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The Last Tribute: Chapter Eighteen - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
The Last Tribute: Chapter Eighteen
Aha. She did leave the stream to go back to the camp. She reaches the point where she "peeled away" from going downstream to head for it. Then the stream turns left.

I'm still geographically challenged here, but I'll take it.

Um, okay. Haymitch has been meeting with the Gamemakers who are considering going along with the audience's wish for paired victors.

Chapter Eighteen
Chaff has a bottle of his homemade peach brandy at his table, and he drinks it slowly. He keeps himself calm while Thresh fights with another mutt, but he maintains an even keel. He doesn't start to get tipsy. The brandy has the high and sweet aroma of fruit that's gone over, and as the day wears on and Katniss just wanders through the arena, looking dazed, that smell is drilling into my brain. I'd like to ask Chaff to move it away (or maybe just hand me the bottle and let me drain it), but I've been telling him for years that I only get drunk when I want to, and I don't need the stuff.

Since he really is like that -- he can take a swig now and then, occasionally have a blast on a night out, then get back to reality -- he believes it completely. I think he'd think a lot less of me if I let on that I sometimes drink for days on end and get the shakes after a week or so if I don't drink (today, Effie's given me a shot of straight vodka, and is sitting between me and Chaff's brandy with her eyes narrowed), so I don't bring it up. I will Effie not to bring it up, either.

Mandatory coverage begins with Katniss sitting by a smoky fire, clearly trying to draw out Cato and Clove, though they're far off and paying more attention to Thresh's fire at the moment. The beginning segment was clearly compiled during the day, as I'm stated to be in "negotiations" with the Gamemakers. Effie gives a wonderful interview about Katniss. She seems to think that Katniss's fury at Peeta after the interviews was just "surprise."

Lip readers are brought in to try and decipher Katniss and Peeta's conversations here in the Capitol, before their words were being recorded carefully. There's the conversation by the chariot, where they're clearly flirting, then the one on the roof, where no one can tell what they're arguing about, including me.

They also re-show some of the footage from the school, and cut in a picture of a District Twelve yearbook (an odd thing that the school library keeps copies of, but no one ever purchases, of course… but it's come in useful from time to time in the Games, which is probably why they publish it). In the picture, Peeta is in a wrestling match. They focus in on a shot of Katniss in the background, her books clasped against her chest, watching the match with solemn eyes.

I think of her angrily insisting that Peeta talk about his strength and skill.

I can't shake the feeling that she isn't watching casually. It doesn't matter, I guess -- real or fake, the audience buys it. As far as I can tell, the Gamemakers buy it. Maybe I'm just buying it, too.

They cut to on-the-street interviews in the Capitol.

"I love them!" a teenage girl squeals. I think she's the president of Finnick's fan club. He's been working the Fannicks pretty hard over the past few days. "I think they're so beautiful!"

Valerian Vale, out at a party, slips into his soap opera persona and, weepy-eyed, says, "It's a story for the ages, isn't it? His love for her, and the way she's learning to love after all the tragedies in her life?"

An older woman who's sponsored us in the past -- and may well be in the huge list this year; I'm embarrassed to realize that I'm not sure -- expresses the belief that as a young woman, she certainly would have thought Peeta to be "hot stuff, no pun intended."

An old man who I know plays chess with Chaff in the park reminisces about courting his wife, "back when we still knew how to do the thing properly, like that young fellow does."

An accountant who Effie used to date -- she must have screwed up her courage to call him -- says that it all "adds up."

All of them are almost certainly acting on our behest in one way or another, or on some level being consciously manipulative, but on some other level, they seem absolutely sincere. It's the last interview that really drives it home to me: I may be playing an angle, but the real idea is spreading through the Capitol like wildfire. The cameras are set up in the play area near City Center, and a little girl of about eight years old, her hair in a clumsy braid and a yellow paper mockingjay taped to her shirt, says, "I want them to live happily ever and ever and ever after!"

They cut back to Claudius, who's wearing a self-satisfied, irritating little smile. "We may have a little surprise coming, friends," he says. "We'll have to wait and see."

