Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Vampire Diaries - Season 1

The Vampire Diaries - Season 1
~ ~ ~

     I stayed up until after midnight last night finishing TVD series and I must admit, I was very impressed by all of the show had to offer. From the storyline, the characters, the music and even the costumes (there are several flashback scenes from Virginia 1864). I was surprised the to find out the the books series the show is based on is actually quite old. The series started in 1991 and has continued since then.

     What makes this show wonderful is the characters, especially the three leads, Elena, Stephan and Damon. All of them had their own unique characteristics and interesting personalities, combined with the supporting cast of characters who all contribute to the ever suspenseful story.

~ ~ ~

Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder)
     A typical love story of a mortal girl (Elena) who falls in love with a handsome immortal man (Stefan) may seem stereotype and even a little redundant. Then comes along the wild rebellious older brother (Damon) who gives no thought to rules and humanity and the story becomes very interesting, very quickly. As I watched I began to compare notes between the characters in TVD and in Twilight and the contrasts were incredible. So incredible, that I feel like an idiot for not seeing it sooner!

~ ~ ~

Elena Gilbert // Katherine Pierce
Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert and Katherin Pierce
     In the small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia, four months after the death of her parents, Elena Gilbert is determined to pull her life back together. She goes to school, she smiles, she says she's all right and everything seems all right. The she runs into a very handsome, quiet man in the school hallway and everything in her world changes from that second. Elena is catapulted into a dark dangerous life that constitutes of secrets, lies, betrayal, love and death when she finds out that Stefan Salvatore is a vampire. 

     Kindness, compassionate and generous are the qualities that people know Elena by, but her greatest are courage, friendship and the ability to see the good in others around her. As well as the ability to love, Elena is very self sacrificing and is willing to put her family and friends in front of her heart to protect them. She expects the best of people, no matter who they are and what they may have done (mainly Damon) and has a very strong sense of right and wrong.

     I loved the character of Elena within the first 5 min. of the show. When she met Stefan, I was inwardly groaning, expecting the lovestruck Bella Swan syndrome of obsessive love. I really didn't see it though, there was curiosity and question asking, but it was quite subdued (thank God). When she and Stefan do fall in love, Elena becomes happier and more content with life, but her happy world comes crashing down again when she finds herself in the midst of a brewing war between the humans and vampires of Mystic Falls.

Nina Dobrev as Katherine Pierce
     That begins when she finds out that her new love has been heartbroken by a certain young women from long ago (1864 to be exact). A women he said to be the most beautiful women in the world, but was also selfish and cruel. That is Katherine Pierce, who not only messed around with both the Salvatore brothers,  but was also the one that turned them to vampires and made their lives a living hell. Elena learns that she is a descendant of Katherine's, which is why they look so much alike, and then finds out the scary fact that Katherine is coming back to Mystic Falls to finish what she started with the Salvatore brothers and to destroy the town and its inhabitants.

Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert
     If I would choose between Bella Swan and Elena Gilbert as the better heroine, I would say that Bella Swan shouldn't even be in the heroine category. After watching Elena's development through season 1 from a shy insecure orphan to a strong and independent young women, I began to see how Bella Swan really is selfish, self centered, arrogant and downright cowardly.

     When Elena found out that Stefan was a vampire she immediately wanted him gone and wanted nothing to do with him for the safety of her family and friends. Bella was so obsessed with Edward as a vampire she gave no thought to anyone else in her life. Elena knew she could do just fine without a guy in her life (even though it was painful), but Bella's attitude when Edward left her in "New Moon" was nothing short of childish. While I enjoyed Elena's generous personality with others around her, Bella doesn't give much thought to anyone regardless if Edward is in the room or not.

     And I can just add that Elena is much prettier than Bella and at least she knows how to laugh as well (seriously, she has the cutest laugh ever!!!)

~ ~ ~

Stefan Salvatore
Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvatore
     I'll be honest, I was expecting a brooding, woe is me, "You shouldn't be with me, I'm a monster!" shallow love interest. Brooding (sometimes, because he's shy) yes, but the rest was absolutely not existent. Stefan Salvatore is the complete opposite of Edward Cullen. He follows Elena around because he is interested in her, but not in her blood. Her striking resemblance to his former love interest Katherine is what really draws him to Elena, but when he realizes that Elena is nothing like Katherine, he finally finds happiness. He wants to be accepted by people in Mystic Falls without revealing who he is and in general, wants to be a good person.

