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These Are The Names, Chapter 7 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
These Are The Names, Chapter 7
Effie takes Haymitch down the lake shore, hoping to distract him from his anger after the loss of his tributes. Things are going fairly well, and she gives him an impulsive kiss, which leads to a deeper one... until Haymitch breaks away, laughing.

Chapter Seven
He lets go of me and turns away, locking his hands behind his neck and laughing wildly at the sky. "Is this going to be the fairy tale? Is this where Beauty saves the Beast?" He laughs louder and throws his arms out wide, embracing the air. "She's saved me! Look at that! The victor's all human again because of the power of True Love!" He turns to me. "Is that the story, Euphemia? Is that what you believe?"

I back away. The sun coming off the lake is too bright. It's stabbing at my eyes. I can't breathe.

"Is it?" He laughs again. "Oh, Caesar's good. He's really good. But he forgot that I know those stories too. Only I know better than to believe them! You don't know any better, do you? You're just a kid. You believe everything. You don't know anything. Do you think you know anything?"

I try to say something, but all that comes out is a strangled-sounding squeak. I put my hands on my head, and I half expect them to come away bloody. I take a step back and run into the little wall, and sit down hard.

Haymitch continues to rave. "I know where you live. You live in a fairy tale. Some magical place where they tell you over and over again how good everything is. Feed you those little pills and make you go brainless. Is that what happened? And you want me to go brainless, too?"

"Stop it," I manage to choke out. My face is wet with tears that I didn't even realize I was crying. "Please, stop it."

"Not the way it was supposed to work, is it? I'm supposed to fall in love with you and fall in line! Is that the game, Euphemia? Is it?"

"It wasn't a game!" I say. I can barely hear myself. The words seem to come out over a whistling in my throat. "It wasn't a game. I swear it wasn't a game. I --" I can't seem to sit upright. I bend over and it shifts my weight, and I slide off the wall, down to the flagstones. I cover my head, waiting for the next barrage.

It doesn't come. I stay crouched behind my hands, my eyes covered.

Haymitch's shoes click over on the stones, and I can feel the heat from his body again -- he's obviously crouching in front of me, because I can feel his breath on my hands -- but he doesn't touch me. "Effie?"

"Go away. Leave me alone."

"Effie, I…"

Now he does reach out. I feel his hand hot on my wrist. I turn away. This will end up on television. I'll be all over the screens, crying and broken and dirty. People will laugh. It won't be as bad as Haymitch laughing, but it will be bad.

He touches my ankle.

I yank it away from him.

I hear him take in a deep, sharp breath, then his footsteps recede.

I don't look up.

I curl more deeply into myself. I can't get the sound of the laughter out of my head, even though I cover my ears. I hear his shoes again, but he doesn't come as close this time.

I have been down long enough that I'm starting to come back to my senses when I hear the car door slam. Someone is here. I wonder if someone has more to say to me.

A sharper sound, harder shoes on the flagstones. A voice says, "I'm going to have a long conversation with you later," then the footsteps come closer and the voice, softer but right beside me, says, "Effie, it's okay. It's Caesar. I'm going to take you home."

I lower my hands.

Caesar Flickerman is bent over me, holding out one hand and smiling gently. Beyond him, I can see Haymitch, looking at the ground, his face red and haggard.

Caesar helps me up, and turns so that he's between Haymitch and me. He leads me to his car and puts me carefully into the passenger seat, then gets in on the driver's side.

As we pull away from the park, we pass Haymitch. He looks miserable.

"He called me from the public comm station," Caesar explains. "He told me what he did. I'm so sorry, Miss Trinket. I knew he was volatile. I shouldn't have put you in that position."

I turn to the window. "It's probably me. I shouldn't have kissed him. I'm stupid. I thought he wanted me. Why would he want me?" I wipe my face. "I’m being silly. It's not like he hurt me. He just laughed. I should be used to that. People always laughed at me. The boys at school said I didn't even know what I was doing."

