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HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Fourteen - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Fourteen
Wow, this section is writing faster than I thought it would. Haymitch and his tributes have just arrived back in the Capitol.


Chapter Fourteen
Apparently, Atilia (who is now Ginger's stylist) got things moving here, and as soon as the car gets us to the training center, she collects Ginger, Elmer, and Lepidus and takes them upstairs. I start to follow, but Glass blocks the way. "You have other duties," he says, and produces a schedule. "I will see to the preparations."

I take the schedule. I'm supposed to be at a mentors' meeting, which starts in five minutes. It's in the "District Lounge," which I have no idea how to get to, and of course, Glass is already gone. I look around for anyone else just coming in, and I spot Earl Bates, from Ten. His tributes both look like strong-backed ranch kids. I guess he must be relieved; his son isn't here.

I go over. "Hey. What's the 'District Lounge'? I --"

He turns, looking frustrated. "What happened?"

"What?"

"What's going on, Haymitch? Everyone's saying you're the one cutting deals."

"Wait… what?" I realize what he's talking about and shake my head. "I just made sure Glass couldn't touch my tributes -- "

"You made a deal with Snow."

"Yeah. But not this one. It wasn't what I asked for at all!"

He sighs and puts a hand on my shoulder, leading me out of the unloading area. "Look, everyone knows you didn't mean to, but you made your deal with Snow, didn't you?"

"Yeah -- "

"So, deals with Snow never end up where you think they will. You should have asked one of us."

"What could you do that I couldn't?"

"Warn you that he was the lesser of two evils, for one thing."

"I know that. But the other one wasn't in my bedroom wearing brass knuckles, and he doesn't come around where the tributes are."

We stop outside a large, ornate wooden door. "I know," he says. "You're in a bad spot. Everyone knows it. But whatever deal Glass made put everyone else in a bad spot, too."

This takes a minute to sink in. All the victors I met, all the ones who called me… I've made their lives more difficult. "So… I don't have any friends in there."

"Yeah. You do. But they're not real happy with you right now."

He opens the door, and we go in. The District Lounge is a round room, with the Capitol seal in the middle of the domed ceiling. Radiating out around it are thirteen wedge-shaped murals. One of them, obviously depicting District Thirteen, is entirely black. Twelve's shows dirty miners with lit-up helmets.

There is a horseshoe-shaped table with twenty-four spots at it, separated into twelve little tables. Most of them have two nameplates, but some don't. My section (name on its little gold plaque) only has one, as do Three, Seven and Eight (Beetee, Blight and Woof). There is a completely empty table, which must be District Six. I sit down. Chaff and Seeder aren't here yet, so there's no one between me and the two men at the District Ten table -- Earl, who's just sitting down, and another man, who I didn't meet on the tour. Earl introduces him as "Toffy Taggart." I shake his hand.

"You never mind the idiots," he tells me. "Show me one of 'em hasn't made a deal he regrets."

The door opens again, and three more people come in. It must be the District Two mentors -- Brutus and Drake are among them, and the third is a woman I don't know -- though I can't figure why they have three until Drake whips out a temporary name plate and stomps over to the District Six table. Apparently, he's been assigned as a guest mentor again. Brutus "trips" over my chair leg and gives me a shove. "Nice job," he sneers, and heads over to the District Two table. The woman gives me an apologetic look, but moves on.

At the front of the room, there's a podium. Hadriana Livingston is organizing papers. Her silver hair is pulled up into a tight ponytail, which bounces importantly when she moves her head. She looks up and smiles at me vaguely, then goes back to work. I don't respond to it. If Earl's right, I'll have enough trouble with other mentors thinking I make deals with the wrong people without them knowing that the head Gamemaker rescued me.

