“Why do you like The Hunger Games so much?”
It’s a question I’ve gotten multiple times, as well as the one asking why I’m emotional about it ending, and I’ve never fully known how to answer.
My generation was the the age of Potterheads, filled with those who clutched to the large volumes of Harry Potter books and watched the movies as many times as they possibly could. And of course, it was widely accepted that, I too, had read the books and enjoyed them as much as my peers.
I never had that community growing up. Whether it was Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or some other kind of fantasy literature that my peers devoured and then talked about excitedly as if the characters were their own friends; I was not a part of it.
I almost didn’t read The Hunger Games. I had friends telling me to read it in high school, but I brushed it off as something I wouldn’t like, until I saw the first movie was coming out. I had a late start into the phenomenon, not reading the books until just before the first movie came out in 2012. However, once I opened the first book, it was the start of something more than a just a story.
I had finally been admitted into one of these worlds I had only observed from the outside. I had never understood how my peers would get so excited over these series, treating them like more than just the words on the page. I had done a lot of reading in my day and often got attached to fictional characters, but never like this.
It only grew from there. With each movie, I found myself farther and farther into The Hunger Games fandom, which is a word used to coin a group of fans who all connect over a particular interest, such as a TV show, a band, or a book series.
When I went to see the second two movies, Catching Fire and Mockingjay: Part 1, I went on the first nights they opened, and even went as far as to see Mockingjay: Part 1 in theaters four times. These movies became almost a marker of time for me. It was kind of surreal to sit in a theater for another movie and think, has a year passed already?
As the last movie quickly approached, I found myself emotional for a various number of reasons. Not only is Mockingjay: Part 2 one of the most emotional parts of the series because of all the action and events that happen in the book, but it also marks the end.
I’ve made a lot of connections through this series. I’ve met friends online and in person who enjoy the books just as much as me. I’ve written stories about these characters and imagines lives for them outside of the book series. Once that last movie ends, once the last set of credits roll, it’s all going to be over.
I’m not sure what makes people get so connected to a book series. I’ve always gotten connected to fictional characters, probably because I’m a writer and I’m used to forming close bonds with fiction, but these phenomenons with books series seems more widespread than that. These writers are able to create worlds that are so real and that mean so much to their readers that it’s more than a book series to them. I’m not sure if it’s because the readers feel that they can relate to the characters or if they just love the idea of the fantastical words that are being created, but I’ve always found it interesting at how these book series can connect so many different people.
I know that my love for The Hunger Games is not going to end. Even though it’s sad that there’s no longer going to be a movie to look forward to every year (unless Lionsgate gets the hint and gets started on some prequels,) I know this isn’t going to completely end. There are still going to be people who read the books over and over again and watch the movies from start to finish and talk about the characters as if they’re best friends. I’m still going to love these movies and books for all that they are and for all that they will always be. It may technically be the end of The Hunger Games, but it’s really just the beginning.