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While I have no plans to make this a multi-fandom blog, I have gotten very interested in the Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire franchise, and recently submitted an essay about Robb Stark to the “ASOAIF University” tumblr site, basically comparing the TV and book versions of the character. 

Warning: This does contain spoilers up to the end of GOT Season 3, and mid-way through “A Song of Swords”, Book 3 in the ASOIAF series.  But if you’re one of the many THG fans who also like GOT, please check it out!

Is Show!Robb Really That Different From Book!Robb?

 

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So, I’ve totally neglected this blog lately, mostly because my off-line life got crazy busy, and also, there wasn’t much going on in terms of Catching Fire news.  However, I did recently post an essay on Gale Hawthorne, Rebel With a Cause as an entry into the Victor’s Village guest post contest.  Here’s the link!

Capitol Portraits, Part 3

First of all, here’s President Snow himself!

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The creepiest thing about this one, to me, is the design of the chair legs that seems to include another likeness of Snow!  The outfit itself doesn’t seem to tell us a lot more about Snow, unfortunately.  (And has also been glimpsed in paprarazzi photos of the filming of the Quarter Quell announcement scene.) Some fans have stated that they find the gloves to be intimidating, but I didn’t.

I also wanted to add to the remarks for Finnick.  Fans on other sites have pointed out that his pants seem to be partly made out of sealskin, and evoked myths of selkies.  Selkies are mythical creatures that look like seals, but can shed their “seal-skin” and appear on shore looking like humans.  The myths come from Scotland, and are quite popular in the Orkney islands just to the south of Scotland. I found this to be an amazing insight, and certainly fitting for Finnick’s situation.

(For a great summary of the mythology, read this: http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/selkiefolk/index.html )

Stranded Selkie

Stranded Selkie (Photo credit: ihave3kids)

I think Trish wanted to evoke not just the male Selkie myths, which basically just involve them seducing human women, but the female Selkie myths as well. Most of those myths are about human men capturing them by stealing and hiding their seal-skins, preventing them from returning to sea, and forcing them into marriage. The stories usually end with the selkie woman finding their seal-skins, and promptly putting it on and going back to sea, “abandoning” the human husband.

The legends made this seem almost romantic, but when you really think about it, this is actually about kidnapping and rape, and the selkie woman had every right to escape from her captor. In many of the legends the selkie woman actually has a selkie mate “back home” at sea, who she has been torn away from because of the human’s selfishness. Doesn’t this sound very close to the situation with the Capitol women, Finnick, and Annie?

The selkie legends also usually state that the kidnapped selkie woman LOOKS happy, and appears on the surface to be a model wife, but is still always yearning to return to sea. The look on Finnick’s face could definitely be interpreted as a wistful, “I will play my part in the Capitol, but I’ll always be yearning for my true home and love”.

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Johanna Portrait: While this portrait may signal that we won’t see short-spiky-haired Johanna in the movie,  it is my second favorite one.  Jena Malone has captured her character completely; I can just imagine a thought bubble over her head, with the words “My stylist is an idiot!’  She really doesn’t look that thrilled to be in (yet another) tree costume, though this one is quite sophisticated. I can easily imagine her throwing the rose down at her feet, ripping her clothes off, and stalking out of the artist’s studio as soon as the portrait is done. I also loved the golden bracelet that is actually made of NAILS!  A closeup of the bracelet can be seen here:

One chilling aspect of the photo, is the streak of eyeshadow under her lower eyelid.  Eerily reminscent of the “teardrop” tattoos sported by gang members,  in which each tear is a symbol of a kill they’ve made.  Johanna obviously killed people to win her Games, and perhaps she also feels responsible for the loved ones who lost their lives, likely as punishment for her daring to NOT go along with Snow’s attempts to prostitute her.

***

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Peeta Portrait: This is, hands down, my favorite portrait.  And not just because Peeta is my favorite character.  The layers of symbolism and foreshadowing are amazing.