"He most certainly hurt you," Caesar said. "More profoundly than I think he meant to. I want you to take the rest of the Games off, and we'll talk when they're over about what you want to do next."

"They're already over," I say. "Trill and Babra are dead. They didn't lose. I called their names, and they died. Just like Haymitch said. They're dead."

We pass a little overlook area, not very well kept up and empty in the middle of the Games. Caesar jerks the car around and pulls into it.

"My car isn't bugged," he says. "I go over it every day. There's no signal coming from it. Nothing attached to the hardware. No power draw on the communications systems. You can say that here. You can say anything here. But be careful what you say where anyone can hear, and never say that at the Dreams compound."

I nod. I'm not stupid, no matter what Haymitch thinks, though I guess it was a little careless to say something like that to Caesar Flickerman, of all people.

He sits back in the driver's seat and rests with his hands on the wheel. "For what it's worth -- and it is, quite frankly, not worth much to me right now -- I think Haymitch lashed out at you out of a misguided sense of protectiveness. He's lost a lot of women." He shakes his head. "It's still inexcusable. I can't reassign you right now. You don't have enough experience."

"What about District Four? I mean, I know I don't have enough experience for an inner district, but isn't someone going to transfer there, and then there'll be a spot open somewhere else? I like Mr. Hedge. Maybe I could go to Seven."

Caesar shakes his head. "I've put a moratorium on female escorts for Blight. We went through three in a row with him after Gia left. I don't hire escorts to keep victors company in the bedroom."

"You told Haymitch you hired me for him."

"Not that way."

I turn and look out the front window, out over the lake. I pull my knees up to my chest and hug them to me. "Why, then?"

"I like Haymitch. Usually. At the moment, I could happily toss him over the rail into the lake, but I usually like him. And he does much better -- again, usually -- with a decent person helping him out." He sighs. "And then there's you. I thought you'd do well with Haymitch."

"Why?"

"Because I've seen you playing dumb, Miss Trinket. I've seen you nodding along with things you know are wrong, and I've seen you pretending not to know things when you clearly do. I've seen you hesitate to mention things you've noticed when you should. I knew Haymitch wouldn't have any patience with that, and you need someone who needs you to be smart. It seemed like a good match." He rolls his eyes. "Apparently, too good." He smiles faintly at me. "It's been a long time since I was young, and I forgot how young you and Haymitch really are. I didn't consider the possibility that you would like one another enough to get into this situation. I should have. And I should have realized what he would do about it. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I just thought you both needed a friend."

I don't say anything. I feel even more stupid for overreacting. "I'm okay," I say. "I know he did it because of his girl. Indigo. He said her name was Indigo. And she died. I should have realized -- "

"Stop it," Caesar says. "You're the injured party in this little scenario. Understand him, that's fine, but don't start blaming yourself for his idiocy. Even he knows that he owns it. When he called me, he didn't say, 'Do you know what that girl did?' He said that he screwed things up, and he wouldn't blame you for wanting to leave, and you probably should. And that you needed a ride home, and he'd watch you and make sure you were okay until I got to you. None of which makes it okay. I just want you to know that everyone knows where the blame is. It's not on you." He looks at me keenly. "Do you need to talk? You seem better, but you were obviously very upset."

"I was being stupid," I repeat.

"No. Did something happen to you? Because I know Haymitch was cruel, but you seem…"

"I'm okay."

"Maybe I can help."

I look at him, and I wonder if I can tell him about what happened before I left school. He's a decent man, and he certainly seems to care about his employees. But he is my boss. It's bad enough he saw me curled up and crying after Haymitch yelled at me. He doesn't need to know about the other. He already thinks I don't have enough experience for a bigger district. What would he think if he knew I went into hysterics just because someone pulled my wig off? "It's nothing," I tell him. "I just don't like to be laughed at."

"Neither does Haymitch," Caesar says. "He, of all people, should know better." He sighs and shakes his head. "Do you want to go home?"

I nod.

