OMG! OMG! OMG! I have 50 followers! I never thought this day would come!
Thanks to ALL of you guys for supporting me! I appreciate it! :) Oh, don't let that stop you from following we still have the 74th AND the 75th games left! :)
Beware this post is a bit long but trust me, it's totally worth your time. No, really it is!
By the time we get to District 12, I'm completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of kids going to certain death. There's a woman, not Effie, calling the names in 12, but she still begins with “Ladies first!” She calls out the name of a girl who's from the Seam, you can tell by the look of her, and then I hear the name “Maysilee Donner.”
“Oh!” I say. “She was my mother's friend.” The camera finds her in the crowd, clinging to two other girls. All blond. All definitely merchants' kids.
“Madge,” I say.
“That's her mother. She and Maysilee were twins or something,” Peeta says. “My dad mentioned it once.” I think of Madge's mother. Mayor Undersee's wife. Who spends half her life in bed immobilized with terrible pain, shutting out the world. I think of how I never realized that she and my mother shared this connection. Of Madge showing up in that snowstorm to bring the painkiller for Gale. Go Madge! Of my mockingjay pin and how it means something completely different now that I know that its former owner was Madge's aunt, Maysilee Donner, a tribute who was murdered in the arena.
Haymitch's name is called last of all. It's more of a shock to see him than my mother. Young. Strong. Hard to admit, but he was something of a looker. Ok, I thought that was hilarious! :) His hair dark and curly, those gray Seam eyes bright and, even then, dangerous.
“Oh. Peeta, you don't think he killed Maysilee, do you?” I burst out. I don't know why, but I can't stand the thought.
“With forty-eight players? I'd say the odds are against it,” says Peeta. But the odds haven't been very reliable of late, remember Peeta?
The chariot rides — in which the District 12 kids are dressed in awful coal miners' outfits blech!— and the interviews flash by. There's little time to focus on anyone. But since Haymitch is going to be the victor, we get to see one full exchange between him and Caesar Flickerman, who looks exactly as he always does in his twinkling midnight blue suit. Only his dark green hair, eyelids, and lips are different.
“So, Haymitch, what do you think of the Games having one hundred percent more competitors than usual?” asks Caesar.
Haymitch shrugs. “I don't see that it makes much difference. They'll still be one hundred percent as stupid as usual, so I figure my odds will be roughly the same.”
The audience bursts out laughing and Haymitch gives them a half smile.
Snarky. Arrogant. Indifferent.
“He didn't have to reach far for that, did he?” I say. Nope.
Now it's the morning the Games begin. We watch from the point of view of one of the tributes as she rises up through the tube from the Launch Room and into the arena. I can't help but give a slight gasp. Disbelief is reflected on the faces of the players. Even Haymitch's eyebrows lift in pleasure, really? is that even possible? although they almost immediately knit themselves back into a scowl.
It's the most breathtaking place imaginable. The golden Cornucopia sits in the middle of a green meadow with patches of gorgeous flowers. The sky is azure blue with puffy white clouds. Bright songbirds flutter overhead. where are the bunnies? By the way some of the tributes are sniffing, it must smell fantastic. where are the BUNNIES!!!An aerial shot shows that the meadow stretches for miles. Far in the distance, in one direction, there seems to be a woods, in the other, a snowcapped mountain.
The beauty disorients many of the players, because when the gong sounds, most of them seem like they're trying to wake from a dream. Not Haymitch, though. He's at the Cornucopia, armed with weapons and a backpack of choice supplies. He heads for the woods before most of the others have stepped off their plates. Go Haymitch!
Eighteen tributes are killed in the bloodbath that first day. Others begin to die off and it becomes clear that almost everything in this pretty place—the luscious fruit dangling from the bushes, the water in the crystalline streams, even the scent of the flowers when inhaled too directly —is deadly poisonous. Only the rainwater and the food provided at the Cornucopia are safe to consume. oh no!
There's also a large, well-stocked Career pack of ten tributes scouring the mountain area for victims.
Haymitch has his own troubles over in the woods, where the fluffy golden squirrels turn out to be carnivorous and attack in packs, and the butterfly stings bring agony if not death. ok, now that is creepy. But he persists in moving forward, always keeping the distant mountain at his back.