     He can be romantic, but what I loved most about Stefan was how he made an attempt to know the other residents of Mystic Falls, most especially those who were close to Elena (Edward never made that attempt in Forks). He didn't stalk Elena 24/7 and gave her friends and her family a chance. As the show progresses, I loved seeing Stefan's kindness and generosity come forward toward other people, he didn't believe in manipulation, but rather patience and understanding. 

     Not to say that he doesn't struggle with who he is. Like all vampires, Stefan struggles with the desire for blood. He stayed off if it long enough to resist is, but even someone as strong as Stefan is not all powerful to resist the temptation of blood. In many ways, Stefan reminded me more of Jasper Hale (Edward Cullen's brother) than Edward Cullen himself and the more I watched and observed his character the more the resemblance between the two vampires became apparent.

      Stefan has much to deal with, whether it's blood lust, heart trust or just general day to day living, but then comes the problem of his older brother Damon. Just when Stefan thinks he might have everything under control, his wild rule breaking older brother swoops in and steals the scene in Mystic Falls and then Stefan knows there is really trouble. In spite of his brother's short comings, Stefan is determined to see some good and humanity and Damon.

~ ~ ~

Damon Salvatore
Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore
     "The Vampire Diaries" wouldn't be what it is without the Damon Salvatore. Arrogant, narcissistic, self centered, manipulative with no trace of humanity or goodness, Damon seems to be the classic antagonist for a vampire franchise. Every character has their story, even the villains and Damon's story is the most compelling story on the show. He may not care about humans or humanity in general, he may not care about the choice between life and death and he may not care about his brother's concerns about him, but what Damon does care about is a heart that has been broken and a soul that has been alone for 145 years.

     Damon's  purpose to returning to Mystic Falls is not to terrorize his brother (which he does successfully), but to bring back from the dead, Katherine Pierce whom he still loves in spite of what she did to him. He will stop at nothing to accomplish what he believes to be right and doesn't care who he has to kill, manipulate or turn to do it. In the midst of this, Damon comes across Elena, his brother's new girlfriend and he is intrigued, but cares nothing really for Elena and her human ways. 

     Slowly Elena's kindness begins to work into Damon's cold heart and she believes him to be good, even when he doesn't and his own brother has given up on him. As the Damon's character progresses in the show, he starts out as the villain ready to wreck havoc on Mystic Falls and ends up becoming an unlikely hero to the people there.

     What I love most about Damon is that even though he is the main villain, he is also the comic relief of the whole show, which is probably why he is so popular. All of his dialogue is made up of either sarcasm or sexual references (usually toward Stefan and Elena). He is probably the most charming vampire villain I have yet to see on television. One minute you want to drive a stake through his heart and the next minute you want to do everything in your power to save him. Damon is also unpredictable, therefore he is untrustworthy and you are are at constant odds to know which side he is actually on or if he is on any side at all.

~ ~ ~

Love In a Hopeless Place
Elena and Stefan
     Elena's relationship with the two Salvatore brothers couldn't be more different. With Stefan she feels safe and protected. They both have the same goals and dreams. They understand each other, better than others do. She doesn't have to doubt Stefan and his motives and always believes that Stefan will do good no matter how bad the situation may become.

     The love between Elena and Stefan is not obsessive love, but pure honest love. Honesty is an important issue to them and without honesty they cannot love completely and wholeheartedly. When Stefan falls into dangerous blood lust, Elena pulls him out by confronting her guilty past and reassuring him that there is a reason to live even in a world dominated by darkness. Elena has Stefan's love, not by wining or complaining, but through her kindness and generosity toward others.

     For Elena, Stefan is straight forward, his mysteries are explained and questions are answered as she walks beside him in perfect harmony and contentment. Stefan is her calm in the storm and her warmth in the bleak cold nights. Stefan is all the good and honest and right in the small town of Mystic Falls and Elena considers herself very fortunate and blessed to be loved by him.

Damon and Elena
      And then there is Damon. Damon Salvatore who teases, provokes and annoys Elena to no end. All the two of them seem to do is fight non stop about everything. Damon thinks it's ridiculous that a mortal can live happily with a vampire. He scoffs at the idea of vampires being able to do good in the world. He first sees Elena as a nuisance who gets in the way of his plans, but slowly realizes that there is more to her than warm blood and a beating heart.

