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  1. I'm glad you brought this up, because I've been meaning to ask and keep forgetting -- how does everyone feel about Lucy Gray, and whether or not her "feelings" for Snow were ever genuine? I'm leaning toward no, tbh. As hardened and cynical as Katniss was, Lucy Gray was ten times more so IMO and she knew how to play people from a very young age, just because of the life she had to lead. As an orphaned performer, it was either wiggle her way into people's affections or starve to death, you know? She would know exactly what sort of act to put on for different people. I'm not even sure if I like her as a person. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. She just strikes me as very disingenuous. I haven't made up my mind, though, whether I believe she was planning to sabotage Snow with the guns in the abandoned house or if he was just being overly paranoid out of guilt and it got away from him. I do believe she died when Snow shot at her, btw. Either that or she escaped and found the free people living in the woods the book alluded to, and didn't go back to District Twelve. But I'm leaning toward she died that day or shortly thereafter. I believe that Katniss (via her father) was a descendent of Maude Ivory, not Lucy Gray. Maude Ivory's special talent was that she only had to hear a song once and could sing it flawlessly, and Katniss seems to have the same talent. It's overtly mentioned with regards to her knowing The Hanging Tree, but IMO it's implied with her volunteering to sing The Valley Song at school as a young child (when Peeta fell for her) and then after Prim is killed and Katniss is trying to starve herself to death, what brings her out of that dark abandon is she randomly starts singing. Dozens and dozens of songs, when she herself had noted that she didn't have much use for music after her father died, so it would have been years since she really sang very much, aside from singing Prim (and Rue.....sad sigh) to sleep sometimes and that was only with one specific song.
  2. Monday remains one of my favorite episodes of the entire series. I found it to be incredibly well done, beginning to end.
  3. I feel silly coming in and commenting years after the fact, but this whole storyline was so stupid I have to, LOL. As analytical as Lyor is, there is absolutely no way he wouldn't have known he was supposed to be filing Married Filing Single instead of just Single. Even if he does his taxes himself, the instructions are really clear and it's no big deal. (The situation you describe is perfectly legal, too, btw. If you are married you can file Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Single either one, and most people work them out both ways to see which one is better for them that year.) Also, a good accountant or tax attorney would be the one helping him out if he was stupid enough to screw his taxes up that bad, not the White House counsel. Moving on.
  4. Most accurate description ever!
  5. I just finished re-reading Ballads tonight and I have to say, reading it through this time I felt a lot less sorry for Snow than I did the first time. Yes, he was absolutely a victim of his circumstances (starting with the war which took both of his parents from him, and then a decade of being on the brink of starvation and overall despair of life) but there was a coldness, an absolute lack of compassion for anyone who wasn't able to help him advance himself in some way, which was present the entire story. This wasn't something that grew in him as time went on, it was always there. I think I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt because of Tigris' obvious affection for him, and she is a genuinely good person, but I think she was blinded by her familial love for him to see him for the monster he really was. He is truly a horrible, horrible person. I had managed to forget that Sejanus was hanged at the end, but once it became clear that's where it was going my heart just sank. I literally felt sick to my stomach. Still do. It's bedtime but I'm going to have to wait a while or my dreams will be horrid. 😞 Now, to the theory I've been teasing -- I believe after Snow went back to the Capitol, he worked with the Nazi-like doctors in the lab and had them modify the mockingjays to spy on the Districts the way the jabberjays were designed to do. The Districts had already gotten used to the presence of the mockingjays and felt that they were a private joke, a reminder of how they had gotten one up on the Capitol, but Snow knew that too. Lucy Gray told him the story. I believe he turned around and used the mockingjays against them as his own private joke of sorts - and worse, I believe the birds were modified to identify DNA markers (the way the rainbow snakes were) and report back when they had recorded specific people and/or their offspring. Starting off he probably wanted to confirm to himself that Lucy Gray was dead (if no bird ever came back with her recorded voice, it would confirm she wasn't out there anywhere) but then it branched out to spying on the Covey and from there, anyone who might become a problem for the Capitol. The movie confirms that the District citizens had their DNA markers on file (they had to have a finger prick when lining up for the reapings to verify that they were present) and when the jabberjays attack in Catching Fire, they had the specific voices of everyone that the victims knew and loved. The book even mentions Gale's little sister Posey, who the Gamemakers would have no reason to interview so they wouldn't have gotten her voice that way. I believe the Districts were being spied on for decades and didn't even know it, because they would never notice mockingjays flying around or think anything of it. The mockingjays fell silent when they heard certain people singing, Katniss mentions this more than once in the trilogy. And the jabberjays were designed to be silent while they were recording. Snow even noticed that the mockingjays fell silent when Lucy Gray was singing, that might have even given him the idea. Lord, he makes me sick to my stomach. I might have more thoughts tomorrow but for now, that's enough.