The tables start to fill up. I recognize most of the victors from television or my tour. Miracle Brea and Prodigy Waterman from One, Mags Donovan and Henessey Doolin from Four, Tesla Corvin and Faraday Sykes from Five (she gives me a sarcastic little smile, followed by a rude gesture). I recognize the male victor from Nine, but I can't bring his name into my head. The woman is Darla Grimes. Chaff and Seeder come in last. There's a spot on Seeder's shirt that looks like someone's nose was running onto it. She leans down and kisses my cheek quickly, then takes her seat. Chaff sits down beside me, rolls his eyes, and shakes his head.

Up front, Livingston presses a button, and a soft but persistent tone fills the room. The quiet conversations that have been going on come to a quick stop.

As soon as she has everyone's attention, she says, "Welcome back to the Capitol. I'm very glad to see you all. And a special welcome to our new mentor, Haymitch Abernathy of District Twelve."

There is muted, resentful applause.

"There are a few changes this year," Livingston says. "Nothing terribly important -- "

"What's this crap about not having any say in the interviews?" Faraday interrupts. "That's strategy -- mentor territory."

"And the parade costumes!" Brutus shouts. "My stylists haven't even consulted with me!"

There's a general uproar around the table.

Livingston raises her hands. "Now, I think you're overreacting!" she calls. "Calm down, and let me explain!"

"Who cut a deal with the escorts?"

"No one 'cut a deal' with the escorts!" She lets out an exasperated sigh. "Really, let's not indulge in paranoia. It was decided that the Capitol teams -- not just the escorts -- would be able to better plan the preliminary events here in the Capitol. They're in a position to place orders with manufacturers, get a feel for the trends on the street here, and judge what will go over with the sponsors, which is the main point of those events. Stylists have taken the lead in planning the parade, and they've been working for several months. Escorts have always been the team leaders on the Capitol side, and they've been responsible for creating District images. They will not be controlling the interviews. They will, as always, coach on etiquette, and they've worked side by side with the stylists. But of course, the mentors will be the ones most involved in working with individual tributes on their interview responses, and Caesar Flickerman insists that he meet with the mentors before the show, as always."

"What did Caesar have to say about it?" Mags asks.

"He is the executive producer of the pre-Games events. I assure you, he was involved in every facet of the decision."

I doubt anyone here, even Brutus, is too stupid to miss that she doesn't say he approves. Even the executive producer and head Gamemaker answer to at least one higher authority.

No one makes an argument. Apparently, Caesar's involvement is the last word.

Livingston goes on to describe a few new bits of technology in the viewing center (it's all new to me, of course, so I don't know how anything will be different), thank the catering staff who will be providing us with food, and wish us all luck. After that, she offers a tour of the viewing center to new mentors and anyone else who's interested.

"Any questions?"

Mags raises her hand. "The little girl from Twelve needs a knee brace."

I look up, surprised.

"I would think that would be something the mentor from Twelve can discuss with me," Livingston says.

"He's new. I'm not. Can we get you on record saying that poor little girl won't be trying to totter around on a chariot tonight with a bum knee?"

Livingston smiles a little bit. "You have me on record." She presses a button, and someone asks what she needs. "Please see to it that a knee brace is included with the costume for the District Twelve female tribute."

"On it, ma'am," the voice says.

"Thank you," I say, mostly looking at Mags.

She gives me a real smile, and nods.

While everyone is packing up, I lean over to Chaff. "I need help with the sponsor protocols."

"Don't sweat them too much. It took Seeder five minutes to teach me. Take the tour, and I'll meet you in the bar in the training center after the parade. You can't do much with sponsors until then, anyway."

I go up to the front, where a perky girl in a green wig is waiting to conduct the tour. To my surprise, Drake joins me. No one else comes.

"You need a tour?" I ask as we head out.

"I need to mentor you. Again."

I wince.

