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The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
These Are The Names, Chapter 16
Okay this took an unexpected detour.

Anyway, Finnick i sjust arriving for the first victory tour stop.

Chapter Sixteen
I go to Haymitch's place for mandatory viewing of the beginning of the Victory Tour. We're set up for filming outside, since the trip out here will take two days and they have to fill it with something, but for now, everything is about Four. They come to collect Finnick in the early afternoon, after he claims he spent the morning on the beach. The whole thing is set up to look like the camera crews just happened upon him at water's edge. I've been in the business long enough to see every bit of styling that's gone into the shot, but it's actually impressively subtle -- minimal make-up meant to catch the sparkling sunlight, heavy conditioning of his artfully tousled hair, a casual outfit with rolled up pants and an open-throated shirt. Someone who's never been near a prep team might think he just washed his face, though a little thought really ought to remind them that every other beach shot has shown him with a little sand on him, and a white shirt wouldn't casually look that good after spending the morning clamming. He offers to bring some fresh shellfish to Caesar, but Caesar "reminds" him that he's got a lot of ground to cover before getting to the Capitol.

"District Twelve first!" Caesar says. "The mountains in the winter. It should be beautiful. There will be snow, as I understand it. Have you seen snow?"

"Just on television. I can't wait. I was going to wear my sandals, but Mags said it would be cold." The camera pans down to his obviously new footwear, the designer's label very prominent.

"How's Finnick-mania at home? Are the girls from Four all a-twitter?"

"Well, it's nothing new for them," Finnick says. "They've always been a-twitter. I mean, I've never walked down a street without people fainting. It's old hat, really. Of course, now that everyone else is doing it, they think it's passé. So fickle."

On the screen beside him, Mags rolls her eyes hugely, as does Haymitch, sitting beside me on the couch.

The coverage shows the girls outside Victors' Village, waving wildly to the cameras. A few of them bemoan the fact that Finnick isn't in school with them anymore. No mention is made of the fact that no one volunteered to take his place, or that his district partner clearly disliked him.

Once they have Finnick bundled off to the train and the coverage cuts back to Caesar's preview of the tour, Haymitch says, "Did he look okay to you?"

"Fine," I tell him. "He's got Mags and the rest of the victors in Four, and his parents, and apparently a lot of fainting girls to take care of him if he needs someone."

"A pointed reference?"

I shrug. "You could at least put your phone back in. Then you could call if you needed me. Or anyone. You could call Merle Undersee. He thinks the world of you."

"Why would I call Merle? His place is a five minute walk from here."

"Which you never make, according to Kay. And Mrs. Breen says --"

"District Twelve gossip, Effie?" He shakes his head and gives a long-suffering sigh. "You need a hobby. What's your talent, anyway?"

I stick my tongue out at him. I've said the same thing to him a hundred times.

A few minutes later, the production team says that Caesar wants Haymitch live to kick off the tour. Haymitch groans and goes outside. He smiles for the cameras and makes a lot of sarcastic jokes about his own looks -- mostly how Finnick can look forward to getting old and putting on a gut -- but manages to sound like Finnick's irascible old uncle who's just pretending not to be looking forward to a visit. Caesar has a live audience back in the Capitol, and they are lapping it up.

When he's sober and feeling useful, Haymitch is actually very good with the cameras, albeit in his own distinct way. He did get one of the few memorable moments in the interviews in his year, and when I call people about sponsorships, they still remember his sarcastic comment about the intelligence of the other tributes. Most even laugh when they recall it. I decide to see if I can get him more interviews next year. As long as he's sober, it can't hurt.

During the two days that the train is en route, we make the final preparations in the town square. I hire a band from the local bar -- they're not really good, but they're the best to be had, and they play local music. The lead singer, a boy from the high school, says he's written a ballad about me. It's quite terrible, but I don't have to resort to telling him so, since it refers to spreading the money around, and I can't very well have him sing that on national television.

"Oh, it's a secret," he says wisely. "That's the title, then. The Secret Giver." He hands me a copy of the lyrics, with notes for the chords. I take it and smile.

District Twelve's few Fannicks show up at the train station for Finnick's arrival. The site producer, Spurius Gimcrack, opts to put them close together, figuring that he can make twenty-odd squealing high school girls look like a crowd, as long as he doesn't widen the shot enough to show the empty platform beyond them.