The golden object in Peeta’s suit pocket is most likely a rolled-up handkerchief, on close-up view. But it also looks like a flask, a spile, or maybe even a certain rectangular locket!

(High-res closeup can be seen here: )

But the most amazing part of this, is the foreshadowing, not for Catching Fire, but for Mockingjay!

There is a brilliant theory mentioned by Fran in the comments section of the Hob post about this portrait, that the bracelets Peeta is wearing, are meant to foreshadow the “bracelets” he will be wearing in Mockingjay! And that the position of the bracelets and his hands in relation to the chair, is meant to look like he could be handcuffed to the chair, and trying to get up and break free of it. And doesn’t that white suit look like a straitjacket, the kind they used in the past to restrain mental patients?

Which COULD mean…if it IS a flask, it is supposed to be filled, not with liquor, but with tracker jacker venom. Now, while in the books, the venom was injected, I can easily see the movie changing that, and showing Peeta being forced to drink the venom instead, because I have NEVER seen IV drug use (even forced or coerced use) depicted in a PG-13 movie. (As for the morphlings, even in book canon, we know the drug is available in pill form, and I think that if they are shown taking morphling, it will be the pills, not the injected form.)

Anyway…even if you take the foreshadowing away, this is my favorite portrait. I love Josh’s expression in this, I think it conveys perfectly the mixture of sadness and determination Peeta shows in CF.

***

Gale Portrait: And this is my LEAST favorite portrait.  Not because I don’t like Gale.  I actually think Gale deserved MUCH better than he got in this portrait.  I understand why LG made a “Capitol Portrait” for marketing purposes, even though Gale never sets foot in the Capitol during Catching Fire.  However…(RANT follows)…

e245385beb9d3bce_FIN02C_Idiom_Chair_Galexxxlarge_zpsb0d5b0e7Forcing Gale into the same exact chair and shoving the exact same rose in his hand as the Tributes, when he is NOT a Tribute, IMHO, is just being lazy. (There’s been speculation that the white rose is meant to represent Snow, and that anyone with a rose is on his “hit list”, but that applies to Cinna and Haymitch as well, and they’re not holding roses.)

I think this portrait would have worked much better with another chair design, that would fit into the “rustic/savage D12″ stereotype I can see Capitolites buying into? Like a willow rocking chair, or maybe a tree stump with a crude seat cut into it, or something else stereotypically rustic.

Another problem is, this portrait shows us NOTHING about Gale’s fiery, rebellious side. (Unlike, say, Johanna’s portrait.) If you’re going to include the rose, why not have him actually snapping the rose in two, or even stomping on it? You could argue “oh the Capitol would never let him do that”, but really, the Capitol would never have bothered to paint a portrait of him in the first place. I can’t fathom any reason Snow would give Gale any media attention to compete with the star-crossed lovers storyline. (Yes, he is pretending to be her cousin, but there’s a pretty longstanding stereotype of “kissing cousins” and inbreeding among “rednecks” and “hillbillies” in the South and Appalachia, and I can easily see some astute Capitolites starting rumors.)

So if you’re already going against any canon plausibility for the sake of marketing, why not actually SHOW us something interesting about Gale? What about showing him actually having kicked the chair over, and stepping on it. Or, if that’s too radical, what about showing him sitting on the very edge of his seat, as a hint that he can’t sit all the way back in it, because his back still hurts from the whipping.  Actually, maybe that’s what they were TRYING to hint at by having Gale lean forward in the chair, but this portrait seems quite shallow compared to some others in the series.

***

Finnick portrait: Per the Down With the Capitol site, this portrait was described as possibly “divisive and controversial” in a tweet from Jarett Wieselman.  I pondered what could possibly be controversial about this, and then a possibility occurred to me.  Finnick is wearing very baggy, almost skirt-like pants, that seem to be based on harem pants.  Is the costume meant to evoke the

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 image of a “harem girl”?  Historically, a harem was a place where the concubines of a Sultan lived.  And I can see LG suggesting that Finnick is a “kept man”, and drawing a parallel to a “kept woman” in a harem.  However, I can EASILY see how this could be quite offensive to people of Middle Eastern descent.  Dressing a man in woman’s clothes, also would be quite taboo.
That being said, it seems the majority of fans simply thought “pirate costume” when looking at this, so hopefully there will be no problems!

