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These Are The Names, Chapter 18 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
These Are The Names, Chapter 18
Effie is "cured" of her depression by extremely questionable pills, and Haymitch is less than thrilled. He does, however, want her back, so he takes her out to lunch, where they see Finnick Odair overturn a table and threaten a potential sponsor with a knife.

Chapter Eighteen
Finnick is called in for a conversation with the Peacekeepers, and he comes back sullen and defiant, muttering under his breath about how he'll defend himself against anyone he needs to defend himself against. He stays inside the Games compound, meeting with sponsors in glass-walled conference rooms (twice, he storms out on women who are dressed entirely inappropriately for a business meeting), sticking close to the older victors.

He takes a particular shine to Haymitch, who he claims was always his "favorite" victor, aside from Mags. He actually develops a rather sweet habit of following Haymitch around and asking him questions at every opportunity. Chaff seems surprised that Haymitch isn't annoyed by all of this. Quite to the contrary, Haymitch is deeply pleased, and spends most of the time that he's not coaching Rabbie and Dandelion carefully coaching Finnick through the business end of mentoring. I'm not sure why Chaff is surprised. Haymitch thrives on being needed, and here, at last, is someone who definitely isn't going to be going home in the cold car on the train.

"Finnick's close to his dad," Mags explains to me over drinks, while we watch the two of them cracking up laughing over something at the District Four table. Given Finnick's hand gestures, it's something a little off-color. "And Haymitch isn't entirely unlike Doolin. I think Finnick sees that." She rolls her eyes. "Also, Carolyn is a big fan of Haymitch's. She's always asking how he is. I think there's some hero worship going on there."

"Finnick isn't going to be disappointed if he finds out about the drinking?"

Mags laughs. "No, honey. There's nobody in Panem who doesn't know Haymitch drinks too much. I may have my work cut out for me keeping Finnick's nose out of the bottle, if Haymitch makes it look like a good idea."

"I hadn't thought of that. I don't think Haymitch would like people copying that."

"I've already had that conversation with Finnick. Unfortunately, Haymitch thinks it's a perfectly reasonable way to handle the Games."

"Handle them?"

"You know -- you start to feel too much, so you numb it."

"Maybe he needs real medicine. Taking a depressant for depression seems a little counter-intuitive."

Mags looks at me very strangely, but doesn't pursue the idea. I guess they don't have much access in the districts, anyway.

We try very hard to get the children to go into an alliance with District Four. Finnick's popularity is still high, despite his occasional fights with sponsors, and they have a lot of money. Finnick and Mags both want to work with Haymitch, and both rather detest Brutus, who leads the inner district alliance. Unfortunately, Fee and Rowlin want to team with "winners," and Dandy doesn't want any alliances at all. Rabbie is open to the idea of an alliance, but after Fee berates him in training, he is distinctly uninterested in District Four. I try to cobble together an alliance for him with District Six, but the paperwork keeps getting lost. I finally manage to make friends with the District Five escort, Henedina Messersmith, and I'm able to work with Tanager Lowe to get her tribute, Hopper Lamb, to team up with Rabbie.

It's a weak alliance, but they manage to get away from the Cornucopia, which is a step further than Dandy gets on her own.

The arena biome this year is a forest of giant, unclimbable trees. The Cornucopia is set into a stylized version of one, with arches cut into the bottom, so it can be approached from four directions. The tree itself stretches out of the camera's range. Over at the District Seven table, I see Blight and Jack looking quite relieved, as both of District Seven's tributes make it out safely, each with a small backpack.

The District Six tributes manage to find one another, but as they run madly from the Cornucopia, they're attacked by a wolf. It seems very early to bring out mutts, but neither of the mentors from Six seems surprised. Then again, they're clearly quite done up on morphling, as usual.

Altogether, nine are lost at or around the Cornucopia.

Rabbie and Hopper are still running through the woods when Haymitch gets back. We work with Tanager to try and decide what they'll need. District Five is mostly urban (though surrounded by forest outside the fence), and she doesn't have any particular ideas. We're still working on it when Hopper hears a fast running stream and they go toward it eagerly. The inner district kids are lying in wait.

The field is down by half the first day.

I have no reason to stay at Games Headquarters. I usually do, to help Haymitch where he needs it, but he's called away to a meeting almost as soon as he's off the phone with Rabbie's parents. Several of the mentors are being pulled away again this year. Mags says it probably has to do with the late trains in District Six. I have no idea why anyone would think Haymitch would know about that.