Coverage moves to District Two, where the story I helped Seneca Crane cook up gets off to an awkward start. There are no pictures of Cato and Clove watching each other, or playing together, or even in the same room, though the parents insist stiffly that they are old friends and Cato always let Clove on his team. They don't try to ad lib any specific stories. The families are having a picnic together, with food I recognize as coming from a Games staff catering truck. Clove's father looks ready to kill the next person to ask him a question. Cato's father is more personable, sharing tales of his son's great athletic prowess.

Across the room, Brutus is glaring at the screen. Enobaria notices me looking and rolls her eyes extravagantly.

Since none of the tributes are doing anything interesting as the sun begins to set in the arena (Katniss has climbed a tree to sleep in, even though it's only early in the evening), they return to Claudius's studio, where legal experts are laying broad hints that the surprise they have in mind may be skating up to the edge of the law.

"You think they're going to do it?" Chaff asks me.

I nod.

Claudius touches his earpiece, and says that he wants to make the announcement live, so the audience and the tributes will get it at the same time.

The screen splits into three panes, showing the studio, Katniss, and the District Two tributes.

Claudius announces that the Gamemakers will allow team winners.

Cato and Clove dance around their fire.

In her tree, Katniss's eyes go wide, and she yells Peeta's name.

This could have been a suicidal move. No doubt about it. But there's something in the way her voice sounds, in the way she grasps at her chest, as if she's trying to keep her heart from bursting out… no amount of playacting would ever be as convincing, and I doubt she thought about it for a second. If she had, she never would have done it.

There's no harm done, of course. Clove and Cato are far enough away not to hear it (and are, at any rate, preoccupied with their own celebration). Finch and Thresh are both shown, but neither seems to care.

Here, Finnick begins to clap. Johanna and Annie pick it up, and soon, there's a standing ovation from everyone except Brutus. Even Enobaria is hooting and hollering. Claudius, who had clearly been hoping for an immediate fight and a reckless run through the woods at night, pretends to be enthusiastic about Katniss's smart decision to wait for morning… not that anyone is paying attention.

We're not the only ones celebrating. Cameras in Two and Twelve are set up in the public squares. There's stunned silence, then, quite suddenly, cheers break out. People on Capitol streets are shown clapping and hugging each other.

The evening turns into a party. Effie and I flip a coin to decide who will go out into the Capitol to turn the enthusiasm into sponsorships, and who will remain at the phone to take them. I suspect Effie cheats, because she wants me to get out. She doesn't even show me the coin when she says she'll be staying here. Chaff opts to go with me, leaving Seeder at the table, and we go to a crowded restaurant. He works on sponsors for Thresh, but of course, Thresh is no longer a potential beneficiary of the new rule, so it's hard going. All I have to do is smile at people and they throw money at me. At some point, a camera crew finds us and asks us about the ruling. I tell them it's about time, and Chaff grumbles that it's a little late.

On the television screens around us, the District parties look almost as wild as Capitol parties. People are dancing in circles. In Twelve, there's a woman who is clearly from the Capitol film crew dancing barefoot on the cobblestones. Most bizarrely, I see Ruth Everdeen grab Mir Mellark and spin her around in a joyous circle. It's an entirely genuine moment, but a completely unreal one to anyone who knows them. Aside from the fact that they hate each other, I don't think I've ever seen Mir taken by surprise or Ruth completely ebullient. Primrose runs to Danny and throws herself into his arms. She grabs his hands and pulls him out into the square to dance.

More precisely, she pulls him toward the cameras. She's working them as well as Katniss does.

"Thank you!" she calls out. "Thank you! Thank you!"

For a brief instant, I feel like she's thanking me. I'm absurdly touched by it before I realize that she's probably thanking the Gamemakers.

The party goes on. Alcohol is flowing freely, and after a while, I have to leave the restaurant, before I give in to the general mood and wreck everything. Chaff and I walk back toward the Viewing Center.

The streets aren't a whole lot better. A deliriously happy woman, who is clearly enhancing her happiness with some kind of pharmaceutical aid, runs toward me with her fists full of sparklers. She shouts "Happily ever after!" then heads off into the darkness, whooping.