The tour guide leads us out of the room and to a waiting car. The Viewing Center is just next door to the Training Center, but I guess they aren't taking any chances. The guide's name is Fausta Furbelow. She is my age, and is just thrilled to have a chance to meet both me and my esteemed mentor. She is still in school, and her favorite subject is fashion and she thinks we're both cuter than actors on television. Do we watch Seagull Point? She thinks their latest plot twist may have been inspired by my tragic circumstances. Do I think so? Is it disrespectful? Would I mind if she told her very best friend that she met me, since I was both of their favorite last year? The friend has a poster of me from a magazine in her locker at school, but getting to meet me is so much better. Will I sign her dress later? (At least I hope the word was "dress." I have a sneaking feeling it might have been "breast.")

I don't really have much of a chance to answer any of this, since she skips from one point to another at a constant clip, but she doesn't seem to mind. I see Drake's lips twitching, but I'm not sure if he's trying not to laugh, or trying not to scream.

We enter a huge, stone-walled lobby and take a glass escalator up to the viewing level. This is never shown on television, but it's actually kind of nice. It's a big room, with hundreds of screens lining the walls and coming down from the ceiling. Each of the small screens, Fausta explains, tracks a single camera. Some cameras might not see any action at all, others might pick up a lot. Right now, they're all blank -- "No peeking ahead of time!" she chirps -- but I think when they're on, it must look like puzzle pieces. Something called a "nano-cam" will also be tracking individual tributes, attached to the trackers, floating along like a mote in the air.

"I had one of those on me?" I ask.

"You sure did. The nano-cams only get a small view -- the only final shots that come from them are the close-ups -- but they activate the other hidden cameras. I mean, the others are on, of course, but when the nano-cams come near, they notify the Gamemakers, so they can keep the shots clean."

"Wow," I said. "I missed that trick."

Fausta giggles, then takes us around to the individual district tables. Each is equipped with two screens, showing the nano-cam views of the district's tributes, plus a telephone for contacting sponsors. Our escorts will be here to help us field calls and spell us while we sleep. There's a room off to one side with curtained-off beds for us, along with a long buffet table, a bar, and a sitting area with lots of extra televisions and no books.

"Well, that's it!" she says. "I hope you'll both have a good year."

"May we have a minute?" Drake asks.

She grins and shrugs.

"Alone?"

"Oh. Right." She looks at both of us speculatively, then scurries away.

Drake turns me around and pulls me into the area with the beds, finally stopping at a place between two of them, where there's a lot of heavy, sound-absorbing cloth between us and our tour guide. "No more deals," he says.

"I--"

"I get it. Everyone gets it if they think about Glass. But I told you, we've been holding that line for years, and now we lost it."

"I didn't agree to that! I just wanted Glass not to… take advantage of my tributes. We both know there are a few creeps who try it." I raise my eyebrow at him -- Drake was on Maysilee last year like a mosquito looking for a place to bite.

"And he tried it with you, didn't he?"

I nod.

"I don't know how Duronda kept not killing him year after year. I really don't. If he was assigned to me, I'd let him live long enough to watch me feed his balls to those damned mutt squirrels, and then I'd throw the rest of him in after them." Drake shakes his head. "Okay, fine. You have a good reason, but do you get it now? If you make deals with the Gamemakers -- or Snow, because I have a feeling that's who you talked to -- then you're always going to end up paying. And so will the rest of us."

"So what am I supposed to do?"

"No more concessions. End of story. I don't care what they promise you. Why do you think Mags was the one who asked for the knee brace? They'll try and make you make deals for things like that. You can't do it. Don't let them think they can."

"But if I don’t, my tributes --"

"--are most likely going to die anyway. And if they don't, it's not going to be because you made some great deal. Do you have the sense that I made any deals for you last year?"

"No."

"No. And I did make a couple to get allies for Berryhill… you saw how well those worked. And you know what else? Those magpie mutts that hit you and Maysilee came out right after I told one of Snow's cronies that I didn't have time for him. Hate me if you want, but you'll need to do the same thing. Your tributes only have a one in twenty-four chance even if everything's fair. But if you let the Capitol use you, then there's a one hundred in one hundred chance that they'll keep doing it. I wish I didn't know that firsthand."

