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The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
These Are The Names, Chapter 22
Johanna's arena is supposed to be "natural" -- an area of the Black Forest closed off by a forcefield, but otherwise left alone. They've neglected the fact that in the last days of the catastrophes, there was a plague. It's still there, and when the District Four boy, Keefe, kills the desperately ill Butterfly Skaggs, her blood sprays up, and he breathes it in.

Chapter Twenty-Two
Keefe is ill within the day, complaining of aches and fever, starting to cough violently by night. Some of this can't be entirely hidden from the audience. Claudius writes it off as a "bug" that's going around.

Haymitch, Jack, Chaff, and Seeder are called upstairs. Haymitch tells me that the Gamemakers think Plutarch "jumped the gun" by implying that it's plague. They say it's more likely that someone caught Johanna's flu before it was treated, and it's just running its course at an unfortunate time.

"Is that what you think?"

"I don't know. The flu can be nasty. Killed Danny's parents." He rubs his head. "I never read much about medicine. I hardly know anything other than miners' cough, and it's not that."

"But -- "

"Effie, they had papers with charts on them. Pictures of blood cells from Butterfly and Aster. They said flu. It could be flu. It could be little green aliens out of Erastus's book, for all I know about germs and microbiology."

"But you're… well, smart…"

"Being smart doesn't mean I know anything in particular, if I never bothered to learn it." He smiles. "My daddy said that once, when I told him I was smart enough to run the mines. I should probably learn about this now. The Gamemakers are probably already figuring out how to make it a controllable weapon for next year."

"Do you want me to make a library run?"

He shakes his head. "Even if I read everything and got to be a doctor in the next three days, I can't see it doing River any good, and it's already not done any good for Butterfly. They're going to cremate her. I don't know what I'll tell her parents."

"She won't have a place in the cemetery?"

"Oh, they'll bury the urn, I guess. And I'll sit with it on the train."

"But what about what Plutarch said?"

"They say he has a romantic imagination." Haymitch shrugs. "Something about how he has the vapors about it being Europe. I don't know. Maybe. He doesn’t know any more about medicine than I do."

"But what do you think?"

"I think I don't like it when they're so forthcoming with information." He sighs. "But they might just have gotten caught with their pants down, if they missed the flu. I don't know."

Whatever the real situation, it's downplayed in the broadcast. In the Viewing Center, where we have access to all of the cameras, we can see that Keefe is indeed very sick. The inner district group exiles him on the second day -- or maybe "abandons" is a better word, since they leave him behind rather than sending him away -- but I can tell that Shimmer and Antony aren't feeling well, either. Keefe is a tough kid, and Finnick gets him food and water to keep him alive for a little while, but he succumbs on the eleventh day of the Games. His face is covered with blood, and he looks like he's been in mortal combat.

The audience is not enthusiastic about this. On the street, people complain loudly that the Games aren't fair if some of the tributes are sick at the start. Some demand that the tributes be isolated and purged, even if it means a pause in the Games, and the arena itself be sanitized.

On the other hand, with the inner district kids weak, bettors are starting to place their money with the new alliances. Johanna's district partner, Ralph Sawyer, has teamed up with Hyrum Fife from ten. The inner districts split into two alliances, with the relatively healthy Collie, Silver, and Jacoba splitting off from Shimmer and Antony, who begin to cough within a day of Keefe's death. Dottie and Mayfield, from Nine, have staked out territory a good distance from the river, and joined up with Raven Clemm. None of them have had run-ins with rats or sick tributes.

They're far apart now, and things get slow.

River and Johanna take shelter in an old stone building. The roof is open to the sky in a lot of places, there are trees and dried leaves and vines wound around things, and a tall spire has broken off and now lies in the forest, but the walls seem strong, and provide them with some shelter. There's speculation about what it might have once been, and nervous talk about how ancient stone buildings seem to outlast modern architecture. Architects are called in. Most imply that this is the point -- modern architecture recognizes that nothing lasts forever, except the Capitol. "Yes," a man named Legatus says, laughing. "People once thought they could make flawed ideas immortal by building them in stone. We know now that buildings are just fashion. The only thing that lasts forever is a true idea. Modern architecture recognizes that, in order for an idea to remain alive, its emblems need to adapt to changing perceptions. The ancients never grasped that. That's why, when they disappeared, they disappeared forever. All they had were monuments."

