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The Last Tribute: Chapter Sixteen - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
The Last Tribute: Chapter Sixteen
Sorry about the amount of time passing! Writing the canon-heavy chapters is the hardest.


Chapter Sixteen
It's occurred to me more than once over the years that the vast majority of the Hunger Games every year is waiting and watching. It's as true in the arena as it is in the Viewing Center. Tonight, the mandatory viewing broadcast will distill all of this into some kind of exciting narrative, whether Katniss and Rue's plan works or not. Live, I watch Katniss walking through the woods for an hour. That will be entirely condensed to a brief shot of her moving through the trees, probably with someone talking over it. If every moment of the Games became mandatory viewing, the audience would be too bored to let them continue.

That will never happen. The screen that shows the main Capitol broadcast is, at the moment, showing a sketch comedy show. It's officially "Games programming," but as far as I can tell, the only nod to the Games is that Jo Mason is their guest star. I think it aired live last night. At the moment, Jo is playing a flighty Capitol designer who's trying to make elbows the new sexy reveal. She's having fun. I'm pretty sure she's also having one of the regular cast members, but I try very hard not to keep up with that. Jo is not Finnick. She has no one for Snow to hold over her head, and she likes to flaunt that by dating -- in a loose sense of the word -- anyone she happens to feel like that week.

Katniss walks through the woods a little more. She reaches the stream, and eventually gets to the spot where she took her bath yesterday, and decides to slap more mud onto her bright orange backpack. It's a noble effort, but I don't think even Peeta could make that color disappear. She goes downhill along the stream for a while, then spots the leaves Rue used to treat her stings, and realizes that she's on the right path. She actually comes across the broken open tracker jacker nest and pauses there for a while. I guess she could be castigating herself over Glimmer and Char, but I don't feel like she is. Finally, she tightens her grip on the bow and moves on to the little copse that Rue has used to spy on the Career camp from time to time. She settles in for more waiting.

Peeta, meanwhile, is more active than he's been for a couple of days. He manages to take a handful of leaves, soak them in water, and have a long drink before falling asleep again.

I look over at Seeder's screen. Rue has finished setting up the third decoy fire, and is making her way back to the first one to start lighting them. It occurs to me that I probably could have made their lives easier by sending them watches to synchronize, but I guess they're doing all right. The little bit of money I could have spent on them can maybe go toward medicine for Peeta.

I can see Chaff's screen pretty easily. Thresh doesn't seem bothered by the Games. He's secured a territory, and done some damage to other tributes who try to invade it, but for the most part, he's having a nice camping trip. He knows plants well and he sets very good traps. He's just waiting at his little shelter, eating, occasionally getting up and exercising, and, apparently, thinking. I want to send him a book to pass the time.

I can't see Finch, from Five, at the moment, but she's also staying out of the fights. Unfortunately, she seems to be overcautious about the plants in the arena. She seems to know what to steer clear of (there are bushes heavily laden with nightlock berries, which she avoids like the plague), but she also avoids anything she doesn't know on sight, or that she hasn't seen someone else eating. She's still dependent on stealing from the Career camp, which has been made more difficult as they've recovered from their stings. She even managed to steal from Thresh once. But she only takes tiny amounts that won't be missed, and she's getting thinner by the day.

In the Career camp, which Katniss is watching from the copse, the boys and Clove are discussing their plans. They're still uncomfortable from their stings, since the Capitol medicine treated the effects of the primary toxin, but not the giant swellings. They'd have done better with Rue's leaves. I can only see them through Katniss's camera, so it's hard to tell what, exactly, they're talking about… though I've been at this long enough that I think it's reasonable to guess that revenge is on their minds.

Katniss stares at their pile of food. Since Peeta left and the mines were installed, they've made a rough circle of less valuable items, to mark the boundary of the minefield. At Onnisey's insistence, they've also made a kind of shelter over the whole thing with a large piece of heavy netting. (His reasoning, which I consider highly sound, is that it's not going to be helpful if the Gamemakers send a hailstorm and set off the mines that way.) Katniss is trying to figure it out -- luckily, she's smart enough to realize it's a trap.

Rue lights the first decoy fire.

It takes the Careers less than five minutes to notice the smoke.