      Elena dislikes Damon from the moment she first meets him. She already has to put up with male drama from her brother as well as her ex-boyfriend and she really doesn't need it from her new boyfriend's brother. Overtime Elena, in her good way, believes that Damon possesses some kind of goodness. If he wants to bring his long lost love back from the dead, that must mean he has a heart that still loves.

     Their relationship becomes complex with each episode. Damon becomes fiercely protective of Elena and even comes down on her own brother for disrespecting her. When another vampire threatens to bring danger into Mystic Falls, Damon retaliates and says,
 "You do not come into my town and threaten the people I care about. Going after Elena? Bad move. You leave her alone or I will rip you to bits."
Elena in return defends Damon and believes there is more to him that what is seen on the surface. Even she has her limits though and when she is pushed to the edge she can give up Damon entirely. 

     Where Stefan's path is straight forward and clear, Damon's is winding, twisting and confusing, not knowing where it begins and where it may end. Damon is the storm that Elena can never seem to calm and his coldness only makes her hate or love him more, depending on how he has made her feel.

     Stefan is the answer that brings light and Damon is the mystery that always lurks in the shadows, not wanting to be found.

~ ~ ~

The Vampire Diaries
     I am really surprised at how much I have grown to love this show! I'm not a huge fan (yet), but it's a good watch. Being a vampire show, there is graphic violence and sexual content as well as drug use in the beginning. The storyline is strong and engaging and the episode soundtracks are great. Above all, I love the characters, there are the characters you absolutely love and characters you absolutely despise with a passion.

     I've started Season 2 and so the story just gets deeper and darker.

And the characters just get better and better!

"All I Need" by The Temptation Within

Featured on The Vampire Diaries Season 1 - Ep. 19 "Miss Mystic Falls" 

This is my favorite scene from the entire show where you get a glimpse into Elena and Damon's beginning relationship. And the song itself is simply beautiful.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Surviving The Panem Arena

Contest of Epic Literary Survival

Mordor or the Panem Arena

     In a battle to the death or to destroy the one ring, we will present 5 objects of random which you will then use your great and imaginative minds to tell us how you would use them to survive the hostile literary environment.

Panem Arena

1. A book (of your choice)
Well, first I would get 'friendly' with the Head Gamermaker (coughSenecaCranecough) and have him hand over the game plan (I assume it may come in book form) to me, which Cinna conveniently manages to hide in my jacket.

2. Box of paper clips
I would dump the paper clips out of the boxand put a few tracker jackers inside. I would then throw the box to a tribute chasing me down.     

3. Volley ball
Throw the volleyball at some mutts from the top of a tree to distract them.

4. Pair of toe socks
Did what Rue did and use them on my hands for gloves on cold nights.

5. Frying pan
When I'm done with breakfast I can take out a few tributes in their sleep and steal their weapons.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Show...

So, I just started watching season 1 of "The Vampire Diaries"
and all I can say is...

Stefan and Damon Salvatore of Mystic Falls, Virginia
Well done Virginia!

 (Ignore the fact that it's a fictional town full of vampires, witches and werewolves)

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Bible (2013) - Part 1

The Bible (2013)
     When I first saw the preview for the 2013 miniseries, The Bible, I was partly excited and partly skeptical. In this day of constant secularism and ignorant assumptions of the Word of God, society will do everything in its pathetic power to deny the historical accuracy of the oldest written history in the world. My family was interested though and on the night of its premiere, we, with caution and anticipation, stepped back in time and rediscovered The Bible.

    The story starts with Noah and his family, shut up on the Ark with the animals during the 40 day and 40 night flood. With the thunder rolling, the waves crashing and the mighty Ark rocking to and fro with Noah and his family being tossed from one side to the other, Noah recounts the Creation story (in a riveting Scottish accent!). From the first day of Creation, to the making of Adam and Eve. He recounts the beauty and freedom the Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden and their beautiful relationship with God.

Adam and Eve
     All was perfect and good in God's eyes. Then wickedness, deception and disobedience enters in the Garden and God's perfect plan falls to dust and ashes as his most beautiful creations are tempted to eat from The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil. Banished to live a life of punishment and separation from God, Adam and Eve are sent away from the Garden forever and made to live alone. Although, God watches over them, he is distant and lets their punishment for their sins follow them. It follows in their children and the generations to come afterwards.