  6. I could definitely see that happening. We know that kids signing up for tesserae triggers the amount of food their family gets, so you're probably right that the food allotments are monitored. I'm sure Snow made sure not all the food got to where it was "supposed" to go sometimes as well. (In Catching Fire, in particular, Katniss mentions that the extra food the District is supposed to get for the next year because of the victors starts showing up late, infested with vermin, spoiled, and eventually doesn't show up at all. This is obviously meant to put pressure on her to try harder to squelch the uprising.) I have a theory about that, involving the mockingjays, which I will get into once I've finished the book so I have all the details fresh in my mind. 😉 Totally agree. It's been a great tool in worldbuilding. I get a huge kick out of filling in more and more of the storyline.
  7. Somewhat trivial comment, but I don't want to forget about it -- I remember when we were discussing Ballads over on the Currently Reading board, someone mentioned they didn't think the Tigris in that book was the same one as in the trilogy. I think their argument was mostly because she would have had to be in her 80's by the time of the trilogy and the movie version of her did not look that old. (My counter to that was that Pres. Snow is only three years younger and he didn't look "that old" in the movies either. I believe the Capitol folks are well capable of undergoing surgeries and procedures to reduce the appearance of aging, and would consider it a normal part of existence.) I, on the other hand, think Collins did everything but hang a neon sign from Tigris' neck stating that she was the same character, LOL. She had all the makings and skills of a top stylist even in their impoverished conditions, she and Snow were very close as kids/teens so he would have made sure she had a good position after he came into power (even though she grew to hate what he ultimately became), she visibly reacted to the can of salmon that Katniss gave her in Mockingjay (canned salmon was one of the things in the unexpected "feast" that Tigris, Snow, and Grandma'am shared when they were given a whole turkey), it was mentioned she preferred to eat meat raw in both Ballads and Mockingjay, and I noticed reading this time that the book made mention of her wearing some of her mother's old furs as a comfort. Obviously that influenced her opening up a fur shop after she was kicked out of her job as a stylist for going too far with her body alterations.
  8. Ephram Brown! Be still my Everwood-loving heart. In other news, be straight with me folks -- does this show actually get any better? Hubby and I started watching because the idea of the US having to rebuild the entire government from the ground up after a massive terrorist attack was intriguing, but instead of focusing on that for more than a handful of episodes, it has turned into a SNOOZE FEST of day-to-day White House dealings. If I wanted to see that, I would watch......well, nothing, because I don't. Help?! Does it get any better or should I just go find some spoilers and call it quits?