I can tell on Katniss's screen that the Careers are fighting about something, but it's not until the Gamemakers notice and put it on the main screen that I can tell for sure. Apparently, Cato is insisting that Onnisey come along on the hunt, since they're short three people after the tracker jacker attack and Peeta's defection. He still seems to think that Peeta is going to die any minute, despite not having checked on his condition.

They leave.

Katniss continues to behave intelligently, waiting until they're definitely gone, staring at the pyramid and trying to figure it out. She might or might not get to it on her own, but she has an extraordinary stroke of luck: She's not the only one watching the Career camp.

Finch comes out of the shadows before Katniss moves and approaches the pyramid carefully. She keeps her eyes to the ground and moves gracefully around the outer mines, just as Onnisey showed her. She almost falls once and gives a little shriek.

Katniss frowns and lowers her bow, continuing to watch as Finch collects up a few supplies here and there, filling her bag without making it noticeable. She looks around, then leaves.

The main coverage switches to the camera on Katniss, so I'm seeing her double when she whispers, "It's mined."

I don't know if she played it to the camera deliberately or not. I'm inclined to think not -- she was alone long enough that she's comfortable talking to herself -- but it's a good camera moment anyway, making her seem clever and perceptive. The clip of her whisper will play tonight, I'm quite sure, as they build up to telling whatever story is building.

She slowly comes out of hiding as Rue sets the second fire, though I doubt she notices this. She passes the plates where the tributes came up from the tunnels. They look innocuous now. She can see perfectly well where the dirt was disturbed when the mines were dug up.

She bites her lip and stares at the pile.

Her eyes narrow.

I can't tell what she's looking at. My inclination would be to find a way to knock over something on top and destabilize the whole thing, but I can't see how she'll do it with only a bow.

She pulls three arrows from her quiver and nocks one of them. It's the first time I'll really see her make a shot. I missed both of her early hunting kills.

She takes aim at a bag of apples and fires.

My first thought is, she missed, but I hear Gloss gasp and look up. He never got a chance to use a bow and arrows in his Games, but it's a talent he's developed for the cameras since, and he's watching Katniss with frank admiration.

The main screen gives a close-up of the bag, which now has a neat tear near the bottom.

The second arrow opens another tear, creating a flap of fabric. An apple pokes out tantalizingly.

"She'll never make that," Gloss says, loud enough for me to hear, but I don't think with any intention of it being shared.

Katniss lets the third arrow fly. It catches the flap of fabric and tears it away from the bag in a steady strip.

The bottom of the bag falls out, and apples come cascading down.

The explosion takes out the close-up camera, and the Gamemakers switch to an aerial view. The fire blooms out from the supply pile like one of Snow's roses, brilliant orange and red, with black leaves of smoke billowing out around it. Katniss, a tiny speck on the screen, is thrown backward like a bit of debris.

Even in the Viewing Center, the sound is almost unbearably loud.

In the woods, Rue stops about halfway to the third fire and climbs a tree to see what's happened.

The Careers know immediately.

"Sounds like we had a thief," Clove says.

Onnisey shakes his head. "That's not just one mine."

"What are you talking about?" Cato demands. "How many? How many?" He grabs Onnisey by the lapels and shakes him. "How many mines was that?"

"I don't know! I couldn't hear all of them once they started. It could be all of them, for all I know."

"You better hope it's not."

Cato starts pushing back through the woods.

"We should find the partner," Clove says to the others.

"Not now," Marvel says. "Later."

"She could get away."

"I have half the woods booby-trapped out here, with those rattle-traps from the old cans."

Clove thinks about it, then nods. I guess Marvel must have done that while I was sleeping.

The three of them bolt off after Cato.

I look back at my screen.

Katniss gets to her feet, but there's obviously something very wrong. I can't tell at first, because of the way the shadows are falling, but then she puts her hand to her ear. It comes away bloody. The commentators speculate that she's blown out her eardrums.

She sways back and forth, staring at the blood on her hand, then pulls her hood up and starts to crawl away. She barely makes it back to the cover of Rue's copse when the Careers get back, and Cato loses his mind. I'm not sure how right in the head he was before, but when he sees the utter ruin of their supply stash, he starts screaming to the heavens, tearing at his hair and pounding the ground with his fists.