"But you're not doing it anymore?"

He doesn't answer for a long time, then he says, "I don't know, genius. I didn't do it for you. Maybe that'll make it easier to not do it for someone else next time, though maybe my tributes this year won't be as obnoxious. We'll see. This is the year they're going to test you out, though. See how tight those puppet strings are, how much they can make you dance. They'll promise you the world. They won't deliver. Then they'll promise payback. That will happen. I can't imagine it'll be any worse than what they've already done to you without you breaking, though. You're a tough kid. I admire that. If you tell anyone I said that, I'll rip your tongue out and make a sandwich of it."

Nothing else seems appropriate to follow this up, so we head out in silence. Fausta is waiting for us with a deliberately empty expression. She asks if I think I'll have time to talk to my fan club. I allow that the schedule looks a little tight.

By the time we get back to the warehouse-like addition to the Training Center called the Remake Center, most of the mentors are in deep conversation with each other or with their escorts and stylists. I guess that, if you have a staff here you can trust, the new system will have advantages, like Livingston said. But I don't trust my escort, and my stylists are scared to death of him. I wonder how many of the other districts are in that situation. From the looks of it, some of the districts are actually pretty chummy with their staff. Beetee is helping his stylist do something with a thin mesh over the cloth of a costume, and, unless I'm reading it wrong, Blight's getting pretty cozy with his new escort. Drake goes off to the District Six area and immediately picks a fight with the stylists. Chaff and Seeder are examining costumes.

I don't see Glass, Lepidus, or Atilia, so I just sit down in a lounge area, bored. I know it's better not to express boredom -- the Gamemakers can always cure that, even for mentors, I'm sure -- so I try to feign interest in what's going on around me. Most of it is just baffling. Aside from the district teams trying to work together, I see horse trainers running around with whips and harness equipment. Production teams try different lighting settings on the exit, causing a constant, subtle shift in the light inside. Little kids in fancy clothes are running around, offering trays of refreshments to us. I wonder how they draw that duty. There's some kind of set catastrophe, apparently, because production assistants are rushing around, screaming for something called "Glimmer-Glo."

Glass finally shows up with the stylists trailing behind him, and Ginger and Elmer in their wake. I am somehow not shocked to see them done up as sexy miners, though Lepidus acts like he's re-invented the wheel by using black glitter instead of coal dust for decoration. Ginger has the promised knee brace over one long, bare leg.

"I couldn't think of anything to hide it," Lepidus says nervously.

"It's wretched, and not part of the agreed-on costume." Glass sighs. "But the Gamemakers insisted. You know that it will only make her look weak, don't you?" he asks me.

"Have you ever been on one of those chariots?" I ask. "It's hard enough to stand up straight when your legs are fine. How is it, Ginger? All right?"

"Better than since I got shot," she says. "Can I have it in the arena?"

"I'll see what I can do."

"I doubt it will be allowed," Glass says. "It can be used as a weapon, and they'll never send her in with a pre-existing weapon."

"I'll see what I can do," I repeat slowly.

Elmer has been hiding behind her, and when he comes out, I see why. The pants are even tighter than last year, and they've done something that makes him look like he's got a full-grown rooster tucked in his front pockets. He pulls me aside. "I can't go out in public like this," he says. "It's even worse than what they did to you. And we all… you know… laughed. Guess it serves me right now, huh?"

"Elmer, I'd have laughed at me too, if I'd seen me. I can't really do anything about it, though. The stylists get to make the call. At least you'll be inside the chariot. Just… stick close to the front wall of it. Well, as close as you can get, I guess." I grin.

He makes a face, and for a second, we could be back in math class, then he sees one of the chariots being rolled in and goes a pale shade of green under the ridiculous makeup.