"After he gets off the train, he'll go into a car," Spurius says. "Break through the line of Peacekeepers -- you guys don't mind, right? -- and jump on the car. Let the Peacekeepers pull you off. Can you do that?"

The girls discuss this among themselves, then a pretty fifteen year old with bright grey eyes and curly black hair says, "Do you think we could try to catch him as he goes to the car? I could give him a kiss."

"Well, don't manhandle him too much," Spurius tells her. "But if he doesn't object, sure. Let him take the lead."

I watch the filming from the control tent. It comes off well enough. The curly-haired girl launches herself at Finnick as he's led to the car, and he makes a show of posing with her (though there's no way she'd be able to get a picture to keep), then a few others, before the Peacekeepers ostentatiously tell him that there's no time for flirting and bundle him into the car. The girls give chase, then they cut to a pre-recorded segment about Twelve and the Games, focusing on Haymitch and Duronda -- both, according to the commentator, "colorful characters." At some point, they even scare up Duronda's daughter, a middle-aged woman who couldn't look less like her neighbors if she tried. She has mousy brown hair and hazel eyes, and a kind of unpleasant aspect to her face that I can't put my finger on. She says that she hadn't talked to her mother in years. I'm sure in the districts that this seems scandalous, but no one in the Capitol would take it amiss. I haven't spoken to either of my parents for over a decade, and there's no great drama to it. She hasn't ever spoken to Haymitch.

This bit of pantomime is more than enough to cover the short trip Finnick takes from the train station to the Justice Building. When we cut back to the live shot, the crew has Finnick set up for his speech, which is subdued and very proper. He follows the cues to look at the pictures of Treeza and Chicory, and claims that he wanted to join Chicory's alliance because of great admiration for him. As usual in Victory Tour speeches, no mention is made of the fact the admiration ended with a trident to the neck. He does smile and say that he likes the weather here, and thanks his stylist for the warm clothes.

After the speech is over, he's hurried back inside for another costume change. Haymitch and Mags are chatting amiably in a small sitting room near the kitchen (the rooms the tributes say goodbye in are pointedly open, but Haymitch will never use them, and I guess I won't, either). We weren't sure that he'd be invited -- the Gamemakers go back and forth on the issue -- but in the end, they can't resist the lure of having Finnick seen with as many other victors as they can squeeze in, on the hopes that his popularity will rub off and lead to more programming opportunities. I end up talking to the District Four escort, Mariana Torrance, for most of the wait. She seems nice enough. She confides that she has no idea what to do with her popular young charge, who is headstrong and unpredictable. I tell her to let him do what he needs to, and just keep him out of trouble. After that, we can't think of anything to say to one another. We promise to have coffee back home.

The dinner is lovely. I've gotten used to the plain dishes they serve at the hotel, and I can see how much they're fancied up for the tour, though other people seem unimpressed. No one is unimpressed by the baked goods. Dannel Mellark has outdone himself. His wife actually serves from the pastry table, and his oldest boy, Jonadab, steers the pastry cart around. After dinner, we clear the floor and the band sets up. Everyone dances. I even have a dance with Haymitch, though we cut it off early when we notice that we're a little too close. I move on and dance with Merle Undersee, and Haymitch dances with Mags.

I saw to it that there is no bar in the room, which I hear a few people grumbling about, but I don't care. I won't have Haymitch embarrassing himself, and even more, I won't participate in Finnick picking up the same habits. By the end of the evening, the two of them are already thick as thieves anyway, sitting back at a corner table and playing cards while Mags looks on.

It's gone off without a hitch. Tomorrow, we have an entire day planned with the children willing to show him around. Finnick looks genuinely pleased to learn this. Haymitch tells him there's nothing special to see.

I go back to the inn, satisfied that no one is going to get into trouble, and I relax. There's a television in my room, with recaps from the evening. It looks smart and sophisticated, and the visitors seem happy to be here. The crowd doesn't seem too sullen. The banquet hall looks much more sumptuous than it really is. The shots they catch of Haymitch are flattering for once, and he's actually smiling and laughing with Mags and Finnick.

It should be fine, but I'm restless. I'm still going through tomorrow's schedule, even though I have next to nothing to do with it. I wonder if Mr. Flickerman will think I did well. More pragmatically, I wonder if anyone is going to notice that, in terms of District Twelve's economy, a lot of money appears to have come out of nowhere at all, and I worry that they'll suddenly be expected to do this every year. I'm not destitute -- my job pays well -- but I don't think I can afford this much of an outlay again for a while.