Out on the street, the tone is much more normal than it was last year. There are still some Fannicks out there, pulling for Rowlin (seeing it as something of a second win for Finnick), but there's a much more mixed group at the parties. Of course, any fans that Twelve had are gone already, switched out to districts with a chance left, but a few people recognize me and ask for an autograph. Some ask when Haymitch will get some good tributes -- they like him and they like Twelve, but we never seem to stand a chance, do we?

And what kind of name is "Dandelion," anyway? This is a common comment, and a cause of great mirth. Her body isn't even back from the arena yet, and people are already joking that next year, they'll send Ragweed and Nettle.

I excuse myself. For the first time in months, I'm starting to feel weepy. I go home and take my pills -- my job is over for the year -- and they bring me back up. Next year. It'll be better next year.

I spend the next few days going to Games parties, trying to woo sponsors away from other long shot districts. Henedina and I get into a friendly competition over a District Five sponsor, which she ends up winning, though his friend, who hasn't sponsored before, decides to come on board for Twelve next year. They place an early wager, and joke about whether the power district would last longer without coal, or the coal district would last longer without a customer to sell to.

After the quick kills at the bloodbath, the Games begin to drag. It's a large arena, and the tributes are far apart after the first two days. They win battles with mutts, and hardly ever battle each other. That means there's a need for a lot of filler. Unsurprisingly, they do a special on Finnick, portraying him as something of a spoiled brat. This doesn't bother the Fannicks, who are sure he's being misrepresented anyway, and it doesn’t surprise anyone else. The general sentiment among the older population seems to be that Finnick let his fame go to his head, and is acting out to get back some attention.

"What do you expect?" an old man on the street says. "He's too young for that kind of admiration. And all of them really are a bit spoiled, don't you think?"

This duly leads to the extravagances of victor lifestyles. Brutus has installed a hot water pool in his back yard. Beetee and Wiress have broken down the fence between their yards and built a special, custom light fountain, which pours sparks down like permanent fireworks. They also have a state of the art laboratory, and Wiress has a collection of robots to handle clean-up tasks. (They don't mention that she's designed and built all of them in the lab. I only know it from spending time with Beetee.) Enobaria has had several plastic surgeries, including a vanity job on her teeth, as a reminder of her final kill. Haymitch's wardrobe budget is bigger than most people's salaries. It goes on. I imagine Haymitch back at the Viewing Center, complaining that they don't let him spend his money on anything that matters.

Haymitch gets word on the sixth night that they want to bring him to Claudius's set the next morning to analyze the arena from a mentor's perspective for the people at home, and he calls me back in to help him get ready. I can tell on the phone that he's drunk, and by the time I get there, he's even worse. I give him some pills to help wake him up a little bit while I wash him up.

"You know they're filling time, Haymitch," I say. "You know they could put you on television any time they wanted to. Why were you drinking?"

"Duties discharged," he mumbles. "Why do they want me to analyze something?"

"I think it's a good idea," I tell him. "No one understands the arena better than you do. The people back in Twelve should see what you can do."

"They know what I do. I drink, and I get their kids killed. Then I drink some more."

"I hate it when you talk like that," I say.

"What else, exactly, do I do, Effie?"

"Maybe you should ask Finnick Odair."

"He's a good kid."

"Yes, he is. And he wants to be like you. So ask him what you do."

He lets me finish. As drunk as he is, I expect one of his affectionate advances, but he doesn't make one. He doesn't even joke about it.

I sleep in the escort's room, and set my alarm early enough to make sure I can get Haymitch to the studio on time. He's grumpy in the morning. I offer him something to pick him up before the cameras go on. He tells me that he'll keep to his own vices, and leave me to mine.

For all of his unpleasantness in person, he comes off fairly well on camera. I wait in the wings and watch the production monitors. I doubt anyone outside of the Viewing Center has ever seen him take an arena apart. He talks about each of the alliances, and what strengths they have. He points out resources that are lying around waiting to be picked up, and says that none of the tributes are completely out of the running..

"If you were in the arena," Claudius asks, "how would you handle the distance between yourself and the other tributes."

He laughs. "Come on, Claudius -- you remember my Games. Keeping some distance between me and the other tributes was more or less my whole strategy."

"How would you recommend the Gamemakers bring the tributes back together?"

Haymitch's eyes flash dangerously. "Beg your pardon?"