He calms down enough to order them to check the remaining supplies. Onnisey throws rocks at the ground until it's clear that every one of the mines has gone up, then they start digging through the wreckage.

Then Cato kills Onnisey.

There's no warning, no change in his attitude before or after. He's ranting and raving, then he turns and snaps Onnisey's neck, then he goes back to raving. After a while, the others convince Cato to go to the far side of the lake, so the hovercraft can come.

Katniss tries to move again, but she sways and slumps to the ground.

I realize that we've reached the final eight, and both of the kids are still in there… though I'm not sure either will make it long enough for reporters to reach District Twelve.

The phone starts to ring.

In the next ten minutes, Effie fills up my entire afternoon with sponsor meetings. I'd rather be keeping an eye on Katniss and Peeta, but rationally, I can't do them any good in the Viewing Center. Peeta needs a medicine that's expensive even by Capitol standards and Katniss needs surgery on her eardrum. She's not going to get surgery in the arena, and there's nothing to do for her but watch and wait. If she gets through the night, she'll be down a sense, and she might not be able to feed herself as well.

That means sponsors.

So I go to meetings.

The fight about whether or not two tributes from a district should be able to survive is in full swing, and Finnick is working the angle for me with everything he's got. I see him on large screens talking about the great romance. He's got Jo working as a foil -- not arguing against the notion of dual winners, but making fun of it as a romantic angle, getting the people on board who think the romance is silly. I hadn't thought about that.

I meet with old women and their cats. I meet with gamblers. I meet with a deeply creepy old man who tells me that I used to be beautiful, and wants to know if all District Twelve men let themselves go so badly (I think of Peeta and opt not to take his money). I meet with a doll-maker who is creating a camouflage-it-yourself Peeta toy, and a Katniss doll with fully braidable hair.

Effie sets up dinner with the owner of an art gallery, and sends a messenger to me with Peeta's sketchbook. I take out a few innocuous drawings (they do not need to see the confused, cold drawings of his mother, or his impressions of the fear he felt during training) and show them to her. She seems to forget that it's a sponsorship meeting and the artist is dying in the arena. She buys one for her personal collection. The money goes toward medicine.

I have a very brief breather after dinner, and I look through the drawings. He must have been up nights doing them. He's lovingly drawn his brothers and his father. He drew me a few more times. The last sketch is of Katniss on the roof. She looks confused.

I don't know enough about art to say whether or not they're as good as I think they are. They could be sentimental tripe, for all I know -- there are plenty of poems that other people like that make my head spin. But I like them. I put the sketchbook in my briefcase and move on to my next meeting, which is with a filmmaker who says that if I get Katniss through, it will be a huge story, do I hear him, huge. A monster. He tosses the names of a few actresses at me and seems vaguely stunned that I don't know them. Apparently, they've already been calling him about the part.

Mandatory viewing has already started during my last two meetings (a city councilwoman and, of all things, a former Peacekeeper who has an unlikely amount of money that he all but shoves down my throat), and I have to have my handheld on. They have to be watching as well, and that makes it hard to concentrate. The meetings for the day dry up.

By the time I get back to the Viewing Center, Katniss is up and moving around a little better, though the way she's swatting at her left ear, I guess she's still at least partly deaf. She's wearing her night vision goggles, and she's washed her face to get rid of the blood. It occurs to me that she's spent more time washing in a few days than most of my tributes have in the whole course of the Games. Maysilee and I took advantage of daily rain showers, but neither of us was exactly a stickler about the hygiene. We were both pretty ripe a long time before the end. Maybe living with a healer has brought this about. Or maybe it was Glen. I never knew him as well as I knew Danny or Ruth, but I'm pretty sure I once heard him rant about coal dust getting into everything and making it look dirty.

However she came by it, it's serving her well. She's getting wild-eyed, but the cameras still love her. She digs herself a hole, covers herself with leaves and pine needles, and goes to sleep. They do a cross cut to Peeta, who looks remarkably similar. He's muttering "Katniss" in his sleep, but there's no one nearby to hear.