At any rate, though I'm washed up and in my pajamas, with a warmed scarf around my head, I can't even think about going to sleep. I try to read a little bit of a romance I started a few months ago (the plucky heroine, a girl from the wrong side of the Capitol, has met a charming young man from the Grove, heir of two wealthy families, who has been working in disguise as a common laborer), but it doesn't hold my attention. I go to the window. The people of District Twelve are inside for the night, and most of the crew is back on the train, though a few are dismantling the stage. There's a light snow falling, making haloes around the lights, softening the branches of the trees. It's actually lovely, in its way, no matter what Haymitch thinks.

When I first see the small figure come out of the shadows, I don't really recognize him. Just a kid in an oversized winter coat, wandering along the edge of the square, unnoticed.

It's not until I realize that he's coming from the direction of the railroad platform that I understand that it's Finnick.

I grab my own coat and put on some boots, and head out after him.

It takes a minute to find him. It's a bit darker than it looks from my window. But I see a flash of movement at the corner, and a moment later, a small dot of light appears in the snow.

I follow. He shouldn't be out, and I worry that if I call to him, other people will hear. And I worry that he'll wander into the wrong part of District Twelve and see the ugly faces that Haymitch talks about. I have a horrible idea that he means to see Chicory's parents and try to apologize to them, and I don't think that would go over at all well.

Finnick goes up a side street and I follow the bobbing of his flashlight into a vast, dark area at the top of the hill. There is a single light in the snow, and it seems to be what Finnick is making for. I catch up with him five minutes later. He's standing in the shadow of a large stone monument, engraved with names. I realize with a start that we are in the cemetery. This is the tribute memorial. The moon is peeking out just enough for me to see other stones strewn around, and wooden planks with words burned into them, driven into the ground.

"I'm not doing anything wrong," Finnick says quietly. "Please let me finish my business before you take me back to the train."

"I wasn't going to take you back," I say.

He turns. "I thought you were a Peacekeeper."

"They'd have grabbed you in the square."

"Oh, right."

"I just wanted to make sure you didn't end up somewhere you shouldn't."

He smiles. "Haymitch already warned me. I just came to pay my respects to Chicory. And the others. Mags says that the other districts are too big, and cemeteries are too far away."

I frown. "Your respects?"

"Well… Tiggy says I should. That whenever I can, I should. So I don't forget, in all this."


"He's just a guy in District Four. If you do something bad, you tell him about it. And he helps figure out ways to make it as right as you can."


"Could I have a moment?" he asks. He pulls a necklace out from under his coat. It's a knotted string, not unlike Haymitch's district token, though there are more knots, and it seems to have seashells at regular intervals. He nervously ties and re-ties knots in an empty section at the bottom.

I nod. "I'll go over there," I say, pointing vaguely at another, smaller stone monument. I am very conscious of the fact that I am standing on top of the bones of District Twelve's dead. I take a few steps away. Finnick kneels in front of the stone, and starts mumbling quietly, fretting at the knots on his necklace.

I go to the nearest stone monument, far enough away not to hear, but close enough not to lose track of Finnick. I'm not sure why this seems important. When I get close I see that the stone has a name on it, and dates.


I blink. This is a carefully crafted piece of sculpture, made from marble most likely quarried in District Two. It had to have been shipped in, and only Haymitch could afford it. He gave her his name.

I trace it. I picture her body -- down to bones now, or dust -- in the dirt below me. How can they stand this? How can they sit here in their pretty town square, with the bones of their families staring down from the hill?

Finnick comes over a few minutes later. "Relative of Haymitch's?" he asks.

"His girl," I say. I shudder. "Let's get out of here. I'm not sure I can get back without the light."

Finnick leads me back into town. We've gone utterly unnoticed, thankfully. He goes back to the train.

The next day, he comes to the inn, where Sarey takes the lead in showing him up to the park. A few local children join them there, and it's filmed to look like a spontaneous gathering, during which they sit on the logs and tell each other ghost stories. Finnick seems to enjoy it, and Sarey comes back to the inn, sounding surprised when she says, "He's actually nice!"

