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HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Nineteen - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Nineteen
The Games have started. Ginger sacrificed herself early, but Elmer has been taken to something resembling safety by Beetee's tributes and a surprise addition of one of Drake's D6 tributes. Unfortunately, while Haymitch has been occupied with this, Glass has gone over to place the call to Ginger's family.


Part Three: Capitol


Chapter Nineteen
I push my screens in Beetee's direction, hoping he'll get the idea that he's in charge for the moment. I'm across the room in a few strides. I yank open the door of the booth and pull Glass out of it, throwing him down to the floor. I kneel on his chest, and put my foot down on one of his twisted hands.

"What did you say to them?"

He smiles, unfazed by his position, or by the pain I'm most likely causing in his hand. "I told them their brat paid the price for rebellion… their part of it, anyway, until another payment comes due."

From the booth, I hear Mrs. McCullough's voice. "Haymitch! Haymitch, what's happening?"

I look down at Glass. His smile is unperturbed, almost beatific. I grab the front of his shirt and pull him up to slam him down again. "You don't talk to anyone from District Twelve ever again," I say.

"And who are you going to have enforce your little tyrannies this time?"

"Just me. You listen and you hear me: I will kill you. And if you think I care what they'd do to me for it, think again. Because I honestly don't give a tinker's damn." I get up and turn my back on him, going into the booth. I pick up the earpiece and look at the screen, where I can now see the McCulloughs in the mayor's office. They're a rough family with threadbare clothes, and the coal dust embedded in their skin makes them look prematurely old.

They're weeping openly. Ginger's little brother is clinging to their mother. Her older sister -- married, with a baby of her own -- is leaning on their father. There are a few other siblings. Like so many Seam families, they have a lot of children, in the hope that some of them will live.

"I'm sorry," I say. "I'm sorry about Glass. I told him I'd make the call. I told him --"

"I heard what you told him," Mr. McCullough says, stepping forward, wiping the tears from his face. "I heard, and I appreciate it, but don't do it. Don't."

"I--"

"Don't you leave these children with no one to take their side in this business."

I look down. "I'm sorry about Ginger. I'm sorry she got reaped. I'm sorry --"

"Ain't none of this your fault," he says. "We've got to go now, and be her family. You go help the boy."

I want to argue, but I can't. There's nothing more to do for Ginger, but Elmer is still breathing. Elmer might still need me. I nod. "I'll… I'll sit with Ginger on the way home," I say.

"I'm sure she'd be obliged if you did," Mr. McCullough says, then cuts off the connection.

I lean my head against the darkened screen for a few seconds to gather myself, then straighten up and turn around.

Five Capitol security agents are standing around the booth, weapons drawn. In front of them, looking green, is Plutarch Heavensbee.

"The Gamemakers want to see you," he says.

"My tribute -- "

"Your ally has his back."

I guess there's no argument. I hope Mr. McCullough didn't see security getting ready to cart me off.

They escort Plutarch and me to the elevator, and we go in together. Between floors, he hits a button, and the thing comes to a stop.

I look at him. "What?"

"You have to stop this."

I don't answer.

He grinds his teeth. "The elevator isn't bugged. Too many Gamemaker conversations in here."

I continue to stare at him.

"Haymitch, I know it's frustrating, but there are bigger fish to fry than Ausonius Glass."

"What are you doing?" I ask him.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, what are you doing? Why are you doing it? If I can't defend my tributes, then what, exactly, do you think the point is?"

"Something bigger than one idiot being rude to a couple of people."

"What?"

"Freedom!"

"Freedom to do what?"

"Anything!"

"Good," I say. "Then I choose to be free to defend my tributes." I hit the button he hit, and the elevator starts again. Plutarch continues to fume the rest of the way up.

When the doors open, I see the Gamemakers running frantically around their fully active command center. The battle at the Cornucopia is still going on, but they're already putting together the montage of the deaths. Other than Ginger, I see the boy from One, Lapis, who Drake's tribute killed. He's the only Career I notice. Both of the kids from Five are gone, and the girls from Six, Nine, and Ten. There is much loud lamenting among the Gamemakers that the sex balance is already off by so much, especially since there was a male winner again last year, and they can't have a boy three years in a row.

