Hunger Games franchise initially seemed like an emotional splice between Battle Royal and Twilight, something that I wasn’t especially interested in and something that I thought would fizzle out. I was wrong, and I admit that. Listening to the audio book and then re-watching the film has brought to light some disturbing details that the film cut out (most likely due to age restrictions). There will obviously be spoilers to The Hunger Games film and book – you’ve been warned.
1) Haymich and alcohol
One of the less disgusting events in THG but still a fairly rank visual is Haymich and his alcoholism. In the film, Haymich just seems really drunk but a functioning and loveable drunk, but in the book Haymich is utterly dependant on alcohol. The very idea of District 12 and having a death match every year is depressing, but what the book brings to life is after you’ve killed a lot of innocent tributes to survive, you are carted out every subsequent year and forced to relive the games. Haymich turns to alcohol, but in 12 he is pretty much doing a Withnail and I and drinking surgical standard alcohol, it would be like drinking white spirit. Ouch.
When he is called on stage at the reaping he is so utterly wasted that he takes a John Terry header off the stage, then once they get on the train he vomits all over himself after spending the whole day drinking. He pukes up pure alcohol and Peeta has to strip him naked and wash him down – first night of the games prep and the tributes are cleaning a drunk naked grown man. Double ouch.
2) Catatonic Mrs. Everdeen
The film hints that Katniss’ mum isn’t exactly a prime example of sanity and that when her husband was killed in a mining explosion she went a bit mental. The book tells a much bleaker story of how without their fathers wage the family were left to starve and mourn his loss, but Mrs. Everdeen sat down and didn’t get up until Katniss learned to hunt and provide a decent meal. With her mother totally out of commission for the foreseeable future, Katniss remembered the basic skills her father had taught her and risked her life illegally hunting game beyond the fence while her mum had left the building. That’s a boat load of motherly responsibility to come out of nowhere. Dead dad, mental mum, most likely going to starve – Hunger Games.
3) Glimmer’s Death
Glimmer looks hideous enough in the film after a gazillion Tracker-Jacker wasps sting her to death, and Katniss staggers from her tree and prises the bow from her lumpy swollen fingers. Venom induced hallucinations kick in once she runs away from the career pack and they are fairly standard past trauma memories about her dad. However, and this is a very big however, in the book, Glimmer’s tall and sexy blonde description is mangled up. When Katniss clambers down the tree, Glimmer is still alive, and going into some kind of coma and Katniss can’t risk trying to get the bow (plus, venom craziness). When Glimmer eventually dies, Katniss has to stand over her body to stop it being taken and she is described as unrecognisable. The film might have shed some light on her lumpy gross face, but the book explains how the venom makes Katniss see her. She is covered in plum size welts that are oozing bright green pus, yuck. A combination of extreme swelling and rigor mortis forces Katniss to break Glimmers fingers with a stone to free the bow. While she is doing all of this the body is melting, and oozing – she has to grab Glimmer’s dead gunky shoulder blade to turn her over and get the quiver off her back. Scarred for life.
4) Peeta’s Leg
Peeta gets his leg stabbed saving Katniss, and in the film they get sent a little room service dish full of medicine and all is back to normal. You guessed it, in the book this whoopsie isn’t so cute. Peeta’s leg has a gnarly infection that Katniss has to clean, and there is more pus and blood and leg innards in this one chapter than in the whole of the film. While this time the pus isn’t green, the whole description of his leg and her pathetic attempts to keep it clean are stomach churning – Peeta ends up losing his leg and has a prosthetic one. How depressing is that?
Never mentioned in the film, the servants who carry all of their food around are known as Avox’s. They are typically traitors/criminals (and given the Captiol’s view on criminal behaviour they are usually unfairly charged) who have had their tongues cut out. They sometimes make ‘guttural’ noises, cause, their tongues have been hacked off and thrown in a bin somewhere. If you imagine the American guy that gets his tongue ripped out in The Mummy, then you’ll be on the right track.
6) Katniss breaks Peeta’s heart
Having suffered her whole life, Katniss is cold hearted and mercenary. The film tells us how rubbish she is at social interaction, but the book makes her an anti-hero. Katniss pretends that she loves Peeta to survive the games and get them both sponsors, but at the end of the book she tells him that she doesn’t love him, at all. Problem is, Peeta loves her and truly believed that feeling was reciprocated. The film shows this but the book elaborates on how much Katniss played Peeta to keep them both alive, and she doesn’t soften the rejection blow. She tells him just before they return to 12 and have to put on a happy smiley face for the camera. The book ends with them holding hands and getting off the train. The poor guy has lost his leg and the love of his life – the odds are never in your favour.
The internet has told this story a thousand times so I’ll make it brief. In the film the big dog things that chase everyone at the end are Captiol designed mutations of animals known as Muttations. In the book, these animals are mingled with facial features of the fallen tributes. They are being chased down by a pack of ravenous dogs that look like everyone they killed, including sweet little Rue.
Cato dies, we know this. He gets ripped apart by the Muttations and then Katniss mercy kills him. What really happens is that Cato gets dragged into the cornucopia by the Muts while Katniss and Peeta sit there all night listening to him dying. All night. They can’t risk going down and killing him for obvious reasons so they just have to wait for him to die. At this point, Peeta’s leg is bleeding everywhere and he is also dying. As much as we all hate Cato, listening to him dying and crying all night is harrowing to say the least.
THG films might seem a bit soft, but the books tell the reader in graphic detail how all of these tributes are plucked out of their districts and put into an arena full of…pus.