  9. You could be right! I just always figured she was being truthful and it was because the Twelve tributes were usually on the brink of starvation, whereas the others weren't, so the Twelve tributes needed to store up all the extra calories they could get on the way to the Games. Which also begs the question......why? Why was Twelve the only District whose citizens were starving? (And this is canon from the books, so it's not based on Effie's comment.) Just musing out loud, and this is based on memory, so bear with me -- One, Two, and Three were all Districts which were treated better because of the advanced goods they supplied. One was luxury items, Two was where the Peacekeepers came from, and Three was in charge of the electronics and technology, so it makes sense the Capitol would favor them. Four would have been able to supplement their food from the Gulf seafood. Don't remember right now what Five and Six supplied. Seven was the timber district. Eight was textiles, and the Capitol loved their clothes LOL. Nine.....don't remember. Was it the one with the Dam? Ten supplied cattle and livestock, so they could also feed themselves even though it was probably like Eleven (grains) which would mean punishment if they took too much. But they could at least feed themselves without resorting to illegally hunting the way Katniss did. So out of Five, Six, Nine, and Twelve, it's unclear why Twelve would be the only District left in such dire straits that the books make a point to bring it up. Is it maybe because it's the District closest geographically to Thirteen, so the citizens had to be kept in such a state of meager existence that they wouldn't have time to worry about trying to escape and realize Thirteen is still alive and thriving? Thoughts?
  10. I don't want to forget minor points about Ballads so I'm going to mention them as I think about it while I'm reading. I hope nobody minds me having several posts in a row (but since this board is rarely used anymore it'll probably be okay). I'm still amazed at how much input Snow personally had in shaping the Games into what we saw by the time of the trilogy. It's both horrible and humane of him. Horrible because you have people partying and cheering as children fight to the death for their entertainment, humane because at least the tributes are going into the Games well fed and cared for instead of starving and being treated like literal animals on display, with the chance of receiving helpful gifts during the Games as well which often means the difference between life and death. I also noticed this time that Lucy Gray has a particular sweet tooth. I remembered that Effie said in passing (I think just in the movie version) that Twelve is the only district allowed to have dessert on the way to the Capitol for the Games. I wonder if Snow set it up that way in what he thought was in honor of Lucy Gray? I've just read the part where Snow sees the human/animal hybrid experiments in the lab - Avoxes who have been given fish gills, talons, tentacles, etc. Really makes me wonder if the wolf mutts in the first Games of the trilogy really did have the dead tributes' eyes. Ghastly.
  11. Agree! It was very moving. I like that they made Pau Pau and Chin Chin part of the series (but never "too much") instead of it just being a one-off comment that he wanted to start adopting Chow puppies after the Inn burned. I thought the memorial was well done and I was SO glad they didn't turn it into a clown show (like poor Fran's funeral).
  12. I know this is years after this post, but I had to LOL at this one. Hubby and I are watching for the first time (we live in the South) and I was like, why in the world does the guy from Montana sound like he lives next door? I guess all "country" people sound the same no matter what part of America they live in, heh. Kind of like when Hollywood writers assume a population of 15,000 constitutes a small town where everybody knows everybody else. Erm, no. A small town is 300 or so people.
  13. Oooh, very interesting viewpoint. I hadn't thought of that! I can definitely see that playing in the back of her mind even if she never really consciously thought of it. Agreed. And you reminded me of something I paid attention to for the first time this reading, is that Peeta was badly burned as well that day. Bad enough that he had to spend a long time healing up. Katniss mentions that when he shows up planting the primroses, he had finally healed enough to come home. He must have gotten close to Katniss right before the bombs went off, even if she didn't realize it. (Unless there were bombings in other parts of the Capitol, but they only seemed to mention bombing the children so that wasn't the impression I got.) I'm endlessly fascinated by just how much of a role Cinna had in shaping the rebellion. I noticed reading Ballads just now that when Lucy Gray's fellow Twelve tribute comes on stage with her, she takes his hand and curtsies, pulling him into a bow with her, and then she keeps hold of his hand so they're standing there hand-in-hand while the cameras are still on them. Just like Cinna told Katniss and Peeta to hold hands the first time they were presented in the chariot. Just one more little reminder to Snow of his beginnings. The layers in these stories are endless.