     It is seen in the slaughter of Abel by the hands of his brother Cain and then in the wickedness that the whole world has succumbed to. Eventually God tells Noah that he would send a great Flood and wipe out all the wickedness and evil that the world possesses; only Noah and his family are spared. After the great Flood, the world begins again and God will find a new leader and a new people that will forge the oldest and greatest nation in history, The Jews.

~ ~ ~

The Father of Many Nations
 "I will make you a great nation
and I will bless you,
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and whoever curses you, I will curse;
and all the people on earth
will be blessed through you."

~ Genesis 12:1-3

     A good man, an honorable and above all an obedient man. Abraham's obedience is his greatest attribute; it's obedience that gives him courage to the impossible, even it means letting his nephew and only heir go, welcoming three strangers into his home and defending the new faith of his people.

     And then there are times when his obedience is tested to the limit, most especially when it comes to the sacrifice of his long awaited son Isaac. Heartbroken and terrified, Abraham takes his son to the alter and prepares his sacrifice, but his obedience is stronger than fear and God is pleased. This is a man who can lead and can raise a people. This is a man who is going to Change The World.

~ ~ ~


The Prince Who Became a Prophet
  "But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all my wonders that I will perform among them. After that he will let you go."

~ Exodus 3:19-20

   A story of constant survival by the hand of God. Moses has been raised in the Pharaoh's palace, but comes to the heavy truth that is actually the son of Hebrew slaves that have lived in bondage for almost 500 years. Confused at his state of life and where he belongs, Moses runs away to the wilderness where he finds God. Some 30 years later, God appears to Moses in the form of a Burning Bush and commands him to return to Egypt and free his people.

   Clearly frightened about the prospect of returning to his former home, not as an Egyptian prince, but as a prophet declaring God's word "Let My People Go!" Moses finds courage through faith and his obedience guides him through the Egyptian land. Through conflict, plagues and pain, Pharaoh frees the slaves, but freedom does not mean a life on happiness and comfort. There is is still suffering, toil and sorrow. God's gives to Moses his law, The Ten Commandments for the Hebrews to live and learn by. Moses' courage and obedience is rewarded and he turns over the role of leadership to Joshua, his most faithful follower.

~ ~ ~

General of the Lord
"As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave or forsake you.
Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, 
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

~ Joshua 1: 7

     After Moses' death, Joshua is given the heavy burden of leading the Jews out of the wilderness and continuing their journey to God's promised land. Joshua was one of the first biblical warriors of the Bible and lived a life of constant and complete obedience. He led by examples of courage, loyalty and honor. In many ways, Joshua was a greater and stronger leader than Moses and many of the other leaders before him. As a warrior he was fierce and formidable. As a leader he was cautious and wise. He gave glory to God and never let the Jews forgot who their true leader was and where they deliverance would always come from.

~ ~ ~

A Prostitute Who Had Faith to Obey
"By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

~ Hebrews 11:31

      It takes the most unlikely people to do God's will, whether it's in slaves, prophets or even prostitutes. Although little is known about Rahab, she is honored for her courage and obedience by hiding Joshua's spies during the seize of Jericho. Frightened that her family and child may be in danger, the spies reassure that there is nothing to fear, Rahab agrees and allows them escape. Surprised by her willingness to help, one of the spies hands Rahab a scarlet cord and tells her to tie it upon her doorpost when the walls of Jericho fall. She obeys and Rahab and her family spared from destruction. Rahab is honored for her faith and fortitude, even though she wasn't a Jew and became one of the most honored predecessors in the line of Jesus.

     (It's briefly hinted at that Rahab and the spy who gave her the scarlet cord fell in love, but I'll leave that to the watcher's decision...I think they did.)