River, for his part, is delighted with the place. It's lucky that no one is in hearing distance, because he discovers that he can create echoes when he sings. He has a lovely, bass register voice, and he spends an hour one day trying to make the echoes harmonize. Johanna tells him to stop, but she keeps guard the whole time, and no one seems to be alerted by the noise. The audience adores it. I start to field calls from sponsors who want to hear him sing more. There are breathless voices who want to know if he's as strong as he looks, too. I suppose the broadcast isn't really showing how childlike he is.

The art that's going around certainly doesn't treat him as childlike. Most of it looks like romance novel covers. For the most part, he's pictured with Johanna, though the early fight with Raven has spurred a few with her. There's even one that shows him standing strong on a ridge while the two girls hide behind him, holding onto his arms. Finnick brings this one to us after he returns from a date. He hands it to Haymitch wordlessly, his lip curled in disgust.

"I'm not arguing with it right now," Jack says. "These are mostly harmless -- romantics, not…" He looks at Finnick. "These aren't the really friendly types."

"I don't know. I have a good collection of pictures like that from my year. I still get them from time to time. I probably got handed a hundred of the damned things on my Victory Tour."

"So did I," Jack says. "But they're not the kind I'm worrying about. Come on. You're not squiring around a legion of artists, and neither am I."

Finnick -- who has no real reason to be here since Keefe's death, and so, as usual, decides to hang around Haymitch -- flops down in an easy chair. "Money's coming in, huh?"

"By the bucket," Jack admits. "I don't even know what to buy her. Haymitch and I already sent them blankets and a big meal."

"Big meals wear off. They'll probably need another eventually."

"Not until they bury the trash from the first one," Haymitch says. "I'll send them bread if one of them decides to stop leaving a trail any six year old could follow."

"There's no one nearby," I tell him. "And the closest ones are still sick."

"They've had medicine. That could change. And they're staying in a huge landmark that just screams, 'Look in here.'"

Finnick shakes his head. "Get some dinner, Haymitch. Take Effie. I'll watch your station."

Haymitch looks ready to argue, but it's been a day or so since he last ate, and, though no one talks about it, almost two weeks since his last drink, which isn't good for his mood with or without medicine. I guess he realizes he's being grouchy to us. He nods and stands up. "You want to come, Effie?"

I go to dinner with him. I insist on someplace public, where he's not allowed to talk about the behind-the-scenes work of the Games. We talk about Erastus's book. I'm glad that he's as baffled by some of it as I am.

"Do you think we should go back to space?" I ask him while we wait for the valet to come back with my wrap. "Settle some strange planet with tidal locking and asteroids?"

He takes my wrap and puts it over my shoulder. "I think we're not even ready for the rest of Earth," he says.

We go outside and start walking back toward Games headquarters. It's a cool, misty night, and the moon is full and hazy. People are running around on the street, going to the various parties, but we don't take much notice of them. The smell of silver sagebrush is coming down from the mountainsides. If we were in a romance novel, this would be the kind of night that we'd end up at my place, after our years of dithering on the subject. Since we're not, we talk about colonies and new districts and the vast, empty world around us. The closest we come to moonlight and roses is Haymitch bringing up our population dearth and how unlikely it's starting to seem that either of us is going to do anything to solve the problem.

"Does it ever strike you as crazy?" he asks as we go through the gate into the compound.

"Does what?"

"All of it. The human race. I sometimes think we deserve to die out."

"I thought you always thought that."

"Yeah, well, don't tell anyone, but sometimes I'm tempted to let us live. Just out of spite."

"I'll keep it to myself." I lead the way back to the Viewing Center. I suppose I could go home, but I can't think of any good reason to. "Is that why you still don't have a family? Because you think humans deserve to die?"