I look at Plutarch.

He shrugs.

Martius Snow spots us and breaks away from the group. He steers us toward an office.

"Thank you, Heavensbee," he says firmly, and stares at Plutarch until he leaves. "Well?" he says to me when the door closes.

"Well… what?"

"What am I supposed to be doing with you? Victors get a lot of privileges, but physically assaulting Capitol citizens isn't one of them. How many times do you think we'll be able to bend the rules for you?"

I frown. Martius Snow seems all right, considering, but I tell myself not to forget who he is. Whose ear he undoubtedly has.

But I can't quite keep the anger down. Ginger is dead. Glass tormented her parents. And I've been dragged up here while Elmer might well be dying, too. "He was insulting Ginger's parents. Twisting the knife. What am I supposed to be doing with him? Ask him nicely to not attack people? What do you do in the Capitol when someone hurts people you're responsible to? I mean, what if I started torturing your father? What would you do?"

"Maybe not your best example," he says dryly. "I'd probably just want a good seat."

"Fine. What if I called Caesar's secretary and told her she was a party to murder? What if I kept twisting at it until she cried? And what if I did it while she was already grieving for someone?" I sit down. "Really… what do Capitol people do about things like that?"

"The funny thing is that I think you're actually curious about that." He shakes his head. "It depends on the Capitol person. My father would destroy you. I'd probably tip him off to do it, in a case like that. Most people would go to the authorities and wait quietly for something to be done, at least until the next distraction came along. They're not encouraged to start blood feuds over slights. Or to take matters into their own hands about anything, really. It's an alien idea to them." He sighs and leans on a desk. "This is your first year at this. You can get away with a lot by pretending not to know the rules, and being upset. Maybe some kind of quaint district attitude is in play. I could maybe convince people that you've been drinking, even though no one's seen you do it. People understand that drunks do stupid things."

"Why not just tell the truth?"

He raises an eyebrow. "Just tell people that you were perfectly sober and rational when you declared war on my father's ally?"

I shrug. "It's what Glass will tell him, anyway."

"Oh, don't imagine that my father doesn't know exactly what you did and why you did it already, and what state of mind you were in. What my father knows personally is a lot less important than what the public hears about. They'll want an explanation if this gets out, and if you give the one you just gave me, that would be the seditionist propaganda that you agreed not to spread. It would be open season on you and your future tributes for Glass. So, unless you think they'd enjoy his very close company, you'd better have a different explanation if anyone asks about it -- and I'm pretty sure that Claudius Templesmith will ask about it. He loves trying to get victors in compromising positions."

"Why would you let me go on this?"

"I like you. More accurately, Caesar likes you, and I trust his judgment. You're lucky this year -- Hadriana is frankly enamored of you, and the other Gamemakers are too curious about what you'll do to let anyone really take you off the playing field. But stop pushing it. Their good will won't last forever, and my father has none for you. He considers you dangerous."

"So what do you want me to do? Apologize?"

"No one would buy that. Hate Glass all you want. But don't break any more laws doing it, because I can't rescue you from that anymore. You're not the only chess player here, and you're not the only piece on the board."

He looks at me very steadily for a long time, but I don't make the guess I think he wants me to, at least not out loud. Maybe he's all right. Maybe he's even a rebel. But he's Snow's son. I will let myself get angry, and say a lot of things, but I am not stupid enough to openly bring up rebellion with him, unless I have a hell of a lot more than an obscure hint about chess.

He nods, then stands up. "Don't do it again," he says. "No matter what Glass does."

And that, apparently, is that. He opens the door and gestures to me. I follow him out to the elevator, where an old woman in a bright yellow wig is waiting. She smiles. "Ah, Martius! I haven't seen you since you finished up at school."

Martius nods politely. "Professor Redmond. It's good to see you."

