Archive for March, 2013

Capitol Portraits, Part 3

First of all, here’s President Snow himself!


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: )

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”.



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.



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


 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 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:


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.


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.


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!

Cinna_portrait               tumblr_mgdsbgy79F1qi04n6o1_500_zpsf4ecdfed

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.


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:

BEETEECAPITOLPORTRAIT_zps0164b9ea                tumblr_m9zsnyDqjh1qg8ggio1_500

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

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