"If you were a Gamemaker, what would you do to move the Games along?"

I look at Haymitch there in the studio chair. He's smiling just as he was before, and his posture hasn't changed. But he understands what he's just been asked, and I can tell that he's furious. I can't put my finger on anything about him that's telling me this, but it's obvious. The Gamemakers are asking for his ideas on how to kill tributes faster.

I try to calculate how to do the damage control if Haymitch strangles Claudius Templesmith on live television.

I move my head and peek out around the stage curtain, staying out of the way of the cameras, and catch Haymitch's eye.

He nods, then, out of nowhere, pulls out the country-boy persona that he uses to charm older ladies with money. "Well, I'm no Gamemaker. I reckon those nice folks upstairs have all their ideas raring to go. Lots of smart people up there. They don't need a half-broke hick to tell 'em the lay of the land, and you wouldn't want to spoil it for the audience. I bet they've got plenty of ideas of their own."

"Well, surely, something must have occurred to you. You've apparently thought of strategies for nearly the entire field."

"I think like a tribute, Claudius. You know that."

Claudius tries to press a little bit more, but Haymitch won't give on this. Finally, they release him.

"What do they think they're doing?" he fumes as we walk back across to the Viewing Center. "What gives them the right to ask me that?" He frowns. "And why are half the cameras in the Capitol going inside the Viewing Center? They're not supposed to film there."

"That's a custom, not a rule," I say automatically, but I'm not sure, either. I look up at one of the giant broadcast screens. The last few minutes of Haymitch's interview must not have made the broadcast, because they're live in the arena, where Rowlin Mucky, on a routine patrol around the land claimed by the inner districts, has run across the girl from Seven, Anneliese Baker. Anneliese is a long shot, but here, she's brutal. Rowlin is fighting for his life.

Finnick's tribute.

We quicken our pace and get inside just as Anneliese lets out a wild war whoop and buries a handmade wooden spear in Rowlin's neck.. We have to fight through the press. Bright lights are flashing among the mentors.

"Finnick!" people are yelling. "Finnick, how are you feeling now? Did you think your tribute had a chance?"

Finnick backs away from the table and heads for the booths, but he's intercepted by reporters streaming in past the barricade.

Haymitch leans over and whispers, "Get Caesar on this," then he starts moving. He doesn't pause. He winds his way through the crowd and grabs Finnick by the arm, leading him toward the mentors' lounge, where the cameras really are forbidden. He can't get all the way inside -- the main door is blocked -- so he opens the door to a janitors' closet and hides Finnick behind the door. Mags goes to make the phone call to Rowlin's parents.

"You want to talk about what it feels like to lose a tribute," Haymitch says, "then talk to someone who's been through it a few times. Someone who's not fifteen years old."

Before I can watch any more of it, I fight my way to the District Twelve table and pick up the phone. Caesar's secretary says he's catching his daily nap -- "He sometimes gets three hours a day during the Games" -- but I tell her to turn on the live feed. Less than a minute later, Caesar is on the phone. Five minutes after that, Games security backs the reporters off, and tells them that the custom is now a rule. They are not permitted in the building.

I go to Haymitch, who opens the closet door slowly. Finnick is sitting on the floor, red-eyed, his hands buried in his hair. He looks terrified. Mags shoos everyone else back to their tables.

Haymitch reaches down, probably just meaning to help him up, but Finnick has finally reached the end of his tether. He puts his arms around Haymitch and starts to weep. Haymitch lets him hang on, and I hear him say, "It's okay, Finnick. You're okay. We've all been there. You're with friends."

Finnick spends the rest of the day with Haymitch and me, since Mags is still mentoring Fee. He gains his composure back more quickly than I would have thought, and apologizes for "going off the rails."

"I just couldn't take it again," he says. "They've been on me all year. I'm tired of people grabbing at me."

"I know," Haymitch says. "I only had a little of it, and I was ready to snap. I'm surprised it took this long."

"And the sponsors… you know some of them actually threatened me?"


"Yeah -- do you know Adamaris Brinn?"

Haymitch's jaw goes tight. "I'm familiar with her."

"She said she wasn't trading any sponsorships. She knows the rules. But then she said she could make my life difficult if I wasn't…nice to her. Then the president called and told me to be nice to her."

"The president?" I repeat.

Finnick nods. "He said she's his personal friend, and I hurt her feelings when I told her to go away. I told him what she wanted. She said she wanted to be my" -- he wrinkles his nose -- "first."