Redmond looks at me, her eyes lingering on my face. "Aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?"

"This is Haymitch Abernathy," he says. "Last year's victor. I'm sure you recognize him. Haymitch, this is Professor Avita Redmond, a friend of my father's." His voice seems tight, and I think I recognize some kind of warning in his stance, but I can't put my finger on it.

Redmond holds out her hand, and when I shake it, she clasps the other around mine. Her palms are sweaty. "The camera doesn't do you justice, boy," she says. "You're very lovely." She reaches up and runs her finger over my lips , then lets her hand trail down over my chest. "So very lovely."

I extract my hand from hers and try not to wipe it on anything where she can see. "Thank you, ma 'am."

Her gaze roams over me. "I hope to see more of you soon."

The elevator door opens, and I practically run in. Martius leads Redmond back toward his office.

I scrub my hand on my shirt as the elevator takes me back downstairs. I think that, when Elmer and his allies have gotten someplace reasonably safe, I will take a very long, very harsh shower.

When I get to the Viewing Center, Drake has pulled his table over to join Beetee and me. "The alliance of no hope whatsoever," he says morosely. Glass is melodramatically tending his wounds over by the bar, and Vitranio is on the phone. Drake's escort is a pretty middle-aged woman named Rufina, and she is filling out alliance paperwork.

The camera is panning the area around the Cornucopia now. The grass is bright red in several places. They focus on the bodies. I look away when I see Ginger, her eyes open, face turned up to the sky. The canon starts to sound for the seven dead. I guess they've decided the bloodbath is over. The District Five table is already empty. Faraday is in one of the booths, probably talking to her tribute's family. Tesla is nowhere to be seen. I guess he's out in the Capitol. His duties have been discharged.

Our tributes come back to the main screen -- Beetee's two, and Elmer, and Drake's boy. They've found a little hollow in the land, filled with bushes, and Wiress is busy clearing out a spot in the center. Ikris and Simon are taking turns helping her, and trying to stem the blood flow from Elmer's cut. He's unconscious. It looks like Simon has torn pieces off of his own shirt to be bandages.

"It's not as bad as it looks," Beetee says. "They're getting the readings from his tracker, and his vitals are strong. Scalp cuts just bleed a lot. I went ahead and ordered the ointment for him. It should be there in a few minutes. I hope that's all right."

"Yeah. It's what I meant to do. Are they far enough away that no one will see the parachute coming down?"

"They went in a different direction," Drake says. "Most people are heading for the river. So, are they throwing you in the dungeon?"

"Nah. But I'm not allowed to kill Glass, apparently."

"It's a damned shame. You'd think they'd be fine with it. They kill way better people all the time." Rufina gives him a little warning smile. He holds up his hand to indicate surrender on the point. "You know anything about this Serengeti landscape?"

I tell Drake and Beetee what little I know from stories. So far, no big mutts have shown up, but they agree it's likely to happen. When Vitranio gets off the phone, Beetee sends him to the library to get books about African fauna.

"Obviously, there's not much shelter," Drake says. "They can't stay in a hole in the ground forever."

"Probably can't dig it any deeper, either," I say. "They'll have something blocking the way down."

"What about caves?" Beetee asks. "I'm sure there are caves."

"Yeah. Bait for traps. Same with the river."

"They're going to need water, whether it's a trap or not."

I take a deep breath, and block out thoughts of the McCulloughs, and Glass, and strange women in yellow wigs touching my lips. It's surprisingly easy. "What do we know?" I ask. "Do they give us any maps?"

"Just an aerial view, same one they show on television." Drake turns his screen toward me and pulls up the shot. "Do you see anything?"

I look. The arena is a sort of long oval shape, hooked at one end. There are bulges along the sides where I guess force field generators must start new domes. I have a feeling I'll have to learn more about force fields if I'm going to keep doing this, but from what I can tell in the picture, this year, they've placed a large moat clumsily around the edge. I'm guessing this is a last minute addition, in case someone gets a bright idea about using the force field as a weapon. I'm willing to bet that the moat is either laced with water mutts, or, more likely, filled with the poison water from last year. Since neither of my allies suggests it as a water source, I'm guessing they've gotten that far in their reasoning, at least.