He thumbs the ignition, and we start moving again, going through the city streets, around the Games parties and the media crews (Caesar's windows are tinted, so they're unaware of us). He drives me up to the front of the Dreams compound and asks if I need him to come in with me. I consider it. Ten minutes ago, I couldn't have made it up the stairs to my room. In the end, I tell him again that I'm fine. I'll get to "fine" eventually, anyway.

Miss Meadowbrook and Domitia are watching the Games, and it is mandatory viewing, so I sit with them. They're eating chocolate truffles and talking about the fall lines that are starting to come out of the fashion district. A new design house called Devoro has a dried fruit dress that it claims is still edible; Domitia has some bawdy ideas of where to wear it, and exactly who she wants to chew it off of her. She asks who I'd have chew it off.

"Oh, that's not really my style," I say.

"Oh, right, I forgot who I was talking to." She flutters her hand over her chest. "Who would you have ever so delicately nibble it away from you, while whispering sweet nothings into your ear, with romantic music playing in the background?"

"I don't know. It still sounds… kind of sticky."

"That's half the fun, honey," Domitia says.

"Let Euphemia be," Miss Meadowbrook tells her. "Really. I agree. And I'll bet it stains your skin, too, and gums up your hair. Not very sexy."

Other than the food trend, there seem to be quite a few houses coming out with pretty little tights that show the sides of the ankles, and a selection of pastel shades in wigs. The other big trend is shabby -- ragged shirts and work clothes, made to look like District laborers. These wouldn't be for professional wear, anyway. They help me place orders. I have money now, plus my fashion stipend to keep on top of things, so I can get most of the things I want. Some of the truly pricey things, I might even be able to borrow for events, as long as I promise to have my picture taken.

Miss Meadowbrook realizes that I'm upset somewhere after the third catalog, though I don't tell her why, and promptly calls in what she calls "reinforcements" -- half the occupants of the compound, by the looks of it. They tell me that they love me, and they're glad to have me. I take one of Miss Meadowbrook's little miracle pills, and it clears my head enough to realize that things are all right. If the worst thing to happen in my life is having a district boy laugh at me, I'm doing pretty well.

I watch the evening's broadcast curled up in Junius's arms, and I let him touch me as he likes. I'm not a romance-addled little girl, no matter what Haymitch thinks.

Athena Burke gets one more kill before dying when the ground gives out beneath her. The inner district pack finds Daylily. The people betting on her are interviewed in the street.

Junius makes a disgusted sound. "There go this week's tips," he mutters. "I guess it was a longshot, anyway."

Harris Greaves is attacked by another mutt not long after this, but he defeats it. Domitia thinks he's cute.

By the end of mandatory viewing, we're down to the inner district kids (down the boy from Two), and Gershom Grimm from District Ten.

I help Miss Meadowbrook clean up.

"Do you feel better, sweetheart?" she asks.

"I feel clearer," I say. "Like things are where they're supposed to be again."

"It wasn't just about your tributes, was it?"

I shake my head.

She hugs me. "It's all right. I've been there. The man has the emotional intelligence of a head of cabbage."

"He yelled at me."

"Haymitch? Really?" She makes a frustrated sound. "Well, you can't let him get away with doing that. You need to stand up. You're a Capitol citizen, in a responsible job. You need to show him that you can straighten your back and look up again."

"I don't even want to see him."

"I've been there, too. I was angry at him. I don't remember why." She frowns. "But you have to let him know that you're not broken. He thinks we Capitol girls are fragile. He thinks I'm broken."

"You?"

"Yes, me. Do I look broken to you?" She rolls her eyes hugely. "But the last time I saw Haymitch, he looked at me like he was holding one of those maudlin district funerals for me in his head. You need to get up on your feet and not let him think that, or he'll just dismiss you altogether."

I don't know if I can do this, or even if it's a good idea. I go to bed, but whatever is in the pills keeps me awake. I can hear the parties through the windows. People in costumes, carrying sparklers and twinkly little bell-showers, are passing by outside.

This is my city, my home.

I think of Babra, covered in coal dust, and of Trill, wanting to hide as much as he could. I think of him drowning in the mud at the Cornucopia. I think of the way Babra grabbed hold of my hand after I called her name.