The Careers have gone back into the woods to hunt. They've set up a temporary camp in the woods not far from where Rue is hiding. She can't make it to the last fire, because they've set up trip wires that she can't see in the dark, and she's inside their circle.

"At least she overheard them talking about it," Seeder says. "She can stay calm and quiet for a while longer."

Cato has gone back to his mostly sane persona. He's needling Marvel about trying to kill by remote control with the net traps he's been setting, using the tattered remains of the netting they'd had over the supplies. Some was burned, but most burst off, tore, and blew away on the shockwave. Between these and the clattering scrap metal traps, Rue is forced into a rather small section of the woods. She's able to move among the trees a little bit, and even comes close to Katniss, but Katniss doesn't hear the call of the mockingjays, and Rue moves on as far as she can.

There is nothing more to see. They move on to general coverage. The issue of the tribute "teams" makes the mandatory broadcast, though they don't talk about the fights in the streets of the Capitol. They just talk about how unusual it is that the final eight tributes only come from five districts -- two each from Two, Eleven, and Twelve. Five and One barely get a mention, much to the annoyance of Gloss and Faraday.

They go back to the streets to talk to people who are carefully edited to avoid mention of the increasingly more common idea of letting a district pair win. District Two fans are looking forward to the annual visit by the media to Two, where they name all the victors they want interviewed. District Eleven fans have made up a dance for Thresh, based on his heavy-footed tread. There's a great deal of artwork showing Rue in the trees. For both of these districts, they find separate groups of fans for the separate tributes.

District Twelve's fans are together. Some are in costume. Many are in camouflage. Women weep over the shots of Peeta calling Katniss's name. A teenage girl hopes that they'll at least find each other long enough for Katniss to get pregnant, so it could be just like they both survived. That disturbing bit is the closest we've come so far to mass broadcast of this growing idea. Claudius laughs and points out that the Capitol makes it impossible for girls to get pregnant during the Games. He doesn't mention how this is accomplished, as it would ruin too many people's fondest fantasies.

Effie sighs. "Oh, Haymitch. What can we do for them?"

"We're doing everything there is."

"Did you get the notebook all right?" She bites her lip. "I hope it's all right, but I took the picture that Peeta drew of me. It's very well-done, but I look…" She reaches into her purse and pulls it out. In it, her wig is slightly askew, and she's rolling her eyes fondly at something at the dinner table. She looks like an indulgent big sister. "See?"

"Yeah," I say. "I see."

I send her to bed. About five hours later, I get some sleep myself. I dream about Effie with her wig askew, smiling and rolling her eyes. We are not at the dinner table.

I get up in the morning at around the same time Katniss does, and I'm watching her watch Finch dance around the ruins of the supply stash when the reporters arrive in Twelve.

This is not generally something that gets a good deal of coverage, but of course, it’s not very often that anyone gets a glimpse of us outside of the reaping.

Danny and Mir are interviewed on a porch swing which Mir would never actually allow on her porch. It might encourage people to loiter at the bakery without buying anything. Danny might even have a place to talk to his friends.

Nevertheless, they look as cozy as ordered. Mir's as good with the cameras as Peeta is, telling fabricated stories about their romance-filled home. Danny's fighting for his son's life, so he puts on a good show as well, playing a self-deprecating white knight who just thinks being a gentleman is a good thing. Peeta's brothers are on, bragging about how they trained him to be tough, and he can beat a little cut on the leg. Someone has gone and dragged in half the school's wrestling team. A girl who says she was his first date seems utterly thrilled to say that he spent the whole time talking about Katniss, and a girl identified as Delly Cartwright (filmed under a willow with so many shadows that she might well look like Lavinia, for all I can tell) talks about how Peeta would borrow her notebooks, and they'd come back with sketches of Katniss. She's not as good at this as Danny, and I can tell she's a little irritated to spend Peeta's interview time talking about Katniss… though of course, the coverage skews it as her being a little jealous. And who could blame her?