Okay, the Capitol Portraits are out this week!  I’m not sure I’ll have time to add to this up tomorrow, so my take on what will likely be the Snow portrait may or may not be added later on. The portraits are available on many different fansites, but The Hob seems to be the best source right now in terms of site traffic and reliability.  (Though Mockingjay.net tends to get the most traffic, unfortunately they’ve been having server overload errors.)

Effie portrait; apparently, her outfit is based on an Alexander McQueen dress:

Effie_Runway_comparison

Caesar portrait:  The pink hair is a little different than the lavender hair mentioned in the CF book.  However, his eyebrows are definitely lavender!  Also, Caesar looks a lot more subdued in this picture than he did in THG.  I guess he has less to smile about this time, considering how serious the Pregame Interviews wind up being.

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Haymitch portrait: Of course Haymitch would wear a T-shirt to a photo shoot!  Albeit, a very expensive designer one, I am sure.  I do like the subtle tonal changes from top to bottom on the blazer, and how the trend is reversed on the shirt.

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Cinna portrait: Very cool and classy.  The leather-look jacket, reminds of the leather accents we saw on Peeta and Katniss’s clothesin the Victory Tour still released on Entertainment Weekly, what feels like eons ago!

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Katniss Portrait: Apparently, this was leaked prior to its intended release.  The BIG topic for debate is, WILL this be her wedding/interview  dress that turns into a Mockingjay dress? Or is it TOO obvious?  I can make a case either way, really.  Either this IS the dress, and the Mockingjay aspects got by the censors/Snow because the oblivious Capitol citizens voted for it, OR it is merely meant to foreshadow the actual wedding/Mockingjay dress we will see in the actual movie.

catching-fire-poster-katniss

Beetee Portrait:  On the surface, the outfit looks like something out of a stereotypical nerd or geek’s wardrobe.  But a closer look at the vest and pants, show a design  that reminds me of a circuit board or computer chip, considering the green background with metallic lines. It actually reminds me of Nikola-Nickart’s Beetee photomanipulation art, which can be seen in original form at this link:

http://nikola-nickart.tumblr.com/post/31066607581

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My comments about Johanna, Peeta, Gale, and Finnick will be in a second post, since I have a lot to say about those!

Richard III, uncle of Elizabeth of York, great...

Richard III, uncle of Elizabeth of York, great uncle of Henry VIII (Photo credit: lisby1)

So today, LG released, though the Capitol.PN Facebook page, a poster meant to be produced by the Capitol to promote the Victory Tour.  It features a very airbrushed Katniss and Peeta who are both dressed in white, and Katniss (who doesn’t look very happy to do so) is holding a bouquet of white roses.  I’m pretty sure the roses are meant to represent President Snow and the control he is trying to assert over Katniss during the Victory Tour.

Not too long ago, the bones of King Richard III were found under a parking lot.

(See this link: Richard III’s Remains Found In Council Car Park (news.sky.com))

What in the world does this have to do with President Snow and The Hunger Games trilogy?  A lot, I think.

If you’re a fan of British history, or even if not, you may recall the “War of the Roses”, in which the House of York and the House of Lancaster fought over who had a better claim on the throne of England.  King Richard III was the last king who reigned from the House of York, he was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field by forces of a certain Henry Tudor (from the House of Lancaster), who went on to become King Henry VII – the father of the infamous King Henry VIII.  The symbol of the House of York was…drumroll…a white rose! View full article »

Hi everyone!  Just a quick post to share that I have another guest blog post up on Victor’s Village, titled, Is It REALLY In The Books? Fanon vs. Canon

Also, I’d like to “revise and extend” my remarks about the Fanon that “When Peeta has a flashback, he experiences everything he did during his initial episode of tracker jacker venom induced psychosis…including his homicidal thoughts and behavior toward Katniss.” My main point of contention with this in my VV post, is that I just don’t see it as consistent with Peeta’s character that he’d let himself be around Katniss if he was having flashbacks that led to him attacking her every week or so, as many post-MJ fanfics have it.