"Some parts of the grass are greener," I point out. "Underground water, maybe?"

"Or places where it pools," Beetee suggests. "They'll have run the environment for a while to get the plant growth."

Drake looks at the map, then pulls up Simon's screen. "Not to be an alarmist, but if we're talking about pools, our team looks like it's in the middle of one."

I bury my hands in my hair. The few trees are like big beacons to anyone who wants to find and kill them. The caves are undoubtedly mutt lairs. And hollows like the one they're in might just turn into ponds.

"Great," I mutter.

Before I can ruminate much further on this, a green light appears on the side of my screen, with a soft ringing sound.

"The parachute," Beetee explains. "They must be dropping it."

Sure enough, I see the tiny white speck fall from the sky. I watch the main screen, glance at the other mentors, but I don't see any indication that other tributes have noticed it. So far, so good.

It lands in the brambles at the edge of the hollow. Wiress notices it and drags it in. My opinion of her rises quite a lot when she very deliberately checks the branches and thorns for bits of torn cloth before descending again and offering the ointment to Simon, who's currently tending Elmer.

"Thanks," he says. He squints at the tube. "What the heck does this say?"

"It's medicine," Ikris says. "Put it on his head."

"An-tee-bay-oh…"

Ikris grabs it. "Antibiotic and coagulant, dope." He takes the bandages off Elmer's head, then puts some ointment on his finger and smooths it onto Elmer's skin.

"What's an antibiotic and coagulant?" Simon asks.

"Prevents infection," Wiress says absently. She's staring at the slope down into the hollow. "Stops bleeding." She runs her finger down along beside a root, then abruptly slams her fist into the dirt. Pebbles skitter down. She follows their motion with her eyes, then drops down and starts crawling around on the base of the hollow.

"She's got it!" Beetee says. "The dirt must have shifted when she brought the parachute in."

Drake looks at me, then back at Beetee. "I don't understand."

"It's what she does. She sees things. She sees the way the water will come."

The boys either don't notice what she's doing, or don't care. Simon takes off his shirt and starts to tear another strip off the bottom for bandages.

"You might want to save that," Ikris says.

"It's hot as hell out here."

"It's dry. I bet it'll get cold at night. I'll take the hem off mine, and if we need to change the bandage again, Wiress is next."

"They won't let them get away with this for long," Drake says.

I think they will, though -- maybe a day, at least. It's a story. Four small kids with only brains, and one of them injured. How will they get through? I think the Gamemakers might actually milk it for a little while, if the audience likes it.

The main coverage cuts to the two tributes from District Seven, identified on screen as Henry Cutler and Louisa Meadows. They've found each other, and there's some anguish over the lack of trees. "There are always trees!" Henry laments. "Always! That's why we should win more!"

I glance over at Blight, who is busy rubbing his head. His escort has been on the phone constantly. Henry Cutler may not be very bright, but he's good-looking, I guess. So very lovely, I hear in my head. The skin on my hand and lips crawls a little.

"You okay?" Drake asks.

"Did I have a sponsor last year who was a professor? Avita Redmond?"

Drake makes a great show of shuddering. "No. Sorry. I did not go to that well for you. Or even for Maysilee. Why?"

"I met her upstairs."

"Remember how we talked about no more deals? She's a good one to not make deals with. She'll get what she wants, then still tie strings to the money."

"You've made deals with her before?"

He nods, but doesn't elaborate further than, "Diseased old witch."

"But no deals this year?"

"No deals this year," he confirms. "We all sort of agreed to that. Well, except Brutus, and maybe Etta Bossard from Nine. They can't punish everyone, can they?"

I think they probably can, but I don't say anything. Drake knows it as well as I do.

I go back to watching things through Elmer's camera. He's starting to come around, though, when he tries to sit up, he's clearly very dizzy. Ikris urges him to lie down again.