"What did the president say?" I ask.

"He laughed and said she's an old woman with fantasies, and it wouldn't have killed me to flirt with her a little. He told me to apologize to her for being rude."

"Did you?"

"No. She's the one who was rude. I mean, she just stuck her hand in my lap. She's lucky I don't hit women, except in the arena."

"And Snow? How did he take it?" Haymitch says, narrowing his eyes.

"He said I'd learn to be sorry."

Haymitch sits back, looking stunned. It isn't actually easy to stun Haymitch. "Do you have a girl back home?" he asks.

Finnick looks up. "Why?"

"Well, you could take away the temptation to be first pretty easily."

He laughs. "Yeah, right." He shakes his head. "I was totally serious in my interview last year. My parents won't let me date until I'm sixteen."

"What a strange rule!" I say.

"It's pretty normal in Four," Finnick says. "I mean, hardly anyone obeys it, but everyone's parents make an effort."

"Be careful of Maris Brinn," Haymitch says. "I mean it. She's no one to mess around with. Seeder kept me away from her my first year."

Finnick shrugs. "I can take care of myself. Really."

Haymitch obviously has deep misgivings, but he lets the conversation move on.

The Games continue to move at a snail's pace. By the end of the second week, we're still only down to seven, and people are getting restless. Five of the remaining tributes are in the Inner district alliance, and they seem to be having a comfortable camp-out, with food sent mostly from Finnick's sponsors. Every now and then, they'll play fight with the stated purpose of entertaining the audience, but they're fairly clear that they're waiting until it's just them for melee. The other two -- Anneliese from Seven, and the boy from Ten -- are wandering aimlessly around.

Finally, the Gamemakers intervene directly and start a fire, pushing everyone in toward the Cornucopia. It takes the boy from Ten directly, and Fee goes down trying to push Philo out of the way of a falling branch. Their supplies are burned to nothing.

And somehow, they miscount. The four remaining inner district kids have no idea that Anneliese is still out there, and the boy from One taunts Philo into starting melee, ridiculing Fee for trying to save him.

Philo has been competent so far, but now he's deadly. He cuts down the others in only ten minutes, then casts his spear into the encroaching fire.

He stares at the sky and waits. This shot cuts away to Anneliese, also waiting.

They both head for the Cornucopia, away from the fire, each thinking it's just a matter of moments.

Instead, it's two more days. Weaponless and alone, Philo runs from Anneliese, into the smoldering woods. He shouts at the sky that he needs a blowgun, but Brutus doesn't send one. Instead, he uses the last of the alliance money to send a knife. Philo looks less than thrilled, and I can't blame him -- Anneliese has chipped out a strong stone blade for her wooden spear, and she's looking to be District Seven's first female winner. She's also lost all touch with reality.

They come to blows during a gaudy, smoke-enhanced sunset, the golden beams of light flickering around them like knives. Anneliese strikes out at Philo's face, tearing at it viciously, but he keeps his head. He stabs her, and the last cannon goes off.

He won't let them remove his scars during recovery.

I say goodbye to Haymitch at the cold car. For some reason, he grabs hold of me and holds me tightly against him. "Don't go away," he whispers. "Please, Effie."

I kiss his cheek, and promise that I'm not going anywhere. There's nowhere to go, even if I wanted to. He looks away miserably, then sits down between his tributes, and heads for home.

People are anxious to move on from the Games this year. They were long and dull, and there are a lot of complaints about another forest arena. People want something new. The Gamemakers promise some exciting new arenas in the upcoming years. A few sponsors tearfully complain about how rude Finnick has been. No one cares.

I find myself thinking about Haymitch's last words to me quite a lot. The doctor raises my dose of Pherolen, and the thoughts pass away. I dance over my days.

After a month, everyone has moved on to other concerns, and when the Games music blares over the news, it seems like something from a bygone world.

It even takes a minute to recognize Finnick Odair.

That's only partly because of distance from the Games, though. Finnick's usually calm, lovely face is contorted in grief and rage, and he is screaming on the beach while Mags holds him back from the sea.

Doolin Odair's boat is on fire in the gulf, and as the newscaster mournfully tells the story, it goes down to the bottom of the sea, all hands lost.

Two days after that, Carolyn Odair is arrested for sabotage of the boat, and suspicion in the murder of Ausonius Glass. They don't show much of her. I catch a glimpse of red hair, and hear her screaming that she's innocent, that Finnick must believe that, but that's all there is.