"No. I don't have a family because I don't ever want to hear you calling them up at the damned reaping." He laughs humorlessly. "Of course, I'd probably manage to accidentally kill a kid drunk anyway."

"No, you wouldn't. You sober up when people need you."

"I sober up -- with a lot of chemical help -- for a few weeks every year. You don't know me the rest of the time."

"I've seen you drunk."

"Yeah. But you think that's the strange thing. Everyone else knows that's normal. This is the strange thing."

"I don't believe that."

"Like I said -- you don't know me most of the year."

"I do know you. You're more than you think you are, Haymitch."

We go back in. Nothing else happens that night, or the next day.

There are plenty of natural dangers in the arena, of course. There are wild pigs with sharp tusks, roaming wolves, and a kind of sharp-clawed animal with a long, striped white nose. One of these takes a swipe or two at River, but he brains it with a rock, and it becomes a large dinner. Most of the time, the tributes just run these animals off, though Raven and the kids from Nine have to run for shelter from the wolves one night. Mutt wolves would keep at it until they were scared off, but the real ones tire of the siege by morning, and go off to hunt easier prey.

It's not enough to fill the hours, so Caesar calls in every commentator he can find to talk about the Catastrophes, the history of the wars that swept back and forth across the huge land mass in Europe and Asia and Africa, the final seismic crack-ups that destroyed so much of the history after devastating weapons were detonated deep in the earth. He even brings in people to talk about ancient Europe, when a city called Rome grew to encompass the known world, something like a proto-Capitol. Caesar points out that his own name, and many of the names on the Capitol's approved name list, originated in Rome.

He doesn't discuss what might have become of it, just glossing forward a few centuries to the dominance of other nations, and ultimately, the westward shift of power, until the center of world authority came here, to the Capitol. (Haymitch rolls his eyes hugely at this.)

They openly send medicine to Shimmer and Antony, and both seem to rally, at least a little bit. They're weak, but they're able to eat the gifts people send them. The audience is satisfied that the Gamemakers are trying to make the odds a bit fairer.

We go six days without a death. People are wondering if it's some kind of Games record, and it might well be, though the Gamemakers don't comment.

Ralph and Hyrum spot Shimmer and Antony a week after Keefe's death. Ralph is keen to attack them, since they still seem weak. Hyrum insists on waiting, trying to figure out whether or not they're faking. On the evening of the second day, Shimmer answers the question. She relapses very suddenly, coughing harshly and gasping for breath. Antony runs from her before she dies, but he's wheezing by morning. Ralph charges at him just after dawn.

Whether it's old training kicking in or just instinct, Antony lurches at Ralph and buries a knife in his neck. Hyrum, who was only a few steps behind, steps back in fear.

Antony looks up. "Help me," he gasps. "Please. It hurts to breathe."

"I don't know…" Hyrum looks around. "They should send you medicine. Your sponsors. They should. I bet you have more than I do."

Antony grabs him. "Please. Help me."

He falls to his knees, then goes unconscious. Hyrum watches him warily for an hour, but he never wakes up. The cannon goes off at sunset.

The next morning, Hyrum begins to cough. In the inner district alliance, Silver has started to develop the same swellings that Butterfly and Aster had. Jacoba and Collie turn him out, and he runs into Hyrum along the river bank. Neither seems well enough to fight. They limp off together.

Coverage goes to Dottie, Mayfield, and Raven for a little while. They are the clear favorites to win now. Jacoba and Collie aren't sick yet, but with the illness seeming to follow the inner district kids around, people have discounted them. Hyrum and Silver are almost certainly dying. River and Johanna are well loved by Haymitch's crew of sentimental older women, but entirely dismissed by serious bettors, and mocked by the comedians as the simpleton and the crybaby. Even the other tributes assume she's disposable, probably starving to death because she's too upset to hunt.

At dawn, River is keeping watch from high on the wall of the building he and Johanna are hiding in. He spots Hyrum and Silver struggling along.