~ ~ ~

 Up next is Samson, Saul and David. Then we get to the New Testament! With those I'll get more onto the actor's portrayals, but all the actors were fantastic!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Randomness Tag

     Bella Rose tagged me for this, but after almost 3 years on Blogger, I still hardly know anyone, which is sad. I'm going to do it anyway and just have fun with it : )

Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their sight (THANK YOU Bella)
Post 11 random facts about yourself
Answer 11 questions from the blogger who tagged you
Nominate 11 other bloggers

 ~ ~ ~

11 Facts About Me

1. I have never read literature by Austen, Alcott or Dickens

2. I saw all 3 LOTR movies in theaters

3. My best friend and I have never met face to face

4. I have a habit of buying movies before viewing them

5. I want to get married in June or December

6. I have epilepsy

7. Queen Elizabeth I and Joan of Arc are my heroes

8. I'm a licensed child care worker

9. Writing fanfictions helps my to develop my own original stories

10. My favorite accessory is bracelets

11. Before I die I want to by one thing Chanel

~ ~ ~

Somehow this picture reminds me of Bella : )
Bella's Questions

 1. Phantom of the Opera or Les Miserables?

Hands down, Les Miserables. 
Phantom is good, by the melodramtic romance drove me crazy. 
I have no idea what Christine saw in either man, anway. They were both annoying.

2. Have you ever climbed trees in a skirt?
I've never climbed trees at all!

3. Did you ever own play handcuffs - and put them to good use?

Not that I can remember

4. When was the last time you went swimming in the snow?

It would have to snow here in Virginia long enough to accomplish that

5. Did you ever make your own bows and arrows?

No, I never had any reason too.

6. Were the witches in your childhood games ever good witches?

When I was a child, my parents were strict about witchcraft and wizardry. 
So witches were never an option.

7. Did you ever create a fantasy world into which you could escape?

I just escaped into other people's fantasy worlds. 

Narnia, Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Panem, etc.

8. Do you dream in color or black and white?


9. Cake or pie?


10. Are you a) 'early to bed early to rise' b) 'late to bed, late to rise' c) Late to bed early to rise.

b) 'late to bed, late to rise'

11. When you hear the word "magnificent" what's the first thing you think?
A lion, King Peter, Thorin Oakenshield

~ ~ ~

Thanks, Bella! 

This was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pass The Parcel Blog Party

1. Name your top 5 favourite YA authors: 

 J.K Rowling, Ann Rinaldi, Lemony Snicket, J.R.R Tolkien and Suzanne Collins

2. What's the last YA book you read and what did you think of it?

"Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins. It was very dark and I wouldn't say that it had a happy ending, but more along the lines of a hopeful ending.

3. What's your favourite YA genre? (Dystopian, romance, sci-fi, contemporary, etc.)

Fantasy and history

4. Let's talk characters! Pick a character you love and tell us why?

Hermione Granger from "Harry Potter." She really is the greatest female literary character of my generation. Hermione is the perfect balance of intelligence, loyalty and courage that coincides with beauty, generosity and kindness. Because of Hermione Granger, girls weren't afraid to be smart, they learned that true leadership comes from being a loyal follower and that love and romance are two very separate ideals.

5. Top YA villain?

 That's hard...probably Voldemort or President Snow.

6. Top YA couple?

 James and Lily Potter

7. With dystopian on the decline, what do you think will be the next hot-trend in YA?


8. What's the next YA book on your to-be-read pile?

 "The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare

9. What's the fastest time you've ever finished reading a book in? (And what was the book?!)

 2dys. "Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban."

10. (And now for the burning question) Do you think books should be sorted according to colour or title? (This matters.) 

By title. Because by title there is a general order, but by color it's a personal order. So, by title is easier.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Finishing The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games Trilogy
     I finished the Hunger Games trilogy! I have to say that it was a great series; something I haven't been able to find since finishing Harry Potter. As the series continues it becomes much more mature in content and I'm not just saying in the violence spectrum either.The story in itself is a brilliantly thought out idea of what happens when materialism and worldly attitudes takes place of humanity and justice.

     Katniss becomes a much more confusing and complex character as the story evolves, sometimes making it difficult to gauge where her understanding of revenge and justice lay. As well as her difficult love triangle between herself, Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne.

     There are several conclusions I have come to while reading the books:

 I'm madly in love with Finnick Odair

Primrose Everdeen is a badass

Peeta has to make my wedding cake

If something happened to my family, I would want Haymitch to take care of me

I wished Gale's story ended differently

     There is only one part at the very end of Mockingjay that I found myself strongly disagreeing with. I'm just going to lay it out.