I put a hand on his shoulder. "It'll be okay. The parade's nothing. Just stand there and pretend you're just having a bad dream about showing up at school with no clothes on, and you'll wake up soon enough. And you will be inside the chariot, not hanging off it like I was. I bet they don't even notice at home."

"You tell my dad this wasn't my idea, all right? He'll keel over from embarrassment."

"I got Danny Mellark sitting with your dad, so if he keels over, Danny'll catch him and set him right back up. And Danny knows who runs things, too. I've told him plenty."

Elmer looks surprised. "Thanks for thinking about my dad. That was decent of you. I hope dad doesn't say anything bad about… you know. Merchants."

There's no time to continue this conversation, because they're starting to call for the chariots. I can see the other tributes, all of them looking better than Ginger and Elmer. Beetee's got something working on the District Three chariot that makes the seal twinkle like a star, though someone makes him take it off while I'm watching.

There's a lot of activity, then the chariots pull out into the night. I stay behind with the other mentors and watch on the screen. It looks pretty much like it looks from home, though there's a lot more horse manure odor to go along with it here.

Claudius Templesmith gushes about how wonderful the costumes all are this year, with the new rules allowing stylists full control. The audience seems to like them, too. They reach the president and hear the speech (this year, his theme is how we should all be very grateful to the Capitol for its wise leadership), and then it's over.

We get back to the Training Center, which is starting to feel very familiar to me. I can see several mentors already veering off to the lounge (and I can see the twinkling lights of the bar beyond it), but I decide to go up with the tributes. Ginger's leg is starting to bother her again, so I scoop her up and carry her on the elevator up to the twelfth floor. I point out a few things we can see through the clear walls, but I realize somewhere around the fourth floor that she's scared to death of heights. I let her turn her face away and hide her eyes against my chest.

Dinner is scheduled in an hour, which I hope will be enough time to meet with Chaff. I take Elmer and Ginger to their rooms and show them how to use the showers (I figure this will save them some time and let them relax more), then head out, over Glass's protests, to the bar.

Chaff is waiting for me, drinking straight bourbon. "Want me to order you one?" he asks.

"I better not. Glass is up there with them."

"You can just quit like that? That's good."

I think about telling him that my preps have medicine that helps out -- if it weren't for the drugs currently keeping my brain under control, I guess I'd be in trouble -- but I find that I don't want to tell him how hard it is to stop sometimes. "So… where do I start with the sponsors? Their only chance is hiding, and I have to get them food. I didn't get the part about establishing credentials… I don't have credentials. No one gave me anything."

Chaff laughs. "Give it twenty years and you might need a badge, but you're shiny and new. They'll know who you are. You just call them at the numbers they give and say who you are. Everyone here has those fancy video phones."

"Which I don't know how to work."

"There's one out in the lobby, I'll show it to you."

"Thanks. Look, um… about alliances?"

"Mostly, we wait for training to start that. But I expect you're looking for help for the girl at the Cornucopia?"

I nod.

He nods back and stares at his drink. "Haymitch, I know this is a hard thing to hear, but I don't think you'll find her any allies. I saw you pick her up and carry her. Everyone saw her leaning on you at the reaping. The risk of helping her… I just don't know."

"It's the decent thing to do," I try.

"Decency can get you killed at the Cornucopia, and you know it. It's all about getting away fast. Come on -- you didn't stick around to help the little girl last year, did you?"

I shake my head.

"No, and I doubt anyone will do it for your girl this year. I'll tell Dibber -- that's my boy this year -- that she'll need help, but Haymitch, in good conscience, I can't actually tell him to help her."

"I guess I know that. So, what about regular alliances? How will they work?"

