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Opinion

Fans rejoice as ‘The Hunger Games’ finally hits theaters

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March 23, 2012

Unless you refuse to browse the Internet or watch television, you have most likely heard of “The Hunger Games.” Originally the first book in a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins, the movie adaptation hits theaters nationwide today, March 23. I have been waiting for this day for about four months. For my birthday last September, I received the entire trilogy but never found the time to start reading the books.

Once winter break started and Christmas was over, I reluctantly cracked open “The Hunger Games,” book number one.

I am an ardent “Harry Potter” fan, which is why I was reluctant to start a new series. I was jealous of “The Hunger Games” because its time in the spotlight is just beginning, while my beloved “Harry Potter” is taking its last bow.

But all the blogs I follow online and all my coworkers were always talking about this series being proclaimed as the next “Harry Potter,” and since I had the books, I decided I would read them with an objective eye, or a grain of salt, if you will.

After I finished that first book the same day I started it, I was hooked. I spent the next week finishing the trilogy and excitedly discussing the plot and my favorite characters with my friends. After finishing the trilogy, I wanted to watch the first movie immediately. But I was forced, along with all the other fans of the books, to wait until the impossibly far-off release date.

But now it is here. And the Internet has exploded with movie spoilers, iTunes has released the soundtrack featuring Taylor Swift and Kid Cudi, and talk shows are dedicating their precious airtime to interviewing the movie’s young stars.

The movie premiered in Los Angeles last week an Jennifer Lawrence, who plays the film’s protagonist Katniss Everdeen, was the talk of the town because of her liquid-gold cutout gown. And thousands, if not millions, of fans have already purchased their advance tickets to the midnight showings scheduled across America.

I am just grateful I jumped on “The Hunger Games” train when I did because I am able to fully experience the movie as one who has read the books. I love comparing books and their movie adaptations, so I am beyond excited to see “The Hunger Games.” I learned how to love movie adaptations because of “Harry Potter.”

Since the books were so long, it was almost guaranteed that something important and maybe even a favorite scene would be cut from the movie. Lots of people would watch the new “Harry Potter” movie and be severely disappointed. So to prevent those feelings, I have come to view the book and the movie as two totally separate things.

“The Hunger Games” is a book that everyone can enjoy. It is not gender-exclusive like “Twilight” tends to be, but it features a female lead that is one of the most powerful characters ever written. Everdeen is the protagonist living in District 12, the last of 12 districts ruled by the Capitol. The districts combined with the Capitol are Panem, the country occupying what was previously America.

The Capitol, in order to prevent the districts from revolting, keeps them in poverty and once a year forces their children to compete in the Hunger Games as Tributes. Everdeen volunteers as the female Tribute from District 12 because her younger sister was chosen by a random lottery.

Peeta Mellark, the baker’s son, is chosen as male Tribute, and together they join 22 other Tributes in a fight to the death.

This book is so good. It is beautiful yet terrible, a coming-of-age story like never before. The characters are vibrant and so well written that I became very attached to all of them. The book is thrilling and addicting, but it has its quieter moments as well.

I have seen people of all ages, male and female, buying up this book and its sequels because they all, somehow or another, connect with something in the story. Read this book, and then go see the movie. Or the other way around.

Just acquaint yourself with this story because it is relevant. It isn’t just the next “Harry Potter;” it is a social narrative that is important for all to hear.

Amanda White is a junior majoring in journalism. She appreciates good books, good style, and good conversation.