After that, the news goes quiet again.

When Finnick returns for the Sixty-Seventh Games (the year I call Tholom Magree and Gabby Casterbridge, both lost at the Cornucopia, though Haymitch and I stay around to help Chaff), he keeps his distance from everyone. He's weirdly cheerful, though, and says there have been a lot of nice people in the Capitol helping him through his troubled year. At the parade, he sits with a beautiful young actress who he claims he's talked to on the phone for hours. He's taken to dinner by an old sponsor. He goes to parties with a plain woman who seems genuinely delighted just to have his company. And two days into the Games, he leaves the Viewing Center for lunch with Adamaris Brinn.

He spends the evening going back and forth between the District Four table and the showers downstairs in the spa. Someone sees him talking to Martius Snow, the head Gamemaker. Martius walks away from the conversation, looking furious.

Finnick's hands start to seem raw from the scrubbing. Haymitch asks him what's wrong. He says it's nothing. He gets another call late in the evening, and sets the receiver down slowly. He goes to Jack Anderson. The two of them talk for a long time, then Finnick goes off alone. He shows up on late night coverage, dancing at a party and extolling the virtues of his host, who's been very helpful to him since he first arrived in the Capitol.

It's the old man he was holding a knife over last year. I run back to the Training Center from my apartment and find Haymitch drunk out of his skull and raving. There's too much that can be picked up here, so I take him back to my apartment to cool down. He looks strange here., among my things.

"Idiot kid!" he fumes. "I told him to be careful!"


"I told him to be careful," he says again. "You can take care of yourself. No one's a victor if you can't take care of yourself. It's everyone else. Aw, Effie, what did they do? Who are these people?"

I don't have an answer. I crawl up onto the sofa beside him and put my arms around him and tell him that it's not his fault.

He clings to me until he falls asleep, and I stay beside him for a while after that, caressing him until he finally quiets down. I find a blanket and wrap him in it, then kiss him softly and go to bed.

In the morning, he doesn't remember how he got here.

"Did we…?" he starts when he comes into the kitchen.

"I don't take advantage of you when you're drunk."

"Oh." He smiles faintly. "How about hung over?"

I laugh and roll my eyes at him. "Take a shower."

A few minutes later, I hear the water go on. I briefly consider joining him, but I decide he probably didn't mean the near-invitation he gave me. Hangovers aren't generally conducive to being affectionate.

I take my pills. By the time Haymitch is out of the shower, they've kicked in. I go into my bedroom to help him get ready.

He takes my hands and holds me at arm's length, then says, frustrated, "Pherolen."

"What about it?"

"I looked it up, Effie. Just like you said. Common, supposedly not addictive. And not a 'mood adjustor.' People used to take it for parties. Some people still do."

"It makes me feel better."

"It makes you feel nothing."

"I feel you."

He frowns and lets go of me. "I'm not going to take advantage of you while you're high." He starts pulling on his clothes from yesterday. "Effie, you have to stop taking it. This isn't you. I miss you."

"Why don't you want me to feel better?"

"Because some things are worth feeling bad about, if you can feel."

"You're one to talk. You drink yourself numb every year."

"And you hate that. So why are you doing it to yourself?"

I leave the room and tell him to let himself out.

The Games go on for three weeks this time, with the kills more evenly spread than last year. Finnick continues to be seen all over the Capitol, even more after he loses his tribute. The victor is an eighteen year old blond boy from District One. His name is Gloss.

Haymitch and I manage to patch things up after our argument, and I promise to cut back if I can. I don't really make an effort.

I look at the shows lampooning Finnick's Capitol romances and I think about him scrubbing himself raw after "lunch" with Adamaris Brinn. I look at the footage of the new victor, Gloss, who is trying to shield a beautiful younger sister from the cameras. I think about Jack and the women he squires around, and his "personal assistant" at home.

I plan to go to Caesar. Caesar has to be able to do something.

But my plans are cut short by vicious news. Martius Snow, who is married to Caesar's secretary, Peri, disappears with her on a routine visit to District Six. The train they are on is found derailed and burned, but no one can identify anyone's body. Martius has a newborn daughter. President Snow takes her in.

The Capitol is gripped by rumors of rebellion, and Caesar Flickerman is in mourning. He was very close to Peri, and he seems unable to function without her. He even challenges the president for custody of the baby, though the fight is a foregone conclusion.