Katniss Everdeen "The Hunger Games"
      The Capitol has fallen and the rebels (Katniss and those against the Capitol) now have complete control of Panem. The only problem is that they don't know what to do with the Capitol residents. Do they kill them all off or do they make general selections of who lives and who dies? The alternative to complete annihilation of the Capitol is to hold one final Hunger Games involving only the children of the Capitol. So the decision is left to the final seven victors from the Hunger Games that are left alive, which would be Haymitch, Katniss, Peeta and the others you meet in the sequel. 

     Peeta and two Victors give an immediate no, while two other victors give an revengeful yes. Now, it's down to to Katniss and Haymitch. By this time, Katniss has lost almost everything. District 12 and other surrounding districts have been destroyed, many friends died protecting her, but the ultimatum is the death of her younger sister, Primrose who is killed in a bombing raid. After she sees Prim killed, as well as falling victim to the bomb herself, Katniss goes through a hellish recovery. She is burnt everywhere and she temporarily loses her ability to speak. Now she must decide whether or not to hold another Hunger Games that involved the lives of innocent children that are made to pay the price for the crimes that their parents and generations before them committed.

     After realizing that there is always going to be death and loss of innocent life (and the unspoken fact that she still wasn't mentally stable) Katniss, much to my sickening surprise, agrees to hold the final Hunger Games in honor of Prim. Haymitch agrees with her and the deal is settled.

There will be one final Hunger Games celebration 
only involving the children of the Capitol. 
Afterwards the Hunger Games will be nothing more than a dark history
 for children to read about in school.

      As you can imagine I was very surprised at this twist in the story. For Katniss, who has been the embodiment of humanity and goodness, to agree to a final Hunger Games that involves children who have done nothing to deserve it, was very aggravating for me at first. Yet, I was also reminded how so many times in the Bible how God punished generations for their wrong doing even though there were those who had committed no crimes at all.

     So, I am rather torn about what to feel about such a turn the book made, but it's not my story and I'm not the author. While I wouldn't say that the series had a happy ending, the epilogue gave a glimpse of a hopeful ending and redeeming future.

Katniss Everdeen "Mockingjay"
~ ~ ~

Trailer for Catching Fire

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Hunger Games ~ Book Review

The Hunger Games
L-R: Cato (District 2 Tribute), Cinna (Capitol Designer), Effie Trinket (District 12 Rep.)
Rue (District 11 Tribute), The Mockingjay, Haymitch Abernathy (Former District 12 Victor)
Katnis Everdeen (District 12 Tribute), Peeta Mellark (District 12 Tribute), Gale Hawthorne (District 12 Resident)

~ ~ ~

     Normally I don't do book reviews, but I am compelled to review The Hunger Games (like so many people on Blogger have). I'm not going to lie, The Hunger Games is very controversial, but if you look back, history is filled with societies such as the Capitol and their ruthless ideas of entertainment, mainly the Gladiators of Rome. Blood, death, and glory call all be called ideals of entertainment as long as one is watching, not participating. 

    In one review I read that the reader had a problem because "God was never mentioned" or "Katniss never called on God for help." Well, even I knew the issue behind that before I picked up the book. Panem is a dystopian society or a society that is dehumanized, government run with no free choice or freedom of speech and above all, lived in absolute fear.

     In dystopian society all culture and religion is band and all allegiance is given to the run of the government, who have outlawed the higher power and have turned the people to a life of complete despair. When the world steps away from God, then it steps closer to evil. When the world walks away from the light, it is most assuredly walking into darkness.

     Similar to other stories such as Lois Lowry's novels "The Giver" and "Gathering Blue," where children are given responsibilities based on natural talent to be used for the governments own gain. 

     Ray Bradbury's, "Fahrenheit 451" about government's complete control and the disbandment of reading. 

     Also, the film "Equilibrium" starring Christian Bale, where everyone in society is "equal" and any sign of feeling or emotion, whether found in music, books, or even human love, is illegal.

    If you haven't read or seen any of the above, you need to. You will get a better understanding of dystopian society and the corruption of government, that either lead to the breaking of man or the rebellious resurrection of mankind.

     As matter of fact, while we're on the brief lines of Christian Bale, "Batman" can also be considered a dystopian society, because of government's corruption.

~ ~ ~

The Capitol and the 12 surrounding districts (click to see higher resolution)

Peeta Melark, Katniss Everdeen, Gale Hawthorne
Panem & District 12

    The society of Panem (former North America) is made of up 12 districts. All districts are judged and based by what they provide to The Capitol (the government). There is a hierarchy in Panem regarding the districts. District 1 in providing luxury, making it the wealthiest, to District 12 that provides coal, therefore making it the poorest. 