She's gone now, too. Headed home in a box.

And I am awake and pitying myself because Haymitch raised his voice at me after I kissed him without so much as asking whether or not it was all right. I am worrying about my career, and where I might end up. I'm thinking about clothes. And they are still dead.

I toss and turn for the rest of the night. I'm not the only one. Toward the end of the Games, there are always a lot of people who stay up. I get up around three o'clock, put a simple wig on and go outside and sit on the curb in front of the compound. People are wandering around with their eyes unnaturally bright, their smiles so wide that they suggest the skulls beneath them. They pass around pills and bottles, and whoop and holler at the night sky. These Games seem like they'll be short -- no one is really hidden now -- but during the longer Games, the hospitals start filling up with partiers who haven't paid attention to what they've been taking. There are public service announcements about how the Games are meant to celebrate the ongoing life of the Capitol, despite the attempt to kill it, and how Capitol citizens shouldn't risk those precious saved lives… but I don't remember any year where the Games went on for more than a week and a half that there haven't been at least a few deaths from the party scene.

When I was twelve, not long after my parents' marriage contract expired and my father moved out, there was an outright suicide. A woman climbed to the top of the Green Tower monument -- the spire that stands where the bombed out school was -- and jumped to her death. The story in the papers was that she'd placed a bet on a losing tribute and lost everything, but the whispered story, the one that never saw the light of day on the air, was that she'd gone crazy, and decided the girl was her own stillborn child, miraculously brought back to life, only to be killed again. No one could imagine how she thought a skinny District girl with no particular talent was really a Capitol child.

I don't remember what I thought at the time. But now, I understand it. Babra could have been my sister. I honestly don't see any reason that she couldn't be.

I shiver. I understand why the Games have to happen. I know about the war. I know how many people died in the Dark Days (once, after I was angry about a tribute's death, I had to spend a whole afternoon in school writing the number down over and over until it sank in), and I know we can't let it happen again. Even the districts are better off for not letting another war happen. They lost almost half their population, too.

Leave the Games.

The thought comes smoothly, and out of nowhere.

It's a good solution. No one is forcing me to stay. I'm sure Caesar Flickerman will give me a good recommendation to some other boss. I could wait tables at a restaurant, or maybe even manage the schedule. I could work for one of the design houses. I could do anything.

I could go back to being like everyone else. Watching the Games, rooting for the prettiest and strongest ones, or the ones with the wonderful stories. I'd never have to look at Haymitch Abernathy again, or hear him call me names and accuse me of… I don't even know what he thought I was doing.

Only, in the end, it's not about Haymitch, is it?

They outrank me, he told me on the day of the Reaping, when Babra needed someone to hold her hand.

I go to the front steps and lean against the wall of the compound, resting but not sleeping, until dawn. The parties go on around me. Sometimes, people bring me things to eat. I take them.

I'm not aware of thinking. My head is glassy from lack of sleep, but sleep is never really close. I let my city spin around me.

I am calm in the morning.

I throw out yesterday's play clothes, and put on a smart yellow dress, with a contrasting green wig done up in a more grown-up style. I paint my face.

I go to work.

I don't have to. There's nothing for me to do, but I think some limits need to be set.

Haymitch is in the Viewing Center, looking somewhat at a loss with no one to help. Surprisingly, he's not drunk. I suppose I thought he'd be half passed out back at the training center apartment. His eyes tip up in my direction, at first not recognizing me and moving on, but then he looks back.

He stands perfectly still and looks at his feet.

I go to him. "We should talk," I say.

He nods, and we go to one of the empty sponsor meeting rooms. With so few tributes left, there are plenty to go around. He sits down at a table. I sit across from him. He is fiddling with something on his wrist -- an old, colorless knotted string with two buttons tied onto it. His old district token.

"Effie," he starts, "I'm sorry. I know you asked Caesar for a transfer, and if one comes up, I'll write you a good recommendation."