Haymitch and Jack both scream at him not to go help, but he's halfway around the world. Johanna would know better, but she's sleeping in relative comfort in a sheltered corner of the ruin. He looks at her fondly, then goes down to get them. Haymitch snaps at me to keep an eye on the phone, then bolts up to the Gamemakers.

By the time Johanna is awake, River has settled the other two in a little alcove, beside a small, shattered pillar. He's letting them drink from a silver bowl he's found buried in the dirt, and has wrapped them both up in his blanket.

Johanna looks at them, eyes wide, and beckons to River. "They're sick," she whispers to him.

"I thought we could take care of them. Like you take care of me."

"We don't have anything to help them with. They need to leave before we get sick."

He looks down. "I was… I just wanted to help."

"I know, but River, they're sick." She looks up at the sky. The broadcast cuts away from her, and, except for the people at our table, no one hears her say, "Jack, can we have medicine? I'll catch food if we can have medicine."

The request isn't necessary. Haymitch is already working on it, and Jack and I are pooling money.

But the Gamemakers refuse us.

When Haymitch comes down, he is fuming. "They said their medicine didn't work. It's some weird strain of the flu. So they won't send more. They're working on something else."

"This thing kills in a couple of days!" Jack says.

"Yeah. I know."

"What in the hell are they going to do?"

"They wouldn't tell me. Whatever it is, Plutarch's having an argument with the head Gamemaker about it." Haymitch grimaces, then sits down and picks up the sponsor pad. He pretends to be making notes, but I see what he really passes over to Jack: I think they're going to burn it. It's the only thing they can do.

I stare at this.

Haymitch picks up the supply book and starts looking for clues to send.

Johanna sits a good distance from the sick boys, but listens to Silver's story about finding Butterfly and Aster.

"They just left Aster there?" Johanna asks. "No claw?"

Silver frowns. "No. That's weird. She was just lying there. Keefe killed the other one, though."

"Sounds like there wouldn't have been long to wait."

"Thanks a lot," Silver grumbles.

River starts coughing in the evening, about two hours before Hyrum dies. The claw doesn't come down, though Johanna suggests moving everyone away from the body. Silver still has some medicine in his system, and might even be fighting off his relapse. Johanna hasn't gotten sick at all. Haymitch gives Jack money to send her a bucket, but she just looks at it with puzzlement.

The lightning strikes in the darkest part of the night. Johanna is up on watch, sitting under a peaked archway that shelters her from the wind, swinging her axe absently and looking at the stars. Silver and River are both supposed to be sleeping, but are lying awake, coughing miserably. River keeps trying to go over to Hyrum's body, on the theory that they need to put a light on it, so that the Gamemakers can see to pick it up.

There are little bursts of lightning across the sky several times, arcing over the dome of the force field like white capillaries, but the big one still seems to come out of nowhere. It blasts down into the ruin, not onto Hyrum's body, but close to it, into a pile of dry leaves and grasses.

The fire is fast and hot, eating up the fuel that's been collecting there for centuries. In seconds, the ruin is an inferno.

Johanna jumps to her feet. "River! River get out here! Now!"

Something crashes down. "Johanna?" River shouts. "Where are you? I can't see you!"

She struggles into the flames, using her axe to knock away burning plants. "Can you hear me?"

"We're coming!" Silver manages, but breaks down in a coughing fit. River manhandles him across a patch of smoking vines and hurls him at Johanna.

She manages to manhandle him to the main archway and roll him down a hill, then says, "We need to…" She trails off, and her eyes go wide.

I look at Haymitch's screen. River is back in the flames, headed for Hyrum's body.

"River!" Johanna screams. "River you get out of there now! He's dead, you don't need to help him anymore! River!"

A tree growing up between the walls sparks, then falls in.

River's screen goes dark.

The cannon sounds.

Silver starts coughing, but it doesn't cover his laughter.

Johanna turns on him, furious. "You shut up! Shut up!"

"What an idiot!" Silver gets to his feet. "Dying to save a corpse. Oh, you know how to pick 'em."