Chaff patiently explains the process to me from the mentors' side. There are informal alliances among tributes all the time, mostly made in the arena, at which point the mentors can choose to make an official alliance, and share resources. There are also formal request processes that are mostly used by the career districts to form a pack as soon as they're off their platforms. It's all a very nice thought, but as I saw with Beech, once they're inside the arena, the tributes can very easily choose to ignore those alliances. "You have to give up the idea that you can control what your tributes do," he says. "I know you think you can, but you can't."

"Aren't I here to help them?"

"Yeah, but the best you can do for them is to give them good advice that they can decide to ignore, and find them sponsors, so you can send them things in the arena."

"Like messages."

"Don't try to send a message. You'll get called out on that for sure. They have to figure it out on their own."

"So, the sponsors. It doesn't look like Twelve has many."

"The ones in the book are usually pretty strict about sticking with the districts they like," Chaff says, "but there are always new people."

"How do I find them?"

"Some of them will find you, on the sponsor phones. Some of them will contact the Gamemakers to set up a meeting -- and only a handful of those are the ones you want to avoid. Some of them are perfectly nice people. If you get the other kind, be nice, but don't take anything."

"I already got the lecture on not making an concessions."

"Yeah? Good. Drake finally did something useful. There are miracles left in the world." He finishes his drink and signals for another. "It's another hard truth that you're not going to get a lot of new sponsors this year, because you're going to have to wait until you're free to move around. But once you are, you go out into the Capitol. You meet them. You have a drink with them. Talk to them in the park. Go to the library you always seem to find your way to. Maybe there's someone there. Go to the Mutt Zoo. The museum. Get to know people."

"I'm terrible at that."

"Yeah, well, you're a pain, that's for sure. But it's the only way. Some districts have escorts that can do that sort of thing through the year, but I wouldn't count on Glass for it."

"I have to get rid of him."

"Yeah. Especially now that he's got more power. Grapevine says that Caesar Flickerman wants to clear out the bad seeds, but he's got an uphill battle, so you're going to have to put up with Glass for a while. We've never had the power to do anything about that."

I nod. Chaff finishes his second drink, then takes me out to the lobby to teach me how to use a Capitol telephone.
18 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 17th, 2014 07:23 am (UTC) (Link)
we've been holding that line for years, and no we lost it. I think that's a typo for "now".

As for everything else ... wow, just wow, as they like to say. It's all so normal and businesslike. I like how Mags got Ginger's brace (and oh, OF COURSE there was no way to hide it, Lepidus -- covering up a girl's legs is an affront to Nature). It's very in-character for Mags, though -- you had her be the one to push for giving the tributes the desexing shots, right? And from a somewhat colder perspective, she doesn't even lose anything by it -- Ginger's last week on earth will be more comfortable, and it's not like she's going to be a threat to Mags's own tributes, whatever happens.

Drake -- I don't *like* him, but I get him a lot more than I did at first. I hope he's learned a few lessons from last year and isn't quite as much of a pill with his District 6 tributes. I'll bet he sometimes wishes Brutus has died in a convenient rockslide or pissed off the wrong Snow crony.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 17th, 2014 07:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Also, not sending messages? I assume that rule got changed at some point later if Haymitch was able to ask Katniss if she called that a kiss. Or maybe the messages just had to be under 140 characters :).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 17th, 2014 07:28 am (UTC) (Link)
The written messages were just in the movie -- Katniss has to figure out what he means from the gift in the book.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 17th, 2014 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Damn, should have remembered that. I saw the movie before reading the book, so I confuse them easily. (I do remember wondering at the time why mentors could send messages like those but not do useful things like tell their tributes what areas to avoid etc. I decided that the messages probably had to be censored first -- of course, the real reason for the message was because in the movie we didn't have Katniss's internal monologue explaining the issues around it).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 17th, 2014 07:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Lepidus. Pants. They often cover things on the legs!

Mags at this point is still mostly Capitol-loyal, but I think she does genuinely want to help out. And yeah... it's a costless favor to do. Ginger's not making it far no matter how braced her leg is!