I nod. "I don't have enough experience for another district. And the tributes from District Twelve need an escort they can trust."

He nods. "I want…" He forces himself to look up at me. "I want you to stay."

"I'll stay," I say. I screw up my courage. I think of Babra jumping on the back of that gator mutt. If she can face that, I can face an ill-tempered victor. "But I won't be berated. Do you understand that? Don't ever do that again, or I'll quit my job in the middle of the Games, no matter who needs me."

"I was going to promise --"

"I'm not going to believe a promise. I'll believe what I see."

"You'll see, then, if you like that better. It won't happen again."

I can't think of what else I mean to say. I feel like I should end with some kind of dramatic exit, telling him that it's not about him, that I don't care at all about what happened before he started yelling yesterday. I don't do it.

He bites his lip. "Effie, there's something else that can't happen again."

My courage breaks. It goes off inside me like a squeezed balloon, sending out little bursts of fear flying randomly around my body. "The kiss," I say.

"The kiss," he repeats.

I sniff and try to speak coldly, but it comes out shaky. "No worries. I promise, I won't be doing that again."

"They'd take you away in a heartbeat."

I frown. "You're paranoid."

He holds up his hand. "This string belonged to Digger. They fried her on an electric fence. That's not paranoia."

I look away from it.

Something touches my arm.

The string is sitting against my wrist. I look up. "What…?"

"I want you to keep it for me," he says. "And if I ever come close to doing anything as lousy as I did yesterday, you show it to me, and you remind me that it's not the way she'd ever have me treat a girl. She'd walk right out on me if she heard about it."

I move my hand slowly and pick it up. It has a queerly substantial feel to it, even though it's frayed and faded, and probably wasn't all that strong in the first place. I put it on. It's sized to his wrist and comes halfway up my forearm, but I don't let it fall off. "I'll do it, you know," I say. "I'll hold Indigo over your head." I don't know if I will or not. I probably won't. But he's given me this ghost-girl as an ally, and I don't have so many that I can refuse to work with any of them.

"And I'll deserve it." He rubs his head absently. "Look, I know Caesar gave you the rest of the Games off. You don't need to be here. I'll work my contacts while I'm here."

"I'll work them off-season," I tell him. "I'm already going to a picnic in the Grove. And I think I can get you some people I know in the fashion district."

"That would be great."

This isn't how the conversation is supposed to end. Mundanity and shop talk seem somehow off-kilter… but at the same time, they're not.

I stand and go to the door.

"Effie?"

"What?" I look over my shoulder.

He smiles at me awkwardly. "It was a great kiss. Just… if you care."

"Yeah," I say. "I know. I was there for it, remember?"

There's nothing else to say.

I leave the Viewing Center to go home. I don't come back for the rest of the Games.
17 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: May 18th, 2014 08:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, that tore out my heart and stomped on it. (Er, in a good way!)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 18th, 2014 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mine, too. I like me some Haymitch, but he does have a crappy side to him, doesn't he?
nevrafire From: nevrafire Date: May 18th, 2014 09:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
WHY DID YOU HAD TO GO AND RUIN IT HAYMITCH?! WHYYYY


this totally explains... plants? the reasons why Effie would want to Leave district 12 and go to a different one, as seen in the book

because Haymitch was a jerk to her >:(
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 18th, 2014 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
We don't actually see her doing that in the book, though. Katniss says "everyone knows" it, but "everyone knows" that Gale's her cousin, too. This could be where the rumor gets started, but she seems to have been there all of Katniss's life (we hear nothing about other escorts), so if she's trying to get a transfer, she's sure not trying very hard.
nevrafire From: nevrafire Date: May 18th, 2014 10:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
i meant, since you developed the relationship between effie and haymitch I been wondering how they go from that to "Maybe i'll get transfered to a better district next year!" that we see effie saying in the books.

the fact haymitch treated her like this, and staying in 12 would be a constant reminded of that connected the two for me.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2014 12:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Effie in the books just has terminal foot-in-mouth disease, and probably meant it as a joke. I doubt she's really trying to get transferred at all. I mean, she seems pretty competent at her job, so if she really wanted to move, I'd think she'd probably have been in the "better" districts by the time of canon.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 18th, 2014 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

That's the thing...

