "Well, that's convenient timing for the drunk." Learning more about Haymitch through the series though, and how much of a strategist he is, I wonder if he recognized what was happening and derailed the event deliberately.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 15th, 2014 08:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Haymitch is unfortunately stuck with Glass for a while. Eventually, Effie will come to the rescue.

Heh, yeah, the brochure is sort of Disneyland-ish!
upupa_epops From: upupa_epops Date: February 15th, 2014 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Hiiii! I'm mostly an obnoxious lurker here, because I just devour your stories like there's no tomorrow, and I can't think of anything intelligent to comment with. But I do devour, and I admire your uncanny ability to use the smallest details from canon to wrap a story around them. I'm rereading the books right now, and I catch myself mistaking your backstories for canon all the time.

As for Effie -- I think you'll have to decide for yourself, because canon is ambiguous. Katniss never quotes anything particularly obnoxious, but at the same time, she dislikes having meals with only Haymitch and Effie, without Cinna and Portia to ease the tension. So the way I see it, both Haymitch being truly obnoxious and Haymitch just being an irritable hedgehog are plausible.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 15th, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for dropping in!

Yeah, I'm coming to that conclusion (re: Effie, and Haymitch's behavior in general) as well. I think my take is that, while being "an irritable hedgehog" -- hey, we know what Haymitch's Patronus is! -- he's not a particularly abusive type, even drunk -- physically or verbally -- at least not judging by the episodes we actually see. Unpleasant, maybe, and certainly impatient, but I'm pretty sure don't see him ever actually berate or belittle anyone.

Edited at 2014-02-15 06:46 pm (UTC)
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 15th, 2014 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well he does with Katniss, not in an abusive sense but in a "telling it like it is" sense, which is in no way to get a decent interview out of her, for example (her first interview prep) - unless he wanted her to be angry for some reason. But I think the most telling thing about that is how, the whole way through the first games, she's constantly irritated with him and the "messages" he's sending, but when she gets out, he's the one whose arms she runs to. Her choice isn't even Cinna, who was much nicer to her. That says that however much she calls him destructive and wonders whether he's deliberately killing her by not sending water, the first few days in the arena, she knows his behaviour is not actually hostile to her, rather the opposite. Physically there is always what will happen if you're near him when he wakes up, or if you take his alcohol away, because then you might have to dodge a knife or a fist, but that doesn't happen often enough to actually be a strong impression of his character. But as for Effie, no, I can't think of any time we see him put her down. I guess we also don't see them interact with each other all that much (more with the kids while they're both there). But I don't see him as being rude to her.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 16th, 2014 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)
The interview prep scene shows a good amount of frustration on his part, and of course, all the things he finds fault with in her are things that are just as (or more) true of him... really, Haymitch, you're faulting someone else for being prickly? But he doesn't habitually call her stupid or useless or... really anything like that. It's just straight-up head-butting between them.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 17th, 2014 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, no, that's definitely true. He'll laugh at her sometimes and occasionally say some fairly cutting things, but she gives as good as she gets, and it's completely different to actually putting her down or anything.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 17th, 2014 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, by the way, I'm curious about why you write Effie as having been the D12 mentor for twenty years by the time we meet her. I got the impression when I first read the books that she'd only been there for a few years at most - her comment about Haymitch having a lot to learn made me think that she hadn't dealt with him much before (though I guess there are other ways to read it), and Katniss keeps referring to Effie hoping to be transferred to a better district, which I wouldn't have thought she (Katniss) would think if Effie had been the escort all her life (or at least, the thought would be qualified with a comment to that effect). I could easily have missed something! The movie certainly plays Haymitch and Effie like an "old married couple"-type relationship, and I know the author was involved in the movie.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 17th, 2014 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I have it at fifteen years (so, she'd have taken over sometime around the 59th games). I think it's just Katniss's treatment of her like she's been there forever ("as perky as ever," etc), and her lack of mention of any other mentor that she recalls to compare Effie to that lead me to believe she's been the escort for all of the years Katniss remembers.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 15th, 2014 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh gosh, I'm so terrified of what Glass will have the stylists do. I thought the deal included that! And naturally, everyone back home will assume Haymitch had something to do with it, or at least let it happen. Grr.

I was thinking about the difference between Katniss and Haymitch as narrators (your Haymitch, I mean) especially as regards their respective Games, since they're similar people in some ways, and I realised that Katniss's narrative shows how conscious she is of playing the Games to the audience, only giving passing thought to what the Gamemakers will or won't do, whereas Haymitch plays the game far more to the Gamemakers. It's a neat difference.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 15th, 2014 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Katniss isn't really big-picture-gal when it comes down to it ("That's why no one lets you make the plans, sweetheart"), so yeah, that's major difference. She learns not to think much further than a few days ahead, while Haymitch is unable to turn off that "In the future..." voice. On the other hand, while he's good with the big picture, he is upsettingly bad with the small one. He can see himself being sober at some point, but he can't get the complicated mechanics of not drinking.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 17th, 2014 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think he's quite as bad at "small picture" as Plutarch, but I can't quite think of WHY I think that. Maybe it's just that he's more personally connected with everything, so he can't switch off his personal care for Katniss or Peeta, whereas Plutarch's a decent guy who does actually care about people, but kind of... only when they're actually in front of him.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 17th, 2014 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I don't think anyone's as bad with the small picture as Plutarch! Haymitch at least has some idea that the small picture matters; he's just not all that good at managing it.
redlily From: redlily Date: February 15th, 2014 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
This chapter is the first time I've ever gotten a sense of what it must've been like mentoring underfed and depressed Tributes every year. And how when he finally got Katniss, how he would've had to fight with himself . . . "Don't get your hopes up; she's going to die like the rest."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 15th, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I watched the HG movie with my mother (she hasn't read the books), I kind of winced when Haymitch came on stage, because she's death on drunks. And I said, "You know, he's had to take two kids to die for twenty three years." She raised her eyebrows and said, "You know... I think I'd be a drunk, too."
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 15th, 2014 11:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Decent" may be an overstatement, and "known" certainly is, but we've been in the same grade at school all our lives, and he's at least not been obnoxious. I will do everything I can, but Mr. McCullough and I both know that it won't amount to much. He doesn't pretend otherwise. He goes off with an odd dignity. I think Elmer's mother is dead. He'll be alone tonight.
I think you mean Mr Parton here.