A vendor has dropped his prices, and even offers me a free sparkler. I take it and hold it up. It's a poor imitation of the kids in the chariot, but people come flocking over to me anyway. Pads of paper and items of clothing are held out for signing, so Chaff takes up the sparkler, and I lean in to take care of the fans.

"Now, the kids aren't out of the woods yet," I say. "Peeta's awfully sick. He's going to need medicine, and that means we still need your help. Can you help?"

The cheer that goes up seems to be an enthusiastic yes.

A young teenage girl comes up. She's holding something that she's printed out -- a picture Peeta drew that they showed on television. She hands it to me to sign.

"Oh, now, maybe you should wait for Peeta to come out and sign that for you," I suggest, giving her a grin.

To my surprise, she starts crying. "I can't…"

"You can't what, honey?"

"I don't have money. I can't help them. I don't have anything! I'm useless. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked you to sign anything…"

The girl looks down. I see a lot of other people in the crowd shuffling aimlessly. I'm used to dealing with the Capitol's rich, and even the poor are well-to-do by District Twelve standards, but there's more than money in this, no matter how much I need it.

Besides, I've been there. I know what it feels like to realize that no matter how much something matters to you, you're stuck with the resources you have, and they're never going to add up.

I take the paper and I sign the back of it in big letters. "Now, you listen to me. Everybody listen! I never had money when I was a kid. I was so broke I wore my daddy's old shoes to school, and I sent my brother to school in Momma's. But that didn't make me useless, and you're not useless, either. Do you hear me?"

"I guess."

"I do need money for their medicine. But money's not all there is. You believe in them, don't you?"

"I do," the girl says.

"Well, I do, too. And they need that as much as the other." I signal to Chaff and he hands me the sparkler. I hand it to her. "You take it out in the night. You be the girl on fire."

She takes it and stares at it in awe.

I turn to the vendor. "I'll take your whole stock," I tell him. "You just hand them out."

He holds out his thumbpad, and I put in my print.

In ten minutes, we have a small army of kids with sparklers, lighting the street up like it's the middle of the day. I see one boy pass his sparkler to a smaller child, who runs wildly into the shadows, lighting the way.

Chaff and I turn down another street and continue on our way.

Johanna and Annie come out of a bar (both of them a little drunk) and walk with us. Finnick's on one of his dates. We're stopped by people on the street demanding autographs, offering money, and, as often as not, just wanting to tell us how excited they are, and how they want everyone to come home now. Many of them have acquired sparklers.

"It should be a whole alliance!" a boy says in an excited way. "Then they could all make friends, and all of them could go home. It would be like you and your friend!" he tells Jo.

Jo, who simply does not discuss her alliance with River -- it wasn't even especially featured on the official version, so whoever this is must have been a fan in real time -- smiles tightly. I squeeze her shoulder.

Someone snaps a picture of this, and by morning, there's speculation on the Capitol gossip shows that I'm in love with Jo. It's been a while since they bothered with rumors about me, but now that my tributes are a hot commodity, I'm suddenly of interest again. There's an actual debate about my love life. They call me for a comment (audio only). I raise an eyebrow at Effie and she just shrugs, so I go back to my usual joke: "I'm saving myself for Effie Trinket."

Oddly, though Effie is the only person I've considered a relationship with for years -- she's the only person who's been consistently around for years -- she's the one they completely ignore in favor of more exotic fare. Today's candidates, other than Jo, are three of my sponsors from the Daughters (including Aquila; I hope she's not angry), Cinna's partner Portia, Cinna himself, Seeder, and Finnick. Finnick finds it hilarious. Cinna, who drops by for breakfast (and to see how he can use his new popularity to help the cause), complains about me not buying him flowers anymore. Portia is less amused. Jo makes gagging sounds and says it would be like fooling around with her father.

I make a face at her. "Hey!"

"Tell me it's not possible," she says. "I've heard about your Victory Tour. You sure you didn't swing through District Seven, say, twenty-one years ago? I mean, you have to admit -- our cheerful dispositions are awfully similar."

"Yeah, Jo. I was swinging over to the other side of the country to have an affair with a married lumberjack."

"Fine, spoil my fun. I like to pretend. I think you just found a new pretend daughter, and you like her better." She jerks her chin at the screen, where Katniss is starting to stir in the tree. "I have to go pout now."