About Haymitch. He screws up royally, but he can also make royal comebacks. That was a really good, sincere, heartfelt apology. And we know that he is (more or less) going to be putting his actions/money where his mouth is over the course of the coming years. He and Effie just need to find their equilibrium.

And, as messed up as Capitol Dreams has made Mimi, that was actually really good advice that she gave Effie. Stand up for yourself. Don't let this stop you from doing an important job that you're good at. No one is allowed to treat you like dirt. Even better to see that Effie is taking that to heart.

The talk with Ceasar was absolutely fantastic too.

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2014 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: That's the thing...

To Mimi's mind, she got better in Capitol Dreams, and it probably does help with some self-confidence issues (after all, if you're absolutely sure of everything you think, you're pretty confident). Just because it's evil doesn't mean everything that comes out of it is inherently objectionable. They probably have decent nutrition, too, when they're not, you know, pushing mind-altering drugs on seventeen-year-old girls. ;p

I was impressed in MJ by the fact that, only hours after Haymitch lashed out painfully at Katniss, she was able to trust him to have her back in the Capitol Games meeting, and to understand what she meant to do. He does know when he's the one who's screwed up.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: May 19th, 2014 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Catches and Thoughts

comes out a strangled Think you missed an is before the a.

door of car Think you missed an a before car.

should be used that Think you missed a too before that.

rests with his hands I'm not sure if you meant to say hands on the wheel here, or if you were saying he was just relaxing while keeping his hands on the wheel; thought I'd mention in case it was the first.

seen you seen you Just some repeated words.

"Let Effie be Just a continuity thing; I thought only her parents called her Effie when she was very young, and I remember before Mimi using her full name instead of the nickname. Or have they all started using it now that Haymitch is?

go bed, but the whatever is in the You missed a to before bed, and I think you have an extra the before whatever.

whether not it Think you missed an or before not.

there always a lot Think you missed an are after the there.

done up in more grown-up I think you missed an a before more; at least if you were saying that the wig was done up in a more grown-up style?

Argh!!! Even on second reading, that's my primary reaction.

I love how you handled what could have been a really problematic aftermath; it would have been so easy to let Haymitch's PTSD issues overwhelm the fact that he'd been inexcusably cruel to someone who didn't deserve it. But you really walked the balance Caesar tells Effie to maintain in your writing, and I really admire that.

Caesar, per usual, is completely made of awesome. And for all that beginning section was awful, Haymitch really rallied with a fantastic apology. You made me get maudlin over the token; And then his: "It was a great kiss if you care." made me want to either cry or pound something, because I can't entirely say he's wrong to be paranoid about what Snow would do, considering Mimi, and if he could have just had someone, itwould have been so much easier!

I love that you had Effie contemplate leaving the Games and then decide to stay for the tributes; it meshes so well with how we see her trying, in herCapitol way, to put them at ease in the books.

And I really like your thoughts about her not actually wanting to transfer. I'd never thought about the fact that if she'd really wanted to, she should have been able to in fifteen years; I just took Kattniss's statement at face value, though I should know by now not to. In your stories, could another reason they think she wants to move on so badly be because she always comes up on reaping day and never stays in the District the way she did that first year; sort of a case of, if she's that uppity, she must not want to be here?

I'm really intrigued by the fact that you set this in chapter 7; I remember in GM Haymitch saying that for some reason, she decided to be his friend. It'll be interesting to see her realization of just how much he needs one developing over the next couple of chapters. And I hope that at some point in the subsequent Games, he realizes how right Caesar was about how much she needs one, too.

As a final note, the Capitol is creepy! Marriage contracts; it makes sense, but still just so screwed up. And I continue to love how complex you're making CD; one minute, they're having a perfectly normal conversation and then she's getting love-bombed, or Mimi says something that's very spot-on, and then forces us to remember how broken she really is and how much she doesn't know it. Seeing her in these last few chapters has been such a good way to highlight how awful the Capitol and reeducation is, but it's also been so terribly sad.