"What's she…?" Elmer points vaguely at Wiress.

"No idea. Hey, Wiress… what's up?"

Wiress looks up and gestures at the woven mat of vegetation above them. "Rain."

"There's rain?" Simon asks. "I'm thirsty. I don't see any clouds."

Drake sighs. "I miss mentoring the genius."

"Looks like Beetee has the genius this year," I say.

"A genius who could make a whole sentence would be more useful."

"Wiress can make sentences," Beetee says. "She writes quite nicely, actually."

"Great, we'll send her a notebook, and she can do a dissertation."

Wiress makes a fluttering motion with her fingers, and then points to the little furrow in the ground.

Simon shrugs. "No idea what that means."

Elmer pushes himself up to his elbows. "Show me again."

"It'll rain," Wiress says. "And then…" She points again to the path.

"Water erosion!" Elmer realizes. "We learned about it in mine safety. If you see a lot of that, the tunnel could be really unstable."

"Yes, unstable!" Wiress says, then mutters something incomprehensible, though the word "boys" comes out clear enough. "The rain comes down. Here."

"Are there flood marks over the edge on the ground?" Elmer asks. "Like ripples in the mud or something?"

Wiress shakes her head, but points to a line on the side of the hollow. Below it, there's a lot of rippled mud, at least in places the kids haven't disturbed. It's about up to where their knees would be.

"Great, it'll flood all the way up there," Ikris says. "Guess we better find another place --"

"No!" Elmer says. He fumbles for the parachute his ointment came in. "We'll dig a hole and line it. Our own personal water supply."

Drake raises his eyebrows. "Okay, District Three, I get. Inventors. But what the hell do they feed you guys in District Twelve?"

"Mountains that tend to fall down on you if you can't figure out what's making them tick," I say. It was one of Daddy's favorite things to point out, though I don't mention to Drake that it was generally in regard to other miners who thought that high-falutin' education Daddy wanted for me was going to be useless. Maybe it's better if Drake thinks Twelve is full of geniuses, instead of overrun with what Daddy called ornery, stubborn, on-purpose ignorance.

And maybe Daddy was a little harsh about it, anyway. No one ever bothered Elmer about his math and science, as far as I know. It was just my books they thought of as worthless and pretentious.

"We should get them a trowel or something," Drake says, and starts looking through the list. I'm not remotely surprised when he doesn’t find any digging tools available.

My phone rings. Glass, thankfully, is still nursing his imaginary wounds. I pick up. It's a boy with a high, nervous voice. "Mm… Mr. Abernathy?"

"It's Haymitch," I say. "Can I help you?"

"Well, um, I'm Carus Deese, and me and some guys from our Astronomy Club want to help out Elmer. We have all our dues from the year…"

The astronomy club's dues for the year aren't enough to buy a slice of bread, but I thank them just the same, and add the money to the pot. Carus gives me permission to share it with the allies. "We like Wiress, too," he says. "But she's so smart, we figured everyone's giving her money."

Beetee laughs at this -- he hasn't gotten any calls for Wiress, who is odd, uncommunicative, and not very photogenic -- but we start compiling a blanket fund from what we do have. Drake has some sponsors for Simon as well. It's not much, but the blankets are still cheap. (They've gone up since Ikris pointed out the likelihood of cold nights, but not by much.) We buy two of them for the four kids.

While the tributes are trying to decide whether or not the vegetation is poison again, we're served a sumptuous lunch from a buffet table. No one seems to mind the dissonance. I grab a huge sandwich. I consider a beer, but decide not to start drinking right now.

I hear a small commotion, nothing much, at the District Five table, where Faraday Sykes is cleaning up her things. I turn to watch. There's a man there, dressed in Capitol finery.

"It's a little late," Faraday says. "I don't need any sponsors this year."

"There's still next year," the man says. "Come on. I'll show you a good time, and you'll be one sponsor up for next year."

Drake comes up beside me. "She better not go. She promised."

"Why would she? The tributes from Five are both gone."

