Monday, May 17, 2010

Rant

I need to get something off my chest. I really do, I find that I just can’t hold it in any longer. I sincerely hope that I don’t offend anyone in the process, but there is something that I’ve been seeing all over that just gets under my skin. Readers, it is this business about Team Peeta and Team Gale.

I understand about the allure of a love triangle and I understand rooting for the character you like the best. I especially understand this in a book that is a romance like the Twilight series. I guess my problem is that I don’t find the Hunger Games to be books that are dominated by Katniss’ romantic possibilities. I see them more of a journey for survival. I see them as commentary on society: the ugliness of humanity as well as the strength and beauty of it.

And frankly, I see the focus on romance decisions as an insidious thing that reduces the power and importance of Katniss. Some sort of thing where since she is a girl, she might accomplish great things, but when it comes down do it, darn it, she just wants to be loved. So, yeah yeah, she has to fight for her survival, sure sure she becomes a symbol of resistance and change, but let’s get to the important part…which boy is she going to pick? And it drives me crazy. Because Katniss is so much more than that.

Yes I am aware there is romance in the novels. Yes, she is torn between two friends. But is that the most important element of her story? I emphatically say no. I think it is more of a side-story (and I certainly don’t mind the side-story since romance really does makes everything better) but, to me, the undercurrents of the resistance – the political structure of the capital, what the heck is going on in district 13, and what goes on in the arena are all way more interesting and compelling. I want to learn more about those things rather than focus on who Katniss is going to get it on with.

End of rant. With full acknowledgment that I may be over-reacting and taking all the fun out of life.

13 comments:

Trisha said...

I COMPLETELY agree! After finishing Catching Fire, I was tempted to proclaim myself Team Katniss.

I love a good romance as much as the next person, but not everything has to be about the romance and romance is not the reason I've been reading this series. Patti, you're spot on when you say, "I guess my problem is that I don’t find the Hunger Games to be books that are dominated by Katniss’ romantic possibilities. I see them more of a journey for survival," and "I see the focus on romance decisions as an insidious thing that reduces the power and importance of Katniss." Exactly. It's like saying none of what Katniss achieves matters unless she gets a guy, gets a HEA. Which I flat out disagree with.

Audrey; (AyC) said...

you're right, it's been totally blown out of proportion. I personally, read the novels for Katniss' story and the Capitol/rebellion thing, and I think the romance thing is completely a sub-plot. That doens't mean I can't have a preference, it's just that I don't care about it that much. nice rant :)

joanna said...

Team Patti!

Patti said...

Oh I'm glad someone agrees with me! It has been really bothering me. I hate the focus on her love life when it doesn't seem to be the important part of the story to me. Go Team Katniss!

Laura Lutz said...

Yes, yes, yes!

You know I love all things Graceling and Fire (as well as all things Katniss) and this has bugged me as well. These books have such important things to say about power, feminism, family, and politics - and yet it all seems to dissolve into drooling mumblings about Peeta, Gale, and Po. Come on, ladies! Really?! Let's leave the boy craziness to the Twilight folks, shall we?

rach said...

Go Patti! Apparently I have been in my own bubble because I have totally missed the whole Team Peeta/Gale discussion, but reading about it now, I agree with you 100%. The whole romantic subplot was never even a blip on my radar when reading the books - it has always been a survival story to me. Rant on! ;)

Laura said...

Amen. Thanks, Patti. Like you said, I get it, generally speaking, but The Hunger Games is SO much more than the love triangle!

Deva Fagan said...

Thank you for posting this! I agree completely. Not that I don't enjoy a good debate about Peeta vs Gale, but really, why do we need to define our strong female protags by who they are romantically involved with? Hopefully more people will be asking this question in the future!

eliza said...

Thank you for writing this.

Sam @ Parenthetical said...

Agreed! In fact, I would argue that Hunger Games barely has *any* romance. Katniss cares for both boys as friends, clearly, but I have yet to see much indication of passion or attraction. She's far too practical for that. ("I can't get married because I can't have children because I could never send them into the lottery.")

At first I enjoyed "Team Peeta/Gale" as a friendly mockery of Twilight fans: "Hey guys, there are some way better books out there; allow me to suggest Hunger Games!" But now I agree; it just detracts from the real questions of the story.

annie said...

Full on agree. I'd also add that I enjoy Gale and Peeta as characters. They're full realized in their own rights, not just romantic interests for Katniss. It's a truly engaging series, and what I'm looking forward to in the last book isn't finding how who Katniss ends up with. I'm looking forward to finding out who ends up alive and where.

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I think it's interesting to think about whether Katniss will end up with Gale or Peeta, not because I think one is better than the other, but because a choice one way or the other would push the plot in a different direction. I think that Katniss would be much more underground-rebel if she were to be with Gale and much more official symbol of the revolution if she went with politician Peeta (if that's even an option anymore...).

Or, maybe there will be a new option in Mockingjay. Or none at all. I love all characters in this series equally and profess no favorites. All this online banter is fun and interesting to me. I love hearing that people are excited about books.

Thanks for opening up this discussion.

Patti said...

Mrs. DeRaps, that is the only argument I have heard that lends any credence to the Team Gale Vs. Team Peeta. You make a very good point, it would likely signal how she had decided to approach the problem.