The mayor takes him around to various historical sites, and he's even allowed to see the mines, under extremely controlled circumstances. It all looks very good.

The Victory Tour train leaves that evening, headed for District Eleven. I hope Chaff and Seeder have been able to sneak money around. It's got to be harder in an area that big.

My own train won't leave for another day. I go to see Haymitch and ask him to teach me how to fight with a knife. He tells me I'm not physically strong enough. I ask about getting away from someone who's pinned me or is holding me down somehow, and he starts to teach me, but we both realize very quickly that it's not the best idea we've ever had. He promises to ask Caesar to get self-defense classes for the escorts. Then he pours himself a drink and asks me if I want one.

"I don't think you should start," I say.

"It's over, Effie. I’m done with the assignment. Now, I'm going to have a drink."

I sigh and have one drink with him. I stop there. He keeps going.

I leave late in the afternoon, meaning to go straight back to the inn. Instead, I find my feet following Finnick's path from last night, up the side street, up the hill to the cemetery. In the gray winter daylight, it seems flat and unreal. The soft blanket of snow, which is still falling, mutes the sounds.

I visit the tribute memorial first. Sassafras Lake, my first assignment as a hairdresser. She had beautiful black hair, with classical ringlets that only needed to be shined up a little bit. She was scared. She wanted to talk, but couldn't think of anything, so we talked about television shows. She said her brothers called her Sassy. Her picture is embossed on the monument, in the cascading curls I built up for her forever fixed in stone. Babra. Trill. I should have given him his kiss while he was alive. I'm glad the memorial only shows their pictures from the shoulders up. Hecky and Mercy are next, their big eyes staring out from their thin faces. I try to go on, but I can't.

The names. The names I pulled.

I turn and stumble up the hill to Indigo's stone. Indigo Abernathy. That isn't the sign of a whimsical childhood love.

I touch her name again, and draw my hand back. She is under my feet. A real girl, who once lived, who loved Haymitch, who gave him the knotted string that sits in a locked jewelry box in my apartment. What would she say to me, to this woman who's touched Haymitch, who had to leave before things went any further than a touch just today?

I hear my own breath, ragged and uneven. I don't know what to do, what I'm supposed to say. I wish I'd listened in on Finnick. What do you say to moldering bones?

"Is there someone listening?" I ask. "I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do. What do you do?"

"I usually just talk," someone says.

I nearly jump out of my skin. "Mr. Mellark!"

"Sorry. Didn't mean to startle you. You're visiting Digger? Haymitch almost never does."

"I can see why. This is macabre! How do you… why do you…?"

"I just come to talk sometimes," he says. "My parents are over there." He points to a little wooden structure. "Haymitch helped me build the grave house. To keep the animals away. I… you want to meet them?"

I don't. I distinctly don't. But it seems rude to say so. I let him lead me over. There's no stone here inside the grave house, just a wooden plank, but it's been painted beautifully, with the images of a plain man and woman, standing side by side in the shade of a tree.

"They had a strange marriage," he says. "And I'm something of an expert on that now." He smiles ruefully. "They loved each other, though. And me. I sometimes just come out here and tell them about my boys. How the bakery's doing. That kind of thing."

"Do you believe they hear?"

"No idea. It just feels good to talk to them."

"I don't talk to my parents, and they live five minutes from me."

"Is that a Capitol thing?"

"It's just… the way it is."

He shakes his head. "Why did you want to see Digger?"

"I didn't come for that. I wanted to see the tributes. I don't know what I meant to say to them, either. I just couldn't look any more."

"Hurts to remember their names?"

I straighten up, some of my fear and confusion wiped away by anger. "I've never forgotten a single one of their names."

He looks at me, then nods. "I believe you. Haymitch says you're decent. A good person. Actually, if I let him talk long enough when he's drunk, you're more or less an angel who deigns to help him out, even though he doesn't deserve you."

"Yeah, right."

"Is there something going on that he hasn't told me about?"

"No." I sigh. "He needs a friend. It didn't do him any good when you stopped being his friend."

"When I… what?" He grinds his teeth. "I'm Haymitch's friend. I'm not his drinking buddy, but as long as we stay sober, we're… He said that?"

I nod.

He grumbles under his breath, then says, "Think he'd take the hint if I had Eli Cartwright make him a new pair of hiking boots, so he can make it all the way here from the wilds of Victors' Village?"