"Aw, come on," the man says. "You know the rules. Aren't you supposed to be available for sponsor meetings?"

"If you want to meet in an open conference room," Faraday says, "I'll be happy to hear your proposal for next year."

"You know what I want, Sykes."

Faraday turns to him, smiles, and makes a gesture with her hand that I don't think requires much translation.

"You'll be sorry next year," the man says.

He leaves.

There is a muted cheer from the other victors.

Above us, the Games go on.
14 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: March 4th, 2014 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
"I'll… I'll sit with Ginger on the way home," I say.

OH HAYMITCH.

I don't think I can form intelligent comments right now. I just want to keep reading. :p
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 4th, 2014 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah -- sitting in the cold car with corpses... no wonder he pretty much starts drinking the second he can.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: March 4th, 2014 05:16 am (UTC) (Link)
This is so good, and so awful. It's a bit like rereading "Shelob's Lair" -- I KNOW Avita is waiting to pounce and what will happen, but I'm pretending to myself that it might not actually be true. And Faraday Sykes -- she seems to have a harder time of it than most victors, at least until Finnick came along. (I wonder, when did Martius get her for his birthday, exactly?) At least Drake is learning from past mistakes and allying with Haymitch's tribute instead of the Career districts this time.

On a happier note, the astronomy club was awesome, especially in their assumption that Wiress would have tons of sponsors because she's obviously the best brain in the place -- it's nice to know that at least a few Capitol guys have their heads screwed on straight :).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 4th, 2014 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
It would have been four or five years before this, when she was a fresh victor. She's good-looking and something of a fatalist, so she's a popular choice, at least for a little while longer. (I expect that the less a victor looks like he or she did in the arena, the less demand there is. That's why I think it was absolutely the right decision to hire an actor for Finnick who, no matter what his real age, looks quite young -- he's patronized by people who started lusting after him at fourteen.)

Haymitch can now add "nerds" to his "cat lady" demographic. Well, bless them, they'll probably end up relatively successful. Or saving on rent by living in Mom's basement, I guess...
redrikki From: redrikki Date: March 4th, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
The conversation with Plutarch in the elevator I think says everything you need to know about his character. He has so much invested in the big picture and the idea of how it should be he complete overlooks and ignores all those nasty human details.

I like this look into a young Wiress. I sort of figured her way of being in the books was some form of PTSD, but the way you've written it I can see it as something on the autism spectrum with a side order of PTSD.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 5th, 2014 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
She probably does have PTSD, but it looked like there was something else going on there, too -- autism seemed like a good bet.

Haymitch isn't as good at the small picture as Peeta (or even Katniss), but next to Plutarch? Oy.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: March 4th, 2014 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Catches and Squee

It's alien idea Think you missed an an before alien, here.

haven't see you Think the see here was supposed to be seen.

breath, block Think maybe you missed an and before block?

send her notebook Think you missed an a before notebook.

One tiny continuity thing: In the last chapter, Simon is referred to as Simoneus when he kills the career, although he's referred to as Simon in the interviews and in this one. I suspect Simon is a nickname for Simoneus? Just a thought, but if you're ever in an editing mood, maybe go back and edit his section in the interview to indicate that he goes by Simon, even though his name is Simoneus? Or just edit the one Simoneus to Simon?

:d:d:d:d Martius being awesome! And Glass comeupance! I thought I hated him in D4, but he has grown so much worse since they arrived in the Capitol. Seeing him get repeatedly slammed onto the floor was as satisfying as watching Crouch bounce Draco in Gof.

And Martius, I really, really like your Martius, and am so sad he's not alive by HG. I have this list of AUs I wish Fern would write snippets of, and it occurred to me reading this that if Martius and Peri could have escaped the Capitol and gotten to D13 (and y'know not gotten killed for being Snow's son and Caesar's daughter), he would've had power away from Coin by the time of MJ, and the rebellion would have gone so much better.