For Katniss, they spend a lot of time with Prim, who talks up her sister and makes a point of speaking well of Peeta. Ruth looks nervous and on edge, but she rallies and talks about Katniss's ear injury, of all things. Madge Undersee doesn't mention Maysilee's pin, but she does talk quite fiercely about how Katniss is a symbol of hope and strength. A boy from the Seam named Gale Hawthorne says that she can survive anything. They ask how he knows her. He stumbles over it, I'd guess because they hunt together -- he has a well-fed look for a boy with three siblings and a widowed mother. This gruffness is obviously considered something of a threat, because the interviewer abruptly jumps on the fact that he and Katniss look alike.

They don't, at least not any more than Katniss and I look alike, but most of Panem has no idea how closed off the gene pool in District Twelve is, so when the reporter suggests that they might be cousins and Hawthorne, bewildered, shrugs and says he guesses that most of the Seam is somewhere, this becomes an immutable fact. By noon, Gale Hawthorne is a scion of the close-knit Everdeen family. They won't have seen this at home yet. I wonder what he'll make of it.

Meanwhile, Katniss has made her way back to the camp she and Rue shared. She's been eating like crazy (a few brave souls on the street are making jokes about her appetite), and has clearly regained the hearing on the right side. Rue is nowhere to be found. She's still trapped in the circle the Careers made, which Marvel is patrolling regularly, but Katniss doesn't know this. At first, she's untroubled. She washes her hair and jacket, eats a fish, and climbs a tree, where she grooms herself more, and eats everything she has in her pack. I get a few joking calls from sponsors suggesting that I send her a full picnic basket. I get them to pledge what it would cost.

She starts to get agitated as the day grows late and gets down from the tree. She goes to the site of the third fire, and realizes that it hasn't been touched, that Rue never made it there. Her eyes go wide -- I'm guessing she imagines something worse than being treed -- and she starts to work her way back along the trail to the second fire.

This is cut in with shots of the district interviews. In Two, Clove's brothers sing the praises of her knife work. In One, Marvel's parents assure people that their son isn't the weakling Cato is trying to portray. In Five, a weeping teacher shows incomprehensible diagrams that Finch has made. In Eleven, they show Rue's coworkers in the orchard, singing to the mockingjays. It's one of the most staged shots I've ever seen, but it doesn't come off as corny, because just as they show it, Rue catches sight of Katniss's movement.

She calls to the mockingjays, and they sing her song.

Katniss looks up and starts moving faster. Finally, she sings.

Her voice is clear and as lovely as Glen's ever was. The mockingjays pause, then pick up the song and carry it back to Rue.

Rue smiles brightly and climbs down the tree.

She hasn't eaten since yesterday. She didn't get much sleep. She's tired and frightened and maybe that's why she forgets to be careful.

She moves backwards away from the tree, obviously meaning to follow the mockingjays toward Katniss.

Instead, her foot trips one of Marvel's traps.

A net falls from the trees, winding her inside of it, the way Finnick's victims were wound.

She struggles against it and screams, "Katniss!"

Katniss starts to run.

But she's not the first to get there.
20 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2014 05:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Worth the wait

Don't beat yourself up about the writer's block. Here you had to write around two canons (both SC's and your own "The Final Eight").

I loved the bit about Peeta's sketch of Effie, and how it made Haymitch dream a sex dream of Effie.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2014 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Worth the wait

^^^ I forgot to sign my comment.

-- Tom
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 8th, 2014 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Worth the wait

Haymitch loves to get a glimpse of real Effie now and then, that's for sure.

Glad it was worth it!
rosaxx50 From: rosaxx50 Date: October 7th, 2014 08:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow I am impressed by your pacing, how you've turned a canon-heavy chapter into something so refreshing. I'm glad, as always, to see how the other tributes are going, and now, how District 12 is trying hard to portray Katniss & Peeta.

It's this part of the chapter that I found most memorable, though:

This gruffness is obviously considered something of a threat, because the interviewer abruptly jumps on the fact that he and Katniss look alike.
They don't, at least not any more than Katniss and I look alike


Sigh. Well of course they would think District 12 members look alike.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 8th, 2014 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Sure -- black hair, gray eyes, olive skin. They're practically twins! (At least gray eyes are a relatively rare trait to latch onto, unlike some real world cases, but still.)



redrikki From: redrikki Date: October 7th, 2014 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
If writer's block is what produces chapters like this one I have no problem with the wait. Excellent job blending canon, your earlier story and new and interesting material. I especially liked Haymitch's comments on just how boring the minute-by-minute viewing would be when they're all just hanging out or stalking through woods or whatever.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 8th, 2014 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I never stopped to think while I was reading the books just how long the time periods were. It was only when I was mapping out against the timeline that I realized... dear God, the Hunger Games are slow. And every year, it manages to take weeks to go through a field of only 24?
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2014 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

That Peacekeeper...