Mimi becomes convinced that the districts are going to take over and send Capitol children into the arena. She is hysterical about this. All of us take turns looking after her, but it does no good. She is awake at all hours, and one night, she takes too many pills. She's found in her back yard, next to a fountain statue of a small boy laughing. On it, nearly run off with the fountain's water by the time anyone gets there, is the word "Reaped." I am there at the celebration of her life, but I can't seem to feel anything but her absence.

I find a new doctor, a Games trauma specialist who helps me get off Pherolen. I start feeling terrible again within hours, but I feel like I should. Mimi leaves me her house, but I can't begin to afford the inheritance taxes on it. Haymitch calls me frantically from Merle Undersee's, trying to find a way to help -- he doesn't want to lose Mimi's house -- but he's not permitted. In the end, I have to sell it back to the government. Haymitch asks me to keep the statue she wrote on, and I send it to him in District Twelve. I don't know what he does with it there. I never see it again.

I don't know when he starts drinking in earnest after that, but when I get there for the Sixty-Eighth reaping (Moss Bullard and Della Farragut), he hasn't even made an effort to sober up. I do the best I can with him, and even point out that I've done as he wanted, but in the end, the most we can hope for is that the cameras stay off of him. This is the drunkest I've seen him, and it actually frightens me. There's a new detox pill out, which is supposed to actually absorb the poison in the alcohol, and I decide to make sure I have some next year. This year, the best I can do is send him into the shower on the train until he's alert enough to help Moss and Della.

Gloss's sister, Cashmere, is reaped from District One that year. People love this, and are almost as wild for her as they were for Finnick. Finnick is called in for interviews on the subject, which he seems to treat as welcome breaks from his social schedule. The arena is a delicate fairyland theme this year, and Cashmere seems to follow its logic better than anyone else (Gloss, trying not to seem frantic, says that she always loved fairy books). She wins in a little over three weeks. Della and Moss don't make it past the Cornucopia.

Things even out a little bit over the next year. My new doctor prescribes something that actually seems to keep me level without making the world go away, and Haymitch takes another stab at sobriety in the spring. He's dry and irritable when I get there for the Sixty-Ninth reaping, but at least he's not dead at the feet of a stone fountain. I call a skinny, ill-kempt Seam girl with broken shoes. Her name is Butterfly Skaggs, and Haymitch tells me that her family is nearly as poor as his was, and less educated. The boy, a quiet, strong-looking sixteen-year-old, has a name that could have come out of a bad romance novel: River Boldwood. I can tell already that if he makes it past the Cornucopia, he'll be a fan favorite.

From the other districts, I see that we have the usual sort of mix. District One has two statuesque volunteers, trying their best to be another version of Gloss and Cashmere. District Two gives us warriors, and District Three has a pair of thirteen year old intellectuals. District Four again has both tributes older than Finnick, but for some reason, they won't let him off as a mentor, even though his social calendar seems pretty full again.

No one really stands out at the reapings, though the news pretends to be fascinated with several of the offerings.

The last one anyone would expect to go anywhere is the skinny, terrified fifteen year old orphan girl from District Seven, who stands there in the rain, water pouring from the ends of her pigtails, weeping and coughing out a bad case of influenza.

Her name is Johanna Mason.
26 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 26th, 2014 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Please tell me they didn't killed Finnick's Mom! please tell me they din't killed her and finnick's dad!


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2014 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well... they didn't kill his mother. They framed her for killing his father, and have her totally in their control.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 26th, 2014 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

How many chapters?

I figured that you were keeping to SC's nine-plus-nine-plus-nine structure, so that Chapter 18 would end with Effie drawing Primrose's name.

Obviously I was wrong (NOT that I'm complaining).

So how many chapters are you planning for the story now? Thirty? Thirty-six?

PLEASE don't trash-compact SC's entire trilogy into less than nine chapters.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2014 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: How many chapters?

Twenty-Seven. The whole thing will end with her calling Prim. Haymitch takes over after that. :D
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 26th, 2014 10:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: How many chapters?

That's where it STOPS? Please, no! I was eagerly anticipating the events of the SC trilogy, as told from Effie's point of view.

Sure we can't talk you into going to thirty-six? I don't think anyone will object.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2014 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: How many chapters?

The main ones have always been from Haymitch's POV -- I've already done CF and MJ, so it makes sense to finish up with HG from Haymitch.
beceh From: beceh Date: June 27th, 2014 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: How many chapters?