There was so much quotable dialogue in this chapter, but I loved particularly Haymitch and Plutarch's exchange, especially the bit where Haymitch said that he was then free to defend his tributes, and the Martius/Haymitch conversation, particularly Martius's bemused comment that the funny part was that he thought Haymitch was actually curious. That conversation made me wonder: in all the comments you've made about Martius (and I know that stuff's subject to change), he's seemed more rebel sympathetic than an actual rebel. Was he actually trying to alert Haymitch that there was a more organized rebellion than just the victors, since he and Snow wouldn't necessarily think the seditious victors Haymitch met on his tour were the center of any rebellion? Because if he was...I don't know if I'm smiling more at the irony, or at the fact that he's that awesome. And oh Martius, everything you've done for Haymitch was propelling you rapidly up the list, but you sealed your spot as one of my favorite Fern ocs when you said you'd want a good seat to watch Haymitch torture your Dad; whatever the afterlife consists of, I hope you got a little window at the end of MJ.

I can't see Snow letting Drake come back to the Capitol much more, because this alliance with Haymitch must be discouraged at all costs, which makes me strangely sad; I was really beginning to like him and all his bluster. His morose entrence comment about the alliance of absolutely no hope at all was priceless.:)

And the tributes themselves. Thank you for letting Elmer be awesome in his own way; I just keep hoping he can last a little longer, and quickly skimming to the end of the chapter when it's posted, because I need advanced warning of his death. The others too, especially Wiress; I love watching a bunch of smart people work to solve problems, and the entire water erosion sequence was probably my favorite bit of the chapter, aside from the beginning.

Redmond...I need a shower, and I've just been reading her. She didn't try to flirt with Martius, did she? I don't think so, because of who he was, but he was trying so hard to play keep-away with Haymitch, I just need to be sure.

The astronomy club was awesome, as were all the victors standing together to make no deals; I actually liked Faraday a little, which I thought was impossible.

This entire chapter made me so angry that Haymitch drinks; when not intoxicated, he does such awesome things! Am so glad your next long project is HG pov, where he will be forced to be at least relatively sober throughout the majority.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 5th, 2014 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches and Squee

I think I'll take out the "Simoneus." I call him Simon in my head, and was just trying to disassociate him from Lord of the Flies, and it... didn't work. :D

When it comes to Martius, I don't think he's in the same rebellion as Haymitch is. Most of these tinpot dictatorships have a dozen rival rebellions, which is why they get so messy and allow the dictator to smear all of them with the brush of the worst ones. I think there's a general thought that Martius could have a "legitimate" claim to Panem, and so some of the rebellious Capitolites gravitate around him. I don't know how much support he'd have in the Districts, or how likely he is to be a democratic ruler. He doesn't have to be a sadist to be a tyrant, just a leader with the kind of power Panem gives its leaders at this point. What he'd use it for is almost irrelevant, unless he used it to cut back the power of the position and change things entirely. He may be a decent guy, but I don't know that he trusts democracy much more than his father does -- or than Coin does.

Elmer doesn't have a lot more chapters -- I'm looking at Chapter 22 or 23 right now, depending on how things shake out -- but I'll try to let him be a little awesome.

And Drake... didn't really do much as Haymitch's mentor, but he's still proud of him, and I think he's trying to make it up by being a better mentoring mentor.

I expect I make Haymitch sober more often than SC was thinking. That's partly because he strikes me in canon as being able to control himself (probably with chemical help) when he needs to, and the way he comes off to me is as someone who would decide that lives being in the balance make for a good definition of "needs to." More than that, though, writing in the point of view of someone who's completely out of touch with reality and rationality wouldn't make for a good story, so I keep him sober for the most part during the long stories, and let other characters pick up when he's not doing as well.