I don't actually feel old enough to be the father of a twenty-year-old, but I guess the math works out, sort of, and the exaggerated sulk she throws herself into -- flopping dramatically down onto a sofa and covering her ears -- makes everyone laugh.

I let it go.

Katniss is careful even in the daylight, much to the annoyance of Claudius's daytime replacement. His last name is Bidwell -- the same as a boy I killed twenty-four years ago, which I register but don't bother trying to figure out -- and he obviously wants to be Claudius when he grows up. He's very impatient at not having an immediate battle to report on.

Katniss eats a large breakfast and arranges her supplies. I expect she's considering the problem of Peeta's whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Clove and Cato decide to celebrate their new chance to live by trying to hunt down the single tributes (Cato's notion is that they'll battle Peeta and Katniss in a final, glorious melee of some kind). They're down in Thresh's territory, looking for a fight. Thresh is keeping to himself, and Finch, who has been stealing his food -- more or less with his permission -- hides in a niche in the rock, covering herself with shrubbery.

There's coverage from Twelve and Two. They've allowed the school kids to go to the gym and watch the events unfold live. In Two, they're used to it at this stage of the Games. I think their schools might even be closed from the final six on, so everyone can luxuriate in the spectacle (except the parents of the dead tribute, of course). In Twelve, they're piled onto the bleachers. I can see that there are now hand-drawn cartoons on a lot of the shirts. These are mostly mockingjays and pictures of Katniss and Peeta fighting back to back. One girl says that hers was drawn by Peeta's brother. The reporters marvel that District Twelve is so moved by all of it. ("The normally taciturn district," one says solemnly from the slag heap, "is coming to life in the excitement of the Games.")

The normally taciturn but now enlivened Katniss is also shown again, screaming Peeta's name last night. They even re-run the interviews and have body language experts on to talk about what she might really be feeling. There's a good deal of giggling in the gym, though it doesn't make the central broadcast. I can't blame them. They probably have a better read on Katniss than the experts do.

Katniss finally strikes out with a deliberate stride -- she is beyond good with the cameras; she has an instinctive sense of where they are and exactly how they'll show her every move -- and heads for the creek.

She looks at the water, then decides to go downstream. She takes off her shoes and walks in the water, probably serving the dual purpose of hiding her tracks and keeping her cool. The temperature readings from the arena don't look very comfortable.

She follows along the stream as a bend takes her closer to Peeta, and closer to the edge of the arena, though she doesn't know either of those things. The smart move for Cato and Clove would have been to build a camp up here, above the narrow, rocky ground. Anyone not using the lake -- which they know Katniss and Peeta aren't -- would be likely to fetch up in this little ravine.

Luckily, Cato and Clove aren't master strategists, and Katniss is entirely unmolested. In fact, all of the other tributes are on the far side of the arena. She could set up housekeeping here.

She seems to recognize that it's not the safest terrain, and is spooked by it, but before her instincts take over, she notices a long-dried smear of blood on the rocks. She runs to it and touches it, almost reverently, then continues downstream.

I hadn't noticed much of the blood that Peeta left on his trail, and clearly, the Careers didn't notice it. I have a feeling that the Gamemakers didn't notice it, because their breathless narration seems a bit taken aback by the way Katniss is following the trail. The Peacekeepers have dogs who could follow a trail this old, but I've never seen a human do it.

She finally reaches the little bend in the river where Peeta is buried in the bank. There are fewer smears here, though she does find one. I don't know if she somehow senses him nearby, or hears his slight breath, or is maybe just desperate, but she whispers, "Peeta! Peeta!"

All around her, the mockingjays pick up the call, and the air is filled with a long, gasping sigh -- "ee-a, ee-a, ee-a."

She looks up in horror at the potential sign to her enemies, and takes a step back, her foot dropping into the pool Peeta has been reaching out to drink from.

He says, "You here to finish me off, sweetheart?"

She jumps, almost comically surprised. On the screen from the District Twelve gym, I see a cheer go up that must be deafening, but there's no sound on it here, and there's no way the Gamemakers will break away from this little scene to show it.

"Peeta?" Katniss whispers. "Where are you? Peeta?"