"You're dead anyway," Johanna says. "You're with the morons who decided to bleed a sick girl. You could have just let that girl die, but instead, you got a surprise, didn't you. They ought to give her the kill."

"I'm going to make it through," Silver says. "I'm going to make it to the end, and they'll heal me in the Capitol." He lurches forward, a rock in his hand.

Johanna raises her axe.

"Yeah, right," Silver says. "Little crybaby's going to cut me up. I don't think so. I think you're just going to drop that thing and beg me to let you --"

The sound of the axe hitting him is a dull thud. It's not dramatic. Johanna is not crying or screaming. Her face is set and cold. She may have been aiming for his hand, which he'd raised up to hurl the rock, but his movements are slowed by sickness.

The axe comes down at a sharp angle, where his neck meets his shoulder. There is a spray of blood. Johanna pulls it out and slams it into his skull.

She's covered in his blood now, and whatever is in it must be in her, too.

She stands, wild-eyed in the firelight.

"Send her a new axe," Finnick says.

"What?" Jack asks.

"Just do it. Tell her it's all right to live."

On screen, Johanna backs away. Her mouth twitches in a crazy kind of smile. It's followed by a scream, but the general audience doesn't see it.

"Well, well," Claudius says when they cut back to the studio. "It seems our little mouse can roar! Have we been fooled from the start? Let's take another look at Johanna Mason's journey…"

Since none of this happened during mandatory viewing, it gets around the audience the next day in whispered rumors from people who watched late night. Mandatory viewing in the evening opens up with man-on-the-street interviews about what people have heard of Johanna Mason. Some are confused about whether or not they're talking about the same girl -- the crybaby who came out on stage with smudged mascara. When they learn that she's killed a boy from District One -- with axe blows, no less -- they can't seem to put the idea together. For others, she's turning into a myth. She put on an act at first to throw off the scent, but in reality, she's a cold-blooded, efficient soldier. Jokes pop up now about how tough she is (a common one is based on the theme that when a bear ran into Johanna in the woods, we learned for sure where it defecated.)

Jack sent her a new axe at dawn, and she has spent the day tracking down Jacoba and Collie. It's not a difficult hunt, because both girls are starting to get sick, and it's made them careless. Johanna seems to be waiting for them to separate a little bit.

Meanwhile, the other remaining alliance -- the kids from Nine and Raven -- are having wolf troubles again. District Five is urban, and Raven has no experience at all with animals. Dottie and Mayfield have dealt with a few small predators on the farms, but nothing as large and organized as a wolf pack. (Haymitch mutters that he's pretty sure they've shipped in mutts, no matter what they're saying.) They're forced back toward the river to find shelter.

About an hour into mandatory viewing, Jacoba, the girl from Two, excuses herself to go to the river and wash up. She's most likely trying to hide the pustules under her arms. Collie, Mags's tribute, barely notices. She's obsessively poking at a swelling under her jaw.

Johanna doesn't attack her from behind, but she does come in so fast that Collie barely has time to pick up a weapon. The fight only lasts for three blows, and Johanna lies in wait for Jacoba to come back.

The field is down to four by the end of the night's broadcast, and the Capitol has a new darling in the "devious" Johanna Mason. The crying cartoon figures give way to two-sided dolls, one face grinning impishly, the other smiling madly. Some of the vendors even make paper masks to be worn on the back of the head, so the real face can be painted one way, and the view from behind is the other.

Raven Clemm tries to kill a wolf the next day, and ends up set on by the whole pack while her allies watch in horror. That evening, Dottie makes the mistake of looking for some privacy to relieve herself. Johanna, who has been watching the whole time, catches up with her in the bushes. It comes down to a final fight between Johanna and Mayfield. Mayfield is healthy and armed, which makes him a harder enemy than the others, but he doesn't seem to be able to reconcile the idea that the girl with the axe is the one he turned away for being a weakling.