"I dropped off the bread, and decided to stick around and see if either of them needed a visitor. You mentioned it last year. I thought it sounded like a good idea. I went in to see Elmer first, since dad wanted to see him last. He's pretty scared." Missing a his in front of dad.

I was really surprised to see an update so quick, thanks!!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 15th, 2014 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll get those, thanks. I have a couple of days off, so I'm going to power through some chapters.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: February 16th, 2014 12:08 am (UTC) (Link)

Review and Catches

Mr. McCullough and I I think you meant to have Parton here, since you were talking about Elmer's father?

since dad wanted to see him last. I think you missed a his before dad, there.

smiles rolls his eyes I think you missed an and before rolls.

"Well… much would it be worth?" I think you meant to have a how before much, here?

His mouth is beside ear I think you meant to have a my before ear, there.

so I'm have no idea I think I'm was supposed to be I, here?

for any kind logical grammar I think you missed an of before logical, there.

Gia gave me last summer. If it's the same powder as on the victory tour, wouldn't it be winter?

some strength get through the day. I think you meant to have a to before strength?

My first reaction to this chapter was a frustrated shriek and plans to christen a pillow Glass so I can hit it repeatedly while reading his scenes!

I so didn't want to be right about how much Haymitch would regret that deal, but that was a truly awful deal. The creepiest line had to be Glass saying he didn't lay a hand on them.

And now, even though Haymitch didn't want career alliances, it was good to have on the table, and it'll be gone now. They can put 2 and 2 together, and he's the only one that would've caused this drastic a role reversal; and some of the victors who won on narrative and banked on it as a strategy are going to be pissed, too. The fact that the mentors control the interviews is going to become vitally important.

I love mentor Haymitch, particularly what he's doing to shield the tributes; the entire scene in the dining car made me clap.

I feel so bad for both these kids, though I like Elmer a touch more because he's at least trying to make Haymitch feel better about the whole thing; I know that sounds awful, but if you know you're going to die, can you at least give the guy that's got to watch it happen a break? Though the fact that Ginger's in pain didn't help at all.

And year after year, throwing everything in to trying to save them;I can see why he's starting to detach by Kattniss and Peeda; it does absolutely no good.

It's going to be interesting, particularly seeing how petty Glass is being even with controls and the strictures imposed on mentors, to see whether and/or how Haymitch keeps his deal with Snow; right now, Snow's just about made it not worth it to continue, though I can imagine he'll find something worse if Haymitch doesn't, which he'll have learned by now.

I think the worst duty of a mentor has to be meeting the parents. Particularly with the McCulloughs, what do you say? You just had to carry/support their kid (everything with how he helped her and tried so damn hard to convince them they had a chance was so bittersweet); she's sunk, and there's absolutely no way of avoiding it.

I'm fascinated to see Haymitch learn about mentoring; I love getting a look at the mechanisms underlying the games; and I need something to look forward too, because these next few chapters are going to be grueling. I'm morbidly fascinated by who the person Snow wants Haymitch to entertain is. I can think of a number of possibilities (Cadwell in particular) that make me very glad Haymitch decided discression was the better part of valor, because if he'd been alone in a room with them, they would've been dead.

As for Effy, I've been racking my brains, but everything points to Haymitch not being overtly cruel, as far as I can tell. Even when she's furious at him (the bit where she's hopping around the vomit), she's furious becausehe's their only lifeline in the arena. It seems like, if the groping were a common occurrence, there'd be some lingering fury over that that would've come out. There's also quite a span of time between him passing out onstage and being drunk after dinner, which makes me think he may have apologized while lucid. Kattniss says they snipe at each other, but when the tributes seem like they have a fighting chance, they become a team. It's then that she wishes for Portia and Cinna, mostly because their tension and expectations are making the meals oppressive. I also think it's telling that when Kattniss explodes at her in CF, she nearly falls to pieces. If Haymitch were an abusive type, I'd think she'd have developed a thicker skin.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 16th, 2014 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Review and Catches

Heh, that's what happens when I write fast. ;p Believe it or not, I wrote "winter," then changed it to summer. :facepalm:

I really, truly hate Glass. I don't hate all of the bad guys, but I hate him. I think this may have been a result of Haymitch making a deal, but at least it wasn't a codicil to that deal that he accidentally agreed to. It was a separate deal that was just prompted by it.

His relationship with the career districts definitely took a hit.

I think, despite Katniss's beliefs, that Haymitch probably did his level best for the tributes, though it may have been more an attempt to beat the Gamemakers than anything noble. But what would undoubtedly make its way home would be his falling into the bottle after they were dead. And that would fit what they know of him, so they'd believe it.

Ginger's family has to know that she has no chance at all. She certainly knows it.
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