Earlier, I scribbled down some thoughts about The Hunger Games. Having finished the Trilogy, here are a few more:
1. We All Wear Glasses: Everyone has a worldview through which they view the world. Everyone. I can’t help but read these stories as a Christian. It’s who I am and it’s the lens through which I see the world. So the storyline of creation-fall-redemption-restoration effects the way I see all other story-lines. It effects what I value, what I celebrate, what I disdain, etc. But it is arrogant to assume that I’m the only one wearing glasses. As though one can read the story (or interpret anything in life) “objectively” without your own set of lenses as well. They may be invisible to you, but we all wear glasses (worldviews) through which we see the world. If you’re a humanist, or a materialist, or an atheist, or a theist – it impacts the way you see everything, even a fictional story. There’s no question we’re all wearing glasses. The only question is which is the best pair.
2. Stories are Engrossing: Shainu and the kids were away visiting family and I could not stop reading the books. Confession time. I stayed up late, woke up early, snuck it in while working, all to keep reading. The last time a story engrossed me like this was when I read Khaled Hosseini’s novels. With those, I could tell that Housenni was a masterful writer. Simple but brilliant. Collins was different. I definitely appreciated her writing in the third book better than the first. But what she does do well, is tell a great story. In some ways, the writing itself is invisible. Meaning it’s not so good or bad that you’re distracted, but rather unnoticed so that you’re sucked into the story itself (which I guess is good writing). For the two days it took me to finish Catching Fire and Mockingjay (and I’m not a fast reader) I was engrossed. When I finally finished the last sentence, I felt like I had been so thoroughly transported to another world for 48 hours that the real world seemed strange. Sort of like waking up in the dark and having to blink many times to adjust to the light.
3. Peeta: Peeta and Gale are two boys competing for Katniss’ love. Last time I said, love triangles make me barf. That’s still true, but here’s what I did appreciate. Peeta loves this girl before she ever even knows he’s alive. In fact, she grows to love him because he first loved her. Peeta loves her unconditionally. The more the pages turn, the more you realize how broken and flawed Katniss is. She’s got characteristics about her that you hate. And Peeta loves her still. Peeta loves her even when her heart is conflicted, pulled in opposite directions, and her passions and loyalties divided. Peeta loves her though her heart is prone to wander. Peeta loves her enough to die for her. He is beaten for her and by his wounds, she is saved. I’m not saying that Peeta is Jesus. I’m saying that every story seems to have trails to the Great Story. And every hero, longingly points to the True Hero.
4. Happily Ever After: As I read these things, it becomes apparent to me that I’m a sucker for happy endings. I don’t like tragedies. I can watch an amazing movie for two hours and it can be ruined for me in the last 5 minutes if they don’t make everything turn out ‘right.’ I need happy endings. Maybe it’s a weakness. Spoiler alert – so if you don’t want to know what happens, stop reading or forever hold your peace. When I got to the last page of Mockingjay, I yelped. Actually, I’m not really sure what yelp means, but I’m pretty sure I did it. Nobody was home so I was freed to yelp without embarrassment. I yelped because I got my happy ending. (Wait, I just looked up yelp – and its a shriek made in pain. So I did not yelp. I did the opposite of yelp. You get the idea.) The villains were defeated, the world was saved, the good guy got the girl and they lived happily ever after. And here’s what made that last page so bright – all the darkness that preceded it. The pages before included pain, suffering, death, tragedy, sorrow, betrayal, guilt, sadness, murder, bloodshed, horror, evil, and the list goes on. So out of the ashes of all of that, emerges a new world and a new life. And isn’t that what we all want? Happily ever after is the future we want. A tragedy might be great entertainment, but nobody wants it to be their life. Shakesphere was brilliant, but you don’t want to be Juliet. In the end, you want the last words to be, and they lived happily ever after. Being such a sucker for happy endings, the Bible is perfect for me. Because that’s how the Bible ends. The last page is a promise that for all who belong to Jesus, we will live happily ever after. The Bible ends with the promise of a new life and a new beginning. And what makes that last page so bright is all the darkness that preceded it. The pages before include pain, suffering, death, tragedy, sorrow, betrayal, guilt, sadness, murder, bloodshed, horror, evil, and the list goes on. And yet, out of all of that, emerges a new world and a new life. And isn’t that what we all want?