     As punishment for rebellion in the what was once District 13, the Capitol holds The Hunger Games every year. Once a year every boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are gathered in the town square on Reaping day. One boy and one girl from each district is selected to compete in The Hunger Games. In truth, it's a blood bath to see who is still standing at the end, but instead the Capitol glamorize it and make it appear as survivor reality show that is mandatory watch for everyone in Panem. Their success as Victor can mean wealth for themselves as well as temporary prosperity for their districts.

     The punishment is for the parents who must watch in horror as their selected child is thrown out to the wolves and are mercilessly terrorized on world wide television. What was suppose to be the next generation of hope, is destroyed in front of them. The Capitol will not be mocked and it will not be usurped.

     The Capitol is materialistic and worldly, their attitude is "What's best for me" or "Whatever makes me happy." Most people are, but there are others that believe that real wealth can be found in generous deeds and acts of kindness and that true honor is found in sacrifice. In District 12, though, people may come across as cold or even ruthless, but there are moments of love and generosity. 

     Katniss Everdeen has lost her father in the coal mines when she was 12 and her mother has become silent and withdrawn from her daughters. Katniss must provide for her family by hunting and selling, gathering berries and herbs, and making deals in The Hob (the district marketplace). 

     Because of the lost of her parents, Katniss is cut off from the world; she seems incapable of loving and can't even fathom the thought of having someone else lover her. The only affection she gives is to her younger sister Primrose and to her best friend and hunting partner, Gale Hawthorne. Katniss' love from Primrose is so strong that is doesn't even phase her when she volunteers as tribute in her younger sister's place for The Hunger Games.

 "Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

~ I Corinthians 13:6-7

     Now, I have read in books reviews that although Katniss sacrificed herself for her sister, the readers found that her participation in The Hunger Games was eventually selfish and self serving. That her will to survive was only for her own gain. That even though she knew what was wrong, she played the games anyway and that was eventual selfishness.

     How so? Katniss needed to survive to get home to her mother and her sister. She made a promise to her sister that she would come home.When other people are out on the hunt for your life, you don't just stand there and let them have you. You have to fight to defend yourself. There is a big difference between murder and self-defense.

     Others have said that if Katniss didn't want to be part of the games, why didn't she just take her tracker out?

     How on earth was she suppose to do that? I mean really??

     This all goes back to the lack of God in dystopian society. Katniss does not know God, but she does know love. Just because God is not physically mentioned in the book, doesn't mean that he is not present in the spirit of Katniss' heart.

"All truth is is from God; and consequently, if wicked men have said anything that is true and just, we ought not to reject it; for it has come from God."

~ John Calvin
      What is truth to Katniss?

      That murder is wrong.

      To stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves.

      To honor those that have fallen.

      To give love and to accept it.

      That maybe you are not in control of your life.

      To forgive even when it may seem unthinkable.
     I don't read a book so I can try to find God, but God normally finds me during the reading when I don't even realize it. Now of course, this was pretty obvious. The author, Suzanne Collins, saw Katniss as the Christlike figure who gave her life for her sister. Katniss tried to push love away, but there was a love so strong in her, because of her sister's own love, that she did the unthinkable and volunteered to lay down her life.

~ ~ ~

Katniss & Peeta
The Hunger Games

The Tributes
The Hunters
The Victors
"He who saves one life, saves the world entire."

~The Torah

      Katniss' adversary whom she must fight in The Hunger Games is the baker's youngest son, Peeta Mellark. Their interesting relationship starts back shortly after Mr. Everdeen dies and Katniss and her mother and sister are starving. Unable to find any food, Katniss is behind the bakery, defeated and about to breathe her last breath, when Peeta throws her a couple loaves of burnt bread.

     Those few loaves of burnt bread gave Katniss her strength back, but more than anything, it gave her hope. There was still goodness, there was still a trust in humanity. She was able to discover how to use use roots and plants to eat and put into soups, she learned to become a better hunter, and even her mother would come out of her daze to help. Peeta's actions were illegal and he could have suffered severely for it, but his sacrifice did more than feed Katniss, it saved her soul.