We're barely halfway through mandatory viewing when Johanna Mason becomes a victor.
14 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 15th, 2014 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent and chilling, especially Finnick's gift. I really don't understand what's wrong with the Gamemakers. Are they really so arrogant that they wouldn't send a medicine with an "all of the above" treatment plan? (I guess we know they are, since they assume they erradicated Yersinia Pestis after 2 tests).

Quick catch: , though the wolves, though Raven ...[the wolves]. I suspect your first wolves is an artifact of an early version of that sentence (my writing is littered with those....)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 16th, 2014 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
:blink: I have no idea what that sentence started out as.

And yeah, the Gamemakers are that arrogant. Though what they tried to do by burning out the barn where all of the kids with the pneumatic plague were is more or less an "all of the above" treatment, in a sick way.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 15th, 2014 09:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Three questions/comments.

What's the deal with the bucket? Not only is Johanna confused, but I didn't understand it either.

I think Haymitch is wrong about there being mutt-wolves in the arena. The mutt-wolves would have to fight off natural wolves before they could attack the tributes. Presumably the natural wolves would have strength of numbers over the mutt-wolves.

What's your take on Johanna turning? Was she playacting at the start? Was she p.o.'d at the surviving tributes, starting with Silver? Why the devious hiding-then-attack, rather than the usual attack-from-the-front?
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 16th, 2014 12:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Haymitch is trying to send a message that the corpse will be destroyed by fire. Not forgetting that he's limited by the item list. Bucket = water = watch out for fire. I reckon even Errol would have had trouble with that one. Wiress might have managed it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 16th, 2014 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)
What the other anon said on the bucket. He realized right away that they were going to try and burn out the plague. But there was nothing really handy to send that would say, "THERE'S GOING TO BE A FIRE." Katniss might have gotten it after a lot of intensive thought, but Jo? If she doesn't get it right away, she's likely to just say, "Screw it."

I'm not sure about the mutt wolves. There's a saying that "Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you." In Haymitch's case, I'd flip it to, "Just because they're out to get you doesn't mean you're not paranoid." Could be either way. They might have sent in mutt wolves to deal with the rats.

I think that there's not a real split. I think she was genuinely a very scared girl at the time of the reaping. On the other hand, I don't think that precludes her from having the bad-ass Jo we know inside her. I think her anger just finally overtook her fear.
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: July 15th, 2014 12:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Finnick really understands Johanna--strange how Jack didn't.

The pieces are slowly settling into place. The last victor we're waiting for, canonically, is Annie, isn't it?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 16th, 2014 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Finnick sees where Johanna is in the Games. Jack's Games, he was mostly on his own, and he had one incredibly hard kill. If Johanna's going to live, she's going to have to start hunting, just like Finnick did.

Annie will be coming next. I also have to do the frozen arena and the arena where Titus went nuts.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: July 15th, 2014 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Johanna. Interesting how quickly they spun her breaking as her being a devious, violent person. Of course, they don't really want to show just how damaged these kids are when it's supposed to be triumphant and proud.

As a side note, I noticed the following sentence which has a problem: Most of the time, the tributes just run these animals off, though the wolves, though Raven and the kids from Nine have to run for shelter from the wolves one night.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 16th, 2014 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
That sentence, it's nuts. I have no idea what it started out as. I'll make it comprehensible, though.

And of course the devious killer thing is a spin... though one that she allows and even plays into later on. (Better for people to be scared of her.) It doesn't mean there's nothing to it -- she does do this -- but I think a lot of the perception of her as somehow dualistic is purely because of a sudden whiplash in the way she's portrayed.
torturedbabycow From: torturedbabycow Date: July 16th, 2014 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)

All this plague stuff...

...do you keep up with Mark's youtube channel, where he does the "bonus" commissions sometimes? Because this happened last week:

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 16th, 2014 02:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: All this plague stuff...

I mostly like to watch Mark watching things I've seen (there's something wonderfully meta about the whole experience -- I'm very amused at his amusement at Spock's "sass" and his desire to watch McCoy and Spock bicker forever), but I'll give it a run.
torturedbabycow From: torturedbabycow Date: July 16th, 2014 05:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: All this plague stuff...

