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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Is Coming!

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It’s been over a decade since the first The Hunger Games film premiered and almost 15 years since the first book was released in 2008, yet the fandom has never stopped growing. There has been a new interest in the series recently due to the upcoming adaptation of "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes," a prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy. The movie adaptation of the prequel novel is set to release on November 17, 2023. It follows Coriolanus Snow (the future President Snow of The Hunger Games trilogy) and serves as a villain origin story. This prequel boasts a mix of veteran actors and rising stars. You’ll see Peter Dinklage, Viola Davis, Jason Schwartzman, and Hunter Schafer in this epic tale. With this resurgence, many more theories and fan ideas are brimming, and we’re here to tell you all about them.WARNING: Spoilers for both the books and movies follow below this trailer!

What is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes about?

The book opens as the infamous Hunger Games begin in the Capital of Panem as eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow prepares for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. His noble house has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined -- every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the Arena, it will be a fight to the death. Fable reader Rose Lockhart wrote a glowing 10/10 review of the book: “I was surprised again and again by the twists and turns in this novel. A thick book, but it didn’t feel like it at all. I was invested in every character that wasn’t Snow, and it was so cool to see all the connections to be made to the original trilogy. I loved the way Snow was written. It was easy to both hate and understand him.”

What you need to know about The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes adaptation

Directed by Francis Lawrence, the highly-anticipated film adaptation of the Hunger Games prequel is coming soon. Lionsgate will release the film into theaters on November 17, 2023. Stepping into the shoes of a young Coriolanus “Coryo” Snow is Tom Blyth. As in the novel, his noble family struggles to maintain their status and wealth in Panem. Coriolanus evolves from an unsure young man into the menacing President Snow, who will become the central authoritative figure in Panem and loom large through the original trilogy. Euphoria star Rachel Zegler will play Lucy Gray Baird, Snow’s mentee in the Hunger Games. Jason Schwartzman will portray Lucky Flickerman, the official presenter for the 10th Hunger Games, the predecessor of Caesar Flickerman (played by Stanley Tucci), who will officiate the games in the trilogy.Viola Davis will play Dr. Volumnia Gaul, the stern implementor of the Hunger Games. Hunter Schafer will play Tigris Snow, another recurring character from the original Hunger Games trilogy. Actor Josh Andrés Rivera will play Sejanus Plinth, a dear friend to the young man who will grow up to become President Snow. Finally, Peter Dinklage will play Casca Highbottom, Dean of an elite school in the Capitol for the children of the wealthy and powerful.

Hunger Games Theories

There are many mixed opinions about this prequel, especially following the series that most consider to be a masterpiece of young adult literature. The one thing most people agree upon is their curiosity and hunger to know more about the world of Panem and the meaning behind Suzanne Collins’ writing. We’ve rounded up some interesting fan theories that have been buzzing around the internet lately.  

1. Katniss’s life was manufactured

This theory goes that Katniss had been guided and led to start the revolution even before she entered the Arena. Some people think her father began planning for a revolution before Katniss was even born and then prepared her to be a tribute and the perfect piece in the Arena. The Capitol likely set the mine explosion that killed Gale’s and Katniss’s fathers because they opposed the regime. In the last chapter of “Catching Fire,” Katniss learns about “this elaborate plan in which I was a piece, just as I was meant to be a piece in the Hunger Games.” This outright states the intentional manipulation that occurred before she became a tribute. Not only does this mean that Katniss’s entire life was a lie, but it also gives so much more meaning to everything she experienced before eventually becoming the Mockingjay. There were expectations set for her before she was even aware--she was always a pawn in the Games.

2. Buttercup is Katniss

Some think that Buttercup the cat directly parallels Katniss and her character development. The cat is mentioned in the first chapter of every book and his presence is easy to take notice of (probably because Suzanne Collins wants us to pay attention to him and what he’s doing). Katniss mentions his only redeeming quality being that he sometimes catches vermin, which is a direct parallel to how she only values herself as a hunter in the first book. Like Katniss, Buttercup is stubborn and has survived by sheer force of will. Katniss says her younger sister, Prim, “is the only person in the world I’m certain I love.” And similarly, Buttercup perks up when Prim’s name is said: “... it’s the only word that means anything to him.” In “Mockingjay,” there is an entire paragraph where Katniss uses Buttercup to describe herself and compares herself to him: “Crazy Cat becomes a metaphor for my situation. I am Buttercup.” At the end of the series, we see that Buttercup has traveled from District 13 to District 12 in search of Prim, and Katniss tells him, “It was a waste of a trip. She’s not here.” This perfectly encapsulates the sacrifices made in the name of Prim, yet ended up being a waste. Yet, this is the first time the two come together and heal.TikTok creator nonbinarypeetamellark had the best video explaining this theory and you can watch it here!

3. The rest of the world doesn’t care

Panem is set in a futuristic version of North America, divided into multiple districts with a primary industry. While the books are set in Panem, there is little mention of the rest of the world. Many fans have speculated that while North America went through a lot to end up as Panem, and even though the rest of the world is primarily unmentioned, nothing happened to it. The rest of the world just continued as normal, unfazed and uncaring about the atrocities occurring in Panem. It’s uncanny and terrifying how realistic this theory is. Many atrocities happen all over the world today that go mostly ignored. Given the totalitarian system of Panem, it’s also believable that the citizens have no idea that a world exists outside of their Panem. This theory is a harsh critique that displays the truths of our contemporary world, and the fact that some might ignore a group of people or not care how bad things get for them is troubling.

4. The Hunger Games are a test of the districts’ rebellion capabilities

Panem’s prosperity relies heavily on the District’s submission to the Capitol, and the Games were initially created to remind them who was indeed in power. However, there is a theory that states that the Hunger Games were used to watch the districts and determine their rebellion capabilities. Watching the Games and paying close attention to the weapons and tactics different districts used to survive would give the Capitol an idea of how they would function in a potential rebellion. Not only were the games used as a symbol of higher classes making spectacles of violence and those beneath them, but they were also used as a way to determine their strengths and weaknesses. In other words, the Games were not just a propaganda tool.

5. The Hunger Games are set in an alternate version of American history

A few theories insinuate that Panem was created following the British’s defeat of America during the Revolutionary War. It’s an interesting theory with some validity, considering Panem is canonically set in North America. The 13 districts are an easy parallel to the 13 colonies, and the Capitol is a perfect allegory for an unbridled system of power, which is what could have happened if the British won the American Revolution.

Brilliant Quotes from the Hunger Games Series

As we wait for

“You love me. Real or not real? I tell him, "Real.” ― Suzanne Collins

“For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.” ― Suzanne Collins

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.” ― Suzanne Collins

“Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!” ― Suzanne Collins

“At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead. The hard thing is finding the courage to do it.” ― Suzanne Collins

“I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.” ― Suzanne Collins

“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.” ― Suzanne Collins

“You're still trying to protect me. Real or not real," he whispers. "Real," I answer. "Because that's what you and I do, protect each other.” ― Suzanne Collins

“They're already taking my future! They can't have the things that mattered to me in the past!” ― Suzanne Collins

“You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.” ― Suzanne Collins

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