I'll get that typo.
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: February 17th, 2014 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Are the nano-cams your invention? Very clever if they are - they fit right into canon!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 18th, 2014 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
As far as I know, I made them up, but they seemed to make sense, with the audio technology Katniss describes at one point.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 17th, 2014 12:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh my gosh your world-building. I'm in absolute awe. This is fascinating and I can't wait to keep exploring the details of mentoring as you share them.

This whole chapter constantly reminded me of that one line in CF where Haymitch is like, "you'll see, the choices you'll have to make." Kind of assuming Drake is not really right about it getting any easier. But seriously, they're all doing it here, even Chaff with his frank comment about not being able to ask his tribute to help Haymitch's. And I know from Narrow Path the choice Haymitch is eventually going to make here, and just... ugh. It's perfectly horrible. I love it.

I managed to convince myself halfway through the chapter that this was going to be the year the D12 tributes were naked, so I was actually kind of relieved at the costumes, however awful :p
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 18th, 2014 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Forcing the victors into mentoring is horrible... of course, it's better than forcing the tributes to deal with the Games with no one from home around, too. Grr.

The narration made it sound like Katniss actually saw the year they were naked, so I guess they get stuck with a really bad stylist at some point.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 18th, 2014 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah, I always thought so too. But I literally stopped reading in the middle of your chapter and checked the book to see if Katniss actually SAID she saw them, and then I was like, "Well maybe it was SO BAD everyone's been talking about it constantly ever since. And SURELY EFFIE WOULD NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN so maybe it's this year." And then I realised I could just keep reading the chapter to find out. :p
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 18th, 2014 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I can think of two reasons with Effie -- one is that there was a really pushy stylist who insisted on full control, the other is that, when it comes to fashion, look what she wears... if the thing in the Capitol that year for kids was running around naked, she'd probably not be that hard to convince that it was the very latest statement in fashion.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 18th, 2014 05:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah actually, I don't think nudity is actually quite so much of a taboo in their culture as it is in ours. Katniss has an issue with it, but everyone else just seems to think it's hilarious she's like that.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 18th, 2014 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
And as for the first point, yeah, AND it also kind of makes the victors complicit in the whole thing, in a way. Like, obviously it's not their fault because in the end they don't really have a choice about 23 of the tributes dying (short of total rebellion, which isn't a simple matter obviously) but it still ends up on their shoulders that they're forced to keep on making these little choices that lead directly to suffering or death for the tributes. Which makes it pretty interesting that that's basically what Coin does to them as well, putting that final decision on their shoulders (which similarly is really no decision at all, but they'd have had to live with it either way).
torturedbabycow From: torturedbabycow Date: February 18th, 2014 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
There were tons of good details in this chapter (as there have been in most chapters!!), but I just had a thought that trumps all attempts at eloquent feedback.

You know how the designers always use the same old sexy coal miner costume? And it's really boring? And Cinna was a genius for basically dressing the tributes as ACTUAL COAL?

What if in some AU, the games were still going on as usual after Cinna's two years of genius costumes? And what if, in the wake of that magnificence, the district 12 designer decided to take the coal thing a step further and dress them up as plants from the Carboniferous era?

WHAT IF SOMEONE DREW SOME FANART OF THIS?? I'M JUST SAYING.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 18th, 2014 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, here's a resource!

Those parades... think Collins was inspired by the Miss Universe Pageant?

From: queen_bellatrix Date: February 18th, 2014 04:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Review and Typos

"I will see
preparations." I think you meant to have a to before preparations?

sense about her, though, Did you maybe change this bit in editing? The though there feels a bit superfluous, like you wrote that he didn't get that sense though and then wrote the bit about him doubting it afterwords?

Which we both know I can't tell if you meant and for which here, or if it's a grammatical choice, but I thought I'd point it out in case it's the former.:)

looking a place to bite I think you meant to put a for before the a, there?

about telling that I think you meant to have a him before that?

making an concessions." I think the an here should have been any?