Ohh, looking forward to it! I like Effie, but I miss Haymitch's voice.
beceh From: beceh Date: June 27th, 2014 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Another great chapter, thanks!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2014 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked it!
redrikki From: redrikki Date: June 27th, 2014 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
The statue was Mimi's way of remembering the baby she aborted, right?

I liked the strange blend of how aware Effie is of the dark realities of what she'd doing and the evils in the world around her and the deliberate ways she ignores them. Take Finnick, for instance. She knows what's happening to him (and Jack and Gloss and Cashmere) she just blanks it out because there's nothing she can do about it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2014 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it was.

I think there comes a point where you just reach a level where you can't weep over every injustice, because you'll never dry your eyes. Living in the Capitol, it's hard enough getting to love two kids every year and sending them to die.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 27th, 2014 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really liked this! And your take on Cashmere/Gloss. I've always found them to be such potentially interesting characters.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2014 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
What a horrible thing to happen to their family. (The actor says their parents were demanding and harsh, but I wonder about that. District One was *not* the last to join the rebellion.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 1st, 2014 09:40 am (UTC) (Link)
From the books, I always assumed Cashmere and Gloss were volunteers (the Career tributes often being volunteers).
Or at least that the girl decided to volunteer the year after her brother won (or was strongly advised to volunteer by her peers/whoever is in charge of training the D1 Careers).
sonetka From: sonetka Date: June 27th, 2014 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always like when you give few moments to the District One tributes -- even the glimpses make them so much more than the boring evil killing machines that they're usually portrayed as.

I hated how Mimi ended up but looking back it doesn't seem like it could have been any other way -- you can only stun yourself into not thinking for so long before your brain starts to rebel. I thought the same thing when you mentioned the little statue; that she never really got over the "cosmetic procedure", when her child was reaped. (Does Haymitch ever catch on to any of this? Of course he never mentions it later, but I wonder if it may be a situation where the thought occurs to him and he just shoves it down, since he can never know for certain anyway and it's impossible to fix).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2014 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Aside from Snow and most of the Gamemakers, I tend to think everyone in the HG world is more or less a pawn. Well, except District 13, who are pawns of Coin. It sucks.

I don't know if it's feasible to have Haymitch figure it out, unless he literally pickles himself into rejecting what he has to at least suspect at that point. What's he going to do? At the time, he'd have probably gone along with the decision. But that's a whole different ball of wax than finding out about it later, emotionally.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 27th, 2014 09:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Just When...

You thought it couldn't get more devastating...

Am I correct that some bright rebel in District 6 had the rather clever idea of stopping the Games by keeping people from getting *to* the Games (a la the idea of bombing the tracks to Auschwitz)? Good effort.

Given what happened with Digger, I thought at first that Haymitch was going to warn Finnick not to have a girlfriend while he was under threat from Snow.

So, was Carolyn/Gia in prison for 10 years, held hostage in order to force Finnick's compliance? Seeing Finnick broken like that was just beyond devastating. Was Jack able to help at all?

And poor Mimi. Gah. But I'm glad it got Effie onto something more like a real anti-depressant.

And now for Jo's games.

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2014 04:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Just When...

You are correct, Sara. Unfortunately, it's easy for Snow to take on the districts one at a time.

Gia's in prison until after the war, in the total control of Snow. Jack was able to help in some ways -- partly by being able to tell Finnick what he needs to do (boy's pretty innocent), and partly by just understanding what's happening, and telling him how to get through it, and that he won't lose friends and respect).
From: queen_bellatrix Date: June 28th, 2014 04:56 am (UTC) (Link)


Caught a continuity error with Martius: You already had him become Head Gamemaker in Chapter 9, right after Jack's games. If you were just reitterating that he was Head Gamemaker, I'm really sorry; but it looked here like a recent promotion? so I wanted to make sure you erased that bit before it got to AO3:).

every opportunnity Just the spelling error here.

wasn't….nice Just an extra period here; four dots instead of three.

and it would have killed I think the would here should've been wouldn't? And in the dialogue exchange just after, when someone asks if Finn appologized, and then someone asked how Snow took it, you might think about saying who asked which question, as I couldn't quite tell.:)

The come to Think the the should be they.

helping through his Think you're missing a him before through.

, And not a mood adjustor I can't quite tell here if he's saying that it's not an antidepressant the way she thinks, or if the not wasn't supposed to be there, so thought I'd mention just in case.