I’ll add here, that I think this interpretation also takes away from the painful journey SC shows him undergoing in MJ.  Especially the version that has him falling back into the delusion that Katniss is a mutt.  That totally takes away from the important of the moment of epiphany that he has after watching himself attack Katniss on TV, that “I’m the mutt, I’m the monster”.  Note that while SC shows him struggling with “shiny memories” after this, he never again loses control and attacks Katniss.  This is way before he gets plugged back into any kind of professional psychiatric support.  Why would he be doing worse AFTER he actually gets professional help?  Basically, this version of post-MJ Peeta means that Mitchell died for nothing.  And I don’t think that was SC’s intent.

The following parody is inspired by the recent brouhaha over Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend, sparked by the deadspin article, “Manti Teo’s dead girlfriend, the most heartbreaking and inspirational story of the college football season, is a hoax

That got me thinking: What if Snow decided to leak the information that Peeta was lying during his pre-Quell interview?  It would serve to discredit him as well as distract the populace from the serious issues (like, full-scale WAR).   Also, note that the Capitol public went from pretty much eating out of Peeta’s hand in CF, to being so enraged against him, that an angry mob lynched a blond man who had a passing resemblance to him at best.   Why?  Well, if they found out he had punked them, I can certainly see them responding angrily to that.  Yeah, he did other things, too, like give away the Capitol plan to bomb D13 on national TV, that might also get them upset.  Not sure about the Capitol footage of him attacking Katniss, maybe the Capitol people would actually count that in his favor.

But this is the Capitol we’re talking about.  And their treatment of the Victors seem quite similar to how we treat pro athletes in the US (and other countries too).  Can’t you just imagine a Capitol version of the Lamar and Khloe Show, starring Enobaria and her string of boyfriends, who all eventually head for the hills  because they’re scared to death of her?  Or an X-rated version starring Finnick (likely only available on a very expensive premium channel)?

So, I now present to you, an excerpt from the Daily Capitolian!

View full article »

Just a quick note to let you all know that Part 2 of my guest blog series on Katniss Everdeen at Victor’s Village has been posted!

Here’s the link!

Will the Real Katniss Everdeen Please Stand Up? Part 2

(This was originally posted in reply to a hilarious Victors Village post mocking Hollywood rumors about Josh Hutcherson’s romantic life, titled, “Josh Hutcherson, P.I.M.P.” It’s been edited a bit.)

Let me take this opportunity to say, that I do NOT want Josh and Jen to hook up a la Rob and Kiersten. Since it seems even some usually level-headed people in the fandom responded to the news that Jen had broken up with her boyfriend, with “oh, now that she’s free, wouldn’t it be cool if she got together with Josh?”

No, it wouldn’t be cool. Well, scratch that. It would only be cool if they wound up married with two kids like Katniss and Peeta.  If they broke up, or were embroiled in a scandal like Robsten were, it wouldn’t be cool at all. If cynical people decide that they’re just together for the publicity, that (while somewhat ironic) also wouldn’t be cool. Besides, wasn’t Jen also “rumored” to have something going on with Bradley Cooper?  J-J shippers, get ready for “Bradifer” shippers from SLP to invade and attack!

Now, I understand that Hollywood romantic leads having real-life romances has been going on (often even if one or the other already had a partner, or was even married) for a long time. So I’m not saying that if it DID happen, I’d accuse either Jen or Josh of anything scandalous. BUT, I’m sure nor expecting or hoping it would happen. People have enough time getting this whole fantasy vs. reality thing down, as it is.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, here’s a prior Victor’s Village post with the same sentiment

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