And poor Effie, with her "They didn't lose." The Capitol tries so hard to make them something like a sporting event, and seeing the real cost of the Games must be awful. Not to mention how creepy it is that even saying something like they didn't lose and undermining the sporting event mentality is considered seditious!

And on a more amusing note; three escorts, Blight, really? Yeah, I understand why Caesar put a stop to that, especially if the flagrant womanizing started leading to conflicts when he took his relationships more seriously than the escorts and it interfered with both their professionalism; I'm assuming this was the problem at any rate, since Caesar let the thing with Gia stand.













fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2014 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches and Thoughts

Whew, lots of missed words this time!

I wanted to make sure I didn't excuse Haymitch's bad behavior. He was so far out of line that he couldn't see the line anymore -- it's like his mom said about the PTSD as an excuse for drinking... next time, it'll be because it's raining. If you get away with something once, it's much easier to keep making the threshold lower. And unlike his drinking, Haymitch understands that this is not acceptable, hence the apology.

There is some time passing in the next couple of chapters -- games without full coverage -- but hopefully, they'll show the more gradual relationship.

With the marriage contract, I kind of wanted to take up to eleven the whole, "Well, we stay married as long as we feel like it" mentality, which seems right for the Capitol.

And yeah, Blight... Jeez, man. You need to put a lock on your zipper.

sonetka From: sonetka Date: May 19th, 2014 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches and Thoughts

I've seen people suggest those for real -- marriage contracts with expiration dates, so no messy divorce to go through, it just expires and everyone skips away free as a bird. Which would be perfect in a world where nobody ever had children, mingled finances, depended on anyone else for anything ... in other words, a world where there would be no earthly reason for getting married in the first place.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2014 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches and Thoughts

I have, too. That's what makes Panem such a scary dystopia -- it's based on exaggerations of things that very definitely exist.
torturedbabycow From: torturedbabycow Date: May 19th, 2014 07:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches and Thoughts

I dunno, they seem like a potentially useful thing precisely because of the mingled finances and whatnot. Sort of like an advanced prenup agreement - "here is how we will manage kids and finances and so forth, and here is how we will disentangle them at the end if we need to, let's either do that or have this discussion again in N years."

On the more romantic side, it makes deciding to *renew* a marriage contract for another term (or whatever the terminology would be) an active choice, like how some couples renew their vows, only it's practical as well as symbolic.

Of course the way it's employed in Panem, to facilitate the aggressive lack of deep personal relationships (romantic, parent-child, friends, all of the above), is super creepy. I wonder if the length of the marriage contract is fixed? Are people even allowed to renew them or make them longer? I would not be surprised if the answer was no, or at least "no unless you want some serious Big Brother side-eye." *shudder*
sonetka From: sonetka Date: May 19th, 2014 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
That was heartbreaking. And I loved their last conversation -- that feeling of "We just had a giant blowup, shouldn't we be talking about something more dramatic right now?" is very weird and very real.

As for Blight, I'm wondering; would the Gia thing have flickered out soon like the rest of his escorts did, or did that have the potential to be longer-term? Blight put himself at serious risk to help her and even years later we're seeing how he wasn't going to give up her location. Of course, if he wanted to save his own skin there wasn't much else he could do, so ... just curious.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2014 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
He genuinely loved her. Unfortunately, he kept trying to make it happen again. (Not to mention maybe acting out of a little anger at how quickly she got married and had a family without him.)

Getting back to the mundane after drama is always weird, whether the drama is for good or ill.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: May 19th, 2014 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like the middle of the chapter where Effie is quietly musing while a mad party is going on around her. With all the drugs and stuff it sort of has a feel of "we must laugh or otherwise we'll scream" to it. Especially when you bring in the suicide.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2014 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it would almost have to be, presuming that the people who live there are human. At least some of them have to start seeing through the facade to understand what's really happening.
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