Was Peeta's grandfather (Mir's father), right?

I wonder how long it took him to realize the relationship; it's really nice that he's doing what he can.

And I imagine that Effie's discomfort with the portrait mirrors her discomfort with Cinna's clothes -- they reveal too much of who she really is, which she goes to such trouble to conceal from public view.

Also enjoyed your glimpses of Jo.

Bracing self for next chapter.

Sara Libby
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2014 08:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: That Peacekeeper...

I think another problem with the drawings is that she not only goes to such great lengths to conceal it from public view, but now with the prodding of CD from herself. So, compared to the woman she feels she needs to be, and to some extent wants to be, she seems off, and it's unnerving because she has to wonder if she's backsliding or if something else is "wrong" with her.
Queen_Bellatrix
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 8th, 2014 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: That Peacekeeper...

Yup, that's him. He probably realized it if someone said Peeta's mother was the daughter of a butcher. She'd already been born when he was transferred, so he knew her name.

And that's exactly it with Effie, along with what QB says below -- she's hiding herself with a great deal of diligence, and the fact that Peeta sees through it so easily is disconcerting.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: October 7th, 2014 03:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fantastic -- I particularly liked the "they all look alike to me" moment and Peeta's grandfather (at least, I really hope that's who it is). And of course, the fact that people are trying to cast for the movie already ...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 8th, 2014 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Of course they are. Rumors are probably swirling about it in the entertainment press.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: October 8th, 2014 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Some Catches

Will be back with feedback as soon as I have more than a second tomorrow; just wanted to point these out before you archived.:)

at my screen Just a missing period.

Katniss's names Think names should be name.

and girl identified Think you're missing an a before girl.

talk about how Peeta would Think talk should be talks.

tree obviously Think you need a comma after tree?

cousins and Think you might need a comma after cousins?

is somewhere, Was just thinking you might've meant this comma to be a period and this sentence to be split; it seemed rather long, with more commas than you usually use.:)

Just a couple of continuity things:

When the Careers are talking about whoever the partner of the person who blew up the supplies getting away, Marvel says he has half the woods boobytrapped with nets. But, the last time we heard of Marvel talking about the traps, at least from what I could find on a quick reskim, he was revolted and saying they wouldn't make good telivision. Did he boobytrap the woods sometime when Haymitch was sleeping?

And then, when they set up the net traps that become the circle Rue's caught in, you mention scrap metal traps? Did they take the metal from the plates, or were they already up and I'm missing something? Maybe clarify those two things, if there is anything to clarify and I'm not just missing it.:) (Started to ask how in the world Clove knew the partner was she, but then realized that all the boys are injured, in their alliance, or Thresh, and thought that was a very subtle way of showing how smart Clove was.)

Also, by the time you re-mention that Finch is from Five, she's already been referenced once in this chapter; maybe move her District to that mention instead? The only thing I'm thinking is that he's bored there and just scanning things, and so might have more brainspace to be thinking about districts etc. etc.





fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 8th, 2014 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some Catches

Those traps are all kinds of messed up, especially since I later mention that the nets came from the blown-off canopy. I changed it to a mention that he set the rattle-traps from food cans while Haymitch was asleep.

Boy, I was sure getting tired by the time I got to Delly's interview paragraph!


Thanks.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: October 13th, 2014 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback

So sorry it took me so long to get back and leave a proper review of this.