Maysilee Donner turns out to be pretty resourceful herself, for a girl who leaves the Cornucopia with only a small backpack. Inside she finds a bowl, some dried beef, and a blowgun with two dozen darts. Making use of the readily available poisons, oh don't worry there's plenty to go around. she soon turns the blowgun into a deadly weapon by dipping the darts in lethal substances and directing them into her opponents' flesh.
Four days in, the picturesque mountain erupts in a volcano that wipes out another dozen players, including all but five of the Career pack. With the mountain spewing liquid fire, and the meadow offering no means of concealment, the remaining thirteen tributes — including Haymitch and
Maysilee — have no choice but to confine themselves to the woods.
Haymitch seems bent on continuing in the same direction, away from the now volcanic mountain, but a maze of tightly woven hedges forces him to circle back into the center of the woods, where he encounters three of the Careers and pulls his knife. They may be much bigger and stronger, but Haymitch has remarkable speed and has killed two when the third disarms him. That Career is about to slit his throat when a dart drops him to the ground. Go Maysilee!
Maysilee Donner steps out of the woods. “We'd live longer with two of us.”
“Guess you just proved that,” says Haymitch, rubbing his neck. “Allies?”
Maysilee nods. And there they are, instantly drawn into one of those pacts you'd be hard-pressed to break if you ever expect to go home and face your district.
Just like Peeta and me, they do better together. Get more rest, work out a system to salvage more rainwater, fight as a team, and share the food from the dead tributes' packs. But Haymitch is still determined to keep moving on.
“Why?” Maysilee keeps asking, and he ignores her until she refuses to move any farther without an answer.
“Because it has to end somewhere, right?” says Haymitch. “The arena can't go on forever.”
“What do you expect to find?” Maysilee asks.
“I don't know. But maybe there's something we can use,” he says.
When they finally do make it through that impossible hedge, using a blowtorch from one of the dead Careers' packs, they find themselves on flat, dry earth that leads to a cliff. Far below, you can see jagged rocks.
“That's all there is, Haymitch. Let's go back,” says Maysilee.
“No, I'm staying here,” he says.
“All right. There's only five of us left. May as well say good-bye now, anyway,”
she says. “I don't want it to come down to you and me.”
“Okay,” he agrees. That's all. He doesn't offer to shake her hand or even look at her. typical Haymitch. And she walks away.
Haymitch skirts along the edge of the cliff as if trying to figure something out. His foot dislodges a pebble and it falls into the abyss, apparently gone forever.
But a minute later, as he sits to rest, the pebble shoots back up beside him. Haymitch stares at it, puzzled, and then his face takes on a strange intensity. He lobs a rock the size of his fist over the cliff and waits. When it flies back out and right into his hand, he starts laughing.
That's when we hear Maysilee begin to scream. The alliance is over and she broke it off, so no one could blame him for ignoring her. umm...I would. But Haymitch runs for her, anyway. He arrives only in time to watch the last of a flock of candy pink birds, equipped with long, thin beaks, skewer her through the neck. lovely. He holds her hand while she dies, and all I can think of is Rue and how I was too late to save her, too.
Later that day, another tribute is killed in combat and a third gets eaten by a pack of those fluffy squirrels, Beware of all fluffy golden squirrels! who knows? they might eat you alive! muahahahahahaha! :) leaving Haymitch and a girl from District 1 to vie for the crown. She's bigger than he is and just as fast, and when the inevitable fight comes, it's bloody and awful and both have received what could well be fatal wounds, when Haymitch is finally disarmed. He staggers through the beautiful woods, holding his intestines in, OMG. while she stumbles after him, carrying the ax that should deliver his deathblow. Haymitch makes a beeline for his cliff and has just reached the edge when she throws the ax. He collapses on the ground and it flies into the abyss. Now weaponless as well, the girl just stands there, trying to staunch the flow of blood pouring from her empty eye socket.
She's thinking perhaps that she can outlast Haymitch, who's starting to convulse on the ground. But what she doesn't know, and what he does, is that the ax will return. And when it flies back over the ledge, it buries itself in her head. Just the kind of picture we need in our heads, right? The cannon sounds, her body is removed, and the trumpets blow to announce Haymitch's victory.
Peeta clicks off the tape and we sit there in silence for a while...."