"Probably not," I admit.

"I'll see what I can do. He's a stubborn cuss."

We don't say anything more. I let my eyes wander back to Indigo's stone. "What would I say to her? I mean, what would she be interested in?"

"She'd probably sympathize about Haymitch. And she'd like to know about the weather. And what it's like in the Capitol. She always wondered about things outside District Twelve." He lays down a small drawing on his parents' grave, then nods further up the hill. "Come on. Let me introduce you to the rest."

He leads me to another grave house under the spreading branches of an elm tree. Inside is a marble monument to Basil, Rhona, and Lacklen Abernathy. The grave house itself is built solidly, with a heavy roof that seems to keep all of the elements off the graves. Words have been carved into the rail carefully. Beloved. Care. Dear. To my surprise, quell and tribute are there. Words snake around the outside senselessly in a strange free association. I touch the word "quell."

"He loves words," Dannel says. "He and his daddy used to read an old dictionary. Digger would sometimes get him to read out meanings for fun, too. In case you didn't think he was crazy enough."

I run my hands over the words. Legend. Clever. Good. Beauty. "He loved them."

"Of course he loved them. They were his family." He looks at me. "You've never even seen a cemetery, have you?"

"We cremate our dead and set them free into the wind."

"And forget about them."

"We… we don't dwell. No one makes us look."

"Does anything in the Capitol last?"

"There's no such thing as permanent," I say. It's a sentiment we learned early in Capitol dreams: Change is the state of the universe. Don't get attached. "Only the Capitol is forever."

The silent graves seem to laugh at this.

"Sounds stressful," Dannel says. "And kind of terrifying." He waits a minute, then adds, "If you want to visit your tributes, I'll stay with you."

I nod. We go back to the monument. I still don't know what to say.

I toss and turn for a long time that night, and oversleep so badly that I've barely had time to put my makeup on before I have to run to the train. I am alone in the car all the way home, and I leave the television on to keep me company. Miss Meadowbrook's new show is on, running a marathon when the Victory Tour coverage is off. She plays a foster mother whose kids come and go (each week, she has a different group, with a new set of problems). She sends them out into the world. I doubt I could hold onto their names for more than a few episodes at a time.

I'm still feeling out of sorts when I get back to the Capitol and settle into my apartment. I think about the grave houses, and the words running in their odd chain. I try to remember anything I did with either of my parents, other than the usual learning to walk and talk, and getting in trouble over school from time to time.

Finally, I pick up the phone. I have to look up my mother's number, but it's not hard to find. She's surprised to hear from me. I find that I have no more idea of what I mean to say to her than I did of what to say to the tributes. I wish her well, and she wishes me well. It's a pleasant enough conversation.

I call my father next. He tells me that I'm too old to be calling him "Daddy," and reminds me that, since we're both adults, I should call him Phronos, like the rest of his friends do. His second marriage contract expired several years ago, and his son is now studying music at the university. He plays strings. "He was good when he lived here," Daddy says. "I should see him in the orchestra someday."

"Maybe I should, too. He is my half-brother."

"Well, yes, I suppose so." He sighs. "I'm thinking of taking another marriage. I do enjoy being a father. I always miss it when I finish."

"You should do it," I encourage him. "I'm sure a new one will enjoy you."

He thanks me.

We hang up.

I sit alone in my apartment, thinking about snow, and a light bobbing in the darkness, and bones beneath the dirt.

I don't know why I called them, anyway.
16 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 20th, 2014 07:32 am (UTC) (Link)

"Spurius Gimcrack," REALLY?

And I thought "Luna Lovegood" was a funny name!

Are the Gimcracks and the Trinkets related?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 21st, 2014 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: "Spurius Gimcrack," REALLY?

I steal the Latin names from Wikipedia's list of Roman emperors. When I decided to finally use Spurius, I decided he needed a REALLY ridiculous surname. :D
beceh From: beceh Date: June 20th, 2014 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I do enjoy being a father. I always miss it when I finish."


That really kind of captures it doesn't it...
redrikki From: redrikki Date: June 20th, 2014 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
That struck me too. After the scene at the cemetery it was kind of distressing. He probably sees his kids as a sort of toy that he gets to put down and forget about once they're out from under his roof. The fostered lack of social cohesion in the capitol is scary, but not out of the realm of some of the things we have right now.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 21st, 2014 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
The thing is, I think he does love his children, the way people love one job or another. He just doesn't understand that this is not a job that he finishes and moves on from. He probably thinks of it more as having made an invention and letting it out into the world, once it's past the tinkering point.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 21st, 2014 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup. The Capitol is definitely freaksome.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 20th, 2014 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

That Was...