He puts all his Mark Reads website videos there too, so it's a decent amount getting uploaded every Sunday. It might be a bit much to sift through if you're not keeping up with the books he's currently doing. (And just now there aren't many "bonus" youtube-only things because of being on tour.)

But the Seanan McGuire short story he squeezed in right before tour (the one I linked) is extremely appropriate for the plague stuff! It's just 2 videos long for the whole thing. My boyfriend said he had trouble sleeping for like 2 days after listening to it.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: July 16th, 2014 04:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Some Catches/Feedback

"abandoned" is Should abandoned maybe be abandons, since it's exiles?

take of me Missing word before of, though I can't quite tell what it should be.

bursts of lighting Should lighting be lightning?

to limp him Judging by the extra space, you may be missing a word between limping and him?

She obsessively poking Think the she should maybe be she's.

has new darling Think you're missing a word between has and new.

Poor Jo; of course he would die in a fire, because life just works that way. And poor Antony, talking about how it hurts to breathe. It's so easy to think of them as simply "Careers" and then they do something and you realize how young even they are.

Your entire portrayal of Jo in the Games rings so spot-on to me, and what an awful way to become a Victor; not only all the deaths, but then having to suffer through the spin afterwords.

Really enjoying the interpersonal dynamics you're highlighting in this one. Everything with Jack is fabulous, per usual. And I love the developing friendship between Finnick and Haymitch.

Much as I understand it, it is so frustrating to see Haymitch using an admittedly semivalid point to refute Effie's perfectly valid points about when he sobers up and how much potential he has. While she doesn't know him for the vast majority of the year, using that as an excuse to not even consider sobriety just makes me want to headdesk.

I love the commentary about assumptions regarding intelligence embedded in Haymitch and Effie's conversation after his first meeting with the Gamemakers. Being an intelligent person who people expect to know something about things I've absolutely no expertise or interest in, I was nodding enthusiastically to all his points.

One of my pet hobbies is linguistic modification, usually through different incarnations of the same language. But, I also have quite an interest in the way that language can be modified for propaganda purposes (my particular obsession at the moment being the modification of the word Druid by Julius Caesar to create a fierce religious cult to serve as villains in his Gaelic commentaries), and what you're doing with the twisting of ideas about immortality of ideas through architecture by Capitolite architects is spot-on and a phenomenal insight into how that sort of modification, when taken to extremes, aids in reeducation. Also loved how Caesar got some actual history in there by making it Capitol-approved.:d

The stripping of blinders from effie throughout this has reminded me in certain ways of the transition from child to adult, epitomized beautifully here by the passage about what would've happened if they'd been in a romance novel. Oh, haven't we all had at least one moment like that where we realize what a wide gap there can be between fiction and reality, usually followed promptly, at least by me, for reality to more properly mirror whatever novel I'm thinking of.:d

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 16th, 2014 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some Catches/Feedback

Got 'em, thanks. "She limped him" was deliberate, but I decided that I don't like it, and switched it to "manhandled."

One of the interesting things about the Games is how the media creates perceptions. Effie is very conditioned by the media, even as she starts to question -- she thinks, "Haymitch is very smart," and some kind of pan-disciplinary genius comes to mind, even though he's had precious little education, and what he has managed has been without any kind of academic rigor.

What the Capitol architects are ultimately saying is that the fashion of the moment is all that counts, but even in the Capitol, they couldn't make that fly, so they make up a dismissive and derisive reasoning for it, and treat anyone who disagrees as a primitive. Hmmm. Sounds familiar. :P

Effie wants desperately for one of these evenings to turn into a romance novel, but she does have some reality starting to dawn on her. It's not happening.

And yes, Haymitch! Just because she only knows you a few weeks out the year doesn't mean she doesn't know you pretty darned well. And during the time you're awake to be known, no less. Sigh. He's an alcoholic. He has a long way to fall before he comes to the idea that it's possible and desirable to change his life, unfortunately.
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