And yeah... it makes me angry, too. It tends to piss me off in real life as well.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: March 6th, 2014 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches and Squee

The way you've described Martius here makes me think of the great steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, preaching his "Gospel of Wealth" with the wealthy as stewards of their money, with those funds going to the improvement of the community with things like libraries and parks, while extolling the business model that created the worst urban poverty seen to that point in the Northeast. He may have believed that the wealthy were stewards for the poor, but by that very philosophy, the poor were always ruled over and guided to be culturally proper, as it were; they could never come to the table and make their own decisions. Or the early idealists of British imperialism, who believed that the elite, with their education and training, genuinely were in a better position to rule over the colonized and lead them to understand their best interests (which of course consisted of the colonizers remaining in power.:); beneficent tyranny, essentially. Am I at all on the right track? A man whose very decent, on a person to person level, and thinks he can be a gentle "father/ruler" to the Capitol and the Districts and set aside his father's sadism. It would explain him helping Haymitch and being appalled, in that one challenge, about what was happening to Finnick, but saying that he intended to stop his father's games with the victors, but not necessarily the games themselves.

Which also leads me to wonder if, in the end, it may not have almost been a good thing that he died, because people like that tend to suffer from the Godfather syndrome of thinking they can reform and then, because they're not true reformers who use their power to reduce their own power, but just to be gentler tyrants/versions of what they're trying to escape, they turn into the thing they hated and fought against.

I think what had me misreading Martius was that he was friends with Caesar, and decent, on a person to person level, and because Caesar is a democracy proponent, I just sort of assumed Martius was on the same track.

And it's funny to me, because I've seen so many people talking about why the rebellion took so long, and your explanation of multiple rebellions, along with the stranglehold of the Capitol sums it up in a nutshell.

And okay, more Elmer chapters than I thought; and I don't think you have to try on the awesomeness front.:) But then, brainy people are always awesome, imo.:d

I also wanted to mention, and then forgot, that I've loved how, for the last several chapters, we've learned more and more about Haymitch's dad as he's taken on more responsibilities. As he's beginning to consider what sort of man he wants to be, we're learning about the one crucial man in his life. Really subtle and beautiful way of showing his maturation.

Edited at 2014-03-06 04:17 am (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 6th, 2014 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches and Squee

I'm not sure that Martius himself wants to be "king," or that other people want him to be, and he's resigned himself to accepting the mantle. Either way, probably not the best solution, since it's not exactly a constitutional monarchy he'd be inheriting -- more like a medieval absolute monarchy.

It's scary, going to a democracy from a dictatorship, and I think a lot of the people aren't going to be clear on the concept right away. (In NP, I had Peeta wondering why Paylor didn't just clear Katniss and get it over with. Because, um, law.) Having a supreme law of the land that applies to the president as much as the people is completely alien to Panem.

"Daddy" has been showing up on his own a lot, and I've been noticing it, but what you say here does kind of knock into a hat for me exactly why he seems prone to appearances now. Haymitch loves his mother, but his father is really the only man who's ever been solidly in his life. He's fond of Danny's dad, but that's about it, and the others, with the exceptions of Caesar and Snow -- and, Lord help us, Glass, I guess -- are all pretty much his own age.

Edited at 2014-03-06 04:33 am (UTC)
From: queen_bellatrix Date: March 6th, 2014 08:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches and Squee

Ah, okay, not someone who thinks the districts are barbarians, but more like the "enlightened" absolute monarchs; the people who were humane enough to envision reforms, but whose frame of reference and understanding was quintessentially limited in such a way that they could only envision them to an extent.

Not to mention that yes, it would be terrifying to go from tyranny to democracy, and the potential for anarchy is huge!

I loved the bit with Peeda in NP, especially because it showed how easy it is to fall back on your old frame of reference when the new way of doing things makes things incredibly difficult when you're the one whose sacrificed so much to make it happen.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 6th, 2014 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh Plutarch. "The elevator isn't bugged"? The odds that Snow wouldn't bug such a fantastic target seems rather minimal. Plutarch might as well shout "hey, watch this!"
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 6th, 2014 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, true, but for my purposes, it's not. I need to have SOMEPLACE they can talk! ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 6th, 2014 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, fair enough! To earn his fancy new re-education, it looks like Plutarch will be insufficiently subtle in his republican leanings some other time. I'm certain this will be a terrible challenge.
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