Completely devastating and depressing, especially considering that everything that needed to happen with the Victory Tour was a total success. I think you hinted that Effie was going to get a "booster" of Capitol Dreams conditioning, and she's clearly ripe for it. It almost makes you feel worse for the people of the Capitol, even though they don't have to put up with over-work, starvation, and annual ritual murder.

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 21st, 2014 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: That Was...

At least in the districts, they know who they are. Having something as solid as an identity separate from what the Capitol wants is subversive.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 20th, 2014 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, that was a depressing read. From Effie mildly spiralling, and to Finnick admitting he looked up to Chickory :((((( Capitol Dreams is going to catch up with her real soon, aren't they?

The only thing that's making it better is knowing that Effie gets to have a family after everything, and even a daughter to actually bond with. I'm still not over the fact that it was her who decided to call her Indigo. It's a far cry from believing that you shouldn't be attached to anything.

Thst said, whatever happened to Haymitch's token, post-MJ?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 21st, 2014 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
CD is going to start messing with her fairly soon.

I think she'll be glad to have a child to raise district-style, instead of Capitol style.

Luckily, the people who ransacked Effie's apartment had no idea that she was holding something so important to Haymitch, and, while the jewelry box it was in got dented, they didn't pay any attention to it. It's not like they really believed she was a rebel.
nevrafire From: nevrafire Date: June 20th, 2014 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Effie's dad doesn't acknowledge her as his daughter? That's So sad.

and just when I think the Capitol couldn't get worse in terms of ruining people's lives they take away that sense of family and belonging.

this made me sad.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 21st, 2014 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, he acknowledges the existence of a biological relationship. He just has no concept of an ongoing emotional relationship, once his children are out in the world.

There are probably some exceptions to the rule -- I can't see every parent in the Capitol going along with this -- but it would certainly be the standard that people are fed by the media.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: June 21st, 2014 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)

A Few Catches

I'll be back with a proper comment soon; I'm sorry to have to keep leaving comments that're just catches; rl's been crazy these last few days.

shots the catch Think the the should be they.

that they'll be expected to do this every year Something about the construction of this seems off; it seems more like it should be something like: nowhere at all, and expect them to do this every year?

other stone strewn Think stone should be stones.

leave in late afternoon Think you're missing a the before afternoon?

in the cascading curls I built up for her forever fixed Think maybe the in shouldn't be there, or there were maybe some words lost in editing?

To the keep the Don't think you need the first the.

the live five Think the the should be they.

I'm a sure Don't think you need the a there.

thank his stylist I can't figure out if the thank here should bethanks, but thought I'd point out just in case.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 21st, 2014 05:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: A Few Catches

RL stopping you from comment on fanfic?! How dare it! :D

Thanks; I'll get those.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: June 22nd, 2014 01:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I feel really bad for Effie here -- she's so incredibly unequipped to handle what's being thrown at her, and as much as the district people try to explain, they just can't make it seem natural. For her it's probably like us walking into one of those churches decorated with human skeletons; she can't see it the way the originators did, she hasn't been taught how.

The really tragic part about her relationship with her parents -- father, especially -- is that they probably think they're doing this for her own good. Her mother and father have probably been inundated since Day One about how important it is not to smother your children and to let them develop their personalities on their own and grow up to be the wonderful independent Capitolite they were meant to be -- so unlike those awful districts where parents smother and influence their children and don't let them develop their own independent lives. I wonder if her parents wouldn't rather like to know more about her but think they would be impinging on her freedom and happiness by doing so. So her mother drifts off into whatever and her father keeps trying again with a new child, whom it's socially acceptable to spend time looking after.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 22nd, 2014 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
That's a good comparison -- moving to the Southwest from the Northeast, I was distinctly unprepared for the skeleton art.

Effie's mom may or may not be into the mom thing, but her dad really does love being a dad. He's just swallowed hook line and sinker that it's a job that lasts through adolescence, and not a lifelong relationship. He's probably almost as lonely as she is.
16 comments or Leave a comment