  14. Those were amazing scenes and some that I think of often as well, especially the rebels blowing the dam. I don't know why that one affects me visually so much, but damn. It's just so powerful. Maybe it's because since the entirety of Panem depends on the dam for electricity, it makes it feel like such a strong act of war? I don't know. I plan on rewatching all of the movies just to get a feel of the complete story again, once I'm finished with Ballads. (Just started it today.) Another scene that comes to mind is when Snow's granddaughter quietly and sadly removes the braid from her hair while he makes the announcement that any sign of allegiance to Katniss Everdeen or the rebels is strictly forbidden. It makes me sad for her that she was allowed to maintain a bit of childish innocence up until then, but that was now being taken away from her. I also love the way Finnick says "Let the seventy-sixth Hunger Games begin" when they are looking at the holo with all the active pods lit up. Oh, and the scene from CF with the jabberjays is very chilling as well, with Katniss covering her ears and screaming and even her scream is drowned out by the birds. Oh, what great observations about the movie budget echoing Katniss and Peeta's growth as celebrities! I love that. Some random thoughts while things are fresh on my mind -- Buttercup finding his way back to Twelve only to find that Prim is dead........guh. Such a punch in the gut. Especially the way he and Katniss just "scream" at each other for a while until she passes out with grief and wakes to find him standing guard over her, the way he used to do for Prim. Excuse me while I go sob for a moment. Katniss getting confirmation that Madge and her family are all dead. 😞 I hope Madge's mom is finally at peace now. Gale not knowing if the bomb which killed Prim was his or not, but accepting that it might have been and that Katniss will never be able to forgive him. 😞 Katniss had to have spent weeks - if not months - in that chair (only getting up to go to the bathroom and sponge herself off every once in a while) right? By the time she roused herself back to life her hair was matted into knots and her clothes were glued to her skin. I think it speaks a lot to Greasy Sae's character that she came in took care of Katniss and allowed her the time she needed to fully grieve, even in that horrible condition, without making her feel weak or useless. Peeta digging up and replanting the primrose bushes. Guuuuuhhhh. After getting backstory on Snow, I think his laughter when Katniss killed Coin instead of him was as much a delight that she finally killed an "ally" of hers (the way he killed Lucy) as it was his sense of vengeful satisfaction that Coin was being denied the power she thought was finally hers. I remember discussion (hopefully not on here, I'm not out to hurt anyone's feelings LOL) that Peeta was wrong to "pressure" Katniss to have children, since she adamantly did not want them. Excuse me while I go roll my eyes out of my head. She didn't want children because she would never be able to feel that they were safe, not because she wanted to advance her career or some other sort of modern reason. They were trying to rebuild a population which had been decimated by war. Remaining childless is a luxury few people can afford in that sort of situation. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh. Was it just his appearance that you feel was miscasting? Because aside from the brown eyes, I thought Josh Hutcherson make a perfect Peeta. I really can't think of any character I felt was miscast, actually. (I do wish Katniss' prep team would have had more of a role onscreen, though. Did they even have Octavia, or was it just Flavius and Venia? I can't remember right now.)
  15. Finished Mockingjay last night, and (unsurprisingly) cried my eyes out. This story guts me in a way not much else does. Before I move onto Ballads, I'm just curious what everyone thinks about the movie adaptations? I just watched a youtube where the person absolutely hated the movies and felt they were shallow and too different from the books to be taken seriously. I feel the opposite. Yes there are differences that grate (such as Madge not being included at all when her family's history was IMO so important, also the movies don't really get into Katniss' descent into sheer madness for a while after she returns to District 12 at the end of Mockingjay) and scenes I wish would have been included which weren't, but I feel the movies have an important role to play in understanding the whole picture of everything going on. Mostly because with the books being exclusively from Katniss' point of view (which is brilliant and puts the reader smack dab in the middle of the story the way not much else could) there are things going on elsewhere that she simply has no idea about but we are privy to thanks to the movies. We get confirmation of some things she suspects but doesn't ever find out for sure, and perhaps most importantly we see times where she was simply wrong about something. It's a ballsy move for Collins to have the heroine of the story not always be able to figure everything out and not always be right, because that is real.
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