    When faced with 23 other tributes, most of them out for one each others blood, Katniss and Peeta realize that maybe being killed would be more preferable than killing. Alliances are formed and Katniss and Peeta find themselves on oppoite sides most of the time. Katniss teams up with Rue, a charming 12 years old from District 11 and Peeta gives the appearance that he is with the dominate alliance, but you can never be sure whose game he is really playing.

      Peeta's genuine strength of character and moral attitude is a constant beacon throughout the story. He will by no stretch of the imagination kill, he will not lose himself in The Capitol's brutal ideal of courage and honor. Katniss herself, believes this and also resigns not to kill, unless it is in self defense. In the end they are victors, because their moral conscience won over the political law.

    Like the Jewish students of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego who would rather face the fiery furnace than bow before the king's idol and were spared from the flames*, Peeta and Katniss were spared because if their honor and humanity.

   Unbeknownst to the both of them...they change the world. 

    Peeta's act of mercy saved Katniss, leading to Katniss' sacrifice and honor that was seen throughout all of Panem. Both of them would not surrender their moral beliefs in The Hunger Games. Katniss gives honor to Rue when she is killed and leaves her body in gathered flowers. Her act of nobility, leads to Rue's district to cause an uprising against the Capitol. The Capitol is shocked by what they witness and eventually are engulfed in a losing battle between themselves and the districts of Panem.

  And it all began with a boy's courage to save a life...

~ ~ ~ 

      For Such a Time As This

Peeta and Katniss during the Victory Tour in "Catching Fire"
"And who knows but that you have come to a royal position for such a time as this?

~Esther 4:14

     Since The Hunger Games trilogy has been out for awhile, most people know that Katniss will no longer be made to give into The Capitol's tyrannical rule and leads a rebellion. So, one must wonder? 

      Was Katniss' part in The Hunger Games, just by odds or mere coincidence? 

    Or maybe it was something more. She took part in The Hunger Games and returned victorious. Her title as Victor gave her chance to challenge the powerful and overcome the impossible.

     Perhaps her decision to volunteer as Tribute was meant for something more, something greater than gaining the title of Victor, but rather bring victory to all Panem and restore goodness and humanity.

~ ~ ~

      Is the book series controversial? Yes.

      Does it make question my belief in mankind and humanity? Yes.

     This probably isn't what one would call a 'book review,' but I wanted to talk about the elements that really jumped out at me the most and that was Katniss and Peeta and how the story revolves around them. A good story is based on the content of the protagonist characters, all the other is just background work.

     If you look hard enough and not focus on the general public view of The Hunger Games storyline, you can find that this story and it's characters hold an intensely moral viewpoint.
     Katniss: Self sacrifice and love

     Peeta: Courage and loyalty

     Gale: Friendship and nobility

     Rue: Kindness and genorosity

Primrose: Hope and joy
  Haymitch: Intelligence and leadership

Seneca Crane: Civil disobedience against a corrupt government, 
which eventually led to his death.

     No book is going to be accepted by every audience and not every book is going to directly mention God and his works. Like I said, I don't read books just so I can find God in them, I read books to enjoy the story. I leave it to God to make an appearance in his own good time.

* Daniel 3

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Me: Heidi (my older sister), Catching Fire is coming out the day before my birthday.

Heidi: Is that suppose to mean something?'s official, I have finally become a Hunger Games fan. I had been wanting to the read the books and then proceed to see the movie, but it ended up working backwards. I have really, really had fun discovering the world of The Hunger Games and understanding why people love it so much.

     I saw the movie about 3 weeks ago and was absolutely astounded by the overall storytelling. In a world that is so dominated by shallow romances and horror stories, I was impressed by the sheer honesty of genuine humanity that was found in Katniss Everdeen and how she brought the Hunger Games to the audience. It's not a children's story, but it is a story that questions the human soul. 

     If I had an opportunity to do something right, even if it meant death, would I do it?

     I'm about half-way through the first book; I stayed up until 1 in the morning reading, which wasn't good, because I had school in the morning! It was worth it though!

     So! Like I had with The Hobbit last year, there is a check list I want to fulfill before the next movie comes out.

Read The Hunger Games

Read Catching Fire

Read Mockingjay

See (buy) The Hunger Games

     My school is awesome, because I can buy the books there for a good price and they almost always have them in stock!
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