Gaaah, this chapter. I read it when it was first posted, but still haven't really been able to get my thoughts together. Doolin seemed like a fantastic man, and that...honestly, that's as bad as being crushed by your house for ways to die. And Mimi; as awful as her death was, I find myself oddly greatful that at least they can stop messing with her head now. Though I had the same appalling thought as someone above as to whether Haymitch ever realized the significance of the statue; until that's confirmed/denied, I'm hoping he just wanted it as a keepsake because it was the last thing she touched.

And Finn; please tell me that horrible old man was one of the ones he got to expose in his propo? I know he got to expose Brinn, but I can't put together who that appalling individual is to know for sure; he reminds me of the creep making reference to Finn and Alexander's horse, but he had so many clients, that could've been some other perverted person. Even in sidelong glances, you're making Finn's exploitation horrifyingly vivid.

And I can't even imagine what it must be to be Carolynn; everything she avoided fifteen years ago, come back, but about a thousand times worse, because having awful things done to you would be so much easier than being the leverage they used to break your kid. Interesting that they also arrested her for suspicion in Glass's murder, even though the official version of that was a sudden illness; are they counting on the infinitesmal length of Capitol news cycles to blur what the official story was in people's memory? And I'm interested from a PR perspective as to why such a brief glimpse of Carolynn (Since even Effie seemed to think such a brief glimpse was odd, I'm thinking there's more than just the authorial stuff we talked about before at play?) Was there stuff in the background they were afraid would be shown if they lingered on a shot too long? Or have they realized who she is, and become worried that people they already know have rebellious tendencies like Blight/Haymitch would use her as a rallying symbol if they recognized her?

This chapter illustrates wonderfully how useful these alternant pov shorts are; just as it was really helpful to get Danny's view of the friendship situation a couple chapters back, I love how you're fleshing out what we knew from GM. I was already suspicious about Haymitch's claim that Finn and Jo just sort of tollerate his presence, and Effie's insights, both about Finn and Haymitch, make me about tripply so.

And Effie just sort of...blocking things out, like Finn's prostitution; it makes me furious, but I get it; it's really the only way to survive there without becoming a rebel. Though I am very, very glad to see her on a better pill; I also really liked the fact that at least the trauma specialists acted like real doctors!

And the entire scene between Haymitch and Effie in her apartment; beautifully romantic, without ever crossing the line to dispute your previous cannon or descending in to oocness or melodrama; definitely one of your scenes I'll be rereading, along with that wrenching plea at the train for her not to go away. (Oh Effie, he means so much more than your transferr.)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2014 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback/Catches

Good continuity catch!

Whoops, sticky dot key!

I'm still trying to decide what Haymitch will figure out, and what he will almost have to consciously decide not to figure out.

On the old man? Yes. I don't know which one, but I like to imagine it was one of the long, sordid ones, with names named.

I think Snow is playing keep away with Gia for me, because he knows if Haymitch sees her, he'll become even more protective of Finnick than he already is. Blight knows, of course, but Blight has his own issues.

Finnick would be at a very impressionable age when he joins up with Haymitch's crew, and the fact that Haymitch chose him to forge the alliance with Katniss (even though doing something like working through Beetee might have made more sense) tells me that they're pretty close. That, and the fact that, of everyone in MJ, Haymitch is the only one who tells Finnick, "You don't have to do this" -- in other words, that, while his speech is valuable to the rebellion, his feelings and his sense of personal humiliation also matter.

The way Haymitch and Effie are acting, I'm going to have to do something drastic pretty soon to prevent, um, continuity errors.
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: June 28th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Did you see this?

It reminded of Teddy, Frankie and the rest playing "Muggles and Minions"
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2014 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh-heh. I'm sharing this one!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 29th, 2014 04:26 pm (UTC) (Link)


Fernwithy, I notice that you haven't posted anything (chapter, comment, or comment reply) in DAYS. I'm worried about you.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 29th, 2014 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: R U OK?

I'm fine -- just away. :-) '
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2014 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: R U OK?

That was me -- totally missed that I wasn't logged in. Thanks for the worry. I just didn't want to say on an open thread that I was going to be out of my house for five days. Now I'm back, so hey -- I was out of my house! :D
willowlistener From: willowlistener Date: July 2nd, 2014 11:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Is anyone else feeling like we're seeing Harry Potter being pimped out?? Its like the classic 'hero' story with a twist in the sequel where everything isn't fine afterwards...
And yay! Johanna!
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