I love so many things about this chapter, from the minutia of mentoring (the sponsors and wheeling and dealing behind the scenes) to the complicated ties between the victors.

Particularly with the ties, I love that it's a two way street; Haymitch can't make deals, because it makes things worse for everyone and his life could in turn be made worse by the next victor to make one, but on the other hand, there're people like Mags who'll use their clout to help if he just plays by the unofficial rules.

You're doing a really wonderful job with showing the dehumanization or at least desensitization the games have on the tributes as well as the mentors; especially the mentors. The fact that they have to constantly choose between killing their tributes and giving up their integrity, and then, in some cases, between giving up their decency or possibly keeping a tribute is awful. You can no more dislike Chaff for his practical assesment of Ginger than you can dislike Drake's choice to tell one of Snow's people to bugger off, even with the consequences. Watching Haymitch be confronted with this choice is going to be painful; I feel like this story could plausibly be called Crucible, because it's burning away so many of his ideals and innocence, which of course makes the ideals he holds on to even more valuable.

I would, I realized while reading, make a horrible mentor; as eximplified by the fact that the moment you mentioned formal alliances, I thought: Must ask Fern if Haymitch and Chaff were in the process of forming a formal alliance between Kattniss and Rue before Rue died. And then realized that my immediate impulse of He'd have to be willing to share resources with someone with as many obstac les as Rue! could have just as easily led, in a different scenario, to the games coming down to Kattniss and Rue.

Glass...honestly, the less said the better; I'm reminded of the Mary Poppins film where Mr. Banks nanny comes in. Way to make the anti-Gia.

I now want to see Mags just before her stroke after she found out about Finnick, putting all those persuasive skills to use as a rebel. And I respect Drake despite myself, though I'll never like him. I also loved the entire costume related exchange between Elmer and Haymitch; hell, all of Haymitch's mentoring moments; that one just stood out most.

And I know this is a small moment, but the mention of Blight was interesting to me. I'd never really thought of how dystopias would break down our traditional notions of romance; but in a world where everything can go to hell, particularly when he occuppies the position he does, grieving for the loss of one person and not reaching out to take comfort where you could would drive you insane. And just a random Gia/Blight question that occurred to me today as I was doing a reread of Gia moments: Were they forced to "split", or was it a mutual decision to make their lives better/stop Blight from continuing to be punished by Snow and Gia to be continually dragged through the mud? If you know, that is, because I do know that's an odd backstory question.:)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 18th, 2014 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Review and Typos

Got the typos -- the "which" was a choice, with it as a sentence frag to make stand out more than ellipses, but I didn't like it on review, so I changed it. Superfluous line was superfluous, and is is likewise gone. (Just trying to address the suspicion readers would have by saying Haymitch didn't have it, which only brought it up when it didn't need to be brought up!)

The victors really are tied to each other, and their actions affect each other a lot.

I'd make a bad mentor, too. I'd be doing absolutely everything, which in the long run would be a huge mistake.

Chaff's definitely right that he couldn't, in good conscience, basically tell his tribute to trade his life to save someone else's for maybe a few days. But he's going to give the tribute the information to let him choose what to do, which is probably the best he can.

Blight: I think they split up when she was moved to another district, because that would be very difficult, and have a lot of conflicts of interest. But he's maybe even lonelier than Haymitch, not having the town even in particularly easy reach, so yeah... he's susceptible to the charms of a kind escort.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 18th, 2014 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Review and Typos

Not to mention that he's probably gotten word through the grapevine that Gia is married and expecting a baby (if she got word to Haymitch, there's no way Blight hasn't heard). Even if they were "officially" broken up well beforehand, and he knows they can't possibly see each other again ever, that still has to sting. Under those circumstances, I think any escort who hasn't reached Glass-like levels of depravity could reel Blight in pretty easily if she wanted to.
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