This was a wonderful chapter in terms of cannon melding, but the things that stood out especially for me were the very subtle touches specific to your universe. You've always done really interesting things with Haymitch's narrative unreliability, and I loved how you used Danny to showcase it yet again. He was talking about Danny playing a self-deprecating gentleman who thought being a white knight was good. And I sat there going: "Erm, okay, so he's playing himself?" It only occurred to me later in one of those moments of fridge brilliance that that's not how Haymitch sees Danny. Danny, for him, is about more than rescuing damsels in distress; he's about taking incredibly dangerous risks that, at least in the beginning, were spawned more by friendship than principle. (I'm thinking specifically of the moment in Rites where he lies and tells Haymitch that of course they would have done something, even though he knows what really got people riled up were the deaths of Haymitch's family). He's a man who’s helped Haymitch stay in one piece so many times, even when Haymitch wasn't really in any fit state to return the favor. Danny's qualities as a romantic would just never register on his radar, especially the whole thing that Ruth outlines so well in NP about wanting to be a hero. It's just an excellent way of showing that, oftentimes, a narrator only sees those aspects of a person that relate to them.

And then, you started to lay the groundwork for answering a question that's had me scratching my head since GM. I suppose you started laying it in TANT with the peacekeepers looking for all the rebels after Annie's Games, but I really started noticing it here. In GM, Plutarch asks Haymitch if he has any idea how closely he's watched, and in HOC, Snow is completely casual about him being in the rebellion inner circle for years. The thing I could never figure was what got Snow's hackles up. But this right here would do it. While I'm sure Finn/Jo and Cecelia have done interviews before (with it being in the victor stipulations for being in the Capitol for the Games), but I doubt they've pushed a story like this this hard before. And then that they're doing it for Abernathy, who they're already known to be thick as thieves with, and whose tribute had a symbol that made him leery enough he may very well have interfered with the supply list prices. Yeah, that'd do it.

I also really liked how you're laying the groundwork for what a fabulous artist Peeta is with both that wonderful Effie sketch and the fact that he's actually impressing Capitolites with his skill enough to purchase his work. As much as they have a wonky sense of fashion, I imagine their sense for art, particularly portraiture, would be pretty close to ours, so that's a high compliment indeed.

Also loved, like so many others, the cameo of Peeta's granddad! The way all your characters intersect/intertwine in such complicated and unexpected ways is one of the things I've enjoyed about your stories, whatever fandom they may be in.:)

And Haymitch's line about Meer not allowing the swing because Danny might actually have somewhere to meet his friends was so spot-on and such vintage Haymitch.:d
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 16th, 2014 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback

Sorry it took me so long to get back -- the next chapter was giving me headaches all week!

Haymitch may even think that Danny's status as a white knight for Mir is a complete act -- oh, sure, he's heroic and all, but Haymitch wasn't there when he got pulled in to be whipped. He's got himself convinced that it was about the greater rebellion.

And that's what I love about tight point of view stuff, especially when you can then flip that POV somewhere else and see an entirely different story and a different way of understanding things. Haymitch believes that Danny works for his cause. Danny actually believes in Haymitch himself. The one person Haymitch is relatively reliable on is the original unreliable narrator, Katniss, whose view of herself is almost as viewed as Haymitch's self-image.

I wish I'd been able to do more with the war, but the timeline prohibits any action from being successful. He was active during TATN, outside of Effie's sightlines (mostly), but I think that, until the 74th Games, Snow was operating under the impression that Haymitch, while still a kind of potential threat in the abstract, was really not a major concern anymore. The pickling and bad behavior (and loss of year-round contact with the other victors, since he never twigged to their mode of communication) had neutralized him. Now, suddenly, all of those silly contacts Haymitch has been making are paying off at the same time. Panic button is pressed.

Peeta's grandfather, of course, scammed the money out of people and had to make Haymitch take it before they found a way to get it back.
willowlistener From: willowlistener Date: October 10th, 2014 12:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really want to hear Finnick and Jo's interview.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 13th, 2014 11:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Its Willow at work -
I hate to say this, and no, I haven't gone back to check whether I'm right but, in Delly watching from 12, the announcement that they will allow district partners to survive comes shortly after the explosion, and at the time, Rue has made a nest in a tree and Katniss is settling down for the night...?? Here the announcement hasn't come and Rue is about to meet Marvel.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 14th, 2014 12:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm working with a copy of F8 open -- it happens the next night, after Delly has spent the day at school and seen Madge's poem and so on (Ed and Gale have a fight before the announcement).
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 11th, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Amazing chapter! I'll be happy to wait patiently for the next one.
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