"Well, don't step on me."

She looks down.

Peeta opens his eyes.

It's a startling shot, those sky-blue eyes opening in the muck. He laughs at her gasp, and his teeth are as much of a shock. It's like the earth itself waking up and answering her.

Katniss makes him close his eyes and mouth so he disappears again, then shakes her head in wonder. "I guess all those hours decorating cakes paid off."

He smiles again. "Yes, frosting. The final defense of the dying."

It is a perfect line. Light, not at all self-pitying, but bringing back the gravity of the situation. She tries to flatly forbid his death, and tells him that they're working together now. He tries to warn her about his wound, but she's not really listening. He lightens things up again by begging for a kiss.

Then she pulls him out of the mud.

There's no more to joke about.

Even Brutus swears under his breath.

Peeta has been buried in the mud for days now, only moving his hand out to gather water. I don't think any of us had realized that he's completely unable to move. He screams as Katniss tries to roll him.

The trackers in his body start getting more readings as his blood begins to flow more freely. His nervous system is all right -- it's not a straight paralysis -- but the infection that's been festering in his wound has stiffened all of his muscles, and any motion is causing him extreme pain.

Katniss gives up on any idea of pulling him into the water. Instead, she cuts away his undershirt and starts to bathe him where he is. She pulls out his tracker jacker stings and applies Rue's paste to him, and uses some of her burn ointment on his chest. She even digs out some fever reduction pills from Marvel's supplies and force feeds them to him. She tries to give him food, but only manages to get him a few bites of dried apple.

The bath takes a very long while. Between the blood and the pus and the mud and greenery, and the fact that Katniss can't get him to the stream to submerge him, she ends up cleaning him with handfuls of water for hours. There will be plenty of good shots for the mandatory viewing cut later.

Meanwhile, I get serious about Peeta's medication. Every time I try to get an answer on the cost, they raise it, just above whatever I have.

By the time Katniss has worked her way to Peeta's leg and is trying to drain the pus, I'm starting to see the lay of the land.

They're going to keep the medicine away.

Not permanently. But they'll make all of the sponsors irrelevant.

I press my lips together tightly. I've seen this happen before, though my tributes have never been the target.

They'll find a way to get the medicine into the arena, and then they'll use it to cause a fight.

I stop asking for it.

In the arena, Katniss continues the unpleasant business of bringing Peeta back to life.
13 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 21st, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Great Stuff...

All around, but I especially liked the stuff with Jo. I liked that someone still remembered her friendship with River.

And I liked her theatrical bit of "sibling-rivalry" jealousy over the attention that Haymitch is giving Katniss. I think there's more than a dollop of the real thing going on for Jo as well, but she manages to vent it in an ironically quite mature way, everything considered.

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 22nd, 2014 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Great Stuff...

I agree that there's a good bit of it. I think Haymitch has no clue whatsoever that Jo and Finnick genuinely look up to him and depend on him, or how much they think of him as taking care of them. (He thinks of himself as totally useless in this regard, since he hasn't stopped anything happening to Finnick. Of course, he also thinks of himself as sixteen years old.)
redrikki From: redrikki Date: October 21st, 2014 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved the conversation with the poor girl on the street. And there are the seeds of the revolution. Is she one of the girls who spies/helps in the last book? Man, just the bit where he tells her to be the girl on fire, because that's the point isn't. It's not just about believing/supporting Katniss, it's about being inspired to be like Katniss for all the things she stands for. Seriously awesome scene.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 22nd, 2014 05:12 am (UTC) (Link)
She may or may not end up in the rebellion -- she's pretty young. But she'll have looked into a district man's eyes and seen a human being looking back, so she's already rebelled.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: October 21st, 2014 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, when even Brutus is stunned into silence, you know it's bad.

I love the street scenes, and how everyone in the Capitol is going into a frenzy for the love story. (And once again I think geez, Snow -- if you'd only let the rule change stand, you would have had people so grateful for your "mercy" that they'd have obeyed you a lot more willingly). I'm kind of wondering about Clove and Cato's relationship, such as it is -- I get the impression of kids who trained together and knew each other by sight but didn't really hang out until they both won the reaping. More businesslike than anything, which doesn't really play well to the cameras. I'm curious to know just how psychotic they were before the reaping, as it's hard to see someone as unhinged as they get being considered the district's best shot at winning. And I like the mention of Thresh letting Finch take his food -- it seems like the kind of thing he'd do. He won't go out of his way to protect her, but he knows she's not much of a threat and he's got bigger fish to fry anyway.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 22nd, 2014 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
The act of revoking the rule change has to be the dumbest of many dumb things the Capitol did. They could have completely skated, or even come out of it stronger. If it created an uproar about the Games, they could have made themselves look wise and forward-thinking by starting to rethink that on their own... and hold onto power much longer.

But like tyrants everywhere, they didn't use petty cruelties to get power. They got power in order to impose petty cruelties. Stopping the petty cruelties would miss the point for these idiots.

Edited at 2014-10-22 05:14 am (UTC)
torturedbabycow From: torturedbabycow Date: October 21st, 2014 11:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh man, the hints towards what the Gamemakers will ultimately do at the end of the games... it is going to be so messed up. And it's fascinating how the attempt to take away that fairy tale is really about punishing the Capitol citizens with the Games, not so much the districts. The fans in the Capitol are the ones really getting invested in the fairy tale story, and underneath the theatrical part of it they are truly itching for those deeper emotional connections to each other.. gah. I am super excited to watch the drama at the end play out on the Capitol side. What was supposed to be a "fairy tales aren't real" type lesson has to get awkwardly brushed aside with a "haha, I mean they totally are, because the Capitol is the awesome fairy tale land, isn't it sweet? awww, kids in love, amirite?"
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 22nd, 2014 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the message was supposed to be "These district animals will turn on each other, no matter how much they supposedly love each other... you were suckers for buying in." This is probably bolstered by Snow's skepticism about Katniss's motives -- he probably assumed she'd be the one to crack, which would break her as a symbol.

Of course, since she didn't break, they had to wave it off as "silly girl in love -- no threat there."
From: queen_bellatrix Date: October 22nd, 2014 04:58 am (UTC) (Link)

Feedback/Some Catches

medicine into arena Think you're missing a the after into.

that surprise they Think you're missing a the before surprise.

Chaff ask me Just need to add an s to ask.

about Katniss smart Just need to make Katniss Katniss's.

in a the rock Not sure if the a or the the is the unnecessary word here.:)

call, air is Think maybe you're missing an and the before air?

an odd thing that usually has a copy in the library I'm not sure if this was a deliberate choice (more of the deliberate syntax twisting we were talking about last chapter) or if this got a bit muddle and should have said something more like: an odd thing that the library usually has a copy of but no one purchases etc. etc. Thought I'd mention it just in case it's the latter; imho, it works if it's the former.:)

except the parents of the dead tribute Seems like there may be some missing words here, unless I'm missing what you're getting at; I think maybe you were getting at the fact that tributes from Two have died before the final six; or were you saying that even if a Two tribute wins, there'll be one less person celebrating because one of them has to die?

Just one tiny continuity error and again, I can't quite tell if you're deliberately trying to show Haymitch's pickling or if it was a slip, so thought I'd mention just in case. But, he wore his Dad's boots (Lacklen wore Rhona's). Why that detail stuck in my head, I will never know, but I checked HT and EOTW to be sure.

That scene with the sparklers *flails* That had me grinning all day. Especially because we've gotten Haymitch's awareness of his manipulation of the Capitolites; we really needed a scene that showed that no matter how much he is playing the angle, at core, he's such the complete opposite of the regime he's attempting to overthrow there's no comparison. And then more personally, the poverty empathy, particularly the bit about having a set number of resources and not being able to change things, no matter how much you want them hits home, especially right now. And so the idea of being able to change things in some other way than financial contributions is a profound one, from where I'm sitting.

Also, I loved the acknowledgement that poverty really is about where you are, as much as what you have. Even some of the poorest people in America would be seen as well-off by Twelve's standards (running water, telephones, computers, etc. etc.), but that doesn't actually help their situation because they're not well-off according to their society. I love your explorations of how this works in the Capitol (and I'd imagine it can get pretty bad, especially for the avoxes and the recent releases from debtors prison)

Haymitch's comment about Chaff at the beginning of this chapter was very intriguing, especially because it gives some interesting connotations to a line in HT. When they're at the bar before Chaff teaches him about the video phone, Chaff says something like: "You can stop. That's good." I always thought it was an admission that he couldn't, and so admired Haymitch; I'm now wondering: Was it more Chaff expressing oblique concern about how much Haymitch went off the rails in his Victory tour after Glass showed up? Or is Haymitch wrong about what Chaff can do in terms of controlling it?

And is the little girl at the play center that's interviewed Prisca? Or am I imagining things because the irony of Snow's grandchild being a K/P supporter is just too awesome? And was the older child who gave the younger a sparkler Aurelian, or am I just looking too hard for cameos?

I also really liked how you're showing Capitol censorship with the large delay between when the mentors are getting the district interviews in "real-time" and when we know Twelve gets them in Eight (I'm thinking especially of the interview about Clove being on all of Cato's teams coming after the gym in Eight); they've really started cracking down on rebel content; a lot fewer live interviews and more time to cut things.

And bastards; they never intended Twelve to win; have Katniss die fighting for the medicine, and then paint her as someone who, ultimately, just wasn't strong enough to overcome the Games; punish the Capitol for believing in her, and Twelve for supporting their uppity volunteer. *fumes*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 22nd, 2014 05:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback/Some Catches

Hmm. The shoes could be a continuity error. Or a deliberate exaggeration. Or Haymitch's memory being fuzzy. I'll get an answer in, one way or another.

Money is the bogeyman of my life. I rarely get weepy over anything else, and I wanted to put in something about the sheer psychological power of the stuff, especially when people are saying, "Help us by... GIVING US MONEY! If you don't give us money, you DON'T CARE!" It's horrible. And yes, poverty is definitely situational. Where I grew up, I was certainly not well-to-do by any means, but very few people in town were. Social events tended to be cheap or free, not that I socialized a lot (for other reasons). The kids who got cars got old junkers, and no one thought twice about it. Getting to college? Culture shock of major proportions.

A lot of the weirdness with timing, I'll write off as Capitol censorship, and replaying of earlier segments in mandatory viewing hours. (In fact, a goodish chunk was because, in F8, I hadn't really stepped back and appreciated just how long Katniss spends in this book just randomly wandering the woods. It was probably actually supposed to be afternoon when she found Peeta.)

I think Chaff was worried about Haymitch becoming an addict. He's seen it in other victors, and boy, Haymitch sure was acting like it. But Haymitch says he's not, and doesn't tell Chaff that in the Capitol, he's been on meds. Chaff, I think, really isn't an alcoholic, just a heavy drinker.

Aurelian hasn't quite finished his transformation into wanting to be just like Peeta -- that will probably come during the time in the cave, so that probably wasn't him. And I doubt Snow would let Prisca on camera, alas.

Of course they never expected Twelve to win. That's never supposed to happen!
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: October 22nd, 2014 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback/Some Catches

"Of course they never expected Twelve to win. That's never supposed to happen!"

It's always supposed to be One or Two, isn't it--the good, obedient little Stockholm-ed Districts who are so invested in their own systemic abuse that they can't see how they're being abused? (with, occassionally, an outlier from another District, just to keep the rest playing the game).

The more you think about them, the more sick the mental abuse/addiction cycle of the Games are.
cleindori From: cleindori Date: October 24th, 2014 12:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been following as always, but it's been way too long since my last comment! Anyway, this chapter just hit me right in the feels -- the bit with "you be the girl on fire" and the sparklers had me tearing right up. And of course Haymitch doesn't feel old enough to be the father of a 21-year-old, he still feels like a powerless teenager!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 25th, 2014 12:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Sparkly!

As others have mentioned, I enjoyed seeing the way the capital people are reacting to the real change. Also enjoyed the sparklers with the children, etc. I am wondering though, if you are following the book chapters somewhat, or are you going to have Katniss cleaning Peeta up continuing into the next chapter? I'd like to see haymitch's reaction to Peeta saying the two of them are "just alike" and his reactions to Peeta teasing Katniss about him being naked.
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